1 Tuesday, 19 October 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
6 the case number, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Case Number IT-01-47-T, The
8 Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could we have the appearances
10 for the Prosecution, please.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon, Your
12 Honours, Counsel, and to everyone in and around the courtroom. For the
13 Prosecution, Tecla Henry-Benjamin, Mathias Neuner, Daryl Mundis, and the
14 case manager, Andres Vatter.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Mundis. Could
16 we have the appearances for the Defence.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. President, good
18 day, Your Honours. On behalf of Enver Hadzihasanovic, Edina Residovic,
19 counsel, Stephane Bourgon, co-counsel, and our legal assistant. Thank
21 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honours. On
22 behalf of Mr. Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and our legal
23 assistant, Nermin Mulalic.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber would like to
25 greet everyone present in the courtroom, the Prosecution, Defence
1 counsel, the accused, and everyone else in the courtroom; the Registrar,
2 the usher, the legal officers, and the interpreters in the booths, as
3 well as the technicians. If I always ask for the appearances, this is
4 because there may be people following the proceedings, there may be
5 people in the gallery or following the proceedings via internet, and this
6 helps them to know the names of the people present in the courtroom.
7 As I have already said, as I said yesterday, the Trial Chamber
8 has to render its decision on certification. The Trial Chamber certifies
9 the decision concerning -- the motion for certification dated the 4th
10 October 2004. It was filed by Defence counsel, but this only concerns
11 the following points: (d), (e), and (f) that were mentioned in
12 paragraphs -- in paragraph 3 of the said motion.
13 The Trial Chamber is not hereby certifying the appeal for (a),
14 (b), (c), and (j) in paragraph 3. A written decision will soon be
15 produced by the Registrar in which our oral decision will be explained in
16 further detail.
17 I believe that the Defence has some submissions to make with
18 regard to the witnesses who will be heard here. So you may take the
19 floor now.
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, could we go into
21 private session, please.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Registrar,
23 could we go into private session.
24 [Private session]
12 Pages 10253 to 10262 – redacted – private session.
9 [Open session]
10 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We're in open session, Mr.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will call the witness in.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good day, Witness. I would
15 first like to make sure you are receiving the interpretation of what I'm
16 saying. If so, say da, say yes.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You have been
19 called here as a witness for the Defence. And before you take the solemn
20 declaration, I would be grateful if you could tell me your first and last
21 names and your date of birth.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Zijad Caber. I was born
23 in January 1958 in Travnik in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current
25 profession, or what current position do you hold? And what was your
1 profession or what post did you hold in 1993?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At present, I'm employed in the
3 Ministry of Defence of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I am
4 the head of the field office with its headquarters in Travnik. In 1993,
5 I was the commander of 312th Brigade with its headquarters in Travnik.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. As you work with
7 the Ministry of Defence, you must have a rank. What rank do you hold in
8 the army?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In view of the fact that I'm now a
10 civil servant, I do not hold a rank now, in view of my present post.
11 However, when I was serving in the army of the Federation, my rank was
12 that of brigadier.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. But you had the
14 rank of general within the army?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, brigadier.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Would you prefer that I address
17 you as general or as "sir"?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As "sir."
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you inform the Trial
20 Chamber -- could you tell the Trial Chamber whether you have already
21 testified in international proceedings or in local proceedings in your
22 country, or is this the first time you're testifying before a court.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is my first time.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I will now ask
25 Madam Usher to show you a document which contains the text of the solemn
1 declaration. Could you please read it out.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
3 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may sit down.
5 Before Defence counsel commences its examination-in-chief, I would like
6 to provide you with certain explications about how we will proceed here.
7 You have just taken the solemn declaration and you have said you will
8 speak the truth and nothing but the truth. This means that it is your
9 duty to answer the questions put to you, and you must answer them
10 truthfully. In the case of false testimony, you could be given a
11 sentence. You could be punished by a sentence, a prison sentence.
12 When a witness makes statements to the Trial Chamber, according
13 to the Rules, what the witness says can't be used against him in
14 subsequent proceedings that could be instituted against him. The witness
15 has a sort of immunity in relation to the witness's testimony. You've
16 just taken the solemn declaration which means that you are a witness who
17 will be testifying in the interests of justice, although you have been
18 called as a Defence witness because you only belong to the Defence in
19 that you must answer their questions.
20 The Defence will conduct its examination-in-chief, after which
21 the Prosecution will cross-examine you, and the three Judges sitting
22 before you may ask you questions at any point in time if they believe
23 that this could clarify some of the answers that you have provided to the
24 parties, or if the Judges believe that, in order to establish truth, it
25 is necessary to put further questions to you in order to fill any gaps.
1 If the Judges do put questions to you, both parties have the right to ask
2 you additional questions. This is how we have proceeded so far in the
3 case of Prosecution witnesses, and we will proceed in the same manner in
4 the case of Defence witnesses. The principles in force must be the same
5 for everyone.
6 If you encounter any difficulties when a question is put to you,
7 do inform us of the fact. We are here to deal with any difficulties that
8 may arise. Try to understand the questions as best as possible, and if
9 you fail to understand the question ask the person putting it to you to
10 rephrase the question.
11 As you may be aware, the proceedings are oral proceedings, and it
12 is your testimony that will be transcribed. There will be a written
13 document of your testimony, and then the Defence could present new
14 documents or mention documents that have already been tendered so that we
15 could compare questions posed with given documents. The evidence that
16 the Defence presents could then be admitted through you as a witness.
17 Roughly speaking, this is how we will be proceeding. We'll be following
18 the same procedure we have followed so far whenever a witness was called
19 to testify.
20 Without wasting any more time, though we still have some time
21 left before we have the break, I will give the floor to the Defence now
22 and they will commence their examination-in-chief. But I would also like
23 to point out that after the Defence for General Hadzihasanovic has
24 concluded its examination-in-chief, the Defence team for Mr. Kubura may
25 also ask you some questions. If they believe it is necessary, they may
1 ask you questions that relate to their Defence strategy. And then it is
2 the right of the Prosecution to cross-examine you.
3 I now turn to General Hadzihasanovic's Defence who will now
4 commence with their examination-in-chief.
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
6 WITNESS: ZIJAD CABER
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 Examined by Ms. Residovic:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Caber.
10 Before I start putting questions to you, I will ask you to
11 observe some instructions I will now give you. You and I speak the same
12 language, and when I put my question to you, you are in a position to
13 answer immediately. However, your testimony before this Trial Chamber is
14 such that others in the courtroom must be able to understood what we are
15 saying. That is why I wish to ask you as soon as I finish putting my
16 question, would you please wait a little until you hear in your headset
17 that the interpretation has been completed, and then you can begin to
18 answer the question. The interpreters have a duty to convey everything
19 we are saying faithfully, and they will tell us when we fail to observe
20 this rule. Did you understand this, Mr. Caber?
21 A. Yes, I did.
22 Q. You have already told the President what your name is and when
23 you were born. Could you please tell me where you were born.
24 A. I was born in Travnik.
25 Q. Where is Travnik?
1 A. Travnik is in Central Bosnia, about 90 kilometres to the
2 northwest of Sarajevo. Going from Banja Luka to the southeast, it's 140
3 kilometres away.
4 Q. Thank you. Where did you live until the outbreak of the war?
5 A. From my birth until the beginning of the aggression on Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina, or rather until the beginning of the war: I lived in
7 Travnik until 1976. And then when I graduated from the military academy
8 in Belgrade, from 1980 onwards I worked in various towns in the Republic
9 of Croatia.
10 Q. And what schools did you finish?
11 A. In Travnik, I completed the secondary technical school; and from
12 1976 to 1980, I attended the military academy in Belgrade for the ground
13 forces. And my stream was armoured and mechanised units.
14 Q. What was your duty in the JNA, and did you hold any rank?
15 A. While I was employed in the JNA, I was platoon leader, company
16 leader, and in 1990 I was the commander of an armoured battalion in Dugo
17 Selo near Zagreb. The rank I had was captain first-class.
18 Q. At one point, did you leave the Yugoslav People's Army?
19 A. Yes. At my own request, I left the JNA in August 1991.
20 Q. And what were the reasons why you left the JNA?
21 A. The reasons were the following: The idea with which I embarked,
22 first on my military education and then my military career as an officer
23 in the former JNA, that idea was destroyed.
24 Q. After you left the JNA, where did you go?
25 A. I went to my native town of Travnik.
1 Q. And what was the situation you found when you arrived in Travnik?
2 A. In Travnik, there was a post-election atmosphere. Multiparty
3 elections had been held, and these had given rise to political parties.
4 I kept coming across these through my contacts with fellow citizens and
5 friends, and one could see that ethnicity was more important than it had
6 been before on my previous visits to Travnik.
7 Q. And what parties in Travnik entered the government after the
9 A. The Party of Democratic Action and the Croatian Democratic Union,
11 Q. Can you tell us what the makeup of the population was in the town
12 itself and how this population lived before the outbreak of the war?
13 A. In the town of Travnik, the population reflected the makeup of
14 the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole. For the most part,
15 the majority were Muslims, Bosniaks, followed by Croats and Serbs.
16 Q. Please go on.
17 A. Before these multiparty elections, people lived together as
18 friends and neighbours. And up until that time, I had never even known
19 who was a Serb, who was a Croat, and who was a Muslim by ethnicity. That
20 year was when I began to notice these differences.
21 Q. Apart from the town of Travnik, what other territory belongs to
22 Travnik Municipality?
23 A. Travnik Municipality is quite fragmented. There are two river
24 valleys, and we referred to them as the Lasva River Valley which
25 encompasses the villages along the banks of the River Lasva, from Karaula
1 to the point where the leaves Travnik in the direction of Vitez. And
2 then the other part is the Bila River, which encompasses villages on the
3 southern slopes of Mount Vlasic and along the banks of the River Bila as
4 far as the border of the Municipality of Vitez.
5 Q. Mr. Caber, could you please indicate on the map you have before
6 you the area you have described. First, let me ask you, do you recognise
7 this map?
8 A. Yes, yes. Yes, I do. I'm fully familiar with it. The
9 Municipality of Travnik with its seat in the town of Travnik here. I
10 have just mentioned the area around the River Lasva.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can what the witness is saying be
12 shown on the monitor, please.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The River Lasva flows by Travnik or
14 through Travnik, and then flows on toward Vitez. And on this axis, what
15 is characteristic is this area here, referred to as Karaula. This is a
16 cluster of villages which have connections with both Serb, Muslim, and
17 Croatian areas. And above this Karaula valley, there is a plateau of
18 Mount Vlasic.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. What is Vlasic, Mr. Caber?
21 A. It's a mountain. And its highest peak was and is Paljenik where
22 there is a radio relay station, and its height is --
23 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the height.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This other area connected to
25 Travnik Municipality along the River Bila. The villages go from Gluha
1 Bubarica, Orahovo, Dube, Vaslic, Mehurici, Han Bila, and then this is
2 linked up with the road leading to Vitez, and another road which is not
3 as good, a macadam road going to the Municipality of Zenica.
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Thank you very much. You may sit down.
6 When you arrived in Travnik, did you have a job, and did somebody
7 offer you a post at one point, or a duty?
8 A. As I had voluntarily left the former JNA, I was unemployed. With
9 the help of friends from the town and following their suggestion, I asked
10 for a post where I could work as a former professional soldier, and I was
11 offered the job in -- a job in the Territorial Defence of Travnik.
12 Q. To which party in power did the post of commander of the
13 municipal staff belong, and what other party held the other posts
14 important for defence?
15 A. The two key positions - I don't want to go into the municipal
16 posts any further in relation to defence - the HDZ had the post of
17 secretariat for national defence, the municipal secretariat. And the
18 task of the secretariat was recruitment and mobilisation, calling up the
19 reserve forces at the request of the municipal staff. The SDA had the
20 post of commander of Territorial Defence staff.
21 Q. And who elected you to the post of commander of the Territorial
22 Defence municipal staff?
23 A. This was quite a lengthy procedure. The SDA nominated me, and I
24 was appointed by the commander of the republican TO staff.
25 Q. When did this happen and until when did you hold the post of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 commander of the municipal TO staff?
2 A. These activities took place in September 1991 and went on until
3 October 1991 when I was appointed as commander of the TO staff. I
4 remained at that post until the end of May 1992.
5 Q. What further duties did you have in the Territorial Defence, or
6 rather, the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina until the end of 1993?
7 A. Later on, I was chief of staff of the Territorial Defence in
8 Travnik Municipality, until November 1992, when I was appointed commander
9 of the 312th Motorised Brigade.
10 Q. Mr. Caber, in order to establish the facts, could you please tell
11 us briefly what the Territorial Defence represented in the system of
12 defence of the former SFRY and the former Socialist Republic of
14 A. Within the armed forces of the former SFRY, its components were
15 the former JNA and the Territorial Defence. The Territorial Defence was
16 the armed force that was linked to the socialist republics which provided
17 the equipment and materiel for the units of the Territorial Defence. The
18 Territorial Defence as such, as its very name tells us, was closely
19 linked to the territory of a municipality or several municipalities
20 depending on the tasks it was assigned by the higher command, such as the
21 district staffs or the republican staff of the Territorial Defence.
22 Q. When as a young officer of the JNA you took over the post of
23 commander in the Territorial Defence, did you have any special knowledge
24 of the structure and activity of the Territorial Defence?
25 A. No, not to begin with. However, this all boiled down to
1 organising the work and the establishment of the wartime units in the
2 Territorial Defence. I knew about that, but I did not have an
3 opportunity to work with such units because they never developed.
4 Q. In line with the regulations then in force when you were
5 appointed commander, can you tell us who was in charge of Defence and
6 whether the commander of the TO staff was a member of the civil
7 authorities, or rather of the wartime presidency?
8 A. The Territorial Defence had its chain of command going up to the
9 republican staff, or rather the republic, the broader social and
10 political community. The then commander of the TO staff had links to the
11 municipality and the municipal services because it was the municipality
12 that financed the work of the peacetime staff of the Territorial Defence,
13 and the materiel and equipment were provided by the citizens and the
14 enterprises of the municipality.
15 Q. When you took over this duty in 1991, who did you find in the
16 Territorial Defence staff, and what was its ethnic composition compared
17 to the ethnic composition of the town?
18 A. When I took over this duty, there were two of us who were
19 Bosniaks; three were Serbs; and there were five Croats. That was the
20 peacetime staff. And these were people who were professionally employed
21 in the staff.
22 Q. Mr. Caber, you just said that the municipality and the republic
23 provided the funds for the purchase of equipment and materiel for
24 Territorial Defence units. When you were appointed commander of the
25 staff, what kind of equipment and materiel did you find there and were
1 you able to make use of these weapons freely?
2 A. While I was still a member of the former JNA, I knew that the
3 then Yugoslav authorities had issued an order that weapons should be
4 confiscated from the Territorial Defence staffs and put under control in
5 the barracks of the former JNA. And that's what I found when I arrived
6 in Travnik. The weapons of the Territorial Defence of which I was the
7 head was stored in buildings guarded by the JNA.
8 Q. At that time when you took over your duties, did you observe some
9 persons turning up in Travnik who had previously taken part in the
10 hostilities in the former SFRY?
11 A. As I've already said, in the Republic of Croatia the conflict had
12 already started. And one of the reasons I left was that this same JNA
13 was attacking citizens of the same country, and that's one of the reasons
14 I left. Probably under the influence of ethnic affiliation, citizens of
15 Croat ethnicity in 1991 went to Croatia, and together with their friends
16 and relatives, took part in the defence against the attacks and the
17 aggression by the former JNA. These same persons then returned home to
18 Travnik with a wealth of experience, wartime experience, if we can say
19 that; to carry weapons or other equipment constitutes wartime experience,
20 or being part of a military unit in Croatia.
21 Q. If I understood you correctly, you could sometimes see these
22 people carrying weapons and wearing uniforms even before the war started
23 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Is this correct?
24 A. Yes, that's correct. That's what I was trying to say. These
25 were armed groups of men who had taken part honourably in the defence of
1 the Republic of Croatia.
2 Q. Mr. Caber, while you were performing your duties, was Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina declared an independent state and Herzegovina declared an
4 independent state and recognised as such?
5 A. Yes. In view of the fact that these were topical issues at the
6 time, Bosnia and Herzegovina gained its independence, first of all
7 through a referendum on joining the European Community of Independent
8 States. I remember this was on the 6th of April when Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina gained its independence, and there were various political
10 repercussions that followed.
11 Q. As commander of the Territorial Defence, did you know that the
12 Presidency of the country had issued a decision in connection with the
13 armed forces of the newly recognised state; and if so, what was this
15 A. This is a good question. I remember that there were quite a few
16 various armed formations, and I'm referring to groups of armed men
17 present at the time. The Presidency, alluding to the assessments made by
18 the Ministry of the Interior and other bodies, decided that all these
19 armed groups who might cause unpleasantness for the citizens should be
20 placed under a single command, a command of all the armed forces in
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that was the Territorial Defence. And I think
22 this happened on the 8th of April 1992.
23 Q. When an imminent threat of war was declared by the Presidency,
24 did the Territorial Defence staff have any possibility of carrying out
25 and implementing the defence plans that had been prepared in peacetime
1 should there be a war or an imminent threat of war?
2 A. When I took over my duty, I received a metal safe containing
3 well-thought-out and detailed plans for the mobilisation of all the armed
4 forces - I'm referring to the units under the command of the Territorial
5 Defence - in case of war, mobilisation and the forming of units. I
6 opened the safe and looked at those documents, and closed it again
7 because there was no chance of implementing any of that. Why? Because
8 the people who belonged to the Croatian nation did not want to enter the
9 Territorial Defence.
10 Unfortunately, most Serbs, and I won't go into this in detail,
11 had either left together with the former JNA or through certain channels
12 had already obtained weapons. I'm referring to citizens of Serb
13 ethnicity. And they were -- they had links to Serbian forces. We did
14 not know what the plans were of the Serbs, Croats, or Bosniaks. We just
15 had battalions and detachments with certain professional qualifications
16 and professional personnel. That's what we had in view. It was very
17 hard. On the 20th of April, I remember well there was an attack on
18 Turbe, which is a part of Travnik Municipality, by the Serb forces with a
19 formation that belonged to the TO staff.
20 Q. Mr. Caber, as an officer of the former JNA, you must have known
21 that some men of military age were to be mobilised into the JNA. What
22 happened in Travnik Municipality to these men who were according to the
23 previous plans reservists of the JNA? Did they remain?
24 A. There were reserve units of the Territorial Defence staff
25 comprising certain citizens. There were also reserve units of the then
1 JNA in the Travnik area. And citizens who belonged to those units,
2 whether wartime or operational, these men were nowhere. These citizens
3 could not become part of what the Territorial Defence was doing in
4 wartime, and these were small units. The republican TO staff, pursuant
5 to previous orders, had been reduced in size. In the 1970s, there was a
6 large number of units, but this was reduced to a very small number so
7 that we only actually had two detachments in the staff. Everything else
8 was part of the operative wartime units of the former JNA.
9 Q. Mr. Caber, a minute ago you said that the position of the
10 secretary of the secretariat for national defence whose task was to
11 recruit and mobilise men was a position held by an HDZ member. Can you
12 remember the name of that person?
13 A. Yes, I can. He's a friend of mine to this very day. Tomo Rajic
14 held that position. He held the position of the secretary of the
15 secretariat for national defence in Travnik. And at the beginning, in
16 cooperation with me, he told me that his hair stood on end when he asked
17 himself what he should do because we were not prepared for what was to
19 Q. Did the secretary of the secretariat for national defence attempt
20 to mobilise all the citizens of Travnik, the Muslims, the Serbs, and the
21 Croats? Did he attempt to mobilise them and have them become members of
22 the Territorial Defence which was the only legitimate force in the
24 A. He did try to do this, but the situation in the field was such,
25 and I have already mentioned the breakup of the system, the one that had
1 been prepared before, but the decisions of the Presidency of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina on placing all armed formations under the TO command,
3 Mr. Rajic and myself appealled to the citizens over the radio. We
4 followed an inverse order. We made a public appeal, and we asked all the
5 citizens of Travnik Municipality from local communes to the Municipality
6 of Travnik, we appealled to them to report to units of the TO staff.
7 Q. In addition to that appeal, apart from that appeal, was there a
8 significant number of Croats who organised themselves into quite
9 different military formations?
10 A. Well, with regard to these appeals, it's interesting that in some
11 of the rural or village areas, the Croat people did stand by the Croatian
12 army, the HVO, the Croatian Defence Council. That didn't bother me at
13 the time, but some townspeople did sign documents saying they wanted to
14 be members of the staff, or rather of the Travnik TO. This was the most
15 regular and legitimate armed force in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time.
16 Q. Who was the commander of the forces of the Croatian people then?
17 Who was the commander of the HVO, as you say?
18 A. At the time, it was the HVO leadership who later formed their own
19 government. I really wouldn't go into the details now. I wouldn't
20 really go into the names of these people. There were quite a few of them
21 who were in positions of responsibility, who armed men, who had contact
22 with the higher organs of power outside of Travnik as well. But on the
23 whole, one felt that there was a parallel military presence in the
24 Municipality of Travnik as far as the Territorial Defence is concerned.
25 Q. This newly formed HVO, was it resubordinated -- or was it
1 subordinated to you as the TO commander?
2 A. No, at no point in time.
3 Q. At the time, what was your attitude towards the fact that a
4 completely different military force appeared in the town?
5 A. As a professional, I was probably glad of the fact that we had
6 what we did have in the field because at those joint meetings, and I'm
7 talking about the wartime Presidency, if we're talking about the
8 beginning of the aggression as of the 20th of April, we already had
9 certain problems at our forward edge facing the Serbian forces because we
10 had to defend ourselves from the Serbs with hunting rifles, et cetera.
11 And in other areas, we had problems that had more to do with the
12 political structures. But we did have a presence there, and we did try
13 to resolve problems by finding various types of solutions. We decided to
14 form a common staff, a joint staff, joint command, joint units of various
15 kinds. At the meetings, there were some quite nice agreements. But in
16 the field, the agreements that had been reached in offices or sometimes
17 even in the field were never actually implemented.
18 Q. You have just mentioned hunting rifles, et cetera, and a minute
19 ago you mentioned the fact that the Territorial Defence had a significant
20 amount of weapons, that the BH Republic and the Municipality -- and in
21 the Municipality of Travnik they had been obtaining for a number of
22 years. You said that these weapons had been placed under JNA control.
23 Where were these weapons located, and did the JNA return these weapons to
25 A. Well, let me repeat this: The TO weapons, the weapons of the
1 citizens of Travnik Municipality were under the control of the former JNA
2 in a Muslim facility which was in the immediate vicinity of the town
3 centre. The JNA provided security for these weapons, and while they were
4 located in the territory of the municipality, the JNA secured these
5 weapons and didn't allow them to be taken when the mobilisation was
7 We had a Serbian attack on the 22nd of April, and the situation
8 was chaotic. We defended ourselves to an extent with the weapons of the
9 police force and to an extent the weapons obtained on the black market by
10 citizens. Above all, these weapons were automatic rifles. They came
11 from Croatia, and a rifle cost between a thousand and a thousand two
12 hundred German marks at the time. People had their own weapons. For
13 their own personal security, they obtained them.
14 Q. Have I understood you correctly: The JNA did not return those
15 weapons to you. What happened to those weapons?
16 A. No, they didn't return the weapons, but those weapons, since
17 being present in the Travnik -- in Travnik did not suit them, the
18 barracks was in the centre of the town -- since this did not suit them,
19 they announced that departure in the direction of the Serbian force who
20 were surrounding the area and were at the front in the direction of the
21 Municipality of Travnik. They announced their departure. This was at
22 the beginning of May. And that night, they had prepared the weapons.
23 They blew up the warehouses, the equipment, the weapons, and we were left
24 without our weapons, the weapons of citizens, the weapons of the workers
25 who lived in Travnik Municipality.
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, this is perhaps
2 the right time for a break since after these introductory remarks on the
3 situation in Travnik, I will be moving on to another subject.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, is there anything
5 you would like to say, or are you getting up because of the pause,
6 because of the break?
7 MR. MUNDIS: If I could just briefly, Mr. President, I noted that
8 quite a number of the questions that my colleague put to the witness were
9 leading questions, and I didn't object primarily because this was
10 background and historical matter. But I'm just stating that -- I don't
11 want to break up the flow of her presentation, but once we get into the
12 time frame of the indictment I will certainly be objecting to each and
13 every question that's leading, if need be.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Yesterday I thought about
15 reminding the parties of these principles. When the Prosecution
16 witnesses came, whenever there was a leading question, Defence counsel
17 objected. So let's try to avoid having such objections again. Try to
18 conduct your examination in accordance with the rules in force. In the
19 course of your examination-in-chief, the question you put should be a
20 neutral one, and the witness will answer your question. It's only when
21 we get to the cross-examination that everything is allowed. Those are
22 the rules, and we have to respect them.
23 It is 20 to 4.00, and we will resume at 10 past 4.00 after the
25 --- Recess taken at 3.43 p.m.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 --- On resuming at 4.20 p.m.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could we go into
3 private session, please.
4 [Private session]
19 [Open session]
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And could the usher call the
21 witness into the courtroom, please.
22 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are back in open session, Mr.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We're in open
25 session now. And the witness will be called back into the courtroom so
1 that we can continue with the examination-in-chief.
2 You may take the floor to continue with your
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Before I continue examining the
5 witness, I would like to ask the usher to show the witness a series of
6 documents prepared by the Defence. And before the beginning of the
7 trial, we provided these documents to the Trial Chamber and to the
8 Prosecution. So could these documents please be handed over to the
10 Q. Mr. Caber, before the break you mentioned the fact that parallel
11 organs of power had been established. Could you now please have a look
12 at part 2 in this series of documents, and it is entitled "the HVO," the
13 Croatian Defence Council. And could you have a look at documents under
14 number 1, number 2, and number 3. But first of all, could you tell me
15 whether you have located the document.
16 A. Yes, I have.
17 Q. This document is a decision on appointing a president and deputy
18 president of the municipal HVO council. Mr. Caber, at that time, at the
19 time this decision was taken, were you aware of the fact that the persons
20 mentioned in this decision were appointed to the positions referred to in
21 the decision?
22 A. I can see the decision. I have the decision before me, and I
23 know these people. I know Nenad Zec and Pero Krizanac personally. And
24 it's true that at this time, a parallel government was formed. It was
25 for the Croatian people. It was the HVO for Travnik Municipality.
1 Q. Mr. Caber, what happened to the Croatian members of the wartime
2 Presidency after --
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I will interrupt you at this
4 point because we can't find the document.
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] It's at the end of these --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please continue then
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Caber, could you tell the Trial Chamber what happened to the
9 HDZ representatives in the wartime presidency of the Travnik
11 A. The members of the parallel organs of power in the HVO
12 Municipality of Travnik left the wartime presidency, and we in fact had
13 two organs of power in Travnik Municipality. We had the HVO of Travnik
14 Municipality, and we had the legal municipal organ. That is to say, we
15 had the wartime presidency headed by the president of the Municipal
16 Assembly of Travnik.
17 Q. Mr. Caber, this HVO presidency, or rather, the HDZ in Travnik,
18 did they express their view of who the legal authorities in Travnik were?
19 A. These documents refresh my memory. As I was already working in
20 the Territorial Defence staff, I knew from my contacts with certain
21 commanders of the HVO that the Croatian people at that time, in
22 1992 - and later, but that is immaterial now - felt that the HVO of
23 Travnik Municipality was the only legitimate authority.
24 Q. Would you please look at Document Number 2. It's some minutes.
25 And there is a conclusion. Does the conclusion under number 1 reflect
1 what you knew in 1992?
2 A. Yes. From that date, it says here it was the 5th of September,
3 on the territory of Travnik Municipality for the Croatian people, it was
4 only the HVO government that existed and no other. And Muslims could
5 take part in it with 50 per cent.
6 Q. Were there any changes in the areas of the judiciary and the
7 police force?
8 A. Yes, of course. As soon as you set up a government, you want to
9 have the judiciary and executive powers in your control so that a
10 judiciary was set up, and an HVO police, and this was in parallel to the
11 other police.
12 Q. Would you please look at Document Number 3. These are
13 conclusions. And under number 1, does this correspond to the facts and
14 to what you knew in 1992 about the events in Travnik?
15 A. Yes, this is correct. I have no further comment to make. That's
16 how it was.
17 Q. Thank you very much. Mr. Caber, could you please tell me now
18 what was the combat situation in Travnik Municipality, and what was the
19 position of the Territorial Defence at that time?
20 A. As I said, when talking about the wartime composition of the
21 Territorial Defence in early April 1992, of the manpower reported, we
22 formed units on the territory of Travnik Municipality. We formed
23 detachments according to the territorial principle and district staffs or
24 area staffs in those parts of the municipality where there was more than
25 one detachment, where there were at least two detachments in order to
1 facilitate communications and command and control.
2 Q. I do apologise. You've already explained this. But my question
3 was, were there any combat activities and with what forces attacking
5 A. As I've already said, on the 20th of April, the Serb forces
6 started taking parts of Travnik Municipality. And with all the forces
7 and all the equipment we had, and this was very meagre, very modest, we
8 attempted to stop them, and we did stop the Serb forces which were far
9 superior in terms of weaponry at the line in Turbe.
10 Q. And where is Turbe compared to the centre of Travnik?
11 A. Well, in relation to the centre of Travnik, let me show you.
12 This is Turbe. This is the Turbe area. And in relation to Travnik, it's
13 about 8 kilometres away from the centre of Travnik. In Turbe, we had a
14 population that to the north of Turbe comprised Croatian villages, and to
15 the west of Turbe there were Serb villages. To the south were Muslim or
16 Bosniak villages. The forces of our TO detachment securing this line
17 were here, to prevent the Serb forces from advancing further into Travnik
18 Municipality. It's noteworthy that the HVO participated with a small
19 part of their forces where the Croatian villages were, together with us,
20 but not under our command on the southern slopes of Mount Vlasic in the
21 area of the village of Dijaci.
22 Q. Very well, thank you. I think the situation is a little clearer
23 now. As I said, I do apologise. This is not a question. I was just
24 summing up what the witness just said. Practically now, the line was
25 approximately 8 kilometres from Travnik.
1 Tell us, please, in the town of Travnik itself, what kind of
2 changes took place? Did some people arrive in Travnik in the period
3 between the spring and the autumn of 1992?
4 A. In 1992, Travnik Municipality was of interest to the
5 international public and international media. What had happened in the
6 Bosnian Krajina - better to say in Prijedor, Banja Luka, Kozarac - all
7 the population, mostly Muslim but also in part Croatian, starting in May
8 began to arrive every ten days or so, and especially in July and August
9 1992. There would be over 15.000 refugees in Travnik in a single day
10 from the Bosnian Krajina and from the municipalities that were then part
11 of Jajce in the direction of Vrbac.
12 Q. In the area of your municipality, were there other armed clashes
13 apart from what you just mentioned in Turbe, and did this have any effect
14 on the overall situation in Travnik?
15 A. On the Vlasic plateau, I didn't indicate that. There were also
16 Serb forces exerting pressure, threatening to take over the municipality.
17 And this was very intensive in the summer. The front line toward the
18 Serb forces stretched out for over 70 kilometres, viewed tactically, in
19 terms of the defence lines held by the Territorial Defence.
20 Q. In that period of time while all this fighting was going on and
21 while all these problems were there, were there any changes in the
22 regulations governing the armed forces and what bearing did this have on
23 your position as commander of the Territorial Defence staff?
24 A. As far as regulations and legislation go concerning the work of
25 the armed forces, up to the beginning of the aggression and throughout
1 most of the month of May, we implemented the former regulations of the
2 Former Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The then presidency
3 enacted laws and regulations about the work of the Territorial Defence
4 staff and the members of the Territorial Defence. And then these were
5 implemented to govern our work, discipline, and everything else that the
6 documents covered.
7 Q. Until the end of 1992, was this situation regarding the large
8 number of refugees complicated by other events which had an effect on the
9 functioning of the Territorial Defence staff?
10 A. As I said, the HVO units which were present in the town of
11 Travnik as well as in other municipalities, and especially the parallel
12 government bodies in Travnik, made it impossible for the legitimate
13 authorities to operate normally, not to mention the normal operation of
14 the Territorial Defence staff, with respect to defending the town from
15 Serb forces, equipping our units with equipment and materiel, which was
16 very scarce.
17 Q. Were there any conflicts in your immediate surroundings; and if
18 so, did they have any bearing on the situation in Travnik?
19 A. By that time, I was chief of staff of the municipal TO staff, and
20 in June 1992 there had already been incidents and conflicts in the
21 neighbouring municipality of Novi Travnik, Vitez, Gornji Vakuf, and these
22 arose because of certain so-called misunderstandings. That's why there
23 were conflicts between the armed forces of both the TO and the HVO. All
24 this had an impact on the soldiers of the Territorial Defence because
25 they had friends and relatives in neighbouring municipalities. And their
1 basic task was to defend the town of Travnik from the Serb forces.
2 Q. At that time, who did the representatives of the HVO try to blame
3 for the conflicts in Novi Travnik?
4 A. Well, they always blamed members of, as they call them, the
5 Muslim forces, the Muslim government or when we were around the table of
6 the Territorial Defence.
7 Q. The forces of the Territorial Defence under your command, did
8 they at any point mount any kind of attack or cause any kind of incident
9 to justify these accusations?
10 A. No, not while I was in command.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, these are leading questions, and I'll
12 again do everything I can to avoid disrupting the direct. But again,
13 with the counsel and witness speaking the same language, it's
14 particularly difficult. But we will object to leading questions.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Ms. Residovic, if you
16 look at the transcript, line 16:34, you will see that this really is a
17 leading question and that Mr. Mundis's objection is justified. The
18 question was formulated in such a way as to be strongly leading, and the
19 witness can respond with a yes or no. Please try to formulate your
20 questions so as to avoid this, although it's true that our Rules are a
21 synthesis of continental and Anglo-Saxon law. Please go on.
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am trying very
23 hard not to put leading questions. I would like to ask my learned friend
24 to tell me which of my questions was a leading question so that I can
25 avoid putting such questions in the future. It could have been a problem
1 of interpretation, and I will ask the interpreters to interpret my
2 question exactly as I put it. It is obvious we're having interpretation
3 problems. Would my learned friend, Mr. Mundis, please tell me which
4 question it was that he objected to.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I thought I had explained this,
6 but Mr. Mundis will do that now. Mr. Mundis.
7 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. In the English
8 transcript, the question beginning at line 1 of page 39, which is about
9 to disappear from the screen: "The forces of the Territorial Defence
10 under your command, did they at any point mount any kind of attack or
11 cause any kind of incident to justify these accusations" suggests the
12 answer to that question, which is the classic definition of a leading
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The problem is that the witness
15 answered with a no, so this was then a leading question.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I will try to be more careful
17 because in my view this was a question that made it possible for the
18 witness to say either yes or no. However, I will take on board this
19 objection, and I will do my best not to put similar questions in the
20 future, even though it was not really a leading question. Thank you.
21 Q. Will you please now look at Document Number -- HVO number 4. I
22 will ask you to read the first passage, the first nine lines.
23 A. "The main issue..."
24 Q. You can read it to yourself silently, and then please tell me,
25 this comment in the HVO document, is this something that you knew about
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 in 1992? Does it correspond to your knowledge of the situation then?
2 A. I have not seen this document before, but this event reminds me
3 of things I knew. I knew that this sort of thing happened on the ground
4 and that this information was correct because it was compiled by people
5 belonging to the same forces.
6 Q. Thank you. In late 1992, did events occur to further complicate
7 the situation in your municipality and the duties you were performing as
8 chief of staff in that period?
9 A. The sequence of events that caused problems in Travnik was,
10 again, the arrival of refugees from the Bosnian Krajina, the fall of
11 Jajce into Serbian hands, as well as parts of the occupied territory of
12 Travnik Municipality, Karaula, which I indicated on the map a little
13 while ago. The villages around Karaula which were both Croatian and
14 Muslim, the Muslim villages were in the majority, but these had all been
15 taken over by the Serb forces so that there was an even greater influx of
16 refugees into the small area of the town centre and into the neighbouring
18 Q. Mr. Caber, at one point on the territory of your municipality,
19 were certain military formations emerging composed of the refugees?
20 A. When we go back in time, in June of that year, the people who had
21 arrived from the Bosnian Krajina formed a battalion, a Krajina battalion,
22 and this battalion together with the refugees was in the barracks in
23 Travnik. Right after that, another unit arrived, the 7th Krajina
24 Brigade. It arrived in Travnik, and they also settled in the Travnik
25 barracks. Later on, pursuant to orders, they became the 17th Krajina
1 Brigade in Travnik.
2 Q. Mr. Caber, apart from these armed forces of the Army of Bosnia
3 and Herzegovina, the units of the Territorial Defence, the units formed
4 from refugees, the HVO, at that time in Travnik were there any other
5 units not belonging to any other military establishment?
6 A. It's true that the Ministry of the Interior, the then civilian
7 police, had its reserve force which they armed and equipped with long
8 barrels. And at that time, in the summer and autumn of 1992, we also saw
9 the formation of a small Muslim force, probably under the auspices of
10 what the -- or rather, because the HVO had set up Croatian forces, these
11 people were inspired to create Muslim forces consisting of citizens of
12 Travnik Municipality, and they had a certain code which was linked to the
13 religion they belonged to.
14 Q. You have already said that you had no superior role in -- toward
15 the HVO. Did the units and Territorial Defence staff, were they superior
16 to the police forces and to the newly established Muslim forces?
17 MR. MUNDIS: Objection, leading.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam, did you hear the
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Caber, in view of the objection raised by my learned friend,
22 would you please tell me over which units did you have a command
23 responsibility? Which units were under your command?
24 A. The units of the municipal Territorial Defence staff.
25 Q. Did the Territorial Defence units include the armed forces of the
2 A. No.
3 Q. In 1992, did the Territorial Defence units also comprise the unit
4 of the Muslim forces?
5 A. As far as I remember, no. I do know that they were there, that
6 they had contacts with the commander of the TO staff. But as far as I
7 can recall, they were under the direct command -- no, they were not under
8 the direct command of the TO.
9 Q. Mr. Caber, please tell me, did at some point in late 1992 there
10 come about a reorganisation of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the
11 Territorial Defence; and if so, when did this happen and what kind of
12 changes took place?
13 A. All these problems which had to do with the work of the
14 Territorial Defence staff - the combat operations of the units under its
15 command; the fragmentation of these units; the problems concerning
16 unprofessional people appointed to certain duties; the problems that had
17 to do with others who did not want to be part of the TO, although we had
18 a common enemy; all this led to the fact that in November 1992, a group
19 of officers headed by Mr. Enver Hadzihasanovic spent some time in
20 Travnik. It could also have been in late October. Jajce had fallen.
21 Karaula had fallen. A lot of things were going on, so I'm not sure about
22 the date any more. But in any case, it was either November or October.
23 And they were given the task by the supreme command of the Army of Bosnia
24 and Herzegovina to establish brigades in Travnik Municipality and further
25 afield and to establish a corps with headquarters in Zenica.
1 Q. And do you remember what brigades were supposed to be established
2 on the territory of Travnik Municipality?
3 A. Two brigades. The 306th Mountain Brigade and the 312th Motorised
5 Q. Did you assume a position in one of those brigades?
6 A. I was recommended and later appointed as commander of the 312th
7 Motorised Brigade which started operating in that capacity in November.
8 On the 25th of November 1992.
9 Q. Who were the men who composed your brigade?
10 A. The brigade was composed of former detachments of the Territorial
11 Defence who were within the TO staff, but from the access I indicated a
12 while ago, there was Karaula, Turbe, the core part of the town. So there
13 were from these detachments. It was these detachments that the 312th
14 Motorised Brigade was formed of.
15 I would also like to point out that when I was requested to
16 assume this position in the motorised brigade, I didn't find this
17 acceptable as a soldier, but such was the order and it was necessary to
18 implement the order and use the men and equipment that we had and the men
19 who were already engaged in contact [as interpreted]. It was necessary
20 to form a brigade somewhere in the rear in free territory, and afterwards
21 we were supposed to return to territory where we were to be present and
22 have a brigade.
23 Q. Tell me where were the members of your brigade located, where
24 they were billeted.
25 A. As far as the combat zone is concerned, the Turbe battlefield,
1 that's where the brigade was located. The other men weren't billeted in
2 barracks, but we would let people go on leave. We let them go home to
3 have a rest with their families.
4 And as far as rest is concerned, they would go to the centre of
5 the town or in the direction of Bile, to Mehurici, to Han Bila, to
6 Zenica, the wider Zenica area. They would go to Kakanj, Novi Travnik,
7 and to Vitez.
8 Q. What sort of equipment did your brigade have at the beginning of
9 1993? And I'm referring primarily to weapons.
10 A. The equipment and the weapons that the brigade had took over from
11 TO units was very modest. We didn't have much -- we didn't have many
12 weapons, but with respect to the strength of the brigade - that now
13 consisted of about 3.000 men - this depended on the unit. We had a
14 strength of 30 to 40 per cent, and they had infantry weapons.
15 Q. The name of your brigade was the motorised brigade. At the time,
16 did you have all the essential equipment that was needed to make that
17 brigade a motorised brigade? And at any time in 1993, did you really
18 become -- did you really become, did you reach the level that a motorised
19 brigade should actually have?
20 A. As I've already said, a motorised brigade according to my
21 experience as a soldier from before should have materiel equipment so
22 that it can be mobile and carry out manoeuvres and carry out tasks.
23 Unfortunately, we didn't have such equipment. And the title was the
24 "motorised brigade," but in 1994 it was transformed into a mountain
25 brigade. I can't remember the exact date, but I never managed to form a
1 motorised brigade in accordance with what had been requested of me.
2 Q. Mr. Caber, I can see that you mentioned something here. You said
3 that there were about 3.000 men. That's what appears in the transcript.
4 Did you say 3.000 or 2.000? How many men were there in your brigade?
5 A. About 3.000.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 Given the deployment of the men in a wider area from Kakanj to
8 Zenica and as far as Travnik, could you tell me what sort of problems you
9 had to confront as far as control and command was concerned.
10 A. I had a really difficult role to play as far as the brigade is
11 concerned. And when it's a matter of a brigade going into combat action
12 at the battlefield or at the front facing the Serbian forces, given all
13 the problems in the rear in December, I already had to confront a fierce
14 attack launched by the Serbs. And my right wing was threatened, and in
15 fact we lost some of the territory. And all of this meant that we needed
16 reserve forces, we needed forces which had to be brought in from the
17 depth. And when I say "the depth," I'm actually saying they were on
18 leave. We had to get these forces back and we had to implement our main
19 task from the superior command, and that task was to control the
20 territory and not to lose it.
21 The problem was bringing these boys from the depth, and the
22 problem was how organise the forces of the battalion that was motorised
23 at the time and how to organise them according to establishment. We did
24 everything -- we improvised everything, and at the time it was very hard
25 to be a battalion commander, and especially a commander of a lower unit.
1 Q. Mr. Caber, you said that those men had about 30 per cent of the
2 weapons they should have had according to establishment. Where were
3 those weapons located? And the units that were at the front line, did
4 they have any weapons that were held in reserve in the case of such
5 intensive combat?
6 A. All the weapons that the brigade had were at the forward edge in
7 the combat zone. People would take turns to use rifles, mortars,
8 cannons, so nothing was taken away, taken to other areas. With regard to
9 the forward edge which had to be located in a certain area, according to
10 the orders, the men when though went on leave went on leave without their
11 weapons. And only in exceptional circumstances they went with their
12 weapons, when the units were being resubordinated to a brigade from
13 neighbouring municipalities. They would then come with their weapons and
14 return with their weapons.
15 Q. Mr. Caber, you could probably speak at length about the problems
16 you had to confront. But you as commander of the 312th motorised unit,
17 did you have to confront a new problem in January, a problem that was
18 caused by those who had been your allies until a short time before? And
19 if so, what sort of problems did you have to confront?
20 A. Yes. In 1992 -- that is to say, in 1993, the brigade as such had
21 already sustained significant losses at the front edge as a result of the
22 Serb attack. The brigade was exhausted as a result of the combat, and
23 they were exhausted because they were hungry. We didn't have enough
24 equipment, and this is a logistical problem. It has to do with
25 quartermaster problems and the difficulty of obtaining food. But there
1 was a problem that had developed in the centre of the Municipality of
2 Travnik, and I'm referring to the organs in power. And this had to do
3 with the declaration of the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna. At the
4 time, sometime in the middle of January 1993, commanders, I think one of
5 them was Filipovic, called us from the BH Republic Army. They called on
6 brigade commanders to inform us that as of that time, there were no legal
7 authorities of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and that all the
8 armed formations had to be placed under the command or under the rule of
9 the HVO, that is to say -- or of the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna.
10 I'm sure that the Trial Chamber is familiar with these matters,
11 so I won't go into detail. But I think that the problem became more
12 complex when it -- dealing with my brigade and the authorities in the
13 Travnik Municipality probably had more complex problems as a result of
14 the refugees who continued arriving.
15 Q. Mr. Caber, could you please have a look at one of the documents
16 you have before you. The number of the document -- the title of the
17 document is "A, Combat Report," and you can find it under number 1.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Could you please tell me whether you recognise the document. Is
20 this a document that comes from your brigade?
21 A. Yes. These are the estimates made by my staff, by my brigade,
23 Q. In the course of the introductory remarks, you mentioned what you
24 had just stated before this Trial Chamber. Please tell me, this decision
25 of the HVO and of the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna, what sort of an
1 effect did this decision have on all of you and on the combatants?
2 A. I believe that the Trial Chamber also has this document. I think
3 everything is clear here. But what I will say is that at that time, it
4 was very unpleasant for us in the army, and we had to think about placing
5 ourselves under the command of an illegal entity, under the command of a
6 parallel state that had been condemned as such. The state of Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina that had been recognised is one that we had accepted as such,
8 together with its organs of power, and all of a sudden something was
9 being formed by force and we were being placed under its command. At the
10 time, given the instructions, given the requests that had been made, I
11 knew I had to report about the situation, and I drafted this document
12 together with my staff. My chief of staff signed the document. We
13 really didn't want to open a second front, to put it very briefly.
14 Q. You've put that briefly. But what you said, is that stated in
15 the last sentence of your document?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. I will now ask you to have a look at the documents under B. The
18 title is "movement," and the documents I'm referring to are Documents 1
19 to 21. And before that, before we have a look at them, I would like to
20 ask you the following: You said you didn't want a conflict, you wanted
21 to avoid a conflict. Did you take any measures to avoid such a conflict?
22 Or rather, as you were in the army, did you make any efforts to calm the
23 situation down?
24 A. I myself as a commander, my staff, and the organs of power, and
25 in many cases the 3rd Corps that had been formed at the time and had its
1 orders and tasks, and they asked us to make evaluations, to hold the
2 positions facing the Serbian forces. But we were asked to do everything
3 we could to avoid a conflict with the units and formations of the HVO.
4 Almost on a daily basis we had contact with HVO representatives. And on
5 a daily basis, we condemned the various incidents that occurred. But
6 this boiled down to reports that the HVO representatives would submit.
7 They said that these were extreme events, extreme incidents, and this is
8 something we had to accept because we really didn't need a second front.
9 Q. Could you please have a look at the document I'm referring to
10 now, the document under number 1. Is that a document from your brigade?
11 Is that your document?
12 A. Well, as I have already said, the brigade as such was at the
13 forward edge facing the Serbian forces. And they were carrying out their
14 main task, which was to prevent the Serbian forces from penetrating the
15 municipality and town of Travnik, whereas the other men were on leave,
16 whether on a seven-day or ten-day leave, it depended. The same people
17 were deployed in the depth, in towns I already mentioned, in Zenica, in
18 Travnik, in Novi Travnik, in Vitez, in Kakanj, et cetera.
19 And I don't like to say this now, but we wrote everything down,
20 and we from the army asked HVO members to allow those forces to pass
21 through towards the forward edge of Defence facing our common enemy.
22 These were requests from the operative zone of Vitez, et cetera, and here
23 there was authorisation for passage, et cetera.
24 Q. In order to save time - and I apologise, the question will be a
25 little leading now - is it correct to say that you have recognised this
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 document as your own?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Please have a look at Document Number 2. Whose document is this?
4 A. It's from my commander of the 1st Battalion.
5 Q. Have a look at Document Number 3. Whose document is that?
6 A. This document under number 3 is my document.
7 Q. Have a look at Document Number 4. Do you recognise it?
8 A. Yes, yes. This is -- well, in fact, it has to do with passage of
9 neighbouring units in the zone of my brigade. It is a request for free
11 Q. Have a look at Document Number 5. Do you recognise this document
12 dated the 25th of January 1993?
13 A. Again, this is from the commander of one of the battalions. Yes.
14 Q. Have a look at Document Number 6. Do you recognise this one?
15 A. Yes. Similarly, this is the commander of the battalion who is
17 If I may comment, it was stating from where and how many soldiers
18 were concerned. You know in armies, there are certain secrets about the
19 number of men and equipment. But we were requested to provide
20 information on the number of people who had passed through a given
21 checkpoint. We didn't have any checkpoints. These were HVO checkpoints
22 because they wouldn't let anyone pass through the forward edge on to
24 Q. Have a look at Document Number 8. It's dated the 26th of January
25 1993. Is this a document that comes from a brigade?
1 A. Yes, it is. From the commander of the battalion again. It's
2 interesting in that the people who were on leave would obtain wood for
3 their houses, firewood for their houses, you know. But we also to make
4 requests to obtain provisions for these people. And we had to make
5 requests so that they could be allowed to pass through certain areas.
6 Q. Please have a look at the document under number 10. 28th of
7 January is the date, the 28th of January. Do you recognise this as a
8 document of your own? Is it a document from your brigade? And it's
9 dated the 28th of January 1993.
10 A. Yes, this is a document of mine. I'm familiar with this
11 document. It's also a request for free passage. It's something that
12 occurred on a daily basis. I assume you have quite a few documents of
13 this kind. This happened on a daily basis, and almost until June we had
14 this task to perform. We had certain briefings with brigade staff.
15 Q. And although you as a commander submitted a request to a military
16 force for free passage and you had to inform of the number of men and the
17 time at which they would be passing through, although you made these
18 requests, were there any situations in which your soldiers were not able
19 to reach the combat areas or reach the lines or positions where they were
21 A. Yes. This would happen. How would this happen? It was a as a
22 result of "extremist members" of the HVO and legal organs of power at the
23 time, the HVO, said they were extremists. They said Let's go to the
24 checkpoint, let us grant them leave to pass through. So this was really
25 a situation that could make it go crazy. I don't know whether you have
1 found this document or such documents, but at that time we would write to
2 the organs of the HVO and we would say that it was pointless since we had
3 a common enemy, and they were the Serbs. We told them it was not
4 necessary to do what they were doing, but there were controls, and they
5 would deprive the command of the 312th Brigade of commanders for such
6 acts with the intent to humiliate us, and we had to keep silent. And
7 this was because we didn't want to open a second front. We had been
8 requested to do this. It's not something the 312th Brigade decided to
9 do. These were political demands. They had been forwarded through the
10 3rd Corps command. We were requested to do all we could to avoid a
11 conflict and to do all we could to prevent a second front from being
12 opened. We were requested to calm the situation down and they asked us
13 to establish a plan to avoid conflict from breaking out.
14 Q. Mr. Caber, please have a look at Document Number 7. It's in the
15 same bundle of documents. Have a look at item number 1. This is an HVO
16 document dated the 25th of January 1993. Have a look at item number 1.
17 Could you read it. Does what is stated under item 1 reflect the
18 situation that you had to confront on a daily basis, that you and your
19 soldiers had to confront on a daily basis?
20 A. Yes. This is so to speak a political provocation. I haven't
21 seen this document before. I'm reading what you referred to now, and I
22 can only comment on what subsequently happened. Everything was done to
23 disarm the regular army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to disarm various
24 parts of my brigade.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Mundis.
1 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I rise to my feet simply for an issue
2 of clarification. If my learned colleague is referring to Document 644,
3 there seem to be two number 1s on that document, and she has referred the
4 witness to number 1, and it's unclear which of those -- or perhaps I'm
5 looking at the wrong document.
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I apologise. Item number 1
7 in the first order, which refers to the aggression of the Muslim forces.
8 And then there is item 1 which says "completely block all movement in the
9 area of responsibility and disarm all BH Army units and armed members."
10 That was what the witness commented on. My question was answered by the
11 witness, and I asked whether this order is something that he as a
12 commander experienced on a daily basis in the area in question.
13 Q. Could you please have a look at number 13 now, the document under
14 number 13. It's dated the 31st of January 1993. And this is an answer
15 to one of your requests. Could you tell me whether you are familiar with
16 this document.
17 A. Yes, I'm familiar with this document. I'm familiar with the
18 event that is related to the request. A while ago, I mentioned the fact
19 that we would contact directly the HVO command, and here the document has
20 been signed by Mr. Miletic. And he said that he was -- that we should in
21 future forward all our requests through the 3rd Corps in Zenica.
22 Q. Mr. Caber, a while ago you mentioned the establishment of
23 parallel organs of power, and you commented on a document in which it was
24 stated that your soldiers had to fell trees in order to obtain firewood
25 in the wintertime. Tell me, is this organ addressing you a legal organ
1 of power, or is it some other organ of power which is preventing you from
2 performing your duties in your very own territory?
3 A. This is very sad. I see it now. The Croatian Community of
4 Herceg Bosna is addressing me and giving me instructions as to what I
5 should be doing.
6 Q. Mr. Caber, tell me, at some point did you as an officer and
7 commander respond to all these humiliations?
8 A. I have already said that I responded by reporting to the command
9 of the 3rd Corps. In view of the persistent nature of what was going on
10 and the fact that the HVO was not allowing members of my brigade to pass
11 through the checkpoints, I addressed the commands of the operation group
12 I belonged to, Bugojno and Bosnian Krajina, with its headquarters in
13 Travnik. This was set up later on in 1993.
14 Q. Would you please now look at Document Number 15 under
15 "Movement, B."
16 A. Yes.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. And after that, we will
18 have a break.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Tell me: Is this one of the documents where you address the
21 3rd Corps trying to avoid any kind of conflict and asking that the corps
22 respond to the situation?
23 A. Yes. This document is mine. And it reflects everything I have
24 just said, that I addressed the command of the 3rd Corps turning to them
25 to solve the issue of the passage of my soldiers to the zone of
2 MS. RESIDOVIC: Mr. President, at your suggestion, we may take a
3 break now. And then I will go through the remaining documents with the
4 witness. Thank you.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We will resume at
7 --- Recess taken at 5.33 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 6.00 p.m.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I will give you the floor, but
10 it is quite clear that we shall not be able to finish this witness today,
11 that we shall have to continue tomorrow.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. Mr. Caber, we left off by saying that you submitted certain
14 proposals and protests to the command of the 3rd Corps. Would you please
15 look at Document B14, on page 2. The document is dated the 1st of
16 February 1993. Mr. Caber, do you recognise this document?
17 A. Yes. This was signed on my behalf by my chief of staff.
18 Q. Tell me please, does this document correspond to what you felt as
19 officers and human beings, and what you went through because of all the
20 humiliation you were subjected to?
21 A. In this document, there is a description of what I have been
22 talking about. It has to do with the passage through the HVO
23 checkpoints. Every officer had a sense of honour, and we felt that we
24 all belonged to the forces defending Travnik from the Serbian forces, and
25 I was deeply insulted by all this. This is a summary report to the
1 3rd Corps command explaining how we felt in the brigade command at that
3 Q. Mr. Caber, you also said that the political authorities and the
4 superior military authorities demanded that you take all measures to
5 avoid a conflict with the HVO. Would you please look at the documents
6 under numbers 1(b), 9, and 12. In the first case, this is a document of
7 the 27th of January 1992. It's a 3rd Corps document. The second
8 document is also a 3rd Corps document addressed to all brigades.
9 First, I would like to ask you, as brigade commander, did you receive
10 this document? And does it reflect what you have just been talking
12 A. Yes, this certainly supports what I have said so far. The
13 command of the 3rd Corps in all its documents and orders instructed us
14 and ordered us to avoid conflict. They said there should not be a
15 conflict, and that we should do everything possible to fight the common
16 enemy together.
17 Q. We have seen in these documents what the position of your brigade
18 was. Could you tell Their Honours how the HVO was behaving at the time
19 and where they set up their front lines toward the common enemy.
20 A. Starting in January when the HZHB was declared and promulgated,
21 they insisted that -- or rather, these authorities insisted that everyone
22 be put under HVO command. And with regard to the movements and actions
23 of members of the HVO, we had the checkpoints we've mentioned to control
24 movement. And these were truly unnecessary because in the situation as
25 it was, we had sufficient strength to fend off the common enemy. And we
1 could have done that, had we acted jointly. I'm referring to the western
2 part of Travnik Municipality. The remaining HVO units took up positions
3 in certain prominent facilities or areas in Travnik Municipality with
4 certain weapons, light weapons, and also heavy weapons. They had 60- and
5 82-millimetre mortars, for example. When we look at Travnik
6 Municipality, in the north, this was Karbasija; another prominent
7 facility south of the centre of Travnik was Vilenica; and all the
8 peripheral areas which were quite distant from the Serb forces in the
9 Turbe area.
10 Q. With respect to the overall situation in the area of your brigade
11 and your relations with the HVO, did you report regularly to the
12 3rd Corps?
13 A. Certainly. The 3rd Corps and the operations groups, we belonged
14 to the Operative Group West, our brigade, and because we could not
15 communicate with them, we also communicated through the command of the
16 3rd Corps asking that they be informed of the situation in the brigade in
17 the area of operations of Operational Group West which in April and May
18 was our superior command.
19 Q. Mr. Caber, did the command of the 3rd Corps demand of the units
20 resubordinated to it that they should regularly, on a daily basis or at
21 brief intervals inform them of the situation in the field, also
22 submitting interim reports when necessary?
23 A. As soon as the 3rd Corps was established, we were duty-bound as
24 subordinate commands to submit reports on the situation in our units,
25 that is, in our brigades. As soon as we had established brigades, we had
1 to submit reports on the size and combat readiness of the brigade, and
2 everything that affected our brigade's combat readiness. It was our duty
3 to respond on time and to submit written reports to the superior command.
4 Q. Mr. Caber, would you please look at part A, combat report, from
5 numbers 1 to 9, and would you tell me whether you recognise these reports
6 as reports coming from your brigade. Number 2, for example, is a report.
7 A. We have the 3rd Corps, then we have Operative Group West, and the
8 command of the corps received a collective report for all the brigades so
9 that reporting was carried out in the way you have shown here. And these
10 reports pertained to the situation in all the units.
11 Q. Number 3, is that your report of the 9th of April?
12 A. Yes, yes, 9th of April.
13 Q. Number 4, is this your interim report to Operative Group West?
14 A. Yes, yes. It was signed by my chief of staff, but I know about
16 Q. The document of the 11th of April, number 5, this is a report on
17 the current situation.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Is this your document?
20 A. Yes, yes.
21 Q. Look at Document Number 6, 7, 8, 9. Can you confirm.
22 A. All these are combat reports, daily and interim reports. The
23 duty to report is something that is quite normal in the military, or at
24 least in the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, up the chain
25 of command.
1 Q. In these reports, did you report on your relations with the HVO?
2 A. You may have noticed here that when we submit a report mentioning
3 the Serb forces, then we include the activities of the HVO units. I
4 reported on what HVO units were doing in the area of operations and in
6 Q. Did your reports also contain information about other armed
7 groups that may have been around or incidents that you learned had
8 happened in the area in which your unit was deployed?
9 A. Reporting was done in the order shown here. As for incidents,
10 let me look at this. There were quite a few incidents, especially in
11 April 1993 when members of the HVO, on the 8th of April, put up flags of
12 the Republic of Croatia in prominent places on government buildings. And
13 near the building where the command of the battalion of the 7th Muslim
14 Brigade was, they flew flags. On that day, Mr. Kordic visited Travnik,
15 and this came -- this happened in the afternoon, and probably outraged by
16 these flags, members of various brigades, including mine, took down these
17 flags. And people who were on leave in the town did this. And that
18 night, two of my men were killed by the HVO.
19 Q. I didn't understand. Who was killed?
20 A. Members of my brigade.
21 Q. Who killed them?
22 A. The HVO.
23 Q. You may continue.
24 A. Yes. There were incidents, more than one. Things really came to
25 a head in April, in mid-April, and especially in May, in the peripheral
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 parts of the municipality, especially in Kalibunar when members of the
2 HVO insisted that all armed formations should be put under their command.
3 This is in addition to what I mentioned happened in January, and that
4 Muslim citizens should move out of certain buildings in the local
5 community of Kalinar, and this was all at the first line of defence, 5 or
6 6 kilometres away from the first line of defence facing the Serb forces.
7 And all this indicated a growing problem for the 312th Brigade of the
8 army. We had to calm people down, sit down round a table and talk to
9 avoid a conflict. And the men at the first line of defence were
10 outraged, and I had certain problems in keeping them from returning to
11 the town of Travnik and the villages to defend their families.
12 These are reports mentioning all the things I'm saying now.
13 Q. Although two members of your brigade were killed on the 8th of
14 April, you say that you organised meetings, you pleaded that a conflict
15 be avoided. How did the HVO behave and how did they respond to your
16 efforts to avoid a conflict? Were there any movements of the HVO forces
17 in the town or outside the town? Did anything else happen that might
18 help us assess the situation in which you found yourself in April and
20 A. As I have already said, we had frequent meetings with HVO
21 commanders. The HVO authorities and the legitimate municipal authorities
22 held meetings to avoid a conflict. They kept saying that these were
23 extremists and that they should be removed, that we should act together
24 to get rid of extremists, and they were simply paying lip service to our
25 joint efforts. But then the same things would happen over and over again
1 on the ground. The HVO units were already engaging in combat in certain
2 villages, and again, they were saying that these were just extremists,
3 renegades who were out of control. This happened in Kalibunar. That was
4 a local commune. And they were already taking up positions in certain
5 facilities and prominent features with weapons. And their actions were
6 not aimed at what we were talking about, jointly fighting the common
7 enemy. It's true that they had some hundred men in the area of the
8 village of Dijace fending off the Serb forces. But all their remaining
9 forces were in the rear and had different tasks.
10 Q. Mr. Caber, was there at one point fighting in the town itself,
11 and was there any movement of the population out of the town? If so,
12 what were the circumstances?
13 A. In early June, there were already certain movements of HVO units,
14 provocations at the checkpoints, and armed incidents which grew into an
15 armed conflict. As far as I can recall, on the 3rd of June in the
16 afternoon, there was an incident in the neighbourhood of Slimene, which
17 is to the southeast of the centre of town. And the -- and some members
18 of the HVO demanded that in a certain area where the majority population
19 was Croat, there Muslims should move out. All the members of the army
20 who were then on leave and all those who had connections to the area
21 opposed this, and armed incidents occurred. From the 3rd of June
22 onwards, incidents took place daily. Or better to say, armed clashes.
23 And this led to daily meetings, negotiations, and talks at the highest
24 levels, military and political, in order to stop this. However, these
25 clashes did not stop, and they took a course that was very unfortunate
1 for everyone.
2 Q. Mr. Caber, to return to another topic, we have talked about the
3 problems you encountered in establishing your brigade, in your relations
4 with the HVO, and the outbreak of an open conflict. Tell me now, did the
5 command of the 3rd Corps take certain measures, issue certain orders, or
6 do anything else to transfer to you certain powers and authorities in
7 order that you might set up your unit under these difficult circumstances
8 as a disciplined military unit?
9 MR. MUNDIS: Objection. Mr. President, that's a leading
10 question, and it's also a compound question. There's several different
11 parts of that question.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I will put a few simple
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Your question contains eight
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Did you take any steps under these difficult circumstances to
18 make your brigade a disciplined military brigade? And what measures did
19 you take?
20 A. Yes, certainly. I have already spoken of the difficulties in
21 establishing the brigade, but in order to have a good military unit, even
22 in peacetime, let alone during war, discipline and order have to be very
23 strong from the top down. We carried out all these activities in the
24 complex situation we were in. We did this on the ground in direct
25 contact with individuals, with commanders, and at times of rest or change
1 of shift. I would address the men personally and draw their attention to
2 the necessity of implementing all military disciplinary regulations. I
3 would inform them of the overall situation, both political and military,
4 and I always stressed very strongly that a soldier must respect certain
5 duties and obligations when carrying weapons and in combat; that they had
6 to preserve their own lives, the lives of their comrades, the lives of
7 citizens, and the property of citizens if they were located in the combat
9 Q. Mr. Caber, did you receive any orders or instructions to this
10 effect from the 3rd Corps?
11 A. Everything I've just mentioned was pursuant to the instructions
12 and commands of the command of the 3rd Corps and their orders. And the
13 members of the command of the 3rd Corps visited us to see to what extent
14 we were implementing their orders and the code of conduct I've just
16 Q. Would you please look at Document Number 3 and Document Number 4
17 and tell me whether this is one of the orders issued by the 3rd Corps
18 drawing attention to the necessity. It's number 1. I apologise, it's
19 number 1, Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the parts I'm referring to
20 are 4 and 3. 3 and 4.
21 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, if I --
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. This is issued by the Ministry of Defence, and it's number 0606,
24 Defence number, and the document of the 22nd of January 1993, command of
25 the 3rd Corps, Defence number 0613. This is the first part entitled "BH
1 Army." Have you found these two documents?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Do you recognise these documents as ones you received from the
4 3rd Corps, and are these some of the orders and documents you received at
5 that time?
6 A. Certainly. Certainly. This is signed by Commander Enver
7 Hadzihasanovic. It refers to disciplinary responsibility, and so on. I
8 remember these instructions well. And pursuant to this, at our own
9 level, we elaborated on all this. And as for the rules on military
10 discipline, we elaborated them.
11 Q. Mr. Caber, as a commander, were you authorised to pronounce
12 disciplinary measures against your men, and did you do so for breaches of
13 discipline or other offences committed by your men?
14 A. Yes. For misdemeanors that were not so serious, I was authorised
15 to do that. In cases of serious breaches of discipline, I would have to
16 refer those to the command of the 3rd Corps. I don't remember if there
17 were any such cases, but this order I'm looking at now, I remember that
18 we did implement it, that we complied with it, we acted on it. And all
19 those who violated military discipline were punished either by detention
20 or certain other measures. Sometimes due to the combat situation, simply
21 talking to a soldier was a good measure, if that can be considered
22 punishment. That was one of the milder punishments, just a talk with
23 him. Sometimes a soldier would refuse to go to the front line because
24 his family had nothing to eat or because he was afraid because of the
25 vicinity of the HVO to where his family was.
1 Q. Mr. Caber, are you aware that a decree was issued regulating the
2 establishment of special courts? And did you have any orders pertaining
3 to this from the 3rd Corps? And as brigade commander, did you act in
4 compliance with such orders, if there were any?
5 A. Well, look. In 1992, or rather the end of 1992 and in 1993, I do
6 remember such orders, and I understood them correctly, orders on the
7 creation of special military courts. And the purpose of them was
8 primarily to deal with a lack of discipline within brigades, within our
9 ranks. And as a result of such an order, I did establish a special
10 military court. What is more, I was also supposed to put it into
11 function because of the lack of discipline of certain individuals and of
12 units, too. I was aware of this, of the existence of such a body, and it
13 did operate within the brigade.
14 Q. Mr. Caber, as a commander, did you at any time receive an order
15 from the 3rd Corps command relating to the application of the Geneva
16 Convention and of international humanitarian law?
17 A. I can't remember. But as I said a minute ago, as a former
18 professional member of the military, I was familiar with the decrees,
19 with the principles, with the importance of the Geneva Convention. And
20 similarly, we were constantly receiving certain documents. But I
21 shouldn't omit to say that given that I was familiar with the 3rd Corps
22 and that they were professional, I'm sure that they forwarded such
23 instructions. I must have received something to that effect, and I
24 attempted to ensure that the Geneva Conventions were respected. And I
25 attempted to ensure that officers, commanders of battalions, of companies
1 and of platoons were fully aware and implemented the rules. All of our
2 members had served in the former JNA, and I know that when I was a member
3 of the former JNA this was a subject that was obligatory for all
4 soldiers. So this was just a matter of reminding men of these
5 conventions, because in the former JNA a lot of attention was paid to
6 these matters. Yet, some people do forget about them, and it's necessary
7 to remind them.
8 But each soldier, each officer was obliged to abide by what was
9 internationally recognised and was obliged to conduct themselves in
10 accordance with these principles.
11 Q. Please have a look at documents under 21 and 22 in the first
12 section. But first of all, I would like to ask you whether you received
13 any orders relating to the protection of civilians, the protection of
14 property. And did you take any measures in order to ensure that
15 civilians and property were protected?
16 A. Well, as I said a minute ago, I won't go into where this order
17 came from, but the month is June 1993. It's the beginning of June. And
18 in certain circumstances - and we know under what circumstances - the
19 Croatian people left its villages in the depth, as you look at them from
20 the front line of defence in the direction of the Serbian forces, those
21 villages remained without any protection. No Croatian inhabitants
22 remained in them with the exception of a few of the inhabitants. Some of
23 them did remain in the villages. And the property in these villages, the
24 houses, had to be secured. They had to be protected. The depth
25 concerned was very deep, so we're talking about the Municipality of
1 Travnik and the centre as far as Turbe. That's about 7 or 8 kilometres.
2 And all the villages there were Croatian villages.
3 It was necessary to secure a number of villages. The area was a
4 vast area, and it was necessary to issue orders. It was necessary to
5 ensure that the organs of military security and that the organs of
6 military police provided security to the highest possible level for those
7 villages. And it was necessary to make sure they provided security for
8 the inhabitants. But we also had contacts with the organs of legal power
9 at the time, with the president of the municipal assembly. We had
10 contact with the civil protection as well. Again, this relates to the
11 organs of power. And we had contact with the Ministry of the Interior,
12 and attempts were made to secure the abandoned villages and to protect
14 What I'm trying to say is that measures were taken in order to
15 prevent anything from being done that might be a violation of the Geneva
16 Conventions, in order to prevent anarchy, in order to prevent looting, et
17 cetera, et cetera. We made such attempts. I'm not saying that we
18 provided a hundred per cent security, but we -- in the villages Pirota,
19 Sipovik, Vidosevici, Kokosari, Visokovici, Miskina Brdo, Kraljevica,
20 Pesevici and Pirici, and these are large, very pretty villages, they're
21 nice villages to live in in the Municipality of Travnik, these are
22 villages that remained abandoned and we tried to protect them and to
23 prevent them from being torched.
24 Q. Mr. Caber, you have commented on these documents. And a minute
25 ago you said that if soldiers violated those orders and those
1 instructions, in such cases you would take disciplinary measures. Were
2 there any other measures you took against these soldiers?
3 A. Well look, by all means. When the court was established, the
4 judicial authorities were active in the Municipality of Travnik, and my
5 security organ was active, the commander was active. And via the
6 military police, we attempted to deal with all violations. And if we're
7 talking about these Croatian villages which were in the depth of the
8 brigade where there was ongoing combat, we attempted to protect, to
9 secure these villages. Any violations were qualified as crimes, and we
10 would forward such cases to the court. I have mentioned there were quite
11 a lot of reports which we would forward to the court. There were quite a
12 lot of criminal reports. I no longer remember what the court did, but I
13 know that a fair number of my men were referred to the court. They were
14 put on trial. I can no longer remember how they were punished, but there
15 are quite a lot of proceedings instituted because of looting, et cetera.
16 Q. Mr. Caber, have a look at the document, the same document, and
17 have a look at item number 12. Have a look at the document number 12 in
18 the same section. This document is dated the 2nd of May 1993. And I
19 would like to ask you whether this is a document from your brigade.
20 A. Yes. This is the command of the military police.
21 Q. Can you tell me what he represents.
22 A. Well, he represents what I've just been talking about. It has to
23 do with all those criminal cases that were instituted against members of
24 my brigade. And the reasons that are contained in this document are
25 before you.
1 Q. The date of this report is the 2nd of May. And if I can see this
2 correctly, by that time, your military police had filed criminal reports
3 against 61 soldiers. A minute ago, you said that there were far more
4 criminal reports that were filed after the Croatian population left the
5 areas in the immediate vicinity of Travnik in June.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Have I understood your testimony correctly?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Mr. Caber, I would now like to ask you the following: In order
10 to conclude my examination and allow the Prosecution and Judges to ask
11 you questions tomorrow, could you please have a look at other documents
12 in section 1, have a look at documents 1 to 26. After you have had a
13 look at them, could you tell me whether these are documents from your
14 brigade, or rather whether these are documents which demonstrate the kind
15 of measures taken by your brigade.
16 Take your time to have a look at each document. If there are any
17 that you cannot identify, feel free to say so.
18 A. I don't know if it's necessary for me to comment on all of these
19 documents, on what is stated in the documents.
20 Q. Well, if you think that you would like to draw the Trial
21 Chamber's attention to one of the documents, please do so. But first of
22 all, I would like to know whether you recognise these documents, whether
23 you could say that these are documents that you or your units drafted or
24 they are documents you received from superior commands. Or are they
25 criminal reports that you filed against members of your units? If after
1 you have examined the documents from 1 to 26 you see there are some that
2 you can't identify as one that you drafted, received, or sent to someone,
3 I'd be grateful if you could mention the fact.
4 A. All these documents come from the brigade, and they reflect the
5 situation such as it was. Many of them are documents that I signed, and
6 others were signed by my assistants, assistants for security, for
7 example. And there are some documents that arrived from the 3rd Corps
9 Q. Could we just have a look at Document Number 19, and could you
10 tell me, since you have said that this is a document from your unit,
11 could you tell me whether this is a document that, in fact, is a good
12 reflection of what you have testified about before this Trial Chamber.
13 And it is a document on some of the measures that you took to ensure that
14 there was discipline in the army and to ensure that the army rules and
15 regulations were respected.
16 A. Yes. This is a true reflection of everything that I have already
17 stated. The subject itself of the document has to do with maintaining
18 order and discipline amongst conscripts in populated areas and towns.
19 There are ten items under the order, and all these items reflect that
20 fact. I don't think it's necessary to comment on it.
21 Q. Mr. Caber, I only have another three brief questions. You have
22 told us about the kind of brigade you had at the beginning. You told us
23 about the equipment you had to start off with. And in spite of all these
24 efforts, given all of these efforts you had to make, can you tell me what
25 your brigade looked like towards the end of 1993 and to what extent were
1 you able to transform this brigade into one that resembled a brigade in
2 the JNA? And you were a JNA officer.
3 A. Well, given the time, the situation was such that in those years,
4 in the 1990s, it was my task to -- or in 1990, it was my task to form an
5 armoured battalion in the JNA. I wasn't able to carry out this task in
6 one year. But I had all the men and all the equipment in an area of
7 about 500 square kilometres. I wasn't able to carry out this task to
8 form a brigade. Well, forming a brigade is a very big and responsible
9 task. I accepted this task only because I felt the need to be in Bosnia
10 and Herzegovina. I returned to be in Bosnia and Herzegovina with
11 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who belonged to all the ethnic
12 communities. I returned to form a brigade which would be composed of
13 members of all the ethnic groups.
14 However, I have already spoken about what happened. And to my
15 great joy, there were some members of other ethnic groups who remained in
16 my brigade. There were Serbs and Croats who occupied key positions in
17 the brigade command or in the battalions, and my officers were also
18 professional. But now from this viewpoint, I would say that the brigade
19 I had wasn't organised in the way it should have been organised in order
20 to carry out all its duties assigned to it by the superior command.
21 In 1992, in 1993, given all the problems, given the refugees,
22 given the presence of a lot of commands, communications units, et cetera,
23 given the widespread hunger, it was difficult to form and establish a
24 brigade, a brigade which was operational, mobile, and ready to carry out
25 tasks. The brigade that I had was equipped, and it had been trained to
1 protect the area in which it was present. I mentioned the line in the
2 Turbe zone of responsibility, and in my opinion the brigade managed to
3 carry out that task. But as to whether it was a brigade -- well, perhaps
4 there was a battalion that was sufficiently armed. Perhaps the brigade
5 had the weapons a battalion would have. But the fact that it had 3.000
6 men, that's a different matter.
7 Q. Mr. Caber, as a professional officer, you speak about that period
8 as a professional officer. Given the circumstances that prevailed -
9 given the fact that two wars were being waged, there were refugees, there
10 was widespread hunger, there was a lack of weapons - do you believe that
11 you did whatever you could, and do you believe that the officers did
12 everything they could given the circumstances at the time? Was
13 everything done as far as forming that brigade is concerned?
14 A. I think that I did everything that I could, everything that a man
15 could possibly do. I also had my family in Travnik. But believe me,
16 sometimes I wouldn't even be able to visit them for a 15-day period. It
17 was necessary to examine the entire situation, to protect the area. But
18 there were a lot of shortcomings. It was very difficult, it really was.
19 But as I say, I don't think we did enough.
20 As to why, this is a subject that should be discussed at some
21 other time. But to form a brigade in such conditions and in such
22 surroundings was difficult. We carried out the task as far as protecting
23 the municipality is concerned. But as to whether we did everything we
24 could do, as to we could have done more, well, we probably could have but
25 I think we probably did the maximum. Officers did what they could to the
1 extent that they were able to cooperating with the organs of power.
2 There was the HVO. There were the legal authorities, et cetera. The
3 troops were hungry and were without weapons, were without equipment, and
4 didn't have any provisions for their family.
5 Q. And my last question, Mr. Caber: You were an officer in the BH
6 Army. And in 1993, you were in hotspots in the battlefield. Could you
7 tell me whether your brigade or whether parts of the brigade at any time
8 attacked Croatian villages, occupied or conquered other people's
10 A. No. The brigade as such, and given the situation it was in, it
11 was facing the Serbian forces, the brigade's main task was always to
12 protect and to provide security for the citizens, regardless of their
13 nationality. This was their task in the Municipality of Travnik and in
14 the zone in which we operated. I have indicated this zone to you.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Mr. Caber.
16 Mr. President, this concludes my examination-in-chief.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 Will Mr. Kubura's Defence team have any questions for this
19 witness tomorrow?
20 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we don't have
21 any questions for this witness.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 Mr. Mundis, how much time do you think you will require.
24 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I will certainly assess the situation
25 overnight, but I would not imagine that I would need more than 45 minutes
1 to one hour. Perhaps 90 minutes, but I can't imagine going over one
2 court session, and probably half to two-thirds of a court session will be
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. We're a little late
5 because the second witness was going to be heard over two days, and the
6 third one on Friday. So we should try to shorten the examination of the
7 second witness, Ms. Residovic.
8 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we said that we
9 would organise the examination in such a way that we can finish examining
10 these witnesses this week.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 Witness, Mr. Caber, you'll have to return tomorrow. You
13 shouldn't see anyone until then because you've taken the solemn
14 declaration, and you're testifying in the interests of justice. Have a
15 good evening, and I invite you to return tomorrow for the hearing that
16 will commence at 2.15.
17 The usher will now escort you out of the courtroom.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 [The witness stands down]
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. As far as the
21 witness with regard to which we have rendered a decision, as one says,
22 you can sleep on it. You will have the time to think about it, and we
23 will discuss the issue tomorrow.
24 It is now 7.00, and I will see everyone at the hearing tomorrow
25 at 2.15. Thank you.
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.58 p.m.,
2 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 20th day of
3 October, 2004, at 2.15 p.m.