1 Wednesday, 27 October 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Case
8 Number IT-01-47-T, the Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Registrar,
11 could we have the appearances for the Prosecution, please.
12 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning, Your
13 Honours, counsel, and everyone in and around the courtroom. For the
14 Prosecution, Mathias Neuner and Daryl Mundis, assisted by our case
15 manager, Mr. Andres Vatter.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Mundis. Could
17 we have appearances for the Defence counsel.
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President, good
19 morning, Your Honours. On behalf of General Enver Hadzihasanovic, Edina
20 Residovic, counsel; Stephane Bourgon, co-counsel; and Mirna Milanovic,
21 legal assistant. Thank you.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. The other Defence
24 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. On
25 behalf of Amir Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and Nermin
1 Mulalic, our legal assistant
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. The Trial Chamber
3 would like to greet everyone present as well as the registrar who will be
4 with us again today, as will the Prosecution, Defence counsel, the
5 accused, and everyone else in the courtroom including the interpreters.
6 We have to deal with the exhibits today, so I will give the floor
7 to the Defence so that they can confirm that they want to tender into
8 evidence the exhibits in the binders plus -- indicated in the binders,
9 plus the map. Yes, you may take the floor.
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Defence counsel suggests that all the documents that were shown to the
12 witness and that were recognised by the witness as his documents or
13 documents from his own brigade and all documents in which he identified
14 facts with regard to which he testified before this Trial Chamber and
15 said that they were true facts, we suggest that all these documents be
16 tendered into evidence. And in this list of documents, in Section 1, we
17 suggest that 0439, 0515, 0526, 0531, 0730, 0773, 0776, 0970 be admitted
18 into evidence.
19 Under Section 2, we suggest that the following 0674 be admitted;
20 0797, 0831, 0832, 0842, 0873, 0971, 0976, 0981, 1001, 1011, 1013, 1014,
21 1020, 1037, 1053. We suggest that these be admitted into evidence.
22 Under Section 3 are the documents we suggest be admitted into
23 evidence: 0446, 0774, 0771, 0913.
24 Under Section 4, we have evidence that was shown to the witness,
25 but this was already admitted as Defence exhibits or as Prosecution
1 exhibits. We also suggest that the map be admitted into evidence, which
2 was used by the map in the course of the witness's testimony.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you. Does the
4 Prosecution have any comments?
5 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, we have no objection to the documents
6 as listed by my learned colleague being admitted into evidence.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
8 Mr. Registrar, could we have final exhibit numbers for these
9 documents which will surely be the same ones, but we have the issue of
10 the map to deal with.
11 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you. We will use the
12 same numbers, in fact, so for the sake of the transcript, the first
13 document, DH439; English version DH439/E. DH0515; the English version
14 will be DH515/E. DH526; the English version will be DH526/E. DH531; the
15 English version will be DH531/E. DH730 admitted into evidence, and the
16 English version will DH730/E. DH773; English version DH773/E. DH776;
17 the English version will be DH776/E. DH896; the English version will be
19 Then we have the documents which were shown on the 22nd of
20 October 2004, DH674 --
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, 970 is missing.
22 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] That's correct. I apologise, Mr.
23 President. DH970; the English version will be DH970/E.
24 And I will now continue. DH707; the English version will be
25 DH707/E. DH797; the English version will be DH797/E. DH831; the English
1 version 831/E. DH831/E. DH82; the English version will be 832/E.
2 DH842; the English version will be DH842/E. DH873; it will be DH873/E
3 for the English version. DH971; English version will be DH971/E. DH976;
4 the English version will be DH976/E. DH986; the English version will be
5 DH986/E. DH1001; the English version will be DH1001/E. DH1011; the
6 English version will be DH1011/E. DH1013; the English version will be
7 DH1013/E. DH1014; the English version will be DH1014/E. DH1020; the
8 English version will be DH1020/E. DH1037; the English version will be
9 DH1037/E. DH1053; the English version DH1053/E.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, in line 17, the
11 first document, 614, you should mention it again because it isn't
12 contained in the English transcript. Line 17, we have DH614 and a few
13 dots and nothing else. So please, let's have another -- please mention
14 the number again.
15 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] I apologise. DH674; the English
16 version, in fact, will be DH674/E.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We have four other
19 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] DH446; the English version will
20 be DH446/E. DH704; the English version DH704/E. DH711; the English
21 version DH711/E. DH913; the English version will be DH913/E.
22 And there is the map that we still have to deal with. It was
23 signed by the witness yesterday, and I suggest that we give it Exhibit
24 Number DH341. This follows the numbers provided us by the Defence.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Everyone has taken
1 note of the exhibit numbers. There are no comments to be made. And I
2 think the Prosecution has produced a document. Are they requesting that
3 this document be admitted into evidence? Mr. Mundis.
4 MR. MUNDIS: Yes, Mr. President. The Prosecution would
5 respectfully request that that document be admitted into evidence.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Defence Counsel?
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] We stand by the comments we made
8 in connection with this document, and we object to this document being
9 admitted into evidence.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The Trial Chamber
11 will render its decision after the break. And the other Defence team,
12 any comments?
13 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we have no
14 comments to make. We have no objections to raise.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Mundis.
16 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, if I could very briefly. Perhaps it
17 might be of benefit to the Trial Chamber as well as for the purposes of
18 the transcript if one of my colleagues from the Hadzihasanovic team could
19 briefly explain with respect to DH341 the overlay of the map, the
20 markings that were made with respect to locating that on top of this map
21 because there were certain marks that were made so that if in the future
22 the parties or the Trial Chamber wishes that overlay to be placed back on
23 the map, perhaps we can have both this map identified for the record as
24 well as they can explain the hash marks that were made so that overlay
25 corresponds to what the witness testified -- or the markings that the
1 witness made. Otherwise, we might not be able to place the overlay in
2 the precise locations corresponding to where the witness made the
3 markings. I think that would be very helpful for the record.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. The witness added some
5 indications, some markings on the map. Could the Defence counsel provide
6 us with any clarifications so that it's recorded in the transcript.
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] As we know, at the request of the
8 Defence, the witness drew the lines representing the Serbian forces. He
9 used red to indicate them. And then the witness indicated the lines held
10 by the BH Army. He drew these lines in blue.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Perhaps the camera could --
12 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It doesn't matter.
14 I thought it was the same map because we can't see very well from here.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] The witness indicated HVO -- the
16 positions of HVO forces in green. If you follow the transcript, it's
17 possible to understand the map. Afterwards, the witness marked the
18 command post of the 306th Brigade. He used an initial letter in our own
19 language, and then he indicated the forward command post facing the
20 Serbian forces. He also marked this position with the initial letter in
21 our language, and he provided clarifications that are contained in the
23 The witness then indicated the position of the headquarters of
24 the commands of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Battalions. He also wrote 1B,
25 which would mean the "1st Battalion."
1 Then the witness encircled positions or places inhabited by
2 Bosniaks and Croats. He encircled entities that were inhabited by
3 Bosniaks. He marked these positions in blue, and positions inhabited by
4 Croats were marked in green.
5 And then he drew lines to indicate the territory under the full
6 control of either the BH Army, and he indicated the territory under the
7 full control of the HVO in green.
8 And he also used green to indicate the permanent checkpoints, the
9 permanent HVO checkpoints, and he marked these positions with the letter
10 P to show that these checkpoints were permanent checkpoints manned by
11 armed men. There were a number of such checkpoints, one on Ovnak as far
12 as I can remember. I don't know where the others are. But this can be
13 seen on the map and it can be understood on the basis of his testimony.
14 And then he indicated temporary checkpoints which were set up in crisis
15 situations. And he marked these positions with PP, which in our language
16 would mean "temporary checkpoint."
17 I think those were the main elements marked on the map, whereas
18 everything else can be followed on the basis of the transcript. This is
19 what the interpreter did yesterday when the witness marked the map on the
20 basis of what he had said the other day.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Mundis.
22 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. And also I think we
23 should indicate that the overlay was used with respect to the 1 to 25.000
24 scale map that is mounted on a rather large piece of wood in the
25 courtroom. And also, the witness made in the corners of the map some
1 cross marks indicating I believe the grid reference points on the map so
2 that the overlay can be positioned correctly on the map so that the lines
3 are, in effect, in the correct position. He made several cross marks
4 with the numerical indicators of the grid reference so that if the
5 overlay is again placed on the map the numerical cross-references he made
6 in the corners can be matched up with the grid references on the map so
7 we have the overlay in the precise location on the map.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for this information.
9 Mr. Registrar, we have been told that the number of the map will change.
10 It won't be DH341 but DH342. Mr. Registrar.
11 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] I apologise, Mr. President. The
12 exhibit number of this map will in fact be DH342.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. DH342.
14 Yes, you may take the floor.
15 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I
16 just wanted to add something. In the course of our examination, the
17 witness indicated the place called Maline. He used a full circle to mark
18 this place, and he also marked the place called Hajderove Njive in a
19 similar way. It was a circle which was coloured in. He indicated the
20 road from Hajderove Njive to Maline, and he said that the distance was 12
21 kilometres between those two places.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We take note of
23 what you have said. We'll rule about -- on the Prosecution's request
24 after the pause.
25 We have two witnesses who have to be heard by the end of
1 Thursday. One hour and a half has been scheduled for today's witness.
2 Please don't go beyond the allocated time.
3 I will now ask the usher to call the witness into the courtroom.
4 [The witness entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good day, sir. Are you
6 receiving the interpretation of what I'm saying? If so, please say so.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can hear you very well.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the request of the Defence,
9 you will be testifying today. Before you testify, you must take the
10 solemn declaration. In order to do so, I would like you to tell me what
11 your first and last names are, and could you also tell me your date of
12 birth and place of birth.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Hamed. My surname,
14 Mesanovic. I was born on the 4th of August in 1950 in Travnik in Bosnia
15 and Herzegovina.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What position do you hold at
17 the moment? Are you employed or are you retired?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm employed. I work in the state
19 organs of the administration of the Central Bosnian canton in Travnik.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In 1992 and 1993, what position
21 did you hold? That was over ten years ago.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When the aggression against Bosnia
23 and Herzegovina was committed, I was --
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm not asking you about that.
25 I would like to know what your position was in 1992 and 1993. Were you a
1 civilian? Were you a member of the military? What position did you
2 hold? What duties did you perform?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm trying to tell you about the
4 period. I was the director of a state company in Travnik until the
5 beginning of the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Then I
6 volunteered to join the Territorial Defence. And until the end of the
7 war, in the course of 1992 and in the course of 1993, I was at the
8 defence lines of the BH Army, or rather, prior to the formation of the BH
9 Army, I was at the defence lines of the Territorial Defence.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Did you have
11 military rank or were you an ordinary soldier?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When the war started, I was 2nd
13 lieutenant. I was conferred that rank in the former JNA. I left the JNA
14 with that rank in 1974. I left the JNA with the rank of 2nd lieutenant.
15 And towards the end of the war, I was conferred the rank of colonel. And
16 that was the rank I had when the war ended.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Have you already
18 testified before an international or national court with regard to the
19 events that occurred in 1992 and 1993, or is this the first time?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the first time that I will
21 be testifying before an international court, and I have never testified
22 before a national court.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could you please
24 read out the solemn declaration that the usher will show you. You can
25 read it out now.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
2 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may sit down.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to
6 Defence counsel who will be examining you, I would like to provide you
7 with some information, as I do whenever a witness comes to testify here.
8 You have just taken a solemn declaration. You have sworn to
9 speak the truth. That means that you can't give false testimony because
10 in the case of false testimony you could be subject to a prosecution, to
11 prosecution and sanctions possible in the case of false testimony. If a
12 witness played a role in the field and provides information that could be
13 used against the witness, you should be aware of the fact that when
14 testifying, you're granted a form of immunity. So whatever you say
15 cannot be used in any subsequent prosecution against you.
16 Another important piece of information is that you will have to
17 answer the questions that will be put to you. The Defence will conduct
18 its examination-in-chief. And in the course of their examination, their
19 questions will not be leading. Their questions must be neutral ones, and
20 you should answer those questions. However, in the course of the
21 cross-examination, the questions put to you can be formulated in a
22 different manner. Try to answer to the best of your ability. If you
23 fail to understand a question, because sometimes the questions can be
24 very complicated, if you don't understand the question, ask the person
25 putting the question to you to rephrase it. If any difficulties arise,
1 inform the Trial Chamber of the fact.
2 According to the Rules of this Tribunal, the Judges sitting
3 before you may ask you at any point in time questions. The Judges may
4 ask you questions to clarify some of your answers given to one of the
5 parties, or if the Judges feel that some information is lacking, the
6 Judges may want to ask you questions to obtain the missing information.
7 But as a rule, if the appropriate questions are put to you by the
8 parties, it won't be necessary for the Judges to put questions to you.
9 The Judges will put questions to you only if this is in the interests of
10 justice. So roughly speaking, this is how your testimony will proceed.
11 And if everything goes as planned, it should be over today. You won't
12 have to stay here for a number of days.
13 Without wasting any more time, we have about one hour left before
14 the break. I will now give the floor to the Defence.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
16 WITNESS: HAMED MESANOVIC
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 Examined by Ms. Residovic:
19 Q. Good morning, Mr. Mesanovic.
20 A. Good morning, Defence Counsel.
21 Q. You have told us where and when you were born. Can you please
22 tell us where you lived after that.
23 A. I lived in Travnik.
24 Q. Mr. Mesanovic, you must have noticed that everything you say is
25 being interpreted, and that's why you paused. I'm going to ask you to
1 make a break, a little pause between my question and your answer. This
2 will help the interpreters interpret you, and everybody in the courtroom
3 will be able to follow your answers. Did you understand that?
4 A. Yes, I did.
5 Q. Thank you very much.
6 You have also told us that you left the JNA when the rank of the
7 2nd lieutenant. Before the war, did you have a war assignment; and if
8 so, where was that?
9 A. When I left the JNA where I completed the school for reserve
10 officers of the infantry.
11 Q. You may continue.
12 A. I received the rank of the 2nd lieutenant, and I was assigned to
13 the reserve units of the JNA. When I obtained my assignment, I was
14 supposed to go for training and for lectures, but I didn't like the army
15 and I avoided the training and the lectures. And that's why I did not
16 get promotion in the reserve.
17 Q. Thank you very much. Since you lived in Travnik, can you tell us
18 who was it who lived in Travnik and what was the relationship like
19 between the inhabitants of Travnik before the war.
20 A. Before the war, according to the 1991 census, there were about 50
21 per cent Bosniaks, about 41 to 43 per cent Croats, and 7 per cent Serbs.
22 There were also some other minorities in Travnik. And the urban area of
23 Travnik had about 18.000 inhabitants, and the entire municipality had
24 about 70.000 inhabitants. All this is according to the 1991 census.
25 We all lived in harmony, as brothers. We visited each other. We
1 were godmothers and godfathers to our children, and we celebrated our
2 religious holidays with each other.
3 Q. Thank you very much. I believe this will suffice for us to
4 understand the situation. Mr. Mesanovic, can you tell us in the years --
5 in the 1990s, did any changes occur and what kind of changes were those?
6 A. In the 1990s, the former Yugoslavia started breaking up. New
7 parties were formed. The fight for power started among the parties. And
8 the system of power and the functioning of the state administration
9 started to change.
10 Q. After these changes, who was given the power in Travnik? Who won
11 the power in Travnik?
12 A. Two parties, the SDA and the HDZ.
13 Q. Mr. Mesanovic, in 1991, were there some developments taking place
14 in the former Yugoslavia which had an impact on the situation in Travnik?
15 If that was the case, can you please briefly explain what this was all
17 A. I have already said that there was a gradual dissolution of the
18 former Yugoslavia, and this is all well known. And war started in
19 certain parts of the former Yugoslavia. The JNA units started
20 withdrawing from everywhere else, and some of those units arrived in the
21 town of Travnik.
22 Q. You have already responded to the question put to you by the
23 President of the Chamber, and you said that at the beginning of 1992, you
24 volunteered to join the Territorial Defence. Please tell us: When
25 exactly did you join the Territorial Defence, if you can remember?
1 A. It was in April 1992.
2 Q. Why did you join the TO?
3 A. The developments in Yugoslavia, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in
4 the general area of Travnik indicated to me that the situation is
5 becoming more unfavourable for this area. In the Vlasic plateau, units
6 of the JNA became stationed. They took certain positions, and their
7 excuse was that they were carrying out military manoeuvres. They banned
8 passage and arrival at Vlasic. I had a weekend cottage in Babanovac, and
9 I couldn't reach it because I had to go through Mount Vlasic. When I
10 wanted to pass through, I was stopped at a checkpoint. That's the first
11 time I saw people wearing Chetnik uniforms. Members of the Croatian
12 people established their own military formations or groups.
13 Q. So these are the reasons that prompted you?
14 A. Yes. People came from Croatia with arms. They started moving
15 around town. And the only way for me to do my bit to the survival of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina is to join the armed forces.
17 Q. Mr. Mesanovic, at that moment, was there an armed force that was
18 a legitimate and legal force of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
19 A. In 1992, when Bosnia-Herzegovina was proclaimed as an independent
20 state, the only legal force of Bosnia-Herzegovina was the Territorial
22 Q. Thank you. You have told us that you joined voluntarily. At
23 that moment, did you have a certain duty or position in the Territorial
24 Defence; and if that is the case, what position was that?
25 A. Since I was a reserve officer of the former JNA, and since I have
1 a degree in law and I had spent a lot of time working in the state
2 administration, I enjoyed certain reputation and respect in town. And
3 they asked me to become the commander of the regional staff. This was
4 proposed to me by Zijad Sehic, the then commander of the staff.
5 Q. Can you tell us what the regional staff is. What units would be
6 under its control or in its strength?
7 A. The municipal staff consisted of regional staffs and detachments
8 which were deployed in certain parts of the municipality in accordance
9 with the mobilisation plan. I was supposed to take over the regional
10 staff of Travnik; that is, the town, the urban region, and I was supposed
11 to link up some units which were there in particular neighbourhoods.
12 Those were groups of people who rallied together to defend their homes.
13 Those were spontaneous rallies. And I was supposed to cover that
14 particular area.
15 Q. Mr. Mesanovic, how long did you remain in the position of the
16 commander of the regional staff; and what positions did you held [as
17 interpreted] in the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina up to the end of 1993?
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I don't know
19 whether there is any other word to translate this, but I believe that
20 there is a mistake in the interpretation. The regional staff has been
21 translated as regional staff. It is possible that this is the right
22 interpretation; however, so far we have been talking about district
23 staff. So I would kindly ask the interpreters to make a distinction to
24 that effect. This is just my objection to the transcript.
25 So the regional -- the district staff is smaller than the
1 municipal staff, and the regional staff is a bigger -- covers a bigger
2 area than the municipal area.
3 Can we please continue.
4 Q. How long did you stay in the position of the district staff, and
5 what are the positions that you held up to the end of 1993? Can you
6 please give us your answer to this question.
7 A. I remained in the position of the commander of the district staff
8 up to November 1993. At that moment, brigades were established.
9 Q. What year was that?
10 A. It was 1993. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I apologise. 1992.
11 Q. I apologise. We are still having mistakes in the transcript.
12 Can we have your answer again. I don't want to interpret your answers.
13 You said that you became the commander of the regional staff. What is
14 the regional staff and what its superior command?
15 A. I became the commander of the district staff in April 1992. The
16 district staff covers the area of the urban part of Travnik. Its
17 superior command is the municipal staff of the Territorial Defence, with
18 its headquarters in Travnik as well.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have a problem in the
21 interpretation. When the witness says "staff," in French, the
22 translation is "sectoriel," and in the English the translation is
23 "district" when he mentioned the regional staff. So he is not the chief
24 of the regional staff; his position was localised, and it covered the
25 town of Travnik. Isn't that the case?
1 You may continue.
2 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. As you can see, there are some additional problems. I may be
4 leading you, but can you tell us whether your district staff was only one
5 of the units of the municipal staff?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Which was your superior command? Who was it?
8 A. The municipal staff of the Territorial Defence of Travnik.
9 Q. And which was the superior command to the municipal staff?
10 A. The regional staff of the Territorial Defence headquartered in
12 Q. Thank you. You said that you became the commander of the
13 district staff in Travnik, in the town of Travnik, in April and remained
14 in that position up to November 1992. What duties and positions did you
15 occupy in the BiH Army after that?
16 A. I became the chief of the municipal staff of TO Travnik. I
17 remained in that position until the end of 1992.
18 Q. Before you became the chief of the municipal staff, did you have
19 more complete information about what the Territorial Defence was within
20 the overall system of defence?
21 A. Yes, I was fully informed. When Bosnia and Herzegovina was
22 recognised as an independent state, the Territorial Defence was
23 proclaimed the official armed force, military force, excluding the
24 police, the official armed force of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its task
25 was to defend Bosnia and Herzegovina from any form of aggression.
1 Q. At the moment when you joined the Territorial Defence, you, as
2 the commander initially of the district staff and then of the municipal
3 staff, were you aware of the equipment that the municipal staff and the
4 municipal Territorial Defence had at their disposal?
5 A. I know it very well. When Zijad Caber appointed me the commander
6 of the district staff of the Travnik TO, he did not place anything at my
7 disposal. I didn't have manpower. I didn't have arms. I didn't have
8 any equipment.
9 Then I called a couple of my friends. I persuaded them to join
10 the defence. And together with them, I established my command. We based
11 our command in the premises of a company, and then we started visiting
12 those spontaneously gathered and rallied people to try to persuade them
13 to join us because we were the only official military formation. We told
14 them that should they not join us, that they would be considered
15 paramilitaries. And then we used the public media, that is, the Radio
16 Travnik, to broadcast our information on taking conscripts for the TO.
17 Q. How many weapons did you have?
18 A. We started with six barrels, six hunting rifles that were my own.
19 And then we went to Travnik and purchased from a Croat. I know that his
20 name is Marinko. He was the owner of a coffee bar. We bought two Zagis
21 from him. It was the first time I ever saw that type of weapon.
22 I am following the transcript.
23 And then I made a list of all the weapons that the population
24 had, that they had purchased on the black market. So at the beginning,
25 we had a total of some 20 barrels.
1 Q. You said, Mr. Mesanovic, that you approached those groups and
2 asked them to join the TO. In the former system, who was responsible for
4 A. In the former system, the body responsible for mobilisation was
5 the secretary for national defence, and it was a municipal administration
7 Q. How come that mobilisation was not carried out in keeping with
8 the mobilisation plans that existed at the time?
9 A. It was impossible for several reasons. Firstly, when the power
10 and positions within parties were divided among the parties -- the
11 parties being the HDZ and the SDA -- the secretary of national defence
12 became a Croat. Everything that was on the strength of the reserve force
13 of the JNA and of the TO was mixed population which reflected the
14 breakdown of the Travnik population before the war. So it consisted of
15 Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats. Some of the Serbs moved to the territory
16 which was already under the control of the former JNA, and some of the
17 Croats joined the HVO. At that time, they were not called the HVO. They
18 were called the Croatian Army. And there were some other units organised
19 by Croats such as the HOS. So it was impossible to carry out
20 mobilisation in keeping with the prescribed procedure and regulations.
21 Q. You have briefly explained the situation that you faced as the
22 commander of the district staff. And now, can you please tell us, at the
23 time when you were facing such circumstances, were there some combat
24 activities taking place in Travnik? And if that was the case, what was
25 the combat situation like?
1 A. The Serbian and Montenegrin aggressors started being active on
2 the territory of Travnik in several ways. First they started expelling
3 Bosniak and Croatian population from the parts of the territories that
4 they had occupied. Then open combat action started against Travnik, more
5 specifically Turbe and the Biljani region. At that time, they took the
6 highest peak of Mount Vlasic, Biljanski, which had been guarded by the
7 police force.
8 Q. The onslaught of the Serbian forces, where was it stopped with
9 respect to the town of Travnik?
10 A. This was stopped in the region of Turbe, in the region of Karaula
11 village, Sesici village, in the region of the Sesic mount [as
12 interpreted] where the regional staff of Travnik had its position, so
13 that means my men were there. And then the villages of Potkraj, Secevo,
14 Paklarevo. Towards Travnik and towards the Bila Valley, towards
15 Neokrnje, not easy to describe. But in brief outlines, this is where the
16 defence lines were put up.
17 Q. Mr. Mesanovic, can you tell us briefly with regard to such a
18 military situation and the situation with the legal defence forces, what
19 was the situation in the town itself and whether this situation in a
20 certain way had an impact on the establishment of defence units.
21 A. The situation in town was very chaotic. A lot of refugees came
22 from Bosanska Krajina. Those were people who had been expelled by the
23 Serbs and Montenegrins. They arrived in buses, cargo trucks. They would
24 be transported to our positions. Then we would stop our combat
25 activities. The separation line was about 3 to 4 kilometres wide. And
1 these people were sent to us on foot, to the town of Travnik. Very
2 often, they would strip them naked, and they would be sent to us naked in
3 huge numbers. Very often, it would occur that they would separate girls
4 and women from the rest of the groups, and they would take them in an
5 unknown direction. They would separate them from their families, and
6 they would send the families off to Travnik.
7 Those people were taken care of in the town of Travnik. And at
8 times, there were between 10 and 15.000 of them. And I told at the very
9 beginning that the town itself had no more than 16.000 inhabitants.
10 There were a lot of armed groups moving about the town of
11 Travnik. There were our members, members of the Territorial Defence.
12 There were members of the Croatian Defence Council. There were the
13 Croatian armed forces, which did not cooperate with anybody. They were
14 separate military groups. There was the civilian police. And the
15 refugees from certain towns and regions that had arrived in Travnik
16 started establishing their own bodies of power. I'm not talking about
17 the territorial administration, but organisational administration, and
18 they formed their own police stations, for example. We had the CSB Banja
19 Luka, the Security Services Centre of Banja Luka. The organised units
20 arrived from Krajina, the 1st and the 7th Brigade which were stationed in
21 the town of Travnik.
22 Q. At the time, in 1992 and 1993, who had power in Travnik? What
23 were the legal authorities in Travnik?
24 A. For me, the legal organs of power, at the time and now, were the
25 legally elected organs of power. That's as far as the civilian
1 structures are concerned. We had the municipal assembly of Travnik, and
2 there was the police under their control as well as the civilian
3 protection. The legal organs of power in the military sense consisted of
4 the Territorial Defence. But at the same time, that these legal organs
5 of power were formed, the power organs of Herceg Bosna were formed. A
6 decree was issued. They established their own organs of power. They
7 threatened the legal organs of power. They said they could participate
8 in power, but, let's say, under the organs of Herceg Bosna. We were told
9 that we Bosniaks could join the organs of power of Herceg Bosna. The
10 authorities in Sarajevo immediately issued a decree declaring all organs
11 of power of Herceg Bosna to be invalid.
12 We attempted to solve that problem. I personally didn't
13 participate in those attempts as far as the civilian structures were
14 concerned. But I know there were meetings, and we tried to establish
15 common institutions, common organs of power. We tried to form a joint
16 army. We tried to defend Travnik because the Serbian and Montenegrin
17 aggressor was threatening our defence lines. And if Travnik fell, the
18 entire Lasva valley would be threatened as well as Vitez, Novi Travnik,
19 and Zenica. These towns would be surrounded.
20 Q. Mr. Mesanovic, thank you. Let me now ask you the following:
21 Given the function of the legal civilian authorities and the functions of
22 the war presidency, could you tell me whether the Territorial Defence in
23 1992 and later, whether the BH Army had any control over the civilian
24 organs of power?
25 A. No, it didn't have any control over them. And according to the
1 regulations, it wasn't possible for them to have such control.
2 Q. Since you have already said that in 1993 you were the chief of
3 the municipal staff, could you tell me whether the commander of the staff
4 was a member of the Travnik Municipality War Presidency.
5 A. No. I could elaborate on this as I spent my entire career --
6 almost my entire career in the state organs, working in state organs.
7 Q. Yes. But don't go into too many details.
8 A. Before the war, and before the new authorities were established
9 on the basis of the elections, the war presidency was composed of the
10 president of the municipal assembly; his deputy; the president of the
11 executive committee of the municipality; the presidents of local
12 councils; presidents of social organisations, the social and political
13 organs; the commander of the barracks; the commander of the municipal
14 staff of the Territorial Defence; the commander of the civilian
15 protection; and the secretary of the secretariat for national defence.
16 After the elections this system no longer functioned, for the
17 simple reason that we didn't have social or political associations. We
18 didn't have municipal councils. So the war presidency was composed by
19 the chief of the municipality, the presidents of clubs, the secretary of
20 the secretariat for national defence, and the secretary for the Ministry
21 of the Interior. The commander of the municipal staff of the Territorial
22 Defence wasn't in the war presidency.
23 Q. Mr. Mesanovic, since the Territorial Defence is an armed force,
24 it became separate from certain organs of civilian power in this manner.
25 Could you tell me whether you have information about how the civilian
1 authorities accepted the fact that they did not have absolute control
2 over the Territorial Defence. Do you have any information about this?
3 A. Well, it was very difficult for them to accept this. They wanted
4 to have a constant overview of the military situation; they wanted to be
5 in command of military structures in a certain sense. Very frequently,
6 they would go to the defence lines and take cigarettes to the soldiers.
7 This is as far as my units are concerned. When distributing
8 cigarettes -- because cigarettes were the greatest problem in the
9 war -- when distributing cigarettes, they would say, If your commander
10 can't provide you with cigarettes, well, we have brought cigarettes for
11 you so that you can know who is taking care of you, so that you can know
12 who is thinking about you.
13 Q. We won't go into that now. But did the civilian organs have any
14 responsibilities with regard to the army? And if that was the case, what
15 were they obliged to do in order to make sure that the army could
16 function as necessary?
17 A. They had to provide logistical support for the army. That was
18 their duty.
19 Q. I'd like you to be shown a series of documents now.
20 The series of document that you have before you, have a look at
21 the section entitled "Other Documents." It's in the second half of the
22 bundle. There's a divider, and you'll see at the top the title "Other
24 A. "Other documents."
25 Q. Have a look at document number 4, and then number 6, and then I
1 will have some questions for you.
2 A. Let me just clarify something. Number 4, that's the decision
3 you're referring to?
4 Q. Yes. It has the number 0853 at the top. And there's number 6,
5 and the number at the top of the document is 0912.
6 A. Very well.
7 Q. If you've had a look at the first document, the decision, it's a
8 decision taken by the war presidency on the 8th of April, tell me whether
9 this decision reflects what you were talking about a minute ago. The
10 civilian organs of power wanted to get involved in the army's duties?
11 A. I haven't seen this decision before. But this is a typical
12 example of the attempts to meddle with army responsibilities.
13 Q. Please have a look at Document Number 6 now. It's a decision
14 from the war presidency.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you know who Husein Delic is, the person mentioned in the
18 A. Yes, I know this gentleman. He works in the Ministry of the
19 Interior in Travnik today, these days, too.
20 Q. Does the document you have before you indicate the
21 responsibilities that the civilian authorities had with regard to the
22 regular police force?
23 A. Yes. This is in accordance with the regulations. And the
24 responsibility of the war presidency at that time, that is to say, of the
25 civilian authorities, was to appoint members of the police.
1 Q. Thank you. Tell me: Since in response to a prior question you
2 said that sometime in November you took over a new position, could you
3 tell me whether at some time in 1992, there were certain organisational
4 changes made to the army structure, army organisation. And if so, could
5 you tell me what sort of changes were made, and could you again tell me
6 of the position that you assumed.
7 A. At a briefing that was held in the municipal staff, and I as a
8 commander of the district staff attended it, we were told that the
9 Territorial Defence would be reorganised, and that brigades should be
10 established. Units of the Travnik district staff were to become part of
11 the newly established 312th Brigade in Travnik. As brigade commander,
12 Zijad Caber was appointed, and I was to take over the position of chief
13 of the Territorial Defence municipal staff.\
14 Q. Who was the commander of the municipal staff at the time?
15 A. At the time, the commander of the municipal staff was Mr. Ribo
17 Q. And what was the role of the municipal staff, then? If you could
18 explain this to us briefly. What sort of forces did it have at its
20 A. Let me just provide a clarification: Why do I emphasise -- why
21 do I point out to Mr. Caber and Mr. Ribo? Why do I emphasise the title
22 Mr.? At the time, there were no ranks, so everyone was called Mr. On
23 the basis of the instructions we received and on the basis of the
24 documents we had, the municipal staff was supposed to form two
25 anti-sabotage detachments to protect features of military importance from
1 being sabotaged.
2 Q. Did you form these units? What sort of equipment did you have?
3 A. When I was the chief of the municipal staff, Ahmed Kulenovic was
4 appointed as commander. He was a professional officer from the former
5 JNA. And we tried to carry out the order, but we were never able to do
6 so because brigades were given priority when it came to recruitment. And
7 they were never up to strength in accordance with the establishment. So
8 we weren't able to form anti-sabotage detachments.
9 As far as weapons are concerned, all the weapons were handed over
10 to the brigade. We just took over my hunting weapon to the municipal
11 staff, and I know that two combatants came from Vitez. They brought
12 automatic rifles, and they joined the municipal staff. Those are weapons
13 that we had, and we used these weapons to protect the command.
14 Q. Thank you. My colleagues have just pointed out - because I'm not
15 listening to the French interpretation - they have pointed out that the
16 French interpretation of what you have called anti-sabotage detachment is
17 a sabotage detachment. They have translated it as sabotage detachment,
18 whereas the interpretation into English is correct. So could the
19 interpreters please take this into account. Thank you.
20 Mr. Mesanovic, I apologise for having interrupted you. You were
21 mentioning the weapons you had. What sort of men was the municipal staff
22 composed of at the time? Who was in the municipal staff?
23 A. At the time, I don't know the exact number. But we had about 100
24 men, more or less. These were handicapped men, disabled men, or men who
25 weren't able-bodied men so they couldn't join brigades. We used them as
1 guards. So they did not join these anti-sabotage detachments.
2 Q. Could you please have a look at another document in the same
3 bundle, in Section 2 under number 5.
4 A. 1102. Is that the one you're referring to?
5 Q. 0880 is the document I'm referring to. It's under "Other
6 Documents" and it's after number 5.
7 A. 0880, yes.
8 Q. Have a look at it, please.
9 A. You're thinking about item 4?
10 Q. This document is dated the 17th of April. Does it reflect what
11 you have just mentioned? "The men of which the municipal staff was
13 A. Yes. This is a document signed by General Mehmed Alagic, and on
14 the basis of a report or rather on the basis of information about the
15 actual situation in the field.
16 Q. Could you please tell me whether the municipal staff at the time
17 had a military police unit as one of its organs?
18 A. No. It didn't have a military police force, nor was it in a
19 position to have such a force given its establishment and the
20 regulations. And that was the reality. We did not have a military
21 police force.
22 Q. Mr. Mesanovic, could you please have a look at Document Number 1.
23 0530, and that's in Section 2. And in Section 3, have a look at Document
25 A. Yes, I've had a look at these documents. Do you have a question
1 you'd like to ask me?
2 Q. Document 0530 and Document 0708, do these documents reflect what
3 you've just testified about? That is to say, whether there was a
4 military police force within the municipal staff?
5 A. Yes, this document is dated the 19th of December 1992. And this
6 document explains that the military police which used to be part of the
7 municipal staff was becoming part of the 312th Mountain Brigade, and that
8 is what is done. I don't know whether some of these men went to join
9 other units, but I know that the commander and most of the men joined the
10 312th Brigade. And here we can see that in Document 0708 that the
11 military police was assigned to certain units, and this is, in fact, what
12 was done.
13 Q. Mr. Mesanovic, could we now move on to some questions that have
14 to do with another field. You said that the HVO was formed and certain
15 other armed forces. Could you tell me whether there were any problems
16 and if so what sort of problems were caused in Travnik by the fact that a
17 parallel military structure had been established. And you, as part of
18 the Territorial Defence or you in the municipal staff, did you take any
19 measures to deal with the situation? If you know anything about this,
20 could you please tell us what you know.
21 A. The existence of a parallel military structure caused very
22 serious problems as far as the BH Army is concerned. Above all, the HVO
23 had well-armed troops. They were all in uniform. They had good
24 logistical supplies, and they had very experienced combatants from the
25 battlefield in Croatia.
1 As they immediately said that we represented a military force
2 that they did not recognise, this caused us serious problems. I
3 personally had problems at the line from Turbe when we were -- where we
4 were holding positions for a certain period of time. They kept driving
5 my troops away from the lines. They would insult them. They would say
6 that they were a paramilitary formation.
7 In the town itself, there were verbal conflicts and conflicts of
8 other kinds between various groups and our members. And after a certain
9 period of time, they started setting up checkpoints. Rather, they
10 immediately set up checkpoints in the territory where they had inhabited
11 places. I'm referring to the municipality. And initially, they would
12 let our units pass through, but this depended on their goodwill. Later,
13 they made it necessary to have permits, so we would have to inform them
14 in advance. We would have to tell them about our forces, about the
15 vehicles we had, about the weapons we had. And if something was not
16 correct with regard to the permits, they would send men back. And in
17 parts of the municipality, not the part under my control, they would also
18 stop civilian buses, and they would drive away the soldiers from the
19 buses who were going to lines. They would disarm them.
20 There were also physical assaults so that I as the commander of
21 the district staff and then as the chief of the municipal staff had to
22 have frequent contact with their command in order to deal with certain
23 problems and in order to avoid clashes.
24 These discussions were very difficult, although I know that we
25 were not guilty, were not responsible, we had to apologise. And I was
1 even disarmed at a checkpoint together with my deputy, the late Hasan
2 Sefer who was killed in combat later on. They lined us up against a wall
3 and pointed their guns at us. They disarmed us. They threatened and
4 insulted us.
5 Q. Thank you. Please have a look at the document in Section 1 under
6 number 1. And the Defence number is 0513. It is dated the 3rd of
7 December 1992.
8 Could you please tell me, since the second paragraph states that
9 the military and political situation in the territory of Herceg Bosna is
10 ever-more complex and in particular in Vitez, Novi Travnik, Travnik and
11 Gornji Vakuf, tell me whether this reflects the situation that you had in
12 Travnik. If you have a look at the items in this document from the
13 3rd Corps, does the document reflect the situation?
14 A. Yes, I do recognise the situation. But this is a very brief
15 description of the situation which was, in fact, far more serious.
16 Q. Please have a look under the section entitled "Other Documents."
17 Have a look at Document 2. Defence number 0656. And after having a look
18 at the document, could you tell me whether this is one of the ways in
19 which you attempted to avoid conflict with the HVO, and in particular, an
20 armed conflict with the HVO. The document is entitled "Information for
21 the Public." And I would first like to ask you whether you know who
22 signed this document.
23 A. This document was signed by Ahmed Kulenovic, the Army of -- the
24 commander of the municipal staff. And it was also signed by Colonel
25 Filip Filipovic, the commander of the Travnik Brigade. The fact that the
1 document was signed by them, well, Ahmed Kulenovic signed it as
2 Zapovjednik, which is a Croatian word for commander. It is not the word
3 that we used.
4 These measures had been agreed on, and the HVO and Colonel Filip
5 Filipovic, who was a good friend of mine during and after the war, signed
6 this pro forma. We adhered to these regulations. And as a result, we
7 had quite a few problems with the army because it's very difficult to
8 explain to a soldier that the soldier should not take revenge, that he
9 should not use force to respond to force. If his sister or wife were
10 maltreated and imprisoned, it was difficult to explain this to them. And
11 very often, our soldiers would say that we were traitors, that we had
12 betrayed the Bosniak people and that we had taken sides with the Croatian
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, perhaps this would
15 be a good time to have a break. I could continue after the break, if you
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's necessary to
18 have our technical break now. I'd like to point out to the Defence that
19 they have about half an hour left for their examination-in-chief. We
20 will resume at 5 to 11.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to the
24 Defence, the Chamber has decided on the admissibility of the document
25 that was tendered by the Prosecution. And the Chamber has decided to
1 have the document admitted. Can we have a number, Mr. Registrar, for
2 this document.
3 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you. The number is P931.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then.
5 Ms. Residovic, you may proceed. You have a half an hour.
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Mesanovic, you were talking about the relationship with the
8 HVO. I'm going to show you a number of documents. Please tell me
9 whether you are familiar with these documents or whether you're familiar
10 with the facts contained in these documents. And after that, I'm going
11 to ask you questions only in reference to two documents. Under 1, where
12 it says "Relation with the HVO." Can you please look after tab 2. This
13 is Document 0823, Defence Document 0823.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Are you familiar with the document?
16 A. Yes, I am.
17 Q. The document under number 4, 0843, are you familiar with the
19 A. I'm not familiar with the document, but I am -- I am aware of the
21 Q. Document under 15, are you familiar with the event described in
22 this document?
23 A. 0846?
24 Q. Yes, 0846.
25 A. I see the document for the first time, but I'm familiar with the
2 Q. Document under 18, 0902.
3 A. These are regular reports that were sent regularly. I may have
4 seen it. This is just a description of certain events.
5 Q. In the last part of the binder under the title "Exhibits", can
6 you please look at the document under number 3.
7 A. 0603.
8 Q. Yes, 0603. Does this document reflect the situation with the
9 equipment in the district staff, in the municipal staff?
10 A. Yes, this is what was emphasised in all of our communication.
11 Q. Can you please look at Document 4, Document 5, Document 6.
12 Again, are you familiar with the events described in these documents?
13 A. Document 1083, I am familiar with it. I was involved in dealing
14 with the problem of this skyscraper or high-rise building.
15 Q. 1102, are you familiar with this event?
16 A. Yes, I am familiar with the event. And this fire was opened on
17 the command of the Territorial Defence staff in Travnik. I was just
18 being visited by UNPROFOR units. Fire was opened on them, so they had to
19 seek shelter in the courtyard of my command.
20 Q. Now, document under 6, 1128. Does this document speak of facts
21 that you are personally familiar with?
22 A. I don't have the time to read it, but at first glance, yes. It
23 is about the resettlement of the Croatian population which was done under
24 the pressure of the Croatian Army.
25 Q. Can we go back to number 4. You said that you were personally
1 involved in dealing with the problem. The document is 1083. Can you
2 describe the event for us. And how were you involved?
3 A. Yes, I'm looking at the document.
4 Q. Have you found it?
5 A. I'm waiting for my turn to speak.
6 Members of the HVO stated that from a high-rise building in
7 Kalibunar inhabited by civilians, fire was being opened constantly on
8 their positions, and that on the top of the high-rise building there is
9 an anti-aircraft gun which also opened fire. In my telephone contact
10 with the inhabitants of that building, they asked for my help. They said
11 that they came under attack, that they put their women and children in
12 the basement, that the pressure is too high to bear, that an ultimatum
13 was given to him to surrender.
14 I got in contact with the contact and some officers of the HVO.
15 We came to the spot. We inspected all the flats and the roof, and we
16 were able to state that there were no arms and that this was nothing but
17 an attack on a civilian building. And the situation was calm for a
18 while. However, one thing led to another. There were more problems that
19 arose from that, and it turned into a fully blown conflict.
20 Q. Thank you very much. Document under 6, which had to do with the
21 resettlement of the Croatian population. The number is 1108. What do
22 you personally know about this document? What do you know about these
23 events? The number is 1128.
24 A. The HVO units first moved their command structures from the town.
25 They left some buildings. Although in the basement of the PTT building,
1 we had our joint command before that. Then they took positions in
2 Jankovici village. Actually, they didn't take positions. They put their
3 command there. All this time, there were incidents across the area. We
4 tried to deal with those incidents together through negotiations. And
5 eventually, we were informed that there was a massive exodus of the
6 Croatian population towards the Vlasic plateau. We asked them what this
7 was all about. They said they didn't know. They said they would go and
8 inspect and they never came back.
9 Later on, when we inspected the area, it was not me personally
10 who did that, but I received information from the others who did. We
11 received information that people in cars and on foot escorted by armed
12 soldiers started moving towards Mount Vlasic, towards the Serbian
13 positions. And later on, we received information that a Serbian armoured
14 vehicle entered the sector of this area that was abandoned by the
15 Croatians. We thought that the Serbian forces had taken over the HVO
16 lines. Commander Alagic spoke to that effect on Radio Travnik and said
17 that the Croatian fighters had ceded their positions in favour of the
18 Serbian forces. However, by our reconnaissance we established that the
19 Serbian forces had not taken the positions so we infiltrated our units
20 and put up our defence line. This is the line that the HVO had manned
21 facing the Serbs and the Montenegrins. And if we hadn't taken those
22 lines, this would lead to the fall of the town of Travnik.
23 Later on in some contacts with our friends, Croats, they told
24 that they were forced to leave their homes. Some families had remained,
25 but very few. But these people told us that they were forced in an
1 organised manner at gunpoint to leave towards the Serbian territory.
2 Q. Can you please look at the briefly at the following three
3 documents. One is under 13. It's number is 0824. Documents under 16,
4 and document under 17. These are HVO documents.
5 A. Yes, I've had a look.
6 Q. Since you testified about the efforts that you made as the Army
7 of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Territorial Defence staff in order to
8 avoid conflicts, and you also testified that the HVO participated in
9 talks and did differently, do these documents testify to the behaviour of
10 the HVO which was contrary to any efforts in dealing with the situation?
11 Is this your personal knowledge, and is it your testimony that the HVO
12 behaved in the way described in these documents? Can you please not be
13 guided by the contents of these documents, but rather share with us your
14 personal knowledge from the year 1992. Do these documents show that the
15 HVO --
16 MR. MUNDIS: Objection, Mr. President. It's both leading and
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Try to rephrase your question,
19 Ms. Residovic, so as to make it not leading. I know that you are
20 battling against the time, and you're trying to gain time.
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Mesanovic, tell me what you knew about the behaviour of the
23 HVO in Travnik. Is that reflected in the three documents that I have
24 just shown you?
25 A. I have never seen these documents before. I don't have the time
1 to read them carefully. But I am now very moved when I look at these
2 documents. I didn't know that this was regulated in this way. And this
3 is a true reflection of the behaviour of the HVO. I used to call them
4 extremist groups. I used to tell them that their extremists did not obey
5 orders, that they didn't respect our agreements, that their extremists
6 had to be stopped, that there would be a conflict, that there would be a
7 blood battle, a bloodbath, that the Serbs and Montenegrins would take our
8 town, that we would all die. However, I can see now that this was part
9 of their politics. I apologise, I don't know what else to say.
10 Q. Thank you very much. Please allow me -- can you continue?
11 A. Yes, I can.
12 Q. Let's move on to some other issues with have nothing to do with
13 the HVO. At one moment in Travnik, did some foreigners appear who were
14 not locals of the former Yugoslavia? And did you see them? Who were
16 A. I apologise. I feel the need to say that Mr. Drago Bilandzija
17 participated in negotiations with me. I respected him. He was a member
18 of the government, and this is the kind of decision that he made. I
20 Q. We understand, and we appreciate. However, let's move on to
21 other issues. I asked you whether in 1992 and 1993 in Travnik you
22 noticed some people who were not locals of the former Yugoslavia. Who
23 were they?
24 A. In addition to the BritBat that came to Travnik, and they
25 approached me upon their arrival, there were many humanitarian
1 organisations that had contacts with the civilian structures. There were
2 a lot of foreigners. There were a lot of journalists. All the
3 journalists who came to the municipality reported to us and to the HVO.
4 They sought ways to go to the defence lines, to conduct interviews, and
5 to be able to do their stories for which they were there. There were a
6 lot of foreigners who moved about in Travnik who were -- who came from
8 Q. Did you notice the arrival of some people from African and Asian
9 countries, primarily from Arabic states?
10 A. I noticed mostly because of the way they dressed. They were
11 dressed in traditional Arabic clothes. And as for the different colour
12 of skin, it was not a surprise to me. I used to travel a lot before the
13 war, so a different skin colour did not surprise me. I was somewhat
14 startled by their attire. They were members of the humanitarian
15 organisations. They usually moved in the lower part of the town, in the
16 municipality. I was bound to see them because they moved between my
17 command and the building where I resided.
18 Q. Did you see these persons carrying arms and did these persons
19 come to your district staff?
20 A. They didn't come to the district staff, never. I never saw them
21 carrying arms, either.
22 Q. Did you personally, or maybe at some meetings in the municipal
23 staff learn that there were some individuals from African and Asian
24 countries who -- did you ever hear that there were such persons who would
25 be members of some of the Territorial Defence units or municipal staff
2 A. In the municipal staff and in the Territorial Defence, there were
3 no such persons like the ones you have mentioned in your question.
4 Q. In 1993, did you have any personal information about some units
5 of the Territorial Defence or municipal staff logistically supporting
6 such groups of foreigners or individuals from foreign countries who had
7 arrived in Travnik?
8 A. Your question sounds very strange to me. We relied on civilian
9 structures for logistical support. So there was no way for us to be --
10 provide logistical support to somebody else.
11 Q. Mr. Mesanovic, at any moment in 1992 or 1993, were the Muslim
12 forces established in Travnik? And if you know anything about that, can
13 you share that information with us.
14 A. I know that the Bosniak Muslims established a unit which was
15 located in the lower part of the town, in the furniture store called
17 Q. Was this a unit established by the municipal staff? Who was it
18 who established this unit?
19 A. The municipal staff did not establish it. It couldn't establish
20 it. Such a unit would not have been part of our overall establishment.
21 I don't know who was it who established it.
22 Q. Mr. Mesanovic, let me ask you a few more questions pertaining to
23 a different area -- region. You were a member of the BiH Army, and as
24 such you were bound to respect the international humanitarian law. Can
25 you please tell us: How did you in the district staff, in the municipal
1 staff where you were chief in 1993, and according to your information in
2 the BiH Army, how did you inform your men about the obligations arising
3 from that particular area?
4 A. I hold a degree in law, and I'm very well informed about the
5 international law. From day one when I joined the army, that is, the
6 Territorial Defence, I was the one who gathered volunteers. I have to
7 emphasise that members of my units were Croats, Serbs, and Bosniaks. It
8 was a mixed unit in that sense. Most of the unit members who joined me
9 at the beginning of the war stayed with me until the end of the war.
10 It's -- of course, those who survived.
11 All the men that joined us with whom I spoke and whom I sent to
12 the lines, I warned about the obligation to respect the Geneva
13 Conventions. I told them how to treat civilians, how to treat prisoners,
14 how to treat property. And this is what I did not only as the commander
15 of the district staff but in all the positions that I held later on. And
16 this is all documented by my written orders. Every written order that I
17 issued in respect of combat activities contained the way my men should
18 behave towards civilians and towards their property. And I would like to
19 emphasise that in my zone of responsibility, in my staff we did not have
20 any cases of looting and ill treatment of civilians. I have arguments.
21 I have proof. I have people who will testify to the fact that we behaved
22 or obeyed the Geneva Conventions.
23 Q. Can you please look at the document under number 12 and tell us
24 whether you are familiar with this event.
25 A. I'm familiar with these developments. As far as the criminal
1 charges are concerned, I don't know about this particular one. But we
2 had a lot of criminal reports that were filed, either spontaneously or
3 through the orders that we received from our superior command. We filed
4 criminal reports in respect of all the members of the BH Army who
5 perpetrated crimes. This on-site inspection by the public security
6 station, I mentioned here towards the end. I'm familiar with this
7 particular case, and I know that an on-site inspection was carried out,
8 although I myself have never seen this document before.
9 Q. What was the treatment of religious buildings? How did your
10 units treat religious buildings, and what was the relationship that or
11 attitude that the BH Army had towards religious buildings and their
12 protection during the war?
13 A. The protection of religious and cultural buildings was the
14 authority of civilian structures, and they did put in place some measures
15 of protection, of physical protection. They provided security for some
16 of the buildings. The position of the BiH Army - and I am talking from
17 the point of view of our region, the Municipality of Travnik - we were
18 very strict in those terms. There was no destruction of any religious
19 building. I can share some of my experiences with you. For example,
20 when we were in combat with the HVO facing this Vitez, the church in
21 Donja Puticevo was some 10 or 15 metres behind the front line of the BiH
22 Army. I was -- I went to the convent in Travnik. I asked to see the
23 priest. I asked him to inspect the church together with me. There was
24 an organ in the church. There were a lot of religious objects. Nothing
25 had been touched, nothing had been plundered, save for one window that
1 was broken by a bullet. It had been shot at from the HVO side.
2 The priest came with me. He had trusted me, and he had known me
3 from our previous contacts. We visited the church. He said that the
4 church was valuable, but that they didn't have the means to protect it.
5 I gave him a car to move all the valuable objects to the convent. While
6 the army was there, I told him the whole thing was safe. However, when
7 the army moved on, civilians would come, and it would be very difficult
8 to protect anything.
9 During combat activities in Gornji Dolac, I was informed that the
10 priest and a few nuns, I don't know how many in the church, maybe a dozen
11 of them had packed their things. They were standing in the church. They
12 asked me what to do with them. I told them that nothing should happen to
13 these people, that these people should be protected, that these people
14 should not be insulted or ill treated and eventually they should be
15 brought to Travnik. I spoke to them personally and they told me they
16 wanted to go to Vitez. I told them there was combat going on towards
17 Vitez, and I told them I couldn't help them. I asked them whether they
18 would go to Travnik, and they said that they would go to the convent if
19 that still existed.
20 I asked for -- to be put through to the convent. I gave them the
21 number. I told them to call himself, and that's where they went and they
22 stayed there until the end of the conflict.
23 Q. Thank you. And what was the attitude towards wounded enemy
24 soldiers, for example? Wounded HVO soldiers?
25 A. Well, when HVO soldiers were wounded or imprisoned, they were
1 treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. We would take wounded
2 soldiers to the hospital in Travnik to be provided with medical
4 I can give you an example. On the second day of the conflict, my
5 daughter was wounded. She was in the fourth class of primary school at
6 the time, so she was about 10 or 11 years old. She was seriously wounded
7 in the leg, stomach, and in the back. She was bleeding. I was told to
8 go to the hospital immediately. They didn't say that she was wounded.
9 They said I should come, that they needed me for some reason. I went
10 there, and you know, it's not nice when you see your child in such a
12 I asked the doctor whether she would survive. He said "If I had
13 been wounded in this way, I wouldn't have had any chances," but she did.
14 And then a wounded Croatian soldier that had been hit in the kidney was
15 brought in. The doctor said he had priority because there was only one
16 surgical ward. I said "You should decide about this. If he's a soldier
17 and he has priority then my daughter will wait." If my daughter had
18 died, I don't know how I would have felt today. But luckily, she
19 survived and she is now studying in Vienna.
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. As my
21 time has expired, will you allow me to ask the witness one more question?
22 Q. Mr. Mesanovic, after the questions I have put to you and your
23 answers were very detailed, and sometimes your answers were quite
24 emotional when you were talking about what you experienced in 1992 and
25 1993, my question is: What sort of difficulties were there in creating
1 an army and establishing a system of command and control? What sort of
2 difficulties did you encounter in 1992 and 1993 as an officer in the BH
3 Army with regard to creating the army and establishing command and
5 A. We encountered great difficulties. I was aware of the fact that
6 I was defending my family and my own life, and only then that I was also
7 defending the town and Bosnia and Herzegovina. I wasn't in a position to
8 mount a defence on my own. I had to include as many people as possible
9 in this defence. This was my position. I persuaded people to take up
10 arms, to go to the lines.
11 War is a terrible thing. I'd take a hundred and fifty armed men
12 who were leaving their homes for the first time. They would go into a
13 forest. The situation was unfamiliar. It was cold. And they might be
14 shelled, they might die, they might be wounded. If one person is
15 wounded, if one person is killed, this spread such fear among the men at
16 the lines that all the men will leave the trenches. I'm talking about
17 the initial stages, until these combatants became inured to death, to
18 being wounded.
19 We would carry out preparations throughout the night with certain
20 units in order to persuade them to go to the line. They would complain
21 that they didn't have food or their families had nothing to eat. They
22 would say that they didn't have any cigarettes. They would say that they
23 weren't adequately armed. We held one line -- I'll provide you with an
24 example. When there was an attack from Vitez, an order was issued from
25 Commander Alagic according to which we should leave all combatants with
1 five bullets. And that the -- anything extra was to be used to provide
2 additional support at the defence lines. I said that some families might
3 file a report against me after the war because I sent their sons, their
4 children to the lines without sufficient ammunition. They would say that
5 I was the reason for which they had been wounded or for which they had
6 been killed.
7 Furthermore, we had problems with the HVO which would stop
8 people. They wouldn't allow rotation to take place because not all the
9 people lived in the town. They lived in the surrounding villages. From
10 the Vlasic plateau, I had a unit. These were people who had been
11 expelled and I used them to form a unit. Some of them lived in Vitez --
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mesanovic. I just wanted you to tell us a little
13 about those problems. And finally, as an officer who became an officer
14 in the BH Army as a result of the conditions that prevailed, do you
15 believe that you did everything you could to form an army, to mount a
16 defence, and to take measures to ensure that no negative acts [Realtime
17 transcript read in error: "negative acts"] were committed in your area?
18 A. I have said that I carried out the duties I had assigned myself
19 in an honourable and honest manner. I didn't see the war as an
20 opportunity to get rich. I didn't see the war as an opportunity to get
21 involved in business of some kind or to get involved in illegitimate
22 actions. For me, the purpose of war was to defend myself, as I said, and
23 I should also point out that I attempted to make sure that all those in
24 my vicinity acted in an honourable way, and I shall attempt to do this in
25 the future, too.
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Mr.
2 President. This concludes my examination-in-chief.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I will now give the
4 floor to the Prosecution.
5 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I believe Mr. Kubura's Defence would
6 go first. But there is a problem with the transcript that I would like
7 to try to correct before it disappears. I believe the final question
8 that my learned colleague asked, the last phrase was "to ensure that no
9 negative acts were committed in your area," rather than "negative acts
10 were committed in your area." I may be mistaken, but I believe the word
11 "no" should be before "negative acts" in the transcript.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I think my colleague is
13 right. Perhaps it's an interpretation error. I said "to take measures
14 to ensure that no negative acts or rather crimes were committed."
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Does the Defence
16 team for General Kubura have any questions?
17 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we don't have
18 any questions for this witness.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Does Mr. Mundis
20 have any cross-examination to conduct?
21 MR. MUNDIS: We have a few questions, Mr. President. I believe
22 we'll be finished, hopefully, before the next break.
23 Cross-examined by Mr. Mundis:
24 Q. Good afternoon, Witness -- or good morning, Witness.
25 A. Good morning.
1 Q. My name is Daryl Mundis. I'm one of the attorneys representing
2 the Prosecution in this case. I'm going to be asking you some questions.
3 I want to simply make sure that you understand that in the event you
4 don't understand one of my questions, that you feel comfortable enough to
5 tell me so, and I will either rephrase or repeat the question so that you
6 understand. I'm not in any way trying to trick you or get you to say
7 anything that you don't want to say.
8 Let me start by asking just a few questions about the structure
9 of the Territorial Defence that you spoke about. If I understand your
10 testimony correctly, at the top would be the regional Territorial Defence
11 staff, which in 1992 was headquartered in Zenica. Is that correct?
12 A. Not at the top. The regional Territorial Defence staff wasn't at
13 the top. I just mentioned one organisational level. I said that the
14 district staff was part of the municipal staff, whereas the municipal
15 staff was held accountable by the regional staff which was located in
16 Zenica. There was also a republican staff with its headquarters in
18 Q. Okay. Just so that we're clear, then, the republican Territorial
19 Defence staff was in Sarajevo. Is that right?
20 A. Yes, in Sarajevo.
21 Q. And the next level down would be the regional Territorial Defence
22 staff in Zenica?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Followed by the municipal defence staff in Travnik?
25 A. Yes. As far as Travnik Municipality is concerned, each
1 municipality had its own municipal staff, and that included Travnik.
2 Q. And within the municipal defence staff, such as the Travnik
3 municipal defence staff, that was further broken down into districts,
4 district staffs within the municipal defence staffs.
5 A. Yes. There were these district staffs or sector staffs, and
6 there were independent detachments.
7 Q. And I take it from your last answer that the independent
8 detachments were a further subdivision of the district staffs?
9 A. They weren't independent. Well, they were independent, but they
10 had to -- they were held accountable, directly accountable, to the
11 municipal staff, not to the district or sector staff.
12 Q. Okay. Just for our benefit here, do you recall in 1992 how many
13 districts or how many district staffs there were within the Travnik
14 municipal defence staff?
15 A. Well, I can't say exactly how many of them there were. There was
16 the Travnik district or sector staff. There was the Turbe district staff
17 in the Bila Valley. There were perhaps one or two district staffs.
18 There was the Karaula Independent Detachment. I don't know the exact
19 structure. It's difficult for me to describe the structure exactly as it
20 was. But the district staff of Travnik was active in the area of the
21 town of Travnik.
22 Q. And I believe, sir, that you told us that the district staff in
23 Travnik became the 312th Brigade.
24 A. No, no. The Travnik district staff became part of the 312th
25 Brigade. It became part of one of the battalions of the 312th Brigade.
1 And at the time, I think that the brigade had four battalions.
2 Q. Do you know whether the other district staffs within the Travnik
3 municipal Territorial Defence similarly became either brigades or
4 battalions of brigades within the 3rd Corps?
5 A. As far as the district staffs are concerned, and as far as these
6 independent detachments are concerned, an order was issued assigning them
7 to various brigades, either to the 312th or to the 306th Brigade. We
8 only had two brigades in the territory of Travnik Municipality. So
9 according to the establishment, they had been assigned there. But since
10 those units were being transformed at the time, not all the men moved
11 into other units. Quite a few of them went to join the police or other
12 units so that the establishment, or rather the district staffs did join
13 up, but not all the men.
14 Q. Would it be fair to say, sir, that at some point in 1993, all of
15 the components of the Travnik municipal defence staff, the formal organs
16 of that staff, became parts of the 3rd Corps?
17 A. With regard to Travnik Municipality, I'll answer you in certain
18 terms. The district staffs and the independent detachments from the
19 territory of the Municipality of Travnik became part of the 312th and the
20 306th Brigades, but they didn't enter these brigades as the
21 organisational units of the staff. The organisational structures of the
22 brigades was quite different. So they were reassigned on the basis of
23 that structure.
24 Q. Do you know the approximate time period when that happened?
25 Month, or month and year, or time period?
1 A. Well, it was in November or December 1992.
2 Q. Now, sir, you also were asked some questions earlier this morning
3 about the war presidency. And you told us that it was difficult for the
4 civilians, since they did not have absolute control over the Territorial
5 Defence after the elections. Is that what you told us this morning?
6 A. No, I don't understand how it could have been difficult for the
7 civilians. I don't understand your question. Are you referring to the
8 structure of civilian power or are you referring to the civilian
9 population itself?
10 Q. Well, I believe in response to a question, you were asked the
11 composition of the war presidency and whether the commander of the
12 Territorial Defence was part of the war presidency. And in response to
13 that, you made a distinction between the period before the elections and
14 the period after the elections. Let's start at that point. Did the
15 situation change following the elections with respect to the composition
16 of the war presidency?
17 A. Yes, it did. And I've already said in what way.
18 Q. Exactly. Now, do you recall the election that you've referred
19 to, what the time period of that election was? In other words, when did
20 in change in the composition of the war presidency take place?
21 A. The change took place after those elections, after the organs of
22 power had been established. Because the functions that were part of the
23 presidency no longer existed. So there were new functions. For example,
24 the president of the club of delegates, deputies, they became part of the
25 composition, whereas the commander of the municipal staff didn't become
1 part of the war presidency.
2 Q. My question, sir, is when was that election? The election that
3 you're referring to, what was the date, or the month and the year, of
4 that election to the best of your recollection?
5 A. The elections in Bosnia at the time? Well, that was in 1991 if
6 I'm not mistaken. Perhaps in October. I don't know the exact date.
7 Q. It was prior to the war in Bosnia; would that be right?
8 A. Yes, it was prior to the war.
9 Q. You were shown a document earlier, sir, and it was number 656 in
10 the binder of material that you have next to you. And if you would like
11 to turn to it, that's fine. It was the document that was signed by both
12 Ahmed Kulenovic and Filip Filipovic. I believe it was Document 2 in
13 Category 2.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you have that document in front of you?
16 A. I do.
17 Q. At the time this document was produced, sometime in January 1993,
18 would it be fair to say that the Bosnian Muslim armed forces and the HVO
19 were still operating jointly in Travnik?
20 A. At the time, the armed forces were not operating jointly in
22 Q. Well, let me start with this question: This document seems to be
23 a document that was signed by a commander of the BH Army and a commander
24 of the HVO. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes, yes.
1 Q. And this document relates to what area? Does it relate to
2 Travnik? Does it relate to Zenica? Does it relate to some other area?
3 What is the area that this public statement refers to?
4 A. This statement refers to the area of the town of Travnik.
5 Q. And there are references in this document, for example, in
6 paragraph 4 where it says "we will jointly prevent..." In paragraph 5
7 "... we will jointly prevent..." Paragraph 9 refers to "a joint
8 commission." So in January 1993, at least when this document was
9 prepared and signed by both an ABiH commander and an HVO commander, there
10 was some kind of joint cooperation in Travnik.
11 A. As I said, these were our attempts at cooperating. But they were
12 only attempts. We also decided to form a joint command. And we said
13 that at the head of the command, there should be a Bosniak, and his
14 deputy should be a Croat. We had a meeting and designated the people who
15 were supposed to occupy those positions. Mr. Ribo Haso was supposed to
16 be the commander. His deputy was supposed to be Stojak Ivica from the
17 HVO. However, these were only attempts.
18 And this document is also an attempt. This is just a discussion
19 between officers. And a while ago, I said when examining documents and I
20 mentioned Mr. Bilandzija, we agreed on everything and he attended a
21 meeting at which he gave orders which were contrary to what we had
22 agreed. This is something that I have been able to see on the basis of
23 this documents. And I knew from the field that this was the case.
24 Q. Now, sir, would it be fair to characterise this public
25 statement - and I'm referring now to the conclusions section, where there
1 are the nine numbered paragraphs - would it be fair to characterise this
2 is some kind of imposition of martial law?
3 A. Martial law? I don't understand the question.
4 Q. Well, let's --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Or rather, the witness said "court-martial." I
6 don't understand the question.
7 MR. MUNDIS:
8 Q. I'm not referring to a court-martial. I'm referring to a
9 situation where the military authorities are ordering the imposition of a
10 curfew. Is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. They are issuing an order with respect to the closing times of
13 catering establishments. Is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Paragraph 5, they indicate that joint steps will be taken to
16 detain, arrest, and disarm if necessary, remove by force all individuals
17 in groups who establish illegal checkpoints. Is that correct?
18 A. Well, that's what it says here. It's correct.
19 Q. There's also in paragraph 8 references to the media whereby the
20 military is ordering the media to direct programmes at calming the
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And again, based on these types of steps that were taken by the
24 military officials, that could be interpreted as the imposition of
25 martial law, if you will, if you're familiar with that term.
1 A. Such measures, because of the wartime situation, because of the
2 fact that the situation was deteriorating, such measures were taken for
3 this reason. But I would like to point out that if you have a look at
4 this document, you will see that in item 3, which you have quoted but not
5 fully, it says that "a curfew shall be introduced from 2100 hours to 0500
6 hours. Civilian and military police commanders are responsible for the
7 implementation of the curfew and the appropriate legal measures." So
8 both the civilian and military police are responsible for this. Why?
9 Because the military police can't close down cafes. The civilian organs
10 of power have to do this. The civilian police can close such
11 establishments down but with regard to conscripts, the civilian police
12 cannot deal with them. They can take urgent measures, but they then have
13 to call the military police to take the appropriate measures.
14 So this wartime situation was implemented in the field in this
15 manner. The civilian and military police were active in the field, and
16 each body had its own responsibilities.
17 Q. I understand, sir, what you're saying. But the fact of the
18 matter is that the conclusions in this document represent the military
19 authorities ordering the civilian authorities to implement it, does it
20 not, by its very terms of this document?
21 A. This is not an order. This is an enactment which was signed by
22 two commanders on the introduction of a curfew in the presence of the
23 civilian bodies of authorities. With regard to this, at a regular
24 meeting - and now I'm reading from the introduction: "The representative
25 of the BiH Army and the HVO and the meeting was held on the 25th of
1 January 1993 to review the current military, political and security
2 situation in Travnik Municipality in the presence of the prime ministers,
3 Mr. Muhamed Curic and Mr. Zeljko Pervan, and the commanders of the
4 civilian police forces of both sides have arrived at the following
5 conclusions..." This is not an order. These are conclusions that arise
6 from a certain agreement. A curfew was introduced and behaviour was
7 regulated in the territory of the municipality during the daylight and
8 during the curfew.
9 Q. The fact of the matter is, though, sir that this document was
10 signed by two military commanders, and not by those prime ministers.
11 A. The fact is that it was signed by two men who guaranteed the
12 credibility of this document. This document is not an order, and it does
13 not start with the words "hereby I order" or "hereby we order." You have
14 to understand that.
15 Q. Let's move on to a different topic. You told us in response to
16 some questions from my learned colleague, Ms. Residovic, you discussed
17 foreigners coming into the Travnik area in the period 1992. Do you
18 remember telling her that or telling us that?
19 A. Yes, I do. And I believe that I mentioned all the foreigners
20 whom I saw at the time in the municipality, or rather in the town of
22 Q. And you told us that you do not remember seeing any armed
23 foreigners in 1992 in Travnik. Is that right?
24 A. Members of the BritBat carried arms. They were armed foreigners.
25 Journalists were not armed. Humanitarians were not armed.
1 Q. Let's talk now about the persons from North Africa or the Middle
2 East. Are you familiar with the term "mujahedin"?
3 A. Yes, I'm familiar with the term.
4 Q. Did you see in the Travnik area in 1992 any persons that might
5 fall within the definition of mujahedin?
6 A. No, I didn't. The mujahedin were -- should have been in
7 uniforms. They should have been armed. I was aware of their presence in
8 the municipality, but I'm referring only to the town area. That's where
9 I moved. I moved towards the line that was my area of responsibility,
10 and in that area there, there were no armed foreigners who would
11 correspond to that description.
12 Q. Okay. So it's your testimony then, sir, that in 1992 you did not
13 see any mujahedin or armed soldiers or armed forces from Middle Eastern
14 or North African countries in the town of Travnik?
15 A. In the town of Travnik, in the course of 1992, I did not see such
16 armed persons who might be called mujahedin.
17 Q. But I believe you've just said that you did see or were aware of
18 such persons in other parts of Travnik Municipality in 1992.
19 A. I said I didn't see them, so this is a wrong statement. I did
20 not see them in any other parts of the municipality. But I had
21 information that there were such people in other parts of the
22 municipality. In the urban part of Travnik, I never saw them, and I
23 didn't see them in the part outside the Travnik Municipality proper where
24 I moved about, and that was the area around Ceska Planina.
25 Q. Let's just -- to clarify this, then, or to take it a step further
1 actually. In 1993 in the town of Travnik, did you see any persons that
2 might be described as mujahedin? I know you've told us about 1992. I'm
3 now asking you about 1993 in the town of Travnik itself. Did you see any
4 persons that might be described as mujahedin?
5 A. In 1993, I had two encounters with such individuals. Once I saw
6 them passing through town in a car. And on the other occasion, it was in
7 front of a religious building which is very close to my apartment. I
8 don't know when this was, because I did not frankly pay too much
9 attention to these two events.
10 Q. Let's talk first about the first incident. You saw them passing
11 through town in a car. Do you remember any details such as how many of
12 them were in the car?
13 A. I know it was a terrain vehicle. They were in uniforms. They
14 had -- their skin was dark. They did have arms. I can't provide you
15 with any more details. And they passed through town, and this is when I
16 saw them for the first or the second time. I can't even be sure of that.
17 I don't know what was the first encounter. In front of the religious
18 building, there were three of them carrying rifles. And they went up to
19 the entrance into that sacral building, and I did not following their
20 movement any further.
21 Q. You told us right at the outset of your answer that they were in
22 a terrain vehicle. Can you elaborate on that, or tell us what you meant
23 by a terrain vehicle.
24 A. I believe that we are talking about the same thing, a Jeep or a
25 four-wheel drive, an all-terrain vehicle that you might use when you
1 drive around all sorts of terrain.
2 Q. Do you recall what colour the vehicle was or whether the vehicle
3 had any type of markings? Words? Pictures?
4 A. There were no markings, no inscriptions. There were not even
5 registration plates. It was dark. I don't know whether it was dark blue
6 or dark green. Something of the sort.
7 Q. Now, you told us that you were aware of such individuals. I'm
8 returning now to 1992, sir. You told us that you were aware of mujahedin
9 in Travnik Municipality in places other than the town. You were aware of
10 that in 1992?
11 A. In the area of the municipality.
12 Q. That's correct. But not in the town of Travnik. Is that right,
13 in 1992?
14 A. There may have been some of them in the town. I can't deny that.
15 However, the fact is that I myself did not see them.
16 Q. That's fair enough. I want to ask you, though, when you became
17 aware of them, of the presence of mujahedin in Travnik Municipality
18 outside of the town in 1992, I would like to how you became aware of
19 this. Through what means did you become aware of this?
20 A. In the area of the municipality in the year 1992, there were a
21 lot of armed groups, units, individuals, and we in the command or in our
22 contacts with our friends, we spoke about those different groups, the
23 HOS. Some people were searched. Some people were taken away from their
24 homes and apartments. From Herzegovina, members of the HVO came behaving
25 very arrogantly. And in our stories, we mentioned those armed groups
1 that we now refer to as mujahedin. We didn't call them that at the time.
2 And their appearance and their existence came up in those stories, and
3 that's how we learned that they had appeared in the municipality.
4 Q. Sir, I'm going to put a series of propositions to you, and I
5 would like you to tell us whether you know anything about what I'm
6 talking about or whether you agree or disagree with what I'm going to say
7 to you. Do you understand how this will work?
8 I suggest to you, sir, that beginning in mujahedin, 1992 began
9 entering Bosnia from Croatia for the purpose of engaging the Serbian
10 forces who were attacking the Bosniak population.
11 A. Am I supposed to say something, to answer this? Or am I supposed
12 to just listen to your statements?
13 Q. I will ask you if based on what I have just put to you you have
14 any comments, any knowledge, whether you had heard anything to this
15 effect, whether you knew anything to this effect. Simply, I want you to
16 tell me based on what I just mentioned, your reaction; whether you knew
17 anything about it, had heard that, knew anything about it, et cetera.
18 And I can repeat the proposition if you would like me to.
19 A. No need. I do have the information that certain groups arrived
20 in Bosnia. Whether they came from Croatia, I don't know. But yes, I
21 knew that they came wishing to engage the Serbian and Montenegrin
23 Q. And in the early part of the war in Bosnia, that is, late spring,
24 early summer of 1992, the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat populations
25 were jointly under attack from the Serbs. Is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. So to the extent that the mujahedin who entered Bosnia were
3 primarily going to engage the Serb forces, that would have been in the
4 interests of both the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat populations, would
5 it not?
6 A. Since they wanted to defend Bosnia, obviously it was in the best
7 interests of both populations. This is just my opinion. This is not an
8 official position.
9 Q. Now, I understand that, sir. You're here to testify as Hamed
10 Mesanovic, not as an official of the Bosnian government or the canton of
12 And of course, during the period 1992 -- throughout the war, in
13 fact, the use of the term Chetnik was a common one among the Bosnian
14 Muslim and Bosnian Croat population. Is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you tell us, please, for the benefit of the listening
17 population and everyone in the courtroom, what does the term "Chetnik"
19 A. Chetniks were the military force which existed during the Second
20 World War and which inflicted a lot of pain to the population. They were
21 specialised in destruction of everything and everybody that existed in
22 the former Yugoslavia during the period between 1941 and 1945. They
23 committed war crimes. They killed people. They wore very outstanding
24 clothes, black uniforms, hats, cockades with a skull. And I know all
25 about them from literature and films.
1 Draza Mihajlovic was the Chetnik leader. He was pronounced a war
2 criminal and convicted, I believe. I believe he was sentenced to the
3 death penalty.
4 Q. Sir, in the context of the war in Bosnia in the 1990s, to whom
5 did the term Chetnik apply?
6 A. It was used for the Serbian and Montenegrin aggressors.
7 Q. So based on the responses that you've given us to the last six or
8 seven questions, would it be fair to say that the mujahedin came to
9 Bosnia to fight the Chetniks?
10 A. Well, you're leading me to say that this was the case. I did not
11 have any contacts with the mujahedin. I did not talk to them to ask them
12 why they had come. I didn't ask them whether they would fight and
13 against whom. And at this moment, as I sit here, I don't even think that
14 it was a good thing that they had come in the first place.
15 Q. But again, sir, I suggest to you that the mujahedin came to
16 Bosnia to fight the Chetniks.
17 A. Probably. I can't confirm this. I can just assume that this was
18 the reason. I did not have any contacts with them. I did not find
19 myself in the position to ask them why they had come.
20 Q. Sir, do you still have Defence Document 656 in front of you?
21 "Public statement," with the conclusions that we spoke about a few
22 moments ago? Do you still have that in front of you?
23 A. Yes, yes, I do.
24 Q. I would like you to turn to paragraph 4 or look at paragraph 4 of
25 that document.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Again, this is the order signed jointly by the ABiH commander
3 Kulenovic and the HVO commander Filipovic.
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I don't know
5 whether this is a wrong word used or a misinterpretation. Page 63, 3, it
6 says that this was an order jointly signed. However, the document as has
7 already been explained by the witness is not an order. It is
9 MR. MUNDIS: I'll rephrase the question.
10 Q. Sir, this document is signed by the BH Army Travnik municipal
11 defence council officer Ahmed Kulenovic and the HVO Travnik Brigade
12 commander Colonel Filip Filipovic. And paragraph 4 states "we will
13 jointly prevent entry into Travnik of all armed units, groups, and
14 individuals except for those who come to fight against the Chetniks."
15 And I suggest to you, sir, that the reference in paragraph 4 of
16 Defence Document 656 relates to the mujahedin. And I ask you if you have
17 any comments in light of that suggestion.
18 A. If I understand you properly, item 4 refers only to the
19 mujahedin, and that's why it was included in the document. Is that what
20 you are saying?
21 Q. I'm not saying that it exclusively relates to the mujahedin, but
22 what I am saying is that it says "prevent entry of all armed units,
23 groups, or individuals except for those who come to fight against the
24 Chetniks." And I'm suggesting to you that the phrase "those who come to
25 fight against the Chetniks" refers to the mujahedin.
1 A. If it referred to the mujahedin, then it would be worded as
2 follows: "except for the mujahedin who arrive here in order to fight
3 against the Chetnik."
4 Q. Unless, of course, someone did not want to put the word
5 "mujahedin" down in a written document.
6 A. I think, since the document was signed by the commanders of the
7 two armies, that in a way that they dictated the wording, that they would
8 have used the word "mujahedin." This applies to all the units that
9 roamed around the town for different reasons, rather than to fight
10 against the Chetniks. They had other reasons to move about.
11 Q. Well, I suggest to you, sir, and this will be my last question
12 before the technical break - I do have some additional questions after
13 the break - but what I suggest to you, sir, is that this order -- or not
14 order, this documents relates to in paragraph 4 reflects the fact that at
15 the time this document was written, the ABiH and the HVO in their joint
16 fight against the Chetniks were still willing to allow the mujahedin
17 entry into Travnik. If you disagree with that, you can simply say you
18 disagree with it.
19 A. I cannot just use one word, but you are wrong, sir. The BiH Army
20 and the HVO were not fighting against the Chetniks jointly. They were
21 never joined. We did have joint commands on paper, but this never took
22 off on the grounds We did not have joint units.
23 And if you think that this applies to the mujahedin, let me
24 elaborate and extend that to, for example, the HOS who also arrived in
25 the town and disrupted law and order. This also applies to the HVO from
1 Herzegovina who did not come for any other reason but to plunder and
2 ill-treat people. They stopped people. They stormed various
3 institutions. They asked whether there were any Serbs there. Their main
4 task was to ill treat and harass people. This also applies to some other
5 groups who occupied abandoned flats, plundered property in those flats.
6 All of these were armed groups who entered the town of Travnik, and their
7 purpose was anything but the fight against the Chetniks.
8 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, sir.
9 I note the time, Mr. President. As I indicated, I do have some
10 remaining questions. And just for the benefit of the Chamber and the
11 Defence, we would again respectfully request that we show this witness
12 the video P762 following the break. This was the same video shown to the
13 first witness.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will resume at 5 to 1.00.
15 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 12.57 p.m.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, you may take the
19 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Q. Witness, I'm going to show you now a videoclip which, with the
21 assistance of the usher, you'll be able to watch on the screen in front
22 of you. Before I show you this, let me just ask you -- or let me explain
23 to you the procedure that we're going to use. We will not have any audio
24 played from the videotape so that the tape you see, there won't be any
25 sound. I would like you to look at the videotape. And during the course
1 of the videotape, if you recognise where the videotape was taken, if you
2 could just tell us. And you don't need to pause. You can simply say
3 where it is as the videotape is playing.
4 If you recognise any person on the videotape, I would ask you
5 immediately to stay "stop," and we will stop the videotape. That avoids
6 having to rewind and find the place on the videotape. So if you see
7 anyone that you recognise, please immediately say "stop," and we'll stop
8 and then I'll ask you who the person or persons that you recognise on the
9 videotape might be.
10 It's possible, of course, that you won't recognise anyone or
11 recognise anything about the videotape, in which case we will all be here
12 in about six minutes of silence. If you can tell us where or if you
13 recognise anyone on the tape, please tell us that as soon as possible.
14 MR. MUNDIS: I see my learned colleague is on her feet, Mr.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, first of all, I
18 would like to say that the Prosecution hasn't informed us of their
19 intention to use this video. And although Defence counsel has complied
20 with all its duties in accordance with the Rules and we have provided the
21 Prosecution with all the evidence we will be using, we have -- following
22 your instructions, we provided the Prosecution with all the evidence we
23 were going to use. This is why I want to draw your attention to the use
24 of this video. But in the interests of justice, the main reason for
25 addressing the Trial Chamber is that we don't see the grounds on which
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 the Prosecution wants to use this video. We don't see the reason for
2 doing this. In the course of my examination, no reason arose for which
3 this video might be shown. Similarly, the Prosecution has not informed
4 us of the legal basis on which they want to show the video. So we would
5 be grateful if the Prosecution could provide us with a valid basis for
6 showing this video.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Would the Prosecution like to
8 respond to the comments just made by the Defence.
9 MR. MUNDIS: Yes, Mr. President. And I would respectfully
10 request to do so in the absence of the witness.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Usher, could
12 you escort the witness out of the courtroom for a few minutes.
13 [Witness stands down]
14 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Let me first address the
15 general issue or the first issue that my learned colleague raised. With
16 respect to cross-examination, our position is one which I believe is
17 similar to the position that the Defence had taken in cross-examining
18 witnesses; that is, the party who is calling the witness in our
19 respectful submission is required to give notice as to which documents or
20 exhibits are going to be shown to the witness. But at no point, to my
21 recollection, during the Prosecution case did the Defence ever notify the
22 Prosecution or the Trial Chamber in advance as to what documents they
23 might be using during their cross-examinations, first of all.
24 Second of all, of course, this is a videotape which is in
25 evidence, and therefore our view, of course, is that anything that's
1 already in evidence is subject to use during cross-examination with any
3 And the third point that I would bring up, although, again, I'm
4 hesitant to do so, is that if the Trial Chamber were to take a careful
5 look at the Rule 65 ter summary provided of this witness, there wasn't a
6 great deal of information that led us to believe that this witness would
7 be talking about, among other things, the Muslim forces which he did, in
8 fact, on his direct examination talk about. Coupled with the fact, of
9 course, that we don't have any witness statements of the witnesses, the
10 Prosecution is only able once the witness completes his or her testimony
11 to make rather snap decisions in some cases about what documents,
12 exhibits, videos, maps, et cetera, might be shown to the witness.
13 All we really have to go on are the Rule 65 ter summaries, which are
14 relatively brief. Consequently, if we were to be ordered to give such
15 advance notice, we would be placed in an extremely difficult position.
16 And with respect to many of the witnesses, we would probably have to take
17 some kind of an adjournment in order to prepare those lists and/or to
18 notify the Defence.
19 With respect to this witness and this videotape, the witness has
20 testified about the Muslim forces or the MS during the direct
21 examination. As we explained with the first witness, the Prosecution's
22 theory is that this videotape shows not necessarily the formation of that
23 unit, but part of that unit in the very early period in which it was
24 formed. The first witness to testify about this videotape last week
25 identified it as being in front of the Medresa in Travnik, which is
1 precisely the same location mentioned by this witness earlier this
2 morning. And for purposes of the future Defence witnesses, we would
3 propose showing this same video or other videos to any of the witnesses
4 who can shed light on material contained in the videos. So in effect, I
5 would propose that this is a blanket request of the Prosecution to show
6 the videotapes to any and all Defence witnesses who might be able to shed
7 some light on persons or places, or even time periods that are shown in
8 the videotapes.
9 I thank the Trial Chamber for its consideration.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. With regard to the issue
11 you have raised -- Mr. Bourgon, is there anything you would like to say?
12 I saw you standing up.
13 With regard to this matter, Defence counsel tells us that they
14 weren't informed of the Prosecution's intention to show the witness this
15 video. The Prosecution responded by saying that when they called their
16 own witnesses, you presented documents at the last minute without having
17 informed the Prosecution of your intention to do so. So the same rules
18 should be applied to the Prosecution. And this is part of what we call a
19 fair trial. In the course of its cross-examination, the Prosecution
20 proceeded in this manner, and why shouldn't the Prosecution proceed in
21 the same manner when cross-examining a witness.
22 This video is also in evidence. It has been exhibit number. It
23 has already been shown to a witness who was able to recognise the events
24 depicted in the video.
25 And thirdly, the witness who appeared before this one mentioned
1 the Medresa, and this witness appearing here today also mentioned the
2 Medresa, and he mentioned a unit that was billeted there. And as a
3 result, the Prosecution will be asking the witness whether the place that
4 he mentioned was, in fact, the place where these people were. But in any
5 event, it was my intention to show this video to the witness because this
6 witness told us, and you shouldn't forget this, that he almost never saw
7 mujahedin. He heard about them. He heard that some of them were at the
8 outskirts of the town. He met some on two occasions. But the outcome is
9 that the mujahedin more or less were men who were quite unfamiliar to
10 this witness. We can ask ourselves whether the witness actually saw them
11 or didn't see them, and this is why it might be interesting to show the
12 witness this video. This would enable us to determine the truth. It
13 would be in the interests of justice to proceed in this manner.
14 We have lost ten minutes now, but let's call the witness back
15 into the courtroom.
16 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 [The witness takes the stand]
18 Q. Witness, do you understand exactly the procedure that we'll be
19 using in watching the videotape?
20 MR. MUNDIS: I would ask now that Prosecution Exhibit 762 be
21 shown to the witness.
22 [Videotape played]
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't see anything.
24 The quality of the image is very poor. But I think I can
25 recognise the furniture salon in Travnik which was also known as the
2 Yes, in fact, it is the Medresa.
3 I think that this person is the Travnik Mufti, although I've
4 never seen him dressed in this manner. Could you continue showing the
6 [Videotape played]
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, this is the Travnik Mufti.
8 Efendi Nusret Avdibegovic. I can see him well now.
9 Could you pause there, please. This person here, I'm not quite
10 certain, but I think this is someone called Mektauf from Travnik.
11 MR. MUNDIS:
12 Q. Sir, if I could ask you for the benefit of the transcript to
13 describe the person that you believe is Mr. Mektauf, including perhaps
14 what he's wearing, where he is in the video in the frame that you see
15 before you, et cetera. And tell us which person you're referring to,
17 A. In this image, it's the person in the middle of the frame. He's
18 wearing a T-shirt. It's a camouflage T-shirt or an imitation of such a
19 T-shirt. He's got short hair, and he has a beard. Part of it is a
20 little longer, and part of it is a little shorter. Is that sufficient?
21 Q. Thank you, sir. While we're on this frame, if you could, there
22 are other individuals that are visible who appear to be wearing military
23 uniforms. And I would ask you if you recognise any of the insignia on
24 any of the uniforms that you see on this still frame that's before you
25 right now.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 A. I can see that they have insignia on them, but I can't recognise
2 them. But the video is a very poor quality. It's very difficult to
3 discern the details.
4 Q. Okay. Thank you, sir.
5 MR. MUNDIS: I'd ask that the video be shown to its conclusion.
6 [Videotape played]
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here I can see some individuals in
8 white robes. As I said, when the humanitarian -- when representatives of
9 humanitarian organisations first started arriving, they were dressed in a
10 similar manner. And this is why I said that they were from those
11 countries, from these Arab countries or African countries. It doesn't
12 mean that these are such persons. It's not very clear, but I'm talking
13 about the clothes that they're wearing. They wore distinctive clothes.
14 MR. MUNDIS:
15 Q. Now, sir, you've identified two individuals on this tape and the
16 location of the tape. I'm wondering if you have any other information or
17 you can tell us anything else about what was shown in the videotape.
18 A. It's obvious that the video was shot in Travnik, and I can see on
19 the basis of the date that it was in August 1992 that it was shot. It
20 was shot in Travnik in front of the furniture salon, also known as the
21 Medresa. And when I compare these dates, this was probably the video of
22 the establishment of this Muslim unit in the town of Travnik.
23 Q. When you say "this Muslim unit in the town of Travnik," are you
24 referring to the Muslimanske Snage, MS?
25 A. Well, some people call them the Muslim forces. Some people call
1 them the Muslim unit. But that's more or less what it was. This unit
2 was composed of young men from the area of Travnik Municipality. I can't
3 say whether they were just from that territory or whether they were from
4 other municipalities, too, or whether there were any refugees in that
5 unit. I saw such people in the town, and on the whole this is the unit I
6 am referring to.
7 Q. Sir, you mentioned the person you identified as Mr. Avdibegovic.
8 Do you know what Mr. Avdibegovic did during the war?
9 A. Mr. Avdibegovic was a member of the clergy. I don't know exactly
10 what he did at the beginning. But I think he was an imam in the Sarina
11 mosque in Travnik. And in 1993, he became, or rather he was elected as
12 the Travnik Mufti. Elections were held.
13 Q. And for the benefit of everyone in the courtroom, can you just
14 briefly explain, if you know, what a Mufti is.
15 A. Well, you must understand me. I don't understand the religious
16 hierarchy very well because I'm not someone who is religious. But I know
17 that there is someone who is responsible for a certain mosque, and he
18 performs certain rites, whereas a Mufti is a high-ranking member of the
19 clergy and he covers an area which is called a Muftiluk. I don't know if
20 that would be the right term. And he is responsible for the religious
21 work in that area. And the headquarters of the Travnik Mufti are in
23 Q. So it's fair to say, then, that a Mufti is a religious leader of
24 some standing and education. Would that be a fair characterisation?
25 A. No, I didn't say leader. I said a religious cleric, a member of
1 the clergy of a certain level. And I can't really provide you with much
2 information about this, but you could probably ask people who are more
3 familiar with these matters. They could tell you what sort of a level
4 this is and who he is above and who is under him. But I'm not really
5 competent to comment on these matters.
6 Q. Mr. Avdibegovic, as a Mufti, someone learned in the Koran, would
7 speak Arabic, would he not?
8 A. Yes. He would speak Arabic, and I think he even finished
9 religious school somewhere abroad, but I'm not sure.
10 Q. Let's turn now to the other person you identified, Mr. Mektauf.
11 What can you tell us about him?
12 A. Mr. Mektauf, well, I know that he's a citizen of Travnik
13 Municipality. He went to university in Sarajevo. He got married in
14 Travnik. He was involved in trade. Before he had a video club, and then
15 he started trading in technical goods. He built some buildings in
16 Travnik, some residential buildings and office premises. I know he got
17 divorced, and he had a big company in Travnik which was involved in
18 trade. And through the media, I know that certain police measures were
19 taken against him, and I don't know whether criminal proceedings were
20 instituted against him. But an investigation was launched because he was
21 accused of being involved in drug trafficking in the postwar period.
22 Nothing was proven, though; nothing was found. And then proceedings were
23 instituted again because he failed to pay duty. And this came to nothing
24 as far as I know, as far as a prosecution is concerned. The last thing I
25 heard was that he was arrested in Sarajevo. He was charged with having
1 committed white-collar crime and with having taken away by force Croats
2 and one Serb from Travnik in the course of 1993.
3 Q. Sir, you mentioned Mr. Mektauf having a video club. Do you know
4 or recall the name of that video club and where it was located?
5 A. His video club was located in the upper part of the town, in the
6 vicinity of the former cinema. This cinema has closed down now. But I
7 can't remember the name of the video club. Perhaps if someone reminded
8 me, I would be able to confirm that.
9 Q. Let me move on. I have just a few remaining questions, sir. You
10 mentioned earlier the two instances where you saw the mujahedin. And on
11 one of those instances, you mentioned that they were in a vehicle. And
12 the English transcript also indicates that you said that they were
13 wearing uniforms. Can you verify that they were, in fact, wearing
15 A. Yes, they were in uniform. They weren't wearing the white
16 clothes I have mentioned, and they weren't wearing civilian clothes
17 either. They were in uniform. I don't know whether they had complete
18 uniforms on them. I saw some sort of a jacket. I don't know whether
19 they had the trousers on them, too.
20 Q. And sir, when you say "uniform," I assume that that would be a
21 military uniform that they were wearing, some kind of military uniform.
22 A. I'm referring to clothing, to some kind of camouflage clothing.
23 As to whether it was the military uniform of some regular army force, I
24 couldn't say. But they were wearing camouflage clothes. And I'm only
25 talking about what I saw in the jeep when they were passing by. As to
1 whether they were all wearing camouflage clothes, I don't know. But on
2 the basis of what I could see at the time, those people were wearing such
4 Q. And sir, you also told us earlier that in 1993, the 306th Brigade
5 and the 312th Brigades were in the town of Travnik. Is that correct?
6 A. Yes, it is.
7 Q. I suggest to you, sir, that in addition to those two brigade, a
8 battalion of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade was also in Travnik. Were
9 you aware of that?
10 A. I want to avoid confusion. This is nothing that I have not
11 claimed already. I just replied to the questions, and I said that the
12 306th and the 312th Brigades had been established in the territory of
13 Travnik Municipality and that they incorporated members from the units
14 that I mentioned. I did not mention the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim
15 Brigade, which was in Travnik. That is a different thing. The 7th
16 Battalion [as interpreted] composed of the members who were Bosniaks who
17 were on the strength of this battalion -- actually, some Bosniaks,
18 because this unit, this Muslim unit that was established had a very
19 strange history. They were never incorporated either in the 306th or the
20 312th Brigades. They were not incorporated on the strength of the
21 anti-sabotage units of the municipal staff. They were incorporated in
22 the 7th Muslim Brigade, but not all of them. The headquarters of that
23 brigade was in Zenica, so some of them did join the 306th. The others
24 did join the 312th. Some joined the police. Some became sort of
25 independent and they didn't go anywhere.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 You may continue asking me questions, though. Maybe I can
3 Q. Thank you, sir. Page 76, line 11 -- lines 10 and 11 makes
4 reference to the 7th Battalion. Was that, in fact, the 7th Brigade, the
5 1st Battalion of the 7th Brigade?
6 A. Yes, I said the 1st Batallion of the 7th Brigade. And it was not
7 my mistake. I suppose it was misinterpreted, my words were
9 Q. Sir, do you know in what time period in 1993 the 1st Battalion of
10 the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade was in Travnik?
11 A. The 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade, I don't know
12 whether -- the complete one. But in any case, some of its members were
13 there in 1993, at the beginning of June when the conflict broke out with
14 the HVO.
15 Q. Do you know who in 1993, or at least in the beginning of June
16 1993, when that battalion was in Travnik, do you know who the commander
17 of that battalion was?
18 A. I believe that their commander was a man from Krajina who later
19 on became a brigadier. I can't remember his name. I know him well,
20 however. And I believe that he was the commander of the 1st Battalion.
21 Maybe he was commander before the battalion was established. I really
22 don't know. In any case, I know that he was a man from Krajina, but I
23 don't know whether it was before the battalion was established or after
24 the battalion was established. I can't be sure. It may come to me
1 Q. Fair enough, sir. And I certainly don't want you to speculate if
2 you don't recall.
3 Let me just ask you a final question on this subject: You
4 mentioned that the formation of this battalion had as -- I think the
5 words are now gone, but you said a strange history. I'm wondering if you
6 can elaborate or explain a little bit more about your knowledge as to the
7 establishment of the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade,
8 this battalion that was in Travnik.
9 A. Why a strange history? I don't know that many details about the
10 establishment of this battalion or who established it. I had my zone of
11 responsibility on the Sesici mountain, and I was constantly fighting
12 against the Serbian and Montenegrin aggressor. I was responsible for the
13 logistical support. We had various cease-fires, exchanges of the dead
14 and wounded because of the refugees who were passing through the Vlasic
15 plateau. I heard that this unit was being established, and it was
16 inconceivable to me that we could not bring our unit to the strength. We
17 did not have enough equipment for ourselves, and all of a sudden a new
18 unit was being established. So my mind, it was just a way to move some
19 people away from the fighting. These people were then assigned to
20 various defence lines. Again, I would speculate if I said it was
21 Karaula. I can't be sure of that.
22 Then they were linked up with the Zenica unit, which is not
23 logical. At the same time, we had two brigades in Travnik that we could
24 not bring to strength. So all this was rather strange. In any case,
25 there were other people who also didn't understand that they were members
1 of that unit, but they said "what am I supposed to do in Zenica?" Then
2 they left this unit and they joined either the 306th or 311th Brigades.
3 Nobody came to me because I had nothing to do with religion, as I've
4 already said. And I know that some of these men also became sort of
5 independent agents. They didn't want to join anybody. They just sort of
6 decided to separate from any organised unit and became independent, and
7 that's how they acted.
8 Q. Sir, earlier on today, page 20, line 9, you made reference to the
9 Croatian Army. Do you remember using that term?
10 A. I said that I don't have that particular page in front of me. I
11 know that I mentioned at the very beginning this was not the HVO, the
12 Croatian Defence Council at the very beginning, but it was rather the
13 Croatian Army. I was not referring to the Croatian state. I was
14 referring to the unit that consisted of Croats. That's why I said that
15 it was the Croatian Army. It was only later on that they gave themselves
16 a proper name, the Croatian Defence Council. They designed their own
17 logo and insignia. They advertised themselves on TV. Actually, both
18 armies advertised themselves on TV trying to prompt people to join them.
19 And that's why I said at the beginning they were the Croatian Army, not
20 the Croatian Defence Council.
21 Q. Do you make a distinction, sir, between the Croatian Defence
22 Council as being a force of Bosnian Croats and the Croatian Army as being
23 persons from the Republic of Croatia? Are you making that distinction in
24 this terminology?
25 A. The Croatian Army that is active in Croatia, and some of its
1 units later on entered Bosnia. That is one body of the military. On the
2 other hand, we have the Croatian Defence Council which was the official
3 army of the so-called Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna.
4 Q. Just so that we're all clear here, sir, the HVO refers to the
5 Croatian Defence Council which was composed of Bosnian Croats; is that
7 A. Yes. Bosnian Croats. There were also volunteers from abroad,
8 but again, we're talking about Bosnian Croats who used to live in Bosnia
9 and then went on to work abroad, and then they joined the HVO. The HVO
10 were units which were not typical only of Travnik, but of other places,
11 Busovaca, Zenica. Now, what type of system they had, whether they
12 recruited their men just from Travnik if they were the HVO of Travnik, or
13 whether they recruited them from other parts of Bosnia, I wouldn't know.
14 But this is what I refer to, Bosnian Croats, when I say the HVO.
15 Q. When you say the Croatian Army, which is also known as the HV,
16 that's the Army of the Republic of Croatia. Is that correct?
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Your Honour, I
18 believe that the witness has already replied, and he said that at the
19 beginning before the HVO was established, Croats from Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina used to call their groups the Croatian Army. But again, we
21 are talking of one and the same thing. And the witness said he made a
22 clear distinction between the Croatian Army from the Croatian state and
23 those that initially called themselves the Croatian Army and later on
24 began the HVO. I don't understand why my learned friend insists on
25 putting the witness one and the same question again and again.
1 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I'm simply doing it because the
2 transcript -- the English transcript is not as clear as it might be to my
3 learned colleague who is listening in the native language. If the
4 Defence is of the view that the Croatian Army was present in Bosnia in
5 1993, that's fine. But I'm simply trying to clarify the record as it
6 exists at least with respect to the English transcript that is appearing
7 on the screen in front of me and which is not as clear as my learned
8 colleague, as it seems to be to her.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Defence, what would you
10 like to say to this?
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I don't see here
12 that a question was put as to the presence of the Croatian Army in
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Defence has never dealt with that issue. The
14 witness himself spoke about some groups that existed before the war in
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and he said that some local Croats called
16 themselves the Croatian Army, and that immediately after that, they
17 changed their name and started calling themselves the HVO. And the
18 witness has already said that twice. This is on page 79, line 6.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you please clarify very
20 quickly, Mr. Mundis.
21 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Q. Sir, when you've made reference to the Croatian Army, are you
23 referring to the HV? That is, the Army of the Republic of Croatia?
24 A. I really don't know what contexts are we dealing with.
25 Let me try and explain to avoid any confusion. At the beginning
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 of the war, the HVO did not exist. Croats gathered in groups. They were
2 armed, and they called themselves the Croatian Army. After that, the HVO
3 was officially established. And these Croats started wearing the
4 insignia of the Croatian Defence Council that they belonged to. Those
5 people were Bosniaks, Croats who resided in the territory of Central
7 Q. And sir, did you just say a few moments ago that later on, the
8 Croatian Army entered Bosnia? Did you say that?
9 A. Yes, I did. And this is a fact. Operations around Kljuc,
10 operations around Kupres, operations around Bosanska Krajina, Mrkonjic
11 Grad, Jajce. It was the Croatian Army that was involved in all that.
12 I'm sure that you are aware of those things. The Croatian Army did all
13 that, and the Croatian Defence Council only followed the Croatian Army to
14 occupy the territory, and they never took part in the actual combat
15 operations. They just followed the Croatian Army.
16 Q. And again, sir, for purposes of clarification, what are you
17 talking about when you say "the Croatian Army"?
18 A. The Croatian Army is the armed force of the state of Croatia.
19 Q. Thank you, Witness.
20 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I note the time. The only remaining
21 thing I would ask to do is we do have a still of the -- of one part of
22 the video that the witness has already identified. It's a still
23 photograph of Mr. Avdibegovic along with one other individual. I would
24 ask that the witness be shown that and that he identify by marking on the
25 still photograph the person he identified on the videotape. We can
1 either do that now or first thing in the morning. I have no further
2 questions once the witness has made that identification and signed and
3 dated the photograph and of course we would tender that into evidence.
4 But we have nothing further to the witness.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then.
6 Theoretically, we should have concluded today's session a few minutes
7 ago. Did the Defence want to re-examine the witness? If that is the
8 case, we will have to ask the witness to come back tomorrow morning. At
9 this moment, the Judges did not want to put any questions to this
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, if we can stay for
12 10 minutes more, the Defence might have one or two questions in
13 re-examination after the Prosecution's cross-examination.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Can the counsel repeat what he said because the
15 mic was not on.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The interpreters did not hear
17 you, sir. Can you please repeat.
18 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we do not have
19 any questions for this witness.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So we can deal with everything
21 in the next few minutes. Mr. Mundis, go on, please.
22 MR. MUNDIS: If that's the case, Mr. President, I would ask again
23 that this still photograph from the video --
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you please show it to the
25 Defence counsel. And show it to the accused as well.
1 MR. MUNDIS: And while they're doing that --
2 Q. Witness, if you could, once the photograph is placed before you,
3 if you could mark the person by writing his name, the person that you've
4 identified as Mr. Avdibegovic.
5 A. Yes, I can.
6 Q. Actually, I would ask, sir, if you would just take a marker and
7 write the name of that individual somewhere on the photograph.
9 A. [Marks]
10 Q. And then, sir, if you could perhaps draw a line to the person
11 that you've identified so it's clear to everyone which person you're
12 referring to.
13 A. Yes, with the remark that I'm not sure whether the second letter
14 is a V or a B. I don't know whether his family name is Avdibegovic or
15 Avdibegovic. In any case, this is the person.
16 Q. And draw please, all the way to him -- it's the person holding
17 the megaphone?
18 A. Yes, the person holding the megaphone.
19 Q. Finally, sir, if you could with a small marker in the lower
20 right-hand corner, sign your name and place today's date, which is the
21 27th of October 2004.
22 A. [Marks]
23 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, sir.
24 Mr. President, we would tender that into evidence at the
25 appropriate time. The Prosecution has no further questions. Thank you
1 very much.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The other one whom he
3 recognised, you don't have a still of that? You don't want to do
4 anything with that?
5 MR. MUNDIS: No, Mr. President. We don't have a still of that
6 exact person.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And you want to tender this
8 photo into evidence. You want a number? Mr. Registrar, please.
9 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] The photo is admitted as P932.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The re-examination, please.
11 Re-examined by Ms. Residovic:
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I have just two questions, as
13 I've said. I would like the witness to be shown Document DH29. In order
14 to speed up the procedure, I have the document with me. It is a decree
15 from the Official Gazette of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is
16 the decree law on defence. Can the witness please be shown this
18 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Mesanovic, can you please look at page 8,
19 Article 40. Page 8, Article 40. To my learned friend's question, you
20 responded and talked about the composition of the war presidency.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Can you please read this article.
23 A. "The presidency of the municipality is composed of the president
24 of the municipality, president of the executive council, the chief of the
25 ministry, the chief of the public security station, the commander of the
1 territorial staff, and presidents of the groups of deputies in the
2 municipal assembly."
3 Q. Is this a regulation that regulated the composition of the war
4 presidency of which you spoke of earlier on?
5 A. Yes, this is the regulation which regulates its composition.
6 Q. Thank you very much. This document has already been admitted
7 into evidence. My second question is to do with the explanations you
8 gave my learned friend about the presence of the Croatian Army units when
9 certain territories were being liberated.
10 Can you please tell me, what year was that when these territories
11 were liberated and whether the Croatian Army then acted as the Army of
12 the state which was cooperating with the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
13 A. Yes. An agreement had been reached at the state level. And
14 according to that agreement, the Croatian Army as the ally of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina participated in the activities on the territory of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina in order to push the Serbian and Montenegrin aggressor
18 Q. What year was that?
19 A. It was in 1994 or 1995. I'm not sure. In any case, this was
20 during those particular combat operations.
21 Q. Thank you very much.
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, if nobody else has any
24 questions to put to the witness, I would like to thank the witness.
25 Thank you very much for having come to testify. We have exceeded the
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 time. We wish you a good journey back home, and we wish you our best for
2 -- in your professional career.
3 I'm going to ask the usher to accompany you out of the courtroom.
4 [The witness withdrew]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So the Defence wants to tell us
6 something about the schedule of witnesses to come. You have the floor.
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, as I have already
8 emphasised on several occasions, there may be some problems with travel
9 documents and visas for some of our witnesses. The first reason for
10 which is the fact that the majority of our witnesses do not have
11 passports; and secondly, we grouped our witness around the topics, and we
12 informed our witnesses accordingly. That's how they applied for
13 passports. Thirdly, we had to reschedule our initial schedule because of
14 the decision that General Merdan would be called at a different time, and
15 he was supposed to testify over the period of at least ten days.
16 We have provided the schedule for up to the 12th of November.
17 However, earlier on, the Victims and Witnesses Unit informed us that the
18 Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sarajevo cannot issue visas
19 for Mr. Dervis Suljic and Hamed Suljic until next Thursday, so they will
20 not be able to appear before next Thursday.
21 Since Zijad Sehic and Sulejman Ribo have already got visas, we
22 are going to call these witnesses in the following order: First, Zijad
23 Sehic, and then Sulejman Ribo.
24 However, since the witnesses Dervis and Hamed Suljic will not be
25 able to arrive in order to appear on Wednesday, there is a high
1 probability that we will not be able to call any other witnesses for
2 Wednesday. Instead of that, Witnesses Enes Ribic and the other witness
3 will appear on Thursday and Friday. I am not familiar with the reasons,
4 however, the Victims and Witnesses Unit has informed us that they asked
5 the Embassy to try and issue the visas for our witnesses before Monday
6 morning so as to enable them to travel, however, that all of their
7 efforts were to no avail.
8 For these reasons, I regret to say that despite all of our
9 efforts, on Wednesday we will not be able to have a witness. And we
10 already know that Suad Menzil cannot obtain a passport, and that's why we
11 have added a new witness to the list. He already has a passport. Is his
12 name is Sead Jusic.
13 Save for these few witnesses, the remainder of the list remains
14 the same.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I understood you well, we
16 have the expert. On Tuesday, Mr. Ribo. On Wednesday for the time being,
17 there is nobody. And you are hoping that on Thursday, you will be able
18 to bring two witnesses as per the schedule. And on Friday, Mr. Jusic
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel. Microphone for the
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] On Friday, we will have Mr. -- I
23 can't say exactly. Maybe Jusic Haris and Sejad, or maybe Enes Ribic.
24 This will all depend on the organisation put together by the Victims and
25 Witness Unit. In any case, we will have a witness.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My last question to you:
2 Tomorrow, Thursday, we have a witness who has been scheduled, and the --
3 there is a witness. However, we have learned that maybe tomorrow we'll
4 have two witnesses, in theory. Do you think that you will have enough
5 time tomorrow to hear two witnesses?
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I can say that I
7 will need not more than an hour and a half for the first witness.
8 However, so far, the cross-examination has taken as much time, if not
9 more. I don't know how long might it take tomorrow. The practice so far
10 tells me that the second witness will be able to start his testimony, but
11 I'm also sure that it will not be able to finish tomorrow. I don't know
12 what the possibilities are for Friday.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Registrar, do
14 we have a courtroom available on Friday in the morning or in the
15 afternoon? It will be best if we had a courtroom available in the
17 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll discuss the matter
19 tomorrow. It seems that the courtrooms will be occupied. So if we have
20 to continue on Friday, it will be necessary to do so in the afternoon,
21 unless one of the hearings is cancelled; this happens occasionally. If
22 that is the case, we'll be able to have a hearing on Friday morning. The
23 other solution is to hear both witnesses -- to finish with both witnesses
24 tomorrow, if you proceed efficiently.
25 You may take the floor.
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I really cannot
2 undertake to finish examining both witnesses by the end of tomorrow's
3 hearing. But perhaps there would be a courtroom available tomorrow
4 afternoon, in which case we could continue working in the afternoon.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As your suggestion is quite
6 appropriate, we could continue working tomorrow afternoon. And the
7 Registrar tells us that this is possible. So we will take steps to make
8 sure that we can continue in the afternoon. If there are no other issues
9 to raise, I will see everyone at the hearing that will start tomorrow at
10 9.00. And I apologise to the interpreters for having taken 20 additional
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.06 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 28th day of
14 October, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.