1 Monday, 8 November 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
6 the case number, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, Case Number IT-01-47-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 Could we have the appearances for the Prosecution.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon, Your
12 Honours, counsel, and everyone in and around the courtroom. For the
13 Prosecution, Tecla Henry-Benjamin, Daryl Mundis, and Andres Vatter, our
14 case manager.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Mundis.
16 Could we have appearances for Defence counsel, please.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. President. Good
18 day, Your Honour. On behalf of Enver Hadzihasanovic, Edina Residovic,
19 Stephane Bourgon, and Alexis Demirdjian.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the other Defence team.
21 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour.
22 On behalf of Mr. Kubura, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, Rodney Dixon, and Nermin
23 Mulalic, our legal assistant.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 The Trial Chamber that isn't fully present would like to greet
1 everyone present, Prosecution, the Defence counsel, the accused, and
2 everyone else in the courtroom. I said we are not all present, since as
3 you can see, one Judge is missing. This is due to activities related to
4 this Tribunal. As a result, she will not be here this week but should be
5 back at the beginning of the hearings next week. I wanted to remind you
6 of this fact, but you have already been informed of this.
7 We will be hearing a witness today, someone who was supposed to
8 come -- who was supposed to appear last Friday but unfortunately had to
9 stay over the weekend. We will now examine this witness, but as you know
10 we won't have a full week, since Friday is a holiday. Let's try to
11 ensure that all the witnesses can be heard this week, because as you know
12 we won't be sitting on Friday and we won't be sitting on Monday either.
13 So we should do our best to avoid having a witness waiting here for a
14 number of days. But I am counting on the parties to proceed in a way
15 that will enable us to avoid a certain course of action. If there are no
16 issues to be raised, we can call the witness into the courtroom.
17 [The witness entered court]
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good day. I would first like
19 to make sure you are receiving the interpretation of what I am saying.
20 If so, please say yes.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. President. I can
22 hear you very well.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You've been here -- you've been
24 called here as a witness for the Defence. Before you take the solemn
25 declaration, could you tell me your first and last names, your date of
1 birth, and your place of birth.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, my name is Dervis
3 Suljic. I was born on the 9th of February, 1972, in Travnik.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could you tell me
5 whether you are currently employed, whether you hold a position of any
6 sort, and if so what do you do.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I work as a professional
8 member of the military in the Army of the BH Federation. I work in
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you currently hold a rank in
11 the army, and if so what rank do you hold?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I do have a rank. I'm a
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, Captain, since I can
15 call you captain. Could you tell the Judges what position you held in
16 1992 and 1993? And if you were a member of the military, which unit were
17 you a member of and did you have a rank at the time?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the beginning of 1992 I joined
19 the Territorial Defence in the municipality of Travnik. And I worked in
20 the detachment command at the time as an assistant for the operations
21 officer. Later when brigades were formed I was assigned to the brigade
22 command as assistant commander for the staff. I was involved in
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Which brigade were you a member
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was a member of the 306th
2 Mountain Brigade.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. My last question:
4 Have you already testified before on international or a national court
5 about the events that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992 and
6 1993, or is this the first time?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the first time I have
8 appeared before a court.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could you please
10 read out the solemn declaration.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
12 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, Captain, you may sit
14 down now.
15 Before I give the floor to the Defence who will be examining you,
16 and you have certainly met them in the course of preparing for this
17 hearing, I would like to provide you with some information about the
18 procedure that will be followed here. As you know, Defence counsel for
19 one of the accused has called you to testify here today. So you will
20 have to answer the questions that Defence counsel will put to you. As a
21 rule, you will be put questions that require precise answers. The
22 questions they put to you should not be leading ones. Defence counsel
23 informed me last week, since you were supposed to testify at the end of
24 last week, that they intended to examine you for about one hour. Perhaps
25 it will be an hour and a half; I don't know. This is up to the Defence.
1 Once they have concluded their examination-in-chief, the
2 Prosecution, who are to your right, will also put questions to you. They
3 will conduct what we call the cross-examination, the purpose of which is
4 first of all to verify what you have said, and secondly, they will ask
5 you questions to clarify certain answers that you have provided to
7 The two Judges before you - usually there are three but one is
8 absent now - the two Judges before you may also ask you questions at any
9 point in time, in order to clarify certain issues or because the Judges
10 believe there are certain gaps in your testimony. As a rule, the Judges
11 ask questions at the very end. Often we don't have time to ask witnesses
12 questions because the parties have used up all available time. But given
13 that we'll have sufficient time, we'll probably be asking you questions.
14 So try to answer the questions to the best of your ability.
15 The procedure followed here is mainly an oral procedure, so your
16 answers will provide information for the Judges. Documents might also be
17 presented in the course of your examination and you may be asked to
18 identify certain documents.
19 I would also like to provide you with two other pieces of
20 information, but since you are a professional officer, I'm just providing
21 you with this information pro forma. You have said that you will be
22 speaking the truth; this means that you should not give false testimony.
23 In the case of false testimony, a witness could be prosecuted. And there
24 is a second technical issue. When you answer a question, you should be
25 aware of the fact that whatever you say can never be used by the Tribunal
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 for the former Yugoslavia in a subsequent prosecution against you. You
2 are granted a certain form of immunity. You may say what you want to say
3 and you can feel free to do so. You are not risking anything; there is
4 nothing to fear. As you have sworn to tell the truth, all you can do is
5 tell the truth. So you should tell the truth even if the truth has
6 certain consequences in certain cases. You should be aware of the fact
7 that whatever you say cannot be used against you.
8 Roughly speaking, this is how we will be proceeding. If you
9 encounter any difficulties do inform us of the fact. We are here to
10 resolve any difficulties that may arise.
11 I will now give the floor to Defence counsel so that they can
12 commence with their examination-in-chief.
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
14 WITNESS: DERVIS SULJIC
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 Examined by Ms. Residovic:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, witness.
18 A. Good day.
19 Q. In addition to the cautions by the Chamber I would like to make
20 another request. We speak the same language, and as soon as I have asked
21 you a question might want to answer it immediately. It is necessary for
22 my question to be interpreted, and it is necessary for your answer to be
23 interpreted as well. So could you please pause after my question so that
24 the Chamber and my colleagues in the courtroom can understand me. Have
25 you understood me?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You said you were born in Travnik. Mr. Suljic, could you tell me
3 where you lived at the beginning of the war in April 1992.
4 A. At the beginning of the war, in April 1992, I lived in my family
5 house with my father in the village of Miletici, which is not far from
7 Q. Mr. Suljic, tell me, what are you by profession and what is your
8 educational background?
9 A. I'm a professional member of the military. I work as an officer
10 in a training centre in Travnik. This is a training centre for the
11 Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina army. I finished the secondary
12 technical school in Travnik and the school of pedagogy, the teachers'
13 training school in Mostar.
14 Q. Were you employed before the war?
15 A. No, I wasn't.
16 Q. Did you serve in an army of any kind before the war, and if so
17 which one? And did you obtain a rank of any kind in this army?
18 A. Yes. I served in the former JNA. And I finished the school for
19 reserve officers in the course of my military service. After I had
20 finished that school, I was able to obtain a rank and I obtained the rank
21 of reserve 2nd lieutenant.
22 Q. In answer to a question put to you by the Chamber you said that
23 you joined the Territorial Defence. You joined a detachment of the
24 Territorial Defence. Could you tell me which detachment you joined.
25 A. I joined the Mehurici detachment of the Travnik Territorial
2 Q. Who was your detachment commander and where were you billeted?
3 A. The commander was Mr. Fahir Camdzic and we were billeted in the
4 Mehurici primary school.
5 Q. Mr. Suljic, could you tell us what sort of situation your
6 detachment was in at the time, what sort of weapons did you yourself
7 have, and what sort of weapons did your comrades in arms have in that
9 A. Well, our detachment - and this was the case for the entire
10 Territorial Defence in Travnik - was in a very difficult situation. I
11 personally did not have any weapons. At the beginning, the weapons we
12 had were hunting weapons since this was a mountainous area. Hunting
13 weapons were used by people who already had licenses for such weapons.
14 As for personal weapons such as pistols, et cetera, yes, there was some
15 such weapons; and some weapons were obtained on the black market, too.
16 Q. When you weren't at the line, tell me where you were personally
17 accommodated and where your comrades in arms were accommodated.
18 A. Well, when we weren't at the lines all the men were at home with
19 their families because there was no room -- there was no place for a
20 barracks, there were no conditions to -- that would enable accommodation
21 to be provided for the people.
22 Q. Mr. Suljic, tell me whether at any point in time there were
23 certain organisational changes in the army, or rather in the Territorial
24 Defence, and if so could you tell me what kind of changes took place.
25 A. Yes. At the end of 1992 there were certain organisational
1 changes and brigades of the BH army had already been formed. And in our
2 area, the 306th Mountain Brigade was formed.
3 Q. In response to a question put to you by the Chamber you said that
4 were assigned to the 306th Brigade as an assistant commander for
5 intelligence. Could you please tell me up until what date you performed
6 these duties in the 306th Brigade.
7 A. Well, I performed those duties -- I was assigned these duties as
8 soon as the brigade command was formed. And I performed these duties
9 right up until the end of the war.
10 Q. Where was the -- where were the headquarters of your command,
11 Mr. Suljic?
12 A. The headquarters of the command, the 306th Mountain Brigade, were
13 located in the place called Rudnik, which is about 3 kilometres from Han
14 Bila. It was the -- they were located in an administration building of
15 the company called Rudnik, or mine.
16 Q. Mr. Suljic, tell me whether your -- any unit of yours remained in
17 the primary school in Mehurici, which is where the command of your
18 detachment was previously located.
19 A. Yes. When the brigade was formed, some of the population had
20 already been expelled from the area of Kotor Varos, from the area of
21 Siprag, and they joined the defence with us. They became part of the 1st
22 Battalion. Most of those men were accommodated in the Mehurici primary
23 school with the battalion command.
24 Q. In response to my previous question, you said that at the
25 beginning of the war you lived with your parents in the village of
1 Miletici. Tell me, who else lived in the village of Miletici and what
2 was the ethnic composition of the population in the village?
3 A. Miletici is a small place. And the area I lived in, since it's
4 about 500 metres away, a sort of territorial division, I lived there with
5 my family, with my father, and with my father's three brothers, who also
6 lived there with their families. Neighbours who were Croats lived in the
7 same village -- that means they were Catholics. And that's all I can
9 Q. What sort of terms were you on with your neighbours?
10 A. We were on fairly good terms with our neighbours. We would visit
11 each other. There was some best men in my family. So the terms were
12 quite good.
13 Q. Mr. Suljic, tell me whether at any point in time you noticed that
14 foreigners from Afro-Asian countries were appearing in the area of the
15 Bila Valley.
16 A. Well, since I often moved around the area, given the nature of my
17 duties, I often passed through Mehurici. Towards the end of the summer
18 or the beginning of the autumn, I noticed the presence of some foreigners
19 who were in traditional uniforms. They would drive around in Toyota
20 4-wheel drives, et cetera.
21 Q. Where did they find accommodation at that time? Do you know
22 where those foreigners found accommodation?
23 A. Well, they were -- they found accommodation in the Mehurici
24 primary school, somewhere on the floor.
25 Q. How did you call -- what did you call those people?
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 A. Well, at the beginning we called them Arabs, given the clothes
2 they wore. Most people would call them Arabs.
3 Q. With the passage of time, did the name these people were called
5 A. Well, yes. When this subject was discussed, it was said that
6 these people were called mujahedin.
7 Q. Mr. Suljic, before the war what did you know about the mujahedin?
8 A. I knew nothing about the mujahedin before the war.
9 Q. Did you notice at any point in time that they had a certain
10 attitude towards the local population, towards the refugees, and towards
11 other people? What sort of relation did people have with regard to these
13 A. Well, in that wartime period the situation was difficult. There
14 was a difficult economic and social situation, so people tried to find
15 food where they could. And I think that these foreigners, being
16 representatives of humanitarian organisations, approached the people,
17 tried to be close to them and gave them some sort of aid, some sort of
18 parcels, et cetera.
19 Q. Did a time come when they no longer appeared in the traditional
20 clothes and no longer behaved as representatives of humanitarian
21 organisations? And if so, could you tell us what happened exactly. Did
22 you see any insignia on them? Did you see any military insignia on them?
23 Were they carrying weapons, et cetera?
24 A. Well, with the passage of time the people we would see wore
25 camouflage uniforms and traditional clothes over them. I didn't notice
1 insignia of any kind. They were in traditional clothes that they wore
2 over their military uniforms. And some were carrying weapons by that
4 Q. A while ago you said that when they appeared they found
5 accommodation on the first floor of the school. Your command was located
6 in the basement of that school, on the ground floor of that school. Can
7 you tell me how many of them there were.
8 A. It's hard to estimate. They moved around a lot. I never saw
9 them in one group. Perhaps I would see one vehicle or two vehicles with
10 these men in them. On the whole they used 4-wheel drives. They had
11 white Toyotas. Since they passed through quite often, one could conclude
12 that there were about 20 of them.
13 Q. Did they foreigners remain in the school? And if they changed
14 the place they used for accommodation, do you know where they went, where
15 they found accommodation?
16 A. When our 1st Battalion entered, the 306th Brigade 1st Battalion,
17 when the men entered who were members of that battalion, they also found
18 accommodation in the school with the battalion command. Given the
19 mentality of these people who had come from the Kotor Varos area, given
20 what they had already experienced -- well, when our unit entered that
21 area, moved into that facility, most of those mujahedin found
22 accommodation elsewhere. They found accommodation in the part of
23 Mehurici called Poljanice, or to be more precise, Savica Kuce.
24 Q. Did you as a member of the army -- or rather, were you able to
25 enter this area freely, the area that they had come to accommodate?
1 A. No.
2 Q. A moment ago you said that at the beginning they approached the
3 local population as being humanitarian workers. Tell me, please: Were
4 there any problems that arose with respect to the presence of those
5 people in Mehurici?
6 A. Yes. The presence of those people with us who organised the
7 units, that is to say those of us who were in places in the command, it
8 did create a number of problems, because we were in a difficult situation
9 in providing our people with logistic support during that period of time.
10 And as I heard it, they were able to give people either money or other
11 resources such as foodstuffs, flour, and the like. And I think that they
12 attracted young people to themselves in that way, by offering those
14 Q. Mr. Suljic, let's move on now to another area. Can you tell us,
15 please, where you yourself were on the 24th of April. Does that date
16 ring a bell in any way? Does it remind you of anything?
17 A. Yes. On the 24th of April, I experienced a stressful situation
18 in my life, generally speaking, because on the 24th of April I found
19 myself as duty officer in the brigade headquarters in Rudnik.
20 Q. And how far is Rudnik from your own village, Miletici?
21 A. About 13 kilometres.
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] My colleagues have drawn my
23 attention to a point here.
24 Q. Just tell me, please: When your battalion arrived in the school
25 building, where did the foreigners who were up on the floor above go?
1 Perhaps it wasn't properly interpreted, so I'm repeating that question.
2 A. I've already said they went to Poljanice, a place called
3 Poljanice next to Mehurici. It is Savica Kuce, which means an abandoned
4 part which are -- the inhabitants were Serbs who lived there.
5 Q. When they arrived there, were the Serbs still living in Poljanice
6 or had they already left that area?
7 A. The area had already been abandoned previously.
8 Q. Thank you. Now, let's go back to the question that I asked you a
9 moment ago. You said that you were the duty officer in the command of
10 the 306th Mountain Brigade at Rudnik. Is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And at one point in time did you receive a piece of information,
13 certain information, and if so who from and how?
14 A. On that particular day in the afternoon, the duty officer from
15 the 1st Battalion in Mehurici sent me information to the effect that the
16 mujahedin had started to arrest some people in Mehurici.
17 Q. Now, was that the only information or did you receive other
18 information later on as well?
19 A. Later on when my uncle reached the duty officer - and his name is
20 Avdo, from the village of Miletici - when he came to the duty officer
21 with his neighbour Frano and informed him that in the village of
22 Miletici these mujahedin had informed me -- or rather, the duty officer
23 informed me that the mujahedin were in Miletici and that a problem might
25 Q. What did you do then, Mr. Suljic, when you heard this?
1 A. In view of the fact that those mujahedin in certain situations
2 instilled fear, especially amongst the younger population and the girls,
3 the young girls, and also the inhabitants living in the village of
4 Miletici and my own family, I as a family member, not as a duty officer
5 but as a member of my family, went to the duty office, took the duty
6 vehicle and went to the village of Miletici to see for myself what was
7 going on there.
8 Q. And did you arrive in the village of Miletici or did something
9 happen to you on the way? And if so, please tell me what.
10 A. On the road as I was on my way to Miletici village, in the
11 village of Mehurici, which means a little bit above Miletici, I -- there
12 was a strange situation that overtook me. I saw my father tied with some
13 tether and my father's uncle and my own uncle. And next to them were my
14 neighbours, Croats, who had also been tied. And they were being led off
15 in the direction of Mehurici. So I met them in Celamov Gaj, as we call
16 that area.
17 Q. And what did you do then?
18 A. I was shocked by what I saw and by what was going on. And so I
19 acted instinctively. I rushed towards my father to ask him what was
20 going on, what was happening. My father just made a sign with his hand
21 to tell me to get back, but I insisted on going up to them. And then I
22 was intercepted by a masked Arab carrying a weapon cocked at me. And my
23 father said that I should go back. When I realised that I couldn't do
24 anything, I asked my father what had happened to my mother. He started
25 crying. And that's when I left the column.
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1 [Defence counsel confer]
2 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. I apologise, but for the interpretation my colleagues want a
4 point explained. When you say that the Arab started out with a weapon,
5 did he cock his weapon at you or was he just holding it?
6 A. Yes, he was cocking the weapon directly at me. And he also had
7 the direct rifle grenade pointed at me.
8 Q. When you asked about your mother and your father gave you the
9 answer he gave you and started crying, where did the mujahedins go?
10 Where did they take your father and your neighbours? And where did you
11 yourself go?
12 A. The mujahedin with my father and my neighbours went in the
13 direction of Mehurici and I continued my way towards the village of
14 Miletici, to see what had happened to my mother and the rest of the
16 Q. Mr. Suljic, when you arrived at the village, did you have another
17 meeting on the way?
18 A. Not far from my village I already mentioned -- met my mother, my
19 aunts, my sister, and all the children from our village. They were all
20 in a panic and crying and running towards a nearby place called Luka.
21 Q. And where did you yourself go then, Mr. Suljic?
22 A. When I saw them moving towards the place called Luka, I realised
23 that they would reach safety. So I decided to go back to the battalion
24 HQ in Mehurici.
25 Q. What did you find when you got there?
1 A. Well, first of all I came upon a number of locals who voiced
2 their disapproval for what had -- because of what had taken place,
3 because the mujahedin with my uncles and neighbours had passed through
4 that place earlier on. And when I entered the battalion headquarters, I
5 came across the duty officer, Mr. Mehmed Mesanovic and Mr. Ribo Suljo
6 with some other locals. I can't remember their names now.
7 Q. Where were the soldiers of the 1st Battalion at that point in
8 time and their commander? Where were they?
9 A. The soldiers of the 1st Battalion were being engaged in several
10 areas. A portion of them were above the village of Kljaci and the rest
11 of them were at Vlasic. Their commander at that time was on the axis
12 towards the village of Kljaci, with that unit that was there.
13 Q. What state were you in, and were you able to assess whether any
14 measures had been taken to deal with the situation and to overcome it and
15 to have your father and uncles and neighbours freed?
16 A. Well, it's difficult for me now to explain the state I was in. I
17 was in a state of shock, I was experiencing shock. But in talking to the
18 people, they managed to calm me down. And then in talking to them, the
19 people who were there, I was informed that the battalion commander was
20 being brought in and that they would try and pull the people out.
21 Q. Do you know what happened later? Were there any negotiations
22 with the mujahedin, and if so who took part in those discussions and
23 negotiations if they took place at all?
24 A. Well, at the beginning there were attempts as far as I was able
25 to remember by the people from the battalion headquarters to contact
1 them. It was very difficult. And it lasted for some time. And finally
2 I think that the battalion commander, Lubenovic, did manage to establish
3 contact through someone and started negotiations to have all the
4 civilians released, all those who had been taken off by the mujahedin.
5 Q. Can you tell us, please, the order in which those people were
6 released and freed.
7 A. First of all, I received information that my uncle and father and
8 my father's uncle had been released. Then I calmed down a bit when I
9 heard that. You understand I was pleased that that had happened. And
10 then I joined the others in our attempts to continue the negotiations to
11 have the rest of the population released, the people who had been taken
13 Q. Can you tell us please, Mr. Suljic, roughly what time your father
14 and uncles were released and how the negotiations ended with the
15 mujahedin with respect to the other detainees.
16 A. Well, at around 10.00 -- it might have been 10.00 p.m., 2200
17 hours, my father and my uncles were released. And as I said, the
18 negotiations were continued to have the rest of the population released.
19 And finally, an agreement was reached to release the others, the other
20 civilians, as well.
21 Q. What was your task in that respect?
22 A. As these were my neighbours we were dealing with and above all
23 people who were under threat and jeopardised in that situation with Mr.
24 Mehmed Mesanovic, I tried to ensure a vehicle to transport those people
25 and to give them medical support. We looked for a doctor and medicines
1 that the people needed because they -- all these people were in shock
2 themselves, just like me.
3 Q. And where were these people taken?
4 A. After they were released, they all got into a bus that was parked
5 by the school building in Mehurici. And they were escorted with a
6 medical corps vehicle and a doctor. And they were taken to a nearby
7 place called Luka. And I've already mentioned Luka. And they were put
8 up there in the houses of the local population of Luka.
9 Q. Were you with those people? And where did you spend the night?
10 A. Yes. While these people were being put up in the various houses,
11 I managed to go around the families. They were near Ribo Suljo, Ribo
12 Smajo's house in the village of Luka. And also my uncle's father, the --
13 my late Babo. And I went around with the doctor to ask the people
14 whether they were feeling better. Especially the women. And the locals
15 did their best to provide hot beverage for the people and to calm them
17 When I saw that things were going well, I saw that my father has
18 returned as well and I went back to take up my duties as duty officer in
19 the brigade headquarters at Rudnik.
20 Q. Mr. Suljic, you have just told us everything you saw and
21 experienced. Tell us now, please, whether your father on that evening or
22 at some later point in time told you what had happened in the village of
23 Miletici in the first place.
24 A. Well, he didn't tell me that evening, that night, because we were
25 just together for a short period of time. I was hurrying back to take up
1 my duties as a duty officer. But seven or eight days later when I went
2 home, my father did tell me what had happened in the village of Miletici.
3 Q. Can you tell us how come your brother and your uncles -- what
4 happened to your uncles and father and your neighbours in Miletici. How
5 come they were there?
6 A. Well, it's a small place, a small village, territorially
7 separated. And when our -- my father noticed some masked people
8 approaching, in view of the general situation that prevailed in the
9 valley, Biljanska Valley, he was afraid that they might do something to
10 the Croats who lived in the upper part of the village. So together with
11 my uncles, he went up to that area and he was there with those people in
12 Gornji Miletici. After that, from all sides, these masked persons
13 stormed the army -- that is to say the mujahedin -- and in that general
14 situation, as my father told me, there was a little shooting going on.
15 And then all the people were tied up and simply taken off in the
16 direction of Mehurici.
17 When my uncle attempted to help one of the female neighbours who
18 had fallen down, the masked man hit my uncle on his head. He fell down
19 unconscious. And next to my father's head, a shot was fired by one -- by
20 that masked individual, so that it was a real shock for him, too. And
21 they were asking them for weapons. I don't know whether they had any.
22 But anyway, they tied them all up together and took them off towards
24 Q. Did your father happen to tell you whether anybody stayed on in
25 the village?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 A. No. My father didn't tell me that anybody had remained in the
3 Q. Later on, did you come to learn of what had happened in the
4 village and that some people were killed by the mujahedin?
5 A. Yes. After I arrived, that is to say six or seven days later
6 when I went home, I learned that a number of civilians had been killed by
7 the individuals who had stormed the village on that day.
8 Q. Do you have any further knowledge about that event that you would
9 like to tell Their Honours, to tell the Trial Chamber?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 Now I have a few questions with respect to your duties in the
13 brigade headquarters. You said you were an assistant to the chief for
14 intelligence. Who was your immediate superior officer?
15 A. My immediate superior officer in that organisation was the chief
16 of staff of the brigade.
17 Q. And what kind of jobs did you do in performing your duties in
18 that post?
19 A. At the beginning I would gather information about the Serb
20 aggressor, for example, through the officers we had in the battalion and
21 on the basis of reconnaissance and reconnoitring and surveying the
22 fighters up at the front line. I received intelligence about the
23 movement of enemy forces in that way. We would check out -- go and check
24 out this information, this intelligence received, or they would send in
25 reports to the chief of staff in the superior command.
1 Q. In the course of 1993, in addition to the Serb forces, did you
2 start surveillance of other forces, other hostile forces, forces which
3 expressed hostility towards your unit or the Army of Bosnia and
5 A. Could you repeat that question, please.
6 Q. Yes. My question was this: In addition to your reconnaissance
7 of the Serb forces, did you start reconnaissance of some other military
8 formations in your area, for example?
9 A. In the month of January in 1993, that is to say in the second
10 half of January 1993, we did start engaging in reconnaissance work and
11 monitoring the movements of HVO forces. This was the result of the
12 ultimatum that was given for the surrender, or rather for our forces to
13 be placed under their command, under the command of the HVO in the area
14 they had taken control of.
15 Q. Could you tell us now briefly, please, whether when you were
16 engaged in monitoring the -- and reconnaissance work of the HVO forces,
17 did you see any change in their behaviour and conduct with respect to the
18 BH army forces?
19 A. Yes, certainly. During that period of time, and we're talking
20 about the second part of January and the beginning of February, the HVO
21 forces were starting to fortify themselves on dominant elevation points
22 in the Biljanska Valley. They started to entrench. And this did not
23 reflect that they were afraid of a Serb aggressor, but this general
24 activity indicated that they were entrenching themselves around their own
25 villages and establishing checkpoints in Biljanska Dolina or Biljanska --
1 the Bila Valley and the axis going towards Travnik and Zenica, so the
2 roads going that way.
3 Q. The erection of these checkpoints, did that have any significance
4 for the 306th Brigade and other army units, for example? And were there
5 any excessive situations that took place which brought the situation to a
6 head and led -- brought to a critical phase in relationships?
7 A. Yes, certainly. Those checkpoints, as I have already said, were
8 set up along the roads leading to Travnik and Zenica, and quite logically
9 this made the situation very difficult. And it blocked the work of the
10 brigade command in the logistic sense because the communications were cut
11 off. We would use those roads to reach our logistics bases.
12 So at these checkpoints a certain -- there was a certain
13 humiliation that we had to undergo. We were searched, our equipment was
14 searched, and things like that. And you couldn't pass by -- along those
15 roads without having to go through an HVO checkpoint. That's where
16 excess situations began to take place. These civilians would -- the
17 goods that civilians were taking to Travnik and Zenica were seized,
18 confiscated, and there was this -- these conflicts took place at the
19 checkpoints because these individuals were being stopped and prevented
20 from passing through the checkpoints.
21 Q. In addition to preventing the passage of civilians and preventing
22 them going to the large towns for the necessary goods that they needed to
23 procure, were there any attacks or aggressive behaviour towards the
24 members of the BH army, for example?
25 A. Yes, certainly there were. There was confiscation of equipment
1 that was being brought in and fuel was being brought in in canisters, on
2 motor vehicles, or in barrels. And sometimes they would confiscate all
3 those barrels of fuel. And our logistics support was trying to supply
4 the units and the brigade command with these -- this fuel.
5 Q. Where did they set up their fortifications with respect to the HQ
6 of the 306th Brigade generally?
7 A. The HVO set up these fortifications on elevation points in the
8 Bila Valley and where the command post was located up in Rudnik. They
9 had also entrenched themselves there, perhaps some 20 metres from the HQ
10 as the crow flies. They had fortifications there and they had focused
11 their attention on the command post.
12 Q. Mr. Suljic, these excessive situations, did they have as a result
13 any killings, murders, attacks on members of the BH army?
14 A. Could you repeat that question, please.
15 Q. You said that there were excessive situations where goods were
16 confiscated, fuel was confiscated, and so on. Now, did these incidents
17 or excessive situations grow into all-out attacks? Did they open fire?
18 Did they arrest people? So were there any situations of that kind where
19 they weren't ordinary excessive situations but more serious situations?
20 A. Yes. From Rudnik to Han Bila, for example, people were
21 intercepted. And at one point in time five members, masked members of
22 the HVO intercepted a part of the brigade command, including myself. We
23 were in a motor vehicle and there was a truck with us -- behind us,
24 rather -- and they stopped us, made us descend, they disarmed us and
25 forced us to lie down on the ground, face down on the ground in the open
1 space. And then they started kicking us, or rather pressing down our
2 heads with their boots. Some of them said, Eat grass. Graze. And while
3 I was lying down like that, I saw a hillock some 50 metres away. And to
4 our left-hand side there's a river that flows that way and there's a
5 hillock towards the village of Sarici. There were members of the HVO and
6 they were pointing their rifles at us.
7 After a few days, a few days later, in the shooting that the HVO
8 opened on UNPROFOR, forces had come to our command post. Our
9 communications officers from the brigade command was killed. I think his
10 name was Hamid.
11 Q. As assistant to the chief of staff for intelligence, did you at
12 any time find out about the relations between the HVO and the Serbian
13 forces? And if so, how did the troops react to this?
14 A. Well, at one point my reconnaissance patrol found some documents
15 with a map in the village of Cukle sector. And it was clear that HVO
16 members had the duty to go on patrol and meet up with Serbian forces
17 along that axis, the axis of the village of Cukle and the village of
18 Jezera. The village of Jezera is further away; it's over Mount Vlasic.
19 Q. Thank you. Tell me whether at any point in time now that the
20 relations were very tense, tell me whether the situation calmed down?
21 And was information obtained according to which all disagreements between
22 the HVO and the army could be surmounted? Do you know whether some kind
23 of body was formed to get involved in this matter?
24 A. Yes. A joint military commission was formed in our area to -- by
25 our side, because we wanted to do all we could to avoid a conflict. A
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 joint commission was formed and this commission visited all the places.
2 And towards the end of May, an agreement was reached on a truce. And I
3 think that according to that agreement, we were to face the Serbian
4 aggressor together.
5 Q. With regard to that agreement, were you personally assigned any
6 tasks? If so, what sort of a task were you assigned and where were you
7 to carry it out?
8 A. When the agreement was reached, the commander, or rather the
9 chief of staff assigned me a certain task. I was supposed to go to
10 Vlasic with the reconnaissance unit and I was supposed to reconnoitre the
11 Serbian forces in cooperation with part of the reconnaissance company
12 from the 17th Krajina. And in that period of time I was involved in
13 coordinating the work of the reconnaissance members in the area of Paric
14 Greda, facing the Serbian aggressor.
15 Q. Before I move on to my next question, I would like to ask you how
16 many men there were in your intelligence organ.
17 A. There were three of us in the intelligence organ.
18 Q. In the battalions, did you have any men involved in the same sort
19 of duties?
20 A. In the battalions there were -- there would be one person who was
21 linked to the kind of work that I did.
22 Q. Tell me, how did you perform your duties as an intelligence
23 organ? What sort of equipment did you have at your disposal?
24 A. On the whole this involved reconnaissance and it involved
25 obtaining information that someone had managed to glean somewhere. On
1 the whole, this information hadn't been verified. And then units at
2 positions would monitor the situation. And then there were
3 reconnaissance patrols who were involved in observation and monitoring.
4 But since we didn't have the necessary equipment and weapons, we couldn't
5 really send such patrols out.
6 Q. Mr. Suljic, your personnel so to speak, the soldiers who -- your
7 subordinates, the soldiers with whom you worked and you yourself, did you
8 have the necessary knowledge before that time and had any one of you been
9 involved in intelligence?
10 A. No. No one had been involved in intelligence before. I as a
11 20-year-old young man was assigned such duties for the first time. We
12 all had to learn while we were on the job.
13 Q. You said you were all learning at the time. But in the brigade
14 or within the superior command, was there a programme for your training?
15 A. Yes. As soon as the brigade was formed, the officers who already
16 had certain knowledge about army-related matters provided training. And
17 in relation to the superior command, we had certain tasks to carry out
18 and certain seminars that had been organised in the superior command.
19 The purpose of these courses was to provide us with basic instructions
20 for carrying out our tasks in our respective fields.
21 Q. Thank you. Since you said that was the end of May you went to
22 the mountainous area, the area of Vlasic, facing the Serbian forces.
23 Tell me, where were you on the 8th of June, 1993?
24 A. On the 8th of June, 1993, I was involved in the task of
25 reconnoitring the Serbian aggressor; this is something I mentioned just a
1 minute ago.
2 Q. I apologise. I would first like to put a different question to
3 you. Since you left towards the end of May, after you had performed your
4 task did you go to the command or did you go home or did you linger in
5 some other place when you weren't in the field itself?
6 A. Since I spent quite a lot of time on Vlasic when I was involved
7 in this task, I would sometimes go home to have a bath and to collect a
8 few items that I needed. And I occasionally went to the 1st Battalion
9 command post in the Mehurici primary school.
10 Q. Let's go back to the previous question. You said that on the
11 8th of June you were involved in the task you had to carry out. When was
12 the first time you met other members of the command? And where did you
13 meet them?
14 A. Since on the 8th of June there was an all-out attack in that area
15 down there, I remained on Vlasic. I was performing my task. And when
16 the brigade commander mentioned a meeting, that was the first time I met
17 the other officers from the brigade. I think that was on the 12th.
18 Q. Where did you meet?
19 A. We met in the village of Krpeljici.
20 Q. Mr. Suljic, before that time or then, did you find out what
21 happened in the course of this armed conflict on the 8th of June, 1993?
22 A. Well, at that meeting I found out from the assistant commander
23 for security that it was said that in that situation on the 8th of June,
24 it was said that the Arabs, the mujahedin, had kidnapped some HVO members
25 and that an investigation was underway. That's what he said at that
1 meeting and that is what I managed to remember.
2 Q. Mr. Suljic, later on did you find out what the result of that
3 investigation was?
4 A. Well, since we rarely met during that period - I was still
5 involved in carrying out my duties on Vlasic - I heard that at one of the
6 meetings held later on, I don't know exactly when, I heard that an
7 investigation had been conducted and the assistant commander for security
8 said that the mujahedin had done this, they had taken -- they had
9 kidnapped some HVO members from the military police. We were told there
10 was nothing we could do since these men were not ours.
11 Q. Mr. Suljic, after the fighting, after those events, did you at a
12 command -- a meeting of the command or in some other way notice that
13 property was being looted or torched in certain abandoned places?
14 A. Yes. At that time there were such situations, especially when
15 you would pass through you could see people carrying things. I didn't
16 pay much attention to this. I was preoccupied with the tasks I had to
17 carry out.
18 Q. Do you know whether your organs took any measures to prevent such
19 incidents or to find army members who may have participated in such acts?
20 A. Well, at the time the situation was difficult. It was difficult
21 to control all those people moving around, all those people involved in
22 wheeling and dealing, so to speak. I know at meetings it was insisted
23 some kind of identity papers or military booklets should be introduced so
24 that we could determine who were members of certain units and so that we
25 could know who were members of certain units. Because people who weren't
1 under anyone's command at the time were hiding in those mountains and
2 moving around freely.
3 Q. Mr. Suljic, you were born in the Bila Valley and you fought
4 there. Can you just tell me, which places, which villages, are large the
5 places or villages in the Bila Valley.
6 A. Well, the biggest place in the Bila Valley is part of Han Bila.
7 The second biggest place is Guca Gora. And then perhaps Mehurici as
9 Q. How big are Bukovica and Bandol?
10 A. Velika Bukovica -- well, it's name doesn't reflect its size.
11 It's a small place, with perhaps 30 buildings in.
12 Q. And Bandol?
13 A. Well, Bandol is a small place. Perhaps there are about 50 houses
14 in that village, if not even fewer.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have only
16 another few questions for this witness.
17 Q. Let's now go back to the events in Miletici. Do you know on the
18 basis of your personal experience or on the basis of what your family
19 members told you whether after those events any Croatian neighbours of
20 yours remained in the village of Miletici?
21 A. Yes. I think that two to three families remained in Miletici,
22 two to three Croatian families. Sometimes when I returned home from a
23 task I would find those neighbours having coffee at my father's or having
24 dinner with him, since he would invite them. And my uncle also assisted
25 those families, given everything that had happened in the area.
1 Q. Mr. Suljic, tell me: Today, are any of your Croatian neighbours
2 returning to the village, either on a temporary basis or on a permanent
4 A. Well, this summer I also spent a little more time in my family
5 house with my father and I was often able to see neighbours who would
6 come to visit their property. I saw them sitting on the terrace of my
7 house having coffee. They would frequently appear there to ask how my
8 father was. And there are some who perhaps phone on a regular basis,
9 perhaps two or three times a month, to inquire about my father. They are
10 also quite concerned about my uncles who still live there.
11 Q. Mr. Suljic, thank you very much. I have no further questions.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's half past
13 3.00. We'll have our break for technical reasons and we'll resume at
14 about 5 to 4.00.
15 --- Recess taken at 3.32 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 3.58 p.m.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll now ask the other Defence
18 team whether they have any questions for this witness.
19 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] If you, Mr. President. We have
20 a few questions for this witness.
21 Cross-examined by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
22 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Suljic, first of all I'd like to clarify
23 something. In the course of your testimony you mentioned the 1st
24 Battalion. Are you referring to the 1st Battalion of the 306th Brigade,
25 weren't you?
1 A. Yes. To the 1st Battalion of the 306th Brigade.
2 Q. In the course of your testimony you said that when reorganisation
3 was underway and the brigades and the corps were being formed - that was
4 towards the end of 1993 - you said that the 306th Brigade was formed in
5 your area?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. When you said your area, you were referring to the Bila Valley
8 area; is that correct?
9 A. Yes, to the Bila Valley.
10 Q. And could you tell me, were any other brigades formed in that
11 area, apart from the 306th Mountain Brigade or any other units?
12 A. No. The 306th Brigade was formed in that area and it was
13 composed of men from the Bila Valley, and there was this 1st Battalion
14 with men from the Kotor Varos area in the area of Siprag.
15 Q. Referring to the 1st Battalion of the 306th Brigade?
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. Let's go back to the 24th of April, 1993. As assistant to the
18 chief of intelligence you were on duty in the brigade in Rudnik. Is that
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. The information you first obtained about what was happening in
22 Miletici about men being arrested, people being arrested, was information
23 you obtained from the commander or the duty officer of the battalion from
24 the 306th Brigade?
25 A. Yes. From the duty officer from the 1st Battalion of the 306th
1 Brigade, and he was in Mehurici.
2 Q. As the officer on duty in the brigade at that time did you have
3 any information about the presence of any other units or about the
4 presence of the 7th Brigade on the 24th of April in Miletici?
5 A. No.
6 Q. And afterwards, did you have any information on the presence of
7 other units or on the presence of the 7th Brigade in Miletici?
8 A. No. Apart from the 306th Brigade no one else was present in the
9 Bila Valley.
10 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] My colleagues have just
11 mentioned an error in the transcript, something that didn't enter the
12 transcript on page 32, line 22. The witness -- my question was whether
13 the witness was aware of the presence of members of the 7th Brigade on
14 the 24th April, 1993. And the witness said that according to the
15 information he had, there were no 7th Brigade members there.
16 Q. Am I correct? Am I right, Mr. Suljic?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Let's now go back to the beginning of June 1993. You said that
19 you obtained the first information on the 12th of June, 1993, if I have
20 noted this down correctly.
21 A. About what?
22 Q. About the military operations and what happened in the village of
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. On the 12th of April [as interpreted] you had a meeting in the
1 headquarters in Krpeljici, if I have understood you correctly.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. According to the information you had on the 12th of June, 1993,
4 did you know which units participated in combat operations and took
5 action in the direction of the village of Maline? I'm referring to BH
6 Army units.
7 A. Since at the time I was involved in another task, and it was
8 quite far away from the place referred to, my information from that
9 meeting was that units of the 306th were involved in defence in that
11 Q. Of the 306th Mountain Brigade?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. According to information you had on that day or later on, did you
14 know about members of the 7th Brigade participating in those combat
16 A. No, I had no such information.
17 Q. You had no information according to which the 7th Muslim Brigade
18 participated on that axis in combat action on that -- and on that date?
19 A. No, I had no such information.
20 Q. Thank you very much.
21 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, you may proceed
23 with your cross-examination.
24 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Cross-examined by Mr. Mundis:
1 Q. Good afternoon, Witness. My name is Daryl Mundis; along with my
2 colleagues here today I represent the Prosecution in this case. And I'm
3 going to be asking you some questions for about an hour or so, perhaps a
4 little less.
5 At the outset I want to stress, sir, that it's not my intention
6 at all to confuse you in any way. So if my question is not clear to you,
7 I would kindly ask you to simply tell me that and I will either rephrase
8 the question or repeat the question so you understand fully what it is I
9 am asking you. Do you understand that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Let me start by asking you a few questions about the people you
12 told us you first came to know as the Arabs and later as the mujahedin.
13 You told us that many of the foreigners who arrived in Mehurici initially
14 were representatives of humanitarian organisations. Is that correct?
15 A. Yes, that's how they called themselves. They distributed these
16 goods to people they believed needed them. That was the impression I was
18 Q. You also told us that you later saw these foreigners wearing
19 camouflage uniforms with traditional clothing on top of the uniforms, and
20 they were carrying weapons. Is that correct?
21 A. The men I met, the men I saw in -- moving around wore such
22 clothes. Some of them had weapons, too.
23 Q. Do you know, sir, if the people that you later saw wearing
24 uniforms were the same people who initially came working for humanitarian
1 A. I don't know, believe me. They were people who you would
2 sometimes see and sometimes not. Sometimes new people arrived. So it
3 was hard to say.
4 Q. During the course of period of time that you were in Mehurici in
5 late 1992 and throughout 1993, did you on any occasion speak with any of
6 these foreigners?
7 A. No. Towards the end of 1992, I had to perform duties in the
8 brigade command. I wasn't in Mehurici anymore, apart from when I went to
9 my family home on leave.
10 Q. Just so I'm clear then, would it be correct that the only time
11 you ever spoke to any of these foreigners was on the 24th of April, 1993?
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have an
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] The witness never said that he
16 spoke to these men, not even on the 24th. He mentioned -- described an
17 event when they pointed a weapon at someone, but he didn't mention
18 speaking to them.
19 MR. MUNDIS: I can rephrase the question, Mr. President.
20 Q. Sir, on the 24th of April, 1993, you have described the encounter
21 that you had with the column of people from Miletici, including your
22 father and uncles. Did you on that occasion say anything or have any
23 conversation with any of the foreigners?
24 A. No. I couldn't have had a conversation at the time. I tried to
25 approach my father at the time to find out what had happened. I was
1 prevented from doing so. And later I said that when I asked my father
2 from a distance about what had happened, all he did was start crying.
3 And that's what happened.
4 Q. Let me ask you now, sir, about the white Toyotas that you told us
5 the foreigners in Mehurici had. Do you recall whether there were any
6 markings on these vehicles?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Do you recall what type of licence plates, if any, those vehicles
10 A. Believe me, I can't remember now.
11 Q. Can you describe for us the location in Poljanice, Savica Kuce,
12 that you've told us about, where the mujahedin went after they left the
13 Mehurici school?
14 A. I can't because I've never been to that place, so I couldn't
15 describe it. And I was never even able to approach that place.
16 Q. Now, sir, how far is that -- this Poljanice location from the
17 school in Mehurici?
18 A. Between 900 metres and 1 kilometre.
19 Q. But you never, during the period of 1993, went to this place?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Let's turn now to the time period when, as you told us, there
22 were some negotiations for the release of the people who were taken to
23 Poljanice. What was the extent of your involvement, if any, in these
25 A. I didn't personally participate in the negotiations. Initially I
1 was in a state of shock, and the men at the command post of the 1st
2 Battalion of the 306th Brigade tried to calm me down. Later I found out
3 that negotiations continued, and that's what I said. The result of the
4 negotiations was the release of the remaining men, but I wasn't
5 personally involved in the negotiations.
6 Q. I take it then, sir, from your answer that during the time period
7 these negotiations were taking place, you remained in the command post of
8 the 1st Battalion of the 306th Mountain Brigade, which was located in the
9 school in Mehurici?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Do you recall which officer or officers or other personnel of the
12 306th Mountain Brigade were involved in these negotiations?
13 A. I think Commander Lubenovic participated in negotiations, the
14 commander of the 1st Battalion of the 306th Mountain Brigade.
15 Q. Do you know if any other officers such as Mr. Mesanovic or
16 Mr. Ribo participated in those negotiations?
17 A. Mr. Mesanovic was present and Mr. Ribo -- well, perhaps he was
18 there, but I can't be sure. He was at the command post. As to whether
19 he participated in negotiations themselves, I don't know.
20 Q. Where were these negotiations taking place, if you know?
21 A. I don't know. I didn't leave the duty officer's room until the
22 news arrived that all the civilians had been released.
23 Q. Let me ask you now to focus on the time period when you first
24 encountered this column of people. Do you recall what your father was
1 A. I really can't remember. How do you mean? Could you be more
2 specific, please.
3 Q. Was your father on the 24th of April, 1993, a member of the ABiH?
4 A. No. My father at that time -- well, he was an elderly person.
5 He was sick and he couldn't have been a member. He was wearing the
6 clothes he usually wore, like any other person from a rural area.
7 Q. And, sir, what were you wearing on that day when you approached
8 that column?
9 A. I've already said that I was the duty officer in the brigade.
10 Perhaps I had a combination of a uniform and civilian clothing because we
11 never had a set of uniform from top to bottom.
12 Q. Sir, in the English transcript you -- your earlier testimony was
13 that when the masked Arab cocked a weapon and pointed it at you that you
14 left the column. There was never an attempt by the masked Arab to force
15 you to join the column, was there?
16 A. Can you repeat that question, please. I apologise, but could you
18 Q. That's fine. You told us that you approached the column that
19 included your father and uncles and local Croats from the village of
20 Miletici, and a masked Arab pointed a cocked weapon at you. Is that
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Was there any effort made by the masked Arab to force you to join
24 the column?
25 A. No. He just pointed his weapon at me and he didn't allow me to
1 approach the column.
2 Q. Now, sir, you -- can you tell us how far it is from Mehurici to
4 A. About 4 kilometres.
5 Q. You told us that on the 24th of April, 1993, at some point you
6 went to the village of Miletici and you saw your mother and some of the
7 other women and children. Do you recall approximately what time that
9 A. I said that I didn't go to Miletici, but that I -- that my mother
10 and my aunts with their sister and children that were running towards a
11 village that was close to the village of Miletici. But I didn't actually
12 arrive in the village of Miletici.
13 Q. So on the 24th of April, 1993, you did not enter the village of
14 Miletici at all?
15 A. That's right.
16 Q. What was the closest point that you got to the village of
17 Miletici? Could you see the village?
18 A. Well, no. The configuration of the terrain is such and the road
19 that I was moving along towards Miletici is such that I wasn't able to
20 see at all, because the road had been dug through a precipitous area and
21 you can't actually see it. And of course there's a forest there, too.
22 Q. Witness, did you at any point after the events in Miletici when
23 you were discussing with your father or your uncles about what had
24 happened that day, did you ever find out from them how the mujahedin got
25 to the village of Miletici?
1 A. No. My father didn't know that either. When he saw them appear,
2 as I've already said, he went to the neighbours together with the uncles
3 to be together with them at that point.
4 Q. Did your father or uncles warn the Croats in Miletici that the
5 mujahedin were coming?
6 A. Well, yes, out of fear and experience, the experience gained
7 previously, especially their conduct towards young girls. The
8 mujahedin's behaviour was such that they would make them wear
9 headscarves, for instance; and they wouldn't allow the young people to
10 congregate and enjoy themselves in the village. So my father was afraid
11 that they might do something to the neighbours.
12 Q. Did you ever ask your father how he knew that the mujahedin were
13 in the vicinity of Miletici?
14 A. Well, you know, it's a very small area. And as he was working in
15 the field, he noticed somebody approaching the village of Miletici from
16 all sides, these masked individuals that we mentioned, and he happened to
17 see them.
18 Q. So your father was working in the fields and saw these masked men
19 approaching the village and then went and warned the Croats that they
20 were approaching; is that what your father told you?
21 A. He went off together with the uncles. The uncles were there.
22 They were working in the fields nearby, and they went off together to
23 tell them that somebody was coming up close to the village, approaching
24 the village.
25 Q. Sir, based on your duties, your intelligence duties with the
1 306th Mountain Brigade, did you on any occasion determine or were you in
2 any way informed as to the actual identity of any of the mujahedin who
3 entered Miletici on 24 April, 1993?
4 A. No. I've already said that I was directly responsible for
5 assignments vis-a-vis the Serb aggressor. And from mid-January 1993, we
6 had the task of monitoring the movements of the HVO in the area. And my
7 area of interest and the zone I focused on was focusing on enemy hostile
9 Q. Now, sir, you told us that your tasks were to, I guess,
10 reconnoitre the positions of the Serb aggressors. Was that in the area
11 around Vlasic?
12 A. Yes. The area on Vlasic.
13 Q. Did you at any time in late 1992, once the 306th Mountain Brigade
14 was formed, and throughout 1993, did you on any occasion use foreign
15 mujahedin as part of this reconnaissance-and-surveying efforts against
16 the Serbs?
17 A. No. Nobody could have used them at that time. They did not
18 receive anybody's orders.
19 Q. Did you at any time, again from late 1992 through 1993, receive
20 any information from the foreign mujahedin about Serb positions on and
21 around Mount Vlasic?
22 A. No. I didn't have any contact with the mujahedin. I just had a
23 reconnaissance unit, as I've already said, and organs in the battalions
24 who sent in information, intelligence that they were able to gather.
25 Q. To your knowledge, sir, at any point in late 1992 through 1993,
1 did the foreign mujahedin fight alongside units of the 306th Mountain
2 Brigade against the Serbs on or around Mount Vlasic?
3 A. No, that never happened.
4 Q. Sir, in response to a question from my learned colleague for the
5 Defence, on page 28 you testified that the assistant commander for
6 security told you that an investigation was underway with respect to
7 mujahedin kidnapping of HVOs, HVO soldiers, in the area of Maline-Bikose.
8 Is that what you testified?
9 A. No. That's not what I said. I said that at a meeting which
10 happened on the 12th of the command, that the assistant commander for
11 security of the 306th Mountain Brigade said that there were indications
12 according to which the mujahedin had seized some HVO members and that an
13 investigation was underway.
14 Q. Do you recall the name of the assistant commander for security of
15 the 306th Mountain Brigade who said this at this meeting on the 12th of
16 June, 1993?
17 A. Yes, of course. His name was Mr. Delalic.
18 Q. Sir, at any point in time from late 1992 through 1993, was a unit
19 of the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade stationed in the area
20 around Mehurici?
21 A. No.
22 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, with the assistance of the usher I
23 would ask that the witness be shown Prosecution Exhibit 481. We do have
24 some extra copies here and we've provided them to the Defence.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] May I please have a look at the
1 exhibit first.
2 You were on your feet, Defence Counsel.
3 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We
4 have an objection to make, that this document be shown to the witness
5 under these circumstances because the witness is a member of the 306th
6 Brigade. He cannot be shown this document. He is assistant commander
7 for intelligence. And the Defence will bring in a number of witnesses
8 who are officers, members of the 1st and 2nd and 3rd Battalion as well as
9 the brigade command and they will be able to explain this document at the
10 7th Brigade. It is our position that a member of the 306th Brigade is
11 not in a position to do that at this point.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 Mr. Mundis, you have heard the objection made by the Defence.
14 You will have ample opportunity of producing this document once the
15 Defence calls other witnesses. And the Defence has an objection to the
16 effect that this witness is not well placed to consider the document.
17 What do you have to say?
18 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, the Trial Chamber will note the
19 second and third paragraphs of this exhibit do make reference to the
20 306th Mountain Brigade, and consequently the Prosecution would
21 respectfully submit that this witness may be familiar with the contents
22 of this document, notwithstanding his testimony.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Go ahead. Go ahead
24 with the question.
25 MR. MUNDIS:
1 Q. Sir, I'd ask you to briefly read the document, P481, which has
2 been placed before you.
3 A. Yes, I have taken a look at that. You can go ahead, sir.
4 Q. Sir, do you see the reference in the first paragraph to the
5 Mehurici sector?
6 A. I do see that, however --
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] In view of the fact that my
8 learned colleague has already said in response to the objection that the
9 witness could recognise this, I think that the first question should be
10 if my learned colleague accepts this is whether the witness recognise the
11 document in the first place.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Mundis, your first
13 question generally speaking should be: Can you recognise the document?
14 And then you can go on to the details.
15 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 Q. Sir, have you ever seen this document before?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Sir, are you aware -- having read this document, are you aware of
19 the contents of the document, that is the document resubordinating a unit
20 of the 7th Muslim Brigade to the 306th Mountain Brigade?
21 A. I don't know anything, sir. I couldn't have seen a document of
22 this kind, even if it was there. It doesn't say who it was sent to or
23 anything else. So it was only the operative organs of the brigade who
24 could have known about this document, but I don't think there was a
25 document like this.
1 Q. Again, sir, my question was whether you were ever aware that a
2 company of the 7th Muslim Brigade was resubordinated to the 306th
3 Mountain Brigade at the end of May 1993.
4 A. No, I was not. To the best of my knowledge that never happened
6 MR. MUNDIS: The document can be returned to the registrar,
8 Q. Sir, do you know where -- or can you tell us where --
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please.
10 Captain, have a good look at the document, please. And in
11 paragraph -- the first paragraph of the document, it states that there is
12 an order given to the commander of the 1st Battalion of the 1st Company
13 to redeploy 20 soldiers from the -- from Mehurici to the Radojcici
14 Village sector. And in the second paragraph it states that members of
15 the 1st Company are resubordinated to the 306th Brigade.
16 Now, this document has two characteristics. The first is that
17 apparently when we lead the -- read the English translation, and I'm
18 relying on the English translation here, in English we say "from the
19 Mehurici sector," which means that these soldiers were in fact in
20 Mehurici, whereas you yourself said that you never saw soldiers of the
21 7th Brigade.
22 Now, there's a problem here. Since this document without saying
23 that it's in the month of May, there were at least 20 soldiers who were
24 redeployed -- who were to be redeployed in the village of Radojcici,
25 whereas you say that there weren't any in Mehurici. So what explanation
1 do you have to give to the first paragraph?
2 Please may we have the witness's answer first.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have already
4 stated that in the Mehurici sector there were no members of the 7th
5 Brigade. I never had any information to that effect.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. How do you explain
7 that in this military document we have this sentence saying 20 soldiers
8 from the Mehurici sector who were supposed to go to the other village?
9 How do you explain that?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In this period, Mr. President,
11 there were so-called combatants who were hiding in the hills above
12 Mehurici. And that there were formations and units in the Mehurici
13 sector and members of the 7th Brigade, I have no information about that,
14 about there having been any such formations.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
16 I give the floor to the Defence.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Since
18 the witness has answered your question and explained, he spoke about
19 units of the 7th earlier on, so I thought that you -- that the
20 interpretation was incorrect and that your understanding of it was
21 therefore incorrect. But he repeated the same thing now, so there's no
22 need for the Defence to react to that.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
24 Counsel -- Mr. Mundis, please continue.
25 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. Witness, can you tell us where the Radojcici village is in
2 relation to Mehurici.
3 A. The village of Radojcici in relation to Mehurici is to the
4 south-east, some 16 kilometres away from the village of Mehurici, in
5 fact. And it is to the south, on the southern slopes of Vlasic mountain,
6 in that area. Near -- the largest town is Guca Gora in that area. It's
7 about 3 kilometres from Guca Gora, a village, in fact.
8 Q. Sir, on the 20th of June, 1993, do you recall being placed in
9 command of an operation in the area of Kula and Ricice?
10 A. Could you repeat that question, please.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Well, perhaps it would be simpler, Mr. President,
12 again with the assistance of the usher, if the witness was shown
13 Prosecution Exhibit P690.
14 Q. Sir, I would ask you to take a look at P690 which is now before
15 you and I would ask you if you recall ever having seen this document
17 A. [In English] Just a moment, please.
18 [Interpretation] This is the first time I see this document.
19 Q. Well, sir, let me ask you: Under paragraph 5.6 it indicates
20 commander is Dervis Suljic. Sir, is that you?
21 A. My name is Dervis Suljic, but that I could have been in command
22 from the positions of an intelligence person in this area, that really
23 is -- I never had any command responsibility, sir.
24 Q. To your -- I take you at your word, sir.
25 Let me ask you this: To your knowledge was there anyone else in
1 the 306th Mountain Brigade with the name Dervis Suljic?
2 A. Well, the 306th Brigade was a brigade with a lot of men. I never
3 knew all their names.
4 Q. I appreciate that, sir. But again, the question was: To your
5 knowledge was there anyone else who had the same name as you in that
7 A. I really don't know.
8 Q. So what you're telling us is that the information contained in
9 paragraph 5.6 of Prosecution Exhibit P690, the first time you've ever
10 seen that information was today.
11 A. This is the first time that I see this information, yes, the
12 contents of this document.
13 Q. So at any time in June or July of 1993, you were not involved in
14 an attack in Radojcici or its immediate vicinity?
15 A. I did not take part in an attack. I was just preparing
16 intelligence and intelligence as a member of the command. Combat
17 operations were carried out by units who were formed for that purpose.
18 MR. MUNDIS: I would ask that the usher retrieve this document,
19 P690, from the witness.
20 Q. Thank you, sir.
21 MR. MUNDIS: The Prosecution has no further questions for the
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Does Defence Counsel have any
1 Re-examined by Ms. Residovic:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Suljic, you have just said in response to a
3 question put to you by my learned colleague that you never participated
4 in an attack of any kind. Please tell me: What tasks did you have to
5 carry out in relation to attacks?
6 A. Well, there were never attacks. This was an active defence that
7 was mounted at the time, and my tasks related to obtaining information on
8 the enemy and preparing the information for analysis.
9 Q. Since you said that you were 20 years old at the time, were you
10 trained to take men into attack -- or to mount an active defence if the
11 enemy was attacking?
12 A. Well, let me tell you, the situation was very difficult, and when
13 I was given the duties that I had no perform in the brigade I really
14 didn't know what it involved. And the brigade provided training and as a
15 result I found out how to do the job to a certain extent. I was never in
16 a position to command a unit since I wasn't part of the system of control
17 and command. I wasn't an officer responsible for commanding men; I was
18 an assistant to the chief of staff for intelligence.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown
20 document P690 again, please.
21 Q. Mr. Suljic, in relation to item 5.6 you said that it was strange
22 that your name is referred to there as a commander. Have a look at the
23 stamp of your brigade, please, and could you tell us the date on the
24 stamp. Have a look at page 1. What's the date on the stamp?
25 A. It's the 26th -- it's the 20th of June. That's what it says, the
1 20th of June, 1993.
2 Q. Since you are a soldier, since this is a document from your
3 brigade, would this indicate that this is the date on which this combat
4 order was issued?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Please have a look at item 4. Could you read the last sentence,
8 A. The last sentence?
9 Q. The last sentence under item 4. Read it out aloud, please.
10 A. "Readiness for the attack, 1100 hours, on the 13th of June,
12 Q. Please have a look at the last page, item 11, communication,
13 commanding and communication.
14 A. In the middle it also says "the communications are to be ready at
15 1000 hours on 13th of June, 1993."
16 Q. Mr. Suljic, is it possible to issue a combat order on the 20th
17 and have the task carried out on the 13th?
18 A. Is it possible?
19 Q. Is there something that is strange in relation to this document?
20 A. Well, this document should be a serious one and one should be
21 careful with these references.
22 Q. Thank you. You may return the document.
23 In relation to the document previously shown to you by my learned
24 colleague could you tell me the following: You said that the 306th was
25 composed of men from the Bila Valley and you said that no other brigades
1 were present in that valley. My question is: Were men from the Bila
2 Valley recruited into the army for the purposes of some other BH army
4 A. Yes. Certain units recruited men depending on certain
5 specialities. But most of the inhabitants of the Bila Valley joined the
6 306th. Some of the men from the Bila Valley formed a battalion of the
7 314th Brigade; I can't remember which battalion is concerned. But men
8 from Zagradje, Orahovo and Skomorje entered that brigade.
9 Q. And the command of that brigade, where was it located?
10 A. Well, according to the information I had, the command of that
11 brigade was somewhere in Zenica; I don't know the exact location.
12 Q. Although this may be leading, have I understood you correctly:
13 Only the command of the 306th was in the Bila Valley and men were
14 recruited into certain other units whose commands were not in the Bila
15 Valley. Is that correct?
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the other Defence team.
20 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] For the sake of the transcript
21 when the witness mentioned a meeting held on the 12th of June in 1993 in
22 the village of Krpeljici on page 33, line 17, in the transcript it says
23 the 12th of April. In fact, it was the 12th of June, 1993.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, the 12th of June.
25 Further cross-examination by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
1 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Suljic, you have been shown a document from
2 the 7th Brigade. You said you weren't familiar with it. I want to ask
3 you about the date, the 27th of May, 1993. At the time, was the road
4 between Travnik and Mehurici in the Bila Valley cut off?
5 A. Yes, at the time the entire Bila Valley had been blocked.
6 Q. Was it possible for members of the 1st Battalion from Travnik to
7 use that road?
8 A. Given the positions of the HVO forces, it wasn't possible at the
9 time. They couldn't pass through.
10 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] On page 52, line 13 I mentioned
11 the end of May, 1993. At that period, during that period, was it
12 possible to move from Travnik where the 1st Battalion was of the 7th
13 Brigade through the Bila Valley? The end of May 1993. You said that the
14 road had been cut off, that it was impossible to circulate.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. When you say the Mehurici sector, is this a wide sector or does
17 it just include the village or settlements of Mehurici?
18 A. Just the Mehurici settlement. The wider sector is the Bila
20 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] We have no further questions.
21 Thank you, Mr. President.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I have a few
23 questions with your permission. We'll go back to document P690. Could
24 you show the witness this document again, please.
25 Questioned by the Court:
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Captain, on page 1 of this
2 document could you confirm that this document is a combat order for
3 attack, that is the heading. Does it say in your own language "Combat
4 Order for an Attack"? Because this is the translation into English. As
5 far as I can see in your language - and I apologise for the
6 pronunciation - but it says "Borbena Zapovjst Za Napad". What does that
7 mean? What does that expression mean in your own language?
8 A. Mr. President, this document does say "Combat Order for an
9 Attack." And in accordance with military terminology, this would be an
10 order for an attack.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Have a look at the
12 last page, please. The last page. Can you see the signature of the
13 person who signed the order? The person who signed it, does the name
14 mean anything to you?
15 A. Mr. President, in the document I have before me the name is not
16 very legible, but the surname is Sipic.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And does the family name ring
18 any bells?
19 A. Yes. My brigade commander was called Sipic; that was his last
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
22 Right next to the stamp -- next to the signature there is a
23 stamp, but to the left in the English translation it says: Seven copies
24 printed and distributed to. And then in the English version it says
25 illegible -- the photocopy is very bad. Perhaps the Prosecution could
1 have produced the original, but on the photocopy it mentions the
2 addressees. It would be interesting to know who the order was sent to.
3 Usually this should be visible on the original.
4 Defence counsel asked you a while ago whether the 20th of June
5 tallies with the 13th. Could you have a look at the stamp where it says
6 the 20th of June. The fact that it was recorded on 20th of June, does
7 that exclude the possibility that this document that consists of a number
8 of pages may have been drafted on the 13th of June and stamped on the
9 20th of June? What explanation would you provide?
10 A. Mr. President, there was usually the date in this stamp, the date
11 when a certain order was processed, that is to say when it was forwarded
12 to units.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You confirm that
14 paragraphs 5 and 6 don't concern you, although your name is referred to
15 there. I'd like to remind you that you have taken the solemn declaration
16 so that you will speak the truth.
17 Imagine the person who signed this document coming here and
18 confirming that you were one of the addressees, you were referred to in
19 the document. Have you thought about that?
20 A. Mr. President, I have already said that I've never seen this
21 document before, and that's the truth.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. And to your mind
23 the 13th of June -- on the 13th of June nothing happened, there was no
24 attack, because you mentioned on the last page of this document we have
25 the officer in charge of communications and at 9.30 he must inform
1 everyone about the plan. At 1000 hours a communication has been planned.
2 But you do not know this document -- you're not familiar with this
3 document? If you're not familiar with it, you're not.
4 A. Mr. President, I've said that I've never seen this document
5 before and I read that communications had to be ready at 1000 hours on
6 the 13th of June, 1993. That's what I saw on the last page of the
7 document. But this is the first time I have seen this document.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you haven't seen
9 this document before.
10 A while ago you mentioned a permanent officer, a duty officer.
11 And if I have understood this correctly you also said that you were such
12 an officer. Could you confirm that, because I'd like to know whether you
13 were such an officer in the 306th Brigade.
14 A. Yes. Yes, I was.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You said that you
16 went to see the duty officer who was in his office. Does a duty officer
17 have an office?
18 A. Mr. President, when I mentioned Mehurici I said I went to the
19 duty officer of the 1st Battalion who was in the school in Mehurici.
20 That was a temporary facility that he used for accommodation.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I assume that a duty officer
22 changes. There's always a duty officer present. This must function
23 around the clock.
24 A. Mr. President, I was talking about the officer of the 1st
25 Battalion of the 306th Mountain Brigade. I was the duty officer of the
1 306th Mountain Brigade in the command.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The duty officer of
3 the 306th Brigade. Is there always one such duty officer throughout the
4 day and throughout the night as well?
5 A. No. This is established, or rather an assistant to the duty
6 officer is also determined.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But in the 306th Brigade, was
8 there someone who did not sleep, who were present during the day and at
9 night, and who could take care of any problems that may have arise [as
11 A. Mr. President, at the time no one slept because we couldn't sleep
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Does a duty officer have a
14 system of communications, does he have a radio post, a radio set? And if
15 so, can he listen to the communications of all the units deployed in the
16 field? Does a duty officer listen to radio communications?
17 A. As a rule, that's how it should be. But at that time when these
18 events were happening, we didn't have such a communications system.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So at that time you didn't have
20 a communications system.
21 A. We had certain communications equipment, but it wasn't such that
22 I was able to listen to all the units at their positions at the same
23 time. We had courier links with certain units and links of other kinds.
24 When it was possible to use telephones or devices that the miners used,
25 we used such telephones and such devices at that time.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. And my last
2 question -- you've already been asked about this, but I think we need
3 clarifications. With regard to what happened to your father who was
4 apparently arrested by certain individuals, you said that you spoke to
5 your father and you even said that your father started crying, he was in
6 a state of shock. If I have understood you correctly, your father
7 started crying as a result. Can you confirm that.
8 A. I apologise. I said that when I met the column I cried out to my
9 father from a distance, What happened? And that's when my father started
10 crying. I was not able to approach the column. That's what I said. I
11 spoke to my father from a distance.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. At the time were
13 you armed, did you have a weapon?
14 A. No.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You didn't have a weapon. And
16 those who were guarding the column, how many of them were there?
17 A. Well, it was at dusk. They were to the front, to the rear, and
18 to the side so I can't say exactly, but I think there were about ten of
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There were about ten of them.
21 And how many prisoners were there in the column? Including your father
22 and your uncles, how many were there?
23 A. I don't know the exact number. My father was there and all these
24 neighbours. As to how many of them there were exactly in total, I really
25 don't know.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. About ten men were
2 guarding them. Your comrades from the 306th who were in the school in
3 Mehurici, how many of them were there?
4 A. There was a duty officer in the school in Mehurici and perhaps
5 some members of the logistics service, as far as I know, the medical
6 corps, et cetera.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And in total how many soldiers
8 were there in the 306th.
9 A. Mr. President, I said that this battalion was also deployed on
10 Vlasic. Part of them faced the Serbian aggressor and part of them were
11 deployed in the village of Kljaci sector. They were providing security
12 for the village there. And other men who were previously engaged, they
13 were at home because they had no where to go back to, they had no
14 barracks. Some returned to their families. It was a wide area. There
15 were men from various villages who were members of the brigade.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's imagine the following
17 scenario: Your father and your uncles were captured by highwaymen, about
18 ten highwaymen, would the local forces in Mehurici have been capable of
19 intervening in a military sense? If we imagine that there were ten
20 individuals whose intentions were criminal.
21 A. Mr. President, I said there was a duty officer and some members
22 of the logistical service, including the medical corps, in Mehurici. At
23 the time when this incident occurred, they didn't have the kind of forces
24 you are referring to.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
1 JUDGE SWART: Good afternoon, Witness. Just a few follow-up
3 A. Good afternoon.
4 JUDGE SWART: There have been other witnesses before you who told
5 about Miletici and what happened there. And I remember very well that
6 some of them talked about your -- members of your family, Dedo, Avdo and
7 Akif Suljic. I remember also that they told about them and that they
8 told especially about the courage those three persons showed in trying to
9 protect their neighbours. Well, if I have listened correctly to you, if
10 I have understood correctly what you said, you must be the son of Dedo,
11 is that correct? Not Avdo's or Akif's son?
12 A. Yes.
13 JUDGE SWART: You said this afternoon that you had conversations
14 afterward with your father on the events, about the events, and one of
15 the things he said was that he saw them coming, the mujahedin, but he did
16 not know for what reason they came to Miletici. My question to you is:
17 Do you personally have any idea why they came to Miletici, or did you
18 hear from other people or other sources about that?
19 A. Your Honour, this event shocked everyone. And I didn't know at
20 the time nor do I know now why these people did this.
21 JUDGE SWART: Let me put another question in this regard. Was
22 there any kind of military development at the time on the 24th or on the
23 23rd of April? Were there clashes between various parties in the area,
24 between the Serbs and the Muslims, or between the Croats and the Muslims,
25 or other clashes the same dates?
1 A. On the 24th of April, there were attacks of HVO -- carried out by
2 HVO forces in Novi Travnik, as far as I knew at the time. There were
3 attacks in the Vitez sector as well. And sometimes in our area there was
4 sniper activity. And on occasion, the snipers killed some people passing
5 by. And I think that someone called Dervis was killed in the Rudnik area
6 as a result of sniper fire, because I was down there at the brigade's
7 command post and other people told me that this man had been killed by a
8 shot. I don't know if it was exactly around that time, but -- on that
9 date, but it was around that time.
10 JUDGE SWART: But all that is rather far away from Mehurici,
11 isn't it? All these places, Rudnik, Novi Travnik, that is all a
12 considerable distance from Mehurici.
13 A. Yes, Your Honour, but you could hear it. The cannons going on
14 and the weapons shooting all around.
15 JUDGE SWART: But you don't recall anything nearer to Mehurici
16 which could provide an explanation for what happened to Miletici.
17 A. I don't remember, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE SWART: I take it that you heard from your father or from
19 other people, but perhaps mainly from your father, who died in the
20 incident at the Croat side. Do you remember names of Croatians who --
21 Croatian persons, villagers, who had been killed on that day?
22 A. Well, yes. I learned about that later on. Amongst them was a
23 man whose name was Tihomir Pavlovic who had been to school with me. We
24 were schoolmates and we were friendly. Then there was Frano Pavlovic. I
25 really can't remember the others and I don't want to make a mistake.
1 JUDGE SWART: These were all members of the of the Pavlovic or
2 Petrovic families who lived in Mehurici. Did your father also tell you
3 or did you hear from other sources about the persons from the mujahedin
4 who had been killed in the accident?
5 A. No. All I heard was later on that in the incident one of the
6 mujahedins had been killed, but I didn't hear that from my father. I
7 heard about that later on through the stories that were being told.
8 JUDGE SWART: And did you then hear his name or didn't you?
9 A. No, I didn't.
10 JUDGE SWART: There was one witness of the events and her name
11 was Ana Petrovic. Do you remember her? Was that a person you had known
12 in Miletici, Ana Petrovic?
13 A. Ana Petrovic; a younger person or an older person? Because I
14 wasn't in the school all the time. There were a number of Anas.
15 JUDGE SWART: I'll look for her date of birth for you; I don't
16 know it by heart. But I can tell you, but I think she must be between 40
17 and 50 years old somewhere, not as young as you are or were at the time.
18 A. Your Honour, we usually call the elderly women in the village by
19 their nicknames. We would call them Malinka, Grahovka, Zdravkinica and
20 so on. So I can't confirm any names. I know that the surnames were
21 Petrovic, Pavlovic, and so on. But I can't vouch for the first names of
22 these people, the women.
23 JUDGE SWART: I'm asking you this because she is one of the
24 witnesses who recognised the soldier who was killed in the accident and
25 she said he is a neighbour of ours. And that made me think that you
1 might also know his name. But you don't, apparently.
2 A. I really don't know, Your Honour. The ones I saw were people
3 wearing masks, as I said. And I said how they were dressed. It was also
4 dusk, it was getting dark, so I really don't know who they were.
5 JUDGE SWART: Well, if you don't know, you don't know. Thank you
6 very much for your answers.
7 A. You're welcome.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecution.
9 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, the Prosecution doesn't have any
10 further questions for the witness; however, if it would be at all
11 possible, I would ask that we take our recess early and if possible I
12 would ask to briefly address the Chamber in the absence of the witness.
13 If the witness could be taken out and then I could briefly address you
14 and then we could take our next break, if that is possible, please.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's 5.20. We're
16 going to take the break straight away, because we would have to do so
17 anyway. And we will reconvene at quarter to 6.00 when the Prosecution
18 will be given the floor, followed by the Defence. So the meeting is
19 adjourned until quarter to 6.00.
20 [The witness stands down]
21 --- Recess taken at 5.22 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 5.46 p.m.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I'm going to give
24 the floor to the Prosecution without the witness's presence. Go ahead,
1 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Shortly before we took
2 the break and pursuant to the statements made by the Presiding Judge, the
3 Prosecution had someone retrieve from the Evidence Unit the best copy of
4 P690 that's in our possession. And I have shown this during the break to
5 the Defence counsel. And I would simply at this point ask with the
6 assistance of the usher that this original document be provided to the
7 Trial Chamber.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Chamber takes note of this
9 document and, yes, the addressee is one of the people stated. Dervis
10 Suljic is one of them. Now, what conclusion has the Prosecution made on
11 that basis?
12 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, the Prosecution will reserve any
13 conclusions that might be drawn from the document at this point. We
14 simply draw that to the Trial Chamber's attention. I would also
15 respectfully point out that in the -- on the first page, on the stamp
16 there is a handwritten indication. It's perhaps a bit difficult to read
17 but it does appear as though that the date 13th June, 1992 [sic], was
18 also handwritten on the stamp in the upper left-hand corner of the first
19 page in addition to the date of 20 June, 1993. Sorry, 1993. Both the
20 dates, 20 and 13 June 1993, appear to be handwritten on the stamp on the
21 first page of the document. The Prosecution will reserve any comments
22 with respect to the addressees on the final page of the document. We
23 simply wanted to bring that to the Trial Chamber's attention. Thank you.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. At this point, at
25 this stage, what does the Defence have to say?
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] The Defence, Mr. President,
2 doesn't have a clear position as to why this document is relevant for
3 this witness, whether the Prosecution is using it to possibly discredit
4 the witness or what. But I should like Your Honours -- to draw your
5 attention to two things. The document in itself, if the witness says he
6 has never seen it and did not receive any orders like this, then you
7 would have to show the document to somebody else who would say something
8 contrary to that.
9 Secondly, the document itself contains more illogical matter than
10 just the one we have been able to deal with looking at a better copy.
11 Under number 11, Command -- Commanding and communication, it says: "The
12 units shall be commanded by the commanders of the units that are pointed
13 out first and they are obliged to pass the order to the subordinated and
14 seconded units."
15 And in paragraph 5.1, the 17th Krajina Brigade is mentioned, the
16 306th Brigade, and the 7th Brigade. They are all enumerated in paragraph
17 5.1. At the end, the witness recognised the surname of his commander,
18 but we see no grounds according to which the commander of one brigade
19 would issue orders to the commanders or brigades of other compositions
20 from other units.
21 And on the other hand we don't see whether the commanders of the
22 units mentioned first, that is to say the 17th, the 306th or 7th, ever
23 received this document and sent it on to people such as our witness here
24 today. So for those reasons, I think that quite obviously any discussion
25 about this document with this witness who described the conditions and
1 circumstances, and we've heard them several times before, under which
2 orders were issued and whether they were sent on or not, quite simply,
3 the Defence does not see the true reason for which the Prosecution is
4 using this document at all and putting it to this witness, what their
5 purpose is and what the document's importance is; or rather, its
6 importance to the Prosecution case.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
8 Mr. Dixon, we haven't heard you for some time. Go ahead, please.
9 MR. DIXON: Thank you, Your Honour, for the opportunity. It's a
10 similar point to the one that is being made by Madam Residovic, and that
11 is that if the Prosecution at this stage reserves their position on what
12 conclusions they're going to draw from this document, then in our
13 submission that means the matter is at an end as far as questions that
14 the Prosecution might raise about the credibility of this witness.
15 In other words, if the Prosecution wish to state that the witness
16 is lying or not telling the truth for some reason which is relevant to
17 the charges in the indictment, then in our submission the Prosecution is
18 obliged to put that to the witness now; for example, that he's not
19 telling the truth about this because he's covering up some collusion with
20 irregular forces. If the Prosecution wish to draw their conclusion at a
21 later stage from what has been stage, then in our view it would only be
22 fair that the witness be given an opportunity to answer whether or not
23 that is true while he is here.
24 Otherwise, it may be that the document is wholly irrelevant to
25 the charges in the indictment. In our submission, we cannot see the
1 relevance of it to the charges or command responsibility. And it may
2 well be that a witness is unable to remember a document for a number of
3 reasons; it's ten, 12 years later. And in that situation, no
4 significance can be attached to this fact. In our view, if the
5 Prosecution does wish to take it further and attach significance to it
6 such that they can use that in their closing argument, then they must
7 give the witness a chance to answer that question now.
8 Those are our submissions, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll summarise the position
10 made by the Defence. The Defence is telling us that if the Prosecution
11 wishes to use this document they may do so to test the credibility of the
12 witness and to present the document to the witness and put it to him that
13 you -- he said that he had no knowledge of it. And as it goes back
14 several years, perhaps the witness has forgotten about it. So that is
15 what one can draw as a conclusion.
16 Anyway, Mr. Mundis, what are you going to do at this point? I'm
17 going to give the document back to you.
18 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Of course this document
19 is already in evidence and the Prosecution's position with respect to the
20 document and its -- what the document goes to, we submit, as we have
21 throughout the course of this trial, is the appropriate time for weighing
22 up all the evidence is at the conclusion of all the evidence in the case,
23 so that this document's specific piece of the puzzle, if you will, will
24 in due course - our position with respect to what this document goes
25 to - can more fully be articulated.
1 Our position is that the witness has quite clearly testified that
2 he does not recall ever seeing this document, that he's never seen this
3 document, nor was he familiar with the contents of this document, nor did
4 he at any point in time was he in a position of commanding troops in the
5 areas listed in paragraph 5.6 of this document. And as far as the
6 Prosecution is concerned, showing him this version of the document that
7 indicates his name as being one of the addressees is not likely to take
8 it any further than that. So as I indicated earlier, we don't plan on
9 asking the witness any further questions with respect to this document.
10 His position is quite clear based on the previous answers that he has
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Very well. There
13 won't be any questions to the witness on this document. We're going to
14 bring the witness in for another matter.
15 [The witness takes the stand]
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, do you have any
17 questions to ask this witness after having heard the Judges' questions?
18 MR. MUNDIS: No, Mr. President, thank you.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Mundis.
20 I turn to the Defence. Defence Counsel, any questions for the
21 witness following the Judges' questions, questions from the Bench?
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, yes.
23 Further examination by Ms. Residovic:
24 Q. Mr. Suljic, asked by His Honour, you said that there were about
25 ten armed people who were taking your father and neighbours towards the
1 camp. Tell me, please, at that point in time did you know how many
2 mujahedins there were in the camp?
3 A. No, I didn't know that.
4 Q. Tell me, please, the number of mujahedins in the camp; would you
5 say it was bigger than ten or were those approximately ten mujahedins who
6 were there?
7 A. I think there were more of them, that the number was bigger from
8 what I could see because the number increased.
9 Q. One more question, please. I understood you to say that they
10 were all armed. Tell me now, please: In addition to the weapons they
11 had, was their power and strength, did it line something else and if you
12 know something about that could you tell us.
13 A. In addition to that, as I've already said I think, they exerted
14 influence on the people because they had money and they handed out food
15 to families that they had established contact with. So this was the
16 manner in which they were able to try and attract the people to them.
17 Q. As an intelligence officer, although you were very young at the
18 time, were you able to assess what consequences for the people in general
19 an armed conflict with those persons could have had?
20 A. Well, at that time there was a conflict with the Croats which we
21 tried to avoid, but it couldn't be avoided. With the Chetniks we had
22 front lines. The third front was opening up. So faced with a situation
23 of that kind, this did not suit us. That's what I could tell you as an
25 Q. And my last question: Did you think that a conflict of that kind
1 could divide the peoples?
2 A. Yes, of course. Because they were trying to attract people.
3 They would hand out money, as far as I heard, and foods -- foodstuffs,
4 things like that.
5 Q. Tell me, the 306th Brigade or any other unit of the BH Army, was
6 it able to make the decision, take a decision like that, or did that have
7 to be a higher-up political decision? What would you say?
8 A. I think at that time the 306th Brigade could not have taken the
9 decision to enter into a conflict with those people.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have no
13 questions of this witness.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
15 Captain, your testimony has come to a close for today. You have
16 asked -- answered all the questions posed to you by the Prosecution, the
17 Defence, and the Judges. We thank you for having come here to testify,
18 to having come to The Hague to give testimony. We wish you bon voyage
19 back home, and I'm now going to ask Madam Usher to escort you out of the
20 courtroom. Thank you.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too, Your Honour.
22 [The witness withdrew]
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I turn to the Defence. We have
24 another hour. Do you have any witnesses for us?
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we asked for the
1 second witness to be brought in at 5.00 and I think the witness is ready
2 and waiting. His name is Dr. Enes Ribic.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We're going to have
4 Dr. Ribic shown in to the courtroom.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good day. I would first like
7 to make sure you are receiving interpretation of what I am saying. If
8 so, please say so.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I can hear you and understand
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You have been
12 called here as a witness for the Defence. Before you take the solemn
13 declaration, could you give me your first and last names, your date of
14 birth, and your place of birth.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Enes Ribic. I was born
16 on the 26th of May, 1937, in Jezero near Jajce in Bosnia.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What do you do at the moment.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am a doctor in the Jajce general
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In 1992 and 1993, what position
21 did you hold?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had the same job. I was a
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the time were you a military
25 doctor or civilian one? If you were a military doctor, were you assigned
1 to a unit?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I worked both as a civilian doctor
3 and as a military doctor. For a certain period of time, I was mobilised
4 for the needs of one of the brigades. But at the same time I continued
5 working as a doctor for the civilian population.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Which brigade were you
7 mobilised into or which unit within that brigade?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For the needs of the 27th.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The 27th Brigade? Have you
10 already testified before an international or national court about the
11 events that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992 and 1993, or is
12 this the first time?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's the first time.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could you please
15 read out the solemn declaration; the usher will show it to you.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
17 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Doctor. You may sit
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before Defence counsel
22 commences its examination-in-chief -- can you hear me now?
23 Before Defence commences examination, I'd like to inform you of
24 the procedure we will be following here. We will adjourn at 7.00 p.m.,
25 but we will resume tomorrow morning. You will first have to answer
1 questions put to you by Defence. If necessary, the Defence team for one
2 of the other accused may ask you questions, after which the Prosecution
3 may cross-examine you. The Prosecution's questions will be somewhat
4 different from Defence counsel's questions. When the Prosecution asks a
5 witness questions, the purpose is to verify the credibility of the
6 witness's testimony or to obtain clarifications in relation to the
7 answers provided to Defence counsel.
8 The two Judges before you - usually there are three of us but one
9 of the Judges is absent for professional reasons - the two Judges before
10 you may also ask you questions at any point in time. As a rule, we wait
11 for the parties to finish with their examination before we ask witnesses
12 questions. Our questions will be put to clarify some of your answers or
13 to fill in any gaps.
14 To the extent it is possible, try to provide clear answers since
15 the procedure here is an oral procedure and everything you say will be
16 transcribed. It's also possible that Defence counsel or the Prosecution
17 or the Judges may show you documents and ask you about your opinion on
18 the documents.
19 In addition, I should point out two other factors. This is what
20 I do whenever witnesses appear, but in your case it really is pro forma.
21 You have sworn to speak the truth. You realise this excludes giving
22 false testimony. And the procedure followed here is a mixture of the
23 common law and civil law procedure. And according to this procedure,
24 when a witness answers questions, if a witness provides information that
25 could subsequently be used against him, the witness should be aware of
1 the fact that he is granted a form of immunity. A witness may therefore
2 feel free to answer questions. Roughly speaking, this is how we will be
4 If you don't understand a question, ask the party putting it to
5 you to rephrase it because sometimes the questions are fairly complex and
6 it's necessary to rephrase them. If you encounter any difficulties,
7 inform us of the fact. We will try to resolve them. The witness has the
8 duty to testify, but a witness also has certain rights. We are here to
9 ensure that these rights are respected.
10 Roughly speaking, this is how we will be proceeding.
11 We have another 50 minutes. I will now give the floor to Defence
12 counsel for their examination-in-chief.
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
14 WITNESS: ENES RIBIC
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 Examined by Ms. Residovic:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Good evening, Mr. Ribic.
18 A. Good evening.
19 Q. In addition to the information provided to you by the Presiding
20 Judge, I would like to inform you of the following: We speak the same
21 language and you may want to answer my question immediately. But since
22 everything we sat has to be interpreted, I would be grateful if you could
23 pause when I put a question to you so everyone in the courtroom can
24 follow. Have you understood me?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Tell me where you lived before the war, Dr. Ribic.
2 A. In Jajce.
3 Q. Where do you live now?
4 A. I live in my house in Jajce, again.
5 Q. At any time was it necessary for you to leave the place where you
7 A. Unfortunately, yes. I had to leave my house and my town.
8 Q. Could you tell us when this happened and why you left Jajce.
9 A. That was on the 27th of October, 1992, when the Serbian forces
10 after a seven-month aggression, after having shelled and killed people,
11 after the lines -- the defence lines were broken through and after there
12 was an evacuation; that is when it happened.
13 Q. In response to a question by the Chamber you said that you were a
14 doctor. Could you please tell us a bit about your educational
16 A. I studied at the Sarajevo school of medicine. I graduated in
17 1962. I then specialised in general medicine in Zagreb, and that is
18 where I defended my master's thesis in the field I work in.
19 Q. Since you as a doctor had to leave Jajce under the conditions you
20 have described, tell me: Where did you go? Did you report to anyone?
21 A. It was a trip that was one that was to save me. It involved my
22 salvation, as they said at the time. One had to go through woods,
23 through mountains. The area was totally surrounded. We said that we
24 were surrounded by Chetniks; that's the derogatory term we used for the
25 Serbian troops and the Yugoslav army. And after seven hours spent in
1 those conditions -- well, you know what it was like in October 1992; the
2 conditions were terrible, if it was necessary to evacuate under such
3 conditions. But luckily I was with my wife with our car, so it didn't
4 affect me to such an extent.
5 But after seven hours we arrived in the town of Travnik which you
6 can usually reach in an hour. So I travelled for two and a half days and
7 the conditions were very difficult, since you didn't know whether you
8 would survive from one minute to the next.
9 After having reached Travnik, luckily I had a relative and a
10 doctor provided me with accommodation in Travnik. And on the following
11 day, since we arrived there at about 2.00 in the morning, I immediately
12 reported to the medical centre in Travnik, naturally. I reported to the
13 director Halid Genjac and placed myself at their disposal as a doctor.
14 Q. Mr. Ribic, at the time were you offered the possibility of
15 choosing where you wanted to work?
16 A. Well, as I was highly qualified and had a lot of experience, I
17 was a welcome addition to the medical profession in Travnik at the time
18 since a lot of the doctors were not working. Many had fled. The
19 director of the clinic offered me two possibilities, I could become the
20 chief of the emergency ward, because the chief was pregnant, and the
21 other possibility was to go to one of the Travnik villages. This village
22 was called the village of Mehurici. That was the first time I heard
23 about it. And since I knew that the wartime conditions were impossible
24 for people's livelihood, as far as food for example, I knew it was better
25 for me to live in a village since it would be easier to survive in a
1 village than in a town. This is why I decided to work as a doctor in the
2 village of Mehurici.
3 Q. When you arrived in Mehurici, were you provided with premises for
4 your work and did you make any efforts to make the clinic functional, the
5 clinic in which you were to work as a doctor?
6 A. Yes, Dr. Genic drove me to that village in his own car and he
7 showed me a building which was a decent building. It had recently been
8 constructed. There was a flat above it, and beneath there was room for a
9 clinic, although the flat was empty. After the Calvary I had experienced
10 on my way from Jajce to Travnik, this came as a great relief to me. So
11 as I said I spent a few days with my relative then entered this empty
12 flat. I felt satisfied because the conditioned were quite comfortable.
13 I had a roof above my head.
14 Q. Have I understood you correctly, Doctor, the flat and the clinic
15 were in the same building, at the same location?
16 A. Yes, that's right. The building where the clinic was in Mehurici
17 only consisted of a few rooms. And on the first floor, there was a flat
18 for the doctor and a flat for his assistant.
19 Q. The premises used for the clinic, had they been used for the same
20 purposes before the war?
21 A. Yes, absolutely. That was a field clinic which wasn't open every
22 day in peacetime. Because the village was about 15 kilometres from the
23 town. A doctor would appear about three times a week; he worked about
24 every other day. But I worked every day and every night.
25 Q. Doctor, did anyone help you to equip the clinic when you arrived
1 there, naturally, and if so tell us who.
2 A. The clinic had the minimum equipment which was insufficient for
3 wartime needs. So I asked neighbouring institutions for assistance,
4 again from -- I asked for assistance from the clinic in Travnik and I
5 asked for assistance from Zenica, from the director of the hospital in
6 Zenica. There was some medical equipment and we received some equipment
7 from humanitarian organisations.
8 Q. A minute ago you spontaneously said you worked every day and
9 every night. Could you say how much time you spent in the clinic as a
10 doctor in 1992 and 1993.
11 A. I stayed in the village of Mehurici for three years and eight
12 months. I was never free. I always had to work as a doctor because I
13 was the most senior one there and the most capable person. This is why I
14 worked around the clock. Very rarely I would go to Zenica. When I went
15 to obtain medical supplies, I would take the opportunity to visit some
16 relatives there.
17 Q. Doctor, since you have already said that you treated both
18 civilians and troops, could you say whether you as a doctor made a
19 distinction of any kind with regard to the patients because they were
20 civilians or troops, or because they were members of a certain ethnic
22 A. Well, I think a doctor shouldn't be asked such a question.
23 Doctors have taken the Hippocratic oath and such a question is just
24 superfluous if it is being put to a doctor.
25 Q. Thank you. Tell me whether at the time you went to villages or
1 whether inhabitants of Croatian nationality also visited you.
2 A. Yes. I quite frequently went to villages and helped in the
3 neighbouring hamlets. I helped all the civilians who couldn't come to
4 the clinic. I went to the neighbouring villages to help those who were
5 seriously ill and who were not able to come to the clinic. This
6 naturally included Catholics, members of the Orthodox faith, and Muslims.
7 There were Croats, Serbs, and Bosniaks whom I treated.
8 Q. Could you please tell me, when you arrived in Mehurici or at some
9 other time did you notice the presence of any foreigners there?
10 A. Unfortunately, yes, I did.
11 Q. Who were they? Could you describe them for us.
12 A. Well, I don't think they were members of my -- of our race, so to
13 speak. I knew that they were people from Arab countries. On the whole,
14 they were dark-skinned people. They weren't Indo-Europeans.
15 Q. Where did you see them? And did you know where they were staying
16 when you arrived there? And do you know whether they later found
17 accommodation somewhere else?
18 A. Yes. The first time I met them was when I arrived in Mehurici.
19 I saw the BH army commander at the time, Camdzic I think was his name.
20 And and I think the command was on one of the floors and on the other
21 floor I saw there were these men who weren't our men. I didn't report to
22 them. I reported to the person I was supposed to report to for the needs
23 of the army. Since I was the only doctor in the field I felt that it was
24 necessary for me to help not only the civilians but also BH Army
1 Q. Mr. Ribic, did you ever find out that these mujahedin had
2 relocated? And if so, where did they go from the school?
3 A. I know they went to a place about 500 metres from the school.
4 They found accommodation in abandoned Serbian houses. This is just above
5 the village of Mehurici, about 500 metres away.
6 Q. Doctor, since you had a lot of contact or most of your contact
7 was with the people there, did you notice what sort of attitude these
8 foreigners had towards the local inhabitants? And how did they treat the
10 A. At the beginning these people were very modest. They weren't
11 very visible. They weren't very arrogant. They smiled, they seemed to
12 want to help us in the difficult situation we were in.
13 Q. Mr. Ribic, did you notice any change in their behaviour? Did you
14 notice a change in their attitude towards others?
15 A. Naturally. When the conflict escalated, then it became evident
16 that they hadn't come there to do nothing. And at that point in time the
17 attitude changed. They turned into soldiers. They became grim and
18 strict. I was personally afraid of them.
19 Q. Did you notice that the population became divided in relation to
20 these people, in relation to the reasons for which they were there, and
21 in relation to their religious outlooks and other outlooks?
22 A. Well, yes, naturally this did happen. Since they started forming
23 a unit of their own, it became evident that they were very diligent, so
24 to speak. They were very disciplined; I have to say that, too. They
25 carried out exercises every day. And their logistics were good. They
1 provided good food. And so a lot of young people joined them, mostly
2 hungry people, refugees of ours who were in the area.
3 Because I have forgotten to say in the terrible situation in
4 Jajce, about 25.000 people were in a line -- in a column from just one
5 town. The Travnik valley was full of refugees. Many of them were hungry
6 and thirsty. And naturally, if someone offered them the possibility of
7 having food, these people would be approached. So some young men
8 approached them. Young men approached these people who had started
9 organising a unit of their own.
10 Q. Doctor, at any point in time in the spring of 1993, did you see a
11 mujahedin in your clinic, and if so why did this mujahedin turn up at
12 your clinic?
13 A. They had their own medical service; they didn't use me as a
14 doctor. But some of them got married to some local girls, and if that --
15 if their wives were ill and they couldn't use their medical service, they
16 would come to the civilian clinic. As I have already said, I also
17 treated civilians. I don't remember anyone coming to me for treatment.
18 I can't say for sure, but I don't remember any of them requesting medical
19 aid from me because they had their own doctor.
20 Q. At any point in time did a mujahedin take a wounded woman to see
22 A. Yes. After an incident that occurred in a neighbouring village,
23 which is about 2 kilometres from my clinic, one of them brought a wounded
24 elderly lady to me. I think her name was Marija. I know she was
25 wounded, and that's when I found out about the incident. I found that
1 civilians had been killed in that village.
2 Q. Did you treat that woman and did she tell you about what had
4 A. I saw a person who was in a state of shock. I am under the
5 impression that she was afraid to speak. She didn't say much, although I
6 treated her in a humane way and tried to help her. She said that she had
7 been in a house, that the mujahedin had thrown a bomb into it. She said
8 that some people had been killed. She was wounded when this grenade was
9 thrown into the house. I had a little information that I obtained from
10 her about what had happened up there.
11 Q. Mr. Ribic, at some time in May or at the beginning of June, did
12 the situation in the Bila Valley deteriorate and how did this affect your
13 work as a doctor?
14 A. Well, when I first started working as a doctor there, Catholics
15 came to see me, Croats. They were regular patients of mine. And as I
16 said a minute ago I would also pay house visits to them. I even had some
17 good friends among them. However, when I as a doctor know -- and I
18 should also say that I have military education, I am a reserve medical
19 corps officer, so I wasn't completely untrained in wartime conditions. I
20 know that the relations between the HVO and the BH army deteriorated. I
21 can say that the HVO alone was responsible for the deterioration of this
23 Q. Doctor, could you tell me whether it was possible to move around
24 freely in the Bila Valley and to go to neighbouring towns.
25 A. Well, although they were in the minority, this was a smaller
1 force in comparison to the army, in spite of this fact they pretended to
2 be the stronger side. They would block roads off. They cut off the
3 route between two big and free towns at the time. This is between Zenica
4 and Travnik. They blocked the road, the road in Guca Gora and in Ovnak,
5 the road towards Travnik and Zenica. And I have to say that there was a
6 total blockade. I risked my own life when I tried to break through that
7 blockade. As a humanitarian, I tried to do this. And I have to say that
8 HVO soldiers accepted my explanations, my reasons for trying to pass
9 through. I wasn't maltreated by these HVO troops, I must say. So I was
10 the only one who was able to pass through or break through this blockade.
11 However, when a conflict broke out, that was no longer possible.
12 For about a month and a half, I couldn't go out -- I didn't even try to
13 because I knew it was very dangerous. There was shooting around.
14 Q. So throughout the month of May, if I understood you correctly,
15 you weren't able to go out --
16 A. I think it was over a month. I don't know if it was May, but I
17 know it was around about that time prior to the conflict, so I wasn't
18 able to do the basics, especially not communicate, because there was no
19 communication. You weren't allowed -- you couldn't move around. We were
20 blocked by the members of the HVO.
21 Q. Tell me, doctor, please, where were you on the 8th of June, 1993?
22 A. Well, as usual I was in the medical outpatient centre. I was at
23 my work post, if I can put it that way.
24 Q. In your clinic, did you hear and feel that there was intensive
25 fighting in the valley at all?
1 A. Well, there was sporadic shooting when relations became tense.
2 And on that day you can see that this sporadic gunfire was flaring up
3 into an all-out struggle and fighting. Two shells fell, big ones. One
4 was dropped in front of the clinic, and three nurses, ad hoc trained
5 nurses, who were there were injured in front of the clinic and all the
6 window panes were shattered. And in my living quarters, they were
7 shattered, too. My wife was almost killed because a very -- there was a
8 very strong explosion and a shell falling into a little river called
9 Jasenica and you could see that there was an all-out war that had
11 Q. Tell me, please, on that particular day did you learn of some
12 other events as well and did you notice that in Mehurici people were
13 bringing some -- people were being brought in, coming in?
14 A. Yes, of course. I understood that it was war. I was ready with
15 my team and the first casualties began to arrive. There was no fighting
16 in Mehurici itself, but round about Mehurici was where the fighting had
17 started and wounded people were being brought in all the time, more and
18 more frequently.
19 Q. Now, in view of the material you had at your disposal, were you
20 able to transfer the wounded to a medical centre, a larger medical
22 A. As I said, the blockade made it impossible for the wounded to be
23 taken elsewhere. Even if somebody was dying, I couldn't have broken
24 through the blockade. There was a path, a mountain path, via a village
25 called Serici which is 70 kilometres away. But from Mehurici and my
1 clinic to the hospital in Travnik, it's a distance of 15 kilometres,
2 whereas the distance from Mehurici to Zenica the distance is
3 22 kilometres. So for us to be able to save a man, whether he was ill or
4 wounded we had to take this mountain path, if I can call it a path at
5 all. It's a track going across a village which I think belongs to the
6 Teslic municipality, the neighbouring municipality. So we had to take
7 that route and the conditions for transporting anyone were very
9 Q. Doctor, during the day, did you encounter any civilians who were
10 brought in to Mehurici?
11 A. Unfortunately, among the wounded, the wounded fighters and
12 combatants, there were civilians too who had been wounded.
13 Q. Doctor, at a point in time did anybody inform you that some
14 civilians had been put up in the gymnastics hall?
15 A. Before I answer that, I was impressed by one fact - perhaps it's
16 important - that among those civilians who were lightly wounded there was
17 a Catholic woman who were more seriously wounded. She was a pregnant
18 woman and it was difficult for me and a terrible shock for me to see a
19 woman who had been wounded in an advanced stage of pregnancy. She was
20 screaming and moaning; you could hear her cries. And she had been
21 wounded in the conflict. I learned later that she happened to come out
22 of a garage -- I don't know why she was there, but she happened to be
23 wounded by somebody. It's difficult to ascertain who had wounded her.
24 But of course when the shooting subsided, civilians began to come
25 in who were not wounded. And I heard that the civilians were withdrawing
1 from up there, from that area of conflict.
2 Q. Did you ever visit those civilians?
6 They reported to me first at my clinic. And then of course after we put
7 up the people - as I am an experienced doctor, older than her, more
8 experienced - I toured the people that had been taken care of. I think
9 one should always protect civilians in a conflict and keep them safe from
10 any incidents. So I think that this was a very humane action to pull the
11 people out of the area of combat and conflict to prevent any terrorist
12 acts from taking place and affecting them.
13 Q. Since you entered the gymnastics hall, tell me Doctor, please:
14 What were the conditions in which these people were placed, the people
15 who were brought into Mehurici?
16 A. Well, you know what it's like in wartime. I told you a moment
17 ago I came into an empty apartment and thought it was heaven on earth.
18 So your reasoning is very different during a war.
19 For the wartime conditions, they were excellent conditions, if I
20 can put it that way for a war area, a war zone, when you have to take
21 care of a large number of people. This means that there are more people
22 in one place.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I should like to ask the
24 registrar to strike the name of the person mentioned on line 16 of page
25 84. Make an order to strike the name. He is protected.
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] The witness is testifying to the
2 event. He doesn't know who has testified before this court and that is
3 why he mentioned the name. But thank you, Your Honour, I omitted to
4 notice that and I apologise for that.
5 Q. But you just said, Doctor, that there are a lot of people put up
6 in a small space, relatively small space. Did they have somewhere to lie
7 down on, something to cover themselves with?
8 A. Yes, absolutely. They had these sports mats and some straw was
9 brought in. Blankets were brought in. And these were aligned along the
10 walls. It was very modest, but we couldn't do any better. They had
11 lighting. They were able to communicate amongst themselves since they
12 were neighbours. They could see each other, talk to each other, meet
13 their neighbours, Muslims from Mehurici. They had a toilet, a WC, and
14 you know the number of toilets that a school had. So everything in view
15 of those wartime conditions was satisfactory. Of course in peacetime
16 they wouldn't have been proper conditions, but in wartime they were
17 relatively all right.
18 Q. The doctor approached you, the lady doctor and the nurse. Did
19 you have an order as to what you had to provide these civilians with?
20 And as a physician, did you follow orders and act pursuant to orders?
21 A. Yes. I had the order to give medical assistance to the people
22 there. And even if I didn't receive orders to that effect I would have
23 done so because I'm a doctor. And when my lady colleague came in to tell
24 me, it was a matter of honour for me to help her and do what I could for
25 the people and that she could dispose of all the amenities I had.
1 Q. You've just answered my following question, actually. What was
2 the lady doctor's approach? Or rather, did she have access to the
3 facilities in your clinic and all the medical equipment that you had
5 A. Yes, she had open, free access to all the facilities. I told her
6 she could come whenever she wanted and she often needed some medical
7 -- medicines. She came to me for advice and things of that kind.
8 Q. Now, since you went into the sports hall, the gymnastics hall,
9 did you enable the lady doctor to have her makeshift clinic and use the
10 medicines whenever she needed to?
11 A. Yes. We supplied the equipment, the medical equipment, she
12 needed. So she had this in the neighbouring village, too, and brought in
13 some medical equipment to us from there, from the neighbouring village.
14 Maline is its name.
15 Q. Do you know, Dr. Ribic, who saw to the food for these civilians
16 and their other requirements?
17 A. For all the refugees - the Muslims and there was some Orthodox
18 there at one point and Catholics, too - it was the civilian protection or
19 civil defence headquarters who dealt with that. And I must commend them
20 because I think their work was excellent.
21 Q. A moment ago in response to a question from me, you said that the
22 neighbours from the village also helped in one way or another. Can you
23 tell us what you meant by that.
24 A. Well, it was this friendly approach. They knew each other for a
25 long time -- they had known each other for a long time. They were
1 neighbours for a long time and I know that they would bring in a lot of
2 food. So the people gave food from their own homes and brought it there
3 and anything else that anybody needed. I don't know the details and the
4 specifics; of course individuals could tell you about that. But I was
5 very pleased to see this helping hand being extended by the neighbours
6 and that the war had not managed to make people hate each other. The
7 civilians still liked to help each other out.
8 Q. Now, the lady doctor, your colleague, did she or her nurse ever
9 complain to you about the bad treatment of the civilian -- that the
10 civilians treated them badly in that sports hall?
11 A. No, absolutely never. I'm smiling, and I apologise for doing
12 that, perhaps I shouldn't have. But if anybody is hiding in this
13 conflict, then they're hiding the truth. And a witness should never
14 hide. And in this conflict, I know most of the details; I lived there.
15 So there was nothing to hide. There was nothing to be ashamed of. And
16 I've just heard from the Presiding Judge that there is a protected
17 witness, so I sort of smiled and said: is there anything that -- do we
18 really need to conceal that, conceal who that was?
19 Q. Well, according to the rules of the Tribunal, if the Court so
20 permits, we do allow protected witnesses. And it's not for us -- up to
21 us to comment on matters of that kind.
22 But tell us, please: Your doctor colleague, did she ever tell
23 you in that sports hall a woman -- that a woman bled or lost her baby,
24 had a miscarriage?
25 A. I can't remember. I don't think I did, but I can't be 100 per
1 cent certain. But whether a woman bled profusely, as I was the older
2 colleague, the doctor would have asked me to lend assistance to this
3 person if it was profuse bleeding. Now, whether she saw to someone who
4 had some lighter form of bleeding, I don't know. But she didn't come to
5 me for help. I don't have any information of that having happened at
6 all. I wasn't informed that there was a woman who was under jeopardy in
7 that way.
8 Q. All right, Doctor. Now, your relations with that lady colleague
9 of yours, Doctor, was your relationship such that she could come to you
10 for any medical problem that she wasn't able to solve herself?
11 A. I think that's quite natural and that it was something that
12 should never be questioned. It's quite normal. She would certainly have
13 asked for my help. She could come to me at any time for my assistance.
14 Q. To the best of your recollection, how long did those civilians
15 stay in that school building?
16 A. I would say for a brief period of time. For them it probably
17 appeared much longer. I would say it was seven to ten days. I didn't
18 keep a diary of course, but I would say that the time, for me, passed by
19 fairly quickly. I can't say exactly how long they were there for.
20 Q. As a physician yourself, did you learn of a woman on occasion who
21 were in the sports hall during her sojourn there lost 30 kilogrammes of
22 weight while she was there?
23 A. That is ludicrous and medically untenable, that for such a short
24 space of time you could lose 30 kilogrammes anywhere. That's not logical
25 and I didn't hear of anything like that happening, I must admit.
1 Q. Doctor, did you happen to learn that there was some captured
2 members of the HVO who were not put up in the sports hall but they were
3 accommodated somewhere else, held somewhere else?
4 A. I must say that next to my clinic, some ten metres away from my
5 clinic there was some premises. I don't know how to describe them or
6 define them. They belonged to the forestry administration. And I did
7 see some people there through the window from time to time. So this was
8 in the neighbouring building. I saw some people through the window. I
9 didn't know who they were. I didn't know that they were incarcerated
10 there. In fact I didn't know who they were. So I can't say whether they
11 were members of the HVO or not. But I did see some, not many, but maybe
12 five or six people, in those premises. They seemed to be shut in there.
13 But I don't know who they belonged to. They weren't wearing uniforms. I
14 just saw their heads, if the truth be told. I was walking underneath the
15 window. I was chopping wood underneath the window, so I could
16 communicate with them. But I didn't actually do so. And they didn't
17 talk to me either, although they saw me there. As I say, I was
18 underneath their window chopping wood. That's something I did on a
19 fairly regular basis, in actual fact.
20 Q. Doctor, while the people were there, did you ever happen to
21 notice that somebody was abusing those people, mistreating them? Did you
22 learn anything about that from somebody else, that somebody was
23 mistreating those people?
24 A. No, never. I never learned anything like that. I never even
25 heard people shouting at them. I can't say categorically, but -- and
1 they're small windows, you know, the type of window you would find on a
2 garage. I never ever heard any screams or moans or anything like that.
3 No, that was out of the question. I would have reacted myself had I
4 heard anything like that taking place. I would have gone and seen what
5 that was all about, if anybody was mistreating people.
6 Q. Dr. Ribic, tell me please: After these events, did you ever
7 happen to learn that when these people were being brought in from Maline,
8 for example, that something happened which would -- which shocked you
10 A. I don't follow your question. Could you repeat it.
11 Q. In addition to the fact that these people were brought to the
12 school building, did you ever learn that when they were brought in an
13 event took place which was talked about later on and which shattered the
15 A. Unfortunately I did hear that during the conflicts a certain
16 number of people were killed in the conflicts, and that some of them, as
17 I say, were killed even if they lived through the conflicts; that some
18 were killed during the conflicts, some of them survived the conflict but
19 were killed later.
20 Q. Did you hear who killed them?
21 A. Unfortunately I heard that they were killed by - how shall I put
22 it - the people we mentioned earlier on, the mujahedin, and foreign
24 Q. Thank you, Doctor.
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions,
1 Mr. President, for this witness.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
3 The other counsel.
4 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we have no
5 questions for this witness.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
7 In view of the time, I think that it would be a good idea to
8 adjourn there for the day. Unless you have a question, Mr. Mundis, one
9 question perhaps.
10 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, I think I would prefer to start
11 tomorrow morning, please.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
13 Doctor, we're going to continue tomorrow when the Prosecution
14 will be asking you questions. The Defence took an hour in examining you.
15 I assume that the Prosecution will have one hour of questioning, and then
16 perhaps the Defence counsel will have more questions to ask you and I'm
17 sure that the Judges will have some questions for you.
18 You will be going back to where you're staying and please come
19 back tomorrow morning at 9.00. Between now and then, you are to have no
20 contacts with the Defence counsel or the Prosecution. We are now -- you
21 are now a witness of justice, so you should not contact anybody. I'm
22 going to ask Madam Usher to escort you out of the courtroom, and you will
23 be taken over by the Victims and Witnesses Unit. So we see you back here
24 tomorrow morning.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand. Thank you.
1 [The witness stands down]
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] For the few minutes that
3 remain, I turn to the Defence as regards tomorrow's planning and
4 schedule. When we complete the testimony of this witness, what do you
5 have in store for us tomorrow?
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we have another
7 witness tomorrow Enes Karic [sic] and after that we have Ferid Jasarevic,
8 the next witness, and Mustafa Hockic. And he could begin on Wednesday
9 and be completed by Thursday.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise. The name is
12 Munir Karic. I don't know what I said; it seems I misspoke and gave a
13 different name. The witness's name is Munir Karic. So I apologise for
14 giving the wrong name. A slip of the tongue.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. If I understand you
16 correctly, we have this particular -- the witness we started plus another
17 witness. On Wednesday we have one more witness, and on Thursday a
18 witness. Thank you.
19 So we adjourn until tomorrow morning at 9.00. Thank you.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.58 p.m.,
21 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 9th day of
22 November, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.