Wednesday, 22 January 2003
[The accused entered court]
--- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. And despite the outside weather conditions, a very good morning to everybody. And may we hear the case, please.
THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. Case Number IT-97-24-T, the Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And the appearances for the Prosecution, please.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Good morning, Your Honours. Ann Sutherland with Ruth Karper for the Prosecution.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning.
MR. LUKIC: Good morning. Branko Lukic, John Ostojic, and Danilo Cirkovic for the Defence.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. The ordinary question; any protective measures necessary for Witness 71?
MR. LUKIC: No, Your Honour, no protective measures requested.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask immediately the usher to escort Mr. Momir Pusac into the courtroom.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, while the witness is being brought in, is it possible for the Defence to provide the names or the numbers of the witnesses who are going to be testifying next week?
MR. LUKIC: Yes, we'll provide the Prosecution, during the break, 10875 with the names for the next week, Your Honour.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It would be excellent; also the Chamber would know about the fate of next week.
THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The request related to --
THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the president, please.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Microphone not activated]
THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters would like to note that the microphone was switched off. Microphone, please.
[The witness entered court]
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning, Mr. Pusac. You can hear me in a language you can understand?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would you please so kind and give us your solemn declaration.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Please have your seat. And the witness is yours, Mr. Lukic.
WITNESS: MOMIR PUSAC
[Witness answered through interpreter] Examined by Mr. Lukic:
Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Pusac.
A. Good morning.
Q. My name is Branko Lukic, and together with John Ostojic, I 10876 represent the Defence team of Dr. Stakic before this Tribunal. I should -- I ought to address you with the title of Dr. Pusac, and not Mr. Pusac, in fact. So that's how we shall continue. I shall be addressing you as Dr. Pusac from now on.
Would you be so kind as to give us your name and surname for the record, please.
A. Momir Pusac.
Q. Could you tell us your father's name.
Q. And could you please tell us your date of birth.
A. The 11th of March, 1953.
Q. Where were you born?
A. In Omarska.
Q. And that is which municipality?
A. The municipality of Prijedor.
Q. Your place of residence?
A. Banja Luka.
Q. What are you by profession?
A. I'm a doctor.
Q. Could you tell us, please, Dr. Pusac, where you completed primary school.
A. In Omarska.
Q. And secondary school?
A. I started in Banja Luka, but unfortunately, because of the earthquake there, I completed my secondary schooling in Sarajevo. 10877
Q. And did you go to university? If so, where and when?
A. I attended the faculty of medicine and graduated from there in Belgrade.
Q. Which year did you graduate from the faculty of medicine in Belgrade?
A. In 1979.
Q. After graduation, where did you start working?
A. In Prijedor.
Q. What year was that?
A. 1979, after I had graduated. I had a stipend. I was a scholarship holder from the health centre Prijedor.
Q. They didn't give you any leeway, a little break after your studies? You had to start working straight away?
A. Well, perhaps I had a brief holiday of one month.
Q. And how long did you work in Prijedor before you left for your regular military service?
A. In the autumn. I went to do my military service, regular military service, in September.
Q. And how long did you do your service for?
A. Until 1980, the 2nd of August, in fact. And then I went back to Prijedor to take up my work there for a certain period of time, and then I worked in the health centre at Omarska.
Q. And how long did you work in Omarska as a doctor?
A. Until 1983. I think it was the 18th of April, 1983, in fact.
Q. And where did you go after that? 10878
A. I went to the garrison medical centre in Banja Luka, and I volunteered to work in the first aid department of the military as an active-duty service there. And they took me in for that position. There was a competition, a post was opened, I applied, and they took me in, and I worked in the medical department of the garrison, attached to the garrison.
Q. What were the reasons you decided to go to work for the army?
A. Well, I hadn't solved my housing problem, and at that time, the army could do a lot more for me in that sense. They could allocate flats, and the possibility for going on to specialisation was greater. I wanted to live in a larger town and ensure a livelihood for myself and my family, a more comfortable life, and everything that I could do for them, especially for my children. And there are far more opportunities in Banja Luka than there were in Prijedor and Omarska.
Q. How long did you work for the army? How long did you stay working there?
A. Until the end of 2001, or rather the 28th of December, 2001.
Q. Could you tell us, please, how you saw the events that took place in 1992 immediately prior to the month of April of that year.
A. I don't even like to recall those days. They were bad days for any normal person, and the mere thought of having to recollect those days, the days that preceded the war, and especially the war days, is a very bad feeling to experience. We lived in a community, especially in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and especially in the town of Prijedor and in my town of Omarska. We would meet each other, we would share the good and the 10879 bad. All three ethnic groups, all three nationalities. And at that time, I was not able to differentiate who was a Croat, who was a Muslim. We were all one. They were all my roommates, at university and during my schooling in Sarajevo and Banja Luka, and later on at university, Muslims and Croats alike. I shared good and evil with them. When I say "evil," there was no evil, but I remember the earthquake. That was a natural disaster, and we helped each other when the earthquake struck. Of course, something that happened during that period of communism, the one-party system, especially for us intellectuals, is something that exerted some sort of pressure. It was a sort of burden to us in a way. And we wanted to rid ourselves of that yoke, to live in a multiparty system, in a democracy, in which people would be able to express their views freely and in which they would be able to realise together all the programmes and everything that was progressive. And that is something that happened in the 1990s, in fact. But unfortunately, what I can say now, here and now before this Honourable Tribunal and Trial Chamber, is the following: When we were given the possibility of seizing democracy and freedom, it is my view that we didn't know how to use it properly right out at the start in the proper sense of the word. We weren't able to seize it properly, and already at the very outset, different parties appeared in all three ethnic groups, of course, with their own wishes and desires. They wanted to see a different kind of system. They thought that Yugoslavia was superfluous, that it would be better to live separately, that each republic should be an independent state. And up until that time, we had all lived together, and I 10880 personally felt and expected, with the advent of democracy, that we would strengthen Yugoslavia in the economic sense and in the democratic sense. Unfortunately, something else happened, something quite different, and that was that the desires of certain - how shall I put this? - the desire of some people to step down from Yugoslavia, I'm sure they know why, the people who wanted secession, and also there was the desire of a certain section of the population to remain within Yugoslavia. And I quite honestly say I belong to that section of the population. I wanted to stay in the community we lived in because this community by its very nature is stronger than separation and disunity and fragmentation, in fact. So of course, one could feel a certain amount of fear on all sides; those who wanted to step down and secede, as well as those who wished to remain within Yugoslavia.
The psyche of the people began to change as well quite suddenly. And until yesterday, we worked together, we drank coffee together, we took our meals together. We would go to market together, we would have picnics together. We would engage in cultural events, sports events. But quite suddenly there was this about-turn, a change of face. We were no longer motivated. We didn't have any desires for things of this kind. That's how it started. Then there was insecurity, people began to think about leaving the areas they lived in, especially those people and those ethnic groups who were the minority in certain regions. So the Serbs left the territories where the Muslims were the majority, or the Croats, and vice versa. And that's how it was.
So there was a lack of security, there was uncertainty, there were 10881 a lot of contradictions. And I myself am unable to explain how this happened. When we were offered democracy in our own house, when we had the chance of living together, suddenly a disease seemed to eat away at us, and we seemed to be afraid of something or somebody was controlling us and moving us towards a different kind of life, a different way of life. So this is the sort of uncertainty that I myself felt. And to be quite frank, I found it very difficult to contend with.
Perhaps it's a little strange, but this was even worse for me to be able to contend with than the war. Let me explain why: During the war, I didn't have much time to think, like many others. First of all, you had to fight for your own personal integrity. You had to see to the safety and security of your nearest and dearest, and do what you could, anything that was possible in those difficult times.
Now, as to the period you're asking me about, there was enough leeway and room to think, to give thought to all these matters. And so I find it very difficult to think about those times, precisely because of the psychology that reigned at the time. And we physicians tend to call it a mass psychosis, if you like, if I can put it that way, this fear, these phobias as to what was going to happen and what was in store for people in the area.
Q. Well, thank you for that very detailed and extensive answer, Doctor.
Let's now move on to another period, the period after the 30th of April, and we're going to think about the period between the 30th of April and the 30th of September. We're going to focus on that period of time 10882 because that is the period we're interested in, the material time that we're focussing on.
Where were you after the 30th of April, and what were you doing at that time?
A. I was an active captain first class in the medical corps. That was my rank at the time. I was a doctor. And when the war started, I was in the medical health centre in Banja Luka. I worked as a doctor. I carried out my regular duties. I was in charge of examining the active-duty servicemen, their families, and pensioners, the retired officers, those who were covered by the military health fund. And as the war went on, I was transferred to the war unit, the so-called medical battalion. The medical battalion is -- was, during that war, was one of the largest medical mobile units, and I was the chief of the general first medical aid in that medical battalion, and I was in charge of treating those who were not seriously wounded. I was also in charge of organising the transport of the wounding, the so-called triage or the assessment of the wounded, and I would decide who were those who needed either surgical help or psychiatric help or decontamination and similar things. And I was also in charge of deciding who was to be transported into the nearest military medical centres. Throughout the entire war, the medical battalion was stationed in Banja Luka, in the military facilities there belonging to the barracks. The name of the barracks at the time was Dr. Mladen Stojanovic.
This is where the wounded and the sick were taken. And in that garrison clinic, which had a department for internal diseases, a surgical 10883 department, a neuropsychiatric department, a department for those who were seriously wounded and for those who were slightly wounded, and this is what mostly took place in Banja Luka.
Q. What was the region covered by your unit?
A. Within the command of the 1st Corps, there was this medical battalion, and it covered the area of responsibility of the 1st Corps. To put it that way, in the military terms, in professional terms of the military. So this is the area or the territory in the town of Banja Luka and the surrounding area of Banja Luka.
Q. Was that mostly Bosanska Krajina, by and large? Was that region Bosanska Krajina?
A. Yes, it also embraced Prijedor, Bosanski Novi, Sanski Most.
Q. In addition to Banja Luka, did you also work during the war on the ground?
A. Yes. We had mobile surgical teams belonging to the medical battalion. This was necessary. And during the war, it proved very useful. We had two surgical teams that were sent to various theatres of war, but not close to the front lines. They would keep in the rear, some 18 to 20 kilometres away from the front lines, and this is where they surgically treated the wounded and the sick. That was in Novi Grad, Doboj, Teslic, Glamoc, Mrkonjic. Wherever there was a need, wherever there were sick and wounded, we would send our surgical teams forward. And I was one of the organisers of their work, meaning I was the one who was in charge of sending those teams, for giving them all the necessary medical supplies and medicines to take with them, and the rest that was 10884 necessary for their work.
Q. Can you please explain to us the situation in Novi Grad, for example, when you were a member of that forward team in Novi Grad. What did it look like? Where did you work? Who were the ones who you treated? Can you provide us with a little more detail?
A. We worked in the surgery of the Novi Grad health centre. That is, in the facilities that were intended for health care. We had an x-ray machine there, a laboratory; we had all the technical facilities necessary to carry out such interventions. And in addition to that, we also could keep the patients so to say hospitalised after they had been surgically treated. And we treated all the wounded and all the sick from that area, from that theatre of war, belonging to the units who were deployed in the area. But also, this team and these people treated the civilian population in the area.
I remember very well that there were not only Serbian population, but also Muslim and Croat population who were treated and extended medical, surgical, and any other aid that was necessary. If my memory serves me well, we have not turned anybody down because of their ethnicity, because they were of a different ethnicity. Doctors -- and as far as I can remember, that did not exist. It never happened.
Q. During that time, you already belonged to the army of Republika Srpska. Isn't that correct?
A. Yes. In May 1992, the Yugoslav People's Army withdrew from the entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And us officers who originate from that part of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina were given an 10885 opportunity to either return to Yugoslavia with the Yugoslav People's Army or to remain where we were at the time, in the then army of Republika Srpska. I opted for the latter because this is the area that I belonged to. My family lived in Banja Luka at the time. We had an apartment there. And one of the reasons for which I joined the army was the apartment that I was allocated by the army. And I started working on the 18th of April, and I got the apartment already in May. So that problem was solved. My parents were there. So at the moment, there was nothing that would tell me that I should withdraw with the army. I stayed there. I stayed put where I was.
Q. Yesterday evening, you did a sketch for me, a rough sketch of the military structure.
MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] So I would kindly ask the usher to put the document in front of you. The document is in B/C/S only. The document is not in English. We were afraid that maybe we wouldn't use the proper terms and we left it to the interpreters to translate this scheme correctly.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This document would be D50. Any objections? I can't see any. So therefore, admitted into evidence, D50.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, I haven't got a translation, so I don't know what it says.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, but as we did in the past, whatever the probative value may be at the end of the day, it's for a better understanding of the testimony of the witness before us today, it should be admitted into evidence, D50B. And the translation can be found on the 10886 transcript of today, page 12 following.
MR. LUKIC: [In English] Your Honour, we'll compose the translated version after today's day, so we'll use this transcript and compose the same.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But if it could be explained and read out at the same time by the witness, we have it already on the transcript, and it saves work.
MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
Q. [Interpretation] Dr. Pusac, can you please -- I don't know whether you can see the document on your screen.
Q. But on the screen, you cannot point. You will have to take the pointer on your right-hand side and point on the ELMO, on the paper. So point to the things that you are referring to.
Q. Can you please go through this table and explain to us nonmilitary persons what this is all about.
A. Let me tell you immediately, I am a member of the medical corps, and I am a medical colonel. I did not complete any military academies, so I was a civilian when I joined the army. I graduated from the civilian medical university and that's how I joined the army. So I do not have such a broad knowledge in order to be able to present things to you in military terms. But this is as much as I should understand, and in that sense, I would like to inform you.
So this is a chain of command that I'm familiar with, and that is 10887 shown clearly in this document.
Q. Now, what are you pointing to? You're pointing to the top box.
A. Yes, the Supreme Command, the Supreme Commander is the president of state at the time, the president of the Republika Srpska, who issues orders to the main staff, that is, the commander of the main staff. He then issues orders to corps, to lower units in the corps command and units and institutions who are directly reporting to the main staff.
Q. So these are two parallel squares.
A. Yes. Orders are given to the subordinate units, to the units and institutions of the main staff. At the same time, the main staff can issue orders to the corps commands. Corps commands issue orders to the units on the strength of the respective corps. Those were brigades and independent battalions.
This command issues orders to the units on the strength of the respective brigades and independent battalions. And those units are battalions and companies. So the command in this square issues orders down the chain to battalions and companies which are subordinate units, and then to platoons, squads, and finally, the orders reach troops as the basic units in the army. So this is the vertical chain of issuing orders that was in place during the war, and this is something that I'm familiar with.
Q. You were in the medical part of the 1st Krajina Corps.
A. Yes, I was in the medical battalion. And the medical battalion was on the strength of the 1st Corps. However, the commander of the medical battalion received orders from the assistant commander for the 10888 rear or logistics of the 1st Corps. So the medical corps is a service in the army, and it is not a branch of the army. So the medical corps is not a military operational unit. It doesn't carry out any other tasks. The only tasks it carries out belong to the area of providing medical care, providing health care. And we received our orders not directly. It could happen that orders were given by the corps commander, but mostly it was -- our orders from received from the assistant commander for the logistics.
Q. That person, in any case, was a military person, an officer?
A. I'm afraid I didn't understand your question.
Q. The assistant commander of the 1st Corps for logistics was an officer, wasn't he?
A. Yes, he was.
Q. What was the name of your superior at the time? Do you remember?
A. Dr. Slobodan Vujicic.
Q. Was he an active serviceman? Was he an officer? Did he have a rank?
A. Yes. He was an active serviceman, an officer, with the rank of medical colonel.
Q. Tell us, please, the military units, were they divided according to the municipalities, or did they cover several municipalities? Can you tell us that? Do you know about that? So we're not talking about the medical corps itself, but generally.
A. The medical corps was composed on the basis of several municipalities, and I do know that other units were composed of three -- members from three or more municipalities. As far as I know, there were 10889 no units from just one place bearing one name and being active for one territory. They were always composed of servicemen from three or more municipalities. Usually, the municipalities that were closest, close by. Whereas the medical battalion, at the beginning of the war, in terms of cadres, had members not only from the nearby communities but from all over Bosnia-Herzegovina; from Sarajevo, from Mostar, and from Tuzla and so on. So at the beginning of the war, at the very start, the composition including servicemen not from one or several municipalities, but from a large number of municipalities, because we needed surgeons, we needed ophthalmologists, and so on, and that's where we found them; all over the place.
Q. And when we're talking about the combat units, then they were usually composed and covered the territory of two or three municipalities; composed of people from there. Is that right?
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the witness, before we leave this document D50B, you were kind enough to describe the content of this document, but could you please also be kind enough just read out what we can see in the text of the boxes, for our better understanding from --
MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
Q. Doctor, perhaps we can do it this way: Could you place a number before each of the boxes, and then read them out. Place number 1, and then read out what it says in box number 1. You need not go into explanations, just read out what it says on the piece of paper. And please leave it on the overhead projector, so we can see. 10890
A. Box number 1 says: "Supreme Command." Then it says: "Supreme Commander, the president of the state."
Number 2: "Main staff of the army. The main staff commander." Number 3: "Corps commands."
Number 4: "Units and institutions of the main staff." Number 5: "The commands of units from the corps, brigades, and independent battalions."
Number 6: "The commands of units from the composition of the brigades and independent battalions, battalions and companies." Number 7: "Platoons."
Number 8: "Squads." Number 9: "Troops or soldiers."
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And finally, would you please be so kind and allocate your own position within this table.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Number 5.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you very much for this assistance.
MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
Q. In box number 5, it says, "Independent battalion." Is that right?
Q. And is that where you were?
Q. Thank you. What about the medical battalion to which you belonged at that time? Was that the top level medical unit in Republika Srpska; and if so, why? 10891
A. It was a military hospital, too. That's what it was called. It was the military hospital of the main staff. However, in that area, the Krajina area, the military medical institutions, apart from the medical centre which was not able to provide the services that the battalion could provide, there were no larger medical units, or rather, institutions.
Q. What about the corps command? Did the corps command command the medical battalion via the assistant commander for logistics?
Q. Apart from the first box which relates to the Supreme Command, and when we get into the real meat or structure of the army itself, could you tell us what the relationship is between the army and the civilian authorities? And I'm thinking about the civilian authorities at municipal level. Who issues orders to whom? How do you come into contact with them? Through which ministries? Could you explain that to us a little, please.
A. The army was completely autonomous and independent. As far as I know, all the units in the sense of control and command and the chain of command is concerned, and in my own area, which I can speak about, we would receive orders, all our orders, only from our direct superior, the corps command; that is to say, the assistant commander for logistics, especially in the Banja Luka Municipality, for example. There was never, at least as far as I know, a document or -- nor do I remember that we received orders from any civilian authority, or vice versa. We were not in a situation in which we could order them anything. I worked as a doctor myself, of course, so that organisation was within that sphere. 10892 And I'm sure you're interested in hearing about the strengths of the units and how we did that. That went through the Ministry of Defence. So as the medical battalion, we would send in a request to the Ministry of Defence for personnel, for cadres to be sent in to us. We would say we need doctors of such and such a profile; neuropsychiatrists, surgeons, for example, an orthopaedist, a vascular surgeon. We would say what we required and then the Ministry of Defence, having received our requests and having lists of conscripts and recruits, including doctors, would gather together the necessary people of these professional profiles and send them into the medical battalion. And that was the procedure throughout the war.
Q. Now, with respect to manpower, could you contact the Municipal Assembly directly yourself, the Municipal Assemblies of certain municipalities?
A. No, that was not the procedure we followed, either officially, in formal terms, or in practice. We could do nothing outside the procedure prescribed by law. So as I say, and to the best of my knowledge, that kind of thing was out of the question.
Q. I know that this was out of the question, as you say, and that you are aware of that, but we have to clarify certain points for trial purposes. So I would like to ask you whether you ever contacted the Crisis Staff of any municipality when you needed cadres.
A. Well, this term "Crisis Staff," and the institution itself, the concept itself, is not quite clear to me even to this day, the way in which it existed and functioned. And I say quite honestly and frankly 10893 that I do not remember -- and of course, this was absolutely prohibited by law, and I don't ever remember a case where anybody intentionally or unintentionally from the medical department of the army or the medical battalion would contact the Crisis Staff for anything or vice versa; they would not contact us, so I have no knowledge about that at all.
Q. And with respect to manpower and the professional people you needed, could you contact the health centre or hospital for the doctors you needed and medical staff?
A. The procedure was to contact the ministry and its departments. In practice, what would happen was that the ministry, without looking at the rationality and actual requirements of a particular medical institution, would send us the important professionals, doctors, from a medical institution. They would write a letter to that effect, to the medical department, to say that something should be done for one doctor to be replaced or sent back to the health institution where he had worked previously because he was needed there. His services were needed there. Of course, if a radiologist was irreplaceable and you had an x-ray in Banja Luka and now suddenly the Ministry of Defence decided to send the radiologist to the medical battalion, that meant that the health institution and the x-ray machine would be left without its professional, without the radiologist. So there would sometimes be two parallel requests to the medical battalion and the institution, but this was not obligatory procedure either by the medical battalion or the health institution in question. So they did sometimes, medical institutions would sometimes send in requests for us to return their physicians to 10894 them. But as I say, the official formal procedure always went through the department within the Ministry of Defence.
Q. We have just been talking about a case in which the health centre sends in a request to the army. How was this done? Could they order the army to send back the doctor who had been mobilised, or was this drafted in the form of a request?
A. I don't know about other units. I don't know that anybody -- actually, these were tabled in the form of requests, drafted in the form of requests. And they prevailed upon us to exercise an understanding for their position. It was not an order because what would an army be if it could receive orders from different sources? Who would weigh up the orders, give greater weight to one order as opposed to another?
Q. You yourself worked in the medical and health department of the army, if I can put it that way. Could you tell us, please, before the war, did the army have a separate health system, medical system, apart from the civilian system, beginning with the fund for medical assistance and the institutions providing medical services themselves?
A. Yes. Both before the war and during the war, and even up until quite recently in Republika Srpska, that was the situation. That is to say, there was a military fund for medical insurance, for medical insurees, so this medical fund ensured insurance for the active-duty army personnel, the members -- the family members of the active-duty servicemen, recruits, military pensioners, and members -- family members of military pensioners, retired military personnel, and the reservists, the reserve composition, the recruits when they were undergoing training, 10895 and during the war when they were engaged in combat. All injuries suffered, medical assistance was provided for by the medical departments of the army, and they were insured by the medical army insurance fund.
Q. Did the army have its military police?
A. Of course it did, yes.
Q. Let us take the following example: You were involved in a traffic accident as a military man. Did the civilian police force -- were the civilian policemen able to carry out their job without the presence of a military policeman?
A. No. Any incidents involving a military vehicle or an army member, active-duty soldier or officer and the entire staff of the army, in fact, all the members of an army, all the civilian police could do was to come out on site. But the military police had to come on site to carry out their scene of crime investigation. We had military courts. And after the investigation had been conducted, the whole proceedings would have been referred to the military court.
Q. So in addition to the independent provision of health care to the military personnel, there was also the independent judiciary which carried out procedures against the military servicemen?
Q. This included the military police, the military prosecutor's office, and the military courts at various levels, various instance courts. Is that correct?
A. Yes, that is correct.
Q. Thank you. 10896 Let me now ask you something about the period prior to April 1992. When you lived in Banja Luka, did you notice the arrival of refugees from Slovenia, Croatia during the years 1991 and 1992?
A. Of course. Every citizen of Banja Luka could see that. Very often, those were columns of people carrying all sorts of things. It was an image across the world, and I remember that very well.
Q. At the beginning of 1992, did you, in the army, start feeling the lack of the necessary medicines - antibiotics and similar things - and how did the situation develop up to September 1992?
A. Of course we did. Although we had some stock at our disposal, the stock dwindled and we were seized by panic because there is nothing worse than when you, as you a doctor, see a wounded or sick person, he is looking at you, and you have nothing to give him, you don't have everything that is necessary for you to provide him with the adequate help. We managed as we could. We cooperated with the International National Committee of the Red Cross, with Medecins Sans Frontieres, and personally, I maintained contact as the person in charge of medical supplies, and especially the dressings, injections, syringes, and we really could feel that, and we hoped that this unfortunate war would be over quickly, in a month or two months. And as we were preparing for the war and thinking about maybe amassing bigger stocks, none of us really made a good assessment about the duration and the scope of the war. We never foresaw the wounds that we were going to see. We were taken by surprise, and we did as we could on a daily basis.
Q. When you said that you did what you could, you did what you could, 10897 you mean you maintained the supplies to the extent you could. Did the army have its logistics? What were the logistical services that you had?
A. We had a so-called basis for supplies, and we had medical supplies. And when it comes to the medical supplies and medicines and drugs, this base was our logistics, and it made an integral part of the army. And as far as the existence of other logistical services is concerned, we had the quartermaster supplies, the medical supply services. And when I say quartermaster supplies, that implies the clothing, the food. We also had technical service. We had our financial service, our construction service.
Q. Were all of these services integral parts of the army?
A. Of course.
Q. Were these active units?
A. Of course. They were either units or institutions, but they were military institutions or units.
Q. However, in addition to combat units and logistics units or services, were there, to the best of your knowledge, after April of 1992, any paramilitary units in the territory of Krajina? How much would you know about that?
A. It is possible that there were paramilitary units. I don't know the names and their size, the area where they were active, because this was not something that I had to find out. But in any case, they were not under the military command. I only know from conversations that wherever their activities could be prevented, if they did something of nonmilitary nature, that the army would intercept them and that the army would prevent 10898 that. But I really am not familiar with that, I wouldn't be able to tell you more about that.
Q. We were talking about the manpower and the replenishment of military units. And for that, as a military unit, you would turn to the Ministry of Defence whenever you needed technical equipment. But that was more the case of the construction service, when they needed machinery.
A. As regards medical equipment and things that are necessary for the medical corps, we would go to our superior command. And when it came to the supplies of materiel and supplies, we would go to the command, not to the Ministry of Defence or its departments. We would contact the Ministry of Defence and its departments only when we needed personnel, when we need people.
Q. Did you have the right to, for example, commandeer part of the hospital if you wanted to carry out your procedures there?
A. No, my unit couldn't do that. It did not have legal authority to mobilise or commandeer parts of a space or somebody's offices. It was the superior command who could do that. For example, we received an order from our superior command, from the assistant commander for logistics, to set up a surgical outpatients clinic in Novi Grad, in the health centre of Novi Grad. That is when we would go to that institution, to the health centre there, and we would meet with people who had already worked there. We would show them that order, and we would agree on the use of the area, but certainly not at the expense of their work, because there had already been their services there, so we would reach an agreement on working together. 10899 For example, in Novi Grad, at the time, they didn't have a surgeon, so we agreed that in addition in providing for our wounded, we would also provide surgical care for the civilian population. Not only Novi Grad, but throughout the war, everywhere wherever we went, we relied on the civilian institutions to complete the work that we started. So they would be the ones who would take over from us.
Q. Before the war, during the war, or after the war, was it possible that the president of a municipality would issue orders to you, or maybe the president of the Executive Board or the president of the Crisis Staff of a municipality? So was there such a possibility?
A. Absolutely not. Let me just tell you one thing: For example, the Ministry of Health and the Minister of Health were not satisfied with the regulations which prevented them from issuing orders or sending requests to us for something to be carried out. To tell you the truth, they were not very happy with that situation. Sometimes they were angry, even jealous, and the way they saw it is that the Ministry of Health should be in the position to issue orders to a smaller medical unit. For example, if that unit took their epidemiologist, they thought that they should be able to have that epidemiologist returned to them immediately. But they couldn't do it, they couldn't do it before the war or throughout the war. Now things are changing. Reforms are on the way of the medical services, of the judiciary in Republika Srpska, so things are changing because reforms are on the way.
Q. These changes were initiated after the signing of the Dayton accords? 10900 Can you please repeat your answer.
Q. In your unit, were there people of non-Serbian ethnicity during the war? And what was the composition of the families of active-duty servicemen?
A. In the introduction, I told you that we were so mixed, and at the same time, there was a strong integrity in among the people. And that could be witnessed in the military structures. Almost every second military family was a family with -- of a mixed marriage. So Serbs, Muslims, they were all intermixed. And in the beginning, in the medical battalion, there were Muslims, Croats, active officers. And during the war, there were even those who stayed on. I can give you -- I can tell you that at the beginning of the war, for example, there was Teofik Kovacevic, I believe he was a major. There was Miroslav Bakovic. They were active officers who were professionals and who were experts in the organisation of medical service. They were experts on the deployment of medical units. There was Mehmed, a Bosniak, a radiologist who lived in Banja Luka throughout the war, and he is still there, living in Banja Luka. There was also a friend of mine, Dr. Alija Kustric, an excellent expert who was there up until almost the end of the war, and he worked in the medical battalion.
In my building, there was a lady doctor, Amela Ceric, who lived there throughout the war and still lives there. And she belongs to the well-known Ceric family. And those are the people that come to mind first. So the battalion was not a Serbian battalion during the war. In 10901 amongst us doctors, there were always people of various ethnicities. There were also nurses of different ethnicity.
Q. Did any of your colleagues abandon the ranks of the JNA after the beginning of war in Croatia?
A. Of course. People were leaving. Some people were demobilised.
Q. Are you aware of the examples of your colleagues, once they left the JNA, joining the Croatian army?
A. Yes, of course. I remember a specialist in internal medicine, Dr. Redzepagic from Sarajevo, who was a member of the medical corps in 1991. He left us, together with the majority of doctors from Sarajevo of Muslim ethnicity.
Q. Were they driven away or did they leave of their own accord?
A. They simply failed to show up for work. And this is what I was talking about, the fear that people felt. And I can really not hold it against the people for being afraid. Everybody wanted to stay closer to their families during the war.
Q. During those war months, the spring and summer of 1992, in fact, did you happen to hear of the existence of a body which was called the Crisis Staff?
A. I did, but I never actually thought about what the Crisis Staff actually was, who made it up, and so on. Because us officers, we were not able to be a member of any political party or delve in politics at all, any Executive Board or anything like that. And the Crisis Staff was something that was not a military association, and in that sense, and also because of my duties as a doctor, I must say that I don't know enough 10902 about this body. I haven't got very much information about it nor do I know whether -- that we cooperated or received any instructions from them. Had we done so, I probably would have known more about it and could tell you more about it.
Q. Do you know Dr. Stakic?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Since when have you known him? How did you come to meet him? Could you tell us a little bit about that, please, and about him.
A. Well, I first met my colleague from my native town. They were two villages, actually two neighbouring villages that we both come from, and I knew -- we knew each other as children. We're not too far apart in years either. But perhaps my first recollections of him are when he started working in Omarska, which is where I worked, too. And that was sometime in the 1990s. Before that, I had heard my parents talking about him. They said that another young man, a doctor -- had become a doctor, graduated from the faculty of medicine and was working in Omarska, too. And my father told me that he had been to see the doctor in question and that he was pleasantly surprised. He said that he was my father and he conveyed greetings from Dr. Pusac. And so when he met the doctor, he felt that he was first and foremost a good man, a good professional. And having heard all this from my father, I wanted to meet him and to talk to him and to hear what was wrong with my father, what he thought after having examined him.
So my contacts with the man - and I'm very happy to see him now once again - were natural, quite natural. I was very pleased to see that 10903 there were several of us from my own native region. He exuded a very humane quality. He exuded a breadth of knowledge and understanding which I myself would like to have, and it is only someone with human qualities of this kind who can be a good doctor, too. He said he had professional ambitions, he wanted to go forward in the medical field. At the time, I wasn't able -- I couldn't have said that he would have actually engaged in politics later on, but you know, we doctors do have this breadth of outlook. And when I think back -- of course, I didn't think about it at the time, I didn't give it much thought, but that is possible, too. Because as I say, the democracy, the advent of democracy offered us intellectuals different opportunities. We had rid ourselves of the communist yoke, and we were able to fight for what we wanted for our profession, for our professional training, for organising the health service, to get closer to Europe. Because I don't think that, in the name of us doctors, on our behalf, anybody could represent us better than somebody from our own profession. We are better represented by doctors than we would be by, say, civil engineers. So that was probably the reason why Dr. -- why my colleague Mr. Milomir Stakic engaged in that type of activity, too.
Q. Were you later on members of one particular body which was linked to your work, the main board of the Red Cross?
A. Yes, I was a member of the main board of the Red Cross in the regional section, Red Cross section. First of all, I was a member of the presidency of the society of physicians. We had a society of physicians of Republika Srpska, first of all. And my colleague, Dr. Stakic, was a 10904 member of the presidency, too.
Q. Did you get to know him better then?
A. Yes, I got to know him even better during that period of time, because he had engaged in certain activities in the municipality within his profession. And this had an impact on me. I saw that somebody who had all his professional duties to carry out, nevertheless had the desire and succeeded in helping us activate this society, our society of physicians, and to give it a name as an institution, so that it could be of assistance to our colleagues, doctors in the different medical institutions. So this was a professional association of physicians. We didn't talk about politics or any -- engage in any party politics. We discussed our own professional medical problems. And in that sense, the profile and structure of a man of his calibre made an impact on me. I saw it to be positive and something that was very necessary in our midst. And we said that it would be a very good thing if he could come as often as possible so that we could cooperate. I am the secretary-general even today of the society of physicians of Republika Srpska, and as an institution, we have a health or medical chamber, as we call it, and we have engaged in the reform of the medical service which has taken great strides forward and has grown closer to Europe. And my colleague, Dr. Stakic, took the part in that work of that particular body.
THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Counsel.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The estimate of time you would need in addition?
MR. LUKIC: [In English] Half an hour, 45 minutes.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Fine. Thank you for this. 10905 The trial stays adjourned until 11.00 sharp.
--- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
--- On resuming at 11.07 a.m.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. And let us continue immediately.
MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
Q. [Interpretation] Dr. Pusac, may we continue?
A. Yes, we may.
Q. Let me go back a little. You were saying that you were pleased to see Dr. Stakic today. I'm sure you don't mean you're pleased to see him in these circumstances.
A. Of course not.
Q. Together with Dr. Stakic, you were a member of the society of physicians of Republika Srpska, as you said. And you said that you got to know him better working in that society.
A. Yes, I got to know more about my colleague, and I was able to confirm the opinion I had of him when I met him for the first time. And that is that he was a peaceful, quiet man with a breadth of vision. He emanates humane qualities. And at the time, I saw that I had before me a highly professional person who would go forward in his profession, who would help people professionally and organisationally, promote the level of health care and protection, and the health service in general. Medical science as well. And that his presence, quite simply, was a pleasure to see. It was nice to have him around. He would always make proposals at meetings which were realistic. They were good proposals, well thought 10906 out.
And I saw that even in the conditions that prevailed in our own country and in those wartime conditions, medical care could be promoted so that we could help people and do what we had been professionally trained to do. And that's the impression that stayed with me. It was a very strong impression. He made a strong impression on me, and I can rightly say, I think, that I don't think that man could even think of doing something, let alone actually doing it, something which was outside, not only a doctor's dignity, but human dignity as well. Outside the realms of those dictates, and particularly not to one's own people. And when I say "one's own people," I mean all the people that lived in the area we lived and worked in, and as I say, there were Muslims and Croats and Serbs all living there together. Because Bosnia-Herzegovina, especially the Krajina region, was Yugoslavia in miniature. There were strong bonds linking us together. That's how we were brought up. Our roots were there in that territory. We were patriotically brought up, and I don't know of anybody in that environment, in Omarska and in the region, who had any other views at that time and did anything other than humane acts to help one's fellow man, which is nice to experience.
Q. In talking to Dr. Stakic, did you ever happen to notice that he had any prejudices of any kind? Did you ever note any prejudices towards Muslims, Croats, or other non-Serbs?
A. No. Never. It never entered my head, let alone see anything that have kind or hear from others that he had done anything of that kind. Even today, I ask people I encounter what their opinion is of Dr. Stakic, 10907 and they confirm my own views of him, the locals, the local inhabitants.
Q. Did you ever hear Dr. Stakic express any kind of hatred or hostility towards the Muslims, Croats, and other non-Serbs?
Q. From talking to Dr. Stakic, did you ever hear him express any discriminatory views, vis-a-vis the Muslims, Croats, and other non-Serbs?
Q. Once again, from talking to Dr. Stakic, were you able to conclude, or rather, did you manage to gauge what Dr. Stakic thought about Croats, Muslims, and other non-Serbs? Did you gain an impression of his views about them?
A. Well, I can't define and assess something along the lines of what he thought, especially not in any negative sense, no negative connotations. I never heard any words or saw any pictures or read anything that he might have said about those ethnic groups in prejudicial terms, underestimating or undervaluing them in any way. Even in the health centre of Omarska, for example, Dr. Ibro Beglerbegovic [Realtime transcript read in error "Dr. Ibrobegovic"] was a Muslim, the doctor was a Muslim, and I can say that he felt more Serb than the Serbs in the town of Omarska because he had been accepted by all of us, by one and all. And he accepted by us. And I know that this particular doctor, a Muslim doctor, cooperated very well with Dr. Stakic and had a very positive view of Dr. Stakic. So I have nothing which would prompt me in the opposite direction.
Q. About this doctor, the Bosniak doctor, the name has been entered 10908 into the transcript wrongly. Would you state the name of the doctor again.
THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the name. Could the doctor repeat the doctor's name, please.
A. Dr. Ibrahim Beglerbegovic. And the nickname we referred to him by was "Ibro."
MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
Q. Did you hear of Dr. Stakic's arrest? Did you hear when he was arrested and transferred to The Hague? And could you tell us what you thought and felt at the time. Could you tell us a bit about that.
A. I just couldn't believe it. I could never have imagined that this kind of man with the kind of human characteristics that I have described here as a colleague, a friend, a local man living in the same environment, could have done anything to warrant being arrested. So that it was a shock. It was a great shock. And when I learned of it, my first reaction was one of disbelief. But when I learned that it was true, then I thought, well, he's going before an Honourable Trial Chamber, an Honourable Tribunal, perhaps they need him to provide information because he knows more about the events that went on in Prijedor. And I thought that his stay here, the time he spent here and that justice would prevail, and I still can't come to terms with the idea that the man could have done any bad things, thought any bad thoughts or ordered anything bad of the kind of allegations that have been made and charges brought against him. So it is my opinion -- or rather, I have no arguments, no information, no facts or knowledge of him doing anything other than the 10909 kind of work that I have described him as doing, being the man he was.
Q. You were talking about the population being ethnically mixed, and especially the military personnel and their families. Did Serb officers, members of the former JNA, and later on, the army of Republika Srpska often marry members of other ethnic groups?
A. Of course. This was something that couldn't be avoided. Before the war, it was absolutely normal and one didn't choose whom to fall in love with. One could choose, but one didn't really pay attention. One didn't think too much about what the person's -- the other person's name was. The only concern was whether somebody was in love or not. And I believe that this is still the case.
Q. Are you aware of the fact that the percentages of mixed marriages in the social structure of the former Yugoslavia was the highest amongst the officers of the former JNA?
A. I believe that this was the case, because this is a structure which served and professionally worked all over the territory, across Yugoslavia, from Slovenia to Macedonia. Its officers had an opportunity to marry women of other ethnic groups. A Serbian would go to Bosnia, would marry a Muslim girl, a Slovenian would go to Serbia and marry a Serbian girl. And that was normal. It was the way people worked and the way people lived. It was only natural that things like that should happen.
Q. So officers would often be sent from one place to another to serve in the army, and that occurred throughout their service in the army?
A. Yes. 10910
Q. To your mind, can one expect from the command personnel of an army that is so ethnically mixed to plan a persecution of people on ethnic and religious backgrounds?
A. This is not naturally possible, because it is like in one family, as if one family were to design a plan according to which ones would destroy the others, and nobody would know about the other plan. How would it be possible for a large family such was Bosnia and Herzegovina that a plan was designed without the wives, the children knowing about that plan, that people of different ethnic groups living in the same family wouldn't know about that plan? Such a thing could not exist in terms of any such plan being designed. And what I claim is that this is something impossible, and it was something that was absolutely unknown to me.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the Defence, please, to refrain from those hypothetical questions and more general questions. The answer given by the witness maybe will be related to the period of time and the area of former Yugoslavia, but of course, this can't be answered in general because, unfortunately, history has shown during the last centuries that even when he had ethnically mixed societies, this was, unfortunately, never an obstacle for starting war and armed conflicts. Thank you.
MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
Q. We were also talking about paramilitary formations. Do you know anything about the killing of Zoran Karlica?
A. I heard about that in 1992. Banja Luka is a bit away from Prijedor. I heard that that had happened, but the details of that event, I don't know. I don't know anything about that. 10911
Q. Do you know what the reaction of his unit was when their commander was killed?
A. I heard that some people thought that this killing could have been avoided, that they were unhappy with the military unit that they belonged to, and that's when they decided to leave that unit. They disobeyed the military orders. Whether they became members of a paramilitary unit or not, I wouldn't be able to tell you.
MR. LUKIC: [In English] I would like the usher now to show the witness the document we submitted today, number 00861611. It's in B/C/S. And the English version is 00938569.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This would be provisionally marked as D51.
MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
Q. Dr. Pusac, we did not have a chance to look at this document, so I'm not going to ask you about its contents. Maybe the Honourable Chamber or the OTP will want to know something about the contents. But what I'm interested in is the heading of this document. We see here that it says, "Military secret, strictly confidential." Below that: "Coded. To be delivered immediately." Can you please tell us who is the sender of this report? When, and to whom?
A. It was the command of the 1st Krajina Corps that sent this report on the 13th of June, 1992, at 1700 hours. And it was sent to the main staff of the army of Republika Srpska.
Q. At the time, it was the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
A. Yes, that's correct.
Q. And what is the title of this document? 10912
A. "Regular combat report."
Q. Could it happen that such a document, such a report, a regular combat report marked as a military secret, strictly confidential, so could it happen that such a document was sent to a civilian body?
A. No. According to the chain of command, this could only be sent to the superior command, but also to a subordinate command, according to the hierarchy or the vertical line that I explained at the beginning.
MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We don't need this document any more. We are finished with it.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Objections?
MS. SUTHERLAND: No, Your Honour.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Admitted into evidence, D51A and B respectively.
MR. LUKIC: [In English] I would like to have the usher now to show the witness another document which we also received from the Prosecution.
Q. [Interpretation] The previous document was reporting --
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please wait until we have the document. Thank you.
Provisionally marked D52.
MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
Q. This document was received by the Defence from the OTP, and the English version is numbered 03005262. And the B/C/S version is 00820936. Doctor, again, we have not had an opportunity to look at this document carefully, but would you please tell us what this document is about. What can you read in the heading? Who is the author of this document? Who put it together? And what is ordered by this document? 10913
A. This is an order by the commander of the main staff of the army of Republika Srpska, again strictly confidential. And the date is the 3rd of July, 1992. Its title is: "Changes in the organisation and establishment of the army of Republika Srpska."
Q. What is ordered by this document?
A. It is ordered to the army of Republika Srpska to carry out the following organisation and establishment changes. And then (a), form in the 1st Krajina Corps, so the order refers to the 1st Krajina Corps.
Q. Was it possible for such a document or any document of similar sort to be delivered to the civilian bodies of authority in the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor?
A. As far as I know, that was not possible.
Q. Can you please find page 11 in this document. And can you please read the first paragraph. In the English version --
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Page 4.
MR. LUKIC: [In English] Page 4, at the beginning. The beginning of the page. Sorry, it's the third page, bottom of the page, under (c): "Changes of the mobilisation" - under 1 - "in the 1st Krajina Corps.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And then to be continued on the next page. Correct?
MR. LUKIC: Yes, that's right, Your Honour.
Q. [Interpretation] Can you please read on page 11, under (c).
A. "Changes to the basic mobilisation plan." Under 1: "In the 1st Krajina Corps, (a) the 5th Kozara Light Infantry Brigade is assigned Prijedor as peacetime location and mobilisation point instead of Banja 10914BLANK PAGE 10918 Luka. Other elements of the basic mobilisation plan remain the same."
Q. Thank you. Was it possible that when a location of a military unit was assigned, that civilian bodies of authority took part in that, or was it exclusively in the military purview?
A. It was in the purview of the relevant department of the Ministry of Defence.
Q. Thank you. We don't need this document any longer for the time being.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. Didn't we want also to read out (d)?
MR. LUKIC: [In English] I just wanted to emphasise Prijedor region, but if Your Honours want, we can proceed --
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The only question is when I read Kozara there, is it also related to Prijedor, or it may be a name of a similar town or hamlet.
MR. LUKIC: We can ask Dr. Pusac. Maybe he knows.
Q. [Interpretation] Doctor, could you read out the next paragraph under (d), please, because the Kozara link was mentioned.
A. "Changes to establishment in the 1st communications Battalion of the 1st Krajina Corps. At the following station, re: Communication nodes to the battalion established in Kozara consisting of four noncommissioned officers and 13 soldiers; Svinjar, consisting of four noncommissioned officers and 13 soldiers; Vlasic consisting of four noncommissioned officers and 13 soldiers." This is perhaps linked to the communication point. Quite possibly it was Kozara, but this isn't my profession, so actually I can't explain that any further to you. What we can see here is 10919 that we are talking about the 1st Krajina Corps.
Q. The Krajina Corps to which you belonged. Right?
A. Yes. There might have been a Kozara node or communications point.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And when we read "Vlasic," is it related to such a communication point at Mount Vlasic?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Possibly, but I can't say for sure because that is not the area of my own expertise.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Objections?
MS. SUTHERLAND: No, Your Honour.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Admitted into evidence, D52A and B correspondingly.
MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
Q. While we're on the subject of Mount Vlasic, I don't know how far you yourself know, but do you happen to know that it was on this mountain that fighting took place throughout the war, and that parts of the mountain would come under the control of one side or the other?
A. Well, yes.
Q. Thank you. In the proffer to this Honourable Trial Chamber, I stated that in the Krajina region, you yourself were there until June 1992. However, as we received your medical documents only yesterday, and looking at those documents, could you tell us until when you were in the Krajina region and the time you spent undergoing medical treatment.
MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I should now like to call upon the usher to show the medical documents to the Court. 10920
Q. Let me ask you, first of all, when you were talking to me, you thought that you had actually left the region at the end of June. But looking through your medical documents, you saw that you were actually there for the whole of the month of July. So would you show us the document that we can refer to when talking about the actual time you left the region in 1992. Where did you go?
A. Yes, it was at the end of July. I didn't remember the month correctly, because it was 1992. So ten or 11 years ago, but I do know that I was ill. And then I didn't quite remember, when you asked me about the events in Prijedor, when this actually took place. I wasn't able to link up what I knew about the events going on and where I was at the time. But of course, I did remember that I was ill, but I failed to remember the exact date.
So at the end of July, after the 20th of July, I felt some changes. I had trouble with my hearing and system of balance, my equilibrium, and I went to the military medical centre, the outpatients department there, and the ear, eye, and throat doctor took a look at me. But my state deteriorated. And on the 14th of August, the ambulance took me to the medical military academy. This was an emergency, and I had to stay there for one month, undergoing treatment. I was on sick leave several months after that outside my unit, probably up to the month of October. So I wasn't an active-duty physician at the time I was on sick leave because I had these health problems. And that is why I did not remember -- I couldn't have any recollection of what was going on during that period of time. 10921
Q. Can you see the document on the overhead projector? That's the document you're referring to. Is that correct? Dr. Pusac, is that the document? Can you see the document on the overhead projector?
Q. You're shaking your head, and that can't be recorded in the transcript, so could you give us an audible answer, please.
A. Yes, it is.
Q. Could you read it out to us, please, so that Their Honours know what it's about. You can read from the document or from the screen, whichever you prefer.
A. Well, it is a discharge sheet from the clinic for ear, nose, and throat, of the medical military academy in Belgrade, Pusac Momir. I was captain first class at that time from Banja Luka. The date I was admitted is the 14th of August, 1992. And the diagnosis was hypacusis acuta of the auris dexter.
Q. That is the diagnosis in Latin, is it?
A. Yes, it is. But in Serbian, in simple layman's language, it means that the circulation in one artery had been disturbed. The artery that is used for hearing. So it enables us to hear. And the circulation in that artery had stopped, had been interrupted, which meant that I was hard of hearing. And this led to an upset in my body's equilibrium. It is a very serious condition and very unpleasant for the person suffering from it.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you want to tender this document?
MR. LUKIC: [In English] Yes, Your Honour, we would like to tender it. 10922
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I hear the submissions by the Prosecution.
MS. SUTHERLAND: No objection, Your Honour.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The Chamber has briefly discussed this. And I think what is relevant for our case is the mere fact that you were only -- that you would have been in hospital during this period of time you mentioned, and you gave us the other data. But it seems to be necessary today to protect the personal data, especially health data, and when admitting such a document into evidence, there's always the risk that such a document on your personal data will fall into wrong hands. And therefore, the Trial Chamber does not admit this document into evidence.
MR. LUKIC: Thank you. Your Honour, we just wanted to show, when this gentleman is cross-examined, so that everybody knows that he wasn't in the area in this period of time. And we agree that it's not crucial as evidence in this case.
Q. [Interpretation] As a military man, of course, a doctor by profession, did you know or were you aware of the existence of any paramilitary formations, paramilitary units, in Bosnia-Herzegovina? Did you know of the existence of the Patriotic League, the Croatian Defence Council, two cases in point?
A. Well, I did hear of their existence. But this -- I was never in a position to learn any more about them or have any contacts with them, with formations of this kind.
Q. Did you hear -- have you heard of the fighting and the entry of regular forces of the Republic of Croatia into Bosanski Brod at the beginning of March 1992? 10923
A. Yes, I did hear about that. And that's round about the time that the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina started, in fact. It was sometime in March 1992.
Q. And did you hear about the slaughter in Sijekovac also in March?
A. Yes, I did. I would have to have heard because the information media publicised it. It was in all the papers and in the media, so quite logically, I knew about it, I was able to come by that information.
Q. Thank you, Dr. Pusac. That concludes my examination-in-chief. You will now be asked questions by my learned colleague of the Prosecution. And after that, Their Honours will have the opportunity of asking you their own questions. Thank you.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, the Prosecution wishes to make an application to defer the cross-examination of this witness. I discussed this with the Defence in the break and said that I was going to make the application and suggested that they call the next witness in chief and we'll cross-examine both witnesses tomorrow, but that's not possible for the next witness.
The reason I'm asking is because there are a number of issues that the witness testified about today which weren't in the original proffer and we only received the amended proffer yesterday. And it also has caused a problem because of the Brdjanin case and the Stakic case being heard at the same time. And Ms. Korner raised the issue and asked that we only sit in the mornings this week because of the problem. So what I'm suggesting --
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We can cut the story short. The next witness 10924 will be available as of 1.30. That's the brand-new information I received.
MR. OSTOJIC: It's impossible, Your Honour. The Defence is not prepared to proceed with the witness because, in anticipation of what we learned yesterday, we expected this witness to go on most if not the entire day today, so we did not meet with our witness to prepare our witness.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I interrupt. At the end of the day yesterday - you can read it from the transcript - we asked the parties to be prepared to start with the second witness as of today. So let's see how we can proceed. It may be a possibility for the next minutes to proceed with questions by the Judges and then defer the cross-examination, say, either by the end of tomorrow or on Friday.
MR. OSTOJIC: If I can just explain, Your Honour, or at least make an offer of proof for our position. We, in scheduling the witnesses, would have prepared the witness last night, instead prepared this witness at the request of the OTP. Naturally, both witnesses are here. They are generally ready to proceed. If the Witness number 72 is going to testify today, I would have spent time preparing her last night. Given the situation that we have two witnesses remaining and three days left, counting today, again, with all due respect to the Court, we are moving the case along. The urgency -- although the OTP has requested, and we don't have an objection to them getting a little more time, our witness will be prepared to proceed tomorrow morning at 9.00. That's our scheduling. I know representations were made last night. Generally, they 10925 are prepared. We would like, however, to do our job as efficiently and professionally as we can. So we would ask the Court, respectfully, to proceed with that witness tomorrow morning. We can conclude, I think, both witnesses no later than Friday afternoon, if necessary.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, can I please add something? The reason why we're not prepared is because of the change in the order of witnesses. Witness number 58 was supposed to be testifying today, which was a very lengthy witness.
[Trial Chamber confers]
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So taking into account the submissions by the parties yesterday, taking into account that it was well-known and established already yesterday that Witness number 58 would not be available today, taking into account that it was on the request by the Prosecution to hear this witness today and not tomorrow, we have to proceed as planned. And we have to regard the Prosecution as one unit. And therefore, it is necessary and it's mandatory to proceed. Maybe, if need may be, the Trial Chamber would be prepared to start with their line of questions, if the Defence so agrees, before the cross-examination. But the cross-examination has to take place today. And then we start with the next witness tomorrow.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Yes, Your Honour. The Prosecution agrees that the cross-examination can start today. But in the Rule 65 ter conference last Thursday, Your Honours did say that if we received an amended proffer late, then we could have additional time to prepare for cross-examination. And as Your Honours have heard this morning, a number of issues were 10926 raised by this witness which were new to us. We received the amended proffer yesterday. So we would just ask for some time to prepare the documents that we want to put to this witness.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The Trial Chamber will take the opportunity to compare this morning's transcript with the proffer, because to be honest, personally, I did not see these major discrepancies between the proffer we received in due time opposed to that what we heard from you, Dr. Pusac, today.
Therefore, it's hereby decided the cross-examination will take place this afternoon. And if on request of the Prosecution, the Judges should start with their line of questions, we are prepared to do so. The trial stays adjourned until 1.30.
--- Luncheon recess taken at 11.58 a.m.
--- On resuming at 1.41 p.m.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. May I ask the Prosecution, what is now your choice? Let the Judges start, or do you want to start?
MS. SUTHERLAND: No, Your Honours; I'm happy to proceed.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Then the floor is yours. If you could please close the door.
Cross-examined by Ms. Sutherland:
MS. SUTHERLAND: Usher, could you just move the -- so I have a line of sight. Thank you.
Q. Dr. Pusac, you mentioned in your evidence earlier this morning Zoran Karlica. Do you believe that he's a paramilitary?
A. No -- or rather, I don't know. I was just responding to the 10927 question. When asked whether I had heard about the killing of Karlica, I said I had heard about it, but I really don't know who he belonged to.
Q. So you're not aware that he was active in operations in Western Slavonia in 1991 and 1992?
A. No, I was not aware of that.
Q. Or that Zoran Karlica's unit was part of the 43rd Brigade?
A. I assume he was in the 43rd, but I don't have that piece of information. It wasn't my area of expertise. I wasn't interested in things like that, so I can't say for sure whether he was a member of the unit or was not.
Q. Are you aware that Veljko Milenkovic, who was the commander of the paramilitary group the Wolves of Bihac [phoen], are you aware that he fought with units of the 1st Krajina Corps?
A. I heard that he was a fighter and that he had taken part in the war, but what formation or unit he belonged to himself, I really can't say. I don't know. If you ask me about the medical corps, perhaps I could give you an answer. But I really don't know the answer to questions like that.
Q. You said in your evidence earlier that paramilitaries were not under the military command.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could you please quote the page of the transcript, that we have it for sure.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Forgive me, Your Honour. It's page 24.
Q. Do you still stand by this assertion, that paramilitaries were not under military command? 10928
A. I don't have any official information about that. I personally don't know, am not aware that they were. I really can't say. I don't know. As far as I know, in the military command, you had the active-military units. They came under the military command. And with respect to the medical corps, I don't know that there was a paramilitary medical corps or that it was under our command, higher up the chain of command or down the line. So once again, it's not my area. I really can't answer.
Q. That's exactly my point. And just so that we're clear, you don't know whether paramilitary units came under the military command. Isn't that correct?
A. I don't know.
Q. Thank you. You stated -- for Their Honours' and the Defence's benefit, page 11 of the transcript this morning -- that in May 1992, the Yugoslav People's Army, i.e., the JNA, withdrew from the entire territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Q. It's true that officers who originated from Bosnia-Herzegovina went back there, but it's not true that the JNA withdrew from the entire territory. In fact, the units that existed in the 5th Corps were simply renamed within the 1st Krajina Corps. Isn't that correct?
A. As far as I know from those times, the active units of the Yugoslav People's Army, with all the equipment and military materiel, and all the medical equipment, withdrew. Now, to what extent and how many 10929 units remained, what percentage stayed on and what percentage withdrew, I really don't know. I can't give you facts and figures about that. But I do know officially that I personally had the possibility of going back to Yugoslavia and to continue my duties there working in the Yugoslav army.
Q. But it's true that the JNA didn't withdraw the equipment, but it was kept there, and in fact it was simply a transformation and not a withdrawal?
A. As far as I know, part of the equipment was withdrawn. And I'm sure that another portion remained where it was, the equipment that belonged to that territory originally and which had taken part and was used in security during peacetime, to provide security for the facilities that were jointly built. So the fact is that that kind of military materiel and equipment remained. But what is also certain is that part of the equipment and the manpower left and went to Yugoslavia, especially the part of the air force, the larger planes. That's what I can say as well even a layman, just a citizen.
Q. I want to now move to another topic. The military command, except perhaps in a military dictatorship, received instructions from political authorities. Isn't that correct?
A. The military command receives instructions from the competent authorised command at the highest level; the superior command or Supreme Command. And I didn't hear of an insight into the Supreme Command to know if any influences was wielded on it. But the instructions, orders, came down to us from our superiors; from the superior command to the subordinate command. And reports went back from the subordinate command 10930 up towards the superior command.
Q. It's true that there was a hierarchy within the military command, but it's not true, as you stated this morning on page 18 of the transcript, that the army was completely autonomous and independent. The army works on behalf of the political structures; does it not?
A. The army executes the tasks and orders of the superior command. I was never able to see a document involving a political party or whether a political party or the president of a municipality or Executive Board or anything of that kind issue orders to the army, telling the army what it should do. I've never seen a document of that kind. I've never held one in my hands, nor did anybody issue any orders to me orally. And I don't know that others received orders from those sources either.
Q. We'll get to the documents in a moment, Doctor. It's important for military and civilians to cooperate at all levels. Do you agree with that?
A. Well, it's like this: If we're talking about health, the medical department, the medical corps, of course we did cooperate because it would be impossible to take some injured or sick person somewhere without contacting people from the civilian medical institutions. So in that sense, there would be a certain amount of cooperation. And so in that sense, we did cooperate.
Q. And other units besides the medical corps, it's important for them to cooperate with the civilians?
A. Well, you ought to ask people from those structures that. If we're talking about a quartermaster service or something like that, the 10931 services generally did have to cooperate in one way or another in order to be able to reach certain areas, reach certain facilities, come by certain equipment. So that would be logical in that sense. Now, whether they cooperated in the sense of joint operation or implementing an order of any kind, I don't have any information about that.
Q. We'll go --
A. I don't know, perhaps.
Q. Who was the commander of the 1st Krajina Corps in May 1992?
A. I think it was General Talic, but once again, I can't say for sure. Before him, it was General Uzelac. Now whether it was General Talic, whether he had replaced him, I don't know but that's what I can tell you on that score.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Could the witness be shown Prosecution Exhibit S346.
Q. Sir, could you read that document to yourself.
THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
Q. Doctor, could you read that document to yourself.
MS. SUTHERLAND: And, Usher, here are copies of the document for the Defence and the Trial Chamber.
Q. Doctor, have you read the document?
A. Yes. In part.
Q. That's a document dated the 21st of May, 1992, from the commander, Major-General Momir Talic, sent to the commander chief of staff. Is that correct? 10932
Q. And it deals with the general mobilisation of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina army, and it's an order. Can I ask you to read paragraph 1, please.
Q. Can you read it out loud.
A. "Immediately establish direct contact with municipal and military and territorial organs on the ground offering expert and materiel support for the mobilisation process."
Q. And could you also read paragraph 8(iv).
A. "Establish the closest possible cooperation with the people and legal authorities within their zones of responsibility. Before sending individuals or units into combat operations, always organise at least one session of target practice at an improvised firing range. Prepare small-scale combat operations to start with to ensure a degree of success in the first combat operation."
Q. So General Talic, who was the commander of the corps of which you were a member, obviously thinks it's important to have military and civilian cooperation, does he not?
A. Yes. Cooperation, and most probably when it says "municipal" here, they mean the departments for National Defence, and they were in charge of the mobilisation process. And it is these departments in the Ministry of Defence which were located on the territory of the municipality itself.
I apologise -- 10933
Q. [Previous interpretation continues]..."immediately establish direct contact with municipal and military and territorial organs on the ground." You're just reading into that that they are referring to departments of the National Defence.
Sir, can you look at paragraph 6, please, and can you read it.
A. "6. Explain to conscripts as they arrive the goals of our struggle and brief them on their duties and rights. Do not enlist any hesitant persons or suspicious persons into the units."
Q. This is referring to political objectives, is it not?
A. Well, you can interpret it that way, but I said this morning, and I claim again here and now, that the command never issued orders to civilian authorities, nor did the process take place vice versa. But when a unit spent some time in a certain area, it received commands from within the army. And as they were on the territory of a given municipality, there had to be some form of cooperation, obviously.
Q. Yes. Cooperation between the military and the defence. Can you go to the distribution on the last page of the document. And it states there that as part of the distribution was the Prijedor Regional Command. Does it also list your unit, the 5th Medical Battalion?
A. Yes, it does.
Q. Thank you. I've finished with that document. Doctor, you testified earlier this morning - at page 25 of the transcript - that before the war, during the war, or after the war, it was not possible that the president of a municipality would issue orders to the medical corps or the president of the Executive Board or the president 10934 of the Crisis Staff of a municipality. You said there was absolutely no such possibility. You've also mentioned a number of times that you weren't aware of any documents. Was it possible to issue orders, decisions, and conclusions -- I'm sorry. I'll start that again: Was it possible for the municipal authorities, either a president of a municipality, a president of an Executive Board, or the president of the Crisis Staff, to issue orders, decisions, and conclusions to other units of the 1st Krajina Corps?
A. Within the medical corps that I'm talking about, and the medical battalion, I didn't see such a document, and I was not aware that either us or our command were issued any orders by any civilian structures.
Q. I want to show you some -- a document.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Can the witness be shown Exhibit S116.
Q. You're not aware, though, of other units receiving orders, conclusions, or decisions from the municipal authorities, are you?
A. I was not a member of any of these units; how could I know it? Only if I showed any interest before anybody, and if that person told me something. But I didn't hear any such stories.
Q. You weren't in a position to know. Sir, if you could read that document, and let me know when you've finished.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the usher, please, to present on the ELMO the English version in a way that we also can read the end of the document. A little bit further. Thank you.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, I apologise we don't have copies of 10935 this document before you. I spoke too soon.
Usher. Thank you.
Q. Sir, have you finished that document, reading that document?
A. Yes, mostly.
Q. Doesn't that -- this is a document, Exhibit S116, is a summary of conclusions adopted by the Prijedor Municipality executive committee, relating to the public security service and regional command from 29 April to 17 August, 1992. Within that document, there are a number of decisions, orders, and conclusions which deal directly -- which directly involve military issues, are there not?
A. I see this document for the first time, and I already said that I wasn't there all the time. And thirdly, this is not an order. This is just an overview of conclusions adopted by the Crisis Staff, for which I already said that I don't know who they were, what their role was in terms of command. We don't have a single order - and here I'm speaking on behalf of the medical corps - from the Crisis Staff, any order to carry out within the medical unit. I really don't have any such order.
Q. Can I take you to conclusion number 02-111-171/92. Isn't that a conclusion of the Prijedor Municipality executive committee, assigning the duty of providing security for the Trnopolje camp to the regional command? It's dated the 10th of June, 1992.
If I can take you to another one. The order number 02-111-315 --
MR. LUKIC: Sorry, it's not possible to follow this way. If the number in front of the paragraph could be shown because we don't know where this number is. The page number and the paragraph number. 10936
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think it's far more easy -- the page number may be confusing, but the paragraphs are numbered. If you could make reference to the paragraphs as such, it would facilitate, no doubt.
MS. SUTHERLAND: I agree, Your Honour.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you start with the first summary or the second summary --
MS. SUTHERLAND: No, the first one was dated the 10th of June, and it was conclusion number 171. And I'm just --
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's start in the order, as we can see it on the English version, the second summary, orders from 29 May to 24 July. I think you're making reference to this only. And please then indicate whether you want to comment or put questions to the witness on paragraph 1, 2, or whatsoever.
MS. SUTHERLAND: I do apologise, Your Honour. I think I have the wrong exhibit number.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask Madam Registrar to crosscheck whether S116, as we have it before us, was previously 65 ter number 298.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, Ms. Karper is checking the ERN number of the document.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Madam Registrar, your results, please?
THE REGISTRAR: Yes, it is 65 ter 298.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So then, I think as to the fact that there are several summaries, let's go through the entire document summary by summary. Do you want to make reference to the first summary of conclusions from 29 April to 17 August? 10937
MS. SUTHERLAND: Would you just give me a moment, Your Honour. I'm sorry, Your Honour. And I apologise to the witness. Could the witness be shown Exhibit S250. And we will come back to Exhibit S116 in a moment.
MR. LUKIC: Excuse me, could we be shown the document first before it's shown to the witness. Thanks.
Q. So, Doctor, that is a rather lengthy document --
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Stop, stop, stop. We don't have the English version on the ELMO, and we should also be able to follow. Okay. Please proceed. And I take it this is now the previously admitted Exhibit S250A on the ELMO, and B before the witness.
Q. Sir, this document is dated sometime in late July 1992. The date seems to be the 24th, or it could be another date. In any event, it's addressed to the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor, and the subject is "Confirmation of decisions within the competence of the Municipal Assembly adopted by the Crisis Staff." And this document contains or lists a number of decisions, conclusions, and orders issued by the Prijedor Crisis Staff between the 29th of May and the 24th of July, 1992. If I can take you to the conclusion passed on the 10th of June which, for the usher's benefit, is under part 9, and conclusion number 2, which is the conclusion I referred you to earlier in the wrong document. And that is 02-111-171/92. That's a conclusion assigning the duty of providing security for the Trnopolje camp to the regional command. 10938 I now want to take you to another order issued on the 17th of June, 1992. And for the usher's benefit, that's under part number 13. And order number 1, which is 02-111-215/92, is an order for the formation of a single intervention platoon.
If I can take you to order number 4 that's listed there, which is order number 02-111-218/92, that is an order concerning the obligation to report on the procurement of military equipment.
If I can take you to a conclusion passed on the 23rd of June. For the usher's benefit, that's under part number 14, conclusion number 6, which is numbered 01-111-241/92, that's a conclusion directed to the regional command to ensure uniformity of the Serbian army insignia. Does this document show you that there were a number of conclusions, decisions, and orders sent from the Prijedor Crisis Staff to the regional command and others concerning military matters?
A. You have provided me with too much material, too many facts. So I find it difficult to find my way around all this. I would like you to ask me question and read out one order which relates not to a proposal of conclusions but an order sent to the corps command or the command of a military active unit. For example, the 143rd or any other unit, because like this, I just can't find my way around.
Q. Sir, I've just read you four conclusions and orders out of that document which directly involve military issues. And these are orders and conclusions issued by the Prijedor Crisis Staff, are they not?
A. Will you give me the exact number and page of what you just said, please. 10939
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Take your time, and let's do it step by step.
Q. Sir, on page 6 in the document in your language -- have you got page 6?
A. Yes, I have page 6, and I'm reading it. But I'd like to ask you to tell me, please, what point you are referring to on this page. What does your question refer to?
Q. If you can go to part 9, enactments passed on the 10th of June, 1992. And the second -- paragraph 2 is the conclusion 171 that we have referred to above. That states there that it's assigning the duty of providing security for the Trnopolje camp to the regional command. This is a conclusion issued by the Prijedor Crisis Staff. So the Prijedor Crisis Staff --
A. Well, this -- this is a political document and a conclusion. It is not an order, so we don't seem to be understanding each other.
Q. The conclusion is assigning the duty of providing security to the Trnopolje camp to the regional command, is it not?
A. The difference, in my opinion, is this - although I'm not a lawyer, I'm not well-versed in those things - but there's a big difference between conclusion and order. A conclusion doesn't imply implementation, execution. I don't see the consequences if this is not put into practice, whereas an order does; an order must be carried out. So in that sense, I cannot agree with you.
Q. But they are still telling the regional command what to do. They are telling the regional command to provide the security. 10940
A. As a suggestion, as a proposal. But not as an order.
Q. I'll move on. You wanted me to take you specifically to these conclusions and orders. The next one I mentioned was order number 215. You will find that on page 8 in the document in your language. And that is under -- that is number 18, right at the bottom of the page, under part number 13.
Q. And that is an order concerning the formation of a single intervention platoon. Now, you just said a moment ago there was a difference between conclusions and orders.
A. In this order, I do not see --
Q. In this order, the Prijedor Crisis Staff is ordering the formation of a single intervention platoon. Do you agree with that?
A. What it says here is correct, but it is not correct that in an active-military unit of the army of Republika Srpska, the Crisis Staff issued orders to form an intervention platoon. I don't know that that was ever so.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Could the witness be shown this document. And it could be marked provisionally S3 --
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: 92.
MS. SUTHERLAND: 92. Thank you, Your Honour.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But first, please, to the Defence.
THE REGISTRAR: It is S391, Your Honour.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, my mistake.
MS. SUTHERLAND: 10941
Q. Sir, could you look at that document and read it. It is somewhat illegible, parts of it are somewhat illegible. And if the English translation could be placed on the ELMO.
For your benefit, I will read the document in full, because as I said, parts of it are illegible.
MR. LUKIC: We are not clear how the date could be translated as well because it's not visible on this document, in the B/C/S version.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, Ms. Karper is requesting the original.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The best possible copy or original or whatsoever. We can read "datum 17." And then it's left for a guessing game. But I think we can see from the number that it's a number dated of 1992.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, this document -- this -- no, I take that back.
Q. Sir, the document is headed "Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Autonomous Region of Krajina, Municipality of Prijedor Crisis Staff. Number 02-111-215/92. Date: 17 June 1992."
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And at this point in time, we have to add that the witness has before himself a copy where one evidently can't read the month. But please continue.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Thank you, Your Honour.
Q. "Pursuant to Article 3 and 7 of the decision on the organisation and work of the Crisis Staff of the Prijedor Municipality at its meeting of 17 June 1992, the Prijedor Crisis Staff discussed the report on the 10942 security situation in the area of the municipality and issued the following order:
"1. The Prijedor public security station and the Prijedor regional command are ordered to form a joint intervention squad within two days and each of them is to assign 20 members to the squad. Its main task should be the prevention of looting and other criminal activities in the area of the municipality, as well as of the movements of all unregistered vehicles and vehicles driven by the army and police members who are not in possession of properly authorised travel orders.
"2. Squad members are to be selected from the existing ranks of the army and the police by the regional command and the public security station.
"3. The Municipal Crisis Staff is to give approval for the selected squad members.
"4. The regional command and the public security station are obliged to submit a report about the activities of the intervention squad and their results to the Municipal Crisis Staff within seven days. "5. This order takes effect on the day of its issuance." The signature block on the document is President of the Crisis Staff, Dr. Milomir Stakic, Prijedor Municipal Assembly -- I'm sorry, that's the stamp.
MR. LUKIC: Your Honour --
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Before we go -- enter into a dispute on this, I think we should agree that --
MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, can I just finish reading the 10943 document?
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No, there was an intervention, and therefore it's just fair --
MS. SUTHERLAND: Sorry.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: -- to answer this objection. And I think it follows that apparently it's only typed, "Dr. Milomir Stakic," and then we have the same signature we had several times, but it reads "Za." And maybe the witness can or cannot of assistance to identify the signature. And then we have only in a legible form the left-hand side where we can read "Copies to."
MS. SUTHERLAND: Yes, Copies to, 1, public security station; 2, Prijedor regional command; and 3, files.
Q. Doctor, doesn't this document -- you wanted to see the actual order. Doesn't this document show you that the Prijedor Crisis Staff ordered the SJB and the Prijedor regional command to form a joint intervention squad within two days? So the Prijedor Crisis Staff are ordering the regional command to do something, the military.
A. First of all, let me say that at that time, I was living in Banja Luka, and I don't know about the military institution -- a military institution which was called the regional command. I know that before the war, there was a garrison command or something of that kind in Prijedor. So I don't know -- of course I can't claim that it didn't exist, but I don't know this regional command.
And secondly, this is quite certainly something that is outside the law on control and command in the army. And I'm -- whenever I say 10944 anything, I refer to that law, the law that made it impossible for an order to be received from civilian authorities and to be effective over the army. So this is not something that I knew happened, or happened frequently, and that these orders were exercised, implemented. And I must say quite frankly and honestly before this Tribunal that that is what I know and as far as I know. And that is what I base my claims on.
Q. Yes. That you weren't in the Prijedor Municipality at the time; you were in Banja Luka. And therefore, you don't know what was happening between the military and the civilian authorities.
A. I don't know specific cases and events. I don't know about this particular event either. But on the basis of the military knowledge that I do have, working in the medical corps and what I was able to learn from the medical corps about the army as a whole, I claim and state that it was not possible, according to the provisions and the laws, for the civilian authorities to issue any orders to the army or vice versa.
Q. Paragraph 3 of this order then says: "Once the squad members have been selected, that the municipal Crisis Staff has to give their approval."
A. [No audible response]
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It reads on the transcript that your answer is not audible. Could you please repeat your answer.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Number three, you say. Point three of this order. Is that right?
MS. SUTHERLAND: Yes.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The answer is the same as to the 10945 previous question: I have no knowledge and am not aware of a document of this kind, and to the best of my knowledge and on the basis of what I know within the medical corps and outside the medical corps, there was never a situation of this kind, that is to say, in which we would receive orders from a civilian authority and were required to carry those orders out. That is to the best of my knowledge.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, I wish to tender that document.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Objections, or may I first ask the -- before we discuss this.
THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Your Honour.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I'm awfully sorry. Can we get the best possible original in the course of this afternoon's hearing?
MS. SUTHERLAND: We believe so, Your Honour. We haven't had a response.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let us postpone the decision on this issue.
MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, this document has already been admitted as S79.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
MR. LUKIC: But we would like to see the original.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Stop. Step by step, please. May I ask Madam Registrar, please, to crosscheck whether it's in fact the same document.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, the B/C/S version has a different ERN number.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So may I then ask Ms. Karper to find out, we had 10946 a collection of the best possible originals or copies, and some in colour copies. If we could have the best possible one, the best readable one. Thank you. Here we are.
And this is, in fact, S79. We have it before us, and may it first be shown... From our point of view, it's apparently an identical copy of the same document. May this document first be shown to the Defence, then to the Prosecution, and then to the witness, please.
Based on this, all the problems we had in the past will immediately be resolved.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, we will cancel the request for the original of the other document.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Just for the purpose of clarification, it clearly reads the 17th of June 1992 in the beginning. At the same time, also for clarification, the name Dr. Milomir Stakic is found on the document only in a typed version, and then we have this typical "Za" with any additional signature.
May I ask the witness, did you ever come across with this signature? Do you know who signed this document?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. This is the first time I see this document and, obviously, the signature on it.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So we withdraw that this document is provisionally marked as S391, because apparently the better and best possible version is the already-admitted Exhibit S79.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Yes, Your Honour.
Q. Doctor, as you've said, all you know is what is supposed to -- 10947
THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
Q. Doctor, as you've said, all you know is what is supposed to happen; you don't know what actually happened because you weren't in a position to know. Isn't that right?
A. What do you mean when you say "what happened"? What are you referring to when you say "you don't know what happened"?
Q. What actually happened between the civilian authorities and the military in the Prijedor Municipality.
A. Based on the documents that you have just shown me and my first-hand knowledge, it is obvious that I didn't know what was happening, the conflicts. The fact is, and I continue claiming that, that we didn't have any orders that we would carry out, and the medical corps was partly covering Prijedor as well.
Q. You didn't see any orders.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Before you move to another topic, I think it's appropriate to have a break now. Or is there a question following?
MS. SUTHERLAND: No, Your Honour. We can have a break now.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The trial stays adjourned until 10 minutes past 3.00.
--- Recess taken at 2.49 p.m.
--- On resuming at 3.13 p.m.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. And Ms. Sutherland, please continue. 10948
MS. SUTHERLAND: Thank you, Your Honour.
Q. Doctor, are you aware of a policy to remove non-Serb officers in positions of authority from the VRS?
A. No, I don't know of any such thing. And to be honest, I really did not pursue politics while I was in the army. And officers, for that matter, could not pursue politics or engage in politics.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Could the witness be shown a document, please, dated the 7th of June, 1992. The ERN number in B/C/S is 00423657. The Defence have been provided with a copy of this document. If that could be provisionally marked S391, Your Honour.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We will do so.
Q. Sir, could you read that document and advise me when you have read it.
MR. OSTOJIC: Pardon me, Your Honour. While the witness is reviewing the document, can we have the 65 ter number for the document.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, there is no Rule 65 ter number.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then it should be reflected on the transcript that the ERN number is 03031763, the English version; and the B/C/S version, 00423657 and the following page.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have had a look at the document.
Q. Doctor, this is dated the 7th of June 1992, Sanski Most. And it's conclusions adopted at a subregional meeting of political representatives of the municipalities of Bihac, Bosanski Petrovac, Srpska Krupa, Sanski 10949 Most, Prijedor, Bosanski Novi, and Kljuc. And it was sent to the Crisis Staff of the Autonomous Region of Banja Luka, the leadership of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo, and the 1st Krajina Corps in Banja Luka.
Could you please read aloud paragraph 4.
A. "We demand that the 1st Krajina Corps in Banja Luka, and particularly General Momir Talic of the 1st Krajina Corps, purge the 1st Krajina Corps of Muslims and Croats. We believe that they cannot fight against their own people and that they are now involved in intelligence and other activities in the 1st Krajina Corps that are of interest to Ustasha forces and members of the so-called Alija's Territorial Defence. Deadline for completion: Seven days."
Q. I would now like you to look at another document, and then I will ask you some questions in relation to these documents --
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In order that we don't forget, what about objections by the Defence related to the document provisionally marked S391?
MR. LUKIC: We object to the authenticity, because there is no signature at all, but we will ask this witness several questions regarding this document as well.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So therefore, as we did it previously, this document will be admitted into evidence as S391A for the English version and B for the B/C/S version.
MS. SUTHERLAND: 10950
Q. Sir, just before we move off that document, there are seven conclusions stated in that document, and there is a stamp at the bottom of the document. Is that correct?
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think it's for the parties and for the members of the Bench to evaluate this. Thank you.
You want to continue with the new document?
MS. SUTHERLAND: Yes, if that could be marked provisionally S392. And that's a document dated the 9th of June, Your Honour, and the ERN number in the B/C/S version is 00949887, and the English translation is 01105469.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No 65 ter number for this case. Correct?
MS. SUTHERLAND: That's correct, Your Honour.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
Q. Sir, that is a document dated the 9th of June, 1992, from the assistant commander for morale -- for moral guidance and legal affairs, Colonel Milutin Vukelic from the 1st Krajina Corps, and it's a report on the Autonomous Region of Krajina Crisis Staff decision, and it's submitted to the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina army main staff and the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency.
Could you please read the document aloud.
A. "Decision of the Crisis Staff of the Krajina Autonomous Region to the main staff of the army and the Presidency of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
"At yesterday's session of the Crisis Staff of the Autonomous 10951 Region of Bosanska Krajina, one of the issues that was discussed was the general personnel policy in the army and the 1st Krajina Corps. "It was stated that within the units of the 1st Krajina Corps, 14th logistics base, and the units of the airforce and anti-aircraft defence in Banja Luka garrison, there are 67 officers of Muslim or Croat nationality. An ultimatum was issued requesting removal of these persons from vital and command posts by 15 June 1992, or they will take over the control of the armed forces. We consider their demand to be justified, but it is impossible to find adequate professional replacements among the reserve staff, and active officers of Bosnia-Herzegovina origin are not arriving from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Such action would also significantly weaken above-named units from which it has been requested that staff be purged. We are aware of a certain degree of danger, and we are excluding such persons from the more important decision-making processes. Our recommendation is to accelerate the process of sending active soldiers of BH origin over from FR Yugoslavia. The 1st Krajina Corps command should make the decision as to which staff members from the ranks of Muslims and Croats may still be temporarily kept and at what posts.
"It would also be essential to take a position on what should be done with those who have not demonstrated any hostile activity so far, but who must be removed from key posts.
"Milutin Vukelic, Colonel, assistant commander for moral guidance and legal affairs."
Q. The first document that we looked at, S391, shows that the 10952 civilian authorities in the subregional group of municipalities were requesting the Crisis Staff to cleanse the army of non-Serbs. The second document, the one we have just looked at, S392, then also discusses the issue that was discussed at the Autonomous Region of Krajina Crisis Staff, talking about purging staff from the 1st Krajina Corps, does it not?
A. I still maintain that this is a political document, so it was a request of the politics for things to be done in the army. The army responds in the way it did, but the army was never part of the Autonomous Region of Krajina or any other municipality territory, so they could not issue orders to the army. Obviously, nobody could forbid anybody to deliver such documents, and given the fact that this document indeed arrived, that could not have been forbidden. And they reacted as they did. And I continue maintaining the same position that, as far as I know, the politicians did try to realise their interests via the army. Whether they succeeded or not, and whether they had the legal right to do so or not, it is up to others to establish.
I am not in the position to be familiar with that matter. I do not know the documents of this time dating back to that period. And therefore, I'm not in a position to say anything more about that.
Q. As you know, in theory is one thing, and in practice is another.
A. In medical science, practice is sometimes stronger than its theory.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Could the witness be shown the next document, which could be provisionally marked S -- we want to deal with the last document, Your Honour. I'm sorry. 10953
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Objections?
MR. LUKIC: Can we reserve our right on this document, Your Honour? Because it says that it is done under cipher, and it seems that it's typed. So it's not clear whether it's -- on top. It said that it's coded and to be delivered immediately, but it doesn't seem, as the next document, you would see how it came through the machine.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: First of all, to the best of my recollection, we had already several documents that were, where we could read "coded." And we had already one expert on telecommunication. And emanating from this, I want to come back to our general decision from March or April 2002, admitting into evidence means, first of all, that the witness has testified. It was part of the hearing. And that we can come back and later on decide on the probative value of this document. Therefore, admitted into evidence as S392A, B respectively. And I'll emphasise on the same document, it is always possible if good reason will be shown that we reconsider this decision and may even quash our decision.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Thank you, Your Honour. Could the witness be shown the final document, provisionally if it could be marked S393. The B/C/S ERN number is 00820950, and the English translation is 03001521. And the document is dated the 9th of June, 1992.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I am not able to provisionally mark this document because I don't know what it's all about. We have in B/C/S one typed document and one in handwriting. So before marking this document, 10954 please proceed.
MS. SUTHERLAND: I think the English translation is to 00820950, and the page that's attached to it I will leave for the moment, and that is 00820951.
Q. Sir, this is a document dated the 9th of June, 1992, which is the same date as the previous exhibit we just looked at. And it's sent from the commander of the army of the Serbian Republic, Colonel General Ratko Mladic. It is sent to the command of the 1st Krajina Corps in relation to their reference, Document strictly confidential number 488-3 of the 9th of June, 1992, which is a reference to Exhibit S392.
Could you please read the next paragraph aloud.
A. To the "Command of the 1st Krajina Corps. Officers of Muslim or Croatian nationality must be sent on leave immediately. Take action at once to refer them to the army of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in order to resolve their status in the service."
Q. Thank you. The three exhibits that you have just read, S391, S392, and S393 --
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: There's not yet an S393. May I ask you also to have a look on the following page in handwriting. Maybe you, as a doctor, well acquainted with illegible handwriting, can see what is written on this page.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's difficult, I must say. It's not only doctors who have this kind of handwriting. I do apologise, but I'm afraid I cannot read this handwriting.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So for this reason, wouldn't it be appropriate 10955 to withdraw the handwritten document, because it also already reads in the English version that this page apparently is illegible.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Yes, Your Honour. I'm sorry. I apologise for not making myself clearer. A moment ago I said I would leave that page and I was only seeking to tender the typewritten translation and the B/C/S ERN number 00820950.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I hear the objections by the Defence.
MR. OSTOJIC: Yes, Your Honour. Just for clarification, is there also no 65 ter number for this document as well, just so that we're clear?
MS. SUTHERLAND: That's correct. And I have also been advised that 00820951 is actually on the back of the original document. But that text hasn't been translated.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And apparently, it's not possible either to read or then to translate it. So therefore, we discuss only the two documents before us.
MR. OSTOJIC: With respect to the same document, Your Honour, we would object to the authenticity of the document as well as the signature. But I would like to add in sum and substance, briefly, that with respect to the three documents, the Defence is contemplating filing a separate application in connection with those documents that we will bring in written form to the Court next week. So we explicitly and expressly reserve our right to do so since the Court has also said that these documents are provisionally marked, but I just wanted the record to be clear on that. Thank you, Your Honour.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: To be extremely concrete, in the moment, this 10956 document is provisionally marked 393. I've heard your objections. I told you that no doubt your right to challenge the decision later on, if you demonstrate reasons for this. But for the moment, as to the fact that the witness has testified based on this, this document is admitted into evidence as S393A and B respectively.
MS. SUTHERLAND: And Your Honour, that's both the B/C/S pages -- Your Honour, just to be clear, the B/C/S includes the two pages, because the handwritten page is actually on the back of the typewritten page.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We can't proceed this way. In case the Prosecution finds a possibility to find a person who can read this document, then no doubt we can admit this into evidence, but just illegible parts of a document can't be admitted into evidence, even though we are aware, and it's reflected on the transcript, that apparently on the back side of Document S393B, it is your submission that there is something to be found in handwriting, and it's for you to find out whether we can read it later and to provide us with the entire original and the best possible original to be found.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Yes, Your Honour. I just wanted to do that really more for completeness than anything, but we will get the original from the vault.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
Q. Doctor, the three documents that you've just read, isn't it clear from that that the civilian authorities in the group of the -- the 10957 subregional group of municipalities sent a request on the 7th of June, 1992, to the Autonomous Region of Krajina Crisis Staff and the leadership of the Serb Republic, requesting them to cleanse from the corps Muslims and Croats? Two days later, the 1st Krajina Corps then sends a document to the main staff, inter alia, stating that although they agreed with the instruction, it would be difficult to implement, and they were seeking guidance, instruction from the Autonomous Region Crisis Staff. And then on the same day, you have the order signed by Ratko Mladic that all superiors of Muslim and Croat nationality were to be sent on leave immediately and action was to be taken to refer them to the army of the FRY where their status would be resolved.
And so this document makes it clear that the political figures do have their policies implemented.
A. Yes, political figures did try, like in any other society and during the war as well, to influence certain events. Where they succeeded, where politics succeeded, well, these were acts. But this is a military order, and I can say that I have never seen this document before. This is the first time. So to me, as a physician, what this document contains, and the political request made differs greatly. There is a great difference between the two. And it is up to the Trial Chamber and others to assess and evaluate the reactions of the commander and the response by the command with respect to the requests made and the influence and efforts made to exert influence on the part of the political figures.
Q. And those documents show that the policy to remove non-Serb 10958 officers of -- non-Serb officers in positions of authority from the VRS is based purely on ethnic grounds. You would agree with that?
A. If you were to ask me not as an officer but as a man and a doctor if some of these officers, whether they were Muslims or Croats, if they were really temporarily removed from the war zone in Yugoslavia - and there were cases of that kind - and if they lived there and retired there, then I'm thinking, as an ordinary man, that would be a much better thing than some crimes perpetrated against them. And that was also something that happened. So I think that we should assess that in this light. I do not consider, however, that politics should have reacted in this way, which triggered off another reaction. But I leave it to the Court and others to decide what was to be done and how else this problem could have been solved in that general euphoria of war in which various cliques and ethnic groups wielded their influence, in which all partisan sides were seeking to wield their influence, different policies and politics. And so this is food for thought. We can think about this order in greater depth, the order issued by General Mladic, and place it in that context.
Q. Do I take it from your answer that your answer to my question was yes, that these documents show that the policy to remove non-Serb officers in positions of authority from the VRS was based purely on ethnic grounds?
A. As far as I know, these people were not to say removed, but certain command duties, the men were replaced with persons that were not Muslim or other ethnic groups, that maybe they were not up to the task and duties imposed upon them. So that I really can't say that I agree with 10959 you, and that that was -- that the reason for their removal was ethnic grounds.
Q. Doctor, the first document dated the 7th of June clearly is a request to cleanse the corps from Muslims and Croats. The second document, dated the 9th of June, talks about a decision to replace 67 non-Serb officers. Mladic's decision clearly, dated the 9th of June, the same as the previous document, states that all superiors of Muslim and Croat nationality were to be sent on leave.
My question again: These three documents clearly show that the policy to remove officers was based on ethnic grounds.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think the question was already answered by the witness on page 80, line 10, following when he stated that it would be better "if they were really temporarily removed from the war zone in Yugoslavia - and there were cases of that kind - and if they lived there and retired there, then I'm thinking as an ordinary man, that would be a much better thing than some crimes perpetrated against them." And from this, I take that you have experienced examples that crimes were committed against those persons. Correct? Please answer, that it's reflected on the transcript, not only nodding. Could you please be so kind.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, precisely so.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, I have no further questions.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Questioned by the Court: 10960
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We learned this morning that after your graduation, you started working in Prijedor on or about 1979. Correct?
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It's extremely difficult to work with the correct terms in this Tribunal because the terminology is different. In one country, you use this term; in another country, that term. Therefore, my question would be: Whom did you regard as the political leader of Prijedor in general?
A. In 1979, when I started working in Prijedor, there was a one-party, single-party system, and that was communism. The communist party. And we knew where the leadership lay, and we knew who was at the head of communism. We were united in that sense. And my leader at that time was Tito.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Wasn't there a, let's call it, subleader in the area of Prijedor already at that time?
A. You're asking me about 1979, are you?
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In fact.
A. The old politicians of the day, dating back to those times; Drasko Popovic, Nikola Stojanovic to name a few. Younger politicians of my own age, I don't remember those. I don't remember any younger politicians whom I could refer to as being my political leaders.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then let's go immediately one step further: 1990, 1991, who was at that time the political leader in Prijedor?
A. In 1990, as far as I recall, there were general elections. And in Prijedor, the party that won the elections with a slight majority was the 10961 SDA. That is to say, the Muslim party. But according to some of the electoral results, this was almost equal to the SDS party, whereas the Croatian party received far fewer votes. So that I personally in the sense of leadership, a political leader, I can't actually remember anybody that stood out as a political leader. And as I say, at that time, I was living in Banja Luka, actually.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you by chance, even though I know that you lived in Banja Luka, knew Mr. Cehajic?
A. I knew Mr. Cehajic's wife very well. She was Dr. Milka. And she taught me, because I spent the first days of my internship working under her. She was a very good professional, very good doctor, and a humanist. I didn't know him personally, although I heard about him through her.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you ever, after 1992, have a meeting with Madam Cehajic?
A. No. I didn't see her.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you know about the fate of the late Mr. Cehajic?
A. Yes, I heard about it. I heard that -- I heard what had happened to him in 1992, unfortunately.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And do you know the reasons why this happened to him?
A. I really don't know. I don't know the details of the event.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you ever meet Dr. Stakic after 1992?
A. I think we met, as I said earlier on, sometime in 1994 in the Presidency, or rather at the meetings of the physicians -- the society of 10962 physicians of Republika Srpska.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you at that time also discuss political issues?
A. No, I don't remember discussing political issues. We discussed our own society, our own association, because we felt the need for the society to function, to actually be active in all regions, not just to exist as dead letter on paper, so in the municipalities, and our discussions went along those lines.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. May I ask the usher to present to the witness Document D50B.
Was there at that time a Minister of Defence? And where in this hierarchy would you allocate the Minister of Defence?
A. Well, on the first rung of the ladder, in the supreme council, the Defence Minister is on that body. And by virtue of office, he should take part in the Supreme Command as well. But as far as I know, the Supreme Commander is independent and autonomous in making decisions. And usually, it is embodied in the person of the president of the Republic, president of the country, state.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So would it be correct to put the Minister of Defence in box 1 of your own sketch?
A. Well, he should be there. But I really don't know exactly whether he would be or not.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Some minutes ago, you stated that you are not aware of the notion of a Prijedor regional command and referred, to the best of your recollection, to Prijedor garrison command. Where in this 10963 hierarchy would we find the Prijedor garrison command?
A. In number 6. No, I apologise. Number 5.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And could you please explain for us, having not served in the military, what is your understanding of a garrison command? How many persons are there? Who is the leader of such a garrison command?
A. The garrison command is an institution which should technically, in the sense of manpower, serve the active component in the town, that is to say, military pensioners. It should authorise and authenticate health documents. And there's usually an army club attached to the garrison, where cultural events take place in the military sense. But I'm talking about peacetime. In times of war -- that's why I say that was how it was before the war.
Now, after the war, a brigade was set up, the 143rd Brigade. Now, whether that command was within the brigade composition or not, or whether it was the regional command of Prijedor was something else again. I really can't say. I don't know.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you know anybody in person in the Prijedor garrison command?
A. I knew Dr. Zeljko Macura, who was a doctor there, and he was chief of the medical corps. He was not an active-duty serviceman. I remember him from the medical corps.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you know Mr. Arsic?
A. Yes, I heard of Mr. Arsic.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And would he be part of this Prijedor garrison 10964 command, or even the commander of this garrison command? Sorry for asking you these questions on ranks in the military hierarchy, but we really need to know this.
A. For a while, he was the commander of the 143rd. Whether he was -- I've already told you that I'm not familiar with the fact whether the command was in the composition of the unit. So I don't know whether he was in the garrison command and in the regional command in the way this is mentioned in the document. But I know that he was in that unit.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Whom would you regard as your colleague or subordinate on the level of Prijedor, responsible for taking care of all the health problems of this garrison command?
A. It was Dr. Macura. I cooperated with him, and he was in that unit. That was one of the largest units in Prijedor, although it was not in the composition of the Prijedor area. Its manpower was from other municipalities; from Novi Grad, Sanski Most, and Prijedor.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did Dr. Macura ever report to you on certain problems emanating from the number of wounded persons caused by incidents, be it in Prijedor, be it in Kozarac, be it in Hambarine, be it Omarska, be it in Keraterm, or wheresoever? Was this once an issue that he felt necessary to report to you, that they had enormous problems?
A. Let me clarify this. In the corps command, there was also a chief of the command corps of that corps. It was Colonel Dikic, Branko Dikic. All the reports on medical issues from all the units, including the medical corps of Dr. Macura, arrived at the desk of the chief of medical corps in the 1st Corps, and in my medical battalion, which was a 10965 stationary institution, and it was not an operational unit in the same sense as the medical units in the brigade and lower-ranking units. That is where I was.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this clarification. Before I turn to a number of documents, isn't it true that in wartimes, in extraordinary times, it was necessary that those powers, normally divided for good reason, had to cooperate more closely than in peacetime?
A. Yes, precisely. But when it came to medical issues and medical corps, we cooperated because we had to do that. We had to cooperate in our work. We couldn't treat all the wounded and sick only in our institution. We had to rely on civilian institutions, and we had to cooperate in our profession.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. May I ask the usher to present to the witness Document S180B. And could you please start with page number 76, item number 115.
May I ask in the meantime, did you ever read Official Gazettes, or was this more or less boring for you?
A. Mostly boring. Only when I had to.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please have a look on this document. And could you please read out item number 115.
A. Should I read it this aloud? "It is hereby suggested to the regional command of Prijedor that in cooperation with the" -- this is something I can't see too well.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It starts on the top of the page 115. 10966
A. "Pursuant to Article 3 and Article 70 -" I can't read the second number - "of the decision on the organisation and work of the Prijedor Municipality, the Crisis Staff of Prijedor Municipality at its session held on the 23rd of June, 1992, issues the following conclusion: It is hereby suggested that the regional command of Prijedor should, in cooperation with the higher command, coordinate and regulate the unique insignia of the army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. "Second, this conclusion shall come into effect on the day of its passing.
President of the Crisis Staff, Milan Kovacevic."
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you know Mr. Kovacevic?
A. Dr. Kovacevic, yes. I knew him from our university days.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you hear also about his political career?
A. Yes, I did. He was the president of the Executive Board of Prijedor Municipality in 1992. That's what I heard.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And now, to the contents of this conclusion, you made a clear distinction between conclusion and order, and we perfectly understood this.
What is your understanding, that a Crisis Staff in Prijedor come to the conclusion to have unified insignia for the army? Could you comment on this, please.
A. My comment could be the following: Political structures and institutions tried to influence the unified insignia. Whether this was implemented, whether this was carried through, and whether this was according to military regulations, I cannot tell you. 10967
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So maybe it's helpful to come back to a more fundamental document. The same Official Gazette, the same exhibit number, S180, if you could please read out item number 18. This is on, English version, the second page, for the assistance of the usher. The decision that reads: "Decision on the organisation and work of Prijedor Municipal Crisis Staff."
Could you please be so kind and read out the first half part of Article 6.
A. "In the implementation of its function within the area of defence activities, the Crisis Staff will do the following things particularly: It will coordinate the work and activities of the participants in the general people's defence. It will consider the issues of mobilisation, development, and the replenishment of the armed forces and other structures, and initiate with other competent municipal bodies cooperation with the former structures based on --"
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. This is enough. What's your comment on this in a decision taken by Prijedor Municipal Crisis Staff discussing the reinforcement of the armed forces?
A. The Official Gazette that I see in front of you, I never read before. That's first. And secondly, during the war, when I did my job, this is not something that I would think about.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If you then could proceed in the same document, item 18, Article 9, please. If you could be so kind and read aloud Article 9.
A. "Crisis Staff maintains permanent coordination and cooperation 10968 with the army of the Serbian Republic -- Bosnian Republic. And it engages in the civilian protection via the officials and officers of these institutions and bodies through the Executive Board of the municipality and with all the other economic and social subjects in the area of the municipality."
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask you for comments on this article. On the cooperation between the Crisis Staff and the army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and other organs.
A. Yes, I can see this is a political platform of the Crisis Staff. But there's no single military document. And not just military documents, but instructions. I have not come across anything similar to this. I have not come across something like this that existed and was implemented in the military bodies and commands.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May we then turn in the same Official Gazette, the same exhibit number, to item number 20. If you could read this aloud, please.
A. "Pursuant to Article 7 of the decision on the organisation and work of the Crisis Staff of Prijedor Municipality at the session held on 5th of June, 1992, the Crisis Staff of Prijedor Municipality issues the following order: It is hereby forbidden every unauthorised shooting from fire weapons in the territory of Prijedor Municipality. "Second, the consistent implementation of this order will be under the authority of the police and the public security organs of Prijedor, which will take the legally prescribed actions against the -- all those who violate this order. 10969 "This order shall come into effect immediately."
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you agree that this is an order directed, amongst others, to the military police? An order by the Crisis Staff, and as it is reflected in the Official Gazette, by Dr. Milomir Stakic, president of the Crisis Staff?
A. Yes, I've read it. This is obvious. But the question I raise here is whether this decision was valid before the military bodies, before the military prosecution at that time in our parts.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May we then proceed to page number 42 in the English version. It's item 30, 3-0. Due to the short time, I want to direct you immediately under the word "Order," paragraph 2.
A. "Hereby the command of the Prijedor garrison and the public security station are hereby duty-bound to establish the needs to engage the materiel equipment and deliver to the municipal secretariat for national defence in order to legalise the fact that technical equipment and materiel have been taken by the military and the police in keeping with their actual needs."
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Would it be correct to draw the inference from this order directed to the Prijedor garrison command that this is, in fact, maybe the attempt only, but it reflects an order directed to box number 5 in the sketch you have drawn?
A. The brigades? I can't remember.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The Prijedor garrison command. Just some minutes ago, you told us that you would allocate the Prijedor garrison command in box 5. So therefore, would this document reflect an order 10970 vis-a-vis this fifth box in your sketch on Exhibit Number D50B?
A. Possibly, as an attempt to realise the interests that politics or certain circles from the Crisis Staff had. But it was an attempt, an endeavour on their part.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May we then turn to item number 48. This is on the English version on page number 51. Would you please read aloud this order.
A. "Pursuant to Articles 3 and 7 of the decision on the organisation and work of the Crisis Staff of Prijedor Municipality, the Crisis Staff of Prijedor Municipality, at a session held on the 17th of June 1992 and in connection with information on the security situation on the territory of Prijedor Municipality, makes the -- issues the following order: "It orders the public security station of Prijedor and the regional command of Prijedor, within a space of two days, to form a uniform intervention platoon -- a united intervention platoon with 20 members, the basic task of which will be to prevent looting and other criminal undertakings on the territory of the municipality, and the movement of all unregistered vehicles and vehicles carrying members of the army and police force without travel permits, without regularly issued travel permits.
"The composition of the platoon from the previous item will be made up of the regional command and the public security station. These are duty-bound within the space of -- a space of seven days to report back to the Crisis Staff in the municipality in writing on the activities and results of the work of the intervention platoon. 10971 "This order comes into effect on the day it was issued."
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What would be your comment on this order?
A. The same as before.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And if you could, please, repeat. Is this an order directed to the Prijedor regional command?
A. Yes, and that's what it says here, to the Regional Command of Prijedor, whereas I said that as far as -- I said how far I was familiar with the regional command as a body. That's what I was talking about.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Related to this document, I was able to understand the content of the document, but if you move forward to item number 55, here I really want -- need your assistance in understanding this document. If you could read it aloud first, please.
A. "At the session held on the 29th of May, 1992, at 16.30 hours, the Crisis Staff of Prijedor makes the following provision: "1. It relieves of duty the commander of the Serbian territorial defence, Major Slobodan Kuruzovic. This comes into effect on the 29th of May, 1992. And he shall be placed under the command of the regional command.
"This decision comes into effect immediately. And the Crisis Staff of Prijedor Municipality and the command of the region shall see that it is implemented."
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What does it mean here "placed under the command of the command of the region"?
A. The Territorial Defence existed in peacetime, as far as I understand, and this was a reserve component. In certain municipalities, 10972 the Territorial Defence had its departments, and their task in peacetime was to call the reservists up for training, at intervals. And with the war, or rather in 1992 - I don't know the exact date - the units of the Territorial Defence as a Territorial Defence ceased to exist. Now, whether the Crisis Staff could have replaced and subordinated this to the region, I don't know. I can't say.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And then finally, item number 101. English, page number 70.
A. "Pursuant to Articles 3 and 7 of the decision pertaining to the organisation and work of the Crisis Staff of Prijedor Municipality, the Crisis Staff of Prijedor Municipality at its session held on the 12th of June, 1992, adopts the following conclusion:
"1. That it be suggested to the autonomous province of Krajina to set up a Crisis Staff which would be made up of all the presidents of the Municipal Assemblies and the hitherto staff be transformed into a Crisis Staff of Banja Luka municipality.
"2. The autonomous province of Krajina is called upon to set up the urgent formation of a government for the autonomous province of Krajina and the autonomous province of Krajina is requested to provide explanations as to the conclusions made by the Crisis Staff, which refers to the pensioning off of workers who have served 30 and 35 -- who have done 30 and 35 years of service. This conclusion comes into effect on the day it was passed."
This is slightly illegible. Perhaps I read something incorrectly.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Your comments on this document. 10973
A. This document is a sort of political platform, if I can call it that. It is derived from the political platform and interests of the political parties. As far as I know, I don't remember actually that anything of this kind was set up in Banja Luka, or that we were under the influence of the Crisis Staff, that is to say the army in Banja Luka, and especially my own medical corps. I don't recall being under their influence at all.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Unfortunately, I missed one item, and this was 97. If you could have a look on this as well, and read it aloud. English, page number 69.
A. "At its session held on the 29th of May, 1992, the Crisis Staff of Prijedor Municipality adopts the following conclusion: With the formation of the army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the need ceases to exist for the existence of the Serbian TO, which shall become part of the composition and come under the command of the region. This conclusion comes into effect immediately. And the Crisis Staff of Prijedor Municipality, along with the regional command, will see that it is put into practice."
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: From your point of view, what does this conclusion reflect, being yourself in your capacity as a physician, member of the army, would know about the results on the formation on the army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina? Can you tell us something about this development apparently concluded by the formation of this army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
A. I'm sorry, but I did not understand your question. 10974
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: My question was, leaving aside the text of this document, had the formation of the army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina any impact on your individual work and the entire structure and the hierarchy of the army?
A. If you mean professionally and professional advancement, and the training of medical corps staff in Republika Srpska, during the war, in wartime, it wasn't at a very high level, I have to admit. And we didn't have the material resources or the time, because of our daily duties and obligations, to devote more work to training. We had to work with the sick and wounded. So that there was not much progress made in the sense of training and education for our staff members.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The last question from my side for today, coming now back to your initial testimony, where on your own sketch would you allocate the army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
A. Your Honour, did you mean this particular diagram?
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Right.
A. The army of Republika Srpska ranged from the main staff right down to the troops, the soldiers. So to all intents and purposes, all these commands of the individual units comprised the army of Republika Srpska.
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And why was it so that apparently following this conclusion, it was -- it seemed to be appropriate that the Serbian TO shall be incorporated into the structure of the region and placed under its command? Where would you put the Serbian Territorial Defence in the hierarchy of your own sketch?
A. I don't know. I can't answer that question. 10975
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. I think in all likelihood, the Defence will have a number of questions, and also the Judges will have a number of questions. With a view to the watch, it's absolutely necessary to have a break, and I think we have to continue a longer period of time tomorrow. May I, therefore, ask you, please be so kind and not contact any of the parties - no representative of the Prosecution, no representative of the Defence - until we resume; and the same is true, please don't contact any other witnesses you might by chance meet here, there, and everywhere in The Hague. It often happens, unfortunately. But please be so kind, in order to establish a fair trial, that you don't speak with these persons. I thank you for today's long testimony and hope to meet you tomorrow once again in a fresh condition. Thank you.
[The witness stands down]
JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The trial stays adjourned until tomorrow, 9.00.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.42 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday
the 23rd day of January, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.