Tuesday, 10 December 2002
[The accused entered court]
--- Upon commencing at 2.24 p.m.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good afternoon to everybody. Please be seated. May we hear the case, please.
THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon. Case number IT-97-24-T, the Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And the appearances, please, for the Prosecution.
MR. KOUMJIAN: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Nicholas Koumjian, assisted by Ruth Karper for the Office of the Prosecutor.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And for the Defence, please.
MR. OSTOJIC: Good afternoon, Your Honours. John Ostojic, along with Danilo Cirkovic on behalf of Dr. Milomir Stakic.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good afternoon as well. And any procedural matters to be discussed before we hear the witness first.
MR. OSTOJIC: There is one from the Defence, Your Honour.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please.
MR. OSTOJIC: It relates to an issue that occurred yesterday in the closed session, so I would just seek some guidance if before I address it, because it relates to that issue, we should go into closed or private session.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Closed session, please. And if there is a 9536 person in the gallery who wants to attend the hearing and is allowed due to his capacity, he or she may enter the courtroom. Put it this way. So please, closed session.
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JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask in the meantime to the representative of the registry, did this witness have the possibility to review the documents?
THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. He had access to the tapes in B/C/S of the whole hearing -- yesterday's hearing this morning.
[The witness entered court]
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good afternoon, Witness DD.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I have to recall that you are still under the same obligations as yesterday, your solemn declaration. You had following my remarks at the end of the hearing of yesterday the opportunity to review your statement. Is there anything you want to correct or to add, then please do so right now. 9543
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Firstly, I would like to thank Your Honours for having enabled me to review the tape of yesterday's session, in which I stated clearly that I would speak the truth and nothing but the truth. But you also told me that I am entitled to correct some things or add some things to what I said previously.
I listened to the entire audiotape, and I must admit that in two or three places - although, I don't have any changes to make - I would like to add something to the things that I previously stated.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please do so.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First of all, as regards the Prosecutor's question whether the army was the Yugoslav People's Army or the Army of Republika Srpska up to the 30th of May, 1992, I am still convinced that it was the Yugoslav People's Army and that sometime in mid-June or in the later part of June the name was changed into the Army of Republika Srpska. If I'm not right in thinking that, please don't hold that against me.
My second addition again regards one of the Prosecutor's questions -- the Defence counsel's questions.
THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter corrects herself.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And this refers to the period between the 30th of May, 1992, and 21st or the 22nd day of July of that same year. The question was about the circumstances and life of all the people in the area during that period of time and particularly of those belonging to Croat or Muslim ethnic groups.
As far as I can remember, what I said was the following: There 9544 were no major problems. All that what I meant was: There was no ethnic cleansing, houses were not burnt, they were not destroyed, and property wasn't seized or destroyed. And when I say that, I have in mind the lives of Muslims and Croats. However, I wish to add something to this. Already at that time Muslim and Croats started being taken away, or better say, they started being brought in for interviews and interrogations and already people started being taken away to the already-mentioned facilities called Keraterm and Omarska.
Also, there were sporadic, rather than organised, cases of violence targeted at Croats and Muslims during the relevant period of time, that is, summer 1992.
My third addition regards a question put to me by the Prosecutor in connection with the 22nd of July, 1992. I said that it was only the military that participated in the incident involving people from the so-called Brdo. However, the police also participated in that incident. Although, the police participated in the capacity -- how shall I put it? They were just making a presence there.
All the additions that I've just made, I kindly ask the Honourable Court not to deem as perjury but, rather, to consider them mere corrections of my statement given yesterday.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. This was the intention of giving you the possibility to correct or to add in part portions of your testimony you gave us yesterday. Thank you for this additional work. May I now ask the Office of the Prosecutor to proceed with the cross-examination. 9545
MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you, Your Honour. I believe I can begin in open session. I will have to change later. I would also remind the witness that if his answer, he would prefer it to be in closed session -- in private session, we can switch to private session. And I will -- I'm going to read back -- remind the witness a little bit of his testimony. There's one phrase I'll take out in order to protect the witness's identity. I think counsel and the Court can read along. I don't think that will prejudice. But we can begin if Your Honour agrees in open session.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's stay in open session.
MR. KOUMJIAN: In open session. Okay.
WITNESS: WITNESS DD [Resumed]
[Witness answered through interpretation] Cross-examined by Mr. Koumjian: [Continued]
Q. Sir, I want to go back to your testimony of yesterday for just a moment and remind you of a few things that you were asked in your answers.
MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I have the official transcript, which I -- I have both the -- I've now marked the official transcript, but I also have the LiveNote. I don't know which versions Your Honours and Defence counsel have. But on the official transcript, page 9.514, beginning at line 1.
Q. Sir, you were asked: "Can you tell the Court your knowledge of crimes committed by Serbian police against Muslim and Croat civilians and detained persons in Prijedor in 1992. What crimes are you aware of by the police?" 9546 You answered: "As far as I know, there were no particular crimes by the Prijedor police at that particular time, because the police was under control. At that time they were just going about their regular daily duties, which means they were upholding public law and order for all citizens equally."
On page 9.516, line 10, you were asked: "Sir, are you aware of crimes committed by the army -- whether you call it the JNA or VRS -- in Prijedor in 1992?"
Before I read your answer, Mr. Witness, I'd just like to tell you that I'm not at all concerned with whether you call the army that was in Prijedor the JNA or VRS. I just want to make sure we're talking about the same army commanded by Colonel Arsic and Pero Colic for the Kozarac Brigade. Is that correct? We're talking about those forces.
A. Yes, absolutely correct.
Q. When you were asked about crimes committed by the army, you answered on line 12: "I don't know what exactly you're calling crimes. All the incidents that occurred happened for a reason." "Okay."
The question you were then asked: "I'm talking about, specifically -- thank you -- killings of civilians and detained persons. Are you aware of killings of civilians and detained persons committed by the army in the Prijedor municipality in 1992?"
You answered: "As far as the Prijedor municipality is concerned or my place of residence, Ljubija, there were at least as I know, no such cases." 9547 However, sir, on the next page, page 9.517, beginning at line 2, you were asked the following question. And I'm just going to take out a couple of words in your interest to protect your identity. "And sir, you are aware, aren't, you as a resident of Prijedor and a person familiar with the events of Prijedor that happened in 1992 that those persons from Brdo were tortured and many killed in Omarska and that more than 100 of them were killed in Keraterm a few days later in the room 3 massacre." And you answered: "I heard about this later, about what happened in room 3. But personally, I did not witness any of this." I asked you: "Who committed the room 3 massacre?" And you answered: "I can't possibly answer that because I don't know. Probably members of the army or renegade groups who had remised from their command."
Question: "Sir, if a group of people comes into the camp that has police officers in it, those police would know who was in the camp? That was their duty. Isn't that correct?"
And you answered: "That's correct." So, sir, you indicated in answering questions about crimes committed by the army your answer was: "I don't know exactly what you're calming crimes. All the incidents that is occurred happened for a reason."
Did you consider the massacre of the detainees in room 3 in Keraterm a crime?
A. Yes, I believe that this was a crime, but I was not very precise in giving my answer yesterday, because every murder, every torture, every 9548 massacre is a crime. So I apologise. However, in my statement I said that I don't know who committed the room 3 massacre, and later on I learnt that it was army members and that the police could not prevent them from committing the crime, that is, the guards in the camp couldn't do that, because there were a lot more military than the police, and I can't give you the exact numbers, exact figures. And most certainly, they were more heavily armed.
Q. So, sir, when you answered my initial question about crimes committed by the army in Prijedor in 1992, you knew that the army had massacred the detainees in room 3 Keraterm, correct?
A. I already said that I learnt about that later on. At the time of the crime, I didn't know about it. I didn't hear anything about it, because I suppose that on and around those days -- that day it was kept a secret.
Q. You knew about it when you answered my questions yesterday, correct?
A. I said yesterday I had a bit of a stage fright and I already made several corrections today, and I said that I would today correct everything that I believe I didn't answer correctly yesterday, which doesn't mean that I did not want to tell the truth yesterday.
Q. Okay. Sir, I'm going to move on to another area. You were asked -- it was on page 24 of the LiveNote, and I believe on the official transcript --
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. If I may interrupt. Unfortunately, we have before us the LiveNote. When you take -- 9549
MR. KOUMJIAN: Sure.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The LiveNote, it would be --
MR. KOUMJIAN: Okay.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I don't know --
MR. KOUMJIAN: I moved my stickies so --
MR. OSTOJIC: The LiveNote, Your Honour.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. If we can agree for the future to work on the basis of LiveNote, that would --
MR. KOUMJIAN: That would be great. I spent some frantic moments changing my yellow stickies to the official transcript. On the LiveNote, I don't know whether it was page -- the version I got last night, page 24 beginning at line 18. I think I have that somewhere.
Q. Sir, you were asked several questions, in fact, you were asked, I believe, this question three times, beginning on page 24, line 18 and then page 24, line 23, and then page 25, line 14.
MR. KOUMJIAN: And if Your Honour would like, I'd read the exact questions and answers.
Q. But they are all questions about whether you heard Dr. Stakic make any speeches discriminatory against non-Serbs. Do you recall being asked those questions?
A. Yes, I remember those questions. Can you please specify the period that you have in mind.
Q. Okay. Perhaps then I should read the exact questions and answers. Beginning on line 18, page 24, you were asked: "Prior to April 9550 1992 -- excuse me, line 18: "Prior to April 1992, did you hear Dr. Milomir Stakic give a speech or an interview which would be deemed discriminatory against any ethnic group?"
Answer: "No, I didn't and later on I learnt that Dr. Stakic was not engaged in any propaganda in any type of the media." Question: "And let me clarify just so that the question comes out proper. So prior to April 1992, you're not aware or didn't hear of any propaganda that would be attributed to Dr. Stakic which can be deemed in some manner as being discriminatory. Subsequent or after April of 1992 through the period of the spring and summer of 1992, did you personally, sir, hear or were you ever told that Dr. Stakic at any time issued any speeches or statements which would in any manner even remotely be considered to be discriminatory against any ethnic group within the Prijedor municipality?"
You answered: "Personally, I didn't hear anything. And in subsequent conversations with the -- with people in my village, I did not hear anything that would tie Dr. Stakic with any form of propaganda, that would be discriminatory against the Serbian population or would call for the ethnic cleansing of the non-Serb population or any other form of discrimination."
You were then asked: "Did you hear -- and you likewise didn't hear any discriminatory speeches made by Dr. Stakic, correct? In other words, to the best of my recollection, to the best of you're observations during that time, having lived in the Prijedor municipality" --
THE INTERPRETER: Would the Prosecution please slow down. Thank 9551 you.
Q. I'm sorry. I'll just finish. Continuing with the question: "You did not observe or hear that Dr. Stakic gave or issued any discriminatory remarks against, for example, the Bosniak Muslims or the Croats or any other non-Serbs, correct?" And you answered: "That is absolutely correct."
So my question to you now, sir, is: Having given a very unequivocal answer to all of those questions, is it correct then that you did hear speeches by Dr. Stakic and were aware of interviews that he gave in the media and that in none of these you heard any discriminatory remarks? Is that correct?
A. I will repeat the answer that I gave yesterday. I didn't hear of any interview given by Dr. Stakic on the radio, on TV, in the printed media. Personally I didn't hear and I would like to uphold my statement, and I also said that I knew Dr. Stakic only through the media prior to April of 1992. I said that he was in the position of the vice-president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor and that after the 30th of April, he was appointed the president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor. That is as much as I knew about Dr. Stakic at the time.
Q. Sir, I'm a little confused by your answer, and correct me. I did understand yesterday that you did hear interviews by Dr. Stakic on the radio and in the media but that they were not discriminatory. Is that correct, or are you saying that you never heard him give an interview or make a speech? 9552
A. I believe that I said yesterday that I did not hear of him giving or having given any interviews.
Q. So you don't know if in the interviews Dr. Stakic gave, his interviews promoted crimes against non-Serbs or were discriminatory against the non-Serb population, because you never heard his interviews; is that right?
A. That is correct. I never heard any of his interviews, and needless to say, if such interviews had been given, I didn't know what Dr. Stakic stated in those interviews.
Q. As a resident of Prijedor, did you ever hear Dr. Stakic or other civilian leaders, but particularly Dr. Stakic, ever make any statement condemning crimes against non-Serbs?
A. I didn't hear of any such thing because it was the time of war, and I didn't really have much opportunity to follow the media for various reasons.
Q. Sir, you said that Dr. Stakic was appointed the president of Prijedor Municipality on the 30th of April. Who appointed him president of Prijedor Municipality?
A. Probably those who had taken over power on the previous night.
THE WITNESS: Your Honours, I hope you won't hold it against me that I didn't know much of the political situation and the policies which were in place at the time.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You are addressing the Chamber, and I apologise, vis-a-vis the Prosecution. But in order not to come back to this issue, let me just ask one question. I couldn't understand from your statement 9553 yesterday. It was on page 24, LiveNote line 21. You said that: "Later on I learned that Mr. Stakic was not engaged in any propaganda in any type of the media."
How is it possible that you learned that a person was not engaged in something, and who learned you this?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To be honest, I only learnt this a year or maybe two years ago, when Dr. Stakic was taken to The Hague. I heard that in my conversations with people. I didn't read it in any of the newspapers, or I didn't find it in the media. I just quoted the statements of some people with whom I had had conversations.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. The Prosecution may proceed.
Q. Thank you, sir. And is one of those individuals with which you had conversations about Dr. Stakic, Vinko Kondic?
A. I don't know this gentleman.
Q. Okay. We'll come back to him in a moment. Sir, are you aware of anything that Dr. Stakic or the civilian authorities in Prijedor did to prevent crimes or to punish the perpetrators of crimes that occurred against civilians and detained persons in Prijedor in 1992?
A. Personally, I'm not aware of that. It is my guess, which doesn't necessarily have to be correct, that Dr. Stakic and his colleagues at the time did not have a possibility to put up any resistance to the army.
Q. Sir, I'm going to ask you with the next question -- if you can, please answer it yes or no. Did you hear of the Crisis Staff of the 9554 Prijedor municipality?
A. Yes, I did hear the name.
Q. Was it your understanding that on the 30th of April, the leaders of the civilian government was Dr. Stakic as president and the Crisis Staff appointed by the SDS party?
A. I don't know who appointed him. I only know that on that particular day he was appointed to the position which he continued holding after that time. I must say that I know more or less what the tasks and duties of the Crisis Staff were at the time.
Q. Okay. And let me make it clear that I'm not ever asking you to guess. If you do not know an answer, you can say so.
On the 30th of April, and in the time following that, all through 1992, isn't it correct that there was a civilian government in Prijedor? Martial law was never declared in the Republika Srpska, correct?
A. I am aware of the existence of the civilian authorities. And as for the martial law, I'm afraid I don't know anything. Anything I may say about the martial law may be incorrect.
Q. Sir, you described the events of the 30th of April and how not a single bullet was fired, that power changed overnight. From your description, would it be correct for us to conclude that the operation was a well-coordinated one between the military and the civilian authorities that took power?
A. The mere fact that no bullet was fired, as far as I know, as far as I heard and a lot of Muslims and Croats will also recognise that. I assume that that was a well-coordinated operation. I suppose it was very 9555 important to prevent any bloodshed, that nobody was persecuted or harassed, and this is exactly how things stayed until the critical 22nd May.
Q. What happened to the elected president of the municipality, Muhamed Cehajic?
A. All I know is that Mr. Cehajic was removed from his position as president of the municipal assembly, because until the 30th of April, he remained in that position.
Q. Did you learn that he was taken to the Omarska camp, beaten, taken away, and has disappeared?
A. I learned this much, much later. I learnt that he had been taken there. I can't say whether he had been beaten. I never met him personally, nor have I ever seen him personally. I can't exclude anything, because he was in the Omarska camp.
Q. Sir, yesterday you briefly discussed with us - I don't need to repeat it now in open session - but your living arrangements, who you were living with. Is it typical in Prijedor -- let's particularly go to the year 1992 -- that people, multiple generations, would live in one home? Particularly out of the town, in the villages and in the hamlets, that you'd have parents, children, grandparents, and sometimes even great-grandparents living together in one home?
A. I fully understand the question. Until the war, yes, that was the case. But you even have this today, especially in the peripheral outlying areas of urban centres, and that is my own case even today.
Q. And were the Bosnian Muslims in particular known for large 9556 families? Was there a lot of talk about the high birthrate of the Bosniaks?
A. Yes, mostly. But I think that is a fact.
Q. Okay. Thank you. I want to briefly discuss mobilisation. You said in your testimony - and I could find the LiveNote quote - but basically you said that mobilisations were the responsibility of the army. Sir, are you aware of an office of the civilian government known as the Secretariat for National Defence?
A. Yes, I remember that office. But I think that was also under the control of the army.
Q. Sir, are you aware that the head of the Secretariat for National Defence following the takeover, that the SDS or the authorities that took over installed Slavko Budimir, who was also a member of the Crisis Staff along with Dr. Stakic?
A. Believe me, I don't know this.
Q. Okay. Thank you. I want to move on to Hambarine and what you discussed. First, briefly to discuss with you the incident that you talked about in quite some detail about what happened at the 22nd of May at a checkpoint. Sir, were you present at that checkpoint?
A. No, never.
Q. Did you ever investigate that at -- let me withdraw that question. Can you tell the Court what the source of your information is as to what happened at that checkpoint. All that you told us about yesterday, did you learn that -- isn't it correct you did not -- you were not there. This is information that was relayed publicly on the radio and 9557 in the newspapers, correct?
A. I think this information was only publicly relayed, as you say, on the radio.
Q. And that was Radio Prijedor, correct?
A. I suppose so.
Q. In the reports from Radio Prijedor, did they mention, did they tell you that a Muslim was also wounded at that checkpoint?
A. I can't tell you that because I don't have any clear information. I only know that a lot of stress was laid on the fact that members of the army had been injured or two of them even killed. Two of them were wounded. And the military authorities demanded that the perpetrators behind this incident be -- surrender of their own free will, or perhaps not of their own free will but that they be surrendered to bodies of the military.
Q. Sir, thank you. But I want to stick right new to the incident and not the aftermath. We'll come to that in a moment. You told us that these were members of the army coming from the Manjaca training ground. Isn't it correct that in April of 1992 in Manjaca there were paramilitaries being trained by the army?
A. I can't answer that, because I simply don't know. I know that in -- at Manjaca there was a large military training camp and that at that time a lot of military were stationed there.
Q. Sir, in your experiences living in Prijedor through the war in Croatia and the time leading up to the war in Bosnia, was it common for soldiers, particularly during the time of the war in Croatia, to come back 9558 through Prijedor often drunk, firing their guns in the air? Soldiers on leave.
A. That's possible. But this was not under the military command. Those were exceptional cases, things done of one's own initiative. Although, I do know that for some period of time when people returned from the front line in Western Slavonia no one was allowed to bring weapons across the river Sava.
Q. Sir, you would agree with me that if someone points a loaded firearm at you, you have a right to self-defence or certainly if someone fires a gun at you, you have a right to shoot back at them? You'd agree with that, wouldn't you?
A. Absolutely, I would.
Q. Now, this incident at the checkpoint, are you aware of which judge or which investigative body conducted an investigation? Or isn't it a fact that no investigation was conducted and the army reacted the very next day without interviewing people on the Muslim side of that incident?
A. As far as the investigation is concerned of which court conducted an investigation, I can't say, because I simply don't have the information. As far as the reaction by the military on the following day is concerned, I have personal knowledge of this and I witnessed this.
Q. Yes. Let's go to that. You indicated that there was an ultimatum asking for the surrender of Mr. Aliskovic and those persons responsible. Do you know how many persons fired their guns at that car that resulted in the death of the two Serb soldiers and the wounding of two or perhaps even all four of the remainder -- remaining members of that car, occupants of 9559 that car?
A. I can't say precisely how many people were firing at the soldiers, but I suppose that at the checkpoint there were three or four men, because I passed by that very checkpoint for the last time before the incident. It was about three or four days earlier -- on my way from my father's native village, through Prijedor and then on to Ljubija.
Q. Thank you. Now, you testified that as a result of the anger at the killing of the two Serb soldiers, that there was an ultimatum. And when these perpetrators did not surrender, Hambarine was shelled. Did you see what it was being shelled with? Was it artillery, Howitzers, tanks, mortars, anti-tank weapons, or all of these?
A. Well, first of all, houses were destroyed, as I said yesterday. From about the midpoint in the Prijedor field on to the highest peak in Hambarine, mostly to the left and to the right of the road, as I said yesterday, about 40 -- between 40 and 50 houses.
After several days, I learned that those houses had been shelled by a tank.
Q. Okay. Thank you. And the 40 or 50 houses or what you saw passing by the road, you didn't check every house in Hambarine, let alone the whole Brdo region. You didn't check the five or seven hundred homes you said in Hambarine for damage. But driving by you saw 40 to 50 houses that had been damaged or destroyed in the shelling, correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. Sir, can you tell me, how many elderly people, how many grandparents, great-grandparents, how many women, and how many children do 9560 you think were living in those 40 to 50 houses you saw that were destroyed by the army because of the shooting at the checkpoint?
A. I can't tell you precisely. I did not know how many members were in those families living in those houses, but I did say that the Bosniak people living there, that there was a higher density of the Bosniak population there, which you can see if you go there, especially in the Brdo area, because there is one house next to the other. But that is not necessarily the case with the Serbian and Croat villages.
Q. Sir, the people that were living in those houses, the children, the women, the elderly, even the men that were living in those houses, do you know if they had committed any crime?
A. I suppose they didn't, because the first crime that occurred was the day before that, regardless of who committed that crime.
Q. Now, that attack occurred on the 23rd, which I believe was a Saturday. And on the 24th of May, Kozarac was attacked, correct?
A. Yes, Kozarac was attacked. I don't know so much about that, although I heard later from other people's accounts what had happened.
Q. And you talked about an incident at Jakupovici, you weren't there for that incident. In fact, you don't even know where Jakupovici is, really, do you?
A. I pointed out roughly the location of Jakupovici yesterday. I may have been wrong, but I know that it's in the immediate vicinity of Kozarac, within a perimeter of perhaps 1 kilometre of the petrol station in Kozarac. That's if I'm not mistaken.
Q. I believe that you pointed to a point between Kozarac and Kozarusa 9561 yesterday, correct?
A. I remember the exact spot I pointed out, but I can't say with any great degree of certainty where the place is located. I know that it's on the Prijedor-Banja Luka road and that it's not far from the centre of Kozarac. I actually believe that Jakupovici are a hamlet belonging to Kozarac.
Q. I don't think it's -- I don't think it's necessary to go through it with the witness, but just for the sake of the Court, if the Court wants to refer at some point, I believe Exhibit S146 would show the location of Jakupovici.
Sir, following the incident where you said one driver was killed in Jakupovici, from what you heard - again, this is something you heard on the radio, Prijedor Radio, correct?
A. I think I didn't really hear it on the Prijedor Radio. I heard from conversations with locals there. I can't tell you precisely. I can't give you a precise answer at this moment.
Q. Following the death of that individual, the whole area of Kozarac was attacked and shelled; is that correct?
A. I think this happened the following day, and that, yes, there was shelling.
Q. You've driven through Kozarac. You drove through Kozarac after that attack, didn't you, in 1992?
A. I don't think so. That is the road to Banja Luka. And the first time I went to Banja Luka, in late autumn 1992, I was taking a sick person from Ljubija to Banja Luka. 9562
Q. On that trip, did it shock you to see the destruction of Kozarac, the severity of the destruction?
A. I saw that there was a lot of material damage, but I'd seen the same thing in Hambarine before.
Q. And when you say that material damage from shelling and other crimes, did you think that there probably also was a lot of human damage that occurred along with it?
A. I think that's only logical. Now, the extent of the damage, I can't talk about that, but certainly someone did get hurt. There were people that had nowhere to run to and nowhere to take shelter.
Q. The president of the municipality of Prijedor was in theory the president, the leader of the people of both Hambarine and Kozarac, correct?
A. Which president are you referring to? Are you referring to Mr. Cehajic?
Q. I'm referring to Dr. Stakic, when he took the title of president. When he took the title of president of the municipality, did you understand that it was his duty to protect all the citizens of Prijedor municipality, including Muslims and Croats?
A. That was his responsibility, I assume. But to what extent he was successful in this or how much power he was allowed by other players, now, that's another question to ponder and an important one.
Q. I agree, it's important. The people of Kozarac were sent to camps; isn't that correct? Omarska, Keraterm, Trnopolje, correct?
A. I think some were sent to the camps, yes. And the remaining 9563 part - and I'm talking here about the elderly, women, children - fled to their relatives in Prijedor, and those who had nowhere left to run to went to the Trnopolje centre because their safety was guaranteed there.
Q. And it's your understanding, am I correct, that all of these camps were organised? There was transportation provided by Autotransport Prijedor in the case of the bus you escorted; that the authorities provided food, electricity, the police guarded the camps, the army provided security, correct?
A. The duty of the civilian authorities was very complex at that time. Their duty was to make sure people had enough food, flour, to give them sufficient medical assistance.
Q. Did they have a duty to keep people from being killed, tortured, having their homes burnt down?
A. Perhaps they did have that responsibility. But as I've pointed out before, there was no way for them to stand up to the strong and organised military. That's the way I see it.
Q. Now, these camps were a very important part of what happened to the people of Hambarine and Kozarac; is that correct? They were part of the programme that was inflicted upon that population, that those after their homes were destroyed, if they did not constitute a physical threat, were taken to Trnopolje; and if it was thought that they could be of more of an interest to the authorities, they were taken to Keraterm or Omarska, or if they could end up being soldiers for the Muslim army, they were taken to Keraterm and Omarska. Correct?
A. I can't answer this question in an adequate way, but I must admit 9564 that military-aged men were being sent to those camps, which means that there were no children or elderly people.
Q. Now, I understand being a young man you never saw the order to set up those camps. Is that correct? Would that be a correct assumption?
A. I was not aware of any such orders. As you said, I was quite young at the time, and I wasn't so much into politics really. The war broke out, and my priority task was to try to save my own life and watch out for myself and for my family.
Q. So you don't know of your own knowledge whether it was military authorities, police authorities, or the civilian authorities that set up the camp. Would that be correct?
A. I don't think that the camps were set up by the civilian authorities, because we were talking about military-aged men after all being taken to these camps, as you have pointed out yourself a minute ago, so as to keep those same men from joining the Muslim armed forces or the Bosnia and Herzegovina Army, as it was called.
Q. Sir, just so we're clear, when I say "civilian authorities," who in your mind is the highest civilian authority in 1992 in Prijedor following the April 30th takeover? That would be the president of the municipality; isn't that correct?
A. Speaking of the position, yes, the position would indeed be the highest form of authority, of civilian authority.
Q. Now, would you expect that the president of the municipality would himself know who had set up the camps?
A. I would assume so. Although, as I have said before in my 9565 testimony, the president of the assembly himself at that time, regardless of the fact whether we're talking about Dr. Stakic or another person, did not have any significant amount of influence on the setting up of the camps.
Q. Sir, thank you. You've told us you did not yourself take part in that decision and didn't see the order for the setting up of the camps. Let me ask you, then: If you knew -- if you heard Dr. Stakic - and for counsel and the Court I'm referring to S187-1A, ERN page 03058480, in the middle of the page - stated in an interview, "These places, such as Omarska, Keraterm, and Trnopolje were a necessity in a given moment and were formed according to a decision of the civilian authorities in Prijedor."
Would that change your opinion as to whether Dr. Stakic and the civilian authorities in Prijedor ordered the establishment of these camps?
A. I don't believe that they were the ones who ordered the setting up of those camps.
Q. Do you know of any reason why Dr. Stakic would say in an interview that the civilian authorities ordered the establishment of the camps if that was not true?
A. I am not aware of the fact that Dr. Stakic said it in the first place. I can't be sure of that. I never heard such a statement.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you want to hear the statement?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean Dr. Stakic's statement? Gladly.
MR. KOUMJIAN: Okay. Following the break, Your Honour, we can set 9566 that up.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The trial stands adjourned until 4.15.
--- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.
--- On resuming at 4.16 p.m.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. The Prosecution may proceed.
Q. Sir, just a few questions while I'm waiting for my colleague to return. Do you know who the commander of the Omarska camp was in 1992?
A. I can't recall the name.
Q. Does the name Zeljko Mejakic? Does that remind you who the commander of the Omarska camp was?
A. I am aware of the name Zeljko Mejakic, but I do not remember what he was the commander of the camp at the time.
Q. Do you know who the commander of the Keraterm camp was or who they were during 1992?
A. Believe me, I don't know their names. I may know the names of the people, but I'm not aware of the fact that they discharged those duties.
Q. Are you aware of the fact that the commanders of both the Omarska and Keraterm camp were police officers, regular police officers from Prijedor?
A. Later on I heard an example regarding Miroslav Kvocka and a position he held in Omarska. Miroslav Kvocka was indeed an active policeman at the time, so this is just one example.
Q. So is the answer that you are aware that the guards at the Omarska 9567 and Keraterm camps were commanded by regular police officers? Is that correct?
A. I don't know if they were active policemen, but I do know that there were policemen providing guard duty in Omarska and also in Keraterm. But I really don't know whether they were active policemen or reserve policemen, but I assume that there were both kinds.
Q. Can you tell us the name of the commander of the Trnopolje camp?
A. I really don't know.
Q. Are you aware that Slobodan Kuruzovic, a member of the Prijedor Crisis Staff, was the commander of the Trnopolje camp?
A. I heard of Slobodan Kuruzovic. I heard that he was a member of the Crisis Staff, but I don't know what his position was in Trnopolje or how he was involved in Trnopolje.
Q. Okay. Thank you. We're now going to play the video that you requested to see, and that's S187. I hope that we have it -- we tried to have the video prepared so that it will begin on the English translation about one-third of the way down on page 03058480, page 2 of the English translation, with the reporter's question that talks about reports in the British press.
And sir, I'd like you to pay attention to Dr. Stakic's answers to this question, first his answers to the questions about who set up the three camps and then his -- briefly his answers to -- his description of the Trnopolje camp.
If you can look at your monitor in front of you.
[Videotape played] 9568 [Please refer to Exhibit S187-1
for video transcript]
MR. KOUMJIAN: Stop, please. Stop for a moment.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
MR. KOUMJIAN: And if the tape could be rewound just a moment. I'll come back to the discussion of Trnopolje in just a moment. But finishing first with this.
Q. Sir, having listened to Dr. Stakic's response to the question of the interviewer and his statement that the camps, Omarska, Keraterm, and Trnopolje, were formed according to a decision of the civilian authorities in Prijedor, would you now change your opinion and state that these camps were indeed set up in your opinion by the civilian authorities?
A. If this is what Dr. Stakic has stated, and obviously he did -- but as far as I understand things, and it is only logical to believe that Dr. Stakic did not act on his own, that he was not the only one with influence. Maybe he had more influence than him despite the fact that he held the highest position in the civilian authorities. Maybe there were other colleagues of his who had more experience, more authority, more connections in all the spheres of social and political life.
Q. Thank you, sir. Now, let's go on to the Trnopolje camp, which you visited on several occasions. Perhaps --
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry to interrupt. I'm deeply surprised by your answer. Do you feel yourself under any obligation to protect anybody when answering this way? 9569
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not give my answer in order to protect Dr. Stakic. I just presented a realistic fact, and that is that Dr. Stakic did not act independently. He was not alone, most probably. He must have had other people with him, people with more work experience, with more knowledge, with more connections, because the doctor was rather young at the time, despite -- regardless of the fact that he held such a high position. Does this clarify my answer? Because this is exactly what I wanted to say.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I just wanted, as I normally do, express my surprise that when answered in a concrete way, you immediately answered in a way trying to protect a person that you yourself called the president at that time. And what is the factual basis that brings you to the conclusion that there were others more responsible?
We, in fact, would be highly interested to know -- you might know that in the beginning of this case, there were three accused, and it's now for us it's really important to know some facts what brings you to the conclusion that the one acting as the president might not be the most -- the person with the highest influence. And whom would you regard from your position at that time - not what you have learnt later, but at that time - who was really the responsible actor in the political, military, and police area at that time?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me tell you, as far as the civilian authorities are concerned, it was already the time of war. In more normal times, it is only logical to expect that the president of the municipal assembly would have the highest responsibility for everything 9570 that happens within the sphere of everyday life. However, we are talking about extraordinary circumstances, exceptional conditions. The military regime was already in place.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But to be concrete, what brings you to your conclusion and what at that time -- you must have got your own conclusion, your own impression, and you no doubt had been aware at that time what happened around you. You saw the destruction. You mentioned it yourself. And as a young person, you'll ask yourself the question: Who is responsible for all this? And what was from your opinion at that time the answer to the question: Who is responsible, that we can't live any longer in peace as we did before?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's a very difficult question for me to answer and to tell you who is responsible for the war that broke out in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the former Yugoslavia in the region of Prijedor. To my mind -- and I may be off the topic when I say that I believe that all the three parties are equally responsible for everything that happened in that area, the area of the war-struck Bosnia and Herzegovina. Obviously it was the Serbs who held power in Prijedor, and it is logical, therefore, that the Serbs are responsible for what happened in Prijedor region. But we cannot blame the entire Serbian people.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Absolutely correct. I thank you for this sensitive answer.
The floor is for the Prosecution.
MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you. If we could just go back now to the video. I don't know if it's possible to rewind about five seconds from 9571 where we stopped it and get the next question and answer regarding the Trnopolje camp.
[Videotape played] [Please refer to Exhibit S187-1
for video transcript]
MR. KOUMJIAN: Stop. If we can go back about 15 seconds. We just missed the start of the answer.
[Videotape played] [Please refer to Exhibit S187-1
for video transcript]
MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you.
Q. Sir, Mr. Witness, do you believe Dr. Stakic's answer was an accurate and fair description of the people that yesterday you called detainees at the Trnopolje camp?
A. This is the first time I see this videotape, and it seems to me that Dr. Stakic -- actually, I provided the Honourable Court with very similar information, similar to the one that Dr. Stakic presented in this videotape.
Q. I think, to be safe, we should go into private session.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Private session, please.
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--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.02 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday,
the 11th day of December, 2002, at 2.15 p.m.