Case no it-94-1-t prosecutor vs duško tadić witness name: Emir Beganović 19 July 1996




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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?

A. Prijedor.

Page 3773

Q. What is your nationality?

A. Muslim.

Q. What was your occupation before the conflict in 1992?

A. I had private restaurant business and together with my wife I had

florist shop.

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?

A. Yes.


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?



Page 3774

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,

family friends.

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

committee.

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



Page 3775

United Nations?

A. Yes.

Q. Were there persons of all nationalities on the steering committee?



A. Yes.

Q. Did the League for Peace have any connection with any political group

or any other peace group?

A. No.


Q. The purpose of the group was to unite people in Prijedor in the hope

of avoiding any inter-ethnic conflicts or tensions?

A. Yes.

Q. What steps did the League for Peace take in this effort to promote



inter-ethnic harmony?

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

its activity.

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.



Page 3776

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

political messages.

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

the authorities?

A. Yes.


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,

yes.

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

Sadikovic's house.

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



Page 3777

never dream that anything even remotely like what did happen could

happen.

Q. Were you in Prijedor when the Serbs took power in a takeover on April



30th?

A. Yes.


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?

A. Yes.


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

Stari Grad?

A. Yes.


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.



Page 3778

Q. Did you hear announcements over the radio about what Muslims should

do?

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

you?

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



Page 3779

burning.


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

house?


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

hit.


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

relative's house.

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



Page 3780

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?

A. Yes.


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?

A. Yes.

Q. When you reached the area they directed you to, were there buses



waiting?

A. Well, the buses were already there, parked.

Q. Did Serb forces then begin to separate the men from women and

children?

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



Page 3781

the other side.

Q. Did you board one of those buses?

A. Yes.


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?

A. Yes.


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?



Page 3782

A. Yes.


THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We will stand in recess for 20 minutes.

(11.30 a.m.)

(Short Adjournment)

(11.50 a.m.)

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?

A. Correct.

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

night?


A. Yes.

Q. Looking at the model in front of you, can you use the pointer which is



Page 3783

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

camp?


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

Omarska camp?

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



Page 3784

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

the toilet?

A. Yes, regularly when I was in the group.

Q. Were you also called out for special beatings, that is, individual



Page 3785

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

they came.

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?



Page 3786

A. Yes.


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?

A. Yes.


Q. Over the 10 years that you mentioned, did you come to know who he was

and to be easily able to recognise him?

A. Yes.

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?

A. Yes.


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?

A. No.

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.



Page 3787

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

there.

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

your employees?

A. Yes.


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

throat".

Q. After that did they bring you back to the restaurant building for a

short time?

A. Yes, they did bring me back for about half an hour.

Q. Then were you called out again?

A. Yes.


Page 3788

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?

A. Yes.


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

myself.

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

man.

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?

A. Yes.


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


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