Zulic’s Testimony Concludes, Court Hears Testimony about Pale and Sarajevo
www.slobodan-milosevic.org -
April 28, 2010

Hearing Date: April 14, 2010


The Trial of Radovan Karadzic continued to hear testimony from Ahmet Zulic, a Bosnian-Muslim mine worker from Sanski Most in northwestern Bosnia.


Karadzic’s Cross Examination of Ahmet Zulic Continues


Zulic testified that he did not believe there would be a conflict between the Serbs and the Muslims in Bosnia. In spite of that professed belief, he acquired a machine gun and took up a position in the Muslim cemetery in Sanski Most. But he said he didn’t use the gun because he was afraid the Serbs would retaliate.


He said Muslims and Croats were called up for duty in the JNA, but that they refused conscription. The refusal of the Muslims and Croats to join the JNA left the JNA largely dominated by Serbs.


Djordje Todorovic who worked at the Kamengrad mine together with Zulic gave an affidavit to Karadzic’s defense team stating: “The aforesaid Zulic, Ahmet, was not arrested because he was an employee of the Kamengrad mine but for other reasons. To my recollection, a certain quantity of explosives and one machine-gun were found on him.  The explosive that was found originated from the Kamengrad mine.”


Zulic denied procuring explosives, but admitted “The submachine-gun that I acquired is the truth and I’m not denying that.”


Zulic’s brother kept working in the same mine in the same town until the end of the war and wasn’t arrested or expelled from his home. The only difference between Zulic and his brother was that his brother didn’t have a machine gun. Otherwise they were both Muslims living in the same town and working in the same mine.


Zulic testified in Milosevic trial, and in his witness statement, that a Serb policeman named Milan Tontic “Tonci” had been killed by other Serbs because he helped Muslims during the war. He testified that, “Tonci helped the Muslims. He was the only one who didn’t beat them, that’s why Tonci is no longer alive today.”


Karadzic found a document (number 1D24) confirming that Tonci is alive and living in Banja Luka. Zulic’s reacted saying, “I’m only too happy if he’s alive.  I just told you that I was told after the war that he had been killed.  I had no information to the contrary.  If I knew the man was alive, I would have visited him, Your Honours.”


One of the underlying premises of Zulic’s testimony was that the Muslims were peaceful and did absolutely nothing to provoke the Bosnian Serbs. He denied the existence of Muslim paramilitaries and painted a picture of the Bosnian Serbs arresting him and attacking Muslim villages for absolutely no reason other than spite and meanness.


To rebut this contention Karadzic showed Zulic a transcript from an SDA meeting dated March 16, 1992 (before the war started, and months before the events Zulic testified about).


At that SDA meeting Osman Brka (former head of the Human Rights Committee of Bosnia-Hercegovina parliament) said: “Everything that happened should have happened; I have to say that all this is necessary. The awakening of the Muslim people is in full swing.  It is important to be organized with Allah’s help, and we will be the moral and overall winners to emerge from this chaos. There will be more victims and who knows what else, but in return we’ll obtain what we want. Alija Izetbegovic, Haris Silajdzic, Ejup Ganic are doing their jobs very well, given the situation. It’s important to be well organized up until the time when it [the Muslim paramilitaries] will become our legal army.  We have to gain time and prolong matters”


Also at the meeting, Salim Sabic (a close associate of Izetbegovic) said: “I think that our people are very well organized.  I think that when things come to a head, our people will be able to respond.  We agreed to sign a statement to freeze all activities relating to the proclamation of the Serbian or Muslim municipality.  They would not accept, under any circumstances, to remain in the Muslim canton.  We don’t have to trust the Serbs in anything. Contact the police commander, the commander of the TO, [and] ensure weapons for the units.”


The transcript shows that the intention of the highest echelons of the SDA was to provoke a war in Bosnia. The victims didn’t matter, not even to the head of the human rights committee, all that mattered to him was that the SDA got what it wanted. He said, “There will be more victims and who knows what else, but in return we’ll obtain what we want.” And Sabic explains that they’ll get what they want with weapons, he says, “Contact the police commander, the commander of the TO, [and] ensure weapons for the units.”


Zulic’s response was, “I don’t know what they discussed.  I have to repeat again, Your Honours. I’m not a politician.”


When asked if the Patriotic League existed in Sanski Most, Mr. Zulic (who claims to be very well informed about what went on in Sanski Most) said, “I don’t know.  If it did, it did; if it did, I don’t know.”


Zulic’s testimony was: “I heard of the existence of the Patriotic League after the war, when I returned home, that’s when I heard about the Patriotic League and its existence.”


However, earlier in his testimony Zulic admitted that he knew a man named Enver Burnic, who was a Muslim and the police chief in Sanski Most.


Karadzic showed Zulic Enver Burnic’s death certificate which was issued by the municipal court of Sanski Most on July 14, 1997 (after Sanski Most was part of the BH Federation). 


The document said “Burnic, Enver, son of Mustafa and Fatima, has been declared dead … after the aggression against BiH, Enver Burnic, as before, was the commander of the police in Sanski Most. He was prominent in the defense of the country. He refused to submit to the ultimatum of the fascist SDS and be loyal to the Serb authorities. Enver Burnic was very patriotically oriented. He worked actively to prepare an armed resistance to the aggressor, and on his uniform and cap he placed the insignia of the Patriotic League.”


Zulic’s response was, “I can’t say anything about that.  I can’t make any comments.  All I can say is what Enver looked like when I came across him.  Now, did he wear a cap or hat, I don’t know, he would have worn whatever he wanted on his head, horns or whatever.”


Obviously if Zulic knew Enver Burnic he would have had to know that the Patriotic League existed since Burnic openly wore the insignia of the Patriotic League on his hat and uniform.


Zulic testified that in the village of Hrustovo hundreds of civilians were massacred by Bosnian Serb troops. He said there was no combat, just wanton killing of civilians.


Karadzic showed Zulic excerpts from a book written by Mirza Mujagic, president of the SDA of Prijedor, stating that an elite unit of the Patriotic League was based in and around Hrustovo and engaged Bosnian-Serb forces in combat. Karadzic also showed Zulic a list of Bosnian-Serbs who died in the fighting at Hrustovo and other villages around Sanski Most (exhibit D00006).


Zulic responded saying, “I didn’t read this.  I don’t know any of this.  I put in my statement what I know, what I heard from the refugees.”


Zulic testified that on June 22, 1992 at a place called Kriva Cesta some 20 Muslims (including him) were forced to dig their own graves before all but three of them had their throats slit by a local Serb named Simo Simetic. He said that the killing was witnessed by the entire Serbian political elite from the area, including the president of the municipality. He testified that the Serbian political officials all sat at picnic tables and watched Simetic slaughter the Muslims.


Karadzic accused Zulic of making-up the whole story and he showed Zulic Mr. Simetic’s military service records which show that he was nowhere near Kriva Cesta when the alleged massacre happened. He then asked the witness rhetorically, “What will you say if I tell you that we have proof and that he will personally sue you for libel and perjury because he has proved that he was in his unit at that time?”


Zulic stuck to his story and theorized that Simetic’s military records had been doctored.


Zulic claims to be disabled by beatings he suffered at the hands of his Serbian captors. However, Karadzic managed to dig-up Zulic’s JNA file (exhibit D00007) which showed that he was physically unfit for duty long before the war, which could mean he was already disabled.


The JNA file didn’t explain what Zulic’s disability was. Zulic said he was unfit for duty in the JNA because he had an ulcer, and he maintained that the disabilities he currently suffers are the result of injuries inflicted on him while he was detained by Bosnian-Serb forces.


The Prosecution Calls Sulejman Crncalo


The prosecution’s second witness was Sulejman Crncalo, a Bosnian Muslim who was born, lived, and worked in Pale.


Crncalo testified that in 1991 and early 1992 there were increasing public manifestations of Serb nationalism in Pale accompanied by the covert distribution of weapons to the local Serb population.


He testified that on March 3, 1992 he was arrested and taken to Pale police station, where he said he was interrogated and threatened with death by the chief of police, Malko Koroman, and subsequently beaten for three hours.


Shortly after that incident he said the Serb authorities started a campaign to convince Muslims to leave Pale.


In June and July 1992 he testified that several Muslim men living in Pale were arrested in their homes by Serb Red Berets and killed. He said, “In Knin and in Gospic, fire swallowed everything, everything that could be looted was looted (by Red Berets), everything that could be killed was killed.  And they had the intention probably to do the same in Pale.”


He said that in June 1992, Radovan Karadzic gave a speech to a crowd in front of the Dom Kultur in Pale.  Mr. Crncalo claimed to be present for the speech where he said he heard Karadzic tell the crowd, “Every Muslim house has to be attacked because that’s the way to defend Serb houses.”


In late June and early July 1992, Crncalo said the Serb authorities organized convoys to forcibly remove non-Serbs from Pale. Mr. Crncalo says that he does not know of any Muslim or Croat who left Pale municipality voluntarily, and that Muslims who refused to leave the Pale area in July 1992 were killed.


He said that he was obliged to fill in a contract agreeing to transfer ownership of his house to a Serb woman, and that he was obliged to leave behind his car and its registration papers.


After leaving Pale, the witness went to live in Sarajevo until the end of the war. He said the living conditions in the city were harsh because the Serbs cut-off humanitarian aid. He testified that shelling and sniping were a constant and terrifying feature of life in Sarajevo. 


On 28 August 1995, Mr. Crncalo’s wife went to the Markale market in Sarajevo where she was killed when a shell hit the market.


Karadzic Begins his Cross-Examination of Sulejman Crncalo


For the remainder of the court session Karadzic asked Crncalo questions about what he saw when he arrived at the market after the shelling. 


A complete transcript of this hearing is available at: http://www.icty.org/x/cases/karadzic/trans/en/100414IT.htm

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