1 Tuesday, 4 March 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning to everybody in court today.
6 Madam Registrar, could you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning everyone
8 in the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-83-T, the Prosecutor versus
9 Rasim Delic.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
11 Could we have the appearances, please, starting with the
13 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Good morning, Your Honours, Counsel, and everyone in and around
15 the courtroom. Daryl Mundis and Aditya Menon for the Prosecution,
16 assisted by our case manager, Alma Imamovic.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
18 And for the Defence.
19 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
20 morning to the colleagues from the OTP, to everyone in and around the
21 courtroom. Vasvija Vidovic and Nicholas Robson for the Defence of General
22 Rasim Delic, with legal assistant Lejla Gluhic, and also assisted by our
23 intern, Ms. Tineke Baird.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
25 I guess we haven't got any housekeeping. We'll just go straight
1 into calling the witness?
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, prior to calling our
3 witness, we will deliver a brief opening statement, then we will move on
4 to our witness.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: By all means. I thought you were jumping that
6 part. Thank you very much, Madam Vidovic.
7 Mr. Robson.
8 [Defence Opening Statement]
9 MR. ROBSON: Good morning, Your Honours.
10 I will be delivering the opening statement this morning. Before I
11 start, if at this stage, I could hand up some documents to the Court and
12 also to my learned friends on the other side. What you'll find is this is
13 a one-page outline of the points that I will be raising during the opening
14 statement. I can also tell Your Honours that during the course of the
15 opening statement, the Defence will be showing some slides which set out
16 quotations from documents and judgements to which I will be referring
17 during the course of the opening statement.
18 Your Honours, you now have the documents. I anticipate that my
19 opening statement will take about one hour, and I'll begin.
20 It can be said that a criminal trial is like a journey. Last
21 July, all the parties in this courtroom, the Judges, the Prosecution, and
22 the Defence, started off on a journey to ascertain the guilt or innocence
23 of General Rasim Delic. It's been a long journey, but you'll be pleased
24 to note that we are over the halfway stage in that journey.
25 In many ways, it's been a remarkable journey, with the Trial
1 Chamber travelling to Sarajevo on two occasions to hear witnesses. As
2 with all long journeys, it is useful to take stock of the situation and
3 see where we have come from, where we have reached, and where we will be
5 Your Honours, that is what I intend to do this morning. Before I
6 do so, however, I'd like to say a few words about the burden and standard
7 of proof.
8 The Prosecution brings this case. It prepared the indictment, it
9 decided how to plead the case, and it decided which facts it would rely
10 upon to prove its case. In bringing its case, the burden of proof falls
11 squarely on the Prosecution at all times to prove the guilt of General
12 Delic. The Defence does not have to prove anything. This presumption of
13 innocence applies at all stages of the case, including, of course, the
14 Defence case. In order to convict General Delic of any of the charges
15 that he faces, you must be certain or sure of guilt. The evidence must be
16 clear and unequivocal, and nothing less will suffice.
17 Finally, the criminal standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt
18 applies to each element of the alleged crimes. It also applies to each
19 important fact which forms a necessary step on the way to conviction.
20 Turning, then, Your Honours, to the first part of the opening,
21 where we've come from; and during this part, I'd like to look back over
22 aspects of the Prosecution case and make some comments. I'd also like to
23 highlight some issues of importance for the Defence.
24 The first point to make is that in bringing its case, the
25 Prosecution has chosen to tell a simple story. You can understand why.
1 Simple stories are often the best. However, in doing so, the Prosecution
2 has dealt with matters superficially and it has failed to dig down into
3 the detail of the case.
4 With regard to the background to this case, you can understand why
5 they would wish to avoid the detail, because it is a grave and complex
6 story. It begins with the disintegration of the Socialist Federal
7 Republic of Yugoslavia, which led to the Republic of Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina declaring independence in March of 1992. Already, at that
9 time, attacks and ethnic cleansing had commenced on Bosnian territory at
10 the hands of Bosnian Serbs acting together with the JNA. Immediately, the
11 Bosnian leadership was faced with the massive task of creating an army
12 from scratch in order to defend its people.
13 We've heard how the state lacked almost every basic requirement in
14 that regard. It had no conscription system, it had no way to assess what
15 manpower was available, there were no weapons to arm soldiers, and in
16 stark contrast to the Serbs, it had virtually no heavy weapons such as
17 tanks and artillery. The result of the United Nations' arms embargo
18 imposed in 1991 meant that there was no way to rectify this serious
19 imbalance. There was a dearth of uniforms, weapons, and fuel, and we know
20 that the particular problem was the lack of trained and experienced
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: I have a problem. You're telling us of the status
23 of the Army of Bosnia like you are arguing a closing argument. You're not
24 telling us what you're going to be doing. Are you suggesting that what
25 you are telling us is fact; and if it is fact, have you led evidence to
1 give us those facts?
2 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour, I am highlighting the evidence that
3 we've heard, and I'm touching upon salient issues for the Defence case.
4 We will hear further evidence that touches upon these issues.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, but do we need to rehash the evidence that we
6 have heard at this stage? That's precisely my problem. I would have
7 imagined that an opening statement is going to tell us what you intend to
8 show us, not what the Prosecution has done, because we have all heard that
9 and you'll summarise that in your closing argument anyway.
10 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour, it's not my proposal to summarise the
11 state of evidence at this stage. What I'd like to do is highlight some
12 issues of importance for the Defence.
13 I'll move on from the background and touch upon more salient, or
14 what you may think are more salient, issues.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay.
16 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour, the next matter, and we say that this is
17 another omission in the Prosecution case, relates to the army itself. In
18 telling its simple story, the Prosecution has, to a large extent, ignored
19 the reality of what an army is and what an army does.
20 By its nature, an army is a highly-complex organisation, composed
21 from huge numbers of men. In the Bosnian Army, there were over 200.000
22 soldiers. As to its structure, an army is a hierarchy. It is composed of
23 different interconnected levels that each work in concert towards meeting
24 the ultimate mission of the army, and that mission is set by the political
25 leadership. At each level, it has to be absolutely clear who is in
1 charge. If it's not clear who is giving the orders at each level and the
2 orders aren't followed, then, in the chaos of warfare, there is absolutely
3 no hope of having a controlled army.
4 In --
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: If I may ask a question: If we don't have a
6 controlled army, why do we go to war at all? Isn't it so that if we don't
7 have a controlled army, then we shouldn't go to war, if control of the
8 army is such a strict condition, senior corps or not.
9 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour, I'm going to move to issues of command
10 and control and highlight these; and perhaps, through my opening
11 statement, I'll be able to elaborate on this very --
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: My problem is I can't resist asking these
13 questions, because you sounded like you're giving us a closing argument.
14 You're giving us an analysis and criticising the case of the Prosecution.
15 You are not telling us what the Defence intends to do. I really don't
16 know what you are doing, Mr. Robson, with due respect.
17 MR. ROBSON: We have heard an amount of evidence during the
18 Prosecution case --
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: I know what we have heard. My --
20 MR. ROBSON: And --
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: I know what we have heard. My question is: Is
22 this the time to analyse what we have heard or is this the time to get a
23 road map of where the Defence wants to take us?
24 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour, if you'll allow me, I will expand upon
25 this point and you'll see, I hope, where we are going.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: I hope we can.
2 MR. ROBSON: In the indictment and in pleading the case, and here
3 I refer to paragraph 15 of the indictment, the Prosecution would suggest
4 that General Delic, as Main Staff commander, planned every combat
5 operation and controlled every man. He would have you believe that he had
6 effective communications across the various zones of responsibility in
7 which the Bosnian Army operated. However, Your Honours, we will be asking
8 you to dig beneath the surface of this superficial approach and look to
9 what is the reality of command; and in this respect, you will be hearing
10 evidence. You will be hearing that in an army, you will find different
11 levels of command.
12 In the words of General Sir Rupert Smith, who was the UNPROFOR
13 commander in Bosnia in 1995, he said the following:
14 "Wars and conflicts are conducted at four levels; political,
15 strategic, operational, and tactical, with each level sitting within the
16 context of the order, in descending order from political."
17 The first, political level, is the source of power and decision.
18 In modern conflict, it is the political leadership that controls the
19 military, and it is there that the purpose of entering into the conflict
20 is decided. Your Honours, during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the
21 political level consisted of the Presidency, which was the highest
22 civilian political body. It sat as Supreme Command, and President Alija
23 Izetbegovic held the position as head of the army and that was in his
24 capacity as supreme commander.
25 Moving down to the next level, the strategic, this is the level
1 where the political decisions to use military force are translated into
2 military directions, and what Rupert Smith said about this is that:
3 "It must never be forgotten that the political considerations
4 provide the context within which the strategy rests. Therefore, the
5 relationship between the political and strategic levels must always be
6 very close."
7 Your Honours, this level involves devising strategic plans to meet
8 the goals fixed at the political level. The strategy sets the mission of
9 the army, and it was at the strategic level that General Delic functioned.
10 At the next level down, we have the operational, and here what
11 Rupert Smith said was:
12 "The operational commander must make his plan, his campaign, which
13 designates the path towards his final objective, given to him by the
14 strategic commander, and orchestrates the activities of his Command to
15 achieve tactical objectives that take the Command, as a whole, in the
16 designated direction."
17 And, Your Honours, at the operational level, and this is what
18 you'll be hearing, we have the units of the corps and the division. In
19 making plans to meet the objectives given by the strategic commander, a
20 corps commander will have a good deal of autonomy. It is at this level
21 that the decisions will be made about the units to be deployed, and combat
22 actions will be drawn up. It was at this level that we found the
23 commanders of the 2nd and 3rd Corps and also the division commanders.
24 And then, Your Honours, finally, we have the tactical level, and
25 it is at this level at which battles, fights, and engagements actually
1 take place. This level is about the movement and use of military force,
2 and this level concerns the units below the division level. In the
3 Bosnian Army, those were the brigades, battalions, companies, and
5 And, so, by understanding the levels of command, we can see that
6 General Delic played a role at the political level through his attendance
7 at Presidency sessions from time to time, but more importantly the
8 evidence in this case shows that he worked at the strategic level, where
9 he devised strategic plans and issued strategic directives such as the
10 annual directive.
11 Only by understanding these concepts can you fully understand
12 General Delic's role during the war. It shows the types of decisions he
13 made and also the type and nature of information that he needed to have
14 available to him.
15 Your Honours, in connection with this, we should also consider the
16 chain of command; and in this case, the Prosecution must show that there
17 was a chain of command linking everyone from the highest level to the
18 lowest. Concerning proof of a superior subordinate relationship, the
19 Appeals Chamber held in the Halilovic appeal that the ability to exercise
20 effective control, in the sense of a material power to prevent or punish,
21 necessitates a pre-existing relationship of subordination, hierarchy, or
22 chain of command.
23 So, Your Honours, it follows that the Prosecution must prove that
24 a chain of command existed. Furthermore, it must show exactly what the
25 chain of command was, from General Delic at the top, all the way down to
1 his alleged subordinate, the Mujahedin fighter at the bottom, and that is
2 the person who is alleged to have committed the crime.
3 Unless it's a case where it's suggested that the senior commander
4 had a direct link to the foot soldiers many levels below him, which
5 certainly has not been pleaded in this case, the Prosecution must show
6 effective control at each level of the chain of command, and this is
7 something I'd like you to bear in mind during the course of the Defence
9 Your Honours, this would entail showing, first, that General Delic
10 was in effective control of the corps commands; next, that the corps
11 commander was in effective control of the division commander; then, the
12 division commander was in effective control of the El Mujahedin commander,
13 whoever that may be; then, the El Mujahedin commander was in effective
14 control of any interim commander within the El Mujahedin organisation;
15 then, finally, that interim commander, if any, was in effective control of
16 the perpetrators of the alleged crimes.
17 Your Honours, in considering this chain of command, we'd also say
18 that it's important for you to consider the role played by IKM Kakanj,
19 Command Post Kakanj, which was the Supreme Command Staff's command post in
20 the field. We'll be hearing more about this and the role that they
22 Moving on to my next point, Your Honours, and this is General
23 Delic's right to delegate, this is something that hasn't been explored
24 during the Prosecution case, and we think it's a very important issue.
25 As Main Staff commander, General Delic clearly held an important
1 position, but you have to remember he was not omnipotent. He could not be
2 expected to do the impossible. In meeting his duties as Main Staff
3 commander, General Delic had the right to delegate responsibilities to his
4 subordinates. Indeed, the army would have ground to a halt had he not had
5 the ability to pass on tasks for his subordinates to carry out.
6 When he became aware of problems relating to command and control,
7 General Delic was entitled to issue orders to his subordinates through the
8 chain of command to resolve those problems. He was not required to
9 resolve the problem himself. In giving such instructions, he didn't have
10 to give detailed orders. Also, having issued such orders, unless it was
11 brought to his attention that the instructions could not be carried out,
12 he was entitled to assume that they had been acted upon and the problem
13 had been fixed.
14 Similarly, when allegations of criminal acts were brought to his
15 attention, he was entitled to, and, indeed, he was expected to, delegate
16 their investigation to others through the chain of command. He had no
17 duty to oversee the investigation himself.
18 In the High Command case, it was held that a modern war, such as
19 the last war, entails a large measure of decentralisation. A high
20 commander cannot keep completely informed of the details of military
21 operations of subordinates and, most assuredly, not of every
22 administrative measure. He has the right to assume that details entrusted
23 to responsible subordinates will be legally executed.
24 The President of the United States is the Commander in Chief of
25 its military forces. Criminal acts committed by those forces cannot, in
1 themselves, be charged to him on the theory of subordination. The same is
2 true of other high commanders in the chain of command. Criminality does
3 not attach to every individual in this chain of command. From that fact
4 alone, there must be personal dereliction.
5 And, Your Honours, during the Defence case, we will be looking at
6 the responsibility that was attributed to the Military Security Service
7 for investigating and taking measures against army members suspected of
8 committing crimes. And, Your Honours, in this regard, we will show that
9 the duty of the Military Security Service accorded with the findings of
10 the Appeals Chamber in the Halilovic appeal, and in that case where it was
12 "According to the applicable ABiH rules, reflected in the findings
13 of the Trial Chamber, it was the Military Security Service or SVB which
14 had to 'take the reasonable measures to find the perpetrator of the
15 criminal offence' when there was a 'reasonable suspicion that a criminal
16 offence triable by military courts had been committed.'"
17 Your Honours, turning to my next point, this concerns the way the
18 Prosecution has sought to define the Mujahedin. And I take on board that
19 now is not the time for closing speeches, but I would like to make some
21 The Defence takes the position that in its pleadings that the
22 Prosecution has prepared, the indictment is confused. There are problems
23 with the way that the Prosecution characterizes the foreign fighters that
24 came to Bosnia. Initially, the Prosecution portrays all foreign fighters
25 as one cohesive, homogenous group. This is paragraph 12 in the
1 indictment. In that paragraph, it refers to Mujahedin or Holy Warriors
2 beginning to arrive in Bosnia-Herzegovina sometime during the middle of
3 1992. It then refers to the Mujahedin as a collective entity and asserts
4 that they were prepared to conduct a Dzihad or Holy War.
5 Next, in paragraph 13 of the indictment, it alleges that at some
6 stage, after the 19th of November, 1992, the Mujahedin was incorporated
7 into and subordinated into the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade and other units
8 of the 3rd Corps. This, Your Honours, it appears the Prosecution is
9 suggesting that this collective entity became integrated into 3rd Corps
11 And then, finally, in paragraph 24 of the indictment, which deals
12 with the events at Maline on the 8th of June, 1993, it talks of an attack
13 which included the 306th Mountain Brigade, the 7th Muslim Brigade, and the
14 Mujahedin. So, Your Honours, it appears we've gone full circle and the
15 Mujahedin has, once again, been pleaded as a collective unit.
16 Your Honours, what is the Prosecution saying? It is confusing,
17 and perhaps the reason for that is because the Prosecution wishes to
18 ignore the reality of the situation. The evidence revealed so far, and
19 the evidence that you will hear more of, shows that there were numerous
20 groups of Mujahedin fighters. Many of the groups were based in Central
21 Bosnia and some were located very close to each other. They were distinct
22 and independent groups and had different goals. It would be wrong to
23 consider that the Mujahedin was one united, single group.
24 Your Honours, turning to the events in Bikosi, and, again, just
25 highlighting an important issue for the Defence, we do not dispute that 24
1 persons were killed there. It is, however, the Defence position that the
2 Prosecution will have serious problems either proving the identity of the
3 perpetrators or showing that they were members of an identifiable group.
4 We would remind you that then the Prosecution has to prove that a
5 superior-subordinate relationship, through a chain of command, existed
6 between General Delic and the perpetrators. And, finally, in this regard,
7 a further crucial issue for the Trial Chamber to determine is whether
8 General Delic had assumed command of the Bosnian Army at the time the
9 crimes were committed. The issue of assumption of command is something
10 that will be explored in the Defence case.
11 Turning to the alleged crimes in 1995 and the alleged effective
12 control over the El Mujahedin Detachment, in the event that the Chamber
13 finds the crimes were committed, and the Defence takes the position that
14 the crime-base evidence is extremely confusing, particularly with regard
15 to September 1995, the Prosecution will, once again, need to identify the
16 perpetrators of the crimes or at least show which group of Mujahedin, if
17 any, they belonged to. As to whether General Delic exercised effective
18 control over the El Mujahedin Detachment at the time that the alleged
19 crimes were committed, the Appeals Chamber has emphasised the need for a
20 Trial Chamber to look for indicators of control.
21 In the Blaskic appeal, the Appeals Chamber reviewed the evidence
22 and specified a range of factors that could constitute indicators of
23 effective control. We'd like to you have these indicators of effective
24 control in your mind during the course of the Defence case.
25 Those factors that the Appeals Chamber spoke of included the
1 following: Number 1, evidence that the accused was not only able to issue
2 orders, but that those orders were actually followed; 2, evidence that the
3 alleged subordinates were not under the control of the armed force to
4 which they allegedly belonged and that they acted towards their own
5 criminal agenda; 3, evidence showing the alleged subordinates enjoyed the
6 protection of and acted on the orders of others; 4, evidence showing that
7 they were not de facto commanded by the accused; 5, evidence that the unit
8 was attached to a different chain of command than that of the accused; 6,
9 evidence that the unit only accepted the authority of another person; 7,
10 evidence that the unit did not have any obligations towards the accused,
11 and, finally, number 8, evidence concerning any person or entity that a
12 unit reports to.
13 So, Your Honours, it follows that those indicators can, and we say
14 should, be taken into account by the Trial Chamber in assessing whether
15 effective control existed.
16 Your Honours, I was going to highlight a few extracts from the
17 evidence that we've heard pertaining to effective control of the
18 Mujahedin, but I think I'll move on, in light of Your Honour's earlier
19 indication. But what I would say is, and this is important when
20 considering the Defence case, when a military unit, in this case the
21 El Mudjahedin Detachment, takes its own decision whether to participate or
22 not in an action, that is not military control. A unit has to be
23 dependable. When there is a process of negotiations and discussion, where
24 an order to carry out action is only issued when the unit has given
25 approval to participate, that is not military control.
1 In due course, the Chamber will have to weigh and evaluate all the
2 indicators of effective control. The Defence position is that the
3 Prosecution has serious problems.
4 Your Honours, I'll turn briefly to the issue of knowledge, and
5 this is the issue of whether General Delic knew or had reason to know that
6 the crimes had or were about to be committed. I'm not going to be
7 reviewing the evidence, but what I'd like to highlight is: Considering
8 the "had reason to know" standard, it is for the Prosecution to show that
9 the accused had in his possession such information which would have put
10 him on notice of offences committed by subordinates. That was in the
11 Celubici appeal judgement, and, Your Honours, that is a very high
13 The Appeals Chamber subsequently came to consider the "had reason
14 to know" standard during the Krnojelac appeal; and in that case, the
15 Appeals Chamber made it clear that where the Prosecution is relying upon
16 knowledge that subordinates have committed prior offences in order to
17 prove or provide sufficiently-alarming information that would put a
18 commander on notice, the commander must have notice of the same type of
19 crime. In that case, notice that subordinates were conducting acts
20 amounting to cruel treatment in the form of beatings was not sufficient to
21 give the accused notice that they had or were about to commit torture.
22 And, Your Honours, this legal holding is of critical importance in this
24 We have heard evidence that an amount of information was available
25 to various parts of the Bosnian Army, which suggested that a minority of
1 the El Mudjahedin Detachment were involved in a degree of wrongdoing. If
2 the Prosecution wishes to rely on information relating to prior
3 wrongdoing, then in line with the Krnojelac appeal judgement, it will have
4 to show that the information concerned the same type of crimes as those
5 alleged in the indictment. And, Your Honours, our position is that it
6 will have serious problems in this regard. Additionally, it will have to
7 show that such information was in the possession of General Delic.
8 Your Honours, I'll move along briefly or quickly and come to the
9 second part, and this is where we've reached. I know that you don't want
10 to hear a closing speech, and I will deal with this simply.
11 The Defence position is that there are problems with the
12 crime-base evidence, and there are no indicators of effective control.
13 Our position is that the case should fall at this point in time, as the
14 Prosecution cannot prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, and that is
15 before we even come to the issue of knowledge.
16 We believe that if we stop the case right now, on the evidence
17 before the Chamber, General Delic would be acquitted. However, we
18 acknowledge that we would be taking a big risk by not deciding to call
19 evidence. Also, in the light of the Prosecution's, in what we would say,
20 rather simplistic approach, we recognise there are certain issues in
21 respect to which the Chamber might benefit from further evidence, and that
22 brings me to the final part of this opening statement, and that is where
23 we're going.
24 We hope to bring a focused case dealing with specific issues. We
25 will call further evidence to show that following the arrival of the
1 foreign Mujahedin fighters, they did not become a unified, single group.
2 We will show that they were different and unrelated groups that acted
3 independently of each other. Our evidence will show that at the time of
4 the crimes committed in Bikosi, not one of these groups was under the
5 effective control of General Delic.
6 Further, we'll show that these groups were not part of the 7th
7 Muslim Brigade or the 306th Mountain Brigade and that they didn't act
8 together with them. We'll confirm that the 7th Muslim Brigade did not
9 take part in the events of the 8th of June, 1993.
10 As to General Delic, we will show that he did not receive
11 information concerning the events on the 8th of June. We will shed light
12 on the circumstances in which he found himself at the end of June and in
13 early July 1993. At that time, there was a threat that Sarajevo would
14 fall due to a coordinated attack by Croat and Serb forces; and,
15 furthermore, there was a threat of an armed uprising by rogue units of the
16 1st Corps which attacked the Main Staff and also attacked police stations
17 in Sarajevo. This was at the very time that General Delic was supposed to
18 have received information concerning the events in Maline.
19 We will shed light on the divisions which existed in the Main
20 Staff at that point in time, divisions which were caused by the change in
21 command. You'll see that this had a major effect on the functioning of
22 the Main Staff, particularly its Operative Centre, and that had a direct
23 impact on the flow of information to the Supreme Command Staff.
24 Next, we'll show that General Delic did everything within his
25 powers to implement the decision of the president and also the will of the
1 International Community to place the foreign Mujahedin fighters under
2 control. In that respect, we will show the decision to form the
3 El Mudjahedin Detachment was motivated by a desire to place them within
4 the command-and-control system. We will show that General Delic will not
5 receive any reports relating to the detachment about criminal behaviour
6 which demonstrated that they had a propensity to mistreat or harm
7 prisoners of war during combat.
8 Concerning the El Mudjahedin Detachment, we will lead further
9 evidence to demonstrate their total independence from the army and their
10 sophisticated ability to bring men, weapons, and money into the country.
11 We will call evidence about the problems relating to the formation
12 of the El Mudjahedin Detachment and show that the unit was not established
13 correctly and lacked proper records. We will show that there were rules
14 which regulated the membership of foreigners in the Bosnian Army which
15 were disregarded by the detachment. We will also hear about rules which
16 were used to allocate premises to the El Mudjahedin Detachment.
17 Your Honours, we will show clearly that General Delic did not have
18 overall authority and responsibility for the functioning of the army, as
19 the Prosecution claims in the indictment. Nor was he responsible for the
20 planning and directing of all army operations. We will examine and
21 clarify the role of Command Post Kakanj in the system of command and
22 control and, in particular, its role in conveying information to General
24 You will also hear about General Delic's preoccupations during the
25 summer and autumn of 1995. That role involved coordinating joint
1 operations with the Croatian HV, dealing with UNPROFOR and NATO, and also
2 drumming up support from allied countries. You will hear about the steps
3 that General Delic took, as a responsible commander, to introduce a
4 functioning command-and-control system within the army and his steps to
5 ensure that international humanitarian law was respected. In this
6 connection, Your Honours, we will lead further evidence to show that
7 General Delic, again as a responsible commander, took significant steps to
8 train his men and professionalise the army.
9 Your Honours, we'll hear from a military expert. He is someone
10 who will come and speak about military authority and the factors that
11 indicate whether there is command and control. He will examine the
12 situations which can lead to a breakdown of control. He will explain the
13 different levels of command that I've already mentioned today; political,
14 strategic, operational, and tactical, and he will elaborate on how each
15 level affects the commander's role and duty.
16 As to the events in September 1995 in the Ozren-Vozuca region, we
17 will show that General Delic did not plan or command Operation Farz. We
18 will show that he didn't decide upon the participation of the
19 El Mudjahedin Detachment in the combat activities. We will also show that
20 for the earlier combat action in July, again General Delic did not order
21 those actions or command them.
22 With regard to the El Mudjahedin Detachment, Your Honours, we will
23 show that long before the combat activities in Vozuca, General Delic acted
24 properly in issuing orders concerning the treatment of the detachment. He
25 approved the plan for operative actions Vranduk and Trebevic 3 and 4, and
1 he acted as responsible commander in taking steps for problems that were
2 brought to his attention. And then finally, Your Honours, we will shed
3 light on the role that General Delic made in the establishment of lasting
4 peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and also evidence of his character.
5 And, so, Your Honours, that concludes the opening statement. I
6 note the time. Would it be your intention that we call the first witness
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed. Thank you very much, Mr. Robson.
9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, is it possible perhaps
10 to go on a break right now, because we were not able to make an exact
11 estimate of how long this would take, so the witness will actually be here
12 at 10.30, according to the information that we have.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you then suggesting that we take a break up to
15 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, if possible.
16 JUDGE HARHOFF: Madam Vidovic, do we know where the witness is at
17 the moment?
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I am not sure, Your Honour. Perhaps
19 we could move into private session right now so that I can explain
20 something, if you allow.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
22 [Private session]
19 [Open session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are in the open session.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
22 I guess, by the change of seats, I call on you, Madam Vidovic.
23 Madam Vidovic.
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: You do want to be in open session?
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
3 Yes, Madam Vidovic.
4 May the witness please make the declaration.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
6 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
7 WITNESS: HASO RIBO
8 [The witness answered through interpreter]
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, and good morning to you, sir.
10 Please be seated.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Madam Vidovic.
13 Examination by Ms. Vidovic:
14 Q. Good morning, Mr. Hubo -- pardon, Mr. Ribo. My apologies.
15 A. Good morning.
16 Q. As you know, I will be examining you today on behalf of the
17 Defence for Mr. Rasim Delic. Let me just ask you, before I start putting
18 questions to you, to make a small pause before answering my questions so
19 that we avoid overlapping. We speak the same language, and it is
20 important that everything we say is reflected in the transcript.
21 Do you understand?
22 A. Yes, fully.
23 Q. Mr. Ribo, can you tell us when and where you were born? Can you
24 give us your full name?
25 A. My name is Ribo, father's name Ibrahim. My name is Haso. I was
1 born on the 25th of February, 1956, in the village of Kljaci, Travnik
2 Municipality, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Madam Vidovic, I got it as 1965 in the summary that
4 I was given. Are we on the same page or is it 1956?
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if we wrote "1965,"
6 then my apologies. The year is 1956.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
8 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Ribo, what is your ethnicity?
10 A. I'm a Bosniak.
11 Q. Which schools have you completed?
12 A. After completing a civilian high school, I graduated from the
13 Military Academy for Land Forces, the Department of Armoured Units, in
14 Belgrade and Banja Luka.
15 Q. Where did you serve before the war?
16 A. Before the war, I served in Zajecar for a number of years; and for
17 a shorter period of time, I spent in Jastrebarsko and in the Tuzla
19 Q. Did you hold a rank in the former JNA?
20 A. Yes. I held the rank of captain first class.
21 Q. Can you tell us where you lived before the war?
22 A. Before the war, my family and I lived in Zajecar. Shortly before
23 the war, on the 25th of February, 1992, we moved to Travnik.
24 Q. What were your duties at the start of the war in
1 A. Shortly after my arrival in Travnik, I reported to the Staff of
2 the Territorial Defence, because the decision of the Presidency of Bosnia
3 and Herzegovina had been issued to the effect that the only legitimate
4 armed force in Bosnia-Herzegovina was the Territorial Defence, and that
5 was when I joined the Territorial Defence.
6 Q. Thank you. This decision by the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina
7 concerning the armed forces, was it accepted by all the citizens in
8 Central Bosnia?
9 A. Of course, it was not. It was not accepted by the Croat people,
10 because the Croatian Democratic Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina passed a
11 decision setting up their own armed forces under the name of "Croatian
12 Defence Council."
13 Q. Did all the Muslims of Central Bosnia accept the Territorial
14 Defence as their own army?
15 A. Of course, they did not, either, especially so the Patriotic
16 League, which had a special view in that regard, as well as the
17 Green Berets, which were the first ones to put up resistance and did not
18 accept the Territorial Defence as their own armed force.
19 Q. Please explain to us, why was there a resistance to accepting the
20 Territorial Defence by the Democratic League and the Green Berets?
21 A. They resisted the idea because they did not have full confidence
22 or trust in the Travnik Municipal Staff of the Territorial Defence,
23 because they believed that this was a structure belonging to the former
24 Yugoslavia and that the Territorial Defence was a socialist creation
25 composed of the so-called "Reds"; the communists, that is.
1 Q. Thank you. Save for the members of the Green Berets and the
2 Patriotic League, were there others who resisted the setting up of the
3 Territorial Defence among the Muslim population?
4 A. Of course, there were. As I've just said, the Territorial Defence
5 was considered to be a socialist structure. Resistance was to be found
6 also among the Muslim religious community -- communities.
7 Q. And why was that, Mr. Ribo?
8 A. Due to the very structure of the Command of the TO Staff, and also
9 due to the fact that they saw a purely ethnic army being formed, such as
10 the HVO, such as the HOS, they decided to set up their own purely Muslim
11 army that would represent and be responsible only to the Muslims.
12 Q. Before I move on to documents, let me ask you this: Do you recall
13 when it was that you became the head of the Travnik TO Municipal Staff?
14 A. I believe it was in the month of June.
15 Q. Which year was that?
16 A. 1992. Before that, in early April, or rather, in late April, I
17 became a member of the TO Staff and was appointed the head of the TO Staff
18 for Travnik.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness be shown D902.
21 Can you please scroll the document down so that we can see the
22 signature. That's at page 3 of the English version.
23 Q. A moment ago, you said that the religious circles were diffident
24 of the Territorial Defence because of the composition of the staff.
25 While we were waiting for the English version to appear, did you
1 have a chance to look at the Bosnian version?
2 Tell me, please, have you seen the document before?
3 A. Yes, of course.
4 Q. This is a document by the TO Staff, dated the 26th of June, 1992.
5 Is this your name, and do you know anything about the document, what it
6 refers to?
7 A. Yes. The name and the signature are mine. The document is
8 related to the request by the TO Staff for the region of Zenica, that we
9 should deliver to them a list of the employees that were employed in the
10 Travnik TO Staff.
11 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Please pause for a moment.
12 Could we have the English version showing page 1 again, so that
13 Their Honours can follow.
14 Very well. Can we turn to page 2 now, and I'm referring to the
15 English version.
16 Very well. Thank you.
17 Q. Mr. Ribo, we can see a number of names here. They were the
18 individuals making up the Staff, as you said. How many Muslims were among
20 A. Out of the 13 employees I had at the time, four were Muslims, four
21 were Serbs, and five were Croats.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Very well.
23 Your Honours, can this document be assigned an exhibit number.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
25 please be given an exhibit number.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the document will become Exhibit
2 number 1175.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
4 Yes, Madam Vidovic.
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Your TO Staff, throughout its existence, was it equipped with
7 facilities enabling it to work?
8 A. I will be brief.
9 In addition to the physical premises and the employees, we had
10 nothing else. Our material and technical equipment that the TO had
11 purchased, or rather, the people of Travnik and the people of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina, were at some point seized by the JNA. This was the
13 case for several municipality in BH, and they were stored in a village
14 near Travnik. Some of the equipment was relocated to the Serb-controlled
15 territory and to the JNA-controlled territory. In addition to the
16 ammunition and communications equipment, they also had some food stuffs.
17 Whatever could be taken away to the territory of Republika Srpska was
18 taken there.
19 Q. Let me ask you this: To the best of your recollection, in the
20 course of the summer of 1992, at the time the Staff was in existence, how
21 many men and how many rifles did it have, if you know?
22 A. We analysed our combat readiness, which was quite typical for
23 commands; and in the month of July, we had some 5.100 men and between
24 1.000 and 1.200 pieces of infantry weapons.
25 Q. Does this then mean that in the Travnik area, your manpower levels
1 were sufficient or pretty high, but you didn't have enough weapons?
2 A. Precisely so. We did have many men, able-bodied men.
3 Unfortunately, we lacked weapons, and we had to keep the manpower at the
4 levels that they were. We couldn't recruit anymore because we had weapons
5 in short supply.
6 Q. Mr. Ribo, under such circumstances, were you in any need of
7 volunteers at all?
8 A. No, not at all.
9 Q. The shortage of ammunition and weapons that you described, did it
10 have any bearing on the further developments in terms of the war in the
12 A. Of course. The problem persisted throughout the war in
14 Q. Mr. Ribo, can you briefly describe for us the military and
15 humanitarian situation in Travnik as you found it when you got there, or
16 rather, the situation that prevailed in Travnik in 1992 and 1993?
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] In connection with this, Your
18 Honours, I should like the witness to look at map D1045 and to mark some
19 locations on the map.
20 Your Honours, while we're waiting for the map to appear, let me
21 ask you this: You will let me know when I should stop my examination for
22 the next break, since we're out of the usual times now?
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: It will be at quarter to 11.00.
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. Witness, you have a map before you which I want you to use to
3 indicate the line of defence opposite the Serb forces in the Travnik area
4 and the defence line of the Territorial Defence, or rather, of the Army of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina opposite the Croat forces, if you have the pointer
6 there. I believe you have the electronic pen in front of you.
7 Do you think we should zoom in on the map?
8 A. Please, if that could be done. As it is now, you can't even make
9 out anything under the microscope.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It has been enlarged, but the area
12 where I should indicate the defence line opposite the Serb forces is not
13 visible at present.
14 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can you scroll down a bit, please.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To the right is Okrinje.
16 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Can you please circle it?
18 A. [Marks] That's above Lukavica, several kilometres above Lukavica,
19 then across Srebreno Hill, which isn't visible on the map, either. It's a
20 bit to the north.
21 Q. Can you please draw on the map itself and not out of the map. I
22 think you marked it outside of the map.
23 A. The line of defence, the position of the Serb forces, is outside
24 the range of map.
25 Q. Yes. I understand that, but we will not have it on the map, so I
1 would like you to actually indicate it on the map.
2 A. [Marks] Srebreno Brdo, Poljice, Crni Vrh, Savo, and Pavo, the
3 television tower at Opaljenik, the road leading towards Opaljenik, then
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry. These names that the witness is mentioning,
6 can we see them on the map? I'm finding difficulty seeing them.
7 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Witness, when you mention a name, if it's marked on the map, I
9 would kindly ask you to circle it.
10 A. [Marks] Well, I see very well here Opaljenik, the TV tower, and
11 then nearby -- this is quite a small scale. I know the terrain, but the
12 scale is quite small for me to be able to actually indicate this on the
14 Q. All right. Very well. Just circle the names that are marked on
15 the map?
16 A. [Marks] Galica is here, and then Harambasine Vode.
17 Q. And Harambasine Vode, is that on the map?
18 A. No.
19 Q. In that case, can you please write that in yourself?
20 A. [Marks]
21 Q. Very well.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Now we would need to move the map to
23 the right.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: If you do that, you are going to lose the markings,
25 Madam Vidovic. Did you hear me? If you move the map to the right, you
1 are going to lose the markings.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. I understand that, Your
3 Honour. For now, yes, that's the problem. Well, let this stay as it is
4 now, the line towards the Serb forces, and now we can ask this to be
5 tendered. Then we can move the map so we can see another part of it, so
6 that the witness can mark the line facing the Croat forces.
7 I would like to have an exhibit number for this particular map,
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: It will be given an exhibit number. It's admitted
10 into evidence.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become Exhibit number
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
14 Yes. Now you can move it, Madam Vidovic.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Defence counsel has requested that the map be moved
16 to the right. Are we able to do that?
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Witness, can you please look at the map, and can you tell us where
19 we should --
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: We've got a problem. We've lost that part that the
21 witness had marked earlier. It has not been saved. So can we start all
22 over again, please. I'm sorry about that, Madam Vidovic.
23 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, perhaps we have a
24 solution that will save some time. I could indicate to the witness or I
25 could show to the witness a map, a hard copy, that he marked for me
1 yesterday, then we can look at it on the ELMO, and then he can confirm
2 that this is so. I think that we will save some time if we do it this
3 way, and in future I will try to bring only clean copies.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before you put it on the ELMO, Mr. Mundis?
5 MR. MUNDIS: If I could just have a look at that, please, before
6 it goes on to the ELMO, I'd be grateful.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the document be shown to Mr. Mundis.
8 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Of course.
9 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you very much.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: My only concern is that this was marked out of
11 court, Madam Vidovic, and I'm not doubting your word that it was marked by
12 the witness, but it would have been more probative if the witness was
13 making the markings in court.
14 And while I'm speaking, let me just mention that the Registrar has
15 just advised me that the Exhibit 1176, which we thought we had lost,
16 actually it has been captured. I don't know whether that changes your
17 strategy, Madam Vidovic.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if it's been saved,
19 then I think it's better for the witness to continue marking the document
20 here, indicating the lines of defence; and then if you can just return to
21 us the hard copy of the map, I would like to ask the usher to do that.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Madam Vidovic.
23 Sir, can you give Madam Vidovic that hard copy. Then has the map
24 then been shifted to the right? Okay. The witness may continue now.
25 Thank you very much, Madam Vidovic. I'm sorry for that.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It hasn't been moved.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Should it be moved to the left or to the right?
4 A. To the right. I need this part more. [Indicates]
5 Well, it looks as if there's nothing more on this map. From what
6 I can see, the map is what it is.
7 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. It should be the same map which you were marking yesterday. Can
9 you see the lines of defence? It should be the same map.
10 A. Yes, but the entire territory is not on this map, not -- the
11 entire territory of Travnik is not on this map.
12 Q. Well, can you show us what you can see?
13 A. Yes, very well. [Marks] This is it.
14 Q. Thank you. On this map, can you see the Biljani area?
15 A. Yes, I can.
16 Q. Can you please mark the Biljani area on the map? Maybe if you
17 have a different colour, you can use that to mark the Biljani area.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Mundis.
19 MR. MUNDIS: Your Honours, I just have two very brief points.
20 First of all, I'm not sure if the record, as it exists currently,
21 is going to be of assistance in helping us decipher this map in the
22 future. Perhaps some questions can be asked about that. And I also do
23 want to put on the record that the witness still has the hard copy map in
24 front of him and seems to be consulting that.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes. But I asked that that hard copy be given back
1 to the Defence counsel.
2 Mr. Registrar or Mr. Court Usher, I asked that the hard copy of
3 that map be given back to the Defence counsel, please.
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Ribo, this map, can you see the Biljani area on the map?
6 A. Well, it should be moved for me to be able to see if it's there.
7 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] All right. Your Honours, thank you.
8 Q. Can you just write on the this map that this is the line facing
9 the HVO?
10 A. What I marked is the --
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now you're asking him to show that. He hasn't told
12 us whether this line is the line facing the HVO.
13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise.
14 Q. Excuse me, please, Witness. You heard the question. What you
15 marked, what does that represent?
16 A. This is the line of defence of the Bosnian Serb forces.
17 Q. Serbs?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can you please write that down?
20 A. [Marks]
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: And against whom were these Serb forces fighting at
22 this time?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Territorial Defence of Travnik.
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. And then can you please indicate "TO Travnik" there?
1 A. [Marks]
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Your Honours, I don't
3 know if this has been given an exhibit number now.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Wait a minute. Before we --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before we give it an exhibit number, and before
7 Mr. Mundis speaks, I ask the question and it is stated by the
8 witness: "This is the line of defence of the Bosnian Serb forces."
9 Then I said: "Against whom were these Serb forces fighting?"
10 The answer was: "The Territorial Defence of Travnik."
11 Is that the correct situation?
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Now, the Territorial Defence of Travnik.
14 Okay. Thank you very much.
15 Mr. Mundis.
16 MR. MUNDIS: Again, Your Honours, and I hate to interrupt, but I
17 fear that there will continue to be some confusion later down the road,
18 because it's not clear from this map where these two forces that the
19 witness has testified about were in with respect to the line that's been
20 drawn. I simply want to avoid confusion down the road. He's indicated
21 the Bosnian Serb forces and the TO Travnik forces, but it doesn't appear
22 clear, from the line he's drawn, which force was where on this map.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Madam Vidovic.
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I understand. I thank my colleague,
25 Mr. Mundis.
1 Q. Can you please indicate, by arrows, where the Bosnian Serbs were
2 and where the TO Travnik forces were? Just mark that with an arrow.
3 A. Let me clarify. I can just make two lines, the line of the
4 Bosnian Serbs and the line of the Travnik Municipality TO.
5 Q. Yes, but can you just show us on the map the part where the
6 Bosnian Serbs were and where the TO Travnik was?
7 A. The red line that I marked is the Bosnian Serbs' line.
8 Q. And on what side were the Bosnian Serbs, Mr. Ribo? That is the
9 question. You know that and we don't know that.
10 A. Well, perhaps it would be good for me to indicate the defence
11 line, the line where the TO was.
12 Q. All right. You can indicate that.
13 A. Can we move this?
14 Q. No, you cannot move it.
15 A. No. Well, I can mark it on the part that I see.
16 Q. Yes, precisely. Can you please do that.
17 A. [Marks]
18 Q. And now, Mr. Ribo, for purposes of clarification, can you tell us,
19 what does this red line that you marked on this document stand for?
20 A. The red line represents the position of the Serbs in my Travnik
22 Q. And the blue line, what does that represent for purposes of the
24 A. The blue line represents the positions of the forces of the
25 Travnik Territorial Defence.
1 Q. All right. Thank you.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I hope that this is now clear and
3 understandable for Mr. Mundis.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just for the sake of everybody else, if the witness
5 could please write "Travnik Territorial Defence" behind the line which
6 they stood and then "the Bosnian Serbs" behind the line which they stood.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The red one, yes. [Marks].
8 The Bosnian Serbs were in this area, this direction, the blue.
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 Q. And can you help us and can you please tell us what this blue
12 circle stands for? Which area is that?
13 A. This is the area of Sesicka Planina, Sesic Mount, and it was
14 isolated like this completely surrounded.
15 Q. Thank you. I would like to ask you this, Mr. Ribo: Can you see
16 the Biljanska Valley on this map?
17 A. No. You cannot see it on this part of the map.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] All right. Thank you very much.
19 Your Honours, can this map now be given an exhibit number, please.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: This map has been admitted into evidence. May it
21 please be given an exhibit number.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become Exhibit number
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
25 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. And can you please tell us which direction we should move the map?
2 A. To the right.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Have we captured that?
4 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I hope that the previous map has
6 been saved. Very well.
7 Q. Mr. Ribo, can you look at this carefully before you start marking
8 it. Do you see the Biljanska Valley on this map?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Can you now please circle the Biljanska Valley area?
11 A. [Marks]
12 Q. Now, can you explain to us here, can you explain on this map, can
13 you indicate on this map the line held by the Croatian Defence Council in
14 1992 and 1993?
15 Before that, can you please mark in that this is the Biljanska
16 Valley so that we know.
17 A. [Marks] Very well. I would need to change the colour.
18 Q. All right. Can you just mark the line of the HVO line of defence
19 and indicate that with arrows.
20 A. [Marks] Is it possible to enlarge this part of the map?
21 Q. No. Unfortunately, we can't change anything because we will lose
22 the document.
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. What does -- or what do the blue lines stand for?
25 A. The blue lines stand for the HVO positions in the Biljanska
2 Q. Can you please just write "HVO" behind these lines?
3 A. [Marks]
4 Q. Very well.
5 A. Is this related to the Biljanska Valley only?
6 Q. Yes, just the Biljani region. To your knowledge, for how long did
7 the lines in the Biljanska Valley stay as they are drawn now?
8 A. Until the conflict broke out with the HVO.
9 Q. When you say until the conflict with the HVO broke out, can you
10 tell us what sort of a conflict are you referring to, in terms of time?
11 A. In the spring of 1993.
12 Q. Very well.
13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your honour, can this document be
14 given an exhibit number and can the witness be shown a different
15 document. Though, I believe it's time for our break, so perhaps the other
16 document can be dealt with after the break.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: This document is admitted into evidence. May it
18 please be given an exhibit number.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become Exhibit number
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
22 Thank you very much, Madam Vidovic. I do think we should take a
23 break at this stage. We were supposed to have broken at quarter to. Can
24 we come back at quarter past 11.00.
25 Court adjourned.
1 --- Recess taken at 10.50 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 11.16 a.m.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Madam Vidovic.
4 And, Madam Vidovic, because of the confusion this morning, we are
5 going to stop at 12.00 so that we go back to our normal time.
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will be
7 mindful of that.
8 Q. Mr. Ribo, let us dwell for some time on the situation in the
9 Travnik area. You've indicated some of the positions and lines of the
10 Serb Army, including the Biljanska Valley, and now I should like to look
11 into the situation in Travnik itself.
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown D1033.
13 For the sake of transcript, before the exhibit appears, this is an excerpt
14 from the book called "Seasons in Hell," by author Ed Vulliamy, that is.
15 Very well.
16 In English, that's page 5. This is the cover page. Can we please
17 turn to page 2 of the Bosnian version. That's the corresponding page.
18 Can you please enlarge a bit the Bosnian version, and I will quote.
19 Q. Witness, can you have a look, please. Please look at this passage
20 from the book describing the situation in Travnik. I will quote the first
21 sentence and another small part of the text describing Travnik:
22 "If there is a junction in the Bosnian war, a meeting point
23 through which its themes of fear, misery, violence, wit, and courage have
24 passed, it is Travnik, the ancient town in which we awoke dazed the next
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I will skip to another passage, to
2 save time, which is somewhere in the middle of the page, starts with, "On
3 the streets ..." in English. In the Bosnian, it's the corresponding.
4 Q. "On the streets, there were soldiers everywhere, government army
5 soldiers, Croatian soldiers, black-shirted HOS soldiers. We didn't care
6 who or what they were. This morning, we were on their side. Travnik felt
7 then like some frontier town, a merciful outpost on the edge of territory
8 that had embraced us and taken us in from the madness back out there.
9 "Therefore, the Serbian -- so it was over to Travnik that tens of
10 thousands of deputies were now being herded by the Serbian war machine.
11 With the Croatian border shut, this was the back door. There were 26.000
12 of them in town already, crammed into gymnasia and schools, all of whom
13 had come along that road."
14 Mr. Ribo, this section of book by Ed Vulliamy, does it describe
15 the situation as it was in Travnik in course of 1992 through to the spring
16 of 1993?
17 A. Relatively speaking, he does portray the situation in Travnik;
18 although, it was far more difficult and complicated, what with the
19 humanitarian crisis, the refugees crisis. It was a total chaos.
20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 Your Honours, can this document be given an exhibit number.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Mundis.
23 MR. MUNDIS: Your Honours, we have no objection to the document
24 going into evidence. I do like to place on the record, however, that
25 there have been a number of leading questions this morning. The
1 Prosecution will object when leading questions are asked from this point
3 I would also indicate, so that everyone's on notice, that the
4 Prosecution will be arguing, at the conclusion of the evidence, that
5 leading questions on direct examination, the answers to such questions
6 should be given little or no weight. So I will put that on the record
7 very firmly at this point in time for the benefit of the Defence. I don't
8 like objecting, but I will be doing so when leading questions are put to
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed, it would be very helpful if you would when
11 that happens, because the Bench may not necessarily pick it up when it
12 does happen.
13 This document is admitted into evidence. May it please be given
14 an exhibit number.
15 It is only this page that's being tendered.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, that will become 1179, Exhibit 1179.
17 JUDGE HARHOFF: And what is the page number in the book?
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Bear with us for a moment, Your
19 Honour. Page 139. I believe we can even see it on our screen somewhere.
20 Your Honours, I will be referring to two more passages from the
21 book, from the same exhibit.
22 Your Honours, the pages --
23 JUDGE HARHOFF: Can I just take up a matter with you, because I
24 would like to clarify how we apply the rules concerning admission of
1 This book is clearly not written by an expert. It is an opinion
2 by an author. I don't know if the witness has read the book. The witness
3 had a lot of comments to the parts that we have now admitted; and to be
4 honest, it does seem to me to be a little too nebulous to admit passages
5 from books which the witness has neither read nor written, and which
6 contain only very subjective information to which, on top of it, the
7 witness had had to make several additional comments.
8 So my question is, really: Does this have any probative value at
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, allow me to explain.
11 Firstly, I referred the witness to the passage of the book
12 describing the situation in Travnik, with which the familiar -- with which
13 the witness is very familiar. As you will see from the next passage that
14 we will be using, the book has partly been written on the basis of the
15 conversations with this witness, and you will see that the author of the
16 book is referring to this very witness. That is the reason why we're
17 using the book; otherwise, I would agree with what you're saying.
18 You will see that there is a direct link between the book and the
19 witness and the conversations that the witness had had with the author of
20 the book.
21 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you. This is a very helpful addition to
22 what we have previously learned from this page.
23 Am I to understand that the book is the result of a conversation,
24 of an interview with the witness, and that the views expressed in the book
25 are largely ascribed to the witness?
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Precisely so, Your Honour. This
2 isn't true for the entire book, only for the part dealing with the Travnik
3 area. And my questions will have to do with that.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: In that event, Madam Vidovic, it may have been
5 helpful, and may I suggest that you try and do that in the future, to lay
6 the foundation by saying to this witness: "Are you aware of this book? Do
7 you know who wrote it? Do you know why he wrote it? Do you know who he
8 conducted discussions with before he wrote it? Are you one of those
9 people?" "Yes, I am." Then go on. At least then we have laid the
11 Thank you very much.
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will try
13 to follow that line in the future.
14 Q. We were discussing the situation in Travnik in the second half of
15 1992 and the first half of 1993. You said ...
16 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we will be referring to
18 two more relevant pages of the document. Perhaps I should have waited for
19 those pages to be shown before asking for an exhibit number.
20 I will come back to you now, Mr. Ribo.
21 Q. You mentioned the humanitarian situation. Can you briefly
22 describe the humanitarian situation in Travnik at the time?
23 A. It was more than catastrophic. There was a large number of
24 refugees. I believe that between 80 to 100.000 refugees passed through
25 the area at the time. These were people who were completely lost, who
1 were left without all their property, their dear and near ones. They were
2 psychologically deranged and milling about the town purposelessly.
3 We did our best to provide them with the odd can of food. There
4 was nothing else we could do for them. The situation was so difficult for
5 this small town, situated in a valley, to have to receive such a large
6 number of refugees.
7 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Can we refer back to the
8 document again, this time page 3 of the English version.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Is it still D1033?
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Then page 1 of
11 the Bosnian version.
12 Please enlarge the text, and please scroll the English version
13 down a bit -- rather, up, scroll up -- or rather, can you scroll down so
14 we can see the last sentence.
15 If Their Honours and the Prosecution could look at the last
16 sentence in the English version, because we will be looking at the text on
17 the following page.
18 Can we now turn to the following page in the English version.
19 Q. Mr. Ribo, I believe you have managed to read the passage by now. I
20 will quote page 127 of the book, which says:
21 "In recent days, as the commander of the Bosnian Army in Travnik
22 said, 20 refugees had been killed in ambushes by the same egg regulars who
23 had ushered them out onto the road. 'They fire at and shell the people as
24 they come through; and to save themselves, people run off the road into
25 the woods and get lost,' said Commander Haso Ribo."
1 My question is: Is that you that is being referred to?
2 A. Yes. That is my statement that I gave to that journalist who
3 stayed with me in the Staff in Travnik. I practically provided him with
4 accommodation and food, since he had arrived with a refugee convoy from
5 Banja Luka. Then at the point where people are normally taken off the
6 buses, he was taken -- the vehicle, the vehicle was taken away from him.
7 So he had to stay there, and I was kind to him. I provided him with
8 everything he needed, and then I provided him with a vehicle to go to
10 Q. What I want to ask you is: Has he, in fact, portrayed accurately
11 your words concerning the situation with regard to refugees or not?
12 A. Yes. He did portray accurately the situation as it was. I went
13 through this with these people. They were going via the
14 Banja Luka-Standard-Vakuf-Vlasic Plateau route, precisely because that
15 route was not inhabited. That's what they were able to do in that part,
16 the Bosnian Serbs. When they were let out from the point where they were
17 disembarked from the buses, that is the last curve on Vlasic towards the
18 Lasva Valley, then they would be firing at those columns, because they had
19 to pass that part on foot until they left Turbe, where they -- they were
20 taken over by us, with our buses, and taken to locations in Travnik, I
21 don't know, in Zenica, and so on.
22 So they simply used artillery fire to shoot at these refugee
23 columns because they did not have their own contact forces in that area
24 and the artillery actions were not risky.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Madam Vidovic, just for my own clarification --
1 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I was saying that the translation
2 was being done. It's now finished.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Madam Vidovic, at page 46, line 26, you referred us
4 to page 3 of the English version. At page 47, line 11, I heard the
5 interpreter talking of page 127.
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, page 3 of the English
7 version is the translation. It's a part of our document, the translation
8 that you have in the exhibit. And page 127 is actually that page in the
9 original book.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. That clears me. You may
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Very well.
13 Can this document please be put away, and I would like to just put
14 one question to you about that.
15 Q. What was the state of mind of those people when they came to
16 Travnik? I'm thinking of the refugees.
17 A. They were in a very specific --
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Mundis.
19 MR. MUNDIS: Calls for speculation.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Madam Vidovic.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] If I may respond, Your Honour.
22 I really believe that an average person is able to see and gauge
23 the behaviour and the mental state of a refugee that is coming from this
24 area after shelling and so on, and I don't think in any way that this is
25 an invitation or call for speculation.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Madam Vidovic, when you ask for the state of mind,
2 it's a different thing. But if you asked how they looked, it's quite
3 another, and the witness can tell you how they looked to him. He's
4 telling the physical appearance of the people, but a state of mind is
5 something that you and I have no ability to read.
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, perhaps it's a
7 question of translation, but I'm going to simplify the question.
8 Q. How did they look?
9 A. They seemed completely lost people. They were just wandering
10 aimlessly about town. Simply, they were not able to control their
11 actions. We had a thousand problems because of that, the command, the
12 civilian authorities in Travnik.
13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I would now --
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry. Let me again interrupt. Again, you ask
15 that this page be put away, Madam Vidovic, without you tendering it. I
16 don't know whether you don't want to tender it or what, this page 127.
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that page is part of
18 the exhibit that has already been tendered earlier.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, Madam Vidovic. The page that we admitted into
20 evidence is page 139, full stop. So if you want this one in evidence,
21 then you must get it tendered. You must tender it.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I do, Your Honour. Thank you.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. You do tender.
24 The page 127 of the B/C/S and 3 of the English translation is
25 admitted into evidence. May it please be admitted and given an exhibit
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become 1180.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
4 Yes, Madam Vidovic.
5 MR. MUNDIS: Sorry. Your Honour, I believe we also need the
6 preceding page because that indicated the -- the paragraph that starts on
7 this page actually began on the previous page. I just want to be clear
8 that --
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed.
10 MR. MUNDIS: -- we're admitting two pages in the English version.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
12 The English version will be page 2 and 3.
13 Thank you very much.
14 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] 3 and 4 in the English, Your Honour,
15 3 and 4.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Isn't it 2 and 3, Madam Vidovic? It's where it
17 started on the previous page, not on the following page.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the last sentence, if
19 you'll recall, was on page 3 of the English version, and then it continued
20 on to page 4.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Ribo, I would now like to ask you something, a very brief
24 comment on your part. How did the civilian authorities function at the
25 time when you were at the head of the TO Staff in Travnik, if you know?
1 A. They were operational, in the sense that there was logistical
2 support of the Territorial Defence, in terms of provisions, mobilisation,
3 assistance in a accommodating refugees, and so on.
4 They functioned, in principle, depending on the election results,
5 so that certain parties, depending on the number of votes they got, split
6 certain functions amongst them in the municipality; for example, the SDA
7 party, as far as the defence section is concerned, appointed the TO Staff
8 commander, and the HDZ was given the post of secretary of the Secretariat
9 for National Defence of the Travnik Municipality.
10 So these were these divisions, in terms of the results of the
11 election results in the authorities.
12 Q. Can you tell us what the relationship of the civilian authorities
13 was towards the armed forces? What was the relationship?
14 A. Because they held these very important segments, they imposed
15 their own cadre, solutions, in terms of the defence, and I was appointed
16 by the president of the Travnik Municipality, who was a member of the SDA
17 party, so that they actually influenced cadre decisions because they had
18 these key segments that they held on which the army mobilisation,
19 logistics, provisions, and supplies depended on.
20 Q. Thank you very much. But I would just like you to speak a little
21 bit slower when you're answering.
22 Now I would like to ask you this: You mentioned mobilisation --
23 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I have not understood what is the
24 Secretariat of National Defence of the Municipality of Travnik.
25 Could you please explain this, Witness?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, gladly. The Secretariat for
2 the National Defence of the Municipality of Travnik was a civilian organ
3 that dealt with the matters of recruitment, mobilisation, military
4 record-keeping, military conscripts, so that they were in charge of
5 entering conscripts into the military records by law, having their medical
6 examinations, recruitments, sending them to serve mandatory military
7 terms, and then they were deployed to the reserve compositions after
8 serving their term of duty. So it was a civilian organ.
9 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Could you also explain what was
10 the relationship between the Territorial Defence and this organ which you
11 have spoken about?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was a professional organ from the
13 beginning until the end, and the fact that we depended on the Secretariat
14 and that it had responsibilities vis a vis us was something that they were
15 actually carrying out, as far as they were able to do that in that
16 situation. They were fulfilling their obligations towards the TO Staff as
17 much as they could.
18 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Therefore, the Territorial
19 Defence depended from the Secretariat of the National Defence of the
20 Municipality of Travnik?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, precisely, because they were in
22 charge of mobilisation.
23 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Judge Lattanzi.
25 Q. Actually, I was about to put these questions to you, Mr. Ribo, and
1 so I would just like to then carry on from there.
2 You answered that the Territorial Defence depended, in terms of
3 logistics and mobilisation, from the Secretariat for National Defence.
4 Did I understand you correctly?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. The next thing I want to ask you is: When we're talking about the
7 subordination relationship, what was that relationship? Was the TO in any
8 functional connection with this civilian body or not?
9 A. We were in the functional connection as part of the system of
10 command and control, under the TO Regional Staff in Zenica. So they were
11 superior -- they were a superior command to me, and I was responsible to
12 them. This part was actually that functional link. They had obligations
13 towards us, of course. We also requested certain things from them, to
14 occupy buildings for us, to provide material and equipment for us, because
15 it was not something we could get for ourselves on the street or in the
17 Q. All right. Thank you very much. So the National Defence
18 Secretariat, you said, as a civilian body, controlled logistics and
19 mobilisation. Because of that, what was its relationship? Did it have
20 any particular kind of relationship towards the TO, in terms of cadre,
21 appointments, and so on?
22 A. They did not have anything to do with logistics. They were in
23 charge of mobilisation. Thus, they were not obliged, in that sense,
24 towards us, other than in terms of mobilisation. They were not entrusted
25 with cadre appointments in the TO Staff because this was a civilian
1 authority, when we're talking about the commander, and the commander would
2 actually deal with his own subordinates.
3 Q. But you described a situation whereby the SDA appointed you and
4 not the TO from Zenica. Did I understand you correctly?
5 A. Yes, precisely. My appointment came from the chief of the Travnik
6 Municipality, as a civilian body, a civilian organ, and not from the
7 superior command of mine from Zenica, because these were like that. We
8 were connected because of financing and supplies for Travnik. We were
9 connected to the municipality.
10 Q. And was this correct, in military soldierly terms, this thing that
12 A. No, of course not.
13 Q. Thank you. And now I would like to ask you to tell us briefly the
14 TO Staff units.
15 A. The TO Staff units included the following: The regional Staff in
16 Turbe, the one in Travnik and Krpeljic, all these were regional staffs,
17 the one in Han Bila, in Mehuric, the 1st and 2nd Travnik Detachments, the
18 Karaula TO Detachment, the Staff TO Command, the Communications Platoon,
19 the Military Police Platoon, and the Staff Security Protection and the
20 133-Millimetre Mortar Platoon.
21 Q. In your testimony, you've already said that in the course in 1992
22 and 1993, there were no weapons. Can you please briefly describe the
23 situation, in terms of communication?
24 A. I have to tell you that it was also very difficult, the situation,
25 what the Serbs and the former JNA did. They made a mistake in Croatia.
1 They handed over the buildings and the communication systems without
2 destroying them first, so they did not make the same mistake in Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina. When we're talking about Bosnia and Herzegovina, what was
4 the priority objective of the Serbs and the Yugoslav People's Army was to
5 occupy the radio relay facilities, like Kozara, Vlasic, the transmitter
6 that was in my territory, the territory of my municipality, Hum near
7 Sarajevo, the main post office in Sarajevo and the one in Trebevic, and so
8 on and so forth.
9 So these were seized. They were confiscated by the Bosnian Serb
10 Army and the JNA, and what was left to us as the only solution was to
11 maintain Ham radio communications, to use those that were quite unreliable
12 for the command-and-control system. Particularly, what was a problem was
13 that the few communications systems that were there were of different
14 types. They were not complimentary in order to be able to have good
15 communications with the subordinate units and the superior command, and
16 this made the command-and-control system very difficult. Sometimes, the
17 units that were out in the field were left to themselves to make their own
18 decisions and to command as well as they could.
19 Q. In the course of 1992 and 1993, were you able to communicate with
20 Sarajevo or not?
21 A. We, in Travnik, could not communicate with them. It was only
22 toward the end of the year that, with great difficulty, we -- these
23 municipalities that were almost fully surrounded used courier
24 communication and had great difficulties in arriving at the information
25 out in the field.
1 Q. When it came to Sarajevo, did you use courier communication?
2 A. No. We used it only as far as the Zenica Regional TO Staff. We
3 couldn't use that type of communication as far as Sarajevo.
4 Q. Thank you. In your evidence, you said that the HDZ founded the
5 HVO. Can you tell us what sort of impact it had on the situation in the
6 spring of 1993?
7 A. At the very outset, we were faced with certain difficulties with
8 regard to the military structure that refused to place themselves under
9 our command. They set up a number of check-points which made difficult
10 the circulation of individuals from different municipalities and regions.
11 It was at these check-points that they exercised violence and made the
12 general situation in Central Bosnia very difficult.
13 At one point, the policemen of Tihomir Blaskic, as the commander
14 of Travnik -- or rather, it was his neighbouring commander because he was
15 the commander in Vitez. They disarmed me, and I tried to get my weapons
16 back through nonviolent means. It was these units and their check-points
17 that made our movement difficult even towards our defence lines. Our
18 units would be stopped on their way, their weapons would be taken off
19 them, and they had to work to get their weapons back. And all of this
20 made the situation very difficult.
21 Q. Mr. Ribo, I appeal to you to shorten your answers and to speak
23 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness be shown document
24 D905. For the record, this is a report on the situation in the Novi
25 Travnik Municipality, dated the 19th of October, 1992. I want to direct
1 your attention to the last and penultimate paragraphs of the document.
2 Could you please enlarge the Bosnian version as well.
3 Q. Witness, I know that you can't be very familiar with the document,
4 but please read the last two paragraphs because you might have some
5 knowledge of the situation described here.
6 It is stated here that: "The Zenica Region Army Staff constantly
7 insisted on negotiations with our command, which we have refused because
8 we have no direct links with our commander, Mr. Tihomir Blaskic; and
9 Mr. Kordic did not allow any negotiations at the time and was currently in
10 Novi Travnik. All the roads reading from Novi Travnik are blocked."
11 This is my question for you: Does this document reflect the
12 situation in October 1992, in terms of the relations between the HVO and
13 the Territorial Defence?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did you have any knowledge of the attempts to negotiate with the
17 A. Of course, I had knowledge of that. In the municipality's
18 neighbouring to ours, like the Zenica TO, they told us not to meddle into
19 the conflict in Novi Travnik especially not with our units, and we
20 honoured that order. We acted upon that order because we felt that it was
21 the matter of the Zenica Staff.
22 Q. Did you try to avoid conflicts with Croats in Travnik?
23 A. Yes.
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can this document be given an
25 exhibit number, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
2 please be given an exhibit number.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become Exhibit number
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] We have another document left. Can
7 the witness be shown D906.
8 For the record, this is an HVO document, order on further
9 activities, dated the 22nd of October, 1992.
10 Q. This is a rather short document, Mr. Ribo, which speaks of a
11 request to strengthen the blockade on all the roads leading to Novi
12 Travnik. Have a look at the document first.
13 Does it reflect the balance of powers between the HVO and the TO
14 in October of 1992?
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Mundis.
16 MR. MUNDIS: It's leading.
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I accept, Your Honour. I will
18 rephrase the question.
19 Q. Mr. Ribo, can you comment on this document?
20 A. Of course, I can. This is a document issued by Commander Milivoj
21 Petkovic. In the -- among the addressees, you can see that these are the
22 municipalities on the fringes of Central Bosnia, and it speaks of the full
23 blockade of Central Bosnia. Nobody could get into Central Bosnia or get
24 out of it without the knowledge and approval of the HVO. So there was a
25 full blockade of Central Bosnia in place.
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 Can this document be assigned an exhibit number. The document is
3 admitted into evidence. May it please be given an exhibit number.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become Exhibit number
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe it is time
7 for the break now.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Madam Vidovic.
9 We'll take a break and come back at half past 12.00.
10 Court adjourned.
11 --- Recess taken at 12.00 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 12.30 p.m.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Madam Vidovic.
14 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. Mr. Ribo, let us move to a different topic now.
16 At the start of your testimony, you said that the Presidency of
17 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina passed a decision to unite all the
18 armed forces in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Do you recall saying
20 A. Yes.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness be shown D900.
22 Q. Please look at the document. While working as the commander of
23 the TO Staff in Travnik, did you have occasion to see this document?
24 A. Of course.
25 Q. Please direct your attention to the first three items of the
1 document. I will quote only item 3, where it says:
2 "All armed groups and individuals who fail to report and to place
3 themselves under the command of the municipal Territorial Defence Staffs
4 or the district Territorial Defence Staffs or the City of Sarajevo
5 Territorial Defence Staff shall be classified as paramilitary formations
6 and shall be sanctioned according to the Law."
7 Can you just briefly, very briefly, explain to us what the meaning
8 of this decision was in practice?
9 A. In practice, it meant that all the units had to be placed under
10 the command of the Territorial Defence since it was the only armed force;
11 and, of course, everything that was set up outside of the Territorial
12 Defence was deemed to be paramilitary.
13 Q. Did this decision define the hallmarks of such units?
14 A. Yes, of course. This decision regulated that matter as well.
15 Q. In what way?
16 A. By clearly stipulating what the Territorial Defence units would
17 wear, in which territories they would be deployed, and so on and so forth.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 Your Honours, can this document be assigned an exhibit number.
20 JUDGE HARHOFF: Ms. Vidovic, I'd like you to explore with the
21 witness just which armed groups was this decision meant to cover. What
22 were the armed groups that the president wanted to integrate? Of course,
23 notably, did the decision cover the Mujahedin groups which might at that
24 time have begun to enter the country?
25 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Witness, please bear in mind the date of the decision.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we look at the top of the
3 document to see the date -- or rather, it's at the bottom, the 9th of
4 April, 1992.
5 Q. You've heard the question put by His Honour. What sort of armed
6 groups were subject to this decision?
7 A. The Patriotic League, the Green Berets, the MUP loyal to
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, an independent Bosnia-Herzegovina. All that had to be
9 placed under the single command of the Territorial Defence.
10 Q. You heard the question put by His Honour Judge Harhoff. Did this
11 also apply to the Mujahedin, if they were already there at the time?
12 A. The decision is dated the 9th of April, 1992. At that time, not
13 even the fighting had practically broken out. I believe that in my area,
14 the conflict broke out on the 22nd of April [as interpreted].
15 Q. You didn't answer the Judge's question. Were there Mujahedin in
16 the area at the time?
17 A. No.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] If you have no further questions in
19 relation to this document, Your Honour, can this document be given an
20 exhibit number?
21 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter's correction: The date was not
22 the 22nd of April, but the 15th of April.
23 JUDGE HARHOFF: Excuse me. No, I have no further questions,
24 except for the date. In the English version, down on the bottom, the date
25 seems to be the 9th of April, and I had been unaware of this date when I
1 put my question, my first question. But maybe just clarify which is the
2 correct date.
3 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Witness, can you see this?
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the document states as,
6 as the date, the 9th of April, 1992, and that's what the witness said. I
7 don't know what's in the transcript. The 9th of April, 1992.
8 Q. Witness, what did you say? When did the conflicts break out in
9 your area?
10 A. In the area of Turbe, the conflict broke out on the 15th of April,
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 Your Honour, I believe we've cleared this up now. Can the
14 document be given an exhibit number, please.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed. The document is admitted into evidence.
16 May it please be given an exhibit number.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become Exhibit 1183.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
19 Yes, Madam Vidovic.
20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we put the document away now,
21 and can the witness be shown Exhibit 116.
22 This document does not have an English version. What matters is
23 the photograph only. Can you please show the images on the screen only.
24 These are insignia.
25 Very well. Thank you.
1 Q. Witness, the earlier document, if you'll recall, mentioned
2 insignia and ranks, and stated that different groups were active under
3 different insignia. Do you recall that bit from the earlier document?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Can you please tell us which of the insignia that we can see here,
6 if any, have to do with the Territorial Defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
7 A. When it comes to the Territorial Defence, it's the insignia
8 number 7. That was the insignia we wore on our right arm.
9 Q. And the insignia under number 12, what does that refer to?
10 A. It refers to the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
11 when the armija was formed. When the TO became the Army of Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina this was its insignia.
13 Q. Can you please explain the insignia under number 4?
14 A. This is the insignia of the MUP, the reserve and the active MUP
15 forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
16 Q. Thank you. Now, if you know, can you please explain what is under
17 number 1? What is this insignia?
18 A. That is insignia of the MOS.
19 Q. And what is that MOS?
20 A. Those are the Muslimanske Snage, Muslim Armed Forces.
21 Q. Thank you. At the beginning of your testimony, you said that
22 there was resistance for the armed groups in the area of Travnik to report
23 to the Staff, and we saw this decision from April, I think the 9th of
24 April, 1992, ordering the unification of all the armed groups into the
25 Territorial Defence.
1 I want to ask you this: After the 9th of April, 1992, was the
2 forming of groups and units outside of the TO stopped? Did that cease,
3 according to what you know?
4 A. No, it did not.
5 Q. And why was this? Can you describe that a bit?
6 A. For the simple reason that certain groups, like the Patriotic
7 League and the Green Berets, did not wish to place themselves under the
8 control of the TO. They acted on their own initiative, and then certain
9 religious circles did not agree with the composition and the command and
10 control and activities of the TO Staff. So they also initiated the
11 formation of the Muslim Armed Forces in analogy to the HVO and the HOS.
12 Q. And what was the attitude of the religious circles towards the
13 Territorial Defence? Do you have any examples that could illustrate this?
14 MR. MUNDIS: Calls for speculation.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Madam Vidovic.
16 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] If I may respond.
17 Your Honours, I will rephrase the question. If it was prompting
18 speculation, I will phrase it differently.
19 Q. Witness, you were the Staff commander of the Territorial Defence.
20 Did you, in this function of yours, have any contacts or any experiences
21 with the religious circles?
22 A. No, I did not.
23 Q. And did you have any experience when we're talking about the area
24 or the territory used by your units or not?
25 A. Where my first Travnik detachment was located, it's the Travnik
1 Medresa religious facility now. Before the former Yugoslavia, it was a
2 religious facility. Then the authorities of Yugoslavia confiscated it
3 from the Islamic religious community, and it was used as a furniture sales
4 outlet in the former Yugoslavia.
5 Then at the beginning of the war, I located the 1st Travnik
6 Detachment there, and Efendi Avdibegovic, Nusrit Avdibegovic, the Travnik
7 Mufti, asked through this commander for this unit to move out because this
8 was a religious facility. Then after consultations, the commander moved
9 out of this building. We left it and simply handed it over to them.
10 Q. Did I understand you correctly that they did not allow you to use
11 their facility?
12 A. Of course. They insisted, for their own purposes and objectives,
13 that we leave and abandon that facility, which is what we did.
14 Q. Thank you. You mentioned earlier that the religious leaders
15 supported the establishment of the Muslim Armed Forces in Travnik. Can
16 you please tell the Trial Chamber who these religious leaders were in
18 A. Primarily, it is the Travnik Mufti, Nusret Avdibegovic, and then
19 Ahmed Adilovic, who had a Master's degree; and these were the two persons
20 in the Travnik Municipality.
21 Q. You were talking about Efendi Nusret Avdibegovic and then Ahmed
22 Adilovic; is that correct?
23 I'm doing this for the transcript: Nusret Avdibegovic and Ahmed
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. I'm going to ask you, again: Was there any reason or not because
2 of which the religious circles did not wish to support the Territorial
4 A. Yes. There was, in the sense that they considered us to be less a
5 Muslim than we actually were, and they didn't trust the TO Staff that was
6 multi-ethnic, as I explained in the document of the list of the employees
7 of the TO Staff. They automatically did not trust the Staff because of
8 this multi-ethnic aspect because they believed that it should all be a
9 single ethnic group.
10 Q. Thank you. I would like to ask you this: Would it be wrong or
11 not to believe that the MOS, the Muslim Armed Forces, was an integral part
12 of the TO?
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Mundis.
14 MR. MUNDIS: Objection. Leading.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
16 Madam Vidovic.
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I will rephrase my question.
18 Q. What was the status of the Muslim Armed Forces, if you know, and
19 was there a relationship between them and the Territorial Defence?
20 A. The Muslim Armed Forces were independent units outside of the
21 system of control of the Travnik Staff, so they were not part of my
23 Q. When you say "part of my forces," what exactly do you mean?
24 A. Units of the Travnik Territorial Defence.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness now look at document
2 D52, please.
3 JUDGE HARHOFF: Excuse me, Madam Vidovic. I thought you were
4 about to leave this document; and so before we leave it, I would like to
5 put some questions to the witness because some of the insignia are
6 interesting in the perspective of this case. I think, by the way, we have
7 seen this exhibit before.
8 Now, Mr. Witness, insignia numbers 1, 19, and 22 seem to all
9 relate to the Muslimanske Snage.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can we see the entire 19 and 22, please. Thank you
11 very much.
12 JUDGE HARHOFF: Is that correct?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
14 JUDGE HARHOFF: So if this is correct, Mr. Ribo, are these, then,
15 the insignia that were sported by the members of the Muslim Forces that
16 you just spoke about?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Only insignia number 1. That is
18 what I saw.
19 JUDGE HARHOFF: Very well.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here, the colours are different, but
21 I know that it was actually the black colour.
22 JUDGE HARHOFF: So the soldiers who were wearing this black
23 insignia, as displayed in example number 1, they were outside the TO, you
24 just told us. So under whose command were these Muslimanske Snage then
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were supported by the religious
2 circles, and they acted independently.
3 JUDGE HARHOFF: I am not quite sure if at the point you are -- the
4 point of time of which you are speaking. Was that before or after the
5 establishment of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before the establishment of the Army
7 of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
8 JUDGE HARHOFF: Right.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Excuse me. While I was the
10 commander, they operated independently. They were not under my command.
11 They were more posers, and they continued with such activities after, when
12 the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina was established; but, again, they were
13 independent because of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. An order was
14 issued, I think, in September sometime that armija units should be formed,
15 and the corps were formed on the 1st of December, then brigades were
16 formed, and then they disappeared.
17 JUDGE HARHOFF: I see. So what you are telling us is that the
18 Muslimanske Snage were incorporated into the ABiH brigades later on. Is
19 that correct?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
21 JUDGE HARHOFF: Please tell us, then, how it was.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. The Muslim Armed Forces, their
23 members, when the MOS was dismantled in Travnik and brigades were formed,
24 some individual soldiers became part of some brigades. They joined some
25 brigades, such as the 7th Muslim, 312th, 306th, 307th, 325th. So,
1 depending on from which area they came when the Travnik MOS was disbanded,
2 they went and joined those units, not as a complete unit of the Muslim
3 Armed Forces. That was not, as such, incorporated into the army force.
4 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you. Now, just to be clear, does this mean
5 that after the establishment of the brigades, the new brigades under the
6 new Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina after September 1992, the Muslim Forces
7 ceased to exist as independent units?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The MOS in Travnik ceased to exist.
9 JUDGE HARHOFF: Very well. Now, I want you to look at example
10 number 15. Do you recognise this insignia?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
12 JUDGE HARHOFF: I then also wanted you to have a look at the last
13 insignia, number 24; and my question is, again, if you recognise this
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't recognize this insignia
16 either. I've never seen it.
17 JUDGE HARHOFF: Finally, Mr. Ribo, if you could have a look at
18 example number 17.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I never saw this insignia on any
20 member, no, in the territory of the Travnik Municipality; and even later,
21 really, I didn't see it.
22 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much.
23 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I have a question, very brief.
24 When did the Muslim Armed Forces, as they were fighting under this
25 number 1 insignia, when were they established, created, more or less,
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can say that this was sometime in
3 May 1992, May or June.
4 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Therefore, they will have existed
5 from May to September, if I have understood you rightly?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, approximately.
7 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence -- I beg
9 your pardon. It's an exhibit already.
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
11 Q. Just one more question relating to the Muslim Forces. What you
12 said, in respect of the continuation and how long they were operative in
13 September 1992, you're talking about the Travnik region; is that how we
14 can understand that?
15 A. Yes, the Travnik region.
16 Q. And do you know about other regions?
17 A. No, no, I don't.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 Your Honours, we can put this document away, and the witness can
20 now look at D52, D52.
21 For the transcript, this an overview of the Staffs and TO units
22 under the Travnik TO in May 1992, the 23rd of May.
23 Q. And, Mr. Ribo, I would like you to look at this document page by
24 page. First of all, do you agree that, during proofing, I showed you this
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. All right. Very well. And did you look at it carefully?
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] All right. Can we now look at page
5 2 in both versions, the next page. English version as well. The next
6 page, then, and the following page of the document.
7 Q. What does this document show?
8 A. I didn't get the last page.
9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we look at the last page,
10 please. The last page of the Bosnian version, please, if possible.
11 Maybe we can resolve the problem at this point if we show the
12 witness the entire document on the ELMO. Perhaps you can just show it to
13 my learned friend from the Prosecution before the witness sees the
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: I thought we were putting it on the ELMO. I think
16 counsel said to put it on the ELMO.
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Page 3. Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. Witness, can you see the last page now?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you know this document from before?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You said, a moment ago, that it showed the composition of the
23 Staff of the Territorial Defence in Travnik. Is that right?
24 Having reviewed this document, did you see if there were any
25 Muslim Armed Forces as part of the Staff or not?
1 A. Since this is my document, which was sent to the Staff in
2 Sarajevo, I can tell you that it clearly shows that there are no Muslim
3 Armed Forces, nor were any ever part of my force. Had there been any, I
4 would have indicated them here.
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 Your Honours, can this document be assigned an exhibit number,
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before we do that, I just want to understand what
9 each column is telling us; otherwise, it doesn't mean much to me, and I
10 don't even know how to determine that the Muslims were not part of it.
11 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, bear with me for a
13 Can we go back to page 1 of the document of the English version.
14 The document will -- rather, the witness will have the Bosnian version
15 over there.
16 Q. In column number 1, we have a number, is that right, then we have
17 the Staff or rather, the unit? We have the title of the Staff or the
18 unit concerned, and then the number of officers and soldiers and the
19 area --
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, Madam Vidovic. Can the witness explain
21 that, rather than you explaining it?
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Witness, can you do that, please?
24 A. Yes, I can. What we can see here is the composition and structure
25 of the Staff of the Territorial Defence of Travnik by different columns.
1 Under the heading "Staff Unit," we have the different units of the
2 Territorial Defence; for instance, the zone or sector staff Turbe. And
3 what is next mentioned are the units that are part of that Staff under
4 numbers 1 through 10. Earlier on, I said which units were part of the
5 Travnik TO Staff. The next column says "Manpower Levels."
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: When you talk of the zone or sector staff Turbe,
7 what are you referring to on this page?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
9 THE INTERPRETER: Witness, please repeat his answer.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have in front of me what appears
11 to be page 2, not the cover page. In the English version, you have the
12 first page; whereas, I have page 2 in the Bosnian version.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Could we have the same page for both languages,
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let us take as an example the zone
16 or sector staff Travnik, which is in the bottom part of the table; and
17 there, under ordinal numbers 1 through 11, you have the subordinated units
18 listed belong to the zone or sector staff Travnik. Whatever was part of
19 the Travnik zone or sector staff was listed here.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: I don't understand you. I don't understand you.
21 First of all, I'd like to go slow. Tell us what number 1 means, tell us
22 what "Staff Unit" means, tell us what "enlistment" or "officer" means,
23 tell us what "non-commissioned officer" means, tell us about "soldiers"
24 means, "total" and "disposition," and then we can understand that line.
25 Then you can tell us how you now come to the conclusion that all this page
1 belongs to the Travnik zone.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let us take column -- or rather, let
3 us take row 1, or rather, you want columns. Right.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Row 1, row 1.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Column 1, it says: "Municipal TO
6 Staff, Travnik." That's my command. At the time when I wrote this report
7 to the Ministry of Defence in Sarajevo, I placed the heading "Enlistment"
8 or "Manpower Levels," which meant that I had 22 officers, one
9 non-commissioned officer, and one soldier. The Staff, my command, had 24
10 men in total. The TO Staff was stationed at the feature called
11 "Plava Voda" in Travnik.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Can we just determine one
13 thing. How, by looking at that row, do you determine that there are no
14 Muslim people in there?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The ethnic makeup was not sought
16 here. What we were looking for is the number.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: So it is not correct, what you said earlier, that
18 by looking at this document, we can see that it did not have any Muslims
19 in it?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that there must have been
21 an error. I spoke of the MOS unit being or not being part of my
22 structure, and not of the Muslims.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: I beg your pardon. Now, how do we determine, by
24 looking at that row, that none of those 24 people is a member of MOS?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, simply because they were not
1 part of my forces.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: But I'm trying to find the sentence that was
3 mentioned because that's not how it was put. We were given the impression
4 that by looking at this document, you can see that none of the people here
5 is a member of the Muslimanske Snage. I want to find out, and that's why
6 I asked the question. I don't know how to determine that none of these
7 people is a member of the Muslimanske Snage, and that's why I stopped and
8 asked these questions.
9 Now, if anybody can find that sentence, I would be very grateful.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Perhaps I didn't make myself clear.
11 The MOS and its members were not part of my forces, either as a unit or as
12 individual members.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, I understand that. I understand that that is
14 your testimony. I'm saying we were referred to this document. We were
15 told that by looking at this document, we can see that none of the people
16 here is a MOS member. Now I want to see and I want to find out how we
17 make that determination by looking at this document, not by listening to
18 your testimony, but by looking at this document.
19 Yes, Madam Vidovic.
20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may be of
21 assistance, please turn to page 72, line 14 of the transcript. My
22 question was whether members of units of Muslimanske Snage were part of
23 the TO, so I was referring to a unit and not to individual members. And
24 the witness has been referring to a unit of the MOS and not to
25 individuals, and that's what the witness was trying to explain.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes.
2 At line 14, page 72, you said: "You said a moment ago that it
3 showed the composition of the Staff of the Territorial Defence in Travnik;
4 is that right? Having reviewed this document, did you see if there were
5 any Muslim Armed Forces as part of the Staff or not?"
6 Then the answer was: "Since this is my document, which was sent
7 to the staff in Sarajevo, I can tell you that it clearly shows that there
8 are no Muslim armed forces, nor were any ever part of my force. Had there
9 been any, I would have indicated them here."
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: My problem is: What is it that is not here, which,
12 if it had been here, would indicate that the Muslim armed forces were part
13 of this group?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They would have had to be included
15 in the list of units. The Muslim Armed Forces were units, and we're
16 referring to units. Had they been part of my TO Staff, they would have
17 been listed in column 2.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Am I to understand that you could not, for
19 instance, have, if we look at row 3, you could not have a detachment TO in
20 Karaula composed of MOS members?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: They would have to appear there as Muslimanske
23 Snage; is that what you are saying?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct. That's correct.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
1 Madam Vidovic. Did you ask that the document be admitted?
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
4 please be given an exhibit number.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become Exhibit 1184.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
7 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Ribo, in response to His Honour's question, you said that you
9 knew that the Muslim Forces existed or were set up in the month of May of
10 1992. Did you try to obtain more information on these forces and their
12 A. I must admit that I did. I sought information from my assistant
13 for security, Esad Sipic. I asked him that he provide me with information
14 about what sort of Muslim units they were, who was leading them, and so on
15 and so forth. I wanted to know what this was all about.
16 Q. Did you receive that sort of information?
17 A. I received information from my assistant for security to the
18 effect that these were units set up under the wing of the Muslim religious
19 community, that they were headed by an individual named "Kara," that they
20 were billeted at the facility where my 1st Travnik Detachment was located,
21 and that they were not armed. This was the case at the time when I was
22 seeking this information, and it was on this basis that I had knowledge
23 about what this was all about.
24 Q. For the sake of the record, when you mentioned the individual who
25 was leading them at the time, you mentioned a name. Can you please spell
1 the name out?
2 A. The commander -- or rather, at the head of these units, according
3 to the information my assistant for security got, was an individual
4 called "Tara," T-A-R-A.
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Who had put at their disposal
7 this facility, since it was a facility, if I understood, which was of a
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Islamic community placed it at
10 the disposal of the Muslim Armed Forces.
11 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] This facility wasn't under the
12 control of the TO of Travnik?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Initially, it was because my unit
14 was billeted there. However, at the request of the Travnik Mufti, my
15 battalion commander, with my approval, handed the facility over to the
16 Muslim religious community because we believed, having been a religious
17 facility, that it would be used for religious purposes.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Sir, did you report the information you got to your superior
21 A. Yes, I did.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness be shown Exhibit 118
23 at this time, please.
24 Can we turn to page 2 of the document in both versions. For the
25 record, this is an Official Note of the Staff of the Army of the Zenica
1 District, dated the 1st of July, 1992.
2 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] What is the number, please? What
3 was the number of the document, please? We don't have it in the
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Exhibit 118. Thank you.
6 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Witness, this isn't a lengthy document. I believe you've read it,
9 or do you need more time?
10 A. I can't see the lower part of the document.
11 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we see the bottom of the
12 document, please.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well.
14 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Have you read the document?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. The document mentions the initials "RH." Are they your initials?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can you tell us what you know about this document?
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Where are these initials? Sorry.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, possibly in the
22 English -- well, can you please scroll up the English version so that we
23 can see the beginning of the text, the first sentence. Actually, it's the
24 first line, the last two letters.
25 I will quote the sentence:
1 "On the 21st of July, 1992, I received the commander of the
2 Municipal Staff in Travnik, RH, for an interview, upon his request, and he
3 informed me of the following:"
4 Q. Now, Mr. Ribo, can you please explain if what is said in the
5 document is correct, that you were summoned or invited to a meeting at the
6 Zenica District Staff; and if you did, what was going on there? What did
7 you report the Staff about, if you informed it about anything?
8 A. I was invited for a briefing by the commander of the TO Regional
9 District Defence Staff; and after the briefing was completed, I gave a
10 statement to this gentleman, Nasid, who was the assistant commander for
11 security of the Zenica District Defence Staff. Of course, I gave him the
12 insignia, together with this statement, the insignia of the Muslim Armed
13 Forces in Travnik.
14 Q. And what exactly did you inform him about?
15 A. I informed him on the basis of the information that I had through
16 the security assistant, that in the region of my municipality, the
17 Municipality of Travnik, Muslim Forces were being formed, led by a man
18 named "Zihnija." It was a self-organised force exclusively on a
19 mono-ethnic basis. They were giving each soldier 50 German marks each and
20 were giving others 200 marks, to the officers, to join them. They were
21 giving them weapons and food. They were simply trying to pull out people
22 from the Territorial Defence and other forces, certain fighters, and
23 attract others to them, especially refugees who had come from the Bosanska
25 I can say here that there were particularly people who joined the
1 Muslim Armed Forces who were unfit for military duty, and they did not
2 serve their mandatory military term of duty.
3 Q. Well, let's stay on this document. Zihnija is the ideological
4 leader that is being referred to here. Do you know anything about this
5 person? Who was that?
6 A. The ideological leader mentioned here as Zihnija was not --
7 actually, the unit was supported by the Islamic religious circles, the
8 Islamic religious functionaries. Zihnija Aganovic was the commander of
9 the regional Patriotic League, and he supported the Mujahedin. So we must
10 differentiate between the Muslim Armed Forces and the Mujahedin. The
11 Muslim Armed Forces were supported by the Islamic circles, and the
12 Mujahedins were supported by this certain Zihnija Aganovic, who was the
13 commander of the Regional Staff of the Patriotic League.
14 Q. I'm asking you this because it is said here, in this document of
15 yours, that Zihnija was the ideological leader of the Muslim Forces.
16 A. No, it wasn't him. These were actually the Travnik Mufti,
17 Avdibegovic and Ahmed Mufti. These were the ideological leaders of the
18 Muslim Armed Forces of Travnik. Zihnija Aganovic was the one who
19 supported the Mujahedin.
20 Q. Please, this is very important for all of us. Zihnija Aganovic,
21 you said that it was a person who was at the head of the Patriotic League,
22 the Regional Staff of the Patriotic League. What was his role, if he did
23 have any political or military role later, in later events?
24 A. Besides being the commander of the Regional Staff of the Patriotic
25 League, he was also very influential in the SDA party, but he was also for
1 a time the president of the Travnik District.
2 Q. Thank you very much. Now, this Patriotic League that he headed,
3 at the time when you were the TO Staff commander, in that period, did it
4 ever join the TO Staff or not in that period?
5 A. No, it did not.
6 Q. Another aspect of this document. You informed there or reported
7 there that money was being given. You informed the Zenica District
8 Defence Staff that money was being offered. Is that how it really was on
9 the ground?
10 A. Yes, that's how it was, precisely.
11 Q. And then it is said that there were rumours among the Muslim
12 population that the Muslim Forces were the only ones to protect the
13 Muslims. Were such rumours spread?
14 A. Yes. These rumours were spread, and they were more and more
15 intense and stronger as these Muslim Armed Forces began to be established.
16 We had problems to keep our fighters in the TO because of these favourable
17 conditions being offered, to stop them from going over. We had to inform
18 our forces very well in order to prevent our members of the TO from
19 switching to the Muslim Armed Forces.
20 We were simply two enemies. We simply couldn't stand each other,
21 the Muslim Armed Forces and the TO Staff. You saw why; because we were a
22 multi-ethnic command, we were officers of the former JNA, and so on and so
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] All right. We can put this document
25 away now, and --
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before we do that, can we scroll down the English
2 version, please. Who's Nasid Agic?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Agic, Nasid Agic, was deputy
4 commander -- assistant commander for security of the commander of the
5 Regional Staff of the TO in Zenica.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, if you look at - and I'm reading the English
7 version and I don't know whether the B/C/S is similar - the last
8 paragraph, it says:
9 "In recent time, they are behaving aggressively towards the
10 members of the OS. They are threatening them and taking away their
11 weapons. Serbs and Croats from the TO Municipal Staff in Travnik are
12 leaving the Staff because of the establishment of such a unit that is
13 under the command of Travnik Staff."
14 What is meant by "Travnik Staff" at the end of that sentence?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were not under my command, and
16 that is why I think that this sentence is not formulated correctly. I did
17 not give such a statement. I wouldn't give a statement against the Muslim
18 Forces had they been in my Staff. I'm not that crazy.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's why I'm asking because that looks like a
20 self-contradiction. Thank you for the explanation.
21 Yes, Madam Vidovic.
22 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I have a question.
23 You have spoken of the composition, mono-ethnical composition of
24 that group of the Muslim Forces which were fighting under this insignia.
25 Those were people who were only Bosnians and not foreigners? They were
1 only from Bosnia?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Only from Bosnia. MOS, the Muslim
3 Armed Forces, were only people from Bosnia, according to the information
4 that I have, so only from Bosnia.
5 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] The other thing I wanted to
6 know: You said, a while ago, that these Muslim Forces had been
7 established during the month of May, but you were taking them only in
8 July. Now, how did this happen?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. They were founded or
10 established in May and they were growing gradually, so we didn't really
11 attach much importance to these forces.
12 Why did I intervene in respect of the District Staff? At the end
13 of July, or in mid-July, I was at a meeting in the Travnik Municipality,
14 at the War Presidency, where we discussed a joint command of the Travnik
15 Municipality armed forces. This is when the Croats mentioned that they
16 saw that there were some Mujahids of the MOS. And on the basis of that
17 statement and my own information, I ordered the security -- assistant for
18 security of the commander to find out more about these forces, who they
20 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] We can put this document away now,
22 and can the witness now look at Exhibit 55. This is a video clip.
23 [Videotape played]
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Please, this clip shows some people. Do you know any of them?
1 A. I know the Nusret Avdibegovic, the Travnik Mufti.
2 Q. Is that the person you said supported the MOS?
3 A. Yes, that is the person.
4 Q. And is it correct --
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Which person is he here?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He's to the left on the photograph
7 that I see, with the white cap or hat.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we continue with the video,
11 [Videotape played]
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Witness, please, first of all, is it correct that I showed you
14 this footage during proofing?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Please, can you tell us, do you know what this footage depicts?
17 Do you know about this event that was videotaped?
18 A. I know what it's about, but I don't know when it happened. I
19 think that this was the celebration or the ceremony, the formal ceremony,
20 of the formation of this force, the Muslim Armed Forces, and it is the
21 oath-swearing ceremony.
22 Q. What I would like to ask you now is this: When this footage was
23 made, you were the Staff commander of the TO. Who --
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: I thought he said he doesn't know when it
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: "I know what it's about, but I don't know when it
3 happened." So he can't answer whether, when it happened, he was the Staff
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Please, you heard what the Judge said. Now, this is what I want
7 to ask you: When you were the commander of the TO Staff, did people give
8 an oath in front of you, before you, as the TO Staff commander?
9 A. No. They said their oath before my deputy, the most serious -- or
10 senior representatives of my command. But, actually, in the majority of
11 the cases, I was also there during the oath ceremony because it is the
12 most formal of ceremonies.
13 Q. In this footage that you see, that is, the formal oath-swearing
14 ceremony, do you remember, were you the TO Staff commander at that time?
15 A. Yes, I was.
16 Q. Did you or any of your emissary attend this event?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Did the members of the Muslim Forces from the Travnik area swear
19 their oath before you or anyone from your area?
20 A. No, never.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is already an
22 exhibit. I would like the witness to look at different video footage, and
23 this is Exhibit number 84.
24 [Videotape played]
25 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] We have a technical problem, Your
1 Honours. We apologise.
2 Your Honours, we apologise. I didn't hear what you said.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: I was just asking if Madam Gluhic perhaps needs
5 assistance from the technicians.
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will come back to
7 this video footage tomorrow, and now I'm going to show another exhibit to
8 the witness. Then tomorrow, in the morning, we will show this video clip.
9 Can the witness now look at Exhibit 103. For the transcript, it
10 is the list of fighters of the Travnik Muslim Armed Forces of the Travnik
11 area of the 15th of September, 1992.
12 Can you scroll down the document, please, to the end. Scroll down
13 the page.
14 Q. Mr. Ribo, can you please look at the names on the page.
15 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we then look at the last page of
16 this document now; also in the English version.
17 Q. I would like to ask you this, witness: Have you seen this
18 document before?
19 A. Yes, I have.
20 Q. When was that?
21 A. During the testimony before this Tribunal in the
22 Hadzihasanovic-Kubara case.
23 Q. In the capacity of the commander of the TO Staff in Travnik, did
24 you ever receive this document?
25 A. No. I had never seen it before the Hadzihasanovic trial. There
1 are some illogical elements in it which are not typical of my unit and
2 Staff; for instance, the stamp. My subordinate units did not have stamps,
3 and particularly not one such as this. Not a single subordinate unit had
4 its own stamp; they all had the stamp of my own Staff. There is no logic
5 in my subordinate unit having a stamp such as this one.
6 Q. At any rate, whether having such a stamp is possible or not, is it
7 possible, in September of 1992?
8 A. For my unit, no. I never received a list such as this one.
9 Q. Very well.
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Let's look at page 1 once more.
11 The English version is fine. Can we see the heading of the document and
12 can it be enlarged? Thank you.
13 Q. Witness, the document reads: "Army of the Republic of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Staff of the Armed Forces, Muslim Forces,
15 Travnik," and next the reference number and date.
16 How do you understand this, the Staff of the Armed Forces and then
17 the Muslim forces in Travnik, all topped by the Army of the Republic of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina? How do you comment on this?
19 A. Well, they could have a heading telling whatever you wanted.
20 There were different headings at the time. What is interesting is that
21 where you have the Army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Staff
22 of the Armed Forces, they don't mention Travnik at this stage.
23 Another thing that is quite interesting is that it says: "State
24 secret," and this is just a list of an odd number of persons.
25 Next, where they say: "We're sending you a list of the fighters
1 of the Muslim Forces in Travnik in our area," we don't know on whose
2 request this is and why they're sending this list. Normally, in a
3 document, there is always a reference back to a document, an order, or
4 some other sort of a document in reference to which this is sent. Besides
5 that, I would always have to refer to a unit that would find this list
6 that I'm sending helpful.
7 Q. We said that it says: "The Muslim Forces, Travnik." Can you tell
8 us whether this document ever reached your TO Staff?
9 A. No, never.
10 Q. Very well. Please look at the first name listed here: Adilovic,
11 son of Becir, Ahmed. Who is he?
12 A. He's precisely one of the religious leaders from the Municipality
13 of Travnik who set this unit up together with the support of the Travnik
14 Mufti, Nusret Avdibegovic.
15 Q. At the time of your term as commander of the TO Staff, was
16 Adilovic ever your subordinate?
17 A. No, never. He never came over to the Command, and I never spoke
18 to him, although he comes from my native village.
19 Q. Very well. Name number 2 is Makteuf, Muhammad, Abdulah. Do you
20 know who that individual is?
21 A. Yes, I know he lived in the Municipality of Travnik as a citizen
22 of Bosnia-Herzegovina for some 15 years before the war.
23 Q. Very well, thank you. I have one more question for you.
24 Do you have any knowledge if there were any foreigners in the MOS
25 in Travnik?
1 A. No, I have no knowledge to that effect. They simply weren't
2 getting along because of the practicing of religious beliefs. There were
3 two different Islamic currents, I would say. But I know that there were
4 no foreigners there in the MOS.
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 Your Honours, I would like to interrupt my examination at this
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Madam Vidovic.
9 We'll then take an adjournment and come back tomorrow at 9.00 in
10 the morning.
11 Court adjourned.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 5th day of
14 March, 2008, at 9.00 a.m.