1 Thursday, 1 July 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 11.00 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, would you call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Mr. President, case number
8 IT-01-47-T, the Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar. Can
10 we have the appearances for the Prosecution, please.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours, counsel,
12 and everyone in and around the courtroom. For the Prosecution, Ms. Tecla
13 Henry-Benjamin, Daryl Mundis, and the case manager Andres Vatter.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now for the Defence, please, who
15 are complete today.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President; good
17 morning, Your Honours. On behalf of General Enver Hadzihasanovic, Edina
18 Residovic; Stephane Bourgon, co-counsel; and Mirna Milanovic, legal
20 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. On
21 behalf of Mr. Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Mr. Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and
22 Mr. Nermin Mulalic, legal assistant.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Chamber bids good morning to
24 all those present: To the representatives of the Prosecution, assisted by
25 their legal assistant; the Defence attorneys, as I have just said, are all
1 present today; the accused; and all the personnel of this courtroom,
2 especially the registrar, the legal officer, Madam Usher, Madam Court
3 Reporter, as well as the security services. I will not omit to mention
4 the interpreters in their booths.
5 I would like to ask the registrar that we first go into private
7 [Private session]
9 [Open session]
10 THE REGISTRAR: Mr. President, we are in open session.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
12 Mr. Mundis, is your witness available to the Chamber?
13 MR. MUNDIS: He is indeed, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I should like to ask
15 Madam Usher to go and fetch the witness.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning, sir. Let me check
18 that you are hearing my words in your own language. If so, tell me,
19 please, that you can hear and understand what I'm saying.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning. I can hear and
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have been called by
23 representatives of the Prosecution to testify on certain matters linked to
24 documents. Before I ask you to read the solemn declaration, I need to
25 know your identity. Give me your first and last name, place and date of
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am Mekic Muradif, born on the 13th
3 of March, 1944, in Mrdjenovici, Foca municipality.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current occupation?
5 Are you working or are you retired? What are you doing now?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am retired.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And you retired as what, from
8 what position?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was a professional officer in the
10 Yugoslav People's Army, a lieutenant colonel by rank in 1992.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And when did you retire, which
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1997.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And since 1997 you haven't been
15 working. You are just a pensioner; is that right?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In 1993, what was the position
18 that you held in the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina? What was your
19 position and rank?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1993, I still didn't have any
21 rank. Only the corps commanders were granted ranks, and senior officers.
22 In those days, until mid-1993, I acted as chief of staff of the 3rd Corps
23 of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina headquartered in Zenica.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the chief of staff of the
25 3rd Corps had no military rank?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He did not.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But was he considered to be an
3 officer or a civilian?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was considered to be an officer,
5 a member of the Supreme Command, with a certain insignia.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you ever testified before
7 an international or national court about the events that took place in
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1993 or is this the first time for you?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is for the first time that I am
10 appearing as a witness ever.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Will you please read the text of
12 the solemn declaration now, please.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
14 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 WITNESS: MURADIF MEKIC
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You may be seated.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before we begin with your
20 testimony - I can call you Colonel because you are a retired colonel - I
21 shall provide you with some information regarding these proceedings. You
22 will have to answer questions that are going to be put to you by the
23 representatives of the Prosecution, who are seated on your right. I
24 understand that you have already met representatives of the Prosecution on
25 several occasions and most recently this morning in the presence of the
1 Defence attorneys.
2 After the Prosecution's questions, the Defence attorneys, who are
3 seated on your left and whom you have already met, will also have
4 questions to you within the framework of their cross-examination.
5 The Chamber understands that the Defence had intended to call you
6 later as a witness for the Defence, but due to certain problems linked to
7 documents, the Prosecution has called you to come and testify about some
8 documents and the question of the chain of custody of documents within the
9 3rd Corps and questions linked to communications.
10 Once the Defence attorneys have completed their questioning about
11 the points I have just listed, the Prosecution may again have some
12 additional questions for you. When this is over, the three Judges who are
13 seated in front of you may also ask you questions. In view of the
14 technical nature of your testimony, it is almost certain that the Judges
15 will have questions for you.
16 The questions put to you will be worded in a clear and
17 understandable fashion as far as possible, and please try and answer them
18 also clearly so as to inform the Judges fully of what you are saying. If
19 you don't understand the meaning of a question, please ask the person
20 putting it to you to rephrase it so that you are fully aware and
21 understand the question which will allow you to give a precise answer.
22 However, I have to remind you - and this is something that I do
23 for all witnesses, not just for you but all those coming to testify - I
24 need to remind witnesses that as they have taken the solemn declaration to
25 tell the whole truth, all false testimony is excluded. I always tell
1 witnesses that should there be any false testimony, a witness may be
2 sanctioned by a fine or a prison term which can go up to seven years.
3 That is the first point.
4 The second point I need to make is that when a witness has to
5 answer a question which he considers that might one day be used against
6 him because his answer may incriminate him, in that case the witness may
7 refuse to answer. This is a possibility that exists in a number of
8 countries. The witness is not forced to answer, but should that occur,
9 the Chamber may compel the witness to answer, but in doing so, the Chamber
10 guarantees immunity from prosecution to the witness for what the witness
11 may say.
12 Those would be, in general terms, how these proceedings will
13 evolve. Should you have any difficulty, please tell us so and we will
14 deal with them.
15 I now turn to the Prosecution and give them the floor.
16 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Examined by Mr. Mundis:
18 Q. Good morning for the second time today, Mr. Mekic. As we
19 explained --
20 A. Good morning.
21 Q. As we explained to you both in Sarajevo and earlier this morning,
22 my questions, as you're aware, will be limited to technical issues
23 concerning orders, and I will also show you a few documents, as we've
24 previously done.
25 Let me start by asking you, sir, you've informed the Trial Chamber
1 that in 1992 you were a member of the Yugoslav People's Army, the JNA.
2 Can you tell us, please, when you first joined the JNA.
3 A. I joined the JNA as an active-duty officer on the 27th of July,
5 Q. I take it, then, that you remained with the JNA until 1992.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. What was your military specialisation, if any, during your nearly
8 30-year career in the JNA?
9 A. My speciality was nuclear, chemical and biological defence.
10 Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the circumstances by which you
11 left the JNA in 1992.
12 A. If I may provide an explanation before I answer that question,
13 please. The Yugoslav People's Army consisted of three components; the
14 Yugoslav People's Army itself, the Territorial Defence, and the police in
15 wartime. So only in wartime does the police become a third component.
16 I think it was on the 13th of February, 1991, at my personal
17 request I was transferred to serve in the Territorial Defence as a
18 component of the armed forces of the former Yugoslavia, and I held the
19 position of assistant commander for logistics of the District TO staff for
20 Sarajevo. You are probably aware of the fact that the commander was
21 General Jovan Divjak. I held that post until the 4th of April, 1992, when
22 we were called on either to move to where the occupier, as we thought them
23 to be, should go or to leave. Those of us who were professional officers
24 decided not to join the armed forces that had been formed by the JNA - I
25 don't know how to put it - the forces whose task it was to ensure the --
1 to ensure that Bosnia-Herzegovina remain in Rump Yugoslavia.
2 As far as the Bosnian and Croatian patriots in the Territorial
3 Defence were concerned, we remained there, but not under the command of
4 the Main Staff over which the JNA had command. This lasted only four
6 On the 8th of April, 1992, an order was issued by the then
7 Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina that the patriotic forces should
8 unite to form the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and those patriotic
9 forces were the Patriotic League and the Territorial Defence. So that
10 from the Territorial Defence, for four days I was nowhere, so to speak,
11 and then, together with the others, I joined the army of Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina on the 8th of April, 1992.
13 Q. At that point, 8 April 1992, what were you assigned to do and
14 where were you?
15 A. I was in Sarajevo, in the district of Ciglane, where the District
16 TO headquarters was based, and we stayed there. I was a member of the
17 staff without any concrete duty.
18 Q. How long did you remain in the district of Ciglane in Sarajevo?
19 A. I was there until the Marsal Tito barracks was liberated, if
20 you're aware of that event. You probably are. When the barracks was
21 liberated, I was appointed the first commander of that barracks, the
22 assignment being to prepare the area to accommodate the growing units of
23 the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 Q. How long -- how long, sir, did you remain in Sarajevo in 1992 --
25 or, better, when did you leave Sarajevo in 1992?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. I left Sarajevo -- actually, I wasn't alone. Four of us left
2 Sarajevo in the night between the 1st and 2nd of November, 1992, escorted
3 by the French colonel who escorted us via the airport, and then we
4 continued on our way to Zenica.
5 Q. Can you tell us who was with you on this trip to Zenica and what
6 the purpose of going to Zenica was on the 1st and 2nd of November, 1992.
7 A. In the group with me was Mr. Enver Hadzihasanovic, Velaga Karajko,
8 and Mikic Senad. The purpose of our leaving Sarajevo and going to Central
9 Bosnia, or more specifically to Zenica, was to implement the plan Koverat,
10 or envelope as it was code named, and the name of that plan was to lift
11 the blockade of the city of Sarajevo. The four of us were assigned to go
12 to Central Bosnia to organise units there, and with those units to start
13 the operation of deblocking Sarajevo from the outside.
14 Q. As part of this tasking to organise these units, did that include
15 the establishment of a corps?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Did there come a time when that assignment, in effect, turned into
18 the establishment of a corps?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber approximately when that occurred.
21 A. As I have already said, on the 2nd of November, in the evening, we
22 arrived in Zenica. After life in surrounded Sarajevo and living under
23 unbearable conditions -- I find it hard even to look back at that period,
24 because I remember some horrific events. We felt as if we had reached
25 another planet. The war could not be felt to such an extent in Zenica.
1 There was lighting, which is something we were impressed by. Even traffic
2 lights were working.
3 Unfortunately, that same evening we were unpleasantly surprised,
4 and only then did we realise the kind of media blockade we were under and
5 general blockade, a lack of information and lack of knowledge about
6 events. We had expected, according to certain information that we had
7 received, that in Central Bosnia that units had already been organised
8 which simply now had to be prepared for the execution of the assigned
9 task. Unfortunately, none of that existed. All that existed was the 1st
10 Zenica Brigade which existed on paper only. There was just one battalion
11 that could actually be put to use consisting of the workers from the
13 Several days later, when we had an overview of the situation and
14 when we saw that we could not carry out the task for which we had left
15 Sarajevo, we addressed our superior command and informed them about the
16 situation there such as it was. We gave up the plan called Koverat for
17 Central Bosnia, and we were tasked to consolidate the units and to
18 organise them and to undertake the establishment of the 3rd of -- 3rd
19 Banja Luka or Krajina Corps based in Zenica. That is how it was known at
20 first as the Krajina was occupied. But the first option was that it
21 should be called the Banja Luka Corps. However, as that did not
22 materialise, it remained to be called the 3rd Corps without any indication
23 of place; that is, Banja Luka was left out.
24 Q. Sir -- sir, I appreciate that you have a great deal of knowledge
25 on these matters, but again, due to the limited nature of the questions
1 that I'll put to you, if you could try to keep the answers as brief as
2 possible, that would be appreciated.
3 Do you recall the approximate time that the 3rd Corps or the 3rd
4 Banja Luka Corps or the Banja Luka Corps was established, the rough time
6 A. It's difficult to say. As a professional soldier, I know that
7 even in peacetime, under normal conditions, to form a corps requires a
8 number of years. This is something you can check with military experts.
9 But in wartime, well, we managed to do something. We gathered some units,
10 but technically speaking, as far as the formation of a corps is concerned,
11 that was out of the question.
12 Q. Again, sir, the question was the approximate time period when the
13 3rd Corps came into being.
14 A. Well, on paper it came into being perhaps in the first half of
15 January 1992. I apologise: In 1993.
16 Q. And what was your position at the time the corps came into being?
17 A. I was a member of the staff of the Supreme Command, and I went to
18 Central Bosnia in order to deal with these affairs. I was a member of the
19 staff of the Supreme Command at the time.
20 Q. Sir, in response to a question from the Presiding Judge, you told
21 us that you were the chief of staff of the 3rd Corps until approximately
22 mid-1993; is that correct?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. Can you please tell us very briefly what your responsibilities as
25 chief of staff included.
1 A. Well, I know you asked me that question a minute ago, because the
2 corps commander and the chief of staff of the corps couldn't appoint
3 themselves to those positions. That's why I said I was a member of the
4 staff of the Supreme Command and that I wasn't the chief of staff until I
5 received the order appointing me to that position. All this functioned on
6 the basis of temporary orders. These appointments were temporary. They
7 weren't real appointments.
8 I'm not sure. I can't remember the date when the then Presidency
9 issued the decrees and when I became the chief. I'm not sure of the day.
10 Q. Let me ask you again, sir: What, briefly, were your duties and
11 responsibilities as the chief of staff?
12 A. You want brief answers, but it's not possible to answer that
13 question by providing you with a brief answer. The staff was supposed to
14 deal with the operational functions of the corps command, and that's why
15 you have the chiefs of the services, and that the suggestion -- rather,
16 the decision of the commander, combat operations would be prepared. Not
17 just combat operations but life -- the life and work of the corps would
18 also be organised on that basis.
19 So I had a group of people with whom I was to implement the orders
20 issued by the commander.
21 Q. Can you tell us a little bit about how orders issued by the
22 commander were created, the written orders. How was that process done?
23 A. Well, there are two possibilities. Work was carried out on the
24 basis of two written instructions, textbooks, so to speak. One of these
25 textbooks, or some of these instructions had to do with office work and
1 drafting official documents, and the other instructions had to do with the
2 work of the staff.
3 The working methods involved a lengthy procedure and a more rapid
4 procedure. This depended on the situation and the time we had at our
5 disposal. For a document or an order from a commander, let's say to
6 attack or to defend, to go on a march, to rest, et cetera, for such an
7 order to be implemented, all his associates would sit down together and
8 discuss a number of issues, and the main issues that were discussed on the
9 basis of which a document was drafted, this concerned the situation in the
10 field, the combat situation, the time at our disposal, the weather, an
11 assessment of the enemy. And once all that had been done, these
12 evaluations were forwarded to the commander and the commander would then
13 take a decision, and on the basis of his decision, a document would then
14 be prepared.
15 As I have already said, the combat order was the main document,
16 the combat order for any kind of combat operation. It was on the basis of
17 that order that other subsidiary documents were drafted. So for each
18 combat operation drafted by a corps, a plan would be made which was fairly
19 lengthy. Naturally within that framework everyone had his own duties.
20 The logistics officer had to suggest the best kind of logistical support.
21 The operations officers were those who suggested how the unit should be
22 used in the field. The communications officer was, let's say the person
23 who was the chief of the communications, his duty was to establish a
24 communications system. And that's how this was done. Transport officers
25 had to deal with transport, et cetera. And once they had made all these
1 suggestions, then the order would be drafted, and one single plan would be
2 made concerning the action that had to be taken.
3 Q. Was there a specific person or persons within the 3rd Corps who
4 were responsible for actually writing the orders?
5 A. Yes, naturally.
6 Q. Who was that person or persons?
7 A. These were officers involved in operations, and at the beginning
8 we had one computer. Only one computer was used initially, and this
9 person who was typing out the handwritten text of operations officer -- or
10 operations officers who drafted the documents would type out the document
11 on this computer.
12 Q. Once the document was typed out, I assumed it -- I assume it would
13 then be printed out.
14 A. Yes, from the computer.
15 Q. What would be done with the document once it was printed from the
17 A. The document would then be registered -- or, rather, first the
18 relevant organ would sign it and then it was registered. It would be
19 given a number, it would be stamped, and it was then taken to the
20 communications centre. And it was supposed to be sent from the
21 communications centre to the person to whom the document was addressed.
22 Q. Sir, you told us that first the relevant organ would sign it. Who
23 -- what do you mean by the "relevant organ" in terms of signing orders?
24 A. That's specified on the basis of the hierarchy. This was
25 something that had been established in the chain of command. Everything
1 that was done was done on the basis of a commander's orders. As I said,
2 the idea was that there should be a single command, and the commander was
3 the person who would issue orders for everything. If the document was of
4 a logistical kind, if it had to do with supporting provisions, food, et
5 cetera, then naturally the assistant commander for logistics would sign
6 such a document. If the document had to do with security or morale, then
7 another person would sign it, the person who had to deal with this.
8 This took place within the corps command. If it was an operations
9 document, a report, a report that had been received, et cetera, then it
10 would either be signed by the commander or I would sign it if the
11 commander wasn't there. I would sign it as the chief of staff. And the
12 document would then be sent -- or, rather, first it would be registered
13 and then it would be sent.
14 Q. Now, sir, you've told us about a number of assistant chiefs of
15 staff for these various departments who would sign documents. Would they
16 be signing on behalf of the commander?
17 A. In the system of control and command that we had adopted -- as I
18 said, we didn't invent anything, we adopted the system from the JNA, from
19 the former JNA. According to those instructions, the commander would sign
20 -- or, rather, one would sign with the authorisation of the commander.
21 For example, the person who was the assistant commander for staff, let's
22 take that as an example, he would sign documents with the authorisation of
23 the commander. So, for example, when it's -- when you have the
24 commander's name, it would say "authorised by the commander," and his
25 assistant for those affairs would sign at that place.
1 Q. Whose name would be typewritten or computer written on the
2 document when these other individuals would sign?
3 A. If it had to do with a given department, then you'd have to have
4 the name of the chief of that department. For example, it would be the
5 assistant commander for logistics or the assistant commander for the
6 operations and staff affairs or the assistant commander for security or
7 the assistant commander for morale, the assistant commander for security,
8 for intelligence, et cetera. So these were assistant commanders, the
9 chiefs of the sections who were involved in these affairs.
10 Q. Let me ask you a slightly different but related question.
11 Documents bearing the signature block, if you will, the typewritten
12 signature block of the commander of the corps, who was authorised to sign
13 documents that included the commander's name, typewritten name, on the
15 A. Again I'll go back to what I was saying. According to the rules
16 of control and command that had been adopted, there was the deputy
17 commander who didn't require any particular kind of authorisation in order
18 to sign on behalf of the commander if the commander was absent. And the
19 others, if this was -- if this was something that took place outside of
20 their departments, others required authorisation from the commander to
21 sign such documents.
22 Q. And, sir, what about the chief of staff, the position that you
23 yourself held for a number of months? Could you sign on behalf of the
24 commander in his absence?
25 A. And also if the deputy commander was absent, then I was in a
1 position to sign.
2 Q. So in effect, as chief of staff at that time in the 3rd Corps, you
3 were the number three in the chain of command within the corps?
4 A. That's right.
5 Q. What would -- who would sign the documents if the commander, the
6 deputy commander, and the chief of staff were all absent? Did anyone have
7 authority in that circumstance to sign documents on behalf of the
9 A. According to the rules of control and command, he didn't have
10 authorisation to do that if he hadn't received written authorisation from
11 the commander. But I'm not sure, I do think such things happened.
12 Q. So in effect, the commander could always authorise senior officers
13 within the staff of the corps to sign on his behalf in his absence and in
14 the absence of the deputy commander and chief of staff?
15 A. He could do that.
16 Q. Let me turn now, sir, to the issue of, in effect, certification or
17 verification of orders prior to the orders going to the communications
18 centre for transmittal to subordinate units. Are you familiar with that
20 A. Yes, I'm familiar with it.
21 Q. So let's start with the moment the commander or an authorised
22 person on behalf of the commander signs a written order. That document is
23 then taken where?
24 A. That document would be taken to the so-called office -- the
25 general services office. That's where we had a protocol, or, rather, a
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 register, and the document would be registered there under a certain
2 number. I don't want to repeat what I've already said. Various numbers,
3 the main numbers were allocated, and once the document had been stamped
4 and numbered, it would then be sent to the communications centre where
5 they had a logbook there, a transmission logbook. That's what it was
6 called. And they would make a note that the document had been received to
7 be sent. They would write down the time it had been received, and they
8 would write down the time it had been sent. They also would write down
9 whether it had been sent, because quite frequently it was not possible to
10 send a document; the document would be returned to the general services
12 Q. Sir, I'd like to focus your attention on that actual process of
13 stamping the document. Can you tell us a little bit more about how that
14 was done and the steps taken within the general services office to do
16 A. Well, listen, I can't tell you exactly what procedure was
17 followed, but I can tell you the procedure that should have been followed.
18 Q. I would like you to tell me what should have been followed and
19 then maybe we'll ask you about why that procedure wasn't always followed.
20 A. The person who typed the document out, who processed the document
21 on a computer, having completed that work, and later on we received a
22 computer, this was recorded on a floppy disk. Before we received
23 computers, these documents were on paper. This would then be handed over
24 to someone in the 3rd Corps. While I was there, there were two persons
25 who would take turns. There were two women who were authorised. I won't
1 say that they had taken an oath, but they had an obligation which was the
2 case for all other members of the armed forces. They had the solemn
3 obligation to perform those duties correctly and to take security
4 measures, et cetera.
5 The room itself was a large room, and by those persons who were
6 involved in this, there was a partition. No one could gain access to
7 where the documents and stamps were kept, et cetera. They couldn't
8 approach them behind their backs. That's how things should have been.
9 But as to whether someone ever did pass by them, I cannot say.
10 They had three stamps on paper, and by those stamps you had the
11 signatures of people who had the right to use stamps. So only documents
12 with their signatures could be stamped. And if -- with regard to other
13 people, if they had no authorisation for stamps to accompany their
14 signatures, then this couldn't be done.
15 And I don't know whether you asked me about something else.
16 Q. Well, let me just ask you a few follow-on questions from what
17 you've told us. The document would arrive in the general services office
18 and someone there would verify the signature against a known signature of
19 the person who had signed the document; is that right?
20 A. Well, yes. Perhaps at the beginning until they got used to the
21 signatures. Later on they knew exactly who had signed the document, so it
22 wasn't necessary to always compare the signature.
23 Q. And, sir, you've told us that there were three stamps. Can you
24 tell us a little bit more about these three different stamps.
25 A. There were three stamps, and it said the "3rd Corps Command" on
1 the stamps. Stamp number one should be used next to the commander's
2 signature since he was the first in command. Number two had to do with
3 the deputy commander. Number three should have been for the chief of
5 I think the small numbers on the stamps can be seen. I think
6 they're visible. You can see number 1, number 2, and number 3 when a
7 document is stamped.
8 Q. You've also told us -- let me retract that. What colour was the
9 ink that was used to stamp the documents?
10 A. It was the colour we managed to get hold of. Ink -- I don't know
11 what they call it.
12 Q. Do you remember what colour or colours were used by the 3rd Corps
13 general services office during the time you were there?
14 A. Well, I'm not really sure. I think that, as I said, we used what
15 we had.
16 Q. Let me ask: You earlier alluded to a difference between how the
17 procedure was supposed to work and how it may not have always worked that
18 way. Can you tell us a little bit more about why the system, the
19 regulations, weren't always followed?
20 A. Again, I would have to provide you with a -- a lengthy answer, and
21 time is limited. This was, above all, the result of the fact that there
22 were very few of us who were professionals. We were totally handicapped
23 as far as the staff in the corps was concerned, as far as professional and
24 educated people were concerned. Given the circumstances, we used the
25 people we thought were the most capable. We had taxi drivers who had only
1 finished primary school who would be a brigade commander. This should be
2 understood. That is one of the reasons. People hadn't been educated or
3 trained for those duties, and as a result there were certain errors,
4 certain omissions; and secondly, the conditions under which we had to work
5 were extremely difficult. The communications means were not adequate,
6 almost non-existent. And later on when we obtained certain equipment, I
7 think that 75 to 80 per cent of the time we remained without electricity.
8 So we would obtain generators to solve the problem. And once we had
9 obtained these generators, we would wait for UNPROFOR to supply us with
10 fuel. So we didn't have fuel either.
11 I could go on about this. It would take me a lot of time to
12 explain the situation to you. It was an impossible situation to be in.
13 We did all we could to resolve the problems we faced. And security was at
14 a very low level.
15 Q. Sir, let me ask you just a couple of final questions and then I'm
16 going to show you some documents. Once the written order went through
17 this entire process of being certified and stamped, you told us it was
18 taken to the communications centre where it would be transmitted and
19 certain stamps would be placed on it indicating the means by which it was
20 transmitted. What would happen with the original order after that? What
21 would -- where would it go from the com centre?
22 A. The original order, according to the regulations in force, should
23 be returned to the general services department, where it would be stamped
24 again in the top corner, indicating that it should be preserved until
25 so-and-so. A combat document would have to be preserved for one, two,
1 three, or five years, or permanently, because the archives were also in
2 the general services department. So the document, after being sent, would
3 be returned there for safekeeping.
4 Q. Sir, let me ask you a little bit about the format or template, if
5 you will, that was used for creating written orders. I'd like to focus
6 your attention on the information at the upper left portion of a written
7 order. Do you remember what information would be contained in the upper
8 left part of an order?
9 A. I'll do my best. What should be stated on top would be "3rd Corps
10 Command" -- or, rather, before that it should the Army of Republic of
11 Bosnia and Herzegovina, then the 3rd Corps, then a number, the
12 registration number, then the date when the document was drafted, and
13 then, below that, a brief indication of what the document is. Is it an
14 order? Is it a report or something like that? That should be stated
15 there. Then in the same line, to the right, the addressees, and again the
16 content. And in the top right-hand corner, military secret, confidential,
17 strictly confidential, or whatever.
18 Q. Sir, I'm now going to show you a number of documents with the
19 assistance of the usher.
20 MR. MUNDIS: Again, Mr. President, these are from among the
21 original documents which I signed out from the legal officer.
22 If the witness could please be shown contested document 329, and I
23 would ask that that document please be placed on the ELMO. If the ELMO
24 could be perhaps zoomed out slightly.
25 Q. Sir, do you recognise on this document -- sir, do you recognise
1 the signature on this document?
2 A. Yes, I do. This is my signature.
3 Q. Can you please take a look at the stamp to the left of your
4 signature. And again, sir, if need be if you could actually turn and look
5 at the actual document, that might be a little bit easier than staring at
6 the screen. And perhaps if you could be given something to point with.
7 You told us earlier, sir, that there were three stamps that were
8 used within the corps. Do you see any particular features of this stamp
9 that you've told us about previously?
10 A. This is one of the three stamps that was used.
11 Q. You told us -- you told us, sir, that there were different stamps
12 for the commander, deputy commander, and chief of staff. Do you remember
13 telling us that?
14 A. Yes, I did say that that is how it should have been. But whether
15 that was observed or not, I can't say. I don't know. So that was up to
16 the person who was actually doing the stamping.
17 Q. I understand that, sir. And perhaps if you could now look at the
18 screen where we've zoomed in on the stamp. Do you see which stamp is
19 actually on this document?
20 A. Yes. Number 3.
21 Q. Okay. On the stamp there are two number 3s. Can you please, on
22 the original to your left, point to the number 3.
23 A. [Indicates]
24 Q. What does that 3 indicate?
25 A. The 3rd Corps.
1 Q. What does the small number 3 immediately above the letter R in
2 Korpus indicate?
3 A. That would be the number 3 type of stamp. Because there's my
4 signature, so then my stamp should have been used as well. I only say
5 mine conditionally, but it was used for operative affairs in the
6 operations department. So that stamp, that particular stamp.
7 Q. So the stamp with the number 3 would be used for documents that
8 you signed, or for documents from the operations staff, or both?
9 A. Both.
10 Q. Now, if you could, sir - and I will only do this on this one
11 document - if you could -- or if the ELMO could be zoomed out and perhaps
12 zoomed in onto the text at the upper left. If it could be moved down,
13 please, the document. Okay. If we could now zoom in on the text at the
14 middle on the left-hand side. And the document could be moved in a little
15 bit more. That's fine.
16 Sir, do you see on the left-hand side the typewritten script with
17 -- immediately below "Command of the 3rd Corps"? Where there's an
18 abbreviation STR. Do you see that line?
19 A. Yes. That means strictly confidential. I do see it.
20 Q. Following that, sir, are a number -- or is a number. Do you see
21 the number?
22 A. I do.
23 Q. Can you tell us what -- well, first of all, that identifying
24 number has really three components. Would you agree with that?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. There's the number before the slash, the number after the slash,
2 and the number after the dash. Would you agree with that?
3 A. I would.
4 Q. Do you recall, sir, what those three numbers refer to or what
5 their purpose is? Let's start with the first one, if you remember. 02,
6 what does that mean?
7 A. 02 means that the document was prepared by the deputy commander.
8 So it's not quite clear to me, but probably he was absent and that is why
9 I signed it.
10 Q. Sir, are you sure that the 02 does not indicate that the staff
11 prepared the document, someone within the staff?
12 A. The operations department is part of the staff, so I'm not at all
13 sure whether they may have prepared this document, but it must be on the
14 orders of the deputy commander who gave them the information on the basis
15 of which they drew up the document.
16 Q. Very well. Let's turn to the second component, that is the number
17 after the slash, and in this instance that's number 33. Do you see the
18 number 33?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you know what the purpose of that second number is?
21 A. 33 should be an identification number that it was given in the
23 Q. Would it be correct, sir, to say that that second number, in this
24 case number 33, sets forth the function of the document in question?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Okay. Let's go back, then. You've told us that it has to do with
2 a log. Is that what you said, that the second number deals with a log?
3 A. Yes. Yes.
4 Q. How many different types of logs were employed within the 3rd
5 Corps? How many types of logs did they have?
6 A. I'm not quite sure how many there were, but I know that everybody
7 in the corps when it was formed, when the administration was set up, would
8 be given a list with their own identification number. So all documents
9 should have used that identification number. And the number of the
10 document itself is the last number here.
11 Q. Okay. So the -- and this document, the number 1341, would simply
12 be a serial, a sequential number that would be assigned to all the
13 documents --
14 A. Yes, an ordinal number, yes.
15 Q. It's an ordinal number to all the documents falling within the
16 category of 33?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And I take it from what you told us that each department had its
19 own number. Is that what the second number would refer to?
20 A. Yes, yes. That is what it means. The logistics had their
21 numbers, security and protection had their number, intelligence had their
22 number. So these were branches and services. The chief of
23 communications, artillery, infantry, each had their own number.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. MUNDIS: I would ask now that that document --
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Before I do that, sir, could you tell me in general what type of
2 document this is.
3 A. The document would belong to the group of documents for control
4 and command, because in this document, as far as I can see from the
5 heading as I can't see the rest of the text, comments on a report
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. MUNDIS: With the assistance of the usher, I'd ask that that
9 document be returned and that contested document 573 be shown to the
11 Q. Sir, I'd ask that you -- with respect to the next few documents,
12 I'm going to be asking if you recognise the signature, so perhaps on this
13 document if you could -- if it could be turned over.
14 A. I do. This is also my signature.
15 Q. And again, this is a situation where you've signed on behalf of
16 the commander?
17 A. Yes. Probably he was absent. And I saw the first page, and the
18 content of the document is quite beyond my area of activity. It's a
19 political document, if I can call it that. It isn't an operational
20 document. But as the commander wasn't there, I probably signed on his
22 Q. Thank you, sir.
23 MR. MUNDIS: I'd ask now that that document be returned and that
24 the witness be shown contested document 546.
25 Q. Again, sir, I'd focus your attention on the signature. Do you
1 recognise that signature?
2 A. Yes, I do. It's my signature.
3 Q. Sir, this stamp next to your signature appears to be different
4 from some of the other stamps we've seen. Do you happen to have any
5 information or knowledge about this stamp?
6 A. I couldn't say unless perhaps I could see the date of this
7 document, because we changed the stamps in the corps.
8 Q. Absolutely, sir. The original is on the machine immediately to
9 your left. If perhaps the usher could turn it over so that we could see
10 the date, or you could actually look at the date on the document.
11 A. I see. So I was right. This is -- this was the first version of
12 the stamp.
13 Could you turn it back again so I could see the stamp.
14 Probably at first we thought that this would be sufficient, just
15 the indication "3rd Corps." However, later on, the people from the
16 general services, probably on orders from the commander, changed it. So
17 we made it more up-to-date and more meaningful.
18 Q. Thank you, sir.
19 MR. MUNDIS: I would again ask that that document be returned and
20 that the witness be shown contested document 433.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It can barely be seen on the screen,
22 but I signed this document.
23 MR. MUNDIS:
24 Q. Again, sir, if you could actually physically perhaps take the
1 Again, sir, do you recognise that signature?
2 A. Yes. It's mine.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. MUNDIS: Again with the assistance of the usher, I'd ask that
5 that document be returned and that contested --
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But -- I do apologise. Once again
7 there is an indication 02. So it means that I signed on behalf of the
8 person who was supposed to sign.
9 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you. I'd ask that the witness now be shown
10 contested document 649.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I remember the document. My bodies
12 drafted it and I'd signed it.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. MUNDIS: We'd now ask that the witness be shown contested
15 document 162.
16 Q. Sir, do you recognise this document or the signature on this
18 A. I recognise the signature, but I can't say I can be sure about the
19 document, it was so long ago, but again there is 02 on it, which means
20 that the person was absent.
21 MR. MUNDIS: May that document be returned. I have one final
22 document to show the witness. This is contested document 41.
23 Q. Sir, do you recognise the signature on this document or the
24 markings, the handwritten markings?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Please tell us what it is.
2 A. These are initials. The deputy commander, Dzemal Merdan.
3 MR. MUNDIS: I'd ask that that document be returned, please.
4 Q. Mr. Mekic, the Prosecution appreciates you answering our questions
5 both in Sarajevo and today.
6 MR. MUNDIS: We have no further questions for the witness at this
7 time, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, it's almost time for the
9 technical break, so it's better that we have the break now, and then I'll
10 give the floor to the Defence. It is almost twenty-five past twelve, so
11 we'll resume at five to one.
12 --- Recess taken at 12.23 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 12.56 p.m.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Without wasting any time, I'll
15 give the floor to the Defence for their cross-examination.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We do
17 have some questions for this witness.
18 Cross-examined by Ms. Residovic:
19 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Mekic. We have already met, but
20 for the sake of the transcript I will introduce myself. My name is Edina
21 Residovic and I represent General Enver Hadzihasanovic. I would be
22 grateful if you would answer a number of questions that have to do with
23 the questions put to you by my learned colleague from the Prosecution.
24 You gave lengthy answers to my learned colleague and said that the
25 conditions -- the working conditions when creating the 3rd Corps were very
1 difficult, and you also stated that you didn't have adequate
2 communications equipment and that you had problems as far as electricity
3 was concerned, the use of equipment was concerned; is that correct?
4 A. That is.
5 Q. In addition, would it be correct to say, Mr. Mekic, that even the
6 communications equipment that you were able to obtain was difficult to use
7 because the radio and other devices were under an embargo, just like
8 weapons; is that correct?
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. In addition, you said that you did your best to organise a system
11 for transmitting your orders and other documents or, rather, for the
12 reception of those documents and within the staff of which you were the
13 chief, and you had an assistant for communications; is that correct?
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. This communications assistant was involved in planning and
16 organising the communications system within the 3rd Corps in those
17 difficult conditions, and within the staff there was also a communications
18 company which in fact was involved in receiving and sending documents from
19 the 3rd Corps; is that correct?
20 A. Yes, that's correct.
21 Q. That communications centre, as well as the operations centre, were
22 organised in such a manner that they worked on a 24-hour basis and links
23 with subordinate units were provided to the best of your ability, although
24 at times this was almost impossible; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. The first slightly more stable and secure communications system,
2 the so-called Paket communications, was established when you received a
3 modem which you connected to a computer and a radio, and sometime in March
4 1993, you established a regular link with the Supreme Command Staff; is
5 that correct?
6 A. Yes. And on the other side they had something, because on both
7 sides you need the same equipment to have such a link. And I think we
8 received a computer, which gave us much joy. And towards the end of March
9 I think we established a link, a communications link, to the Supreme
11 Q. You have just answered my next question. The process of
12 establishing -- there was a process for establishing a link with
13 subordinate units, because first you had to find the equipment, the
14 radios, the modems, and computers in brigades, and it was then necessary
15 to train staff to operate these devices; is that correct?
16 A. Yes, that's correct. In that communications company, the chief of
17 communications organised training sessions and trained men, trained the
18 personnel to do that work.
19 Q. You briefly spoke about various difficulties that you faced, but
20 as this is not the subject of this discussion, I'll just ask you whether
21 it would be correct to say that as the chief of the 3rd Corps staff you
22 spent a significant part of time on training the staff, administrative
23 staff and communications staff, because as you said, your staff resources
24 were very meager when you started the beginning of 1993.
25 A. Yes, that's correct. And as you are well aware in the 3rd Corps
1 Command - or perhaps you're not aware of this - we established a military
2 officers school so we would train our own personnel because we really
3 didn't have the necessary personnel.
4 Q. Thank you. In addition to those problems that you have mentioned,
5 and you have just confirmed that those problems existed in answer to my
6 questions, when communicating with subordinate units, you had significant
7 problems because messages were jammed since the HVO had taken over a very
8 powerful device from the JNA which they used to very efficiently jam
9 messages transmitted from the 3rd Corps to subordinate units and from
10 subordinate units to the 3rd Corps; is that correct?
11 A. Yes. That was one of the major tasks one has in wartime. Jamming
12 is one of the major tasks. And this is what they did on all frequencies
13 more or less. We weren't able to get through.
14 Q. I think it's quite clear to the Trial Chamber that you had
15 problems in the 3rd corps as far as transmitting and receiving orders are
16 concerned, but Mr. Mekic, would it be correct to say that the problems
17 increased the lower the level of the unit concerned? So brigades and
18 battalions and others more or less had to depend on traditional career
19 lines, if that's how we could put it.
20 A. If we had one computer in the corps, well, you can imagine what
21 the situation was in a brigade or a company or a battalion.
22 Q. Thank you. You spoke in detail about how the 3rd Corps, or,
23 rather, in the staff drafts -- orders were drafted, and I think that you
24 also mentioned that there was a -- a long and a short procedure for
25 preparing orders. If I followed you correctly in response to a question
1 from my colleague, you explained how the most complicated orders were
2 drafted. Naturally such orders are combat orders or orders to defend or
3 attack. And if I have understood this correctly, all the elements within
4 the staff were included in analysing and preparing a suggestion for the
5 commander's order; is that correct?
6 A. That's correct.
7 Q. These orders were very lengthy, and they contained all the
8 essential elements; an assessment of the enemy forces, of your own forces,
9 an assessment of the tasks for your own units. They addressed the
10 necessity of respecting the Geneva Conventions. They addressed the issue
11 of prisoners of war, et cetera, et cetera. So these were very complete
12 orders that were prepared in your staff, isn't that the case?
13 A. Yes. The full method was always followed when drafting combat
14 documents and orders. This was always done when we had enough time. The
15 short procedure was followed when we didn't have enough time.
16 Q. When discussing these various difficulties, you would agree that
17 in 1993 -- 1993 was the most difficult year in that war, and tell me, at
18 that time, did you in the corps often have to violate the instructions
19 that you have already mentioned, not respect those instructions?
20 A. Yes. In 1993, the situation was the most difficult situation.
21 What do you do when you receive a report that from the direction of Zepce
22 and Sahere [phoen] towards Zenica there are 25.000 refugees, women,
23 children, the elderly, et cetera, et cetera? In such a situation, it is
24 necessary to react very rapidly and see how to deal with the situation to
25 avoid any further complications, because naturally the other side knew
1 what they were doing, and these people were fleeing because of them. So
2 we would have to deal with them, and they take advantage of the situation
3 to create a tragedy at the front line.
4 Q. Very well. We won't go into details, but you provide an example
5 of the situation you were in, and you told us why you would sometimes work
6 and follow a shorter procedure. Thank you for that answer.
7 As far as what happened to the orders is concerned, the orders
8 that you provided to subordinate units, operation groups or brigades to
9 which the order was addressed, you in the 3rd Corps did not have the
10 possibility of monitoring how the brigade itself would forward this order
11 to the troops via battalions, et cetera. Isn't that correct? You didn't
12 have a system that could monitor that apart from the fact that you would
13 later have reports from those brigades about how the order was
15 A. Until we received a report we couldn't even be sure that the unit
16 in question received the order.
17 Q. Would it also be correct to say, Mr. Mekic, that the 3rd Corps
18 Command didn't have, according to the regulations or in reality, any
19 insight into orders, documents, or reports that circulated in lower
20 subordinate units? In fact, if a platoon sent something to a company or
21 to -- or if a battalion was informing its platoon about something, the 3rd
22 Corps never received such documents; is that correct?
23 A. Yes. And this isn't supposed to happen, according to the system
24 of control or command.
25 Q. Thank you. As far as the technique itself is concerned, you said
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 that when a commander signs a document he goes to the general services
2 office or to the protocol office. The document is then registered there,
3 it is stamped or, rather, one of the stamps is used to stamp that
4 document; is that correct?
5 A. Yes, it is.
6 Q. Would you agree with me, have I understand you correctly, that the
7 person who signs the document doesn't have a stamp with him? The stamp's
8 in a room in the protocol office, and the people who work in the protocol
9 office are those who have certified the document; is that correct?
10 A. Yes, that's correct. You have understood me correctly.
11 Q. The document is then sent from that service to the communications
12 centre, and would it be correct to say that communications personnel would
13 only check to see whether the document has a stamp and a signature, and
14 they don't have the authority to check to see whether this is actually the
15 person who signed the document and whether the person in the protocol
16 office was authorised to stamp the document or not; is that correct?
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. I had one other question for you. Yes. You mentioned the rules
19 that should be followed, and also you said that, in reality, the rules
20 were often not followed because personnel wasn't sufficiently trained,
21 they weren't sufficiently professional, et cetera, et cetera. However,
22 would it be correct that neither you nor the commander, given the
23 situation you were in in 1993, were able to pay a lot of attention to
24 those issues at the time? You couldn't check to see whether a document
25 had been correctly signed or whether it had correctly stamped, because
1 life was such that you were not in a position to carry out such checks; is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. And my very last question: You would agree with me that the
5 position of the corps commander in all armies, including our own, is a
6 very high-ranking position, and the commanders are involved in strategy
7 and planning and organisation at that level, and they are not very
8 involved in specific -- in the specific duties of the staff officer, et
9 cetera. So his main duty is to see the overall picture, and it was your
10 task to analyse it and make suggestions to the commander as to how certain
11 problems should be resolved.
12 A. The commander -- well, depending on the number of brigades he had,
13 that's the number of subordinate officers he had. So it's the brigade
14 commander who is the first person who is held accountable by that
16 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mekic, for having answered my questions.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I have
18 no further questions.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Does the other Defence team have
20 any questions for this witness?
21 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We
22 don't have any questions for this witness.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Does the Prosecution have any
24 additional questions?
25 MR. MUNDIS: No thank you, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a few questions, but
2 first of all I would like to point out to the Defence that on page 34,
3 line 13, you said it is clear to the Trial Chamber that you had a problem
4 as far as the transmission and reception of orders is concerned. This is
5 a claim made by the Defence, but the Trial Chamber doesn't share this
6 opinion, because at this point in time we don't have any convictions as
7 far as the stated proposition is concerned, but you claimed that the Trial
8 Chamber was persuaded that there was a problem. Perhaps it's a
9 translation problem, a problem when translating from B/C/S into English,
10 but that's what is stated in line 13 on page 34.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, that was obviously
12 my mistake. It wasn't a translation mistake. I wanted to say that it was
13 clear that when answering questions put to him by my colleagues, the
14 witness provided enough information about problems for the Trial Chamber.
15 I apologise if I gave the impression that the Trial Chamber had drawn any
16 conclusions because that is not my position and that's not something that
17 I would do. Thank you.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. As you can see, the
19 Trial Chamber is paying a lot of attention to the transcript.
20 Questioned by the Court:
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, just a minor question.
22 You've almost answered all the questions of a technical nature that have
23 been put to you and we would like to thank you for having clarified
24 certain issues. If you don't mind, I'm going to ask document 41 to be
25 shown to you again. We can put it on the ELMO.
1 As far as the stamp is concerned, the stamp at the bottom of the
2 document, you said that there were three types of stamps. We saw one a
3 minute ago. This stamp seems to come from the beginning of 1993. This
4 stamp here is of a different kind. I would like you to clear a slight --
5 clear up a slight matter, because I see the number 3 above the word
6 "corps" in the stamp. This number 3, does it indicate the person who is
7 third in command in hierarchy? Does it mean that there is a stamp number
8 1 for the 3rd Corps commander; a stamp number 2 for the deputy, that is to
9 say for Mr. Merdan; and a stamp number 3 for you, the chief of staff; or
10 does number 3 also mean or indicate the 3rd Corps? Could you clarify this
11 for us.
12 A. Yes, that's how it should be. However, three stamps were in
13 existence. For the sake of security, they were kept in a metal cupboard,
14 and there is only one example of each. There weren't three types of
15 stamps, or perhaps I haven't understood you correctly. There was one type
16 of stamp but with numbers 1, 2, and 3. And each stamp means the same
17 thing and it was impossible to control everything.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll be more precise. For
19 example, if the 3rd Corps commander drafts a document himself, he signs it
20 himself, the stamp used on the document, would it be the same stamp that
21 we have here but instead of number 3 would it be necessary for this stamp
22 to have number 1 on it?
23 A. Well, in my opinion that's how it should be, but I'm not sure that
24 that is how it was.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I will show you a
1 document now, a document that I was able to examine during the break, in
2 order to enable you to illustrate this issue, but I have to find it first.
3 As you have the document before you, when it says 02 in the
4 left-hand corner, does this mean that the person who drafted the document
5 is number 2 in that hierarchy, in the chain of command? In this case it
6 would be Mr. Merdan. If you yourself have drafted a document, the number
7 wouldn't be 02, the number would be 03; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, that's correct.
9 Q. So when 02 drafts a document, for example, Mr. Merdan would be the
10 person who drafts the document, would he first of all discuss this with
11 number 1, that is to say the 3rd Corps commander, in order to find out
12 whether he agreed with the contents of the document?
13 A. As a rule, yes, if the commander was present in the corps command
14 at the time. Perhaps he was in the field.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. As a rule, he
16 discusses it. If number 2 isn't there at the time, is he going to ask
17 number 3 to sign on his behalf? Because the document that you have before
18 you, which was signed not by yourself but by Mr. Merdan, since you have
19 recognised the signature, in such a case is the person who is above, does
20 he ask the person below him to sign on his behalf?
21 A. Yes. As a rule if the situation makes this possible, yes. But
22 perhaps the commander was in the field at the time so he wasn't even aware
23 of this, and the situation was such that it was urgent to do this. In
24 such a case, he couldn't ask him to sign on his behalf.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you signed for the 3rd
1 Corps commander, because we know that you did sign on behalf of the 3rd
2 Corps commander, when you signed document number 2, Mr. Merdan was
3 certainly not there, otherwise he would have signed the document. Number
4 1 was perhaps not there either, which means that the most high-ranking
5 officer in the 3rd Corps was you yourself. The most high-ranking officer
6 present in the 3rd Corps was you.
7 A. Yes, that's correct.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You do agree that if you sign a
9 document, that means that the others aren't present, because if they are
10 present, they should sign the documents. Is this how the issue of signing
11 documents was regulated?
12 A. Yes. You could say that those are the sort of unwritten rules.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But the person who signed the
14 document must first check that the person who should sign isn't present,
15 because you know that when one signs a document, one is assuming a certain
16 responsibility. To sign a document is not a neutral act. It has certain
17 consequences. So when you sign a document, you are aware of the fact that
18 the person who should usually sign the document isn't present there. Or
19 were there cases in which you were -- in which the person who drafted the
20 order was present but asked you to sign on his behalf?
21 A. Well, naturally, I or perhaps the second person in command
22 couldn't take any decisions if agreement had not been reached. If the
23 commander ordered something should be done, if he was in the field but he
24 had said that certain measures should be taken and if he had said how
25 units should be informed, in such cases his order would be followed. But
1 we always knew -- if I was in the field, he knew where I was and vice
2 versa. Mr. -- that was also the case for Mr. Merdan. If Mr. Merdan was
3 visiting units, if the three of us were in the field, we made sure that
4 there was someone present, and that's why on occasion there are also
5 signatures that are not the signatures of the three of us.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Does the registrar have document
7 442 that is contested? Very well. We will show this document. Could you
8 place it on the ELMO, please, so that everyone can see it.
9 Please just have a look at the stamp. Have a look at the stamp.
10 Can you see that there is the number 3 on this stamp, and you can see the
11 signature. Do you recognise the signature?
12 A. Yes. This is Mr. Hadzihasanovic's signature, the commander's
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So how is it that we
15 don't have number 1 on the stamp?
16 A. Again, as I said, this was up to the secretary who worked in the
17 general services office. It was up to that person to use a stamp. I
18 can't tell you exactly why number 1 isn't on the stamp.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This order, of which we have an
20 original, when it is signed by the 3rd Corps commander in person, as far
21 as I understand, he doesn't stamp the document. Can you confirm that it
22 isn't the person who signs the document who stamps the document.
23 A. That's correct.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So the order is taken to the
25 communications company since the communications company will forward the
1 order, and it is there in the protocol office that an officer or soldier
2 stamps the order; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In theory, the soldier who
5 stamps the document must have the three stamps; stamp number 1, stamp
6 number 2, and stamp number 3. If it's his superior commander who is
7 signing, he should use the stamp number 1. He shouldn't make any
9 A. Yes, that's what should be done.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you can't explain
11 the fact that stamp number 3 was used in this case?
12 A. I can't explain that.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I will take the
14 document back.
15 Very well. I have no further questions. Any other questions for
16 Defence counsel?
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I only have one question. Could
18 the witness be shown DH109. DH109 ID.
19 Further cross-examination by Ms. Residovic:
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] This could be placed on the ELMO.
21 I will give the witness my copy.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. We'll place it on the
23 ELMO. Everyone can see it now.
24 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Mr. Mekic, could you please have a look at this document. As you
1 said a minute ago, you think that these are the initials of General
2 Merdan, the deputy commander, and this is his signature?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You also said that he was the person who used stamp number 2.
5 Could you have a look at this document and say whether this is the correct
6 procedure that the administration office should follow when using a stamp?
7 You can have a look at the document itself.
8 A. Is this number 2? I can't see very well.
9 Q. On the stamp there is a number 2, as far as I can see. But you
10 have a look.
11 A. Could you zoom in a bit, please? Yes, it is number 2.
12 Q. And --
13 A. This would be the correct procedure to be followed when processing
14 combat documents, so to speak.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] You can return the document to me.
17 And there is one other document I would like to show the witness;
18 DH110. I would like the witness to comment on a number. You can return
19 that document to me, and there is another document. Could you please show
20 it to the witness first.
21 Q. Please just have a look at the number, 03/100, and could you
22 please explain the number for us. And once you have had a look at the
23 document, could you place it on the ELMO.
24 Would you please put the document on the ELMO, please. Will you
25 look at the number on top. It says 03, though it is the security sector.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 So my question is, for the sake of clarity, when you spoke a moment ago
2 about 03, you didn't have in mind you personally but the staff. So this
3 number 03 before the dash -- the slash, is the body as a whole and not an
4 individual officer who signs the document.
5 A. This number doesn't relate to an individual but to a body.
6 Q. Thank you very much. And finally, in view of all those problems,
7 you were aware that some confusion may have occurred in the use of the
8 stamps and deviation from the rules regarding office work when documents
9 were registered?
10 A. I think that is something I have already said. You're quite
12 Q. This document is signed. It is a specialist document. It is
13 signed by the head of the security sector, and it is his duty to put down
14 his name and to sign it because it has to do with security.
15 A. Yes.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The other Defence counsel?
18 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we have no
19 questions. Thank you.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.
21 MR. MUNDIS: The Prosecution has no further questions of this
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, we have just noted that
24 the parties and the Judges have finished with their questions. We thank
25 you for coming to The Hague to testify about certain technical aspects
1 relating to stamps and documents. We thank you again for coming to
2 testify. We wish you a safe journey home and best wishes for your
4 I would like to ask Madam Usher to be kind enough to escort you
5 out of the courtroom.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 [The witness withdrew]
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I shall now turn to Mr. Mundis
9 to hear from him about the schedule for the days to come. According to
10 the understanding of the Chamber, we have two witnesses on standby. One,
11 as I have said, could appear on the 12th and the 13th of July. For the
12 other one, I don't know. So could you give us some additional
13 information, please.
14 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. The last contact that we
15 had with the other witness was Friday of last week, at which point the
16 witness informed us that he would be unable to travel for approximately 15
17 days. In light of what the Trial Chamber has informed us earlier today
18 about the availability of a witness for the 12th and 13th, it seems to us
19 that the 13th and/or 14th would be the best appropriate time to bring the
20 remaining witness, assuming that he is in fact able to travel by then.
21 That would be outside the 15-day window. We will endeavour this afternoon
22 to contact that witness, and if he is available in that time period, we
23 will ensure that VWS brings that witness in for that time period. If
24 that's successful, we would then be in a position to have completed the
25 hearings with respect to the witnesses by the 14th of July, and of course,
1 as we've said before, hopefully by then we can have the documents resolved
2 and we would then be in a position to close our case.
3 As I said, we will endeavour to bring the second witness here so
4 that he is able to testify perhaps on the 13th if the first witness is
5 done, or on the 14th. I anticipate the second witness will be very, very
6 brief in light of the fact that he's a crime-base witness and his
7 testimony shouldn't take more than, in total, a couple of hours.
8 If that's acceptable, we'll certainly endeavour to do that.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. The Chamber
10 will by that date certainly render its written decision regarding
11 documents, and then either the 14th or the 15th of July you could then
12 close your case, and then we will enter the stage which is 98 bis, as we
13 mentioned yesterday. We will discuss amongst ourselves again whether the
14 three weeks are fully justified, and then again the Prosecution would have
15 three weeks to respond, so this will bring us to the beginning of
16 September. So everything depends on these two witnesses, that is, when
17 exactly they will come.
18 Has the Defence any observations to make at this stage?
19 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you Mr. President. Your
20 Honours, I would simply like to return to the question of documents that
21 were used by the Chamber when asking questions of witnesses on Monday.
22 They are contested documents 585 and 586. These are documents which
23 possibly come from the court of Zenica and the court of Travnik. These
24 are documents which the Defence jointly objected to regarding the
25 admissibility of documents because we don't know exactly how and where the
1 Prosecution obtained these documents nor what exactly those documents
2 represent, how they were used and by whom, and our main objection is that
3 we need a witness to add to the reliability of these documents so that
4 they may be of use to the Chamber.
5 A witness was identified who should come before the Chamber to do
6 this, that is, for these particular documents. And we had a witness quite
7 recently, a judge from the Zenica court, who could have easily been able
8 to confirm or reject the purpose of these documents. However, the
9 Prosecution did not use him for that purpose. We also wish to say that we
10 still haven't received a translation in one of the official languages of
11 the Tribunal of these documents.
12 Finally, the Defence wishes to say that the Defence maintains its
13 objection to documents 585, 586, which we received on the 23rd of June
14 when we received four CDs, and we signed the receipt on the 23rd of June,
15 and we still don't have an English version nor do we have a witness who
16 could add to the reliability of these documents. That is why we feel that
17 this CD should not be admitted into evidence.
18 Thank you.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Dixon.
20 MR. DIXON: Thank you, Your Honours. We have no additional
21 comments to make about the schedule that has been outlined. We do wish to
22 make one additional point, though, in connection with the admissibility of
23 the contested documents in general as it appears we're now at the end of
24 the evidence being presented in relation to the admissibility of
25 documents. The final two witnesses don't appear to be witnesses who have
1 been called in relation to the documents.
2 In our view, it is important that two gaps are identified for Your
3 Honours to take into consideration when you render your decision in
4 respect of documents. The first is, Your Honours, in our submission there
5 are still a number of documents which have not been identified by any
6 witnesses. The witnesses that have been called recently did identify some
7 documents. For example, the witness today was able to identify seven
8 documents, but there are many which the Prosecution has listed as
9 documents where a witness could be called where that witness has not as
10 yet been called.
11 Now, we just wish to note that the list that was provided to Your
12 Honours, as Your Honours ordered, of which witnesses could authenticate
13 which documents, in that list there are a number of witnesses who -- who
14 were not called. Of course we appreciate that not every single witness
15 can be called, but we do note that not even a selection was made in order
16 to seek to have witnesses to identify a number of the other documents that
17 have not as yet been identified.
18 Secondly, Your Honours, another gap which we wish to identify is
19 that the evidence that the witnesses have given recently about the system
20 that was in place for the preparation and issuing of orders applies from
21 our assessment only at the level of the corps, the 3rd Corps and its
22 command, and not at the brigade level or lower down, and certainly not
23 between brigades either. In our submission, there's very little evidence
24 in respect of the way in which orders were prepared and distributed at
25 that level, and that's certainly a matter that applies specifically to our
1 client, Mr. Kubura.
2 The evidence that has been presented about the system that was in
3 place, in our submission, may, of course, provide Your Honours with some
4 assistance in determining the reliability of documents that have not been
5 identified at either the 3rd Corps level or the brigade level, but in our
6 submission, that does not change our fundamental point all along that it
7 is necessary for a witness to identify a document and that it's not, in
8 our view, the proper course to admit documents en bloc on the basis that a
9 general system has been explained, but rather, it's necessary to look at
10 each document one document by document and decide on the basis of the
11 evidence that has been presented whether it does have sufficient indicia
12 of reliability, the most important, in our view, being a witness who is
13 able to identify that document.
14 Those are our submissions which we would request Your Honours take
15 into account in rendering your decision over the next week. Thank you,
16 Your Honours.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Dixon. We -- you
18 have reminded us a number of times of what you have said, and rest assured
19 that we understand fully your point.
20 Perhaps Mr. Mundis has already replied to these points, but
21 regarding more specifically to documents 585 and 586, the Defence tells us
22 that they received four CDs on the 24th of June and that to this day they
23 still haven't received translations of those documents. So clearly that
24 when one closes one's case, there mustn't be any leftovers regarding lack
25 of translations of certain documents.
1 So, Mr. Mundis, what can you tell us, as it seems to me that it is
2 quite certain that from now until ten -- ten or 15 days from now you will
3 not be able to translate four CDs.
4 MR. MUNDIS: That's exactly right, Mr. President, and for that
5 reason alone but perhaps other reasons as well, the Prosecution will
6 withdraw Exhibits 585 and 586. We will not be seeking to rely on those
8 With respect to any of the other issues as raised by the Defence,
9 again in the event the Chamber wishes to hear from any other witnesses, we
10 will certainly assist in identifying and/or making any additional
11 witnesses available to the Trial Chamber. The Prosecution submits that
12 the witnesses and steps that we have taken pursuant to the Trial Chamber's
13 oral order of 17 May, we have met those requests.
14 I will inform the Chamber and the Defence as well that we believe
15 there was one additional component beyond the documents which we're still
16 receiving from the Translation Unit, and I can address that in a moment,
17 but we will be filing later this afternoon a further spreadsheet
18 indicating linkages or sequencing of documents, which was one of the
19 specific tasks that we had been asked to do. So we have prepared -- again
20 it will look like the other spreadsheets. There will be a column
21 indicating how the documents, or some of the documents relate to each
22 other in order -- in other words, an order to a unit and a response back
23 from the unit, again demonstrating that documents were actually sent and
24 received. And this was an exercise that was undertaken simply by looking
25 at the documents themselves. We will be filing that later today.
1 We will also be filing, either today or tomorrow, written
2 submissions on the law and the armed conflict as the Chamber had inquired
3 about last week, and I believe, Mr. President, other than the
4 translations, we will be providing to the Chamber, again either later this
5 afternoon or tomorrow, a spreadsheet indicating or a chart indicating
6 which specific items on the legal officer's memo have been completed or
7 when we expect to be able to complete that.
8 With respect to the translations of the war logs, war diaries, we
9 expect to have that back to us by close of business tomorrow in order to
10 photocopy and collate that material and distribute it. We anticipate that
11 that will be available to the Trial Chamber and the Defence sometime on
12 Monday barring any unforeseen circumstances. And at that point,
13 Mr. President, of course if there are any additional items that are
14 missing, we will endeavour to provide those. As I indicated the week
15 before last, due to the large volume and large number of documents it's
16 certainly within the realm of possibility that individual sets would be
17 missing a document here or there. If Your Honours or the Defence are
18 missing particular documents, we're happy to make additional copies and
19 make those available.
20 And before we -- before we rise, Mr. President, I did have one
21 final remaining issue to alert the Chamber about. Due to the fact that we
22 had anticipated closing our case on the 1st of June and in light of the
23 fact that it doesn't appear we will be sitting until the 12th of July, I
24 would simply like to inform the Chamber that as of the end of next week, I
25 will be away from the Tribunal and Ms. Benjamin will be here during the
1 week of the 12th and onwards. I will, of course, be returning after the
2 August recess, but I will not be here after the end of next week.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you won't be here
4 at the end of next week, and we won't see you again until September; is
5 that right? Or will you come at the end of July?
6 MR. MUNDIS: With any luck, Mr. President, a week from now I'll be
7 on an aeroplane and I will return to The Hague on the 12th of August.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That, therefore, means that you
9 will not be closing the Prosecution case but Madam Benjamin. Is my
10 understanding correct?
11 MR. MUNDIS: That is in fact correct, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Mundis, for
13 telling us that.
14 As you have said and I have already observed, we won't have
15 hearings again until the 12th of July, the 12th of July. Should there be
16 any problem regarding the 12th of July because of the availability or
17 unavailability of the witness, you will let us know and tell us the exact
19 As I have already said, the last date cannot be beyond the 23rd of
20 July, because after that there's no further possibilities. And should
21 there be any problems with the two witnesses, then the witnesses will have
22 to be delayed until the beginning of September. There's no other way of
23 dealing with it.
24 Regarding this possibility of the witnesses not being available,
25 has the Defence anything to tell us, but very briefly, please?
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we have no
2 additional observations to make. We understand that in the week of the
3 12th the witnesses will be called, if possible, and the Defence will be
4 ready to cross-examine those witnesses.
5 Mr. President, the Defence would like to address a request to you,
6 but if possible, we would like to do that in the absence of the accused in
7 the courtroom, because it has to do with certain questions relating to the
8 Defence and not to the rights of the accused.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Dixon, Mr. Ibrisimovic,
10 regarding the schedule, do you have any observations to make or not
11 regarding the schedule?
12 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we have no
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In that case, I would like to
15 ask the security officers to be kind enough to accompany the accused out.
16 We bid them goodbye, and we'll see them again in July.
17 [The accused withdrew]
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I give you the floor, as you
19 have asked for it, Mr. Bourgon.
20 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I will be
21 very brief. First of all, I should like to confirm that I find myself in
22 a very delicate position in addressing the Chamber on such a matter
23 because it is a personal issue, because the Registrar has made certain
24 points and allegations that I provided incomplete information to the
25 Chamber, and my position is extremely delicate. I would have preferred my
1 colleague to have raised this, but to be very brief, according the
2 directives for the Defence counsel, it is the Chamber that determines the
3 duration of the case. In this case, the procedures took longer than
4 envisaged, and we would like the Chamber to take the necessary steps with
5 the Registry so that the necessary adjustments be made so that we are
6 remunerated according to the applicable norms for such cases.
7 Thank you, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So that is the point that you
9 wish to raise. Very well. We will see with the Registry how we can deal
10 with that matter. Thank you.
11 It is five to two. I apologise to the interpreters, and the
12 hearing is adjourned, and I invite those who will be present to come back
13 on Monday, the 12th of July, at 2.15.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.56 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Monday, the 12th day of July,
16 2004, at 2.15 p.m.