Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 4928

1 Thursday, 1 November 2007

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Page 5010

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15 [Open session]

16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're now in open session.

17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.

18 Yes, Mr. Mundis.

19 MR. MUNDIS: The Prosecution calls Ahmet Sehic.

20 [The witness entered court]

21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good afternoon, sir.

22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.

23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Will you please make the declaration.

24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak

25 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Page 5011

1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. You may be seated now.

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.

3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.

4 Yes, Mr. Mundis.

5 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.


7 [Witness answered through interpreter]

8 Examination by Mr. Mundis:

9 Q. Good afternoon, Witness.

10 A. Good afternoon.

11 Q. For the record, please, can you state your full name, spelling

12 both your first and last names.

13 A. Ahmet Sehic. A-h-m-e-t S-e-h-i-c.

14 Q. And, Mr. Sehic, can you please tell us your date of birth and

15 place of birth.

16 A. 12 April 1963, Gostovici, Zavidovici.

17 Q. Mr. Sehic, can you tell the Trial Chamber how you were employed

18 when the war started in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

19 A. I was a metal worker.

20 Q. And after the war started, sir, did you continue being a

21 metalworker, or were you engaged in other types of employment?

22 A. When the war started, I was a platoon commander in a Territorial

23 Defence company.

24 Q. Where was this Territorial Defence company, sir?

25 A. In the place where I was born, in Borovnica in Gostovici.

Page 5012

1 Q. And, sir, how long did you remain a platoon commander with the

2 Territorial Defence company in Borovnica, Gostovici?

3 A. Approximately six months.

4 Q. And at the conclusion of that six-month period, sir, did you join

5 any other military unit or formation?

6 A. After that I was a company commander. At first I was a platoon

7 commander, then a company commander, and finally a battalion commander.

8 At first it was Territorial Defence, and later, as a result of the

9 reorganisation of the army, conditions were put in place for the

10 establishment of battalions and brigades.

11 Q. Sir, do you recall approximately when it was that you became a

12 battalion commander?

13 A. Towards the end of 1993.

14 Q. And of which battalion were you the commander?

15 A. At first it was the 3rd Mountain -- Battalion of the 318th

16 Mountain Brigade. And later on, as a result of the reorganisation, it was

17 the 5th Battalion of the 328th Brigade.

18 Q. Sir, do you recall approximately when it was that you became the

19 commander of the 5th Battalion of the 328th Brigade?

20 A. At the beginning of 1995, either in March or in April. I'm not

21 sure.

22 Q. Okay. And for how long did you remain in the position of

23 commander of the 5th Battalion of the 328th Brigade?

24 A. Up to the end of the war; i.e., up to the signing of the Dayton

25 Accords.

Page 5013

1 Q. What type of brigade, sir, was the 328th Brigade?

2 A. It was a mountain brigade.

3 Q. And can you describe for the Trial Chamber or tell the Trial

4 Chamber the immediate command above the 328th Mountain Brigade during the

5 time you were the 5th Battalion commander.

6 A. The 35th Division of the army, of the ground forces.

7 Q. And, sir, of which larger formation was the 35th Division of the

8 army?

9 A. It belonged to the 3rd Corps of the BiH army.

10 Q. And, sir, as the battalion commander of the 5th Battalion of the

11 328th Mountain Brigade, who was your immediate superior officer?

12 A. Major Fado Zukic [as interpreted].

13 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be asked to move closer

14 to the microphone.


16 Q. Sir, could you please move a little closer to the microphone. The

17 interpreters are having trouble hearing you.

18 And perhaps if you can repeat the name of the 328th Mountain

19 Brigade commander?

20 A. Mujarif Fazlic [as interpreted] was the commander of the 328th

21 Mountain Brigade.

22 Q. Okay. Perhaps I need to clarify this because it appears from the

23 record that there are two names, neither of which are necessarily

24 reflected in the transcript. Can you please very clearly and into the

25 microphones give us the commander of the 328th Mountain Brigade during the

Page 5014

1 time period you were the commander of the 5th Battalion.

2 JUDGE MOLOTO: And possibly spell his name.

3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Major F-u-a-d Z-i-l-k-i-c. Major

4 Fuad Zilkic.


6 Q. And during the time period, sir, that you were the 5th Battalion

7 commander of the 328th Mountain Brigade, where was the brigade

8 headquarters located?

9 A. It was in the culture hall in Zavidovici.

10 Q. And, sir, where was the headquarters of the 5th Battalion, the

11 battalion that you commanded, during the time period you held that

12 position?

13 A. The headquarters of my battalion was in the village called Marici,

14 and the rear command post was in the village of Borovnica in Gostovici,

15 i.e., in a hamlet called Sehic [as interpreted].

16 Q. Sir, other than the 5th Battalion of the 328th Mountain Brigade,

17 what other ABiH units, if any, were in the immediate vicinity of your

18 battalion?

19 A. There was the 4th Manoeuvre Battalion there.

20 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry to interrupt you. Can we get the name of

21 that hamlet again, please. They seem to give the witness's name as the

22 name of the -- of the hamlet.

23 MR. MUNDIS: Yeah, we can do that.

24 Q. Sir, the transcript again has it perhaps a slight error. The rear

25 command post of your battalion, you said was in the village of Borovnica

Page 5015

1 in Gostovici. And then you gave a more specific location in a hamlet.

2 Which hamlet was that?

3 A. Sehic, S-e-h-i-c.

4 Q. And, sir, that's the same name as your family name; is that

5 correct?

6 A. There is an "I" at the end, so it's S-e-h-i-c-i.

7 Q. So the hamlet is Sehici and your name is Sehic.

8 A. Correct.

9 Q. Now, Mr. Sehic, can you tell us, sir: This 4th Manoeuvre

10 Battalion that you just indicated, where was the 4th Manoeuvre Battalion

11 located at the time you were the commander of the 5th Battalion of the

12 328th Mountain Brigade?

13 A. The command of the battalion was in an outbuilding in the vicinity

14 of the school, again in Gostovici.

15 Q. Okay. And, again, sir, so that we're clear, when you say the

16 command of the battalion was in an outbuilding in the vicinity of the

17 school, which battalion were you referring to?

18 A. The 4th Manoeuvre Battalion.

19 Q. And, sir, can you tell us when you say "an outbuilding in the

20 vicinity of the school," can you describe that for us?

21 A. This was a building where the teachers of the school resided. It

22 was a residential building, an auxiliary building which was a residential

23 building.

24 Q. How far is this building from the school in Gostovici?

25 A. About 100 metres.

Page 5016

1 Q. If you were to come out of the back door of the school, can you

2 describe what you would see at this location?

3 A. In front of the school, there was a gym, a sports hall. And then

4 to the left of the entrance was the courtyard that was normally used by

5 the pupils of the school.

6 Q. And where was this house, this build, this outbuilding?

7 A. In the vicinity of the school.

8 Q. Okay. Can you tell us, sir, to which unit -- well, let me -- let

9 me ask you this first: Who was the commander of the 4th Manoeuvre

10 Battalion?

11 A. The commander of the 4th Manoeuvre Battalion was Major Haris

12 Catic.

13 Q. So whom did Major Catic report as commander of the 4th Manoeuvre

14 Battalion?

15 A. I'm not sure, but I believe that he reported to the commander of

16 the 35th Division.

17 Q. To the best of your knowledge, Mr. Sehic, what was the purpose of

18 manoeuvre battalions?

19 A. Manoeuvre battalions were used for rapid interventions on defence

20 lines. In case of major attacks, the troops of the 4th Manoeuvre

21 Battalion would intervene and help the units that were already on the

22 defence lines. In case of offensive or operations to liberate a certain

23 area, the manoeuvre battalion would also be used for that.

24 Q. Did the 328th Mountain Brigade have such manoeuvre battalions?

25 A. No.

Page 5017

1 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber, Mr. Sehic, which military

2 operations, if any, the 5th Battalion of the 328th Brigade, that is, your

3 battalion, engaged in during the course of 1995.

4 A. Some of the troops - maybe 30 - participated in Operation Spring

5 1995 and Farz 1995.

6 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber, to the best of your recollection,

7 when Operation Proljece [Realtime transcript read in error [omitted]] 1995

8 took place.

9 A. In mid-June 1995.

10 Q. And Farz 1995, what time period was that operation?

11 A. At the beginning of September 1995.

12 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Yes. For the interpreters, it's

13 Proljece and Farz. Could you not translate that, please.

14 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Your Honour.

15 Q. How many men, sir, were in the 5th Battalion of the 328th Mountain

16 Brigade during 1995?

17 A. Between 500 and 600 troops with the logistics platoon, or the rear

18 platoon.

19 Q. Can you explain, sir, why it is that in your previous answer you

20 indicated that 30 troops from your battalion participated in Operation

21 Proljece 1995, in light of the fact that you've told us you had between

22 five and six hundred troops.

23 A. The remainder of the troops - i.e., one company - was on its

24 regular tasks on the defence lines, and they would only temporarily engage

25 in moving the lines or taking up the lines reached. The 30 troops that I

Page 5018

1 mentioned before were directly involved in the two operations, Proljece

2 and Farz 1995.

3 Q. In what capacity were these 30 troops directly involved in the two

4 operations Proljece and Farz 1995?

5 A. The units that were engaged in offensives used the 30 soldiers to

6 carry out the wounded, the fallen soldiers. Mostly for those purposes.

7 Q. And, Mr. Sehic, when you say "the units that were engaged in

8 offensives used the 30 soldiers," what units are you referring to?

9 A. The manoeuvre battalions and the El Mujahid Unit.

10 Q. Okay. We'll return to this subject a little bit later in your

11 direct examination, but for now, sir, I'd like to turn your attention to

12 September 1995. You told us earlier that Farz 1995 was at the beginning

13 of September 1995. That's line 7 of page 93. And I'd like you to tell

14 us, sir, where you were, you yourself, when Operation Farz 1995

15 commenced. Where were you physically located?

16 A. At the command post in a hamlet called Marici.

17 Q. Do you recall, sir, the date that Farz 1995 commenced?

18 A. I believe it was on the 10th of September, 1995.

19 Q. Do you recall the approximate time that operation commenced on

20 that day?

21 A. Early in the morning, around 4.00 or maybe between 4.00 and 5.00

22 in the morning.

23 Q. At that point in time, sir, how many companies were in the 5th

24 Battalion of the 328th Mountain Brigade?

25 A. There were three mountain companies.

Page 5019

1 Q. And on the 10th of September, 1995, do you recall where each of

2 those three mountain companies of the 5th Battalion, 328th Mountain

3 Brigade were deployed?

4 A. The 2nd Company was deployed on the defence line Podpaljenik,

5 elevation 511, Malovan Greda, in front of the village of Kesten.

6 Q. Perhaps the transcript wasn't clear. The locations you've just

7 mentioned, were those all held by the 2nd Company or was that all three

8 companies in those locations?

9 A. One company was -- was just a stand-by. I don't know whether it

10 was the 1st or the 3rd. And I'm sure that the 2nd Company was on the

11 defence line.

12 Q. And when you say "the defence line," that's the line that you told

13 us about a few moments ago, Podpaljenik, elevation 511, Malovan Greda, in

14 front of the village of Kesten.

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. How long did the 2nd Company of the 5th Battalion of the 328th

17 Mountain Brigade remain along that defence line?

18 A. Two or three days. I'm not sure. Usually the companies would

19 change after 48 hours spent on the line. But that time around I believe

20 that the company's time on the line was extended on to the third day.

21 Q. Okay. You told us, sir, that you were in the command post in

22 Marici on 10 September 1995. How long did you remain at that location?

23 A. With touring the line from time to time, I remained for a full 24

24 hours.

25 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber, Mr. Sehic, where you were on the

Page 5020

1 11th of September, 1995.

2 A. Also at the command post, in the village of Marici.

3 Q. Who was the commander of the 2nd Company, 5 Battalion, 328

4 Mountain Brigade?

5 A. Commander of the 2nd Company was Sogolj Ismet, Ismet Sogolj.

6 Q. Did you, sir, have any communications with Ismet Sogolj on the

7 11th of September, 1995?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber what the subject matter of those

10 communications were.

11 A. The company commander had the task of informing me about all the

12 events up at the front line, everything that went on there.

13 Q. Do you recall any of the information that he conveyed to you on 11

14 September 1995?

15 A. A vital piece of information was that he or the assistant for

16 security phoned up after 1300 hours or around 1300 hours to say that in

17 the village of Kesten they had captured -- there were a large group of

18 persons captured, about 50 Serb soldiers, in fact, and they requested that

19 I supply a truck to transport them to a place determined for the

20 collection of prisoners.

21 Q. And, sir, when you just indicated to us "the assistant for

22 security," can you tell the Trial Chamber who that person was.

23 A. My assistant for security was Mr. Izet Karahasanovic.

24 Q. And when you received this phone call around 1300 hours on 11

25 September 1995, where was Mr. Izet Karahasanovic?

Page 5021

1 A. He was in the village of Kesten.

2 Q. What steps, if any, did you take after receiving this request to

3 supply a truck to transport the prisoners?

4 A. As in my battalion I did not have any trucks, I asked the brigade

5 commander, Mr. Zilkic, to supply me with a truck and I conveyed the

6 message sent to me from the spot saying that there were 50 Serb soldiers

7 who had been captured and that we needed a truck to transport them to a

8 place which had been set aside for gathering up the prisoners.

9 Q. Do you recall, sir, where this place which had been set aside for

10 gathering up the prisoners was located?

11 A. As far as I remember, it was in Zavidovici somewhere, near the

12 division command. I don't know exactly where.

13 Q. Do you recall, Mr. Sehic, what, if anything, Major Zilkic told you

14 after you requested the truck?

15 A. He ordered me to go to the location and that he would send a truck

16 after me and that we should organise all that in a military fashion,

17 transport the prisoners, and that in the meantime he would inform the

18 superior command and the military police about it.

19 Q. After receiving this order from Mr. Zilkic, what did you do, sir?

20 A. I went -- I set out to that place -- or rather, the village of

21 Kesten, and half an hour later I arrived. I reached the place where the

22 captured persons were.

23 Q. Approximately what time did you arrive in Kesten on 11 September

24 1995?

25 A. At about 1330 hours, perhaps a little later. I'm not quite sure.

Page 5022

1 But certainly after 1330 hours.

2 Q. And when you say on lines 21, 22 "I reached the place where the

3 captured persons were," can you tell the Trial Chamber precisely where the

4 captured persons were?

5 A. Some of those captured were in some sort of facility and in front

6 of the facility. There were more inside than there were outside.

7 Q. And --

8 JUDGE MOLOTO: What kind of facility is this?

9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it was like a house or some

10 sort of centre.

11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.


13 Q. Upon your arrival about 1330 hours on 11 September 1995, how many

14 soldiers of the 2nd Company, 5th Battalion, 328th Mountain Brigade were

15 present in the village of Kesten in and around this house or centre?

16 A. Well, in the broader area around Kesten there was a whole

17 company. Now, near the centre, or dom, there were about ten or so

18 soldiers, perhaps less. Most of the military men were along the road, the

19 communication line running from Kesten to Prokop, and it was their task to

20 secure the road.

21 Q. In September 1995 do you recall approximately how many men were in

22 the 2nd Company of the 5th Battalion of the 328th Mountain Brigade?

23 A. About 100 soldiers, military men.

24 Q. Other than the prisoners or detained persons and the soldiers from

25 the 2nd Company of the 5th Battalion of the 328th Mountain Brigade, did

Page 5023

1 you see any other persons in the village of Kesten at the time you

2 arrived?

3 A. Can you be more specific, please.

4 Q. You told us that when you arrived, you saw some of the prisoners

5 and that there were also around ten or so soldiers from the 2nd Company.

6 Did you see anyone else in Kesten when you arrived there on 11 September

7 1995 at about 1300 -- 1330 hours?

8 A. As we had just entered the hamlet that day, there were other

9 soldiers there too. Now, whether they were from the manoeuvres battalion

10 or from the El Mujahid Unit that happened to be passing by that way going

11 in the direction of Bozici or Djurici, it's a road with quite a lot of

12 traffic, comings and goings. Now, I don't know if that's the answer you

13 were looking for.

14 Q. Did you speak with anyone, sir, upon your arrival in Kesten on 11

15 September 1995?

16 A. When I arrived in Kesten, I was informed by my deputy about

17 everything that had happened. Muhamed Omerasevic [Realtime transcript

18 read in error [omitted]], my deputy, was in Kesten before I arrived with

19 the company commander and assistant for security. So he informed me of

20 the situation, how many people had been captured. He told me that there

21 were some 50 persons who had been captured and that they were having

22 problems with the Arabs, who were trying to seize the captured persons.

23 And this man prevented them in doing that and he had to cock his rifle at

24 one point, pointing it at one of these foreign soldiers, these Arab

25 soldiers or whatever [as interpreted].

Page 5024

1 Q. Let me just ask you a few follow-up questions. You said your

2 deputy was in Kesten before you arrived, and the transcript did not catch

3 his family name.

4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Madam Vidovic.

5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do apologise to my

6 colleague Mr. Mundis, but the transcript didn't record part of the

7 witness's answer. On page 99, line 22 he said "Arab soldiers." I don't

8 know from what unit they were." That was not recorded in the transcript.

9 Could the Prosecutor clear that up with the witness perhaps.

10 MR. MUNDIS: First I'm trying to clear up the name of the deputy

11 who is reflected on line 18.

12 Q. The family name of your deputy, sir, it says "Muhamed" and then

13 the transcript didn't catch that. Can you repeat the name of your deputy

14 commander who was present.

15 A. Omerasevic.

16 Q. It's also a bit unclear, sir, who it was that cocked his rifle

17 pointing at the foreign soldiers. Who took that action?

18 A. My deputy, in order to protect the Serb soldiers who had been

19 captured.

20 Q. Now, sir, these people that you've described as Arabs, who were

21 these people, if you know?

22 A. I'm not quite sure, because all these foreign soldiers who were

23 there that day or during those days, for some it was said that they were

24 the El Mujahid, some others were referred to as Arabs, and others, again,

25 even had some specific clothing from those Arab countries.

Page 5025

1 I'm not certain. At the beginning they said that they were the El

2 Mujahid, but they had uniforms, those ones; whereas, the other ones that

3 were there, at that point in time most of them did not have uniforms, so I

4 don't know that -- whether they were soldiers from the El Mujahid Unit.

5 I'm not quite sure.

6 Q. My -- my last question for today, Mr. Sehic, is: When you just

7 told us "at the beginning they said that they were the El Mujahid," what

8 do you mean by "at the beginning"? When did they say that they were the

9 El Mujahid?

10 A. Well, the problem is, you see, with the name. All those

11 foreigners we called "the Mujahedin." We referred to them as "the

12 Mujahedin," all of them. Now, some people would say "El Mujahid." Others

13 would say "Mujahid," others again said "the Arabs." But as far as we were

14 concerned, they were the foreign soldiers.

15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Sehic.

16 MR. MUNDIS: I note the time, Mr. President.

17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Mundis.

18 Sir, unfortunately we have to stop for today, and unfortunately we

19 are not going to be sitting tomorrow. So will you please come back here

20 on Monday, the 5th of November, at 9.00 in the same courtroom.

21 And let me just say that you have now been sworn to tell the truth

22 and you are now in the process of giving evidence. Please do not discuss

23 this case with anybody. Okay?

24 Thank you very much. You may stand down for today. Come back on

25 Monday, the 5th.

Page 5026

1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.

2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Court adjourned to 9.00 on Monday, Courtroom II.

3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.,

4 to be reconvened on Monday, the 5th day of

5 November, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.