1 Friday, 3 September 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.08 a.m.
5 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry, I don't have the e-court.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
7 Good morning, everybody in and around the courtroom.
8 This is case number IT-08-91-T, the Prosecutor versus
9 Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin.
10 JUDGE HALL: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 May I have the appearances.
12 MR. OLMSTED: Good morning, Your Honours. Matthew Olmsted,
13 Belinda Pidwell, Alexander Stevens, and Crispian Smith for the
15 MR. ZECEVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Slobodan Zecevic,
16 Eugene O'Sullivan for Stanisic Defence.
17 MR. KRGOVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Dragan Krgovic,
18 Igor Pantelic, and Aleksandar Aleksic for Zupljanin Defence.
19 JUDGE HALL: Thank you. Before the witness takes the stand, we
20 announce that we accept the proposal that was articulated yesterday by
21 Ms. Pidwell of the OTP reflecting the consensus that was arrived at
22 between OTP and the Defence, and that is for the adjournment of the trial
23 to prepare the Witness 197 for cross-examination. And we also grant the
24 motion for leave to amend the Rule 65 ter list and to add three videos
25 for this witness, and also for the --
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE HALL: And the amended summary.
3 Thank you.
4 So could the usher please escort the witness back to the stand.
5 MR. OLMSTED: Your Honours, while the witness is coming in, I
6 want to make a note that we would like to show this witness today the
7 video P1563, just a small portion of it. This was mentioned in his
8 proofing note, but we inadvertently left it off the list of proposed
9 exhibits for this witness, and I hope that doesn't cause any problems.
10 But as I said, it will just be a limited portion of that video.
11 [The witness takes the stand]
12 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Kovacevic, good morning -- Kovacevic, good
13 morning to you, sir. We are about --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
15 JUDGE HALL: -- to continue your testimony. And before
16 Mr. Olmsted resumes, I remind you you're still on your oath.
17 WITNESS: MARINKO KOVACEVIC [Resumed]
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 JUDGE HALL: Yes, Mr. Olmsted.
20 Examination by Mr. Olmsted: [Continued]
21 Q. Good morning, Mr. Kovacevic.
22 A. [In English] Good morning.
23 MR. OLMSTED: May we have Exhibit 2D71 back on the screen,
25 Q. And you may recall that at the end of yesterday we were looking
1 at this police file for the murder of eight persons by an unknown
2 perpetrator. And if we take a look at this one-page criminal report, it
3 states in essence that on 8 August 1992 eight bodies with visible
4 injuries were found on the right bank of the Vrbas River.
5 When you received this criminal report, did you have any
6 information regarding where these murders had taken place?
7 A. [Interpretation] No, we did not have any such information.
8 Q. And what about information regarding who the victims were or
9 where they were from?
10 A. As far as I can recall, we did not have that kind of information
11 as to where the victims were from. The only thing we did know was that
12 those were bodies of unidentified males.
13 Q. Now, upon receiving this criminal report, what did you do?
14 A. The criminal report was received and was forwarded in line with
15 Article 156(2) [sic] for further criminal processing. That means that it
16 was sent back to the police with instructions to perform other
17 investigative and operative measures to uncover the perpetrators,
18 co-perpetrators, any persons who may have issued orders for the crime to
19 be committed, or any other persons who may have been involved in the
21 MR. OLMSTED: Let's turn to page 19 of the B/C/S version of this
22 document, page 22 of the English.
23 Q. Do you recognise this letter?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And I believe you've just explained, generally, that you sent the
1 criminal case back to the police. Is the purpose of this letter,
2 therefore, to ask them to continue to engage in operative measures to
3 identify the perpetrators?
4 A. Yes. In line with Article 153, as stated here, not 156 - so it's
5 just a correction - and this memo, what it says, it's correct. And this
6 memo was then sent to the police.
7 Q. Now, this memo, dated 10 September 1992 -- well, let me ask you
8 this procedural question: Was it necessary for you to send this request
9 before the police could begin measures to identify the perpetrators?
10 A. This memo was necessary because the criminal report that had been
11 submitted to the public prosecutor's office stated that the perpetrator
12 of the crime was unidentified. The crime was the crime defined in
13 Article 36 of the Criminal Code, and that required, under law 153(2) of
14 the Law on Criminal Procedure adopted from the former Yugoslavia, to
15 proceed in this manner.
16 Q. Well, let me rephrase my question. I'm trying to get at
17 something slightly different. As a procedural matter, was it necessary
18 for the police to receive a request from you before they actually begin
19 operative measures to identify a perpetrator, or could they have done
20 that without any request from you?
21 A. The police does its work continually in their effort to
22 uncover -- identify the perpetrators and also to detect any other
23 information pertaining to the perpetrators and the crime itself. It is
24 the basic task of the police.
25 Let me then make it clear. The police are there to identify the
1 perpetrators of crimes.
2 Q. Why couldn't you open a criminal investigation in this case at
3 this stage?
4 A. Under the laws valid at the time, the Law on Criminal Procedure,
5 it was impossible to issue requests for an investigation against
6 unidentified perpetrators of crimes. Under the law and regulations in
7 force at the time, the powers were divided between various organs so that
8 we had three organs, three types of powers: The organs who were in
9 charge of uncovering crimes, the police and the investigative judges;
10 then prosecutorial organs, the responsible public prosecutors' offices;
11 and judicial organs issuing judgements. The courts, in other words.
12 So a request to institute an investigation was a document that
13 could be filed only by the prosecutor against known perpetrators of
14 crimes. To be more specific, individually identified perpetrators. They
15 had to have a full name; father's name; nickname; ethnic background, or
16 perhaps they didn't have an ethnicity; the place of residence; criminal
17 record, if any; the specification of crimes for which that person had
18 been convicted; employment status; marital status; and so on. So all
19 those personal details of the person that had to be specified in the
20 pre-criminal proceedings, the proceedings in which appropriate
21 information was gathered in the course of the operative work of the
22 police, and this was something that the police did.
23 Q. Let's turn to page 11 of the B/C/S, page 12 of the English. What
24 we have in front of us is a letter from CSB Banja Luka to the basic
25 prosecutor's office, dated 14 September 1992, and it encloses three
1 Official Notes of interviews as well as photographs of where the bodies
2 in this case were found.
3 First I want to draw your attention to the handwriting in the
4 upper right-hand corner. We see it's written:
5 "NN Prijedor - Skender Vakuf bodies."
6 Can you tell us whether this is a reference to the killings at
7 Koricanske Stijene?
8 A. I don't know who wrote this, this part of the document that's
9 handwritten in this memo, so I can't really say anything as to what this
10 refers to and when it was actually written, subsequently or at the time
11 when the memo itself was either written or received. So I can't really
12 tell you.
13 Q. Can you tell us, was this written by someone in your office or
14 would it have been by someone in the police?
15 A. This was not written by anyone from my office. The abbreviations
16 and markings were not used by my office.
17 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Olmsted, I don't understand fully what makes
18 you suggest that this letter would have anything to do with
19 Koricanske Stijene, and -- and more generally, perhaps, I fail to
20 understand where we're going with this.
21 MR. OLMSTED: Your Honours, I think that will be clear through
22 the course of this testimony.
23 Q. Now, if we can look at the three pages that follow this
24 14 September letter, page 12.
25 MR. OLMSTED: If we could go to the next page in both B/C/S and
1 English. We see one of the Official Notes. If we can go to the next
2 page to show the other one. And, finally, the third one, which is page
3 14 in B/C/S, page 15 in English.
4 Q. Now, we see before us, or we've seen now the three referenced
5 Official Notes of interviews, and the first two were compiled on the
6 14th of September, 1992, and they were taken from two Prijedor police
7 officers, Bosko Grabez and Vladimir Sobot, and one which was compiled on
8 the 7 August 1992, taken of a police officer working a check-point.
9 MR. OLMSTED: Now, if we can go back two pages to page 12 of the
10 B/C/S, page 13 of the English.
11 Q. The two -- well, actually, all three interviews we can see were
12 conducted on the 7th of August, 1992. In other words, a day before the
13 on-site investigation took place.
14 First of all, can you confirm: Did you receive these
15 Official Notes from CSB Banja Luka?
16 A. Well, if they were attached to the criminal report, then they
17 reached the office of the prosecutor. I think they were there.
18 Q. Well, I should have asked you, actually: With regard to the
19 14 September letter that we had looked at just a while ago from
20 CSB Banja Luka to the basic prosecutor's office, it references these
21 Official Notes as well as photographs. Are these the three
22 Official Notes that came with that 14 September letter?
23 A. I think they are.
24 Q. Now, if we look at this statement by Grabez, we see that he
25 stated he was escorting a convoy of 18 buses from Omarska to Manjaca on
1 6 August 1992, and then he further states that when they arrived at
2 Manjaca, the persons on the bus were made to spend the night on the bus,
3 and the next morning Grabez was told that several of these persons had
4 died on the buses during the night.
5 Mr. Kovacevic, upon receiving this Official Note, was this the
6 first time that you learned that the victims were detainees from
7 Omarska camp?
8 A. This Official Note indicated the possibility that those persons
9 who had been brought in from the Prijedor municipality might be the ones,
10 the ones that were -- had been brought to Manjaca. So the Official Note
11 of a preliminary interview indicated that it might have been those
12 persons who had brought -- who had been brought in from Prijedor to
14 Q. Given that these interviews took place on the 7th of August, do
15 you know why the police did not submit them with their 26 August criminal
17 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation] Objection. Calling for
18 speculation. Maybe you can rephrase that question. How this witness can
19 know exactly what is going in the operative staff? So you can rephrase
20 your question.
21 MR. OLMSTED: Yes. Of course.
22 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, if you know, do you know why, these
23 Officials Notes or the interviews that took place on 7 August 1992 were
24 not included with the 26 August criminal report? If you know.
25 A. Well, I really don't know why it was not included. I don't want
1 to speculate. I could share my thoughts with you, but that would be just
2 it. I really don't know why.
3 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm really sorry. I believe you -- you -- your
4 question, Mr. Olmsted, was that -- that these interviews took place on
5 the 7th of August. Are you referring to this Official Note? It was the
6 14th of September. The date of this Official Note is 14th of September.
7 MR. OLMSTED: Yes. We see that the Official Note is dated
8 14 September, but if we read through the body of the text, it states that
9 the interviews were conducted on the 7th of August, 1992. It's in the
10 second paragraph.
11 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, other than these three --
12 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise. If -- okay. Sorry, sorry.
14 MR. OLMSTED:
15 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, do you recall receiving any other witness
16 statements from the police relating to this crime?
17 A. Not that I can remember. I don't remember there were any other
18 Official Notes or reports. This Official Note is the only thing that
19 exists that accompanied this report of these interviews by the police.
20 Q. Now, upon receiving these -- the photographs, which we don't have
21 in front of us, and these three Official Notes, did you have sufficient
22 information to open a criminal investigation in this case?
23 A. No. No. As I said a moment ago, this was a criminal complaint
24 against an unidentified perpetrator, and it was impossible to submit a
25 request for an investigation to the competent investigating judge because
1 the perpetrator was not identified. One could not carry out an
2 investigation, according to the legislation in force then, against an
3 unknown person.
4 Q. Until you received the information about the identities of the
5 perpetrators, what further actions as a prosecutor could you take in this
7 A. If an on-site investigation had been done, and I believe it was
8 done in this case, we had to wait for the report on the on-site
9 investigation, and I believe that in the criminal complaint it was
10 mentioned that the investigating judge from the relevant lower court
11 would perform it, so that de facto we had to wait for the protocol of the
12 on-site investigation as a piece of evidence for some future proceedings
13 that the prosecutor would start against identified perpetrators. As for
14 some special powers of the prosecutor, apart from his ability to ask for
15 further operative work to identify the criminal, there were none.
16 Q. Did you ever receive information from the police concerning the
17 identities of the perpetrators of this crime?
18 A. Never. Never.
19 Q. Did you -- did you ever receive information from the police
20 regarding the identities of the victims of this crime?
21 A. I seem to remember that we received from the police, in fact,
22 from the investigating judge, a protocol of the on-site investigation and
23 photo documentation and a report on the external examination of the
24 bodies. We received that from the investigating judge, and in that case
25 it was, I believe, Mr. Djordje Stojakovic. I remember that because
1 Djordje Stojakovic, the judge, worked in the criminal department of the
2 lower court of Banja Luka at the time. So we received that protocol and
3 the other documents from the investigating judge.
4 Q. Yes, but yesterday we looked at the on-site investigation report
5 and at least one of those expert examinations, and you may recall they do
6 not mention the identities of the victims, and my question to you is
7 whether you recall receiving any information regarding the names and
8 other identification information about the victims.
9 A. Regarding the identity of victims, as part of the expert report
10 from the examination of the bodies, I believe there was also a report on
11 the papillary lines of these victims, that is, finger-prints. And I
12 believe the operative work thereafter continued, and I believe the
13 investigating judge, Djordje Stojakovic, gave that documentation to the
14 prosecutor's office.
15 Q. Well, let's look at page 3 of the of B/C/S. And I think this
16 would be page 4 of the English. And what we have in front of us is one
17 of the expert reports, and it's dated 8 August 1992. And can you confirm
18 with us -- can you confirm for us that it does not provide any
19 identification information regarding the victims?
20 A. This is the protocol on the forensic examination of an
21 unidentified body. This record does not give any indication of identity.
22 This is an investigative step carried out by a forensic specialist, a
23 doctor, who lists the basic findings from the examination of the body,
24 including injuries, if any, wounds, et cetera, and the confirmation of
25 death, including rigor, which is one of the basic characteristics of a
1 dead body.
2 Here we see his findings on skeletal characteristics, four stabs
3 and sharp edges. Four stab wounds with sharp edges.
4 Q. Thank you. You've answered the question. And we certainly can
5 take a look -- closer look at this document at a later stage.
6 I want to refresh your recollection with regard to what was in
7 the prosecutor's office file in 1992, and to do that I want to show you
8 65 ter 10497, and I want us to turn to page 6 of the B/C/S and page 7 of
9 the English.
10 We see in this letter dated 26 November 2007, a list of documents
11 comprising the prosecutor's office file as of 2007. So this is, of
12 course, after the district prosecutor inherited this case. And we see
13 there's a list of documents that were in the file, and with the exception
14 of the interviews conducted in 2007, all the remaining documents are the
15 ones we've already talked about; is that correct?
16 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise. Maybe I'm wrong. 65 ter 10497,
17 actually, this document, we -- do we have a ruling about the -- that
18 document, that it is granted for admission to 65 ter list, because I have
19 note here that it's pending Trial Chamber decision.
20 MR. OLMSTED: Your Honours, I'm not tendering this into evidence.
21 I'm using it simply to refresh this witness's recollection as to what was
22 in the prosecutor's office file.
23 MR. PANTELIC: No, I don't think that it's appropriate way to
24 refresh memory with document that is not allowed to use. No.
25 MR. OLMSTED: Your Honours, we've been through this several times
1 during this trial, and the Trial Chamber has held that we can refresh the
2 recollection of a witness with a document that is not necessarily on our
3 65 ter list. We obviously do not tender the document into evidence
5 JUDGE HALL: That, too, is my recollection, Mr. Pantelic.
6 MR. PANTELIC: In any case, Your Honour, for the record I put my
7 objection to this decision.
8 JUDGE HALL: Please continue, Mr. Olmsted.
9 MR. OLMSTED: Yes. So, Mr. Kovacevic, please take a look at
10 this -- this letter listing what was in the prosecutor's office case file
11 as of 2007. And with the exception of the interviews that were conducted
12 in 2007, the remaining documents are those that we've already talked
13 about; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, yes. Correct.
15 Q. There's no --
16 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Olmsted, should this arise again, of course you
17 would phrase your question more carefully, because you ended up putting
18 the question in a way that gave substance to Mr. Pantelic's objection.
19 MR. OLMSTED:
20 Q. And having reviewed this letter, does that refresh your
21 recollection whether you received information, whether finger-print or
22 otherwise, regarding the identity of the victims?
23 A. As for these documents that were received by the public district
24 prosecutor's office, they're all listed one by one: The criminal report,
25 official notes from 14 September, record on the on-site investigation,
1 official notes.
2 May I just finish, if you don't mind?
3 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] I have an objection.
4 Your Honours --
5 JUDGE HALL: Yes, Mr. Krgovic.
6 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] -- this is a document compiled
7 subsequently. The witness had never seen it before. He's just reading
8 it. How can he help the Court establish what happened in between, in
9 between 1992 and some other point in time when he was not involved in the
10 case? How did he know what was in the case file of the Prosecutor?
11 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Olmsted, the intervention that Mr. Pantelic had
12 made earlier to which you responded and in respect of which the Chamber
13 agreed with you, what we would have said in the past is certainly not a
14 means or a device for getting the evidence in which otherwise cannot be
15 admitted, and I agree with Mr. Krgovic that what we have here is a
16 recitation of the witness from -- from the document which is, at this
17 point, inadmissible.
18 MR. OLMSTED: Yes, Your Honours, and I agree with that. My
19 intention was not to have the witness read out the document. It was --
20 my question was whether -- I'll ask it again.
21 Q. Whether having looked at this document, does that refresh your
22 recollection as to whether you, when you handled this case, received any
23 information regarding the identities of the victims.
24 A. I've already mentioned the finger-prints and the identity of the
25 bodies. Whether all this pertained to this case or some other case, I
1 really cannot confirm now with any certainty, but somehow it -- it's in
2 my memory somewhere that there was this report --
3 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Olmsted, it seems you've taken this as far as
4 you could. Let's move on.
5 MR. OLMSTED:
6 Q. That's fine. Now, based on your experience as a prosecutor, what
7 additional operative measures should the police have taken to identify
8 the perpetrators in this case?
9 A. The police had to find all the operative information regarding
10 the perpetrators of a specific crime. That would include getting
11 citizens, various authorities, institutions, other police stations, and
12 the army to give them any information they had about the possible
13 identity of the perpetrators. At any rate, under the Law on Internal
14 Affairs and the Law on Criminal Procedure, they had to continue working
15 on identifying the perpetrators.
16 Now, as for the concrete steps of the police, technical and
17 other, the police knows very well what they have to do.
18 Q. Would you have expected them to interview other persons who were
19 on the buses where the victims allegedly died to find out more
20 information about this case?
21 A. Certainly one of those operative technical steps was to gather
22 information on the identity of the perpetrators, and that would include
23 taking statements from other people who are in any way involved in that
24 convoy or that event directly or indirectly.
25 Q. If the police had provided you with information concerning the
1 identity of the perpetrators, would there have been any reason for you to
2 delay opening an investigation in this case?
3 A. We had no reason to drag our feet. Once the identity of the
4 perpetrators was identified following the regular procedure, then
5 according to the Law on Criminal Procedure, the public prosecutor's
6 offers would be legally obliged to submit a request [Realtime transcript
7 read in error "question"] for an investigation against these persons and
8 address it to the competent investigating judge.
9 Q. Let's move to Exhibit P1567.
10 MR. OLMSTED: And if we can go to page 2 in both the B/C/S and
11 English. And if we can go to page 2.
12 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise. Just a short correction to the
13 answer which is on the page 15, line 25. Instead of word "question for
14 an investigation," I think the appropriate term should be "request for an
15 investigation." [B/C/S spoken] Thank you.
16 MR. OLMSTED:
17 Q. Is that correct, Mr. Kovacevic?
18 A. [In English] That is correct. [Interpretation] Correct.
19 Q. Now, what we have in front of us is the prosecutor's office case
20 file for the killing of a number of persons at Koricanske Stijene on
21 21 August, 1992, by unknown perpetrators.
22 In 1992, were you familiar with this case?
23 A. In 1992, I didn't know about this case in the broader sense of
24 the word, but I learned of the case in end August 1992. I learnt there
25 was an incident that happened in the area of what was then Skender Vakuf
1 municipality, and I was informed by the basic public prosecutor, who said
2 that this case would be entrusted to me to work on it once we received
3 the criminal report.
4 Q. And what we have in front of us is the criminal report. This is
5 the unknown perpetrator criminal report dated 8 September 1992. Can you
6 confirm this is the report you received?
7 A. Correct.
8 MR. OLMSTED: And if we can have 65 ter 2957 on the screen,
9 page 27. If we could have page 27. And if we could zoom in on the
10 right-hand side and -- into entry 2293. I'm sorry, the left-hand side.
11 I don't know my left from my right.
12 Q. And if we look at entry 2293, can you confirm that this is the
13 entry for this case?
14 A. Yes, that's the note about this case.
15 MR. OLMSTED: And just for the record, this is the Banja Luka
16 Basic Prosecutor's Office KTN log-book.
17 Q. Now, if we look in column 2, which is the date that the report
18 would be received, we see a checkmark; but if we look two entries above,
19 we see the date 11 September 1992. Is that when you received the report?
20 A. Yes. Yes.
21 Q. And if we can look at column 17 for this entry, we see the date
22 30 August 1999. Can you tell us what happened at that date?
23 A. On that day, the entire case file was submitted by the public
24 prosecutor's office to the district prosecutor's office in Banja Luka
25 because actual jurisdiction had changed between the courts and
1 automatically also between the prosecutors' offices.
2 MR. OLMSTED: Your Honours, may this exhibit be tendered into
4 JUDGE HALL: Admitted and marked.
5 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P1574, Your Honours.
6 MR. OLMSTED:
7 Q. Let's return to P1567, page 2. Now, prior to receiving this
8 report, had you received any documentation in this case?
9 A. No.
10 Q. What about an on-site investigation report?
11 A. No. No.
12 Q. Prior to receiving this criminal report, had you seen or heard
13 anything in the media regarding this crime?
14 A. I did not have any knowledge whatsoever, apart from the
15 information that was very terse that I received from my boss,
16 Mr. Nebojsa Pantic.
17 Q. If we could look at the last page of this report.
18 MR. OLMSTED: Which is -- if we could turn the page. No, we had
19 it; now it went away. There we go. And the English as well. Turn
20 another page. Turn to the last page of this particular document. I
21 think it's -- there we are. Page 3 of this document.
22 Q. We see at the end of this criminal report there is a list of
23 attachments, and the first attachment is a set of official notes of
24 interviews. The second is a list of names of some of the victims. The
25 third is personal documents of some of the victims, and the fourth is a
1 special report from the command of the 22nd Light Infantry Brigade, dated
2 21 August 1992.
3 I want to talk first about the first set of attachments, the
4 official notes of interviews.
5 MR. OLMSTED: If we could turn to the next page in both the B/C/S
6 and the English.
7 Q. Do you recall receiving the official notes along with the
8 criminal report?
9 A. A certain number of those notes did come in with the criminal
10 report, ten or maybe more. Those were statements gathered in the course
11 of preliminary interviews.
12 Q. What about the official notes of interviews with Cedo Milovanovic
13 and Radoslav Brkic, the two reserve police officers from
14 SJB Skender Vakuf? Do you recall receiving those with the criminal
16 A. I'm not sure whether those official notes of interviews were
17 attached. I allow that they might have been, the possibility that they
18 might have been attached.
19 Q. Let's look at page 12 of the B/C/S, page 14 of the English. And
20 this is a list of persons from the Prijedor-Travnik convoy from
21 21 August 1992, assumed to have been killed. Do you recall seeing this
22 list of victims back in 1992?
23 A. Yes. I think it was attached to the criminal report.
24 Q. Were you ever informed by the police that the bodies of women and
25 children were also found at the crime scene?
1 A. The police did not inform me, nor did any other organs.
2 MR. OLMSTED: Let's turn to page 14 of the B/C/S, page 16 of the
3 English. And this is a report from the command of the
4 22nd Light Infantry Brigade, dated 21 August 1992. And I note for the
5 record that there's a typographical error in the English version. In the
6 header it should read "Confidential Number 13/1," not "43/4."
7 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, is this the military report that accompanied the
8 criminal report?
9 A. As far as I can recall, it was attached. This document was
10 attached to the criminal report too.
11 Q. It states that the Prijedor and Sanski Most police were escorting
12 the convoy and that police members participated in the liquidation. Does
13 this report make it clear to you that the civilian police were the
14 perpetrators of this crime?
15 MR. KRGOVIC: Your Honour, objection. It's calling for
17 JUDGE HALL: I would have thought the objection would have been,
18 "Does it matter?" We have the document. The witness may have his views,
19 but the document speaks for itself. What -- he may have an
20 interpretation which others may not share, but it's a document that -- on
21 which you're concentrating, I would have thought.
22 MR. OLMSTED: I'll move on.
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Olmsted, I don't know whether this is of any
24 importance, but because you were mentioning it, the number on the English
25 version seems to me 43/4, the same as on the B/C/S version. What's your
1 basis to say that this is an error?
2 MR. OLMSTED: The basis is that when we looked at the attachments
3 to the criminal report, it actually references a document with the number
4 13/1, and these -- on the B/C/S version of this document in front of us,
5 those 1s -- those 4s -- well, it could either be a 1 or a 4, and so I was
6 just noting that I think that that might be the error. But perhaps
7 you're right. Perhaps you're right. Perhaps they are 4s and in the
8 criminal report it's wrong.
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: They are certainly 4s because there are 1s in
10 line in "1997." The year, for instance, you see what the 1 is, and it's
11 definitely 43/4.
12 MR. OLMSTED: Then the typographical error is in the criminal
13 report itself then. I stand corrected on that.
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. Thank you.
15 MR. ZECEVIC: Well, Mr. Olmsted, it might be some other document
16 as well.
17 MR. OLMSTED:
18 Q. Now, finally, the criminal report referenced personal documents
19 of the victims. Do you recall what kinds of personal documents were
20 recovered from the victims that you were able to see?
21 A. I recall that a certain number of personal documents belonging to
22 the victims had come in, and they happened to be stored in the premises
23 of the basic court because there were no storage facilities in the basic
24 public prosecutor's office where the documents and items belonging to
25 those persons could be stored. Those were items of clothing, ID cards,
1 partially destroyed medical insurance cards, some family photographs, and
2 so on.
3 MR. OLMSTED: Let's turn to page 15 of the B/C/S, page 17 of the
5 Q. And this is a letter from the Banja Luka Basic Prosecutor's
6 Office to the basic court dated 14 September 1992. Can you tell us, did
7 you write this letter to Investigative Judge Jevto Jankovic?
8 A. Yes, I did.
9 Q. You submit this question pursuant to Article 156 of the Law on
10 Criminal Procedure. Can you tell us, just very briefly, what is the
11 purpose of that particular article?
12 A. The essence of this article -- or, rather, of what I did pursuant
13 to this article is my assessment as a prosecutor that this is an
14 investigative action that must be taken without delay. In practice, this
15 meant that those were persons who had been victims of a crime. They were
16 also members of another ethnic community. And in order to protect the
17 victims, in order to ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted
18 criminally in the future, that they should be -- that the victims should
19 be heard by the investigative judge. And also, those persons, because
20 they were from the municipality of Prijedor, could, in their statements
21 to the investigative judge, provide information about the perpetrators of
22 the crime.
23 Q. So to be clear, you're not requesting for a -- a criminal
24 investigation to be opened by the investigative judge here; this is a
25 pre-investigation measure?
1 A. That's correct. We cannot open an investigation because the
2 perpetrators were unknown, unidentified, as I've already indicated.
3 Q. Now, in your letter you recommend that the investigative judge
4 question eight persons who were interviewed by the police. Were these
5 eight persons the survivors of the crime?
6 A. My intention under Article 156 was precisely to ensure that those
7 people, victims, the injured parties in the event, could be heard or
8 questioned as part of this investigative action.
9 MR. OLMSTED: Let's look at page 16 of the B/C/S, page 19 of the
11 Q. What we're looking at now is a letter from the Banja Luka Basic
12 Court, and in particular Judge Jevto Jankovic, to the Banja Luka Basic
13 Prosecutor's Office, and it's dated 24 September 1992.
14 Do you recall receiving this letter?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, attached to this letter and included in this case file in
17 the pages that follow this letter are five records of interviews of
18 survivors of the Koricanske Stijene killings, and they're dated either
19 the 16th or 17th of September.
20 MR. OLMSTED: If we could just turn to the next page in both
21 documents, both English and the B/C/S, so we can see an example of one of
23 Q. They all indicate that you attended the interviews. Do you
24 recall attending these interviews?
25 A. Well, I did attend most of them. I can't remember specifically
1 attending all of them. I may have been present at the beginning and then
2 I was called away because I had other tasks, ongoing trials and other
3 work of a deputy public prosecutor. So in some cases I would be there
4 just to begin. I would be there at the beginning of the interview, and
5 then I was called away. Or in some other cases I may have attended the
6 whole interview.
7 Q. Do you recall where the interviews took place?
8 A. The interviews took place in the office of the investigative
9 judge, Mr. Jevto Jankovic.
10 Q. And can you tell us, how did the victims or the survivors appear
11 during these interviews?
12 A. Well, the victims looked exhausted, really very fatigued. They
13 also looked scared. And they looked ill, to put it mildly, exhausted.
14 It was obvious that they needed medical care and other things.
15 Q. Other than the five survivors that you interviewed with
16 Judge Jankovic, did you conduct -- you or the judge conduct any other
17 interviews of either survivors or any other witnesses?
18 A. I did not have a basis under the law to actually interrogate
19 anyone in this stage, the pre-indictment stage in the proceedings when
20 the prosecutor does not play an active role under the legislation in
21 force at the time. And the prosecutor's role at this stage in the
22 proceedings where there will be criminal proceedings down the road is
23 minimal or, in fact, nonexistent. So I could ask questions in the office
24 of the investigative judge, Jevto Jankovic, only subject to his approval,
25 and I could attend the investigative actions when invited by him, just to
1 give you an example.
2 Q. Now -- now, based on these interviews by the investigative judge,
3 were you able to open a criminal investigation?
4 A. I was unable to do so for the reasons that I've already mentioned
5 because the perpetrators of the crime had not been identified.
6 Q. Let's take a look at page 29 of the B/C/S, page 30 of the
8 This is a letter dated 30 September 1992 from the basic public
9 prosecutor's office to CSB Banja Luka. Do you recall sending this letter
10 to the police?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And we looked at a similar letter with regard to the case
13 involving the killings outside of Manjaca camp. Was the purpose of this
14 letter the same?
15 A. In principle, yes.
16 Q. Did you ever receive information from the police in response to
17 your letter?
18 A. No, never.
19 MR. OLMSTED: Let's look at page 46 of the B/C/S, page 58 of the
20 English. And this is a letter from CSB Banja Luka to the district public
21 prosecutor's office dated 11 November 1999. And if we could just leave
22 where we are in the B/C/S version but turn the page in the English.
23 Well, we don't have the English on the screen yet. But as soon as we do.
24 We need page 58 in English. Yes, this is the right document. Now, if we
25 can turn to the second page in the English.
1 Q. We can see in this letter that the CSB reports that:
2 "... by checking the protocol books, we have determined that the
3 request of the Banja Luka Public Prosecutor's Office number KTN-2293/92
4 of 30 September 1992 has been received by the centre, but action was not
5 taken in accordance with it nor was any report on collecting the
6 necessary information submitted to the Banja Luka Public Prosecutor's
8 So is that consistent with your recollection?
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. OLMSTED: Let's bring up on the screen P618.
11 Q. This is a memorandum from SJB Prijedor chief Simo Drljaca to the
12 chief of the CSB Banja Luka, dated 13 October 1992, and in this document
13 Chief Drljaca states that he provided the CSB chief with a list of police
14 officers who escorted the Trnopolje convoy in document number 11-12-16,
15 dated 22 September 1992, which is eight days before you returned the case
16 file to CSB Banja Luka. He also provides the names of two police
17 officers who provided traffic security, Vladimir Sobot and Bosko Grabez,
18 who we also saw gave statements with regard to the Manjaca camp killings
19 on 6 August 1992.
20 Were you provided with any of this information?
21 A. I did not see this document. I did not receive it at all.
22 Q. But the information contained within it regarding the persons
23 that Chief Drljaca had identified, did you receive that information?
24 A. I did not receive that information either. So the prosecution
25 simply did not have any information relating to the persons listed here
1 in this memo.
2 MR. OLMSTED: Your Honours, this would be a good time, I think,
3 for the break, if I move on to another issue.
4 JUDGE HALL: Yes. Yes.
5 [The witness stands down]
6 --- Recess taken at 10.26 a.m.
7 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
8 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, just for the record, Mr. Cvijetic
9 joined us at the very beginning of the first session.
10 JUDGE HALL: Thank you.
11 [The witness takes the stand]
12 MR. OLMSTED: And if we may have P1567 back on the screen. And
13 if we can turn to page 38 of the B/C/S, page 45 of the English.
14 Q. What we have before us is the official note of an interview of
15 crime technician Radovan Sukalo, dated 4 October 1999.
16 MR. OLMSTED: And if we could turn to the next page in the
17 English only.
18 Q. I want to draw your attention to the point in his statement where
19 he states:
20 "As far as I can remember, an investigating judge did not
21 join us ..."
22 And he's talking about when the team -- the crime technician team
23 came to the crime scene at Koricanske Stijene.
24 Mr. Kovacevic, was it real procedure to conduct crime scene
25 forensic work outside the presence of an investigative judge?
1 A. Under the Law on Criminal Procedure in effect at the time, the
2 legal possibility existed that an investigating judge who had been
3 informed about the existence of elements of a certain crime and that he
4 should come out to the crime scene, the possibility existed that he do
5 not go there himself but instead to transfer, to assign his powers to
6 police workers.
7 Q. Do you know if that's what happened in this case?
8 A. As far as I know, that's not what happened in this case. From
9 what I know, the investigating judge did not issue an authorisation that
10 certain persons should take steps regarding an on-site investigation.
11 Perhaps he gave that authorisation verbally, but I'm not aware of any
12 written order.
13 Q. Can you explain to us why it was standard practice for an
14 investigative judge to be present during on-site forensic work at the
15 crime scene?
16 A. Under our legislation, the investigating judge is an institution
17 within the legal system, within the judicial system, that is in charge of
18 leading an investigation or conducting an investigation, together with
19 internal affairs organs or other organs, and taking steps that are
20 necessary to shed light on a crime due to the urgency of the matter, the
21 urgency of gathering information, securing the crime scene, et cetera.
22 And therefore, the investigating judge had the powers to conduct
23 investigative actions with a view to providing evidence for future
25 Q. So if I understand your answer correctly, at least one of the
1 reasons why an investigative judge is present at the crime scene is to
2 make sure that the evidence obtained is secured and handled properly.
3 A. Yes. If I may clarify. The presence of the investigating judge
4 is important, precisely because of the fact that he provides for and
5 orders the seizure of documents and persons and the taking of statements
6 on the scene, and such statements have the weight of evidence per se, and
7 all these elements made it incumbent upon the investigating judge to be
8 present at the on-site investigation and to provide a protocol, the
9 minutes, the records of that investigation.
10 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have an objection
11 to this entire line of questioning. The Prosecutor misleads the witness.
12 He presents -- he puts certain things before him and then leads him to
13 certain answers. He can instead show documents about an investigation on
14 site, the presence of the investigating judge and what he did, but
15 instead he puts before him a document showing that the investigating
16 judge wasn't there and then asks him why it is important for the
17 investigating judge -- wasn't there -- or why his role is important.
18 This is a waste of time, in my opinion.
19 JUDGE HARHOFF: And in addition, if I may add that I do not
20 think, Mr. Olmsted, that you need to explain to this Court why the
21 presence of an investigative judge is necessary on the crime scene. So I
22 think you should move on.
23 MR. OLMSTED: Thank you, Your Honour. But in response to the
24 objection, I was not asking the witness whether this statement was true
25 or not; I was just asking him with regard to the procedure.
1 But as I understand, the Trial Chamber understand the procedure.
2 I'm just going to move to one other point on this document.
3 Q. A little bit further down, Sukalo states that video footage and
4 photographs were taken at the scene. Were you aware of this in 1992?
5 A. I heard, informally, that certain investigating actions had taken
6 place on the scene. Whether that was filming or photographing, I cannot
7 be sure. I cannot be sure that I heard it at the time.
8 MR. OLMSTED: Let's play --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't say that I knew about it.
10 I didn't know about it.
11 MR. OLMSTED: Let's play P1563. This is a video that has been
12 played already, and I want to queue it to 55 minutes and 48 seconds.
13 [Video-clip played]
14 MR. OLMSTED:
15 Q. First of all, can you identify that this is the area of
16 Koricanske Stijene? I'm sorry. I will repeat my question.
17 Mr. Kovacevic, can you confirm that -- can you identify this area as
18 Koricanske Stijene?
19 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise to my friend. Maybe -- maybe the
20 proper way would be ask first of all to ask him whether this witness was
21 ever at the location and then to -- to identify it. Thank you.
22 MR. OLMSTED: I can ask that. Yes. First of all, just pause it
23 for now.
24 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, can you tell us, did you ever go to the crime
25 scene at Koricanske Stijene?
1 A. I've never been there.
2 Q. Can you, as you look at this video, can you identify whether this
3 area that's being depicted is Koricanske Stijene?
4 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Olmsted, no go. The witness hasn't been
5 there. Move on.
6 MR. OLMSTED:
7 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, do you know whatever happened to the bodies the
8 police recovered at Koricanske Stijene?
9 A. I don't know what happened to the bodies. I heard informally
10 that attempts had been made to recover the bodies. How, on what
11 occasion, I don't know. It's what I heard, informally.
12 Q. Now, today we've looked at two case files that you worked on in
13 1992 in which a number of non-Serbs were victims. In both cases you
14 submitted a request to the police to identify the perpetrators, and you
15 did not receive responses. How would you describe the police's lack of
16 responsiveness to your efforts to shed light on these and other such
18 A. The question sounds simple, but the answer requires a small
19 introduction, with your leave.
20 The general situation in the territory of Bosnian Krajina was
21 wartime, de facto wartime. A huge number of refugees from municipalities
22 affected by the war, territories that later came to constitute the
23 federation, general poverty, lack of the basic necessities, no
24 electricity, large numbers of reservists passing through the town on
25 their way to the front line and back, reserve policemen also, frequent
1 shootings. The general backdrop was such that in hindsight it's
2 difficult to give a straight, simple answer to your question. Could you
3 repeat that specific question?
4 Q. Yes. How would you describe the lack of responsiveness to your
5 request for additional information to identify the perpetrators from the
6 police? What did you feel you were confronted with?
7 A. Well, in certain situations with some people, you were faced with
8 a wall of silence from the police for various objective or subjective,
9 real or personal circumstances that I was not able to go into at the time
10 or to justify.
11 Some part of this wall of silence could be perhaps understandable
12 because of the fact that a large number of people who could be potential
13 perpetrators of such crimes from other municipalities did not fall
14 until -- under our jurisdiction, which was locality based, territory
15 based. We had jurisdiction over Banja Luka, Prijedor, Prnjavor,
16 Gradiska; so that with this constant turnover of policemen, soldiers,
17 civilians, the influx of refugees who had or didn't have a wartime
18 assignment and the lack of ability to register all these people, all this
19 led to incidents where you couldn't determine where these people had come
20 from, from Banja Luka town or from Banja Luka municipality or from
21 Prijedor municipality or some other municipality.
22 So I suppose that as far as the identification of certain
23 perpetrators is concerned and all the operative and technical work and in
24 the communication between various authorities, primarily police
25 authorities, there arose the issue of jurisdiction.
1 For example, there were several cases when the jurisdiction of
2 certain prosecutorial offices from Prijedor clashed with jurisdictions in
3 Banja Luka or Gradiska. Once it is discovered that the perpetrators came
4 from a certain territory, for reasons of judicial economy or other
5 reasons, the case would be given to the office in Gradiska or Prnjavor,
6 et cetera.
7 I'm trying to say that precisely from the territory of Prijedor
8 municipality, when cases like these two happened and in some other cases
9 that did not involve crimes of this nature, you sometimes came up against
10 this wall of silence, and the perpetrators remained unidentified.
11 Q. I want to show you --
12 A. I'm sorry, let me just finish. I can't say that this wall of
13 silence was a common occurrence in the CSB Banja Luka. With certain
14 authorities from the CSB Banja Luka we had a good co-operation, good
15 quality work, but with people who came from other municipalities or
16 people about whom we didn't know where they came from, whether they were
17 members of the army or the police, we didn't know whether they were
18 regular soldiers or regular policemen or reserve policemen, it sometimes
19 remained unknown because it was difficult to get access to all this
20 information. And that's why I could understand in certain circumstances
21 why this wall of silence arose, although I couldn't justify it in --
22 in -- from the aspect of -- of criminal investigation work.
23 Q. Let's take a look at 2D72. What we have in front of us is a
24 criminal case against Radomir Boskan, amongst others. Are you familiar
25 with this case?
1 A. Yes, in part.
2 Q. Were you aware that these perpetrators were members of the
3 Banja Luka Special Police Detachment?
4 A. Yes, I was aware. I knew these persons by name. I'm not sure
5 all of them were members of the police, but some of them who were
6 recorded in the crime registers of the prosecutor's office were known to
7 me as such.
8 Q. Radomir Boskan, did he have a criminal record from before the
9 conflict, so before April 1992?
10 A. If I remember well, this man had some sort of criminal record.
11 He had prior convictions.
12 Q. Let's take a look at P588.
13 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't see the
14 purpose of this examination. Maybe the witness can be asked whether he
15 was involved in this case, whether he took any steps. Then maybe this
16 question can continue. However, if he's shown newspaper articles or
17 things that have nothing to do with his actual work, then I don't see
18 what sort of assistance this can offer to the Trial Chamber.
19 MR. OLMSTED: I'm only asking questions that are within the
20 personal knowledge of this witness.
21 JUDGE HARHOFF: To what end?
22 MR. OLMSTED: Well, Your Honours, most of my questions -- or the
23 las few ones were foundational, to establish that he's at least aware of
24 case. I'm not saying that he worked on this case. But I beg leave to
25 ask my -- a few more questions so that you'll see where I'm going with
2 JUDGE HARHOFF: You have done so a couple of times previously
3 this morning, and as I recall, your promises were not fulfilled.
4 Remember I asked you a question this morning about the importance of a
5 document in which apparently by handwriting reference was made, perhaps,
6 to the Koricanske Stijene incidents, and you promised me that that would
7 become clear later on. It still is unclear to me, Mr. Olmsted. And,
8 frankly, I feel that this is another example where we might not fully
9 appreciate the reasons why you wish to pursue this -- this issue. But
10 we'll allow you once again the chance, and we hope that you will keep
11 your promise.
12 MR. OLMSTED: Yes, Your Honour. And I apologise. I thought it
13 was clear through my examination, the point I was seeking to achieve.
14 But perhaps that will be best reserved for argument at the end of the
16 Q. Now, you have in front of you an article.
17 MR. OLMSTED: If we could zoom in on the left-hand side.
18 Q. And then it's -- the article's entitled:
19 "An Unprecedented Case/A State Is Not Built by Violence."
20 And it's dated 24 June 1992.
21 Do you recall what happened to Boskan and other members of the
22 special police detachment after their arrest?
23 A. I assume that they were remanded in custody. I don't know what
24 happened, and I don't know what arrest is referred to here.
25 Q. Were you aware that there was an effort -- a successful effort to
1 break them out of prison or the Tunjice gaol?
2 A. Well, when this was going on, I was not in the public
3 prosecutor's office. I had not yet been appointed the deputy public
4 prosecutor. And I heard that there had been an incident that involved an
5 attack on the prison, but I have next to no knowledge of that.
6 Q. That's fine. I want to return to the two cases that you worked
7 on involving unknown perpetrators, the Manjaca camp killing incident and,
8 secondly, the Koricanske Stijene killing incident.
9 Now, we saw from the documents we looked at that two traffic
10 police officers were interviewed with regard to both of those incidents,
11 and we also saw from the report from the light infantry brigade that
12 there was at least a suspicion that the Prijedor police were involved in
13 that crime, in the crime of Koricanske Stijene.
14 At any time while you were the deputy prosecutor assigned to
15 those cases, did the police come to you and inform you that the
16 perpetrators of these crimes may be the same people?
17 A. The police never notified me of anything of the sort. I did not
18 have any knowledge of that.
19 MR. OLMSTED: No further questions, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE HALL: Thank you.
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Zecevic:
23 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Kovacevic.
24 Mr. Kovacevic, how long did you work in the public prosecutor's
25 office in total?
1 A. Thirteen or fourteen years.
2 Q. And tell me - I would like to clarify a few issues - it is a
3 fact, is it not, that under the law in force in the territory of the
4 former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, and I'm referring
5 first and foremost to the Law on Criminal Procedure, the role of the
6 public prosecutor's office was -- one of its roles was to initiate
7 criminal proceedings by issuing an indictment; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, that's correct.
9 Q. When a criminal report was issued -- or, rather, when an
10 indictment was issued, the prosecutor's office actually qualified the
11 crime that the accused was charged with on the basis of the conclusions
12 and evidence obtained in the course of the investigation; is that
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, for this reason, the initial qualification of a crime in the
16 criminal report was basically just some kind of a guidance for you as the
17 prosecutor; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. In order to make things even more complicated, the Court, when it
20 tries a person, is not bound to apply the same qualification that you
21 applied for the accused; is that correct?
22 A. [No verbal response]
23 Q. Your answer has not been recorded. Could you please state your
25 A. Yes, that is correct too.
1 Q. The court is bound only by the description of facts from the
2 indictment, not the qualification?
3 A. Yes. That would also be correct.
4 Q. And, in essence, it means that you file an indictment to the
5 court for a crime of robbery, and in the course of the trial the court
6 finds that it is, in fact, aggravated robbery and the court then convicts
7 the accused of that crime; is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Very well. Now, tell me, when you make your decision as a
10 prosecutor how to qualify legally the offence in the initial indictment,
11 you definitely have in mind the results of the investigation, in other
12 words, all the information gathered in the course of the investigation,
13 and in line with this information, you opt for the crime that you will
14 charge the accused with in the indictment; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. I assume that in situations when the results of an investigation
17 indicate that the borderline -- that it's a borderline case between two
18 offences, the prosecutor would always charge the more serious crime.
19 That was usual practice; right?
20 A. Yes, that was usual practice.
21 Q. The gravity of a crime is a direct consequence of the gravity of
22 the punishment envisaged by the law. Is that not so?
23 A. Yes, that's correct.
24 Q. So if the law envisages the death penalty for a crime, it's the
25 severest crime under the criminal law system in the former Yugoslavia,
1 then it would be one of the most severest crimes; right?
2 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Page 38, line 1,
3 "severest punishment," not "severest crime."
4 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] I can see that the interpreters
5 have made a correction, but I really did say that it would be the most
6 severe crimes.
7 Q. So let me get to the essence. If the crime of murder, first
8 degree murder, involving a number of victims, low intents, and so on, for
9 those -- for this type of crime, a death penalty was envisaged under the
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. So for you as a prosecutor, the decision whether to qualify a
13 crime as first degree murder, which carried a penalty of death, or some
14 other crime, for instance, war crime, which also carried the penalty of
15 death, was -- it was all the same for the Prosecution in terms of the
16 gravity of the crime?
17 A. Well, for the basic public prosecutor's office in Banja Luka, we
18 did not have any other crimes in practice which carried the death penalty
19 apart from these ones. These were the only ones.
20 Q. But at any rate, war crimes were in the jurisdiction of military
21 prosecutors' offices?
22 A. Yes. Under the law adopted -- that was adopted from the former
23 state, the Law on Military Courts and the Law on Criminal Procedure, I
24 think that all war crimes and crimes against civilians were in the
25 jurisdiction of military courts.
1 Q. Tell me, sir, while you were a prosecutor before the events in
2 the 1990s, before the conflict broke out, did you attend any seminars
3 for -- organised for prosecutors? Did you follow law practice, case law,
4 and so on?
5 A. Yes, I did, as a rule. I did not attend all of the training
6 seminars, but quite a few of them I did.
7 Q. You will agree with me that in pre-war Yugoslavia there was no
8 case law for war crimes existed, and this topic had not been dealt with
9 at any of the seminars organised for prosecutors?
10 A. No. It was never discussed. That chapter in the Criminal Code
11 that covered those crimes was not discussed.
12 Q. My learned friend Mr. Olmsted asked you some questions, and now I
13 would like to hear your opinion -- or, rather, what you as a prosecutor
15 In the course of 1992, did the public prosecutor's office
16 discriminate in any way in terms of dealing with criminal cases against
17 anyone in terms of victims or perpetrators?
18 A. The public prosecutor's office never did that.
19 Q. When we're talking about this, I'm referring to the cases where a
20 Serb committed a crime against non-Serbs as victims or injured parties.
21 So was there any --
22 A. There was never any discrimination. No distinction was ever made
23 in the work of the public prosecutor's office in relation to the victims
24 or perpetrators, regardless of their ethnic background, religion, or any
25 other kind of affiliation.
1 Q. If I understand you correctly, in the basic public prosecutor's
2 office in Banja Luka, in addition to yourself and your superior, the
3 prosecutor, you talked about him, there were other employees, and some of
4 these people came from other ethnic communities, non-Serbs, in other
6 A. Yes, that's correct.
7 Q. And that was in 1992?
8 A. In 1992 and even afterwards.
9 Q. We briefly touched upon the situation regarding the Military
10 Prosecutor's Office. Do you know when the military court or the Military
11 Prosecutor's Office in the 1st Krajina Corps in Banja Luka was actually
13 A. I think it happened sometime in early September 1992.
14 Q. I would now like to show you a document. It's P1328. That's at
15 tab 71. This is a reminder sent by Momcilo Mandic, a justice minister,
16 from 1992. You remember that Momcilo Mandic was the justice minister in
18 A. Yes, yes, I do remember that.
19 Q. And this document is dated the 5th of August, 1992, and this
20 letter is a supplement to another letter that was sent in July 1992 to
21 the Presidency of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to the
22 president, in fact, Dr. Radovan Karadzic, where the Justice Ministry
23 again puts the initiative that until appropriate military judicial organs
24 are set up, the appropriate civilian judicial organs should take over the
25 jurisdiction of military judicial organs. Are you familiar with this
2 A. Yes, I heard about this initiative in that time period, September
3 or October. I heard about this initiative. I knew that it existed. But
4 since at that time I had not yet been appointed deputy public prosecutor,
5 it was in August, in fact. And then when I started my work, I heard that
6 this initiative had been launched by the Justice Ministry.
7 Q. Very well then.
8 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Now I would like the witness to
9 look at P1318, item 23. So P1318, item 23.
10 Q. It's a report on the work of the Ministry of Justice and
11 Administration for the period May to October 1992, and the date is the
12 16th of November, 1992. I don't know whether you've had an opportunity
13 to look at this report.
14 A. Well, I learnt about this report sometime in 1993, so I hadn't
15 seen it before. It was at a time when the report on the activities of
16 the basic public prosecutor's office was being drafted for 1992, and then
17 I heard that there was a report of this kind.
18 Q. So could we then look at page 2, the last paragraph.
19 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] I assume that it's also the same
20 page in the English version. I apologise. It appears that I made a
21 mistake. The English version should be page 3.
22 Sir, you can see the last paragraph here. Yes. So in the
23 English version that's the last paragraph.
24 I think you can probably scroll down a little bit. Thank you
25 very much. It begins with the words "Judicial organs."
1 Q. And so the Justice Ministry says in its report:
2 "The judicial organs do not perform their functions with equal
3 efficiency and usefulness. The Supreme Court and the republican public
4 prosecutor's office have not begun to work yet, since the relevant
5 personnel has not been elected or appointed as yet, and the premises for
6 these organs have not been secured."
7 Sir, it runs over to the next page in Serbian language.
8 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] The English text is fine as it is.
9 Now could we please look at page 3 in the Serbian text for the benefit of
10 the witness.
11 Q. So, here, you can see it.
12 A. Yes, yes. I see it now.
13 Q. So is it your recollection that at that time, for the best part
14 of 1992, because this is dated November 1992, that the republican public
15 prosecutor's office had not yet been set up?
16 A. Yes, I recall in part. Not all of it, but some parts, yes.
17 Q. So the Supreme Court and the republican public prosecutor's
18 office, the two highest judicial organs, have not begun to function by
19 the 16th of November, 1992?
20 A. Yes, that's correct.
21 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please look at
22 page 3 -- or, rather, page 4 in -- both in Serbian and in English. Next
23 page, in fact. We have to go to page 5 in the English language. I'm
25 Q. The first sentence on this page, it says:
1 "Failure to set up military judicial bodies promptly."
2 You see that?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. "The failure to set up the military judicial organs promptly
5 makes it difficult for the rule of law to function properly, since in the
6 current conditions it is mostly military courts and military prosecutor's
7 offices that have jurisdiction over crimes because general mobilisation
8 has been declared."
9 And then it goes on to say - well, I am not going to read
10 on - that the military judiciary is not up and running yet as it should,
11 that this they do not have appropriate personnel, and that crimes from
12 military jurisdiction are on the rise. And the initiative that we saw in
13 August is relaunched here for the civilian courts to temporarily assume
14 the jurisdiction of the military courts.
15 Do you recall that the situation was like this, in fact?
16 A. Well, I had some information about this initiative, that this
17 initiative actually existed, but I did not have any other information.
18 Q. It is a fact, however, that this initiative was rejected by the
19 military and that you never took over any of the tasks from the purview
20 of the military judiciary or military courts, not even temporarily?
21 A. Yes, that's correct.
22 Q. Do you recall that the military prosecutor of the Military
23 Prosecutor's Office, at the command of the 1st Krajina Corps in
24 Banja Luka, was captain Spasoje Pisarevic.
25 A. Yes, I do remember that.
1 Q. Did you know Mr. Pisarevic?
2 A. Yes, I met him on one occasion.
3 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Now I would like the witness to
4 look at 1D00-0841.
5 Q. This is a letter sent by Mr. Pisarevic. The date is the
6 19th of September, 1992. And it was signed by him as military
7 prosecutor. It is actually a report on crime trends and the work of the
8 Military Prosecutor's Office. And then he says -- he's listing problems
9 he's encountered in his work. The Military Prosecutor's Office was
10 established pursuant to a decision of the 31st of May, 1992, but now by
11 mid-September it does not have enough personnel to ensure proper
12 functioning and conduct of proceedings. Do you see that?
13 A. Yes.
14 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Could I have the next page, please.
15 Q. You see on the second page it says:
16 "Military prosecutor.
17 "In view of the number of cases in the territory covered by this
18 prosecutorial office, daily occurrences of various actions against the
19 law that are subject to prosecution, I suggest that the
20 Military Prosecutor's Office should expand to include at least six
22 A. Yes, that's right.
23 Q. Do you know if they had any staffing problems?
24 A. I know they did. I know that we did, and the Military
25 Prosecutor's Office also had the same problems with personnel. And,
1 once, we even discussed it, Prosecutor Pisarevic and I, from the basic
2 public prosecutor's office.
3 Q. And then we see a review of crime trends. He quotes the number
4 of criminal files inherited from before. He says that they referred
5 1573 cases to the jurisdiction of other prosecutor's offices. And then
6 he says:
7 "The remaining 3.327 cases, of which 820 criminal reports were
8 not even recorded, are currently being dealt with."
9 That means that out of 3.000-something criminal reports received,
10 820 were not even entered in their registers.
11 A. Yes, that's what it means.
12 Q. Look at page 3, briefly. The stamp and the signature of
13 Mr. Pisarevic. Military Prosecutor, Captain Spasoje Pisarevic.
14 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] If there is no objection, I would
15 like to tender this document.
16 JUDGE HALL: Admitted and marked.
17 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 1D367, Your Honours.
18 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Considering we discussed jurisdiction, I'll show you 1D00-3301.
20 It's a document from the Military Prosecutor's Office attached to the
21 Main Staff of the VRS, which is the counterpart of the highest civilian
22 prosecutor, which is the Republic Prosecutor's Office. It's a document
23 from 1992. It's called:
24 "Guidelines for Identifying Criteria for Criminal Prosecution."
25 The key issue for us in these guidelines - and it's on page 12 in
1 e-court - the Supreme Military Prosecutor's Office --
2 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Page 12.
4 Military Prosecutor's Office attached to the Main Staff, and I said it
5 was the equivalent of -- or the counterpart of the Republic Prosecutor's
6 Office on the civilian level, but your answer wasn't recorded. Could you
7 repeat it?
8 A. Yes, I agree.
9 Q. Let me show you page 12 of this document --
10 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Zecevic, when you reach a convenient point, we
11 would take the break.
12 MR. ZECEVIC: Well, because of the technical problem we are
13 obviously experiencing, it would be a convenient point, Your Honours.
14 [The witness stands down]
15 --- Recess taken at 12.07 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 12.31 p.m.
17 JUDGE HALL: While the witness is being escorted back to the
18 stand, I note for the record that we sit for this final session today
19 under Rule 15 bis, Judge Delvoie being absent.
20 [The witness takes the stand]
21 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Let us continue, Mr. Kovacevic. This document is "Guidelines for
23 Identifying Criteria for Criminal Prosecution," issued by the Military
24 Prosecutor's Office of the Main Staff of the armed forces in 1992.
25 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Page 23 in Serbian and page 7 in
1 English, please.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't see it.
3 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. It will come up in a moment.
5 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Page 23 in Serbian and page 7 in
7 Q. Let's wait for the English. There it is.
8 You see, here in these guidelines the Military Prosecutor's
9 Office at the Main Staff of the army is issuing guidelines for crimes
10 against humanity and international law pursuant to chapter 16 of the
11 Criminal Code, and these guidelines are issued to subordinate military
12 prosecutors' offices.
13 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Can we move to page 25, and the
14 English page is still 7.
15 Q. So the Supreme Military Prosecutor's Office explains and guides
16 the subordinate military prosecutors' offices on how they should work.
17 It says:
18 "The Criminal Code applicable on the territory of
19 Republika Srpska defines 16 criminal offences, including genocide,
20 Article 141; war crimes against the civilian population, Article 142; the
21 wounded and the sick, prisoners of war," et cetera.
22 Can you see that?
23 A. Yes.
24 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Can we see page 33. That's page 9
25 in English.
1 Q. The Military Prosecutor's Office, in this part of the document,
2 prescribes specific steps that military security organs and the military
3 police must take to investigate and prosecute these crimes. And look at
4 paragraph 4:
5 "The organs of the military police and security and the military
6 judicial authorities will grant priority to these crimes in their work so
7 that the Main Staff and the other competent institutions should be
8 informed as soon as possible so that they take steps in their own
10 Can you see this?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. This indubitably confirms what we just discussed, that these
13 crimes from chapter 16, crimes against humanity and international law,
14 fell within the exclusive purview of military judicial authorities. Is
15 that the case?
16 A. Judging by this, yes.
17 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] If there is no objection, I tender
18 this document now.
19 MR. OLMSTED: Well, I'm not sure if this is maybe a bar table
20 motion. I mean, this witness is not a member of the
21 Military Prosecutor's Office, wasn't back in 1992. It's doubtful that he
22 ever saw these guidelines. And do I not -- we do not agree with the
23 Defence's representation that that's what this document says, that all
24 war crimes are within the jurisdiction of the Military
25 Prosecutor's Office. It doesn't say that. Or at least he hasn't pointed
1 to any provision in it that does say that. But mainly this is not the
2 witness to admit a document from the Military Prosecutor's Offices or the
3 military court.
4 JUDGE HARHOFF: Could we consider it becoming a part of the law
6 MR. OLMSTED: I think it would be a very extended interpretation
7 of a law library because this is not a law. I'm not sure what other
8 things we have in the law library.
9 JUDGE HARHOFF: The law library, as I understand it, is supposed
10 to include all legislative or normative instruments that have been
11 adopted by the authorities, and this would seem to fall under that
12 category, wouldn't it?
13 MR. OLMSTED: Well, it's not normative. It's guidelines. At
14 least the way I interpret guidelines are they're there to guide someone,
15 but they're not necessarily the law itself or a regulation itself.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Zecevic, it seems that the -- this is not the
18 witness through whom this should be exhibited. For the sake of
19 simplicity, we will mark it for identification. The point that -- the
20 exchange that Judge Harhoff just had with Mr. Olmsted, perhaps we can
21 revisit the matter of the law library, because your experience would --
22 when I say your experience, I mean the common experience of the Bench and
23 yourselves would have been that there are a number of matters of this
24 similar nature which arguably could have been a part of the law library
25 but have been treated differently.
1 So at this point we just mark this for identification.
2 MR. ZECEVIC: I understand and appreciate, Your Honour.
3 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 1D368 marked for identification,
4 Your Honours.
5 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, during the break I found that
6 there -- there appears to be a problem with the -- with the e-court. A
7 part of the document which is 1D04-2318 has not been uploaded in the
8 e-court, and we don't have the translation to it.
9 Now, this -- this part, these three pages I'm referring to are
10 especially relevant for this case because they refer to the -- to the
11 incidents which are listed in our indictment. So what I propose to do is
12 that I show this to the -- to the witness, that we read so that it can be
13 translated, and then after that I -- I will upload the -- we will upload
14 the document in the e-court. If that is -- we can put it on the ELMO
15 and -- and the witness can read from it.
16 JUDGE HALL: Yes, I --
17 MR. ZECEVIC: I mean --
18 JUDGE HALL: Yes.
19 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm really sorry for this situation, but for some
20 reason I guess these things happen.
21 JUDGE HALL: Yes.
22 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. This is a document which is, in fact, a monthly report from the
24 military organs at the command of the 1st and 2nd Krajina Corps.
25 MR. OLMSTED: Just for clarification, while he's setting that up,
1 I can access this through e-court. At least I've pulled it up. I'm not
2 sure if it's the document you're referring to, but --
3 MR. ZECEVIC: But the ERN is 0206-7965.
4 MR. OLMSTED: 02067940.
5 MR. ZECEVIC: 65.
6 MR. OLMSTED: Oh, it's -- so -- I see. I understand now.
7 MR. ZECEVIC: So if we can -- if we can see the whole page first,
8 please. We need the whole page. And the actual headline, please.
9 Q. [Interpretation] I don't know if you're able to read it.
10 "A review of cases under action taken due to offences against
11 humanity and international law."
12 A. It's difficult to read, yes.
13 Q. Can you see this highlighted passage?
14 MR. ZECEVIC: [Previous translation continues] ... highlighted in
15 yellow. If it can be brought up.
16 Q. [Interpretation] I think you can see it better now. It says:
17 "Since the beginning of 1993 to date, for the crime -- for the
18 war crime against civilian population pursuant to Article 142 from the
19 Criminal Code originally of the SFRY, proceedings have been instituted
21 "1. Goran Amidzic, 2nd lieutenant in the VRS, Prosecutorial
22 case VTK 375/93."
23 Isn't that a military prosecution's number?
24 A. Yes. They had this acronym VTK, V standing for "vojno,"
25 "military." Our number was TK.
1 Q. And then it says:
2 "The request to start an investigation was filed on 8 March 1993
3 on the basis of a well-grounded suspicion that on the 1st of June, 1992,
4 in Velagici village, municipality of Kljuc, they detained a group of
5 about 80 civilians of Muslim ethnicity in the school building and that
6 around 2130 hours there occurred a conflict caused by the detained
7 civilians after which, in the ensuing commotion, the suspects opened fire
8 from the weapons they had in their possession and killed all the persons
9 who emerged from the school building. Investigation is ongoing."
10 Have you heard about these killings in Velagici, in the school
12 A. I heard of an incident like that. I don't know exactly where
13 that place is.
14 Q. Kljuc municipality.
15 A. Yes, Kljuc, Sanski Most, somewhere there. I heard that an
16 incident of those proportions had happened.
17 MR. ZECEVIC: Can we see the next page, please.
18 Q. [Interpretation] This is page 2 of the same document.
19 MR. ZECEVIC: If we can highlight the part which -- the
20 highlighted part, please.
21 Q. [Interpretation] Other crimes are listed on this page, and para 3
23 "Proceedings are instituted also against Zeljko Despot,
24 Brace Maric, Drasko Lakic, Dragan Lakic, all of them soldiers of the VRS,
25 Prosecution's file VTK 858/93, on the reasonable suspicion that in the
1 night between the 7 and 8 August 1992, in Donje Sjenica village,
2 Botonjici hamlet, they killed 12 civilians of Muslim ethnicity in the
3 following way: In that night, they separated the women and children and
4 transferred them across the River Sanica into Crnalici village, whereas
5 12 other persons were separated, killed, and then incinerated to hide the
6 traces of the crime."
7 And then it says:
8 "The case has not been taken into action. No criminal
9 proceedings have been instituted."
10 I suppose this means that the initial document has not been
12 A. Yes. I suppose it's the request to submit an investigation, to
13 start proceedings.
14 Q. It is a fact, isn't it, that this case is registered as
15 VTK 858/93, which indicates that the criminal complaint had been
16 received, and the prosecutor's office is beginning to work on this case.
17 A. Yes, this is the prosecutor's number for that file.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. ZECEVIC: Can we see the last page, please.
20 Q. [Interpretation] You see, on the last page, you see the signature
21 of the military prosecutor, Captain Srboljub Jovicinac?
22 A. Yes, I know.
23 Q. You know he was a military prosecutor?
24 A. Yes, I know.
25 Q. Do you know where?
1 A. I believe he succeeded Mr. Pisarevic.
2 Q. That means that he was with the prosecutor's -- Military
3 Prosecutor's Office at the command of the 1st Krajina Corps after
4 Mr. Pisarevic left.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, I'm -- now I'm not sure what to do
8 with this. Shall we -- shall we reserve the number perhaps, and after
9 I -- after I upload it in e-court that we get this number? Otherwise --
10 or just keep it on the record like -- like it was, and then after we
11 upload it, we will show it to another witness?
12 JUDGE HALL: I'm pretty sure we've been faced with this problem
13 before. Can you remind me as to how we've dealt with it?
14 MR. ZECEVIC: Well, I don't -- I don't think, Your Honours, that
15 we had a similar problem like this one before. That is -- that is the
16 reason why I'm so confused what to do else.
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE HALL: Perhaps the simpler course so that we don't lose it
19 in the system is to MFI it.
20 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, I was just notified -- I was just
21 notified by my assistant that it's -- that this document is getting
22 uploaded as 1D04-2869. It's going to be uploaded in e-court in any
23 minute now. So if we can have the number then, please.
24 JUDGE HALL: Yes.
25 THE REGISTRAR: This will be Exhibit 1D369, marked for
1 identification, Your Honours.
2 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. I should like to show you one more document. This is the
4 Military Prosecutor's Office at the command of the Sarajevo-Romanija
6 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] 1D04-2403, tab 4.
7 This is a report on crime incidents for 1992 and crime trends
8 made in 1993, February 1993. I'd like page 4 in Serbian.
9 Q. And I would only like you to give me one comment.
10 MR. OLMSTED: Could we have an English version of this document?
11 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm pretty sure that all the documents which we
12 have are translated and uploaded, the English version as well.
13 1D04-2403; that's the document.
14 MR. OLMSTED: We cannot find a translation up in e-court.
15 MR. ZECEVIC: Well, I'm sorry. Then we will upload the
17 Just a short comment by the witness, and I will read.
18 Q. [Interpretation] In paragraph 3, sub-heading:
19 "Crimes Falling Under International Law of Warfare."
20 It reads:
21 "For this group of crimes in the reporting period, 21 criminal
22 complaints have been filed against 43 persons, including 42 civilians and
23 1 officer."
24 It's a fact, isn't it, that military prosecutor's offices had
25 jurisdiction over these crimes rather than civilian --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: They had
2 jurisdiction concerning these crimes even when a civilian was involved.
3 A. Yes. It follows from this document that they were qualified and
4 had jurisdiction to act.
5 Q. For the record, I said military prosecutor's offices, in the case
6 of crimes like this, had jurisdiction even when perpetrators were not
7 military personnel but civilians.
8 A. Yes. Yes.
9 Q. It says so in the document, because the indictment is against
10 42 civilians and 1 officer.
11 A. Yes, yes.
12 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, I'm informed that the CLSS
13 translation is pending for this document. I don't know if there is an
14 objection for admittance of this document.
15 MR. OLMSTED: We'd object to admit it through this witness. For
16 one thing, we don't even know what this document is, but putting that
17 aside, I presume it's a military document again, and this witness cannot
18 really add to our understanding of this document. In addition, from what
19 I've heard been read out, it is not even contradictory to the position
20 the Prosecution is taking with regard to this very issue. It just simply
21 is just reporting on a couple particular cases.
22 JUDGE HALL: But in any event, inasmuch as our practice is when a
23 document has not yet been translated to only mark it for identification,
24 we would do that and Mr. Olmsted, when he would have had an opportunity
25 to digest the document in its entirety, might find he has no objection.
1 THE REGISTRAR: This will be Exhibit 1D370, Your Honours, marked
2 for identification.
3 MR. ZECEVIC: Very well.
4 Q. [Interpretation] Sir, I have a few documents that you should be
5 familiar with.
6 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
7 1D00-2237, please.
8 Q. This is a record of the on-site investigation made by the basic
9 court in Banja Luka, and the number is KRI 546/92. It concerns a killing
10 of a child, Suljo Culum, unfortunately. That was committed on the night
11 between the 9th and the 10th of September, 1992, in the village of
13 So this is a record of an on-site investigation signed by
14 Investigating Judge Jevto Jankovic. Do you maybe recall this case, the
15 murder of Suljo Culum?
16 A. No, I really don't.
17 Q. I can see that Nebojsa Pantic, the public prosecutor, was present
18 there. Not you but somebody else was present from the public
19 prosecutor's office?
20 A. Yes. He was present there.
21 Q. I assume that then he was in charge of this case if he was
22 present at the on-site investigation?
23 A. That doesn't necessarily follow. The usual practice was for the
24 prosecutor to cover as many cases as possible of on-site investigations.
25 And then the case file would be forwarded to one of the deputies who then
1 processed it, because the deputies did other work, too, and did not have
2 either the time or the ability to actually attend the on-site
3 investigations. And this is why the boss, the public prosecutor,
4 actually did that job upon receiving notice from the investigating judge.
5 Q. Thank you very much. Well, since you're not familiar with this
6 case, we're for the going to pursue it.
7 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
8 2D00-2091, please.
9 Q. At any rate, this document that we've just discussed, the one
10 that's still on the screen, it is clear that this minor, Suljo Culum, is
11 a member of the Muslim ethnic community?
12 A. Yes, based on his first and last name, it's quite apparent.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] So could we please look at
16 Q. This is a criminal report filed to the basic public prosecutor's
17 office by the Banja Luka Public Security Station. The date is the
18 15th of September, 1992. It is the crime of causing danger, public
19 danger, under Article 172, and the injured party is Kadro Vehabovic from
20 Tehija Street, number 42, in Banja Luka.
21 We could conclude on the basis of his name, Kadro Vehabovic, that
22 this is a Muslim?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Do you maybe know something about this case? A barn and haystack
25 were set on fire, and the damage was quite bad.
1 A. Yes. I seem to remember it, but somewhat unclearly. I remember
2 it because the -- it -- the damage was quite severe.
3 Q. Well, perhaps if we show you the page 2 of this record of the
4 on-site investigation, then perhaps ...
5 The on-site investigation was carried out on the
6 9th of September, 1992, but as far as I can see, authorised officials of
7 the Banja Luka Security Services Centre visited the scene, so the
8 investigating judge and the public prosecutor were not present on site,
9 and they conducted the on-site investigation pursuant to an authorisation
10 given to them by the investigating judge; is that correct?
11 A. Probably. Well, they were supposed to get the authorisation, and
12 I assume that they did.
13 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please look at
14 page 4.
15 Q. So this is the 9th of September, 1992, the record of the on-site
16 investigation. You can see that it's signed by the authorised official
17 from the public security station in Banja Luka -- or, rather, the CSB,
18 the security services centre, because I can see it was -- the criminal
19 report was signed by Stojan Zupljanin, the chief. And this is all
20 about -- and, actually, the signature of the authorised official shows us
21 that this is Zijad Hadziselimovic.
22 Do you know this man, an official from the security services
24 A. I don't know his name, but I do know that he worked in the
25 police. I didn't work with him.
1 Q. Mr. Hadziselimovic is a Muslim?
2 A. Well, based on his name, I can conclude that t.
3 Q. And in September 1992, he worked in the Banja Luka Security
4 Services Centre; is that correct?
5 A. Well, apparently.
6 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Very well. Unless there are any
7 objections, I would like to tender this document.
8 MR. OLMSTED: Your Honours, for what purpose and on what basis?
9 This witness said at most he has a vague recollection of the case and has
10 really not added anything to what the document states.
11 MR. ZECEVIC: Well, I don't know. I can give my explanation, but
12 if that is okay with the -- with my friend from the Prosecutor that I do
13 that in front of the witness, but --
14 JUDGE HALL: And I suppose the nexus that you find Mr. Zecevic is
15 that this was signed by Zupljanin.
16 MR. ZECEVIC: Well, among other things, yes, Your Honours, and
17 maybe there is -- there is some misunderstanding from my part of the case
18 of the Prosecutor.
19 MR. OLMSTED: No, there's -- well, I can't say that definitively
20 that there's no understanding -- complete understanding of your case, but
21 my objection is that this is not the witness to admit this kind of
22 document through, since he knows nothing about the -- about the case and
23 has never seen this document before. And are we going to go through this
24 exercise where we're going to show him a bunch of criminal reports he
25 knows nothing about and then admit them into evidence?
1 MR. ZECEVIC: But, Your Honours, with all due respect, you don't
2 expect the prosecutor to remember, after 18 years, each and every case.
3 I'm showing him -- I'm showing him a criminal complaint which was
4 obviously received in the Office of the Prosecutor where this witness was
5 working. He vaguely remembers this -- this incident, and I --
6 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Zecevic, it appears to me that the document is
7 ex facie relevant, and for the sake of simplicity, I think it should be
8 admitted and marked.
9 MR. ZECEVIC: Thank you very much, Your Honours.
10 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 1D371, Your Honours.
11 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Now I would like to show you another case, 1D00-1951. Again,
13 it's a criminal report submitted to the basic public prosecutor's office
14 in Banja Luka, signed by the centre chief, Mr. Zupljanin, although,
15 interestingly, I don't see this noted on the translation. But we can all
16 see that there is -- there are the words "Centre Chief Stojan Zupljanin"
17 on the original.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Again, this is a criminal report filed to your public
20 prosecutor's office, the one where you worked.
21 Oh, I do apologise. I can see that at page 2 there is an
22 indication that there is a signature on the original.
23 So this is a criminal report. The crime is causing a public
24 danger. And the injured party is Husref Smajlagic From Banja Luka. Are
25 you familiar with this case?
1 A. I'm not familiar with this case, but I do know the name. I think
2 that this was a man who served as the secretary in the basic court.
3 Q. In the record - and I'll show you page 2, that's
4 1st of September, 1992, Husein Smajlagic is a Muslim; right?
5 A. Yes, based on his name.
6 Q. And you can see here the on-site investigation report,
7 paragraph 2, Husein Smajlagic, judge of this court?
8 A. Yes, he was a judge.
9 Q. So you remember that he was a judge?
10 A. Yes, yes, I remember that he -- I remember him and this document.
11 It was of some interest because in his previous term he was a secretary
12 and -- the secretary and then he was appointed a judge. I know that
13 there was some debate, but at any rate he was an officer of the court and
14 yet this happened to him.
15 Q. Yes. And this was signed by Investigating Judge
16 Djordje Stojakovic. Do you remember that judge?
17 A. Yes, of course.
18 Q. The event occurred on the 24th of June, 1992. There is a photo
19 file attached. And probably the criminal report was filed in September
20 after the forensic investigation had been carried out.
21 A. I assume that that that was the case.
22 Q. So you know the injured party in this case; he was a judge of the
23 basic court in Banja Luka; the criminal report was filed in
24 September 1992; the incident occurred in June 1992; and you do not recall
25 the case, do you?
1 A. No, I don't. I know stories about the incident because he was a
2 judge. Well, a long time has passed, but I know that we discussed it.
3 Q. You did not act in this case as a public prosecutor, but you know
4 that this case existed?
5 A. Yeah. I know in -- in my capacity as the resident of the area.
6 Q. Yes. And at any rate he was a colleague of yours?
7 A. Yes, that's correct.
8 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] I would like to tender this
9 document also.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note: The speakers are kindly
11 asked not to overlap.
12 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Zecevic, in anticipation of the objection that
13 Mr. Olmsted is likely to make, how many more of these documents do you
14 intend to tender to illustrate your point, because I assume that that is
15 your purpose. They're illustrative of what was going on in terms of --
16 of cases of this nature.
17 MR. ZECEVIC: This is correct, Your Honour, and I have two more
18 cases, two more examples of this.
19 JUDGE HALL: Admitted and marked.
20 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 1D372, Your Honours.
21 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Now I would like the witness to
22 look at 1D00-1939.
23 Q. It's a criminal report, again signed by centre chief
24 Mr. Stojan Zupljanin. The date is the 1st of September, 1992. It's a
25 crime, causing public danger, committed against Emir Nezirevic from
1 Banja Luka, and we his address. Based on his name, I would say that
2 Emir Nezirevic is a Muslim; right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. I've decided to use this case as a typical case because here fire
5 was set to a van, a Volkswagen van, but the fire was set when the
6 perpetrator fired a rifle-launched grenade on the vehicle, which caused
7 the fire. Are you familiar with this case? Do you remember it at all?
8 A. Well, I can't be certain. I'm -- I don't know.
9 Q. Do you know what a rifle-launched grenade is?
10 A. Yes, absolutely. I know what it is.
11 Q. It's a highly destructive explosive device, is it not?
12 A. Yes, it's highly destructive.
13 Q. Well, it does illustrate -- its illustrative. This incident
14 happened on the 26 of August, 1992, and it shows us what the security
15 situation was like in the area of Banja Luka; right?
16 A. Yes, I agree. I actually did speak about that myself in my
18 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Now I would like us to mark this
19 document for identification unless there are any objections.
20 JUDGE HALL: So marked.
21 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 1D373, marked for identification,
22 Your Honours.
23 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] And finally, 1D00-1929. 1929.
24 Q. And you can see this is a criminal report, again, signed by the
25 chief of the security services centre, Stojan Zupljanin. The date is the
1 31st of August, 1992. It was submitted to the public prosecutor's office
2 where you yourself worked. Again, it's the crime of causing public
3 danger, and the injured party is Rifat Secic. Again, it's a Muslim, is
4 he not?
5 A. Yes. Based on his name, I can conclude that.
6 Q. And this describes an event in the night between the 15th and the
7 16th of June, 1992, when fire was set to his weekend house, to the
8 weekend house owned by Rifat Secic. Is it true?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. We see the on-site investigation report, the Official Note. Do
11 you perhaps remember this case?
12 A. No, I really don't.
13 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] I like to have this document marked
14 for identification, please.
15 JUDGE HALL: Yes. So marked.
16 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 1D374, marked for identification,
17 Your Honours.
18 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Now I would like the witness to
19 look at 1D23 -- that's MFI. This is the criminal case file 1D203 MFI.
20 This is a report on the arrest -- arrest and remand in custody.
21 The date is the 17th of April, 1992. It is signed by the centre chief,
22 Stojan Zupljanin. And I will show you page 2, which is the criminal
23 report. You can see that a criminal report was filed against
24 Damir Halilovic. The crime is murder. Damir Halilovic is a Muslim, is
25 he not?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And the criminal report is filed because there are grounds to
3 suspect that he committed murder under Article 36, paragraph (1), of the
4 Criminal Code, and the description of the crime is that on the afternoon
5 of 15 April 1992, he killed, in the Bujrum restaurant, Enis Krkic. He
6 shot him. And based on Enis Krkic's name, we can also conclude that he's
7 a Muslim?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Are you familiar with this case?
10 A. No, I'm not.
11 Q. Let me show you another document from September 1992. You might
12 be familiar with the case.
13 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] It's 1D01-0024.
14 Q. Do you know Vinko Djurdjic, a judge of the court in Banja Luka?
15 A. Yes, know him his name -- I know him by name only.
16 Q. He's a judge who dealt with criminal cases?
17 A. Yes. From 1992 onwards.
18 Q. It is a report on the forensic analysis of firearms and bullet
19 casings in connection with the murders of Adnan Kobasic, Zahid Mahic; so
20 both would be Muslims. And police officers Zivko Vrhovac,
21 Miodrag Kovacevic, and Miloje Maljkovic, carried out on the 23rd and the
22 24th of September, 1992, in Banja Luka. Since, in addition to two
23 Muslims, we have three police officers who were victims, I assume that
24 you can recall this event.
25 A. Yes, I do recall this incident. I don't know whether I dealt
1 with it, but I -- I do remember that case.
2 Q. It was quite striking.
3 A. Yes.
4 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
5 page 4 of this document.
6 Q. Were there proceedings before court regarding this crime?
7 A. Well, I can't recall. I assume that proceedings were conducted,
8 because it was an interesting case.
9 Q. You can see here that the forensic analysis, the ballistic
10 analysis, was carried out by Vilko Maric.
11 A. Yes, I do remember him. He was our expert. And he went on being
12 an expert.
13 Q. And senior inspector Srdjan Oljaca in the security services
14 centre in Banja Luka, do you know him?
15 A. Yes.
16 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] If there are no objections, I would
17 like to tender this document.
18 JUDGE HALL: Admitted and marked.
19 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 1D375, Your Honours.
20 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Just to illustrate the point, I would like to show you document
23 You see the cover letter from the public security station in
24 Banja Luka, signed by Zoran Josic, department chief. And he is hereby
25 submitting to the public prosecutor's office the record of a verbal -- of
1 the receipt of a verbal criminal report submitted by Ejub Pasalic against
2 unknown perpetrators for causing public danger.
3 A. Yes, I can see that.
4 Q. You are familiar with this kind of form? I'm sure that you
5 received many such records of verbal criminal reports.
6 A. Yes, I'm familiar with this kind of form, and it is true that we
7 did receive quite a few of those reports.
8 Q. And the injured party here is a member of the Muslim ethnicity,
9 Ejub Pasalic.
10 A. Yes, that's correct.
11 Q. In light of the situation that you described for us and the
12 incidents that occurred such as this one which we said was quite
13 illustrative, where a car was hit by a rifle-launched grenade, there were
14 quite a few or there -- there was a substantial number of criminal
15 reports where perpetrators were unidentified. Is it not the case?
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. Based on your experience as a prosecutor, even in peacetime, in a
18 normal situation, if we may call it that, a certain percentage, a high
19 percentage, at least initially, of criminal reports are filed against
20 unidentified perpetrators?
21 A. Yes, that's correct.
22 Q. And then after a while, the perpetrators of crime are identified
23 and then the case became -- becomes active again when this person is
25 A. Yes. The report is filed that the perpetrator of a crime has
1 been identified, and then, if necessary, this person is arrested and
2 remanded in custody.
3 Q. Of course, there are situations where the police is able to
4 identify the perpetrator but the perpetrator is not in the territory
5 covered by the municipality or the location where the crime was committed
6 but might be temporarily working abroad or something like that. There
7 were such cases; right?
8 A. Yes, of course.
9 Q. And in cases like that, nothing is done until the person is
10 arrested, and at times it can take several years for this person to be
11 arrested and extradited to the country where he committed the crime?
12 A. Yes. Yes. I'm familiar with this practice. I know of cases
13 such as this.
14 Q. So it is a characteristic feature of the prosecutor's work and
15 police work that initially there is a large number of crimes for which
16 perpetrators are unknown?
17 A. Yes, that is correct.
18 Q. And when you have a situation such as this one, the one you've
19 just described for us in the territory of Banja Luka, with a huge influx
20 of refugees, constant passage of military columns, the reservists, and
21 general chaos, then one should not wonder at the fact that the number of
22 cases with unidentified perpetrators should be on the rise?
23 A. Yes, absolutely.
24 Q. Very well.
25 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Now, unless there are any
1 objections, I would like to tender this document into evidence.
2 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Zecevic, I thought that you only wanted to
3 show this document for illustration. It's it forwarding letter, and I
4 fail to see the relevance, quite frankly.
5 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, we had, previously, a witness who was
6 commenting on the KU registers, if you remember, and we were talking
7 about the oral -- the possibility of filing oral criminal complaints.
8 Just for the purposes of establishing that from the -- from the
9 characteristic document, I wanted to introduce this document. There is
10 no other purpose for that.
11 MR. OLMSTED: Your Honours, that's been established through the
12 other witness that there were oral reports, and he -- the evidence was
13 that this would have been filed as a criminal report with the Office of
14 the Prosecutor because it involves a serious crime. And I think this
15 witness hasn't really gone beyond that in explaining this particular
16 document any further.
17 JUDGE HALL: I don't see how it advances the matter any,
18 Mr. Zecevic.
19 MR. ZECEVIC: I understand, Your Honours.
20 [Interpretation] I would like the witness to look at 1D199 MFI.
21 Q. I would like to ask you if you are familiar with this case.
22 That's a criminal -- or, rather, it's the decision to remand seven
23 persons in custody, all ethnic Serbs, signed by centre chief
24 Stojan Zupljanin. The date is the 3rd of July, 1992. It's a group that
25 committed 37 crimes, robberies, murder, racketeering, causing public
1 danger, and so on; and among other crimes, they also set explosives that
2 destroyed business premises and killed Mustafa Smajlagic from Banja Luka.
3 Mustafa Smajlagic is a Muslim; right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And perhaps I can show page 2 to you so that we can see the names
6 of these persons. It's Dragan Jovorac, aka Java; Mladen Josic;
7 Goran Banjac; Jelenko Sjenica; Dragan Milasinovic. They were prosecuted,
8 right, for these crimes, 37 of them, in the area of Banja Luka? A large
9 number of crimes; right?
10 A. Yes. Yes. They were known, as perpetrators. Most of these
11 people were known criminals.
12 Q. And from this decision we see that in keeping with the law, and
13 the person who has signed this is Stojan Zupljanin, they were remanded in
14 custody for up to 72 hours.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. The date is the 3rd of July, and this document submitted to you,
17 the basic prosecutor's office, bears the date 6th of July. That's all
18 done within the first 72 hours exactly in conformity with the law.
19 A. Yes, that is the prescribed time-frame.
20 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Since the witness recognised this
21 group and knows that this procedure took place, I suggest that we give
22 this document a proper number, that it be taken off the MFI list.
23 JUDGE HALL: Admitted and marked. Well, de-MFI'd.
24 MR. ZECEVIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
25 [Interpretation] 1D206 MFI is the next document I would need.
1 Q. I don't know if you are aware of this incident dated 18 June.
2 It's a report on arrest and hand-over, signed by Stojan Zupljanin. The
3 accused is Dragoslav Kuzmic, and the charge is aiding and abetting the
4 crime of murder. And the victim is Mustafa Smajlagic from Banja Luka,
5 and it all happened in Banja Luka.
6 Smajlagic, Mustafa; that's a Muslim name?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And the perpetrator, Dragoslav Kuzmic, sounds like a Serb.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. I see from the minutes that the deputy of the public prosecutor
11 was there, Mrs. Marjanac?
12 A. Yes, I remember she was there.
13 Q. But you don't remember this incident?
14 A. No, I don't.
15 Q. One more document.
16 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] 1D01-0123, please.
17 Q. Do you see this? This cover page is the cover of the file, isn't
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. In practice, every case had its own case file, both in the
21 prosecutor's office and the police?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And, finally, in the court?
24 A. Exactly.
25 Q. You see, this is the case file, Milan Stankovic, Article 36. The
1 injured party is Ante Jurkic; I suppose that's a Croat?
2 A. Judging by the name and surname, yes.
3 Q. Date: 18 May 1992.
4 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we see page 2, please.
5 Q. This is typical and indicative because it's one of the rare files
6 that are complete, and in practice, always, on the inside of the cover
7 page, a list was made of all the documents contained in the file. And
8 then it goes number by number -- your answer was not recorded.
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. And as new documents were added, they were added to the list,
11 given a number, the title of the document was written in, and it was
12 placed in the file. That was general practice in the police, in the
13 prosecutor's offices, and in courts?
14 A. Yes, it was prescribed common practice.
15 Q. Is this the same criminal report filed by the CSB where
16 Stojan Zupljanin was chief? Are you familiar with this murder of
17 Ante Jurkovic? Do you know about Milan Stankovic?
18 A. No. I've never heard of that man.
19 Q. Just one more question, sir. You worked in the prosecutor's
20 office until what time in 1992?
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Until what time?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Until the end of 1989.
23 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. And then if I understood correctly, you started working in some
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And in 1992, you returned to the prosecutor's office.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Since you were involved in business, you're probably aware of how
5 the economic situation evolved from 1989 until the outbreak of the
6 conflict in 1992? Many enterprises went into ground?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What I mean is that they went bankrupt. They were unable to
9 operate any more.
10 A. Yes. And one business that I had with a colleague faced the same
11 fate. We had no money to operate any more, and we started bankruptcy
13 Q. The --
14 A. There was no market developed enough to enable us to continue
15 working as we had worked before. We were just condemned to bankruptcy.
16 Q. And that's why you returned to the prosecutor's office. You were
17 out of work, no money to live on.
18 A. Yes. That's one of the reasons why I returned to the
19 prosecutor's office, to support my family.
20 Q. But it's a fact, is isn't it, that this situation was general and
21 widespread, and there is almost no person who was untouched by it? There
22 was general joblessness, businesses closing down, et cetera?
23 A. Exactly right.
24 Q. Thank you. I have no more questions for you.
25 JUDGE HALL: Thank you.
1 And we have conveniently come to the end of today's sitting.
2 Mr. Krgovic, I assume that you will begin your cross-examination
3 when we resume on Monday.
4 Mr. Kovacevic, we are about to rise for the day, and we will
5 resume on Monday morning. I remind you of what I told you yesterday,
6 that you cannot discuss your testimony with anyone outside the court nor
7 have communication with counsel until you're released as a witness.
8 So we take the adjournment. I wish everyone a safe weekend.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.44 p.m.,
10 to be reconvened on Monday, the 6th day
11 of September, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.