|CASE No IT-94-1-T
PROSECUTOR vs DUŠKO TADIĆ
WITNESS NAME: Emir Beganović
19 July 1996
MR. TIEGER: Thank you, your Honour. The next witness is Emir Beganovic.
EMIR BEGANOVIC, called.
THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Sir, would you please take the oath that is being
given to you? Read that oath and take it.
THE WITNESS [In translation]: I solemnly declare that I will speak the
truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
(The witness was sworn)
THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you. You may be seated.
Examined by MR. TIEGER
THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Tieger?
MR. TIEGER: Sir, what is your name?
A. Emir Beganovic.
Q. What is your age?
A. I am 41.
Q. Where were you born?
Q. What is your nationality?
Q. What was your occupation before the conflict in 1992?
A. I had private restaurant business and together with my wife I had
Q. How many restaurants or cafes did you own?
A. Three, and the fourth one was the florist shop.
Q. Where were your businesses located?
A. Two of them on the Esada Midzica Street, the third restaurant was on
Marsala Tita Street.
Q. Is it correct to say that you were well known locally as a successful
businessman in Prijedor?
Q. In what part of Prijedor did you live?
A. Until 1990 I lived in the old town, in Stari Grad, until I built
myself a flat in Salamica Street and I moved then there.
Q. After the elections of 1990 and before the outbreak of the actual
conflict in 1992, did increasing tensions develop between Serbs and
Muslims in the Prijedor area?
A. Yes, it was growing after the elections, after the party election the
tensions began to grow, but it was not as strongly felt as when the
conflict in Croatia broke out. When that conflict broke out, then the
tensions began to mount.
Q. Before that time had people in Prijedor tended to distinguish between
who was Muslim and who was Serb?
A. Well, by physical appearance one could not distinguish between them,
only if we knew each other, if we knew who was a Muslim, who was a
Croat, who was a Serb, but there was no difference whatsoever.
Q. Did you have Serb friends as well as Muslim friends?
A. Well, at the present time after this war when I look back, I find that
I had more friends among the Serbs than among the Muslims, I mean,
Q. As the tensions you spoke of increased before the outbreak of the
conflict, did you become involved with a group in Prijedor town that
was interested in promoting peace?
A. Yes, I joined the League for Peace, and I was on its steering
Q. Did the establishment of the League for Peace result from any
particular incident or was it a response to the general situation?
A. Well, it was spontaneous. I aspired to having all options open in
Prijedor just to avoid war, and we thought that regardless of what
Party who had voted for ought to join us, and simply show the
leadership of the first and the second and third Party that the people
was not for war -- that people were not for war.
Q. Approximately when was the League established?
A. The League was established in '91, sometime towards the end of '91, I
cannot remember the month exactly. I believe it was November.
Q. Who was the primary organiser of the League?
A. Primary organiser was Dr. Esad Sadikovic, called "Eso".
Q. Was Dr. Sadikovic a medical doctor who had previously worked with the
Q. Were there persons of all nationalities on the steering committee?
Q. Did the League for Peace have any connection with any political group
or any other peace group?
Q. The purpose of the group was to unite people in Prijedor in the hope
of avoiding any inter-ethnic conflicts or tensions?
Q. What steps did the League for Peace take in this effort to promote
A. Well, we mostly organised concerts in public, public concerts in the
centre of the town. We tried to organise concerts in the beginning
while we still could get permission from the local SUP. We had our
meetings in public. Anybody was admitted, whoever wanted to come.
But later on things began to be more complex. The SUP refused to give
us permission to organise concerts, and they stopped permitting us to
rent out a hall for our meetings. It just dwindled and gradually
faded out spontaneously because it had no possibilities of continuing
Q. During that period in which the League was able to obtain permission
to hold concerts, how many people attended those concerts?
A. Well, there was never a concert attended by less than 7,000 or 8,000
or 10,000 people even.
Q. Were there speeches or messages of peace during the concerts?
A. Yes, yes. All the addresses, all the speeches were serving the
purpose of peace. There were no speeches actually, there were
Q. I am sorry, the translation says "there were political messages".
What kind of messages were delivered during the concerts the League
for Peace conducted?
A. Well, no, not political messages, messages for peace, peace messages.
Q. Eventually the League for Peace disbanded because of obstruction from
Q. Approximately when did the League for Peace conclude its efforts?
A. I should say towards the end of February.
Q. Was that at a time of increasing tensions?
A. The tensions were increasing from one day to another at that time,
Q. Did you send your family out of the area for safety?
A. Yes, I sent them to their relatives in Croatia, in Istria.
Q. When did your family leave the area?
A. I think they left on 12th March '92.
Q. You remained in Prijedor?
A. Yes, I remained in Prijedor, and a few days later I moved to Dr. Esad
Q. Were you concerned about what might happen in Prijedor?
A. I was concerned. That was why I had moved my family away, but I could
never dream that anything even remotely like what did happen could
Q. Were you in Prijedor when the Serbs took power in a takeover on April
Q. After the takeover did tensions mount?
A. Well, hour after hour the tension mounted with every hour, ever since
the moment they took over the power on 29th April.
Q. Were you at Dr. Sadikovic's house when the cleansing of Prijedor town
began on May 30th?
Q. From the windows of Dr. Sadikovic's house or from his terrace, were
you able to see what was happening in Prijedor and, in particular, in
Q. What were you able to see?
A. I could see that Stari Grad was ablaze literally. I could even
identify the position of my parent's house. I could see it on fire.
Literally the whole of Stari Grad was aflame.
Q. Did you see soldiers?
A. I saw them.
Q. How were they dressed?
A. Different kinds of uniforms, of different colours.
Q. Were those Serbian forces?
A. Well, I guess they were.
Q. Did you hear announcements over the radio about what Muslims should
A. Yes, we had the radio on and we listened, the warnings and
instructions how people should behave.
Q. What did the radio messages instruct Muslims to do?
A. Well, in the beginning they said we should merely stay partly in our
houses, that nothing would happen. Then a little bit later on, perhaps
after an hour or so, they said that all Muslims should put out white
flags on their houses and if they did not have any flags, then perhaps
bed linen, sheets or whatever.
Q. Did you do so?
A. Yes, we put out bed sheets on both sides of the house.
Q. You say "we put out bed sheets", who was in Dr. Sadikovic's house with
A. That morning there was my friend, Asif Kapetanovic.
Q. Then at some point after you and Mr. Kapetanovic had hung the white
sheets in response to the instructions on the radio, did he observe
something that caused him great concern?
A. Yes, at a certain point he went to the terrace on the upper floor and
saw that his business premises were on fire. It was a one-storeyed
house on the ground floor, they had their business. On the upper
floor they had a flat. I heard him scream. I asked him what was it
and he said that his mother was in that flat upstairs, and that the
flat was on fire, and I ran out. I could see the flames, perhaps as
much as 20 metres high. The house was ablaze. It was literally all
Perhaps it took him some time to calm down, and he decided then to
go and see what had happened to his mother. At that point I did not
know what to do. So I decided to go with him. I could not really
leave him to himself, because for the past few days he was suffering
from kidneys and that was why he was in Eso's house, to treat his
kidneys, and he could not, of course, go to the hospital because the
hospital had already been taken over by the Serbs.
Q. While you were outside were you confronted at some point by a Serb
soldier and did you flee that soldier and run into the nearest Muslim
A. Yes. The soldier came up and said, "Halt". We were some 50 metres
away and I automatically said, "Asif, I am not going to wait for him,
I am fleeing", and there was the wire of the house nearby -- there was
a hedge of the house nearby and I jumped over that hedge, and then I
heard three or four bursts of fire, but I was in the luck, I was not
Then I crawled behind that house to another house. I used to know
people who lived around there. I knew it was a Muslim house. I
knocked on the door and was flabbergasted when I saw another friend of
mine, Saim Mesanovic who opened the door for me and let me in even
though he was from a different part of the town, and that was his
Q. While you were in that house was there another announcement on the
radio that Muslims should put white ribbons or arm bands on their
arms, form columns and go to the main square?
A. Yes, they said that all Muslims from that part of the town should come
out and head for the town with white arm bands.
Q. Did you and the other persons in the house do that?
Q. Once outside were you directed by Serb forces toward the area of the
taller buildings in the town centre?
A. Yes, they directed us in the direction of the small marketplace. Then
by Muharem Rujanovic Street, there were three skyscrapers in Prijedor
and that is where they stopped, they directed us. There was a column
of perhaps 1,000 to 2,000 people. I would not know exactly.
Q. On the way did you see any corpses?
A. Yes, in the marketplace I went round a pile in which there were some
four or five bodies, and then I happened to glance over the area of
the marketplace and I saw another body lying there, and then I could
not stand it any longer and I turned my head away.
Q. Were those bodies of civilians?
Q. When you reached the area they directed you to, were there buses
A. Well, the buses were already there, parked.
Q. Did Serb forces then begin to separate the men from women and
A. Yes, they said that men over the age of 15 should stand, should move
to one side, and children below the age of 15 and women should go to
the other side.
Q. Did you board one of those buses?
Q. Where were you first taken?
A. Well, first they took us to the SUP and that is where the buses
stopped, by the SUP.
Q. So first to the police station in Prijedor town?
A. To the police station in Prijedor.
Q. How long did the bus remain there?
A. Not long, some 10 minutes or so, five or 10 minutes.
Q. Were there guards on your bus?
A. Yes, there were two or three perhaps. I remember that one had got off
and entered the SUP building, probably to get instructions, and
returned after a couple of minutes, and the bus continued.
Q. I have been referring to your bus. Were there other buses loaded
with men and boys over the age of 15 along with your bus at the SUP?
Q. After the relatively brief period of time at the Prijedor SUP, where
were you taken?
A. We were taken by JNA street. We came out of the JNA street to the
tennis grounds, to Partizanska and then on towards Tomasica.
Q. After that where did the buses go?
A. Before Tomasica they turned. I had never used that road before.
Later on I learned that it was the road to Omarska.
Q. Is that where your bus was taken, to Omarska?
THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We will stand in recess for 20 minutes.
THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Tieger, would you begin?
MR. TIEGER: Thank you, your Honour. (To the witness): Mr. Beganovic,
before I discuss Omarska with you, I wanted to ask you a question
about something you discussed earlier. You mentioned that the efforts
of the League for Peace were obstructed by the authorities in
Prijedor. Which authorities obstructed those efforts?
A. Serbian authorities in addition to the SDA Party. They had a great
influence in the municipality and in the SUP.
Q. So was it Serbian authorities rather than SDA which resisted the
efforts of the League for Peace?
Q. You also mentioned when you were discussing one of the routes taken in
your description the street Marsala Tita. Was that Marsala Tita
Street in Prijedor town?
A. Yes, until 30th May it was Marsala Tita Street, 1992.
Q. Let me ask you now about the places you were held in Omarska camp.
Were you first held in a room in the restaurant building for one
Q. Looking at the model in front of you, can you use the pointer which is
on the table to show us where the restaurant building is located?
A. The restaurant building is here. (Indicated).
Q. In what part of the restaurant building were you initially held?
A. The buses were parked here. We went through this entrance and we were
put in this room here.
Q. After the first night where were you held then, in what part of the
A. I was transferred to the pista, here.
Q. How long were you there?
A. I was there for about 10, 11 days.
Q. Were you in the white house for a couple of nights after that?
A. Yes, I spent two nights there.
Q. After that were you held on the upper floor of the hangar building?
A. Yes, in room No. 15, as it was called. This is where you enter,
roughly in this area.
Q. During the later period of your confinement in Omarska, did you stay
in a small room in the restaurant building and also for a short time
in the small garage?
A. Yes, I did, two days and two nights.
Q. You may be seated.
A. Thank you.
Q. Mr. Beganovic, how would you describe the general conditions of
A. The general conditions are indescribable. I have no words to describe
it. I do not know how to tell this to the honoured courtroom. Every
minute we were upset, we were beaten, psychologically abused, starved,
left without drink, without drinking, drinks -- simply it is
impossible to describe.
Q. When would beatings of prisoners occur? During what sorts of
activities by prisoners?
A. The worst was during the day they interrogated inmates in this
building upstairs from the restaurant. 99 per cent of the people came
back beaten up, and the nights were even more horrible. After their
hours, work hours, at 5 o'clock they stopped interrogating. Then
there were private visits by Serbian soldiers, guards, civilians.
Whoever wanted to go there, go in, did so and looked for inmates,
calling their names, surnames or nicknames. We were even taken by
people who had never met us before. We lay down on our stomachs in
the pista. They would simply come, "Give me two, give me three",
"Here, take five, if you like". Simply, people were lying on their
stomachs. Someone comes and kicks you, "Stand up, stand up, you and
you and you". I do not know that anyone came back, any of those
people came back.
Q. Were prisoners beaten on their way to the restaurant for their meal
and on their way to use the toilet when they were permitted to do so?
A. Yes, every day.
Q. Were you beaten on your way to the restaurant or on your way to use
A. Yes, regularly when I was in the group.
Q. Were you also called out for special beatings, that is, individual
beatings while you were in camp?
A. Yes, I was.
Q. On how many occasions?
A. Three times. However, the last couple of days in the camp I was
called out every hour or two because of the blackmail because I was
asked for money.
Q. Did Dule Tadic participate in one of the three beatings?
A. Yes. He did.
Q. Did you know who Dule Tadic was before the war?
A. Yes. I did.
Q. For how long before the war had you known who he was?
A. About 10 years.
Q. How did you happen to know him?
A. Well, by the force of circumstances. His arrival in Prijedor brought
him to the area where I had my restaurant. He was known to create
conflicts. He used to come with his karate people, so-called karate
people. They were usually beaten in Prijedor when they came, but still
Q. Did you know what area he lived?
A. Yes, I knew him from -- I knew that he was from Kozarac.
Q. Did you often go to Kozarac?
A. Yes. I did.
Q. Why was that?
A. Because I had friends, relatives.
Q. Would you go to cafes in Kozarac?
Q. Did you also see Dule Tadic in Kozarac?
A. On several occasions, yes, in restaurants, in the streets. We did not
greet each other. We were not friends.
Q. Would you be with friends who did know him and who did greet him when
you passed in the street?
Q. Over the 10 years that you mentioned, did you come to know who he was
and to be easily able to recognise him?
Q. I would like to ask you some questions about the first two beatings
that you mentioned, the first two times you were called out specially
for beating. Did the first one take place during the period of time
that you were on the pista?
Q. Where were you at the time you were called out?
A. Half an hour prior to that time they put us in the restaurant room.
It was bad weather and we were all put back into the restaurant room.
Q. Did you know the person who called you out?
Q. Did you later find out who he was?
A. Later I did. Other inmates told me that his name was Dragan, that he
was a relative of Nedzo Delic, the well-known cafe owner, restaurant
owner. He owned the restaurant Europa in Omarska and another
restaurant called Europa II in Prijedor.
Q. How was Dragan dressed?
A. He was dressed in the grey olive uniform and he had a white military
policeman's belt. He had a pistol and he had police batons on each
side of his belt.
Q. What nationality was Dragan?
A. I heard in the camp that he was a Serb.
Q. After calling you out of the restaurant building, did Dragan first
take you to see someone whom you did know?
A. Yes, he took me out at this semicircle. Nikica Janjic was standing
Q. Had you had a conflict of some sort with Nikica Janjic before the war?
A. Yes, about a year and a half before the outbreak of the war, I had a
confrontation, I had a physical conflict with him.
Q. Did that occur on an evening when you broke up a fight between Janjic
and his girlfriend and then later intervened when he attacked one of
Q. What did Janjic tell you when you were brought to him?
A. He said, "See how times have changed? Tonight I am going to cut your
Q. After that did they bring you back to the restaurant building for a
A. Yes, they did bring me back for about half an hour.
Q. Then were you called out again?
Q. Where were you taken?
A. I did not hear the question. They took me to the pista. At the exit
of the building Dragan started beating me with the baton on the head,
on the neck, on the back, the upper part of my back. He kept hitting
me in that area as we went to the white house.
Q. You were taken to the white house?
Q. Were other prisoners called out and taken to the white house at
approximately the same time?
A. Yes, I saw that I was followed by Terzic Sefik, Sefik Terzic, a
well-known hairdresser from Prijedor, nicknamed "Kiki". Then they
called out Asaf after me. Asaf was in the same restaurant where I
was. Then Rezak Hukanovic, nicknamed "Dzigi", the three of them and
Q. What was Rezak Hukanovic's occupation?
A. Rezak Hukanovic, he was a poet and an entertainment manager. Asaf
Kapetanovic was also a well-known businessman in Prijedor and a rich
Q. Is it fair to say that all three of these men were well-known and
successful people in Prijedor?
A. Yes, they were very well-known and successful.
Q. Were all three men Muslims?
Q. Where were you placed when you were taken to the white house?
A. I was placed in the second room on the right. The other three were