1 Friday, 22 October 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Case Number IT-01-47-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 Could we have the appearances for the Prosecution, please.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Your Honours, Counsel, and everyone in
12 and around the courtroom. For the Prosecution Ms. Tecla Henry-Benjamin,
13 Mr. Daryl Mundis, and our case manager Andres Vatter.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 And for the Defence.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. For
17 General Hadzihasanovic, Ms. Edina Residovic, Muriel Cauvin, Mirna
18 Milanovic Lalic, our legal assistant.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the other Defence team.
20 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
21 Mr. Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and Nermin Mulalic, our legal
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We would like to welcome
24 everyone to the courtroom which is very cozy since we are very close to
25 each other.
1 Mr. Registrar, you have made some changes and could you inform us
2 of these changes in relation to the transcript from yesterday.
3 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Unfortunately we finished quite late yesterday and the work was still in
5 progress. I'm still verifying everything. With your leave I can clarify
6 these points after the second break. I think that the transcript will be
7 changed in accordance with the information that I provided to the
8 interpreters last night.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll see about
10 that after the second break.
11 Mr. Usher, could you call the witness into the courtroom, please.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good day, sir. I hope you can
14 hear us. If so, please say so.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning. I can hear you very
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Without wasting
18 anymore time, let the Defence take the floor to continue with their
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
21 WITNESS: REMZIJA SILJAK [Resumed]
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 Examined by Ms. Residovic: [Continued]
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Siljak. Yesterday you
25 indicated on the map -- you drew the positions where the BH army were
1 located as well as the forces of the Republika Srpska and HVO units. I
2 will now move on to a series of questions that concern the relationship
3 between the 306th Brigade and the BH Army in the territory where your
4 brigade was present. And I will also ask some questions that have to do
5 with the clashes between these units.
6 My first question is as follows: When you indicated the location
7 of the various units, you also indicated the road linking up this area
8 with Travnik and Zenica. Could you please tell me, Mr. Siljak, what sort
9 of a road is it, what importance does it have to the population, and in
10 particular does it have any importance for the BH determine -- did it
11 have any importance for the BH army and your brigade?
12 A. This road links up Zenica via Guca Gora, Han Bila, and Ovnak with
13 Travnik. The main road linking Zenica and Travnik was a highway to Lasva
14 and from Lasva to Zenica. But for the most part of that period it was
15 not passable, not because it wasn't in good repair but because there were
16 HVO checkpoints, and in particular there was a checkpoint at Okuka, the
17 crossroads for Novi Travnik. For this reason the road was not used, or
18 rather, army members found it very difficult to use it.
19 The other road that linked Zenica and Travnik was again a main
20 road and it turned off from other roads from Vjetrenice to Zenica. And
21 for similar reasons, for the same reasons, the army of the BH republic
22 didn't use this road to a great extent. The road from Guca Gora
23 connected Travnik with the Bila Valley, or rather connected Bila Valley
24 with Zenica, and Zenica and Travnik. Since initially the 306th Brigade,
25 when it was being established, relied on the municipal defence staff in
1 Travnik which was already in operation, this was a road used for supplies
2 by this unit. This was a road that I used and the commander used to go
3 to work. It was a transit road used by thousands of people, by refugees,
4 by the population moving from Travnik to Zenica and the Bila Valley.
5 Q. Please tell me: The units that were based in that area, for
6 example those of the 312th and the 314th, et cetera, in what way could
7 these units reach the combat positions facing the Serbian forces?
8 A. The 314th Motorised Brigade was located in Zenica, but its
9 positions were in the territory of the municipality of Travnik.
10 Positions facing the Serbian/Montenegrin aggressor in the wider region of
11 Meokinje. And when going to those positions, they had to leave Zenica,
12 go via Ovnak as far as Han Bila, and then continue through Mehurici,
13 Pula, Bukovica, to reach the position at Meokinje. It's a HVO checkpoint
14 established at Ovnak, permanently there, regardless of the discussions
15 and the negotiations. It was never possible to take joint action to
16 remove the checkpoints because there were agreements on both sides. And
17 later on the joint command tried to reach agreements to remove all
18 checkpoints. However, that checkpoint was never removed and I know units
19 going towards the positions facing the Serbian and Montenegrin aggressor
20 were returned from that checkpoint. Similarly, from Zenica -- the 7th
21 Muslim Brigade would go to positions in the Travnik municipality. This
22 road went through Ovnak, Han Bila, Guca Gora, in the direction of
23 Travnik. And members of the 7th Muslim Brigade also had problems at that
24 checkpoint. Because sometimes not even authorisation from the superior
25 commander of the HVO was accepted. At that checkpoint they would stop
1 men, maltreat them and send them back.
2 Q. Mr. Siljak, since you were the chief of staff of the 306th
3 Brigade, could you tell me where the -- in that area there was an HVO
4 Brigade, and if so, what was the name of the brigade and tell me what
5 sort of relationships were there between your units, or rather at any
6 point in time did those relationships deteriorate and lead to a conflict.
7 A. Initially when the 306th Brigade was being formed in the area
8 from which men were taken into the 306th, there was an HVO Brigade, a
9 Travnik HVO Brigade. At the beginning of April it had its headquarters
10 in Guca Gora and an HVO Brigade was formed. It was called the Frankopan
11 Brigade. Its headquarters were located in Guca Gora and it had its units
12 in Cukle, Grahovcici, in Maline, in Guca Gora, so in that wider area in
13 the Bila Valley, in villages inhabited by Croats.
14 In the first stage initially, the relationship between the
15 commands of both brigades was influenced by a number of factors, by
16 numerous factors, for example the situation in other areas, in the
17 territory of adjacent municipalities. And while the 306th Brigade was
18 being formed, there were problems in Novi Travnik which had a direct
19 effect on the situation in the Bila Valley. I know when I arrived there
20 that the HVO established some sort of lines facing the villages with
21 Muslim inhabitants around the Guca Gora, Maline, Radonjici, Mala
22 Bukovica, in that area; and on the other side you Sarici and Banovici.
23 In January 1993 there were conflicts, clashes, again incidents in
24 other municipalities and once more this had an effect on our territory.
25 Certain elevated positions were taken. More checkpoints were set up on
1 that road to control the passage of people and vehicles. You couldn't
2 move freely without authorisations, or rather, if you tried to use these
3 roads there were problems. So I must say that this provoked a reaction
4 in Bosniak villages, too. As I indicated on the map - I showed you where
5 these villages were - in Guca Gora, at the entrance to and exit from Guca
6 Gora there was an HVO checkpoint. And similarly, at the beginning of the
7 road to Maline at the entrance the Bosniak population for security
8 purposes - it's not as there were -- there had been some sort of army
9 order - but for security purposes they set up checkpoints on their own
11 Q. Thank you. Tell me, the blockade of roads and the impossibility
12 of troops, to refuse them [as interpreted] to reach combat positions, did
13 this have an effect on the chain of command itself? Where was the
14 command of your brigade deployed?
15 A. Yesterday I drew the location of the command post of the brigade
16 on the map. It was on the premises in the facilities of the Bila mine, a
17 place inhabited by Croats. The village of Baje which is in the vicinity
18 of the command and of the main office of the Bila mine. There were
19 Croats there. I don't know how I would put this. But if it was our
20 intention to remain there and not to be afraid and to fight the enemy
21 together, at that moment we thought about the command post, not about the
22 HVO and the Croats as enemies. Otherwise we would probably have located
23 the command post somewhere else. But in view of the situation in the
24 field, the Bila Valley was divided into a number of regions. It was
25 impossible to pass through. The region from which men entered the 306th
1 Brigade was no longer one single entity. It consisted of enclaves and it
2 was impossible to pass from one enclave to another. As a result, it was
3 impossible to reach the command post and likewise it was impossible for
4 the units to carry out the tasks as they had been ordered. They couldn't
5 carry out the tasks against the Serbian and Montenegrin aggressor so that
6 officers from the brigade command were separated from the command. And
7 at one point in time they were present at six locations. And I'm
8 referring to the officers of the brigade command. This was just before
9 the conflict broke out and at a time when it was not possible to move
10 around freely in that territory.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Siljak. Tell me, because of the tension that
12 developed, did the HVO at any point in time attack the BH army and did
13 such excesses lead to the death of individuals? And if so, what was the
14 relationship between the 306th and the -- what was the attitude of the
15 306th and the BH army as far as avoiding a conflict with the HVO is
17 A. The first excesses in our territory which resulted in death, it
18 was the death and the killing of a civilian on the 15th of April, 1993,
19 the day of the army. Dautovic Sakib was killed by a sniper bullet on the
20 15th of April. As soon as such an incident, this results in excessive
21 behaviour, tension, checkpoints set up, and individuals are maltreated.
22 There were numerous reports about how people had been stopped at HVO
23 checkpoints, things -- items had been confiscated from civilians or from
24 the soldiers. And an open attack was launched by the HVO against the
25 command post of the 306th Brigade. And again, this resulted in death and
1 two members of the military police were wounded. Then there were reports
2 on HVO activity in Kljaci, Alihodze, Zukici, Karahodze, and such reports
3 were almost daily. And again HVO activity resulted in death. There was
4 a lot of sniper activity that resulted in death. I tried to show you
5 where the village of Ricice was located and Brankovac. There were cries
6 were help because they were surrounded. They weren't allowed to leave
7 their houses. They were being threatened. There were cries from Velika
8 Bukovica as well, cries of help as this village was surrounded too. And
9 the village of Radojcici towards the end of May was also attacked and
10 artillery and infantry weapons were used to attack this village.
11 Q. Mr. Siljak, I will now ask you to have a look at the documents
12 that you saw yesterday. I will ask these documents to be shown you. And
13 in relation to what you were just saying, could you please have a look at
14 the part entitled: "Relation with the HVO." Have a look at items 1 to
15 17. And could you then tell me whether you recognise these documents as
16 documents that come from the 306th Brigade, or rather documents forwarded
17 to the command of the 306th Brigade. And once you have had a look at
18 these documents, I will put a series of questions to you about them.
19 Have you managed to have a look at all the documents?
20 A. I'm looking at document number 12. I've had a look at the
21 documents. I recognise them on the whole, these documents. Reports on
22 operative events made by the operations and instruction organ of the
23 brigade, and they were referred directly to the chief of staff.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone, please.
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Have a look at document 0674. It's under number 1 before you.
2 Please tell me since you mentioned incidents, HVO attacks and attacks
3 that resulted in death and you also mentioned an attack against the
4 command, tell me what sort of measures the 306th took in accordance with
5 orders from the command and the supreme command staff. Did you respond
6 to these conflicts or did you react in some other way?
7 A. As you can see in this document, the 306th command carried out
8 the orders of its superior command and attempted to resolve conflictual
9 [as interpreted] situations and avoid conflict. And they used all their
10 means to do so. You can see that the most responsible officers from the
11 brigade command were engaged in this task. They were to inform the men
12 and request that this order was implemented. They say that the command
13 of the 306th, the chief of staff, and the assistant for operations and
14 training will visit the field in order to implement the order. And since
15 at this time there were problems at the line towards the
16 Serbian/Montenegrin aggressor, not just because he was attacking but
17 because there were excesses in the Bila Valley where soldiers' families
18 who were at positions facing the Serbian aggressor, as a result the chief
19 of staff had to go to the forward command post to explain the situation.
20 That was his task. And he was to do this to prevent further escalations,
21 or rather to resolve the problem in a peaceful manner.
22 Q. Please have a look at document number 3. This is Defence number
23 0797. Does this document refer to some of the numerous situations that
24 you have just testified about?
25 A. A minute ago I said that there were many such situations
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 resulting in death. This is a document that refers to these situations.
2 But the date, the number on the document is wrong. But this was on the
3 28th of May just before the conflict, almost immediately before the open
5 Q. Thank you. Please have a look at document number 4. Is this
6 another document that refers to HVO attacks and excesses in relation to
7 your brigade?
8 A. In this document it says that the relation was tense, that there
9 were incidents. But similarly the document shows that we had problems as
10 far as communications with our superior command is concerned because in
11 the 306th Brigade we often had problems as far as communications with the
12 command and the OG Zapad is concerned.
13 Q. Yesterday I showed you a document from February and you assessed
14 the sort of equipment you had on that occasion. If you look at item 2,
15 "Our own forces," paragraph 2. Could you please tell me whether the
16 level of supply in your brigade -- and did it -- did the level of supply
17 improve or was it worse than the situation the brigade was in in February
18 as a result of the fact that you were surrounded by the HVO?
19 A. We hoped for a better situation, but here it says that the
20 situation was deteriorating. As far as the reserves were concerned, they
21 were disappearing and it was impossible for us to obtain new supplies
22 since the territory was under a blockade and it was impossible to get in
23 contact or to reach our superior commands to resupply ourselves. When we
24 tried to do this, to reach them we would be stopped at checkpoints and
25 vehicles would be confiscated. Members of the brigade command and other
1 people from the brigade would suffer this fate when they tried to carry
2 out such tasks.
3 Q. Please have a look at document under number 5.
4 A. This is the report of the intelligence organ, that is the
5 assistant of chief of staff, my own assistant in the 306th Brigade. He
6 made an assessment of HVO forces after the establishment of the Frankopan
7 Brigade. From this document you can see the deployment of the Frankopan
8 Brigade in this territory, the same thing that I tried to explain using
9 that map yesterday.
10 Q. On page 2 of this document there is reference to the taking of
11 land features. Does this document reflect what you testified to
12 yesterday, namely that the HVO was encircling BH army positions and
13 capturing dominant features in the Bila Valley?
14 A. This document is very eloquent. I'm sorry that I cannot show it
15 to you on the relief map because the HVO captured all the dominant land
16 features, the pass between Zenica and Travnik, then a valley where Han
17 Bila, a Muslim village, was. Then again when you go towards Travnik, the
18 next pass is Trava [phoen]. That's where Guca Gora is. It goes on
19 towards Vlasic and Hum and towards Greba and Pokrajcici. On the south
20 side there is Mosor village, Radojcici village in the same valley, and
21 then again there is another pass called Postinje which leads to the
22 Bukovica feature, the last pass, the last ridge, on that path. So they
23 controlled all these passes, ridges, and land features, and they actually
24 did not allow any communication without their express authorisation.
25 Q. Please look at document 6, paragraph 3 entitled "HVO" and tell
1 me: Does this report which you submitted to the command of the 3rd Corps
2 and the Operative Group West, which was your direct superior, reflect
3 exactly what you've been saying about the establishment of checkpoints
4 and the conduct of HVO personnel at these checkpoints?
5 A. Precisely. The checkpoints are indicated here. However, at this
6 juncture I would like to say something about one thing in which I had a
7 direct role. It says: One unit concerning 22 HVO soldiers was disarmed.
8 They were returning from the position in Turbe. The arms taken away from
9 them were duly returned with the presence of UNPROFOR personnel. I'm
10 saying this because the order from our superior command was to avoid
11 conflict by all means, to always try to deal with situations peacefully.
12 And this particular incident happened when I got an assignment to go to
13 that checkpoint and diffuse the tension. It was not easy, however, to
14 resolve this problem was there was no real command in that time. It was
15 more persuasion than command. And I did my best to persuade them to
16 return the weapons because our main objective was to deal with everything
17 peacefully and go forward together.
18 Q. Please look at document 8 now, the part relating to the relations
19 with the HVO. It's dated 6th May, 1993.
20 A. I have already mentioned that incidents were a daily occurrence,
21 and again, this document reflects that.
22 Q. Please look at document 9 dated the 7th May. Are you aware of
23 this event?
24 A. Yes, I am, because they came back. They were unable to cross the
25 checkpoint on the way to Onaka [phoen] and our physical liaison with the
1 corps command was impossible.
2 Q. Look at the next document which is number 10, 9th May.
3 A. Again, this is a report reflecting the knowledge we were gaining
4 about HVO activities. HVO continued to confiscate various vehicles
5 including the vehicle belonging to the Bila mine. It is just one among
6 many documents of the kind.
7 Q. Please look at the document dated 12th May.
8 A. Again, this document continues to speak of the same thing as the
9 previous one. Checkpoint activity, shootings, confiscation of weapons,
10 foodstuffs, vehicles. In this case it was Lukovic Edhem -- a civilian,
11 not a member of the 306th Brigade -- who had his property confiscated.
12 But also in the Konjska area two rifles were taken away. Konjska is
13 close to Velika and Mala Bukovica, around Guca Gora.
14 Q. Mr. Siljak, in keeping with the regulations of the army under
15 attack from the enemy, the army has the right to respond in the same way.
16 You say that you were avoiding to respond and you tried to dissolve
17 tensions. After this event you were reporting does this document testify
18 to your efforts to not respond in the same way and to resolve the
19 situation peacefully?
20 A. Yes, it does. In the Bila mine near the command post when the
21 joint command staff came, including representatives of the HVO,
22 representatives of the international forces, and the UNPROFOR, our
23 signalsman was killed and we continued negotiations.
24 Q. What exactly happened?
25 A. That day a meeting was scheduled at the joint command. HVO
1 representatives, international observers, UNPROFOR representatives, the
2 Frankopan Brigade, and the 306th Brigade. At the command post of the
3 306th Brigade near the Bila mine, as the HVO was arriving fire was opened
4 from a nearby position, even at UNPROFOR APCs. And on that occasion one
5 of the signalsmen of the 306th Brigade was killed. We did not use this
6 as an excuse to stop the negotiations; on the contrary, we continued the
7 talks. And I remember after that meeting I wrote an order to my
8 subordinate units that objectives and agreements reached at that meeting
9 should be implemented.
10 Q. Please now look at documents 12, 13, and 14, and please tell us
11 what are they reporting on. Which event?
12 A. I was not directly involved in this event, but it was awful to
13 hear members of our brigade as they were reporting on it. A part of the
14 superior officers of the brigade command left for Mehurici on leave. In
15 Baje village they were stopped by HVO personnel at a checkpoint, disarmed
16 them, took away various items including their clothing, such as vests,
17 and they made them graze, eat grass.
18 Q. Can you remember any specific members of the brigade command?
19 A. I believe it was the security assistant Delalic, Halim Husic,
20 assistant for morale, because they reported later, as direct
21 participants, to the commander. They were assistant commanders.
22 Q. And did you respond in a military way, by military action, to
23 such provocation or did you try to prevent a conflict?
24 A. We addressed the protests to the Frankopan Brigade because we had
25 daily communications with them. A mixed operations team had been
1 established that was supposed to deal with incidents on the ground. And
2 in that operations team there were two representatives of the 306th
3 Brigade and two representatives of the Frankopan Brigade. And we tried
4 to deal with clashes through that forum, through that team.
5 Q. Please look at document number 15.
6 A. This is another document speaking to the activity of HVO from
7 these elevations that were developed by engineers for action from the
8 environs and it also speaks about the problems we had in this Ricice
9 village, because there were constant cries for help from the population.
10 In Nova Bila there were some Bosniak families. In Stara Bila, there were
11 very few, but still there were some. And they started to come and to
12 complain that they were being driven out.
13 Q. Would you kindly look at document 16 now and tell me if you
14 recognise it or you recognise maybe the signature.
15 A. I recognise the signature because I wrote this paper myself. And
16 the document, as I was saying now, is the order that I wrote after the
17 killing of our signalsman after fire was opened at UNPROFOR APCs. And
18 let me say in passing that men from the UNPROFOR APC returned fire to the
19 HVO, whereupon the HVO stopped firing.
20 This document was issued after the joint meeting. It reflects
21 the discussion at the meeting and everything that was agreed, including
22 the measures that need to be taken to implement the conclusions of the
23 meeting. If you read this paper, you will really see that the intention
24 behind it is good, that we were trying to resolve all our mutual clashes
25 in order to be flee to deal with our common enemy. And the objective of
1 the command and battalion commanders is to realise this on the ground.
2 It was only possible to implement this if you go to the ground and
3 persuade the troops on both sides.
4 Q. Thank you very much. That's what I wanted to clarify, namely
5 your relations with the HVO on the eve of the June conflict. Tell me
6 now, what happened in end May and early June. Did the army attack
7 Croatian villages in your area?
8 A. I said how the --
9 MS. BENJAMIN: I have been very patient with my colleague, but I
10 think it's public knowledge that there was several armies in that area.
11 So when she says: "Did the army attack Croatian villages in your area,"
12 I mean I think she needs to be a little more specific because she keeps
13 leading him on and providing him with the information and then he gives
14 the answer to suit. I don't think...
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Well, I'll be more precise.
16 Q. Did the BH army and its units, specifically the 306th Brigade
17 where you were chief of staff, to the best of your knowledge attack
18 Croatian territories, Croatian villages, organising heavy attacks on
19 these villages?
20 A. In order to answer this question I have to describe the situation
21 before the all-out conflict on the 8th of June. You saw from this
22 document that Ricice village and another village were encircled and the
23 population wanted this situation resolved. Local people of military age
24 from these villages were members of our brigade and we felt
25 responsibility for their families. Also in the area of Velika Bukovica
1 we had the same situation. That village was completely encircled by the
2 HVO and they were crying for help, too. Furthermore, from Travnik in
3 early June, I'm not sure, it could have been the 3rd of June, we started
4 hearing shooting. It seemed to be an open conflict, clash. We had no
5 information what was going on exactly, but there was shooting. At that
6 time in the Lasva Valley and in the area around Travnik there were
7 clashes. And I have to describe to you the situation in which the 306th
8 Brigade found itself, along with the command, to be able to answer your
10 Q. Thank you for reminding me that I skipped one question. In view
11 of this dramatic situation that you have been describing so calmly before
12 the Trial Chamber, although it must have been a real drama in your life,
13 I have to ask you, in May, after all those reports that you wrote did the
14 command of the 3rd Corps react by issuing an order instructing the
15 brigades how to act? And did you take any measures to implement that
17 A. First of all, I would like to add that in the Travnik
18 municipality in order to diffuse the tensions and find a peaceful
19 solution, a joint command of the BH army and HVO was established. And
20 they tried to calm the situation on the ground. So all the protests that
21 we made and addressed to the HVO and any complaints they had about the BH
22 army conduct were dealt by this joint command in Travnik [as
24 I don't know, but I think it's important that I took part in one
25 of those last meetings when the joint command dealt with the situation in
1 the Bila region. To prevent the conflict a meeting was scheduled on the
2 30th of May in Guca Gora and it was supposed to be attended by
3 international representatives, observers, the UNPROFOR, the commanders of
4 the 306th and the Frankopan Brigades, et cetera. At the time, a
5 presidency of the Travnik municipality was formed in Bila with the
6 representation of both Bosniaks and Croats. So both the military and
7 politicians were represented in this body and they were able to negotiate
8 and try to find a peaceful solution. I came to attend that meeting on an
9 UNPROFOR APC because I was unable to return to the brigade command
10 because the territory was under blockade. On the 27th when I was taking
11 that computer to Travnik, it was taken away from me. So I came to attend
12 that meeting. It was fruitless in the end. And when it was over, since
13 I was one of those participants what couldn't play an active role, I
14 asked a former schoolmate of mine who was representing the Frankopan
15 brigade, Franjo Lujanovic. We were in sixth grade together, we went to
16 the teachers college together. I addressed him and said: On behalf of
17 the army I am prepared to inspect the positions of the BH army and the
18 HVO army together with you and to implement on the ground what we just
19 agreed today. I said that to Franjo Lujanovic, my colleague. In fact, I
20 said I trust Franjo Lujanovic, my former schoolmate and friend. Let the
21 two of us go together and do it. Franjo Lujanovic's superiors said, I
22 cannot make the promises that you are making because I don't have the
23 mandate -- although he didn't use the word "mandate," he said something
24 to that effect. So that meeting was interrupted and we went to have
25 lunch together. And the meeting did not have any particular results.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Now, as to your question if we received orders from the superior
2 command with regard to this particular situation --
3 Q. First of all I would like you to look at an exhibit document
4 listed under number 1. It's a Prosecution exhibit, number 418. Please
5 have a look and tell us whether you recognise the document and the
6 signature, and only in that light would you please answer the previous
8 A. This is an emergency report about the implementation of our
9 assignment of the 19th of May. It's an interim report, rather. I wrote
10 it in longhand because we only had one typewriter for the whole brigade
11 and not everything could be typed.
12 This report was drawn up under the order of the command of the
13 3rd Corps of the 18th of May. On the 18th of May, we received an order
14 to make an assessment of the situation because there were developments on
15 the ground involving constant incidents. Also at the time we had
16 knowledge from intelligence organs that there were contacts between HVO
17 and the Serb side in the Vjetrenice region. Representatives of the HVO
18 and the Serb side were holding meetings and going back to their units.
19 This seemed very strange to us, of course, and we got an order from
20 superior command to make a plan for a deployment of forces only in case
21 that our unit is attacked. So it was not an offensive plan. It was a
22 plan to respond to an attack from the Serb side with the HVO uninvolved;
23 second variety of the plan, attack by HVO without the Serb side; and the
24 worst possibility, a joint attack of the HVO on the Serb side against the
25 306th Brigade.
1 Q. Now, will you please pick up with you left off before. You had
2 this meeting in Guca Gora with all these representatives that was
3 fruitless. Tell me, at this point where was the brigade command, where
4 were you the commander, and what were the events following up to the 8th
5 of June?
6 A. As I said we went -- all of us who attended that meeting -- to
7 Krpeljici to have lunch, both Bosniaks and Croats. In Krpeljici we
8 continued to talk about the problems, about the fact that we should find
9 a solution. And that's how we parted that day. It's unbelievable but
10 it's true that there were only a few people left at the command post in
11 Rudnik. There was no way somebody could reach them, replace them, or
12 help them. I found there the assistant commander of the brigade,
13 assistant commander for materiel and supply, and the assistant commander
14 for moral and religious affairs. Only these three or four assistant
15 commanders were there. A part of the brigade command was stuck in the
16 villages where they happened to be. In Kljaci there were three or four.
17 In Karahodze the same thing. In Han Bila there were individual members
18 of the brigade command, in Han Bila as well. And part of the brigade
19 command happened to be in Mehurici. And they were unable to go anywhere,
20 to leave. So it was our task to help the defence of these villages in
21 keeping with the situation.
22 Q. Please, just show us on the map in which places you had parts of
23 your brigade command so that we can understand it better. Even I who
24 know the territory find it difficult to follow when it's not accompanied
25 by visual aid.
1 A. I would prefer a clear map without any markings so that I can
2 show you the territory and how it was divided, including the spots where
3 the 306th Brigade was then as a unit and where the individual members of
4 the command were stuck. This is the Bila mine. This is Krpeljici, where
5 I was with the commander of the brigade and those two assistant
6 commanders. In the Mosor village there was one member of the brigade
7 command. In Mehurici, which is the command post of the 1st Battalion,
8 there was also another part of the brigade command. Men who actually
9 resided in this area which is exclusively Bosniak. Podovi village, or as
10 we call it, Pode. There was one member of the brigade command. In Han
11 Bila there were two members of the brigade command. In Kljaci village,
12 there were two or three members of the brigade command -- so that the
13 command of the brigade was scattered all over the place. In this
14 territory -- you see this mine that I encircled was -- contained part of
15 the brigade command that had had no communications with anyone else.
16 Why? Because this road from Sarici went down towards the Bila Valley and
17 further on towards Baje and Grahovcici. In Baje there was a checkpoint
18 so you couldn't move on to Han Bile.
19 This part here was another entity, another unit which had no
20 communication with the part below, with the Kljaci and the mine. Cukle,
21 again, was encircled completely, and I'm not even counting it as a unit.
22 They were completely isolated. But here again, from Han Bila and from
23 Podovi, you could not go to Mehurici because in Podstinje and Puselje
24 there were HVO checkpoints and you couldn't pass.
25 Q. Before you sit down show us two points on the map, Ricice that
1 you mentioned a couple of times, and Velika Bukovica. Where are they?
2 A. The HVO is indicated in green and this territory is territory
3 inhabited by Croats. They had HVO units and this circle indicates the
4 village area of Ricice. Velika Bukovica, as you can see, the HVO
5 positions were facing Vlasic. Velika Bukovica, or rather, Mala Bukovica
6 is here. Radonjici is here and Velika Bukovica was cut because of from
7 this Bosniak part on all sides.
8 Q. Thank you. You can sit down now. Please continue with your
9 explanation of what led to the conflict which started a situation in
10 which the brigade was fragmented and the population was under the
11 blockade, as well as the command.
12 A. The positions I have just indicated, the territory, the village
13 areas, the 306th Brigade as a brigade wasn't present in a sense; they
14 didn't have a 1st battalion, a 2nd battalion, and 1st company, a 2nd
15 company within the framework of those battalions. All those villages at
16 the time of the conflict became battlefields in themselves and became
17 units for themselves. So neither the company commander -- there wasn't a
18 company commander but there was a village leader who was a sort of
19 commander. And they would come to agreements among themselves with
20 suggestions of those members of the brigades or those members of the
21 battalions who happened to be there in the village. Because those are
22 the instructions -- such are the instructions we gave them. So here we
23 have Kljaci, Alihodze, Zukici, and Zolote, and part of Pirici near the
24 Bila mine. That's one whole. The other whole the other entity would be
25 Han Bila, Pode and part of the Brajkovici settlement inhabited by
1 Bosniaks. And then another independent entity would be the village of
2 Maline. They didn't have any links to anyone.
3 Q. Mr. Siljak, I think this has already been explained to us. Could
4 you tell us, in Krpeljici, did the command have its post there? What
5 information did it receive from the field?
6 A. The commander and other members who happened to be there slept in
7 two houses, two private houses. As I said, the command of the 2nd
8 Battalion was there. But that battalion wasn't in one place because the
9 representatives of the command from Maline couldn't come because in Mosor
10 it was necessary to organise the defence of Mosor. So there were men in
11 Mosor, too. So these were independent entities in a sense and they had a
12 communications centre in a garage. And as part of the 306th we didn't
13 have a command post that had been set up, but we just used the
14 communications that the 2nd Battalion had in order to forward reports or
15 cries for help to the mine, that is to say to the main command post. And
16 they were to forward the information they received on from there.
17 Q. What did you find out about the HVO attacks and the combat
18 situation in the area you were in at the beginning of June?
19 A. I started addressing this issue. From that position it was
20 possible to hear explosions and the fighting from the Lasva Valley. We
21 didn't have any information as to what was happening but we sent
22 instructions to the 3rd Corps command because we didn't have any links
23 with the Bosanska Krajina or the Lasva OG. We sent reports to them
24 asking information to know what was happening and we asked for assistance
25 for the villages under threat, Ricice and the Velika Bukovica. We first
1 received a report from the village of Ricice and they said they had been
2 driven out of that village, I don't know how. But they weren't allowed
3 to leave with their property. But there weren't any victims,
5 On the 4th of June in the afternoon or early evening we received
6 a report from Velika Bukovica, according to which they were surrounded
7 and they had received an ultimatum requesting they surrender and hand
8 over their weapons. They refused to hand over their weapons and in the
9 course of that day an attack was launched against Velika Bukovica. The
10 brigade -- that wouldn't be a brigade command but it wouldn't have been
11 humane for us not to try to help our subordinates, or rather the
12 inhabitants of that village. The commander of the 2nd Battalion, since
13 that was an area from which men were mobilised to enter the 2nd
14 Battalion, was asked to send a unit to help Velika Bukovica. We received
15 a report from him. He said that he wasn't in a position to comply with
16 this request because the HVO was blocking the access route to Bukovica on
17 the left-hand side. If you had a look at the map then you will see that
18 the village of Radonjici is above the village of Krpeljici, whereas Mala
19 Bukovica is in front of Velika Bukovica. So this area was under total
20 control and it wasn't possible to send assistance from that direction.
21 Later on we intervened in the direction of the forces in
22 Mehurici. We requested that they intervene from Mehurici. We asked them
23 to approach Bukovica and to provide assistance.
24 The following day we received very alarming news. A report from
25 Velika Bukovica, according to which there were 18 dead and six wounded.
1 Such a small village; these enormous losses. We contacted the 3rd Corps
2 command requesting they send UNPROFOR up there to help the civilians.
3 There were civilians as well as soldiers. We did everything we could to
4 do this but we didn't receive a response from UNPROFOR because I think
5 they said at the time that they couldn't do this that it was necessary to
6 inform the international monitors and it was only then that they would be
7 able to do this to provide assistance. As far as this part of command is
8 concerned when we managed to establish communications with Mehurici, we
9 asked them to examine the situation in the field and try to provide
10 assistance from any direction because the people in Velika Bukovica had
11 to be helped. The only way to defend Velika Bukovica was to engage in
12 active combat against certain HV positions in another area in order to
13 improve the balance of forces in Velika Bukovica.
14 Q. Were there any available forces that were able to engage in
15 combat so as to defend the positions of the 306th that had been attacked?
16 What did you know about this? When did you find out about measures
18 A. We insisted on something being done as soon as possible because
19 the communications system was very poor. When you managed to get some
20 form of communications, we could only use telegrams or be very brief
21 because this was communications equipment from the former JNA and the HVO
22 could have intercepted them. Because when we were preparing together, we
23 had some sort of devices, I don't understand, from the maintenance
24 department. But these were devices that could jam communications or
25 intercept communications. But we asked the forces from Mehurici to
1 intervene as soon as possible. We didn't know when they would intervene
2 or if they would intervene. We were angry because there were cries for
3 help from Bukovica all the time. And then on the 8th of June in the
4 morning people started shooting all the time. We thought we were under
5 attack. Commander Sipic asked this person from the command, from the
6 main command post, to end him assistance because we were under attack
7 from all directions. Why did we have such a feeling? It is because that
8 morning the HVO attacked Bandol which is a village south of Krpeljici and
9 Guca Gora. That is where we were located. And when attacking Bandol and
10 probably since they knew part of the command was located in Krpeljici,
11 the artillery was used to fire on Krpeljici. And one house in which we
12 were located in or rather below which we were located in, as they say,
13 when the shell fell it was destroyed completely. And then there was
14 chaos. We didn't know who was attacking, we didn't know how. We thought
15 we were under attack. Later on we discovered that while Bandol was being
16 attacked forces from Mehurici set off to provide assistance to Velika
18 Q. What direction did they set off in, since you said a minute ago
19 that there was a report according to which they couldn't get through over
20 Vrlete [phoen]? Which direction did they take, the direction towards
21 Bukovica or towards other HVO positions?
22 A. That time I didn't know which direction was concerned then but
23 later I found out that they went along the right bank of the Bila River
24 towards Maline, Guca Gora, and towards Radonjici. The purpose was to
25 reduce the front towards Velika Bukovica and to approach it, to take the
1 elevated position called Hum above Radonjici and Velika Bukovica.
2 Q. Since you were the chief of staff, and as we can see in the
3 documents from what you said, you constantly visited the field, the
4 direction taken by your available forces towards Maline and Guca Gora
5 from Mehurici, were those directions or areas in which the HVO had its
6 own positions?
7 A. I think I said that in 1992 during the clashes in Novi Travnik,
8 the open clashes in Novi Travnik, the HVO took certain positions facing
9 Bosniak villages. And since before the clashes there was a joint
10 operations team whose task was to go into the field, members of that team
11 representing the 306th reported on the location of the HVO positions,
12 which according to the joint order -- the order had to establish how the
13 trenches would be filled in. There were trenches in all those areas and
14 there were orders on combat action in the territory with Bosniaks.
15 Q. Mr. Siljak, when you at the command post found out what your
16 units from Mehurici were in fact engaged in, who did you find this out
17 from and what sort of action did you take?
18 A. The first person who came to Krpeljici to our command, was the
19 commander of the reconnaissance and antisabotage platoon of the 17th
20 Krajina Brigade. I don't know his name but they called him Zenga
21 [phoen], probably because he participated in the war in Croatia and it
22 was customary to call the people who were in the war in Croatia like
23 this. But he was the first one to appear. So pursuant to the decision
24 from the joint command of the BH army and the HVO, it was decided that
25 joint action should be planned against the Serbian and Montenegrin
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 aggressor. And his platoon had already been forwarded to the Vlasic area
2 in order to take action, together with the reconnaissance and sabotage
3 platoon, to reconnoitre the Serbian and Montenegrin aggressor and to
4 provide information about their deployment, their possibilities, and to
5 provide information about the joint action. So that platoon was in the
6 area at the time in contact with Travnik in the Bila Valley. He was the
7 first one to appear and he informed us that our forces had carried out an
8 attack and that he had come to Krpeljici.
9 Q. What was your task after you had received that information?
10 A. The commander told me to go to the area above the village of
11 Radonjici. That was my task. The area is called Sarici. I was to
12 establish contact with the officers from the command who were in
13 Mehurici, that is to say who had a mobile forward command post and were
14 advancing their -- when I say a "mobile forward command post," this just
15 means that these are ordinary people with Motorolas with batteries that
16 were dead. So I was to go there to see how far men, our forces had
17 reached. He could tell me what he had seen on his trip but we didn't
18 have any further information. So I went there and in that area I met the
19 assistant of the chief of staff for operations and training. And I asked
20 for information about the positions reached by our forces. And he said
21 that the forces had stopped, come to a halt, before Sarici. Because they
22 were afraid it had been mined. He said they penetrated the HVO line at
23 Simulje [phoen] and Maline. He said the lines had been penetrated there.
24 He didn't have any information as to how far they had advanced after
25 that. That was the information we received from him at the time.
1 Then my further task was to establish contact, that is to say to
2 climb the Hum hill which was above that position and there I was to
3 establish contact with members of a company from the 4th Battalion, which
4 was also participating in combat action in that area. This was to avoid
5 mixing up units and misunderstandings with other units.
6 Q. At that time in your territory and given the cries for help you
7 have mentioned, were there units who arrived from the wider area of the
8 municipality, and at any point in time on that day or in the course of
9 the following days, did you come into contact with other BH army units?
10 A. Well, maybe I'll be mistaken as to the exact date. Whether it
11 was on that day or on the 9th I don't know, but I met units of the 17th
12 Krajina. Why? Because there was a problem. The units didn't have
13 communications. They weren't linked up. The 17th didn't have any link
14 with the 306th and our unit was on the Hum hill and my task was to go to
15 see that unit again to see the 17th -- to receive the 17th who were
16 coming from the positions facing the Serbian aggressor. So that
17 battalion from the 17th took over the line that had been abandoned by the
18 HVO. They sent that unit as assistance for Velika Bukovica. Because at
19 that time we didn't have information as to what had happened to the
20 civilian population in Velika Bukovica. Military-able men did penetrate
21 from Obric and arrived in Mehurici. All the units arrived in Velika
22 Bukovic. We didn't have any information about their fate. On that day
23 it was very dodgy, as our people say, because the people from the Krajina
24 Brigade didn't know us. But somehow we managed to establish contact and
25 our joint task was then to go in the direction of Velika Bukovica. Our
1 main task, as I said, was to take care of the civilian population Velika
3 Q. In the following days did you meet any other BH army units, and
4 if you can remember that which units did you meet and when? And did you
5 find out anything of what had happened to the population of Velika
6 Bukovica and what had happened in the village of Bandol?
7 A. Well, I can tell you about this in chronological order. I can
8 tell you when I met the units who broke out of Bukovica. There is no
9 model here, but from Travnik, from the north and north-eastern side of
10 Travnik you have a mountain or you have the Bukovica, which is about a
11 1.006 or 1.008 metres high. Travnik is about 500 or 540 metres above sea
12 level. So it was difficult to climb up there. The units from Travnik,
13 the first unit which appeared, was a mixed unit from the 312th and the
14 MUP which was led from the staff of 312th Brigade, Zijad Sulejman,
15 because I met him on that day. Since on that date he was killed. And
16 that's why I remembered that date. Zijad Selman was from my village so
17 we were neighbours and I remembered that.
18 As far as other units were concerned, on the following day from
19 Travnik via the road used by the 312th units, some of the units from the
20 battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade used the same routes. They were
21 engaged in Travnik Valley. I wasn't informed about this, though. I was
22 concerned with the latest developments. And in further combat action,
23 the unit of the 7th Muslim Brigade participated in combat -- in the
24 attack towards Gostunj because Gostunj had not been liberated. And the
25 Travnik-Guca Gora road could not be used at the time.
1 Q. Before the break, Mr. Siljak, I have two other questions for you.
2 Firstly, when did part of the command meet for the first time and when
3 did the command of the 306th meet at a whole?
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, it seems there is
5 some mistake in the transcript.
6 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I don't think
7 the transcript states -- after the witness said that he met the soldiers
8 and officers from the 312th Brigade, one day later he met members of part
9 of the 7th Brigade and that according to his information, because he had
10 no information at the time, he said the unit was engaged in another area.
11 I think the transcript is quite wrong. Line 18, page 29. Perhaps the
12 witness could clarify this if, there is a problem with the transcript or
13 with the translation.
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, perhaps it would
15 be best if the witness told us when and where he met part of the 7th
16 Muslim Brigade.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said one day later, that is to
18 say on the 12th, some of the units from the 1st Battalion of the 7th
19 Muslim Brigade used the same route that had been used by the 312th, or a
20 mixed unit from the 312th and MUP. This was over the Krpelj and Bukovica
21 and that's the day which I met them because we were to jointly plan
22 further combat action for these forces and that part of the 1st Battalion
23 was participating in these forces in the direction of Gostunj. We were
24 to plan further action in the direction of Gostunj. Gostunj is the first
25 pass when you leave Travnik. On the map you can see the village of
1 Bandol marked. So it is by the village of Bandol.
2 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. I asked you for one answer before the break. What did you come
4 across in Velika Bukovica and Bandol, and when did the command of your
5 brigade meet?
6 A. In Velika Bukovica -- I entered Velika Bukovica myself with the
7 unit. Velika Bukovica had already been abandoned. Velika Bukovica and
8 Mala Bukovica had been abandoned. And Velika Bukovica had been burned to
9 the ground -- had been almost burned to the ground. There were no
10 civilians there. And there was some bodies as a result of the combat and
11 the units from Travnik had already taken those bodies away. They had
12 arrived in Velika Bukovic before. So these units only searched the field
13 because we didn't know what had been done before. We passed through
14 Velika Bukovica and broke through to a feature in Bukovica, the mountain
15 called Grahova Glava [phoen]. That's where we stopped on that day.
16 As far as Bandol is concerned, from whichever direction you
17 looked the situation was quite clear because Bandol, I don't know if
18 there was a single house that hadn't been burned down in Bandol. The
19 mosque in Bandol was completely destroyed. Later I found out that one
20 man was burnt in his house. And the majority of the population
21 nevertheless managed to flee together with the soldiers who were
22 defending Bandol. They with drew towards the village of Krpeljici.
23 Q. Tell me, where did you first meet after that events with part of
24 the command and when did the command meet as a whole?
25 A. As I said, this part of the command which wasn't really in
1 function, we were in immediate contact, the chief of staff, the morale
2 officer. But on the 12th, we had a meeting of other parts of the
3 command, other members from the command who managed to come. And I would
4 say that that was one of the first meeting of the core command of the
5 306th. And the command of the brigade from the 306th said that everyone
6 should appear and that the command should start functioning as a whole in
7 Krpeljici, not at the mine or anywhere else. They were to start
8 functioning in Krpeljici. This was around the 20th. I'm not sure
9 whether it was on the 19th or the 20th or the 21st, but it was in June.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I think that
12 perhaps this is the right time for a break and after the break I will ask
13 the witness what he knows about the Miletici, Maline, Guca Gora, and the
14 measures taken.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] How much time do you still
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, as I said
18 yesterday, we thought we would need six hours. I think that I used three
19 hours and five minutes yesterday. And yesterday I managed to reduce my
20 examination by half an hour. So I will need one hour at the most to
21 conclude my examination of the witness.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We will resume at
24 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. You have the floor.
2 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. Mr. Siljak, when you were drawing the places yesterday with
4 Bosniak and Croat population, you mentioned the Miletici village. Now
5 please, do you know that in April 1993 -- or rather do you know what
6 happened in April 1993 in Miletici? If you know, how did you find out?
7 And tell us briefly exactly what you found out.
8 A. I learned about the events in Miletici village while I was in
9 Daci [phoen], when I was ill. And to understand the whole picture, I'll
10 tell you that we got orders from the command of the 3rd Corps that we
11 should, together with parts of the 314th Brigade mount an attack on a
12 feature from which HVO fired with artillery after the Ahmici attack.
13 This feature is called Stozerak and it is at the border between Travnik
14 and Vitez municipalities. From Stozerik, HVO fired with artillery
15 weapons against villages in Vitez and Travnik municipality. Our order
16 was to attack this feature. We did that on the 17th of April, a day
17 after the Ahmici attack. Our task was successful. There were no losses
18 on our side and we did not encounter a single corpse of HVO soldiers.
19 And I suppose there were no losses on their side either because they were
20 taken by surprise and they must have withdrawn from the feature earlier.
21 However, earlier that evening I caught a cold and I got seriously ill
22 with pneumonia later. And in one improvised infirmary I received
23 injections, a series of 26 injections, two per day, while lying in a
24 house nearby.
25 Now, since that position on Stozerik was supposed to be secured
1 by units of the 306th Brigade, the road from Han Bila to Stozerik passed
2 by my house. And when going to those positions, members of the command,
3 including a friend of mine Ribo Suljo who went to school with me and used
4 to be a teacher with me in Mehurici told me what happened. What I heard
5 was that the Mujahedin burst into the village and there was an incident
6 within the village where one Croat from the village was killed, one of
7 the Mujahedin was also killed. Later, they told me it was not a
8 foreigner. It was a local man who joined the Mujahedin.
9 I also learned that the entire population of Miletici village was
10 taken by the Mujahedin to their base in Mehurici. I was specially
11 interested in this because my assistant for intelligence affairs was from
12 that village. They told me on that occasion that his father and his
13 uncle had been tied down and taken together with all the other Croats to
14 the Poljanice camp. My assistant of chief of staff for intelligence and
15 Ribo Suljo took part in negotiations trying to persuade the Mujahedin to
16 release the civilian population, and only after extensive attempts at
17 persuasion, they managed to get the population released to Zagradje. But
18 people were actually put up in the houses of Ribo Suljeman and his family
19 to protect them, but that there were four Croats who were massacred by
20 the Mujahedin. So the local population was taken captive by the
21 Mujahedin, whereas these four Croats were killed, slaughtered.
22 Q. Before we go on, those Mujahedin you mentioned, are they the same
23 about whom you told us that they transferred from the schoolhouse to
24 Poljanice base?
25 A. I cannot tell you that they are the same persons, but they are
1 from the same group because there were frequent movements of this group
2 and at a distance I didn't recognise them.
3 Q. You were ill at the time, but still you had some information.
4 Tell me, did the 306th Brigade have any relationship of superiority over
5 those Mujahedin located in that area?
6 A. Neither then or the entire duration of my stay with the 306th
7 Brigade did our brigade have a superior position to the Mujahedin, had
8 any control over them.
9 Q. Tell me, did anyone come to investigate what exactly happened in
10 that village? Do you know that?
11 A. I was told then, maybe by some people who came to see me a couple
12 of days later, that members of the international community and members of
13 the joint commission came to see what happened. I know that General
14 Merdan from the joint commission was there.
15 Q. Who is he?
16 A. He was a member of the joint command of the BH army and HVO. It
17 was later called joint commission, later renamed joint command. And
18 later he was part of the Corps command.
19 Q. Thank you. You described in detail how the developments unfolded
20 up to the first meeting of the joint command on the 12th of June. At
21 that time or at any other time did you find out about some unfortunate
22 events that happened during the combat on the 8th of June in the area
23 where your brigade was active as well? If you did, what exactly did you
25 A. Earlier in my testimony I tried to tell you what exactly my
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 activities were at that time. My main job was combat activity and
2 linkage with the forces in Velika Bukovica. Bandol village was on fire a
3 bit further below. Another village to the south-east of Guca [as
4 interpreted] was also under attack, Radojcici. The population and even
5 the fighters from Radojcici withdrew in panic. My job was to insert
6 forces from Vlasicici and link them up with the forces who were supposed
7 to continue the combat action. I told you I met with my assistant for
8 operations and training. At that time he was telling me about the
9 operational aspect of the situation where exactly our forces were, but at
10 that moment I didn't know anything untoward had happened.
11 The first time I learned of any indications that that had
12 happened was on the 12th when the inner circle of the command met,
13 including the assistant commander for security. He said at that meeting
14 that there were indications, in fact there is intelligence, that members
15 of the 1st Battalion of the 306th Brigade, while civilians and
16 military-age population were taken away from Bandurici [phoen], the
17 Mujahedin captured some Croats and at first nobody knew what happened
18 with them. And later it was -- it transpired they were killed. However,
19 on that day the assistant commander for security received orders to
20 investigate who had done that. And I believe that in our regular
21 operational report, we informed the command of the 3rd Corps of this
23 Q. Although on several occasions you indicated that the assistant
24 for intelligence or somebody else who was assisting the chief of staff
25 was involved in this, tell me. The assistant for security, was he
1 connected with the chief of staff and how did you find out what you found
2 out after the orders came to investigate?
3 A. The very title "assistant commander for security" speaks to the
4 fact that he is not attached to the chief of staff. He is on the same
5 level, and he directly reports to the brigade commander. It is the
6 brigade commander who gives him assignments and the assistant commander
7 for security is not duty-bound to inform the other members of the command
8 of his own assignments. So what I was able to learn I was only able to
9 learn during regular briefings if they were attended by a larger circle.
10 Some parts of the report were fit for the larger circle and other parts
11 would be only notified to the commander of the brigade, or maybe along
12 the professional line to his superior commander for security.
13 Q. In view of that system that was in place and that you just
14 explained, do you know whether the security organs of the 306th Brigade
15 did really investigate that prior information? And do you know took away
16 those people from the column led by members of the 306th Brigade?
17 A. I don't know when it happened but the assistant commander for
18 security, Delalic, reported at one of the briefings and issued an order
19 to the assistant for security of the 1st Battalion to investigate, and
20 the latter reported that while the column was moving towards Mehurici
21 Croats were kidnapped by the Mujahedin accompanied by some masked people.
22 Judging by the way they were speaking they were Arabs, and judging by
23 their appearance, too. Together with them there were some more people
24 wearing masks whom they couldn't recognise. At gun point they were
25 separated from the group and taken away. No one knows where.
1 Q. You told me a second ago that they were never under the command
2 of the 306th Brigade, I mean those foreigners who were based in Mehurici.
3 Tell me now, did the 306th Brigade or any other organ of the BH army have
4 authority or responsibility to investigate the conduct of individuals
5 within other units, regardless of whether they were in their own area or
6 not unless they belonged to your own brigade or to the Army of Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina? Did you have such responsibilities or duties? And if not
8 tell me to whom were you responsible.
9 A. We had responsibility to investigate only the actions of our
10 subordinates in our area, in the area from which we took reinforcement.
11 There were members -- let me say just about the documents that we saw,
12 there were illegal elements of the HVO. According to the decision of the
13 presidency, the regular army did not include HVO. There were members of
14 other brigades such as the 314th Brigade. There were members or elements
15 of the 312th Brigade based there. As for people who did not belong to
16 any of the brigades, we were not responsible. There were legal
17 institutions of government, the local police in Mehurici, the judiciary
18 outside the military structures. Therefore the assistant for security
19 just reported that this was an incident that did not cause and did not
20 involve members of our brigade. So further procedure would not be
21 possible because we have neither the mandate nor the possibility to
22 access that camp of the Mujahedin.
23 Q. Let me ask another question. In fact, first of all, on page 38,
24 line 7, you mentioned that there were illegal elements of the HVO, but
25 you didn't come across as saying that you were not responsible for
1 arresting them.
2 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I will either clarify this
3 through the witness or I will ask that the transcript should record that
4 the witness answered more fully than we can see from the transcript, from
5 the record.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Will you go on, please.
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. In relation to this situation which you just described saying
9 that there is a local police station in Mehurici, et cetera, et cetera.
10 Tell me, do you know at all in keeping with the legislation of Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina even before the war and for the duration of the war, which
12 organs were duty-bound to deal with the issues of foreigners and their
13 movements? Who received and who was tasked with gathering information on
14 the identity of these foreigners?
15 A. Before the war I worked for the staff of the Territorial Defence,
16 and in Travnik it was located in the same building as the public security
17 station of Travnik. I know from that time that there was a special
18 section dealing with foreigners in the public security station, or rather
19 in the MUP. They dealt with all issues regarding the movement of
20 foreigners, so that was not an issue that fell within the purview of the
22 Q. You also said a moment ago that these military age men, Croats,
23 kidnapped and taken away from your unit were taken away, whereas when
24 local civilians were being led towards Mehurici. Do you know why this
25 civilian population was being taken from Maline to Mehurici?
1 A. At the very moment when this was happening, I had no idea it was
2 going on. However, later from briefings, reports, and from my overall
3 knowledge of the situation in the territory engulfed in combat action, I
4 know that Maline was practically the foremost line of combat. And every
5 unit was in charge of protecting its own civilian population. In this
6 moment, the only possibility to protect civilians was to take them away
7 from those localities. The only possibility in this case was to take
8 them to the schoolhouse in Mehurici.
9 From our experience from Miletici, we knew that they were
10 informal armed groups, militants who were acting beyond the scope of any
11 command. And there was a need to protect civilians because if they
12 should stay in their homes, they would probably be targeted by those
13 informal groups or Mujahedin. There were even demands -- I only heard
14 about it. I can't say that I saw it myself -- that even the local
15 population of Maline sought protection and wanted to be moved away.
16 Q. Can you first tell me briefly, did you personally visit the
17 schoolhouse where they were put up and do you know what treatment they
18 were subjected to, who guarded them, and who provided them with food?
19 A. I did not visit any schoolhouses and all I know I know from the
20 briefings in the commander's office, from his assistants for logistics,
21 security and security. And I learnt that they were in the gym of the
22 schoolhouse in Mehurici, that they were guarded by the police station
23 staff from Mehurici who, however, wanted reinforcement from the 306th
24 Brigade because they were experiencing problems with the Mujahedin. Food
25 was provided by the staff of civilian defence in Mehurici, relying on the
1 municipal staff.
2 Q. Already yesterday you mentioned those foreigners in your area and
3 the problems they were causing to the army and the civilians. Today you
4 said that at no point during your stay with the 306th Brigade were they
5 subordinated to your brigade. Do you know whether your unit or any other
6 unit of the BH army provided logistical support to these foreigners, the
7 Mujahedin, in terms of weapons, equipment, food, or similar?
8 A. I said that Mujahedin only caused problems to us. There was no
9 superior-subordinate relationship. There was no logistical support or
10 any other support from the 306th Brigade, and I don't believe any other
11 unit of our army provided it to them. However, I can only speak with
12 certainty about my own brigade.
13 Q. Did you know or did the brigade command know who they are, what
14 their names were? Did you have any precise information that would enable
15 you to report in detail to your superior command?
16 A. I'm not sure that anyone at any time had precise information
17 about them. And to tell you the truth, we were not even interested.
18 They were not within our field of competence. We did not seek
19 information about them. We didn't know who they were or who their
20 commanders were. They were not strictly established as a combat group.
21 To me, they were some sort of passers-by that I avoided because all I
22 could expect from them was inconvenience and embarrassment.
23 Q. Did your brigade ever issue any orders to those men and did it
24 ever receive any reports from them?
25 A. In all the time that I spent with the 306th Brigade, I don't know
1 that any orders had ever been issued to them or any reports had ever been
2 received to them. And as far as orders are concerned, I should know in
3 view of my position.
4 Q. Let me ask you now, in view of the fact that during those combat
5 activities -- Krpeljici and Guca Gora are very close by. What is Guca
6 Gora famous for?
7 A. I'm an inhabitant of the municipality of Travnik. I live in
8 Travnik and Guca Gora was always famous for the Guca Gora monastery.
9 That's a symbol of Guca Gora. And I knew that they said that Guca Gora
10 was the most progressive village in the Travnik municipality because the
11 people there had the highest level of education, et cetera.
12 Q. Can you first tell me what the attitude of the Bosniak population
13 was in the region around Guca Gora. What was their attitude towards
14 religious buildings of other peoples and what sort of attitude and
15 position did the 306th have -- what were their orders from the superior
16 command? What had the 306th Brigade been ordered to do by the superior
17 command in relation to religious buildings?
18 A. The orders about how soldiers of the BH army should behave
19 towards the population, towards prisoners, how they should treat
20 religious buildings and the clergy, such orders started arriving from the
21 corps command after the establishment. I don't know whether it was at
22 the end of 1992 or perhaps at the beginning of 1993. That's when such
23 orders started arriving. Then we had similar orders to regulate these
24 matters in our subordinate units.
25 In the field we tried to implement this through training. You
1 showed me a document on which I commented on reports on training. The
2 3rd Corps command ordered that in order to train units, in order to turn
3 them into soldiers, we should train these units. It wasn't possible to
4 train entire units because units always had to be at their positions. So
5 when certain units were available, we would carry out the training. I
6 don't know which unit was in question here, but we could find out when
7 the training was planned and when it was carried out. The brigade
8 command planned the training. We would prepare battalion commanders.
9 The battalion commanders would prepare or train their subordinate
10 commanders, commanders of companies. The company commanders would train
11 platoon and detachment commanders so that they could carry out training
12 with their subordinates. Such training was implemented even before in
13 the Territorial Defence and we proceeded on that basis then, too.
14 So in the course of that training we also planned how to carry
15 out -- how to respect the Geneva Conventions and international and
16 humanitarian law. We wanted to familiarise these people with this, and
17 this was a task for the assistant for morale in the brigade, too. Each
18 brigade had an assistant for morale. In the company, there was also an
19 assistant for morale.
20 Q. I would just interrupt you there since you've mentioned this.
21 When carrying out these orders from the Corps command, according to which
22 it was necessary to train all the soldiers and all the commanding
23 officers, in the framework of those programmes were there any foreigners,
24 or rather Mujahedin, who participated in the training of your members?
25 A. No. No, I said who was involved in the organisation and
1 implementation of the training and I mentioned how we trained men.
2 Q. Thank you. Regardless of those orders, tell me do you know
3 anything about the monastery in Guca Gora? Are you aware of it being
4 damaged? Who damaged, if it was damaged? And do you know what the 306th
5 or the 3rd Corps did and what measures it took, if any were taken?
6 A. On this I was engaged in another axis [as interpreted] but I had
7 information from the meeting on the 12th of June. And at that meeting I
8 found out that a group of Mujahedin had broken into the monastery and
9 they had destroyed its interior. I don't know what they did and how
10 extensive the damage was. But they entered the monastery and the
11 commander of the 306th sent his men to protect the monastery. I don't
12 know on which day they managed to push the Mujahedin back from the
13 monastery and members of the 306th, I don't know whether it was a
14 detachment or a group of military policemen. They managed to provide
15 security for the monastery. They managed to be present there.
16 For the Bosniak people this religious institution was protected
17 because it would have been a sin if it had been damaged. This concerns
18 the Bosniak people from the area I come from.
19 I know that later on, part of the military police battalion of
20 the 3rd Corps were sent there and they had the same task and for a certain
21 period of time, together with the members of the military police from the
22 306th,they provided security for the monastery and they protected it from
23 whoever could launch and attack, and kept it intact.
24 Q. You said that those combat operations continued and that around
25 the 12th of June the command met. Did you notice that in the wider area
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 of the Bila Valley there were looting incidents? Did you notice that any
2 buildings were being torched? Who was doing this? Who was responsible
3 for that area? And what exactly did the 306th do in order to discover
4 who the perpetrators were and to punish them?
5 A. In the first stages of combat and afterwards, a small number of
6 buildings were set on fire. Guca Gora and the villages which are closer
7 to the established line were constantly under fire. There was constant
8 combat action and buildings were set on fire, because shells were used
9 and various types of ammunition. But when conditions were being created
10 to go to Zenica via Gostunj, when the Travnik-Zenica road was being
11 opened, this became a transit road. And on a daily basis thousands of
12 refugees, thousands of travellers took that road and it was very
13 difficult to control the situation. I think that almost everyone
14 participated in the looting from the civilian population. I don't know
15 who exactly participated in the looting. It couldn't be controlled
16 because there were refugees from Travnik, from Zenica. There was
17 movement from all areas in that territory.
18 The protection of buildings and territory was the responsibility
19 of the military police. The assistant for security could say more about
20 this because he had to take these measures. I was involved in combat
21 operations because there were counterattacked that were launched on a
22 daily basis. When there's a combat operation, you have the attack and a
23 counterattack. That's always the case so it's necessary to organise the
24 defence. As far as I know, the 306th Brigade engaged the military police
25 for protection. This was to the extent they had this capacity. There
1 was the Mosor police station, which controlled that part of the territory
2 and they were supposed to protect that part of the territory because
3 combat units were engaged in combat action. And as far as I know the
4 civilian protection staff from that area formed some kind of units to
5 provide protection for the livestock and for land that had been
6 abandoned. They also formed the unit to provide security for buildings
7 abandoned by Croats. And attempts were also made -- according to a task
8 assigned by the War Presidency, the municipal staff of civilian
9 protection formed commissions in local communes, and this was -- these
10 were commissions that had to deal with refugees entering abandoned
11 Croatian houses that had been abandoned because they thought this was the
12 only way of protecting these houses. So when people moved into these
13 houses it was sometimes recorded so that the person moving into a house
14 could be held responsible for the house. But there were also cases of
15 people moving into these houses on their own initiative.
16 Q. You said that your military police platoon also had the task of
17 preventing looting and punishing looting by individuals or punishing
18 individuals who might torch buildings. The military police of the 306th
19 Brigade had responsibility over whom? Over all those thousands of people
20 who were passing through? What was its field of competence?
21 A. As I was saying a minute ago, I said that the units of the
22 command of the military police was only responsible for its own unit, for
23 its subordinates, not for the civilian population because as I said
24 there's the police station in Travnik responsible for the civilians and
25 there are police stations in the field responsible for the civilian
2 Q. Before this Tribunal, we have heard a lot about the concept of
3 zone of responsibility. Could you tell us, since you are of the 306th
4 Brigade which was deployed in the manner that you have indicated, could
5 you tell us how the zone of responsibility of your brigade was
6 determined. Were you responsible for all the territory that you have
7 indicated on the map here?
8 A. Well, perhaps the orders could be examined, too, but there were
9 orders from the corps command in which zones of responsibility were
10 determined, in the sense of these zones being zones in which combat
11 operations were conducted. The BH army task and the 306th Brigade task
12 was to defend the current line that they were holding against the Serbian
13 and Montenegrin aggressor. They were to plan combat to liberate
14 temporarily occupied territory. To that effect, the zone was determined
15 with a left and right border. These borders were determined in this way:
16 There was one point in the depth, there was one point at the demarcation
17 line of the forces itself, and the other points were in the depth of the
18 enemy's territory, or rather in the depth of the temporarily occupied
19 territory, because that was a zone in which we were to engage in combat.
20 We were to hold the current line and advance the line because we had to
21 liberate the temporarily occupied territory. So the 306th had the left
22 and right border and there was a zone of responsibility which was
23 determined on the basis of the depth.
24 Q. Thank you. I think it's a little clearer to me now. But let's
25 now go back to the military police and the measures that they took. Was
1 the military police in contact with the chief of staff or the commander?
2 A. To the chief of staff, but in the end the commander is in command
3 of everyone. But professionally speaking, they are linked to the chief
4 of security, not the chief of staff. I apologise.
5 Q. Thank you. From those meetings of the command that you must have
6 had at regular intervals, can you tell me whether you became aware of the
7 fact that there were orders about the protection of civilian facilities?
8 Did your commander issue orders that should be taken against
9 perpetrators? And do you know whether the commander of the 306th Brigade
10 took any measures, and if so which measures did they take?
11 A. As for the orders from the superior command are concerned and
12 relaying these orders to subordinates, I already said that when the 306th
13 was being formed we started receiving such orders. I think this started
14 at the beginning of 1993 and such orders from the superior command
15 arrived very frequently. I know that they arrived again in February and
16 then I think in April, in June on a number of occasions. And we relayed
17 these orders to our subordinates and requests were made for measures to
18 be taken. I didn't draft those orders myself. This was the task of the
19 chief of security on the whole, but I am aware of this being done.
20 Q. Since you took care of soldiers who could engage in combat, in
21 the course of your duties did you become aware of the fact that there
22 were any members of the 306th Brigade who were -- against whom
23 disciplinary measures were taken? Were any members reported were having
24 committed crimes? And were drastic measures ever taken against members
25 of your brigade, that is, in order to punish looting, torching, or rather
1 to prevent such acts?
2 A. I'm aware of this because sometimes I had problems as far as the
3 rotation of units is concerned. That is because our detention unit was
4 awful full and we didn't have any units to take over a shift. So
5 sometimes I suggested that the commander release some detainees so that
6 we could replenish the line, because when in conflict with the HVO we had
7 an entire line, we had a very long line. We had a newly opened line in
8 the direction of the HVO. So there was an immense burden on the men.
9 And at meetings a lot was said about measures taken, about Prosecutions
10 instituted. There were criminal reports as well and disciplinary
11 measures were often taken and the commander would often given men up to
12 two months' prison sentence. Men from the military battalion also did
13 this. I don't know which acts this concerned. It was for acts of
14 disobedience, et cetera. But I know that everything was done to make
15 sure that the units behaved according to the code of conduct.
16 Q. Given the gravity of the problem and given all the civilians and
17 soldiers, given the scale on which these acts were committed, did the
18 corps command make additional efforts to reinforce the teams involved in
19 investigations and the teams involved in disciplining men? Were any new
20 units formed? And did the command have control over the situation in the
21 territory of your brigade?
22 A. When the Travnik-Zenica road was opened, when it was possible to
23 examine the situation, then in the command, in the operations group --
24 Q. Which operations group?
25 A. The Bosanska Krajina Operations Group. It was said it was
1 essential to reinforce the military police in order to carry out control
2 because the soldiers who left the lines and went home because they
3 weren't staying in barracks. In such cases it was possible for such
4 soldiers to also commit illegal acts, and I am aware of this because I
5 received the order to send from the 306th Brigade a group of five to
6 seven armed MPs from our military police platoon. We were to send them
7 to the company of the military police of the Bosanska Krajina OG.
8 Military police company in the Bosanska Krajina OG was formed. We sent
9 five armed members there, but we were then told that the MP company would
10 be a sort of centre where MPs would be trained in order to perform the
11 duties of military policemen and then they would be sent back to their units,
12 so that we could have well-trained military policemen in our units. In other
13 words, an MP company was formed within the Bosanska Krajina OG was formed.
14 Q. Mr. Siljak, now that I am approaching the end of my examination,
15 I would like to show you the other documents contained in your binder.
16 They are in part entitled "Other Documents." And could we have a look
17 together at those documents. Then you could briefly tell us whether you
18 are familiar with these documents and you could tell us what the
19 documents are about.
20 A. I'm sorry, which documents are you talking about?
21 Q. The documents entitled "Other Documents." You can see the title
22 "Other Documents" on a white sheet of paper.
23 A. I don't know English. Does it say "O-t-h-e-r"?
24 Q. Yes. Can you tell me whether you are familiar with document
25 number 1? Can you recognise this document.
1 A. On the 18th of August, 1992, I was in the Territorial Defence
2 municipal staff and I am familiar with this document because the 1st
3 Krajina Battalion was formed in Travnik on the basis of an order. It was
4 to be a unit subordinate to the municipal defence staff in Travnik. And
5 when we were issuing orders, planning combat, we were to provide this 1st
6 Battalion with orders, too. But later this battalion moved to the
7 district municipal staff in Zenica -- the district Territorial Defence
8 staff in Zenica.
9 Q. Very well. Could you have a look at document number 2, please.
10 A. This is one of the first documents from the 3rd Corps command. I
11 have perhaps already mentioned this. It is an order that has to do with
12 preventing the capturing of civilians, the burning of property, and
13 looting. I said -- as I have already said, there were numerous such
15 Q. Thank you. Could you have a look at document number 3. Defence
16 number for this document is 0711.
17 A. This is a document which shows how the 306th Mountain Brigade
18 acted when they received orders from their superior command in relation
19 to implementing the order to respect international humanitarian law. In
20 this case it has to do with capturing civilians, torching buildings,
21 looting incidents, et cetera.
22 Q. Could you please have a look at document number 4. Defence
23 number 0913. Did your brigade receive this document?
24 A. Yes. This is an order from the 3rd Corps command. And on the
25 basis of the stamp you can see it was received by the brigade.
1 Q. Can you please have a look at the documents under "Exhibits,"
2 E-x-h-i-b-i-t-s. And have a look at the part entitled "DH Exhibits."
3 Let me explain. This is already admitted into evidence. DH exhibits
4 means that the document has been admitted into evidence and DH means --
5 well, I won't go into this.
6 But have a look at document number 1. It's dated 29th of May,
7 1993. It's a document from the corps. And since it says: "In the area
8 of the municipality of Travnik" -- have a look what it says there under
9 that title and tell me whether you are familiar with the events that
10 occurred during that period of time. What exactly do you know about
11 these events?
12 A. On that day I was in Travnik, because on the 20th -- the 27th of
13 May I left the brigade command, I arrived in Travnik, and at the
14 checkpoint in Gostunj I was stopped. My computer was taken from me, or
15 rather the brigade command's computer was taken away and I was not able
16 to return to my command. The sniper activity, et cetera, I myself
17 experienced this in the town. And when it says that the road
18 Travnik-Guca Gora-Han Bila is blocked -- well, I wasn't able to return.
19 I'm familiar with the document and the information contained was on the
20 basis of our reports, either from the 306th or from units in Travnik,
21 the --
22 Q. With regard to that computer, you said that it was taken away
23 from you in May. Can you tell us whether this computer was a device
24 which made it possible for the 306th to have packet communications with
25 the superior command. Is that the communications device in question?
1 A. Well, that computer was one we received around the 10th of May.
2 We were very happy about it because we thought we would have
3 communications with our superior command, we would have packet
4 communications with our superior command. And initially there were
5 probably some problems with the computer, and in order to solve these
6 problems we had to take the computer to Travnik so that it could be
7 modified or something like that, so that we could use it. So we didn't
8 even have it for ten days. It didn't last for long. It was supposed to
9 be used for packet communications with our superior command.
10 Q. Have a look at the next document, please, under number 2. In the
11 right-hand corner it says DH157/12. Are the facts related this document
12 facts that you are personally familiar with?
13 A. What I can say for sure is I was in Krpeljici and on that day
14 there was a multiple rocket launcher which was in action. There was
15 shooting but I don't know who was shooting in the Lasva Valley, so I
16 couldn't confirm that.
17 Q. Could you have a look at document number 3. This is Defence's
18 document. I think it's 280. Let me check -- I apologise. It's 270.
19 DH270. Please have a look at the document. Could you tell me, are you
20 familiar with this event? Did you personally witness the event related
21 in this document?
22 A. In the course of my duties and when investigating the activities
23 of the subordinate units, an operative officer visited the 306th Brigade
24 and the positions of its units. So this is a normal way to report to the
25 corps commander about the situation in the units. And as the chief of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 staff of the 306th Brigade together with that operations officer from the
2 corps command, I visited the lines, I visited the units. And this is a
3 report drafted by this operations officer from the corps command. And it
4 was for us, too, in order to inform us of what he observed. The task was
5 to deal with all the weaknesses.
6 Q. Did you at any time point out to the member of the command of the
7 3rd Corps the problems you were having with foreigners in your area? And
8 were you in a position that see the facilities, the buildings, where
9 these foreigners were located?
10 A. I informed this operations officer from the 3rd Corps command
11 about the problems caused us by the foreigners, and based on my
12 information he wrote his own proposals as to what should be done. Access
13 to those buildings was impossible for everyone. So all I was able to do
14 was to use the knowledge I gained from the ground, from intelligence,
15 from what I would hear from individuals who encountered them, members of
16 our brigade and others, and informed me later; and who were seeking a
17 solution to the problem. These foreigners were not obeying anyone. They
18 were only causing problems.
19 Q. You said they were not obeying anyone. Did you as a brigade have
20 authority over them to issue orders?
21 A. I believe that in my earlier testimony I have noted several times
22 that we had no such authority. We never did, or even attempted it.
23 Q. I would kindly ask you to return to the beginning, Mr. Siljak,
24 now. The only document we haven't seen is the information on the 306th
25 Brigade, item number 1. The first document in the batch at the very
1 beginning. Do you know what this decision is all about?
2 A. This is the wording of the oath that we received. Members of all
3 units were supposed to take an oath and to sign the text of this oath.
4 Q. After taking the oath, would they become members of the Army of
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina?
6 A. Of course. I believe this happened after the proclamation of the
7 state of war when the voluntary principle no longer applied. It was
8 everyone's duty to defend and protect the state. After that, we received
9 the text of the formal oath and we would apply this in our own units to
10 members of the Territorial Defence who would be joining.
11 Q. Did you in the 306th Brigade take care that this oath be followed
12 by applying appropriate training, issuing cautions? Did you, in other
13 words, try to make a real army out of those villagers?
14 A. The oath was taken by all the members who were in the units at
15 the time. Later when new generations grew up and were conscripted, they
16 took the oath in the units where they were mobilised. But throughout
17 that, our main purpose was to familiarise them with the regulations of
18 the army and the text of the oath was only one component of that.
19 Q. You were very calm and composed when you were describing all you
20 went through in 1992 and 1993. But looking back from today's point of
21 view, do you believe that the command of your brigade did everything in
22 its capacity to create an army, defend its territory, and protect the
24 A. Bearing in mind what exactly the command had at its disposal, and
25 I mean primarily the commanding officers at brigade and unit level, and
1 bearing in mind the materiel and equipment they had available to them as
2 well as the high expectations they had of themselves and of everyone, I
3 still don't believe that we could have done any more in terms of training
4 and establishing the brigade as a unit. I believe that while I was in
5 the 306th Brigade, the process of establishment of the brigade had not
6 yet been completed. Later on I was a superior officer in the corps -- in
7 the command of the 7th Corps. And I can say about the 306th Brigade that
8 it never existed as a mountain brigade, probably because our ambitions at
9 the time were exaggerated and we didn't know the situation well enough so
10 we didn't make a very good assessment. That's why it had to be reformed
11 from a 306th Mountain Brigade into a light infantry brigade, the
12 difference being structural. And I still claim that up to the end of the
13 war the 306th Mountain Brigade had not yet been established according to
14 all the regulations and expectations.
15 Q. Was it because you didn't wish to do it or you didn't know how?
16 Or the conditions in which you were acting were such that it was
18 A. Our desire to achieve that was enormous, overwhelming; however
19 the conditions wouldn't allow it.
20 Q. Thank you very much, Witness.
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have completed
22 my examination of this witness.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The other Defence team may take
24 the floor. The registrar will inform me of the length of the
1 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] We have a very few specific
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
4 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Siljak I'll come back to a document you've
5 seen. It's an interim report from May 1993; that is, Prosecution Exhibit
6 P418, for the record.
7 A. I have found it.
8 Q. Please look at item 3.2. "Variant in case of attack by HVO
9 unit." It says that: "Main forces of the 1st Battalion --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Would the counsel please slow down when
11 enumerating military units.
12 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. "Please mount an attack in the direction of Mehurici, Crni Vrh,
14 Carda Kov, Guca Gora. Capture the line of attack from Maline, Radonjici,
15 Krpeljici and Velika Bukovica," and so on.
16 A. I have read it.
17 Q. This variant envisaged for the attack of HVO, was it ever
19 A. The axis mentioned in this variant was not implemented including
20 the composition of forces that would be involved. So this variant was
21 never actually used in our combat.
22 Q. Can you clarify that the forces referred to in this variant, if I
23 understood you correctly, were not all of them involved in the attack.
24 A. When we did the planning how to use which forces in the territory
25 from which the 306th Brigade took its replenishment, there is one company
1 from the 314th Brigade from which the 306th Brigade took its
2 replenishment. There is one company of the 314th Brigade from a
3 battalion led by Midhat Puric. He was a native of Purici village. I
4 showed it on the map. It was right next to the command post of the
5 brigade. His unit took part on the 17th of April in the liberation of
6 Stozerak hill, together with the 306th Brigade. So we were told that we
7 should count on that unit when planning the use of forces, and we were
8 also told at that moment that we should also envisage to use part of the
9 forces of the 7th Muslim Brigade located then in Poculica. We were
10 supposed to use them in combat activities effected at Vitez. And we were
11 able to count on them because via this Stozerak hill in the interim
12 territory, they could provide us with additional forces. However, we
13 never came to implement this variant.
14 Q. If I understood you correctly in capturing the Maline-Radonjici-
15 Krpeljici-Velika Bukovica line, the 7th Brigade did not take part.
16 A. They did as far as I was informed. I was not present on that
17 axis. But my operations officer said that only members -- in fact only
18 units of the 306th Brigade were involved in that axis.
19 Q. If we link up this document with your testimony today on page 26,
20 lines 1, 2, 3, 4 when you said that towards Maline and Radonjici, and
21 Guca Gora, free elements were advancing, you meant free elements of the
22 306th Brigade?
23 A. I don't understand you.
24 Q. We were talking today about the 8th of June. You said that free
25 components were advancing towards Maline, Radonjici, Guca Gora. Did you
1 mean free components of the 306th Brigade?
2 A. Yes, the 306th Brigade that had been planned to intervene in case
3 of an attack by the said Montenegrin aggressor. They were to advance
4 towards the front line facing that aggressor and also go towards the axis
5 facing the HVO in case the HVO attacked. These elements were made up of
6 displaced population from Vakuf, Skender Vakuf, Kotor Varos, and similar
8 Q. So if I understood you correctly, on that day members of the 7th
9 Brigade did not advance along this axis.
10 A. No, and I never said they did.
11 Q. Excuse me. Just one correction. On page 58, line 1, the record
12 should display that they did not advance, contrary to what it says here.
13 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] With the leave of the Chamber,
14 could the witness approach the map to answer a couple of questions.
15 Q. Mr. Siljak, we have ascertained that you are very familiar with
16 this area around Travnik. Could you locate and mark on this map a
17 locality called Hajdara fields.
18 A. We have a trig point 681 marked on this map. Locals call it
19 Hajdara fields. So at the eastern entrance to Travnik we see the Hajdara
20 fields, and in this area while I was in the staff of the Territorial
21 Defence anti-aircraft weapons of the HVO had already been deployed there
22 and remained there until the clashes in June 1993.
23 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] If the usher could help us and
24 give a felt-tipped pen to Mr. Siljak so he can mark it.
25 Q. Just a little circle, please.
1 A. I will actually fill it in to distinguish it from the rest of the
3 Q. You said you learned in June 1993. Did you say you learned of
4 any combat operations in the area of Hajdara fields?
5 A. At that time I didn't know anything. I was somewhere else.
6 Shooting was heard in this area, but I had no information.
7 Q. Did you gain any knowledge later?
8 A. Yes, later. But I can only tell you what I heard from others.
9 The 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade, which was in Travnik,
10 apparently launched an attack on this feature, Hajdara fields at the same
11 time as combat activities were taking place in this area.
12 Q. Can you show us exactly how far is Hajdara fields from Travnik.
13 A. It's just at the entrance into Travnik. So there was often fire
14 against Dresje [phoen] and other buildings and features in town. If this
15 is a map on the scale of 1:25.000, you can see that as the crow flies
16 it's less than a kilometre away.
17 Q. Show us the road between Maline village and Hajdara fields.
18 A. [Witness complies]
19 Q. What is the distance, do you know?
20 A. Well, it would make no sense to look at it as the crow flies
21 because it seems too near, but the road between Hajdara fields and Maline
22 would have to be winding. You would have to turn towards Guca Gora and
23 then upwards via Travnik to Maline. So from Travnik to Guca Gora it's
24 9 kilometres, then another 3 kilometres to Maline, or more even. What is
25 important is that there is something dividing these two places. If you
1 look at the way positions were taken by the HVO. HVO took up position at
2 Sveti Ivan Kotol and they opened fire constantly.
3 Q. Sorry to interrupt you.
4 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Please give him the red pen
5 which he used to mark HVO positions.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, we used this colour to mark
7 HVO. The red was for Serb positions. This is the colour we used for the
8 HVO. Blue. Sorry, blue was for the army.
9 So I was saying: Kotol. The HVO took up positions included
10 Hajdara fields. At this time this part was impassable. They captured
11 Grahova Glava, 1.600 metres high above the sea. Then we have Mala
12 Bukovica; then comes Radonjici; and a pass that goes from Guca Gora
13 linking up with Pokrajcici, this is the mountain pass; and only after
14 that do we reach Maline. So this unit attacking here or the unit in
15 Travnik in our assessment at the time was not reachable, could not
16 provide us with any assistance. We could only count on the units below
18 Q. If I understood you correctly, they couldn't reach Maline at all.
19 A. They couldn't, either in theory or in practice.
20 Q. Just for the record, if this distance between Hajdara fields to
21 Guca Gora is 9 kilometres by road and another 3 kilometres to Maline,
22 that would be 12 kilometres in total.
23 A. Yes. Of course, it's only my assessment. It's approximately 12
25 Q. One more question, just one more, Mr. Siljak. When you were
1 talking about Miletici, you said that you knew about Miletici through Mr.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did Ribo mention that any unit of the BH army took part in that
6 A. Whenever I spoke to anybody from the command including Ribo, they
7 only spoke of the Mujahedin. They didn't mention any unit.
8 Q. Did he or anyone else mention the presence of the 7th Brigade
10 A. No.
11 Q. Thank you very much.
12 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] We have no further questions
13 for Mr. Siljak.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll have our break now. I'd
15 like to ask the Prosecution how much time they will be needing, given
16 that we will be resuming at about 5 to 1.00, which will leave us 45
17 minutes. Ms. Benjamin.
18 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, I did indicate yesterday that we
19 will probably be at least an hour, an hour and a half. And I think it
20 looks more like an hour and a half now. So I think we may just be able
21 to start the cross-examination, but we certainly won't be able to
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, as you have
24 probably understood, it will be necessary for you to return on Tuesday
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not receiving any
2 interpretation, so I'm not sure what you said.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I said that the Prosecution has
4 just said that they will be needing an hour and a half. It appears -- we
5 seem to be having a problem.
6 Can you hear anything now.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can you put the volume up?
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you hear now?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could the volume be put up a little
10 more, please.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you hear me now?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecution has just
14 informed us that they will need an hour and a half to cross-examine you.
15 The Judges will also have some questions to put to you. And after the
16 Prosecution has cross-examined you, the Defence will probably want to ask
17 you additional questions. This means that, unfortunately, you will have
18 to return here on Tuesday afternoon. Is this a problem for you?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it's not a problem. I'll stay
20 on as long as necessary for me to say what I know.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We will adjourn and
22 resume at about 5 to 1.00.
23 --- Recess taken at 12.24 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 1.02 p.m.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I will now give the
1 floor to Ms. Benjamin, who will start with cross-examination. And at 20
2 to 2.00, the registrar will take the floor to make the necessary
3 corrections. Ms. Benjamin, you may proceed.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I just request
5 that my volume be turned up, because it is only with great effort that I
6 heard what was just said. I said right at the outset my hearing was not
7 very good and I need the volume at the maximum.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And if the interpreters in
9 their languages could speak up as well, maybe they could help the
10 witness, too.
11 All right, Ms. Benjamin.
12 Cross-examined by Ms. Henry-Benjamin:
13 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Siljak. My name is Tecla Henry-Benjamin. I
14 am one of the Prosecutors representing the Prosecution in this matter and
15 I wish, as Mr. President indicated earlier, to ask you a few questions
16 concerning your testimony. If at any time I am going too fast or you
17 don't understand anything I am saying, please feel free to stop me.
18 You indicated to the Trial Chamber that you were born in Travnik
19 and you gave us a guided tour of the whole Travnik area, which also
20 included your area of responsibility. Could you please tell me, before
21 the conflict, during the conflict, and after the conflict if it would be
22 possible for you to have observed if there were other persons in the
23 Travnik area other than inhabitants that you were accustomed to seeing.
24 A. If I understood you well, I would just like to make one
25 correction. In my testimony up to now, we encountered the area of
1 responsibility facing the Serbian and Montenegrin aggressor. So the zone
2 of responsibility had two borders, the left and the right one, not in
3 depth. Through my testimony I gave you a guided tour of the territory
4 from which the 306th Brigade received its reinforcement, but there were
5 other units there, too. That's the only thing I'd like to make clear.
6 As for this specific question, I think I said earlier in my
7 testimony that since I was an operations officer in the Main Staff but in
8 charge of developments on the ground, somewhere in late spring, maybe in
9 June actually, I noticed that foreign nationals were coming to Travnik,
10 the press, humanitarian aid workers. And I noticed foreigners in
12 Q. Thank you. In your area of responsibility, could you state for
13 the Trial Chamber which ethnic body, was the predominant body.
14 A. Again I want to say that it was not our area of responsibility.
15 The territory of Bila Valley was not the area of responsibility of the
16 306th Brigade. Instead, it was the territory from which we received
17 reinforcements. I don't know if this is clear to you. We only got an
18 area of responsibility assigned for particular operations we had to carry
20 Q. Okay. The area that you defined for us that you operated, the
21 306th -- we have the 306th Operative, that's the area I'm speaking about.
22 That's the area I'm referring to. And my question to you is: Could you
23 tell me which one, which ethnic body, was a majority in that area.
24 A. In the north-east part of this territory, there was a majority
25 Bosniak population. In the central area, the population was mixed. Nova
1 Bila, Stara Bila, and that entire area was predominantly or entirely
2 Croat. So if you take it as a whole, maybe there was a slight Bosniak
3 prevalence over the Croats at that time.
4 Q. Thank you. Now, your duties. In response to my learned friend
5 you said amongst your duties, or rather that your main duty as chief of
6 staff was to defend the line against the Serb aggressive forces. Am I
8 A. The first assignment the 306th Brigade received, its first
9 mission, was to defend the line in the assigned zone of combat activities
10 against the Serbian Montenegrin aggressor and to prepare active
11 operations for the liberation of the temporarily occupied territory.
12 Q. Thank you. And I wish you to clarify for us then: What do you
13 mean when you say "the Serbian and Montenegrin aggressor"? What are you
14 talking about?
15 A. In the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina it was a
16 common term for the forces of the aggressor, namely the Serb forces
17 aligned with the SDS from the Republika Srpska, remnants of the former
18 JNA, and the volunteers from Montenegro. It was believed that the
19 aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina was carried out by Serbian
20 Montenegrin forces. And that was the usual name used for them in the
21 units in which I circulated.
22 Q. I see. Chief of staff of the 306th Brigade. Did you see
23 yourself responsible not only for defending the line but for defending
24 all and sundry, everybody in your area of responsibility, whether it was
25 civilians, military or otherwise? Did you see yourselves as performing
1 that duty?
2 A. In Travnik, there was a public security station. In other words,
3 there was a police force in charge of controlling and protecting the
4 territory. The 306th Brigade, therefore, was not responsible for the
5 entire territory from which it received reinforcements.
6 Q. Okay. I have a problem with that, and I think I need to get it
7 clarified. I'll do it by illustration of an example. If you were going
8 down the main street in Travnik and you saw a civilian being attacked, do
9 you think you were responsible to respond?
10 A. If I personally should see somebody attacking a civilian, as a
11 human being of course it would be my duty to help out. But as the chief
12 of staff of the 306th Brigade, I had no such duty. My duty would
13 possibly be to just report it to the nearest police station.
14 Q. Are you saying then, or is it -- correct me if I'm wrong. Are
15 you saying then that your responsibility was strictly to defend the line,
16 and if you were to observe any illegal activities going on that you were
17 to turn a blind eye? Would that be your instructions?
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. What sort of objection do
20 you have to a question that makes sense?
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] The witness has addressed the
22 issue of the responsibility of the staff commander and brigade
23 commanders. And before this question, he quite clearly answered my
24 learned colleague's question, the same question. I think that this
25 witness has answered the question three times and it's not necessary to
1 confuse him in this way.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The objection is denied.
3 Please continue.
4 MS. BENJAMIN: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. You see, I have a difficulty and I think to resolve it we need to
6 get the correct answer to see what was the role of the BiH army, and in
7 particular your role. You have indicated to us and in answer to my
8 learned friend, and you just said it, at some point in time you saw an
9 influx of foreigners coming in. Am I correct?
10 A. As I have already said, I did notice them moving around, but I
11 didn't mention the numbers. There were some of them there.
12 Q. And my question then, and that's why I tried to clarify it at
13 first. Was that as a member of the army -- because in your evidence
14 in-chief you said to my learned friend that these foreigners were
15 committing crimes, they were uncontrollable, they were -- nobody was
16 under anybody's command. Those were you words in evidence. And my
17 question to you is: If this was taking place as you allege and you were
18 a member of the army, don't you think that the onus was on you to deal
19 with whoever or whatever was taking place in your AOR?
20 A. When answering the question about this matter, I said that we
21 were involved in this issue right up until the point of time when the
22 chief of security said that these acts had been committed by the
23 Mujahedin who were not part of the 306th Brigade. So our responsibility
24 consisted of the following: We were to investigate acts committed by
25 members of our brigade, whereas at no point in time were the Mujahedin
1 members of the 306th Brigade, not while I was in the brigade. And as far
2 as I'm aware, neither afterwards.
3 Q. Mr. Siljak, forgive me but I'm having a difficulty and that's why
4 I'm trying to get it clarified. I cannot understand and tell me if you
5 -- when you reason it out. I cannot understand. A war is going on or
6 perhaps a conflict. You are the army; you're patrolling the area, you
7 know, you are there to take care of the citizens and the inhabitants in
8 your area. And here are a bunch of unruly, delinquent people turning a
9 whole city upside down and terrorising everybody. Is it your evidence
10 that the army, or your instructions were: Keep a blind eye. Only the
11 front line; ignore everything. Is that it?
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Mr. President. My
13 colleague's question contains the claim that the witness said that it was
14 his duty to take care of the protection of the population. And this is
15 not something that the citizen has said.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Benjamin.
17 MS. BENJAMIN: I didn't say the witness said that. I put it to
18 him as an army member if he didn't think the onus was on him.
19 Q. Can you answer, please.
20 A. In the municipality of Travnik throughout the wartime period and
21 before the war and during the wartime period, the civil political
22 authorities were in function. There was the War Presidency of the
23 Travnik municipality and they functioned within the municipality. And as
24 for the control of the territory and the protection of the population,
25 there was the Travnik police station and there were police stations in
1 Turbe and two police stations in Travnik. There was also a police
2 station in Mehurici. Their task was to control the territory and to
3 protect the population in their area.
4 The tasks of the BH army units and the tasks of the 306th was
5 first and foremost to mount a defence against the enemy, that's what I
6 already said, and then it was necessary to control and take care of acts
7 perpetrated by subordinates, either by officers or by members of the
9 Q. When you were dealing with the Guca Gora segment, you indicated
10 to my learned friend that there were times when you called on the
11 military police for assistance. Am I correct?
12 A. No, I didn't say anything like that in the course of my
14 Q. Did you have to call on the military police for assistance?
15 A. No.
16 Q. The 306th Brigade never worked along with the military police in
17 any way?
18 A. Perhaps I don't understand your question. The 306th Brigade had
19 a military police platoon of its own.
20 Q. Good. And you had to use them for assistance, didn't you?
21 A. The officer responsible for suggesting that the MP platoon be
22 used was the chief of security, or rather the assistant of the chief of
23 security. The military police wasn't linked to the staff in the brigade.
24 Q. I understand that, but I'm saying to you that there were
25 instances when, according to you, the chief of staff requested that the
1 military platoon be used. Am I correct? There were times.
2 A. I don't know. Perhaps you have misunderstood what I have said so
3 far. I did attend meetings at which this was discussed, and I know about
4 the military police being used in that manner. But I didn't request the
5 assistance of the military police, not in my capacity as the chief of
7 Q. Okay. And maybe I should explain to you when I say "you," I
8 don't necessarily mean you personally. The 306th Brigade. So there were
9 times when the platoon of the 306th military were called out to assist.
10 Am I correct?
11 A. Now I understand you better. I thought you were saying that I --
12 that you were referring to me as the chief of staff. But the 306th
13 always used the military police unit that it had.
14 Q. And that's the point we're getting to now. And you used them in
15 Guca Gora with the burning and the looting. Am I correct?
16 A. We used them in Guca Gora when it was necessary to provide
17 security for the Guca Gora monastery. We also used them because that was
18 in the immediate vicinity of the command post. We used them for the
19 protection of the command post. They were used to control what members
20 of the 306th Brigade's units were doing. In this case we were ordered to
21 provide security for the Guca Gora monastery in order to protect it. And
22 some military policemen were actually placed in the monastery itself.
23 Q. In hindsight now, do you think that it could have been possible
24 that this same military patrol platoon could have been used in instances
25 to control these unruly forces that patrolled the street? Do you think
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 that that should have been possible?
2 A. First of all, at that time -- well, I've tried to show you how
3 complex the situation was in the area. The military police platoon was
4 engaged at the forward command post of the 306th Brigade, which faced a
5 Serbian aggressor. They were to provide security for the command post.
6 Part of the military police were providing security for the monastery.
7 Part of them were securing the command post and part of them, given the
8 lack of men, were also engaged in combat operations.
9 But in spite of that the police -- the military police weren't
10 responsible for controlling civilians. And if the military police did go
11 on patrol, it was its responsibility -- it was only to control and check
12 up on members of the 306th Brigade.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a question for you at
14 this point. I would like to ask the usher to show this document. It
15 comes from the Defence. The number of the document is 704. This
16 document comes from the Defence.
17 Please read the document; it's an order from the 3rd Corps
18 commander and it concerns the issue of civilian prisoners looting and
19 destruction. You can see that in paragraph 1 it -- there is a request.
20 Please read it out in your language. Read paragraph number 1.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "In all units of the BH army in the
22 zone of responsibility of the 3rd Corps strictly forbid [as interpreted]
23 the capturing of unarmed civilians, the looting of property, and the
24 torching of facilities and infrastructure. Brigade commanders of
25 municipal staffs and the offices at all levels of control and command
1 shall take all possible measures to prevent those acts, and if this is
2 not possible they shall make note of the events, register the
3 perpetrators, and take the necessary measures to ensure that a
4 disciplinary and penal sanctions are imposed on the perpetrators."
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
6 And paragraph 2 that follows.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "In the event of looting or
8 torching of unarmed civilians -- if looting, burning, or the taking of
9 prisoner of unarmed civilians occurs and the competent officers do not
10 take appropriate measures, the commanders of brigades and municipal
11 defence staff shall be called to account. Instruct legal organs and
12 units to punish such conduct and address it urgently in keeping with
13 regulations and the law. Commanders of brigades and municipal staff
14 shall issue their orders strictly forbidding these acts and shall take
15 measures to ensure that all" --
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. This order dated
17 the 3rd of February, 1993. Was the 306th Brigade familiar with this
18 order? Were you familiar with it?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I mentioned this order I said
20 that we had received it.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. When you received
22 it and when we have a look at paragraph 1 and 2, should one draw the
23 conclusion that naturally it is forbidden for anyone to imprison
24 civilians, to damage their property -- to loot property or to damage it?
25 And in paragraph 2 it seems to state that if a military or
1 civilian authority failed, those in place should take the necessary
2 measures. And that overlaps with the question that was just put to you.
3 What sort of -- how do you interpret the official order that you
4 received? Can we see individuals who were involved in looting or in
5 other crimes? If that was the case, didn't the civilian or military
6 authorities have the responsibility to act? That is what the order
7 states. What conclusion would you draw on the basis of this order?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the first thing a soldier
9 should do is to examine and understand the task when receiving such an
10 order. And having examined this order, we came to the conclusion that
11 this referred to members of units. We were responsible for unit members
12 who committed such acts and on the basis of this order we were
13 responsible for such things. And it was on this basis that we issued our
14 order for all the units which were part of the 306th Brigade. But we
15 weren't responsible for civilians. That wasn't within our remit. That
16 was the responsibility of the civilian organs because there was a
17 civilian -- there were civilian authorities and there was a BH MUP, or
18 rather the Travnik police station.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But paragraph 2 seems to say,
20 and this was drafted by the command of the 3rd Corps, it seems to say
21 that if the responsible individuals take no action, others should take
22 action. That's what it says. This order was sent to the military
23 authorities, to the commands of brigades, and also to the civilian
24 commanders -- to civilian authorities, because this is mentioned in the
25 right-hand corner. This is not how you interpret the document.
1 Very well. We take note of what you have said in that case.
2 Usher, could you please take the document from the witness since
3 it has been tendered into evidence.
4 Please continue, Ms. Benjamin.
5 MS. BENJAMIN: Thank you, Mr. President. And --
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll give you the floor later.
8 MS. BENJAMIN:
9 Q. And Mr. Siljak, in fact I was just about to show you a document
10 and it's in a similar vein to the one Mr. President has just shown you
11 and it's Prosecution Exhibit 158/E. And it's an order from the
12 commander. But what is of interest to me is the second line because it
13 says: "During and after the comeback activities in your zone of
14 responsibility, large-scale looting and burning of facilities belonging
15 to the Croatian population has occurred. Such actions horrified the
16 whole world and gave erroneous interpretation of our arms struggle."
17 And the impression I get, Mr. Siljak, is that it was not only
18 Croatian soldiers that he was referring to but all sundry, civilians,
19 soldiers, everybody whose population has been destroyed, hence the reason
20 why I asked the question earlier on. Because you see, destruction of
21 property wasn't only done by one set of people, as you have said. There
22 was a group of unruly people who were destroying. And my question again
23 to you is: How did the 306th Brigade deal with it?
24 A. I haven't seen this document before. This was a document to be
25 delivered to the commander of the 306th Brigade command. As far as the
1 use of military police is concerned, the commander dealt with these
2 issues together with the chief of security or the assistant chief of
3 security and with the military police of the 306th Brigade.
4 Q. I believe that you haven't seen it but the point I was trying to
5 make is the population -- the safety of the population is being
6 considered. And that is the point I was trying to make to you. I really
7 believe that you probably haven't seen it.
8 Now --
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Benjamin, it's almost time.
10 We need a few minutes to deal with the documents.
11 Mr. Siljak, we will continue with the cross-examination next week
12 and we'll have the Judges' questions and further questions from Defence
13 counsel. I wish you a good stay here before returning to your country.
14 Before you return, you shouldn't have any contact with anyone
15 since you have taken the solemn declaration, you don't belong to either
16 of the parties. We will see you on Tuesday again at the hearing that
17 will start at 2.15. I will now ask the usher to escort you out of the
19 [The witness stands down]
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could we have
21 the corrections for the documents.
22 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I'll
23 try to be brief. So two comments.
24 The first one concerns the French transcript. DH511, in the
25 English version it was omitted yesterday. The English version will be
2 DH1098, the English version is erroneous. DH1098/E; not
4 DH826 has been admitted, not DH821 which is what the transcript
5 says. Naturally, the English version of this document is DH826/E.
6 DH782 has been admitted, not DH582, and this affects the English
7 version, too, which will be DH782/E.
8 DH640; the English version 640/E and not DH643/E, as the
9 transcript says.
10 And in the French transcript, DH830 was omitted, it seems, and
11 its English version is naturally DH830/E.
12 And now for the English transcript: DH511. The English version
13 doesn't the English version doesn't mention DH511, so it will be DH511/E.
14 DH603 is in the transcript DH603/E, not DH603/1.
15 DH613 is obviously DH613/E, not DH613 without anything afterwards
16 as the transcript says.
17 DH826 was tendered, not 821, which is what the transcript says.
18 The English version is naturally affected, too, and it will be DH826/E.
19 DH782 has been tendered into evidence, not DH582. And the
20 English version will be 782/E.
21 DH1044 has been tendered into evidence not DH104, which is what
22 the transcript states. The English version is also affected, and
23 tendered into evidence as DH1044/E.
24 DH830, the English version is obviously DH830/E and not DH83/E,
25 which is what the transcript says.
1 And finally, DH582 was tendered into evidence, not 582 without
2 DH. The English version is DH582/E.
3 I have now finished, Mr. President. Thank you.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar. I
5 assume that Defence counsel will be requesting that all the documents be
6 admitted into evidence. So, Mr. Registrar, you will have the weekend to
7 work on the numbers for these documents and on Tuesday it will be our
8 great pleasure to listen to you list the correct numbers. But you will
9 have to take your time since as we realise errors were committed because
10 of your speed of delivery.
11 Yes, Ms. Residovic, you may take the floor.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, in view of the
13 rules of this Tribunal and its jurisprudence according to which neither
14 of the parties may contact the witness until the witness reappears before
15 the Trial Chamber, but similarly, bearing in mind the practice of the
16 Tribunal according to which with the assistance of the registry and the
17 Victims and Witnesses Unit it might be possible for the witness to make
18 an effort which might serve to tender documents into evidence. In view
19 of all this Defence has spoken to the Prosecution. We would like to
20 request that the Trial Chamber allow us to have the witness in the
21 presence of representatives of the VWU and the registry, we would like --
22 and with the presence of the Prosecution and the Defence, we would like
23 the witness to come to the courtroom so we can put a plastic map over
24 this map and have the witness draw everything that he has already drawn
25 on the map in permanent colours, because this can't be accepted as
1 evidence since the colour gets defaced. This was the case in the Galic
2 case and my colleagues from the Prosecution agree to this suggestion.
3 Therefore we would be grateful if the Trial Chamber granted us leave to
4 have the witness permanently mark what he has already marked on the map
5 before this Trial Chamber.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I have understood you
7 correctly, the witness will be returning this afternoon and will use a
8 plastic sheet, a transparent sheet, to once again draw what he has
9 already drawn, and this will be in the presence of the registrar and the
11 Mr. Mundis, have you agreed to this procedure?
12 MR. MUNDIS: We have indeed, Mr. President, but it wasn't my
13 understanding it would be done this afternoon. We can certainly discuss,
14 if the Trial Chamber agrees, with the registry VWS and the Defence as to
15 the appropriate time and place where we can all be present to simply
16 observe the witness doing this.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Given that both parties
18 agree on the procedure, it's necessary to obtain the witness's agreement,
19 too. Perhaps he wants to go and ride his bicycle or something like that.
20 But he should be informed that he is required to return this afternoon.
21 As far as the Chamber is concerned, we don't object to the
22 witness coming back to the courtroom in your presence, in the presence of
23 the parties you have mentioned. This would -- this procedure would be
24 forbidden if only one party came with the witness in order to make these
25 amendments. But in this case, it's just a matter of making everything
1 clearer and more precise. It is not a problem. I would like to thank
2 you, and after this extended weekend I will see everyone back in the
3 courtroom on Tuesday at 2.15.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
5 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 26th day of
6 October, 2004, at 2.15 p.m.