1 Tuesday, 23 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, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] IT-01-47-T, the Prosecutor versus
8 Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could we have the appearances
10 for the Prosecution, please.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Good afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours, counsel,
12 and everyone in and around the courtroom. For the Prosecution, Daryl
13 Mundis. I'm assisted again today by our intern Lisa Hartog and our case
14 manager, Mr. Andres Vatter.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And could we have the
16 appearances for Defence counsel, please.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. President; good day,
18 Your Honours. On behalf of General Enver Hadzihasanovic, Edina Residovic,
19 counsel; Stefane Bourgon, co-counsel; and Muriel Cauvin, our legal
20 assistant. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the other Defence team.
22 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honours. On
23 behalf of Mr. Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and Nermin
24 Mulalic, our legal assistant.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber would like to
1 greet everyone present in the courtroom, members of the Prosecution,
2 Defence counsel, the accused, and the registrar, who is back with us
3 today. We'll continue with the examination of our witness. Could the
4 usher please bring the witness into the courtroom now.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, General. I hope
7 that you're receiving the interpretation of what is being said. There
8 seems to be a problem.
9 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
10 WITNESS: FIKRET CUSKIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Examined by Mr. Ibrisimovic [Continued]:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Cuskic.
14 A. Good day.
15 Q. In the course of your testimony yesterday you spoke about the
16 formation of the El Mujahed detachment. It was in August 1993; isn't that
18 A. Yes, towards the end of August 1993.
19 Q. On that occasion, you expressed a position of yours. You said
20 that this was probably an attempt to ensure that these foreigners, the
21 Mujahedin, be placed under the control of the ABiH in a certain manner; is
22 that correct?
23 A. Yes, that's correct.
24 Q. If I've understood you correctly, but do correct me if I'm wrong,
25 yesterday you said that if they were in ABiH units, if they had been in
1 ABiH units and if they had been under the control of the ABiH, it wouldn't
2 have been necessary to form that detachment.
3 A. I think I was quite clear; when brigades was formed and when the
4 corps was formed in the zone of responsibility of the 3rd Corps, apart
5 from the Territorial Defence staffs and brigades that were part of the
6 army, there were these groups of Mujahedin, and perhaps there were some
7 MOS groups that had remained. They amassed in those remote villages and
8 they were present in certain camps but they weren't members of army units
9 of any kind.
10 Q. If I've understood you correctly, with regard to these Mujahedin,
11 this is a problem that should have been dealt with at a high level, at the
12 level of the supreme command or at a political level. A corps commander
13 couldn't make any decisions about these matters, and especially not a
14 brigade commander; is that correct?
15 A. Well, according to the order to form the 3rd Corps command and the
16 commands of subordinate units, I was able to see who was part of those
17 units, and it was clear that they weren't becoming a part of any units
18 and, in the territorial sense, they didn't belong to anyone. They weren't
19 from that area and no one was responsible for them. This was a specific
20 group, and they had not previously been linked to the Territorial Defence.
21 No one had the authority to make them members of other units.
22 Q. Perhaps you misunderstood me. This question, this problem should
23 have been solved at a higher level, at a political level, perhaps. The
24 corps commander and the brigade commander didn't have such responsibility.
25 A. I know that the corps commander didn't have such responsibility
1 and this was especially the case for a brigade commander. This is my
2 assessment. I can't say for sure who was responsible, but this was a
3 political issue alone.
4 Q. Thank you. Let's now go back to your testimony when you spoke
5 about army units which existed in Travnik at the time. You also said that
6 the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade was in Travnik.
7 A. The command of the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade was in
8 Travnik, and their base was there. That was their base in the Medresa, in
9 the school, where the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade was located.
10 Q. On page 33, I think you said that members of your brigade had a
11 line of responsibility or held a line facing the Serbian aggressor in the
12 Bijelo Bucje sector; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you provide us with a brief description of the location of
15 Bijelo Bucje.
16 A. I'll try. I think it's to the north-west -- I'm sorry, to the
17 south-west of Travnik. If you look from Turbe, perhaps it's four or five
18 kilometres away, towards Mradinska [phoen], Kamenjas, which is a Bosnian
19 village close to the line. And after a certain period of time, the 3rd
20 Battalion took a position there.
21 Q. Mr. Cuskic, do you know that the 1st Battalion of the 7th Brigade
22 had a zone of responsibility in that area towards Bijelo Bucje?
23 A. In Bijelo Bucje there were about 30 troops, 30 soldiers from the
24 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade, and if I remember this well,
25 after the 3rd Battalion went into the field, they were subordinated to the
1 3rd Battalion. And the -- in the base of the battalion in Travnik, they
2 had general reserve forces, about 70 people, 70 men, perhaps, in the town
3 of Travnik itself.
4 Q. You said, I think it was on page 31, that one of the elevations
5 around Travnik which was under the control of the HVO, was Hajdarove
7 A. Yes. That was one of the elevated positions, and unfortunately,
8 the HVO, in April, already held a lot of those elevated positions.
9 Q. Where is Hajdarove Njive exactly?
10 A. Hajdarove Njive, if you're looking from the exit of Travnik
11 towards Zenica, if you're looking in the direction of Zenica, it's to the
12 north. It's a plateau. It's perhaps 800 metres above sea level and it
13 dominates the entrance to Travnik. When coming from Vitez and Zenica,
14 it's possible to control the Plava Voda feature and the Medresa feature
15 from that position, and the HVO, in addition to 82-millimetre mortar and
16 the Praga, which often opened fire and wounded soldiers and civilians in
17 the town -- well, they had this Praga too.
18 Q. That's very near to Travnik?
19 A. Yes. Near the entrance to Travnik. As you probably know, Travnik
20 is -- well, not in a canyon, but in a valley between the mountains of
21 Vilenica and the mountain of Bukovice. It's more or less hidden in that
22 valley. And Hajdarove Njive is to the east. It's one gate, one entrance
23 to Travnik.
24 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, with your
25 permission, could the witness be shown document P465. We have a
1 sufficient number of copies for everyone. Could the usher please
2 distribute this document to the witness and to everyone else in the
4 Q. I just have one question for you before you have a look at this
5 document. The 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade was part of the
6 Bosanska Krajina ogee; is that correct?
7 A. I apologise. Could you repeat the question.
8 Q. The 1st battalion of the 7th Brigade was part of the Bosnian
9 Krajina OG; is that correct?
10 A. At the time, yes:
11 Q. Do you recognise this document?
12 A. This is an original document. It's a handwritten document from
13 the commander of the OG, Mr. Alagic. He drafted this document himself,
14 and it was later processed in the communications centre and forwarded to
15 the command of the 3rd Corps. This was on the 8th of June, 1993. You can
16 see what the situation is at the lines toward the Chetniks. You can see
17 what action was taken towards the HVO. You can see what action our forces
18 took, and you can see that the 1st Battalion was engaged on the
19 Hajdarove Njive feature, at the Hajdarove Njive feature.
20 Q. This is General Alagic's handwriting; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. This report was for the 8th of June, 1993?
23 A. That's correct. This is his handwriting, and this was then
24 processed in the communications centre and then sent to Zenica by packet
25 communications. You can see at the bottom it says "Aga," so this means
1 Alagic, and the entirely document was handwritten by him.
2 The situation was a particular one at the time. I have already
3 said that Commander Alagic didn't have full staff in the command. He had
4 to rely on the command of the 17th and about the 8th of June, because of
5 the problems in the zone, he started bringing the command and OG up to
6 strength with the necessary staff. He would sometimes personally draft
7 reports which would then be technically processed, and forwarded to the
8 corps command.
9 Q. You can see that this was drafted at 1900 hours. This report
10 should be a report on the combat operations in the course of the day?
11 A. Yes, in the course of the day on the 8th of June. And you can see
12 for yourself, the heading says the 8th of June, 1993, at 1900 hours.
13 Q. General Alagic drafted this report on the basis of the information
14 he had received from the field, and on the basis of the information he had
15 about combat operations in the course of the day.
16 A. Yes. Absolutely on the basis of reports from his subordinates and
17 on the basis of what he himself had seen. I think that on the 8th of
18 June, Commander Alagic managed to withdraw to the village of Krpeljici, if
19 I remember this correctly, and there he established contact with certain
20 forces in the field and gradually set up a forward command post for the OG
21 and a communications centre.
22 Q. Under number 2, it mentions the activities of your brigade. This
23 report describes the situation on that day and it describes the action
24 taken by the 17th Krajina Brigade?
25 A. That's correct. You can see what I already mentioned, part of my
1 unit managed to take lines that the HVO was going to hand over to the
2 Chetniks. I'm referring to Veliki Kik and Mali Kik. The line was linked
3 up. We joined up with Slimena, and fighting was going on for the
4 transmitter in Vilenica.
5 Q. You said that the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade took
6 action at the Hajdarove Njive feature?
7 A. Yes. And that they were continuing to take action there.
8 Q. On the other page, on the second page, under 3, it says that on
9 that day, the 306th Brigade was the only unit that was engaged in military
10 operations. That's under number 3.
11 A. Yes. This had to do with linking up forces, in fact, and taking
12 over the lines that had been reached, fortifying, et cetera.
13 Q. Mr. Cuskic, such a report reflected the events that took place on
14 the 8th of June?
15 A. Yes. It's a reliable report. It's an official report for that
17 Q. Thank you very much. We have no further questions for this
18 witness, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I will now turn to
20 the Prosecution, who may start with their cross-examination.
21 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President
22 Cross-examined by Mr. Mundis:
23 Q. Good afternoon, sir. My name is Daryl Mundis, and along with my
24 colleagues, we represent the Prosecution in this case. I've got a number
25 of questions that I anticipate will take a little bit less than an hour.
1 I would like to stress, sir, at the outset that it is not my intention in
2 any way to confuse you, and so I would ask if any of my questions are
3 unclear to you or you don't understand them, if you simply tell me that
4 and I'll rephrase or reformulate the question so that you can understand
5 it. Is that clear?
6 A. Yes, thank you.
7 Q. Thank you. Now, sir, yesterday, in response to some questions
8 from Ms. Residovic, you told us about the presence of some MOS units, as
9 you described them. And by "MOS," sir, were you referring to what was
10 otherwise known as the Muslimanske Snage?
11 A. Well, look. In 1992, in the territory, in the field, they used
12 the term MOS and the Muslim forces, but on the whole, this meant the same
14 Q. And again, sir, if we're talking about the period -- let's talk
15 about the last half of 1992, from, say, July to December 1992.
16 Approximately, to the best of your knowledge, approximately how many
17 people were in the MS or the MOS, in the area of Travnik?
18 A. Well, look. As I said, in the territory of Travnik municipality,
19 well, I arrived there around the 21st of August. My unit arrived on the
20 25th of August. I had no information about the Muslim forces then, but
21 later on I gained an impression, especially in the course of the defence
22 of Karaula, and I think that that figure, for -- wasn't over a hundred.
23 There weren't more than about a hundred Muslim troops in the area.
24 Because in the Karaula area, there was a MOS detachment that was part of
25 the defence and then it mysteriously disappeared. I think there were
1 about 70 men in that unit at the time.
2 Q. Now, when you referred to them as a MOS detachment, were you aware
3 or familiar about to whom these people reported or how they fit into any
4 kind of a structure?
5 A. No, I didn't have any information about that. They weren't part
6 of the structure that I was part of. That's certain. But they did exist,
7 and they would appear in certain operations. They would say that they
8 wanted to participate in combat action. And they engaged in combat
9 operations on a sort of voluntary basis.
10 Q. Now, sir, when you say they would say that they wanted to
11 participate in combat action, did you have any personal communication or
12 interaction with any of the people from the Muslim forces?
13 A. No. I didn't have any personal communication with them, apart
14 from the period in Karaula. I had contact with Commander Asim Koricic. He
15 was part of the Muslim forces at the time. He was born in Bosnian
16 Krajina, so it was on that basis we established contact. Some of his men
17 were in a hamlet, in Karaula. So during that period, I had contact with
18 him. I've told you about how I got to Bosnia, about my trip from Igman to
19 Jajce, et cetera. So it was only on that occasion that I met them in the
20 hamlet of Gradina, near Karaula.
21 Q. And sir, when you tell us that you had contact with Commander Asim
22 Koricic, do you recall approximately when that was or on how many
23 occasions you had contacts with Commander Koricic?
24 A. Well, that was -- I'll try and be precise. Well, from the 6th of
25 September up until the fall of Karaula, on the 15th of November, that's
1 when we had contact. Because during certain periods of time, Karaula was
2 a basis for combat action and for engaging in action in Jajce, and it was
3 during that period that I had contact with Mr. Koricic.
4 Q. Sir, after the 15th of November, 1992, did you have any contacts
5 with Asim Koricic?
6 A. Yes. It was only after the 20th of January, because when the
7 3rd Corps command was formed, Mr. Koricic and some of those men who were
8 members of the Muslim forces became part of the 7th Muslim Brigade in
9 Zenica. So our ways separated. I remained in Travnik, he in Zenica. The
10 first time I had contact with him was in January after my brigade had
11 arrived at Visoko. Because part of the 7th was already in Visoko at the
12 time. So that is where we met again.
13 Q. You said some of the members of the MOS, along with Mr. Koricic,
14 became part of the 7th Muslim Brigade. Do you know what happened to the
15 members of the MOS who did not become part of the 7th Muslim Mountain
17 A. Well, I can't say for sure. But on the basis of my experience, I
18 could say that some of these men became part of the forces that didn't
19 become part of any of the ABiH brigades, or rather, the 3rd Corps, and
20 I've mentioned the villages in which this was the case; Mehurici, Orasac,
21 et cetera. So I don't know how I would define these men. They were
22 perhaps a little more extremist in a certain sense.
23 Q. Sir, let me again focus on -- your attention on the period in the
24 autumn of 1992; that is, after your arrival in the Travnik area through
25 November, December 1992. At that point in time, were you aware of where
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the MOS had its headquarters?
2 A. No, I wasn't. Let me repeat this: First of all, I wasn't from
3 that area. I lived in a different republic. The command of the MOS was
4 Mr. Koricic, who was in Karaula. But as for the other elements, I
5 couldn't say anything about that. I knew that the Municipal Staff was in
6 Travnik. There was Merdan in Zenica, but I didn't know anything about
7 them. They weren't important. They had no effect on my combat operations
8 or the situation in the zone of operations. This wasn't a respectable
9 military force, so it wasn't necessary for me to have information about
11 Q. Did -- during this time period, again, from your arrival in the
12 area of Travnik until mid-November 1992, did the MOS wear any type of
13 uniform or have any type of distinctive insignia that they wore on their
15 A. They had uniforms. They had insignia. But it was a mixture. It
16 wasn't as in the case of Territorial Defence units. Some had sabres as
17 insignia, some had sort of Arabic inscriptions. I couldn't comment on
18 that because I didn't understand it. But they didn't have the official
19 insignia used by the Territorial Defence. They had crescents, they had
20 stars, sabres as insignia, but the insignia used by the Territorial
21 Defence, or rather, by the ABiH, was not the kind of insignia that they
23 Q. And, sir, the people who were part of this MOS, were those local
24 Bosniaks or were they foreigners or was it a combination of both?
25 A. Well, they were foreigners in the MOS. I apologise. They were
1 Bosnians. As for the status of the foreigners at the time, I couldn't say
2 anything about them. I don't know whether they were part of MOS, I don't
3 know whether they were independent, and at the time, I wasn't interested
4 in that. I didn't have opportunity of becoming interested in this because
5 I was engaged in combat operations in a wide area. The ones I knew in MOS
6 were Bosniaks; Koricic, Kokic, et cetera. A few people that I knew, but I
7 didn't know any foreigners at that time.
8 Q. Sir, other than Mr. Koricic and Mr. Kokic, do you recall the names
9 of any of the soldiers or men who were part of the MOS?
10 A. No. Because, as far as I know, at least, there were no people
11 from the area of Bosnian Krajina among them, people that I might have
12 known. Because I left my native town in 1971, I went to Belgrade, then I
13 travelled all over Yugoslavia as part of my duty. So before the brigade
14 was formed, I didn't even know the men that became members of my unit, so
15 I really don't know.
16 Q. Sir, to the best of your recollection, was the term "MOS" used
17 throughout 1993 or did that term fall out of use by the end of 1992?
18 A. You see, when the Territorial Defence developed into the Army of
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina, then terms like this ceased to be used by the
20 Bosnian forces. On the other hand, the Chetnik propaganda machinery
21 continued to call them the Muslim forces, et cetera, as you will see from
22 the documents. And our ally, the HVO, in fact, introduced this term, the
23 Muslim forces. So that it is possible that within army ranks and among
24 Bosnians, this term had its reflections, but to a much lesser extent among
25 the less educated people. But officially, it ceased to exist when the
1 corps were formed.
2 I must repeat: We didn't have educated officers, so that certain
3 members may have used the term, but officially, it was not used, except
4 for the 7th Brigade of the 3rd Corps, its name was the 7th Muslim Brigade.
5 It was part of its name and it was the only one that had this prefix
7 Q. And, sir, do you know if that name came from the Muslim forces in
8 the sense that Mr. Koricic went from being part of the MOS to being with
9 the 7th and, as you told us, he took some of the soldiers with him? Was
10 there a relation or a correlation between those facts?
11 A. I'm sorry, I really didn't understand that question. Could you be
12 kind enough to repeat it.
13 Q. Certainly. I'm not sure if I understood it either. Let me try
15 You told us that Mr. Koricic had been the commander of the MOS and
16 that he left the MOS and took some of the soldiers with him when the 7th
17 Muslim Brigade was formed.
18 A. May I make a correction. He was not a commander of MOS, but one
19 of the local commanders that I met on the ground. Who the main commander
20 was, I don't know. So when the order was given to form the 3rd Corps and
21 brigades, Koricic became part of the 7th Brigade with some of the men that
22 went with him, and that became the 7th Muslim Brigade.
23 Q. Now, sir, the -- can you tell us what happened, to the best of
24 your knowledge, to the municipal defence staffs once the 3rd Corps was
25 formed. Did the municipal defence or regional defence staffs or local
1 defence staffs continue to operate?
2 A. The concept of the war was mainly based, after all, on the
3 doctrines and combat rules of the former JNA, and with the formation of
4 the corps and the brigades, the Territorial Defence staffs had a much less
5 important role, linked to specific assignments within the territory,
6 certain parts of the zones of operation. I cannot really talk about this,
7 because my 17th Krajina Brigade was a manoeuvre brigade. I was not a
8 local. Perhaps the commanders that had municipal staffs under them could
9 tell you more about it.
10 But anyway, in the chain of the command, the chain of command went
11 from the corps to the brigades, as far as I can remember.
12 Q. And, sir, once the operational groups were formed, did the orders
13 go from the corps to the OGs to the brigades?
14 A. In the case of the Bosnian Krajina operations group, which was
15 specific, the group was formed with the aim of integrating free manoeuvre
16 forces to act towards Bosnian Krajina, because that is why it was called
17 like that. And an organisational order said that the 17th, 305th, and the
18 7th should be a member of this operations group. But that never came to
19 be. The orders did come through the command of the operations group, but
20 these two brigades were still more or less directly linked to the corps
21 commands. Maybe some parts of the 7th Brigade did function in that way,
22 but the other operations groups were in a different position. But what
23 would happen sometimes, due to specific situations, an order would be
24 issued directly to the 17th Brigade, because they were re-subordinated to
25 the Municipal Staff of Visoko. So that due to haste or specific
1 situations, there were exceptions, but as a rule, the chain of command
2 functioned properly.
3 Q. On several occasions, both yesterday as well as this afternoon,
4 you have referred to the 17th Krajina Brigade as a manoeuvre brigade. I'm
5 wondering if you can just tell us a little bit about the concept of a
6 manoeuvre brigade and what exactly you mean by that term.
7 A. I wouldn't say that there was a special concept of manoeuvre
8 brigades, but the 17th Brigade was a brigade that did not consist of
9 people from the local area but rather from people who came voluntarily
10 from Western Europe to fight for their country and from people expelled
11 from the territory of Bosnian Krajina. As for the method of use, it was
12 used mostly for manoeuvre operations. If the situation in Visoko became
13 difficult, then the corps commander would engage the 17th to assist there.
14 Or if there were other such situations, the army was formed originally on
15 a territorial principle. It's not a professional army. It was an army of
16 workers and peasants, who didn't wish to leave their homes. The 17th had
17 its own barracks, had conditions for training better than other units, and
18 that is why we were used as a mobile manoeuvring unit most frequently.
19 Q. Sir, were there -- to your knowledge, were there other units or
20 brigades or battalions within the 3rd Corps that you would characterise as
21 being manoeuvre units?
22 A. Perhaps not to the same extent, but the 7th Brigade could also be
23 used as a manoeuvre brigade and the 305th from Jajce in the period 1992 to
24 1993. Later on, as things developed, as forces strengthened and all these
25 measures were taken, I think that in 1993, 1994, parts of other units and
1 entire units could be used outside their local municipalities.
2 Q. Sir, you've mentioned the presence of the 1st Battalion of the 7th
3 Muslim Mountain Brigade in Travnik. Can you tell us, during 1993, how
4 frequently, if at all, that battalion operated in conjunction with or
5 jointly with units of the 17th Krajina Brigade.
6 A. I'll try and be as precise as I can in my answer. I think that
7 throughout June 1993, we did act in conjunction with the 1st Battalion of
8 the 7th. I have already said that part of that battalion was
9 re-subordinated to the battalion at Bijelo Bucje so that in operations
10 towards the HVO, Hajdarove Njive, Gradac, Dolac, and in a later stage,
11 when the Chetniks tried to capture our lines at Bijelo Bucje and to gain
12 control of Vilenica, a part of the 1st Battalion of the 7th Brigade was
13 used for a counter-attack and to gain control of Mradinska, Kamenjas
14 features. I think that later on we linked up with Zenica, so that that
15 battalion received orders more from the command in Zenica. So that -- I
16 can't be quite sure, but I think that after September, or maybe December,
17 there was no action in conjunction with the 17th.
18 Q. I have just a couple of follow-on questions, sir, based on your
19 answer. You told us that part of the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim
20 Mountain Brigade was re-subordinated to the battalion at Bijelo Bucje; is
21 that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And when you say, sir, the battalion at Bijelo Bucje, can you be
24 more precise about what battalion you were referring to.
25 A. I'm referring to my 3rd Battalion.
1 Q. Yes. So the 3rd Battalion of the 17th Krajina Brigade?
2 A. Yes. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. Now, sir, can you tell me also: You were shown yesterday
4 Prosecution Exhibit P403, which referred to the 1st Sabotage Detachment.
5 I'm not so much interested in that document, but if you recall the concept
6 of sabotage detachments, if you could tell us a little bit about what a
7 sabotage detachment is and what it does.
8 A. I don't remember any sabotage detachment. Perhaps you're
9 referring to an order in which the 17th is given the zone from Vlasic to
10 Pakrac Stijene [phoen] with the counter-sabotage detachment. I don't
11 think we were talking about a sabotage detachment.
12 Q. Perhaps with the assistance of the usher if we could retrieve
13 Prosecution Exhibit P403. And while that's being done, sir, we'll return
14 to that subject in a moment.
15 Let me ask you this: You told us yesterday about a number of
16 units that were based in Travnik. The 17th Krajina Brigade, you told us,
17 was headquartered in the former JNA barracks in Travnik; is that correct?
18 A. Yes, yes, correct.
19 Q. And you told us earlier today that the 1st Battalion of the 7th
20 Muslim Mountain Brigade was headquartered in the Medresa in Travnik?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And the command of the operation group Bosanska Krajina was also
23 in the former JNA barracks in Travnik?
24 A. In that period, yes.
25 Q. Again, we're talking, sir, 1993. Can you tell us what other
1 3rd Corps units were in Travnik during 1993 and where those units had
2 their headquarters?
3 A. I said yesterday, in the town of Travnik itself, there was the
4 command of the 312th Brigade. It is a domicile Travnik brigade which was
5 headquartered in the building construction company in Travnik, included
6 forces from the town of Travnik and from the local communities. In
7 addition to that, in the territory of Travnik municipality, there was the
8 306th Brigade headquartered in the administration building of the mine at
9 Han Bila. It consisted mainly of people from the Biljanska region and the
10 Vlasic plateau. This is as far as Travnik municipality is concerned.
11 Q. Thank you, sir. Do you now have Prosecution Exhibit P403 in front
12 of you?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Could you please look at paragraph 2(h). There's reference to the
15 first PDO of Travnik. Do you see that reference, sir?
16 A. Yes, yes. I said that. Counter-sabotage detachment, not sabotage
18 Q. Can you please tell us -- thank you for that clarification. Can
19 you please tell us what a counter-sabotage detachment, what its purpose
20 was or its functions were?
21 A. Let me say by way of introduction first that the 17th never took
22 control of this zone, nor did this counter-sabotage detachment, was -- nor
23 was it really subordinated to me, ever. I said that with the formation of
24 the corps command, the main forces of the corps are brigades, and they
25 account for the bulk of the manpower of the Territorial Defence of Bosnia
1 and Herzegovina, and they were formed on the territorial principle, as I
2 have already described for the 17th, the 7th, and the Jajce Brigade, which
3 was left without its territory, but the manpower came from Jajce. As far
4 as my memory serves me, according to the doctrine of the former JNA, a
5 counter-sabotage detachment, as elements of the structure of the
6 Territorial Defence, were meant to engage in counter-sabotage battle, to
7 prevent infiltration of enemy, terrorist forces, to control the territory,
8 and they are given auxiliary tasks in battle; control of the areas in
9 between zones, to protect command posts, important economic facilities,
10 which could be the target of sabotage activities.
11 Q. Thank you, sir.
12 A. And if I may, let me add: The intention of the corps commander
13 probably was to relieve the brigade of these subsidiary activities so that
14 we could focus on our primary mission against the Chetniks, thereby the
15 operative units would have greater freedom of action.
16 Q. Let me turn now, sir, to a few questions about the people that
17 we've referred to - and actually, the usher can retrieve that document -
18 the people that we've referred to a few times during your testimony as the
20 Now, you told us, sir, yesterday about a situation where one of
21 your soldiers had been kidnapped by these foreigners. I believe you told
22 us that he maybe had had a little too much to drink and they took him to
23 their camp. Do you remember telling us about that?
24 A. Yes, yes.
25 Q. There's a part of your testimony I'd like to ask you about, and
1 this is from yesterday's transcript, at page 51, lines 17 through 19. And
2 you said, or the English translation of your testimony said, and I'm
3 quoting: "I sent a direct message via certain Islamic circles in Travnik,
4 and the message was that my weapons are turned towards their camp and that
5 I would attack them if they didn't send my soldier free."
6 A. That's quite correct.
7 Q. Okay. Let me ask you this: When you say, "I sent a direct
8 message via certain Islamic circles in Travnik," can you elaborate on that
9 or tell us a little bit about what you meant when you said "certain
10 Islamic circles in Travnik"?
11 A. I sent my commander of an artillery division to contact the mufti
12 of Travnik and to talk to him. As he was rather resolute and rather firm
13 and convincing, to ask the mufti kindly to let those gentlemen, or rather,
14 brothers, as they called them, know of this message, and obviously the
15 message reached them. Because my estimate was that, as a religious
16 officer, he probably had some contact with them. Because through official
17 military channels, it was not possible to deblock him.
18 Q. Sir, do you recall the name of the mufti of Travnik that you sent
19 your artillery division commander to speak to?
20 A. Of the battalion, not division. Redzic Asmir. He was directly
21 subordinated to me. Of course I remember.
22 Q. I'm sorry, sir. I mean the person Mr. Redzic Asmir, you sent him
23 to speak to the mufti of Travnik; is that correct?
24 A. Yes. He's still the mufti. Nusret Efendija Avdibegovic.
25 Q. Thank you, sir. So I take it, then, from the fact that you passed
1 on this message that your weapons were turned on their camp, that had an
2 impact upon them releasing your soldier?
3 A. Not at first. A couple of hours later, and I said yesterday the
4 delegation arrived at my barracks, asked to be received by me. We spent
5 more than two hours in difficult discussions, and this resulted in them
6 apologising and releasing this soldier.
7 Q. Now, sir, you just mentioned that a delegation arrived at your
8 barracks. Do you recall any of the people who were part of this
10 A. I think I will remember most of them, at least those whose names I
11 know. There was the mentioned mufti, then the president of the
12 municipality, Curic, because in the meantime, he learnt of the tense
13 situation and the possibility of the worst happening. Then, on behalf of
14 the Mujahedin, Abu Haris, an Arab who spoke Bosnian well, and an emir of
15 theirs, I don't remember his name, but in translation, emir means
16 commander, and Mr. Meqtauf in the role of interpreter.
17 Q. Now, sir, with respect to -- let me ask you first about Abu Haris,
18 an Arab who, as you put it, spoke Bosnian well. Did you know Abu Haris
19 prior to the time he came to meet you to discuss this issue?
20 A. Yes. Because we had occasion to meet earlier on, so I did know
22 Q. During 1993, do you recall approximately how many times you either
23 encountered Abu Haris or spoke to Abu Haris?
24 A. I wouldn't say during 1993. I met Abu Haris for the first time,
25 and this was my first direct contact with an Arab, sometime around the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 10th of September. Because, by decision of Commander El Mujahed [realtime
2 transcript read in error "Elmu"], they were ordered to participate with
3 the 17th Brigade, so that Abu Haris was the contact, the interpreter
4 between me and my officers and parts of the El Mujahed unit. And then in
5 the following ten days, there were several contacts, maybe every two or
6 three days we had contact.
7 Q. Sir, what precisely, if you know, was Abu Haris's role within the
9 A. I am unable to tell you what the exact roles were, not just as far
10 as Abu Haris is concerned but the others too, because they were not
11 structured in any logical way, in our view. So that he was introduced to
12 me as an interpreter in the detachment. Now, whether he had any important
13 role in that detachment, believe me, I don't really know.
14 Q. Now, sir, you also just told us by decision of Commander -- and
15 then the transcript lost the name. It says "Commander Elmu." They were
16 ordered to the participate in the 17th Brigade. Do you recall the name of
17 the commander who made this decision?
18 A. My superior was the commander of the operations group, Mr. Alagic.
19 Q. I want to be absolutely clear here, sir, without any confusion.
20 Did Commander Alagic issue the order that they were to, as you put it,
21 participate with the 17th Brigade or is there some confusion here?
22 A. No. There's no confusion. At the beginning of September, I'm not
23 sure of the date, but Mr. Alagic issued the order that they should
24 participate with the 17th in this combat operation.
25 Q. And which year was this, sir? September of which year?
1 A. September 1993. Because in 1992 there was no operations group, or
2 in 1994.
3 Q. Now, sir, you also mentioned as part of this delegation, and let's
4 return now to the delegation that came to see you concerning your soldier
5 who had been kidnapped - you mentioned Mr. Meqtauf as an interpreter?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did you know Mr. Meqtauf prior to that day or had you had any
8 encounters with him prior to that day?
9 A. I didn't know him personally. I just knew that he had a winery
10 [as interpreted] called Palma. It was in the centre of town, and I knew
11 the owner was Meqtauf. I don't know anything about him, anything special
12 about him. At this meeting, he appeared as a member of the delegation and
13 acted as interpreter.
14 Q. Sir, I believe there might be an error in the English transcript.
15 It says that Mr. Meqtauf had a winery called Palma. Is that your
17 A. No. A video club. Meqtauf is an Arab. He doesn't drink wine.
18 Q. That's why I needed to clarify that, sir.
19 Now, Mr. Meqtauf, after this time when he came as part of this
20 delegation as an interpreter, did you see him or encounter him at any
21 point after this point in time during the war? I'm not talking about if
22 you ever saw him in his video shop, but during the war did you have any
23 subsequent encounters or meetings where Mr. Meqtauf was present?
24 A. No, not even in the video club. Because I didn't have enough time
25 to spend time in town. On the whole, I was with my unit in the field, in
1 the zone of operations. I never had the opportunity of meeting Meqtauf
3 Q. Now, sir, you also mentioned yesterday - and again, this is
4 page 50, lines 16 through 18 - that in dealing with the El Mujahed
5 detachment or unit, that you had to use negotiation teams, as you put it
6 yesterday. Do you recall saying that?
7 A. If I remember this correctly, I said after its formation, in order
8 to use the El Mujahed detachment, or part of it, some delegations had to
9 ensure that they would accept this. Maybe that's what you are referring
10 to. So it wasn't as if they were units of any other kind. It's not as if
11 the commander could issue an order and be sure that commanders of
12 subordinate units would take all the measures necessary to carry out the
13 task as well as possible.
14 Q. Let me just read out part of the English version of the transcript
15 and see if this accurately captured your testimony yesterday. This is
16 page 50, beginning at the end of line 16, and you're referring to or your
17 discussing the El Mujahed detachment. And it says the following: "But
18 when they were formed, when this unit was formed, you always had to use
19 negotiation teams to see if they would participate in actions or not, to
20 see whether they would receive any markings."
21 A. Well, signals, you know, some sort of a sign. But on the whole,
22 yes, that's correct.
23 Q. Now, sir --
24 A. On the basis of my experience. I'm providing you with this answer
25 on the basis of my experience and on the basis of my information. I stand
1 by what I said.
2 Q. Sir, let me ask you this: Based on your experience and the basis
3 of your information, how many of the people within the El Mujahed
4 detachment spoke the Bosnian language?
5 A. Well, only Abu Haris did, as far as I know. He was in that
6 detachment. There were some Bosniaks in that detachment who spoke the
7 Bosnian language, and some of them probably spoke Arabic too. I don't
8 know all the details. But I only know that Abu Haris could speak the
9 Bosnian language.
10 Q. Would it be fair to say, sir, that because not everyone in that
11 unit spoke Bosnian, that there were certain language barriers in
12 communicating with people in that detachment?
13 A. That's a logical conclusion, but I couldn't say. I wasn't in the
14 detachment. I don't know about these linguistic barriers. But as far as
15 these foreigners are concerned, all I know is that Abu Haris could speak
16 the Bosnian language. Perhaps there were Bosniaks who had studied in
17 Arabic countries, Bosniaks who were imams, et cetera. So perhaps this
18 enabled them to communicate. But I don't know anything about this, so I
19 really couldn't say.
20 Q. Sir, at any point in the spring or summer of 1993, did you become
21 aware that the Mujahedin in the camp near Mehurici were holding civilians?
22 A. I apologise. Could you tell me about the period again?
23 Q. In the spring or summer of 1993.
24 A. No.
25 Q. I neglected, sir, to ask you earlier a couple of questions
1 concerning the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade. You told
2 us that during certain parts of 1993, including June of 1993 and onwards,
3 that battalion operated frequently with the 17th Krajina Brigade. And my
4 question, sir, is: Do you recall the name of the commander of the
5 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade during the time period
6 that that battalion or parts thereof operated jointly with your brigade?
7 A. I think it was Mr. Safet Junuzovic, if I'm not mistaken.
8 Q. And sir, do you recall the name of any of the commander of the
9 companies that formed the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade
10 during the period that they operated with units of your brigade?
11 A. If I'm not mistaken, and I may be mistaken, I can remember Suad
12 Jusufovic. He was from Kozarac, which is the place of my birth. That's
13 why I remember his name. I can't remember the names of the others. These
14 were new men. So I can't even remember the names of my company commanders
15 from that period.
16 Q. Sir, during 1993, do you recall the approximate number of foreign
17 fighters that could be characterised as Mujahedin who were present in the
18 area around Travnik and Travnik municipality?
19 A. I don't think that anyone had that kind of information at the
20 time. We made certain assessments. At one point in time, it was decided
21 that they should be monitored. But I don't think there could have been
22 more than about a hundred of them in Travnik municipality. And together
23 with the men from the territory of Bosnia, maybe 200 of them. But I can't
24 be sure. I couldn't say that's the absolute truth.
25 Q. Okay, sir. You just told us that at one point in time, it was
1 decided that they should be monitored. Do you know if they were in fact
3 A. Well, the 7th Corps was disbanded in February 1996. I became
4 deputy commander of the 5th Corps. So I know that the security service
5 monitored them. I don't know whether they pulled them or not. My organs,
6 and at my level of command, this was not done.
7 Q. Okay. Again, sir, to avoid confusion, when you said earlier "it
8 was decided that they should be monitored," when was that decision taken?
9 What time period, roughly?
10 A. I don't know exactly.
11 Q. Was it in 1993 or was it much later?
12 A. No. Look, we were fighting for our survival. We were training.
13 We were fighting against two aggressors, et cetera. This was a lot later.
14 After all the problems that they caused in the territory, the security
15 department, or state security, according to the information I have, they
16 were engaged in an operation and they monitored them. But I can't be
17 precise. I wasn't part of the plan. I didn't participate in it. I
18 wasn't involved in an analysis of this matter. So what I'm saying is on
19 the basis of what the media reported later on.
20 Q. Sir, as you put it, you were fighting for your survival at this
21 point in time in 1993. Did the Mujahedin make a contribution in that
22 fight for survival?
23 A. Well, now that I look back at the time, well, it's possible to
24 make assessments then. But at the time, they were allies in a certain
25 sense. They contributed to our survival. And given the way in which the
1 international community and the neighbours of ours were behaving, given
2 the way the Republic of Croatia was behaving, and in 1992, they provided
3 us with a lot of assistance, well, a lot of our people, you know, in
4 Travnik, Zenica, these are poor areas, so a lot of our people in those
5 areas thought that these foreigners had come to help them. They -- this
6 turned out to be different later on, but I think that on the whole, they
7 did contribute to our fight for survival.
8 Q. Sir, were you aware of how these foreigners, these Mujahedin, came
9 into Bosnia?
10 A. I personally don't know. They could have only come in via
11 Croatia, through Herceg-Bosna, the so-called Herceg-Bosna, either as part
12 of certain missions, humanitarian missions, perhaps, or because they were
13 engaged in certain services, certain departments. I don't know. But they
14 did arrive in the territory of Central Bosnia, and they didn't arrive by
15 air; they arrived by land.
16 Q. During 1992, isn't it true that the Bosniaks and the Bosnian
17 Croats were fighting together against the Serbs, the Bosnian Serbs, in
18 Central Bosnia and elsewhere in Bosnia?
19 A. Well, up to a certain point in time, yes. But at the end of 1992,
20 and this is something I could see in the documents shown to me yesterday,
21 by autumn 1992, the HVO was treating us as an enemy army. But let me
22 repeat this. I have to be quite frank. I formed a volunteer unit in the
23 territory of the Republic of Croatia. The Republic of Croatia provided me
24 with a lot of assistance. I received a salary from the Republic of
25 Croatia, and this continued up until November 1992. In September 1993, my
1 family had to leave Varazdin. They had to leave the Republic of Croatia.
2 Something changed, and this was wasn't up to the soldiers. This is
3 something that happened at a political level.
4 Q. Well, again, sir, I'd like to focus on the middle part of 1992,
5 right after the war in Bosnia broke out. At that point in time, in the
6 summer and into the early part of autumn, August, September, of 1992, the
7 Bosnian Muslims and the Bosnian Croats were fighting together against the
9 A. On the whole, yes. But in certain municipalities, even in June
10 1992, there was tension, especially in the municipalities in the Lasva
11 Valley, in Busovaca, in Novi Travnik, and in Vitez. But on the whole,
12 generally speaking, this is true, from the Neretva valley, into Jajce,
13 into Posavina, in these areas, the Bosnians and -- or rather the Bosniaks
14 and the Croats fought against the Chetniks. Up until October 1992. In
15 October, the situation changed. Prozor was attacked. Then after the fall
16 of Jajce and Bosanski Brod -- well, you can see from the documents shown
17 yesterday that we were then treated as an enemy army. We were under a
18 blockade. There was a lot of looting, et cetera. And this is something
19 that can be seen in the documents shown.
20 Q. Sir, I just have one more question before we take our first
21 technical break. I suggest to you, sir, that the primary reason the
22 Mujahedin came to Bosnia was to fight against the Serbs. Do you care to
23 comment on that statement?
24 A. Well, I have a lot of respect for your opinion. However, on the
25 basis of my experience, I would say that they came to help their Muslim
1 brothers, and I believe that about -- well, almost all of them had an idea
2 who the Chetniks were. That's what happened in the initial stage. Later
3 on, they assumed a missionary role. They were spreading their religion,
4 their customs. They tried to prevent people from drinking alcohol. I
5 don't want to go into all of that, because we could talk about this for a
6 long time. Their main role was to help the Muslim in Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina in their help for survival and the survival of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I think that that was their purpose in 1992. But
9 later on, this role changed. They assumed a different kind of role.
10 Q. Thank you, sir.
11 MR. MUNDIS: I note the time, Mr. President. I would expect that
12 I have about 15 to 20 more minutes, depending on, of course, of the
13 answers of the witness.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll have our break now and we
15 will resume at about five to 4.00.
16 --- Recess taken at 3.33 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 3.58 p.m.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.
19 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Q. Witness, during the break I was reviewing my notes and I neglected
21 to ask you a couple of questions concerning the time where one of your
22 soldiers was kidnapped by the Mujahedin. So I'd like to return very
23 briefly to that subject, if I might.
24 Can you please tell us the degree to which Mr. Salko Beba was
25 involved in the negotiations or discussions with the Mujahedin for the
1 release of the soldier that they had kidnapped from your brigade.
2 A. Well, look. I can't tell you exactly, because Salko Belga [as
3 interpreted] was an organ within the organisations group. I informed the
4 OG, but it didn't work, so then I decided that since a member of my unit
5 was at risk, I acted as I did. I thought I had the right to do so. Salko
6 Beba was in the security department of the OG, but I was in the field, and
7 Beba wasn't my responsibility, so I can't really answer your question.
8 Q. Just so that we're clear, then, Witness, you're not aware of any
9 efforts of Mr. Salko Beba to secure the release of the soldier from your
10 brigade who had been kidnapped by the Mujahedin?
11 A. No. I know that he made efforts, but as to what he did and to
12 what degree, all I know is that it didn't bear any fruit. It was his
13 responsibility to deal with such problems, but he was not under my command
14 and he didn't report to me. These efforts didn't bear any fruit, so I
15 proceeded in the way that I did.
16 Q. Now, sir, I'd like to turn to a completely different topic now.
17 You told us yesterday, page 21, lines 8 through 11, about visiting your
18 family in Croatia. And I have a few questions about this. The transcript
19 reads: "Often I would go to Croatia to visit my family, who had remained
20 in --" I believe it was Rastinja [phoen].
21 A. No. In Varazdin. Varazdin.
22 Q. Varazdin. So your family remained in Varazdin. Can you tell us
23 the time period when you said yesterday, "Often I would go to visit my
24 family in Croatia," what time period were you referring to?
25 A. I could tell you the months. I visited my family in August on one
1 occasion, once in October, and once at the beginning of December, and the
2 last time was between February and March. So I visited them on four or
3 five occasions. But since we were living in wartime conditions, I think
4 that I visited them quite frequently.
5 Q. And, sir, when you say August, October, and December, I take it
6 that was 1992?
7 A. In 1992, and end of February and beginning of March in 1993.
8 Q. And can you tell us how you travelled to Croatia on these
10 A. Well, in August I went there in a jeep. In October, in a
11 passenger vehicle, a private vehicle. I apologise. I went there by bus,
12 by train. I went there by train and I came back by bus. In December I
13 went there by bus, and in March I returned by a passenger car which was
14 taken away from me at a checkpoint by the HVO and then continued to
15 Travnik by bus from Zenica.
16 Q. Okay. Thank you. You also made reference on page 21 yesterday,
17 line 9, the testimony was: "My combatants would return from medical
18 treatment from London, from Croatia." I'm wondering again if you could
19 tell us what the time period was where soldiers from your brigade went
20 abroad for medical treatment.
21 A. Well, this was up until October. The hospital in Split, in
22 Firule, I think there was a lieutenant colonel from the JNA who was born
23 in Bosanska Krajina. And he made sure that our wounded men would be
24 received there and that they would be provided with medical treatment in
25 Split. There were other channels that were used, through the Merhamet
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 charity organisation in Zagreb, for example. At the beginning of October,
2 I don't know exactly how, but there was a man of ours in Ljubljana. We
3 managed to return or rather send about 30 wounded men to London for
4 medical treatment. There wasn't -- there weren't many medical supplies in
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina. The hospitals were poorly equipped and poorly
6 staffed. And some men would return from abroad and join the units again.
7 Q. And sir, when you say October, can you tell us what year?
8 A. October 1992.
9 Q. I'd like to ask you now a couple of questions about something that
10 again you told us yesterday, page 28, lines 2 through 4. You made
11 reference to being present at a meeting in Travnik in mid-October 1992,
12 when the president of the Presidency, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, was in
14 A. Yes. That meeting started in Plava Voda, in Travnik, and because
15 of the shelling, they probably intercepted some sort of telephone
16 conversation. But we soon moved to Han Bila, and that's where most of the
17 meeting was held. It was mostly held in Han Bila, and I attended the
18 meeting there.
19 Q. And I take it, sir, due to the timing of that meeting, that was
20 prior to the establishment of the 3rd Corps and its units?
21 A. I can't tell you the exact date, but it was before the fall of
22 Jajce, in mid-October, Jajce fell on the 30th of October, and one of the
23 issues discussed was the defence of Jajce. I remember that individual
24 commanders made statements. It was in mid-October. I don't know whether
25 it was the 14th, 15th, or 16th, but it was around that time.
1 Q. When you say, sir, the individual commanders made statements, do
2 you know what units those commanders represented at that point in time?
3 A. I'll mention the ones I remember, the ones I know. Commanders of
4 municipal defence staffs from Travnik, Jajce, Bugojno, assisted. The
5 commanders of the Krajina unit, of the 1st Krajina Battalion, of the
6 7th Krajina Battalion, who were present. We gave a brief briefing to
7 President Izetbegovic on the situation in the province. We asked for
8 assistance when dealing with certain problems, et cetera. And we were
9 given certain instructions too.
10 Q. Do you know, sir, if anyone from the MOS or Muslim forces was
11 present at this meeting?
12 A. No. I've already said there were commanders of municipal staffs,
13 commanders of units. I know who was there from the Krajina unit, but as
14 for the Muslim forces, as far as I know, no one was present; none of them
15 were present at that meeting.
16 Q. Sir, I'd now like to draw your attention to your testimony
17 yesterday concerning measures that were taken by your brigade when you
18 became aware of crimes committed by soldiers of the 17th Krajina Brigade.
19 Yesterday you told us about remanding soldiers for disciplinary
20 violations. Do you remember testifying about this issue?
21 A. Yes, absolutely.
22 Q. Do you recall the names of any of the soldiers who were charged
23 with disciplinary violations during the time period you were the commander
24 of the 17th Krajina Brigade?
25 A. Perhaps a couple of names. Perhaps I can remember their nicknames
1 rather than their names. I can't remember that many names, but there was
2 Koljic, Rokic [phoen], Nakic, then -- just a minute. Fazlic, Savic,
3 Sivac, Alic. These are just some of names I can remember. These were
4 people from my area, so that I can remember them more easily. Because all
5 the men in my brigade were new. There were 2.000 men and a brigade
6 commander can't know all of their names. But these are some of the names
7 that I can remember.
8 Q. Do you remember any of the specific disciplinary offences or
9 crimes that these -- any of these individuals were investigated for or
10 charged with?
11 A. Look, there were disciplinary offences, misdemeanours, for which
12 investigations were conducted and measures were taken. There were
13 offences, there were misdemeanours, and there were crimes which were
14 sanctioned in accordance with the Penal Code. But as far as disciplinary
15 mistakes are concerned, well, this happened at the beginning, on the
16 whole, because the members of my brigade weren't well educated. Some
17 people would -- some men would spend money intended for certain purposes
18 on alcohol. There was a lack of discipline in the sense of failure to
19 carry out orders, in the sense of not going to training, in the sense of
20 opposing one's superiors. Food was stolen. The situation was difficult
21 at that time. People had been expelled to a small area. It was difficult
22 to feed one's family. So we made efforts to create a normal system of
23 discipline which would enable the unit to function.
24 As for more serious disciplinary offences, all that included acts
25 that people committed when under the influence of alcohol. They would
1 open fire in the town. They would commit offences in the dormitories, in
2 the barracks. When the conflict broke out, well, there was an example
3 yesterday, other people's property was stolen. There was theft.
4 Buildings were set on fire. So you had whole range of offences. You had
5 lighter offences and you had more serious offences, and we took measures
6 on the basis of the acts committed.
7 Q. Let me ask you, sir, about the incidents involving theft, which
8 you just mentioned. Do you recall the specific locations where any thefts
9 occurred that you had soldiers of your brigade investigated?
10 A. I do. Yesterday there was a concrete example of Muharem Koljic.
11 He took a sack of flour from an abandoned Croat house and there was
12 criminal charges against him. Then there was Nukic, who ended up in
13 prison for 90 days because of a sack of flour. 60 days of prison, because
14 he stole a sack of flour for his own family. Those are two examples that
15 come to mind. These thefts mostly occurred from abandoned houses, at
16 night, in the villages, or from stores that were abandoned, and supplies
17 were simply stolen. And when we discovered such offences, we took steps
18 against them.
19 Q. Let me ask you, then, sir: You also mentioned buildings were set
20 on fire. Again, do you recall the specific locations where buildings were
21 set on fire and soldiers of the 17th Krajina Brigade were subsequently
22 investigated for such fires?
23 A. I cannot remember that any member of the 17th was charged with
24 burning, with torching. But there were cases that members of my unit
25 would catch civilians torching, and then my security service would file
1 charges with the authorities. I remember a Bosniak from Toca [phoen] was
2 sentenced to a couple of years in prison for torching abandoned Croat
3 houses. So, to be quite frank, I can't recollect any example from my own
4 brigade. But from the documents we saw yesterday, there were more than a
5 hundred disciplinary measures enforced in the first six months. I'm just
6 repeating that I can't remember. I do know of this case that my military
7 police submitted charges against this person. I don't think he was a
8 member of the unit, but he was a local man, in fact, a rather well-off
9 man, who was charged.
10 Q. Sir, finally, I'd like to ask you a few questions about the
11 checkpoint incident that you told us about yesterday that occurred, as you
12 put it, on the greatest Muslim holiday. You spoke about this yesterday.
13 It's recorded at page 35, lines 6 through 14 of the trial testimony.
14 At the time of this incident, sir, can you tell us what type of
15 clothing you were wearing?
16 A. In those days, I was wearing the American alpha summer uniform.
17 Q. And the other individuals who were with you in the vehicle, what
18 type of clothing were they wearing, or were you by yourself on that
20 A. No. There was a van and a vehicle. There was a band in the van,
21 and in the vehicle, there was Alagic, myself, the driver, and maybe a
22 military policeman. And we were all wearing camouflage uniforms with
23 regular army insignia. There were no ranks then. But I didn't mention it
25 To make things even more absurd, that very day, in Travnik, I
1 think it was in the motel, with HVO commanders who were our guests at the
2 Bajram celebrations, and after we had taken our separate ways, said
3 goodbye, only a few minutes later we suffered such humiliation.
4 Q. Sir, the people who were manning the checkpoint were HVO soldiers;
5 is that correct?
6 A. Yes. We know them. It was the so-called Tuka's Group. Tuka was
7 a member of the special police of the HVO, and he often was involved in
8 such incidents. And as far as I know, I think he was killed in some sort
9 of settling of accounts among two HVO members during the war.
10 Q. And these members of this so-called Tuka's group, at the time you
11 encountered them at this checkpoint, were they also wearing military
13 A. Absolutely so. There wasn't a standing, a permanent checkpoint.
14 It was a checkpoint formed especially for us. It was a side-road. It
15 wasn't on the main road. There was a checkpoint at the crossroads. But
16 this was a side-road going from Travnik, via Skokovi, Ilovaca, Bunarevo,
17 through the Slimena village. So it was formed probably on the basis of
18 some information received. So it was a planned ambush, in fact. They
19 were pointing their weapons at us and we were surrounded on all sides.
20 Q. And this incident that you're telling us about took place, if I
21 remember correctly, on or about the 1st of June, 1993?
22 A. That's right, in the early evening. Because during the day, we
23 were attending the celebrations at the hotel, and in the evening, we had
24 planned some cultural event and we were on our way there.
25 Q. At that point in time, and I mean on the 1st of June, 1993, the
1 ABiH and the HVO were in effect fighting each other in the Lasva and Bila
2 River Valleys; is that not right?
3 A. No. The conflict, the Ahmici occurred on the 16th of April, and
4 after that, a cease-fire was ordered by the superior command. And we
5 abided by this truce. On the 19th of April, there was a trial attack, but
6 it was stopped, and then later on there were constant negotiations to
7 prevent a conflict. A joint command was formed at the post office in
8 Travnik. There were plans made, and through this operational plan, we
9 sought to avoid a conflict, but it wasn't implemented, and a conflict
10 broke out. But at that time, there were no planned combat operations.
11 Because, I repeat: We were with the Leotar, Rasa Filipovic at this Bajram
12 reception together on that same day, so we were shocked by this incident.
13 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, sir.
14 The Prosecution has no further questions at this time.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Judges have a few questions
16 for you. I will have a series of questions for you. Unless the Defence
17 has some additional questions on the basis of the cross-examination of the
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I do
20 have several questions for the general.
21 Re-examined by Ms. Residovic:
22 Q. [Interpretation] General, you were explaining the way army units
23 were used, and you showed us how your brigade, which consisted of persons
24 who were refugees or volunteers from abroad, were put up in barracks and
25 took part in certain combat operations. In answer to a question by my
1 learned friend, you said that -- you told us, to the best of your
2 recollection, when you acted together with a part of the 1st Battalion of
3 the 7th Muslim Brigade.
4 My question is: Can you remember whether your unit or parts of
5 your unit, including parts of the 7th Brigade, were also involved in
6 operations outside the area of the 3rd Corps, when dramatic events
7 occurred around Sarajevo?
8 A. Yes. At the time of the Chetnik offensive along the axis
9 Rogoj-Trnovo-Igman sometime in August 1993, because of the critical
10 situation when Igman was about to fall, which would mean a twofold, a
11 double blockade of Sarajevo, on the basis of the command of the 3rd Corps,
12 the 1st Battalion, I think, a battalion of the 7th Muslim, was used. This
13 gentleman Jusovic went, I know. It was not just my unit, but a temporary
14 composition was formed of the operations group, headed by Salkic, from
15 Travnik. So parts from the 312th Brigade, my 4th Battalion, and some
16 people from Jajce. So this Bosanska Krajina detachment did participate in
17 saving Igman and halting the Chetniks, together with the forces of the
18 7th Muslim.
19 So these were forces from the operations group, and this was in
20 the month of August. Thank you.
21 Q. My learned friend drew your attention to a part of your response
22 yesterday, referring to efforts being made to give orders to El Mujahed
23 and that at the time, you actually had to negotiate with them, that they
24 had to be appealed to, and that they didn't really accept command in the
25 way other units do.
1 In that part of the transcript, referred to by my learned friend,
2 you said that they were clearly not under control and command. So, in
3 view of that question, I would like to ask you: Those negotiations and
4 discussions with El Mujahed and their representatives, were they the
5 reason -- were these due to the fact that they couldn't speak the language
6 properly or was it because, what you said earlier on, they refused the
7 command and control of the army command.
8 A. Would you just repeat the last part of your question, please.
9 Q. My learned friend discussed with you the question that among the
10 foreigners there were many who couldn't speak our language, and he asked
11 you whether this caused some misunderstanding in communication. I am
12 asking you whether what you were saying yesterday, that is, the need to
13 debate with them every single order, to negotiate with them, to appeal to
14 them, was that due to the fact that they didn't understand the language or
15 was it due to the fact that even in those days, they would not accept the
16 command and control of the army command?
17 A. That has nothing to do with language problems. It was more a
18 general attitude that they had towards the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
19 And we could frequently hear them saying that the army was lay [as
20 interpreted], that it was full of communists, that we were not real
21 Muslims and so on. Generally you could give them an order, but if they
22 did not agree to carry it out, nothing came of it. So they carried out
23 only those orders which, on the basis of some signs of theirs or prayers
24 or whatever, they agreed to carry out.
25 Q. Thank you. I think that matter has now been fully clarified.
1 As for the part of the discussion you had with my learned friend
2 about the reason that prompted them to come in 1992 and your response that
3 they probably came to assist their Muslim brothers, tell me, please: This
4 frustration of the ordinary Bosniak who felt that he was betrayed first by
5 his neighbours and then by Europe and the rest of the world, was this
6 feeling of frustration a fertile soil for these Mujahedin to have
7 significant influence among the ordinary people?
8 A. Absolutely so. And let me repeat that in this part of Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina, especially the areas that they settled in in 1993, and
10 generally speaking, under conditions of a struggle for survival, many of
11 us are ready to accept the devil himself if he will help you. So it's
12 understandable that they were treated and accepted as allies, as people
13 who would help us.
14 Q. In connection with that question, are you aware, General -- let me
15 rephrase that. After the formation of the 17th Krajina Brigade, did that
16 brigade ever act together with the Mujahedin in any kind of combat
18 A. As I mentioned, at the beginning of September 1993, we did have a
19 joint operation towards Vitez, the area of Kruscica, with a part of that
20 El Mujahed detachment.
21 Q. But my question is: Before the formation of the El Mujahed, did
22 you ever have any connection with those Mujahedin that were situated in
23 the area?
24 A. No.
25 Q. You mentioned the order that you received from General Alagic, and
1 now you added to it by saying that those foreigners were involved in a
2 combat operation with you in September. Tell me: How did they behave
3 during that battle? Did they accept command or did they act according to
4 their own free will?
5 A. Unfortunately, I can say with full responsibility that my
6 experience on the basis of that operation is extremely negative, because
7 regardless of the plan of the operation, the issued order, and everything
8 else, because we had done our best to prepare it properly, during the
9 operation itself, they acted independently, and this caused considerable
10 losses in my own unit. That day, I think I had 78 wounded and 16 dead,
11 which had never happened to me as a brigade commander up until then, nor
12 after that.
13 Q. Thank you. I have just a few more questions linked to measures
14 taken by you, as discussed by my learned friend. You told us what your
15 attitude was towards the discipline of soldiers and how measures were
16 taken against anyone committing any kind of disciplinary offence or crime,
17 and you said you did the same in relation to a relative of yours, if I
18 understood you correctly. Tell me: What was the position of your
19 superior command and Commander Alagic towards the perpetrators of criminal
20 acts and any disciplinary offenders?
21 A. What I did, I did on the basis of orders, instructions,
22 regulations, and the law. Therefore, Mr. Alagic was very explicit and
23 strict in that respect. He demanded from his subordinates that every
24 measure should be taken. And some measures were taken on the basis of
25 things he himself saw. I personally remember an event, I think near
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Guca Gora, when he saw a member of the 306th Brigade driving away property
2 from a Croatian house, and he put him in gaol. Therefore, there's no need
3 to comment on his attitude towards these things.
4 Q. As you knew Commander Alagic very well, as you cooperated with him
5 directly, could you tell me: In accordance with the orders you received,
6 in accordance with the reports that you needed to submit, and the control
7 over the execution of orders, what was the position of the commander of
8 the 3rd Corps with respect to the investigation of crimes and the
9 perpetrators of those crimes?
10 A. I do know what his attitude was, because Commander Alagic was
11 named commander of the operations group at the end of February, so that we
12 were directly on the line. And through his instructions, through the
13 assignments we received at briefings, through written documents and a very
14 resolute attitude about training and taking of measures against all
15 negative tendencies, it is not up to me to judge my superiors, but my
16 conviction is that he was very resolute in ordering and taking measures
17 against perpetrators.
18 Q. You were asked whether you can remember the names of persons who
19 were disciplined and charged. I am asking you: In your experience, did
20 you have an occasion when a soldier or an officer who committed an offence
21 or a crime, do you know of any case when he was pardoned and allowed to go
23 A. There was no case when no measures were taken. If there was
24 knowledge about an act, then disciplinary measures and charges were
25 issued. But about -- I did have the position to pardon after two thirds
1 of the sentence had been served. So if soldiers showed remorse, then they
2 could be pardoned, but they were always sanctioned.
3 Q. I think, General, that brings to an end my questions, and thank
4 you for answering them for me.
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to ask the other
7 Defence team.
8 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Re-examined by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Cuskic, in answer to a question from my
11 learned friend, you said the incident at the checkpoint occurred on the
12 1st of June, wasn't it, 1993?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. When the conflict broke out between the HVO and the ABiH, you were
15 in Travnik?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. On the 8th of June, 1993, can you remember where you were?
18 A. I think I was in Travnik on that day too.
19 Q. Thank you. A second point I would like us to clear up a little
20 is, when you said that the 7th Muslim Brigade was the only one that had
21 this prefix, and I think you were referring only to brigades within the
22 3rd Corps.
23 A. I think there was one with that prefix in the 4th Corps as well.
24 Q. If I was to tell you that there were some in the 1st Corps, in the
25 6th Corps, in the 4th Corps, what would you say?
1 A. Yes, I would agree with you. That is correct. I think that in
2 every corps there was a brigade carrying that prefix.
3 Q. Just one further point. Answering questions about the MOS, or the
4 Muslim forces. Yesterday, during your testimony, on page 48, line 19 to
5 49, you said that at the time the corps and brigades were formed, the
6 Territorial Defence and a part of the MOS became part of operational units
7 or units of the Territorial Defence that remained under the command of the
8 municipal staffs. My question is: When a corps or a brigade was being
9 formed, members of the MOS join not only the 1st Battalion of the
10 7th Brigade, but they also joined other units of the ABiH, organised in
11 Travnik, the 306th Brigade, the 312th, the 314th?
12 A. Yes, absolutely so. That is the gist of the answer that I gave
13 that you quoted from.
14 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I have no
15 further questions, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. As I was saying a
17 moment ago, I have a few questions for you.
18 Questioned by the Court:
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Would you be kind enough to
20 return to the beginning of what you said yesterday regarding the Mujahedin
21 and Karaula. This is on page 48, line 2.
22 You said that the Mujahedin participated in the defence of
23 Karaula. Are you confirming that? Can you confirm that?
24 A. Yes. A group of Mujahedin, yes.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And you yourself, were you at
1 Karaula at the same time as they were there?
2 A. Not throughout. At the time, they were located in a hamlet called
3 Gradula [phoen], this group of Mujahedin. It wasn't a big group. And I
4 would pass through Karaula and I would spend some time there, but it was
5 the last group of villages between the municipality of Travnik and Jajce.
6 This was intended to be of assistance to Jajce. So that when going to
7 Jajce, I would pass through there, and in the period from the 6th of
8 September until around the 15th of November, 1992, I would be there on and
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Mujahedin, therefore, were
11 present in this location between the month of September and November 1992;
12 is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Independently of them, were
15 there other forces and other units present with them alongside with them,
16 around them, or were they alone facing the Serbs?
17 A. In Karaula, as a group of villages, there was the Karaula
18 detachment under the command of the Municipal Staff of Travnik, and the
19 numerical strength was about 1.100 men. So a part of my unit, certain
20 logistic elements for communications were there and that would roughly be
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you are confirming that there
23 were soldiers belonging to your unit who were present there. These
24 Mujahedin, they came of their own [as interpreted], who asked them to
25 come? Because in theory, you controlled the area. What were they doing
1 there? Did you need them?
2 A. Well, you see, how they came, I can't tell you, because they got
3 there before me. I controlled that territory from the 8th to the 15th of
4 November, when I was in charge of the defence of Karaula. And those 1.100
5 men who were on a front of 36 kilometres had at the beginning no more than
6 a hundred rifles. And anyone coming with a weapon is welcome if he can
7 defend his home and his village.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I see. We are learning that
9 there was a 36-kilometre-long front line and there were the Mujahedin on
10 one side and the Serbs on the other. Did you have any contact with the
11 Mujahedin on the ground? How did you control the operations on the
12 ground? Because combatants wearing uniforms, how can you distinguish --
13 how could you distinguish between -- how could you share out the
15 A. I'm afraid you didn't understand me too well. I repeat: I
16 reached Karaula on the 5th or 6th of September. I was engaged to assist
17 the Jajce municipality. The group of Mujahedin were located in a hamlet
18 called Gradina. My combat experiences with them are the following: If I
19 am attacking -- if we agree that they should participate, I allocate them
20 a hill so they can be separate, isolated, for several reasons, because of
21 language, for recognition, because of communications. We had no radio
22 stations, no telephone, no communication. And my experience is limited to
23 the defence of Karaula. This period from the 10th to the 15th of
24 November, we really did take part together in the defence of Karaula and
25 we failed. They were not always with my units every day in the period
1 from September to mid-November, maybe in two battles we acted together.
2 Nor did I have any communication with them in the sense of issuing orders
3 to them. I was doing my part of the work towards Jajce and the Chetniks.
4 I don't know if I've managed to clarify this. I hope I have.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll move on to another
6 operation in response to a question put to you by the Defence. You said
7 that in September, in the Vitez area, there was a joint operation with a
8 Mujahedin unit. Are you quite sure that this took place in September?
9 A. I'm absolutely sure. It was on the 18th of September, to be
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the beginning of September,
12 on the 18th of September, and a little earlier, you mentioned Mount Igman.
13 Is that in the same area?
14 A. Igman is a mountain near Sarajevo. It's over a hundred kilometres
15 from Vitez. And this took place when we sent a detachment from Bosnian
16 Krajina in August. This was on the 18th of September, this event we're
17 talking about.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You say that you
19 sent a detachment in August to Mount Igman. Who was on Mount Igman then?
20 A. The commander of the Bosanska Krajina and a joint detachment sent
21 this detachment. They were from the 312th from the 17th, I think there
22 were some men from Jajce, and the defence of Igman was under the
23 1st Sarajevo Corps. They were responsible for the defence. And I think
24 it was Mr. Karavelic who was the commander at the time. I don't know the
25 exact details. I wasn't there myself. Mr. Salkic from Travnik was the
1 detachment commander, and he was subordinated to the 1st Corps. But I
2 know that he was successful in carrying out his operation, and the 1st
3 Corps commander praised him for this.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And on Mount Igman, as far as
5 you know, did the 7th Brigade also participate in operations there or not?
6 A. Well, in response to a question from Defence counsel, I already
7 said that the 3rd Corps sent a battalion from the 7th Muslim Brigade, and
8 a joint detachment from Bosanska Krajina. They were to assist the
9 1st Corps in defending Igman.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And as far as you know, in the
11 7th Brigade Battalion, were there any elements from the El Mujahed unit or
12 were there any Mujahedin, on the basis of what you know?
13 A. No. Because their units were led by Jusovic.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I will now ask the
15 registrar to produce the B/C/S version of document 616.
16 I'm going to show you a document which is in your language. The
17 copy is not very good, but could you please have a look at the document.
18 Could you please read it. Could you tell us who drafted this document?
19 A. This was drafted by Ahmet Adilovic.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Which unit did Ahmet Adilovic
21 belong to?
22 A. I don't know which unit he belonged to. I know that he was an
23 imam in Travnik and he was the director of the Medresa. As to the unit he
24 was a member of, I couldn't say. He wasn't a very prominent person, or
25 perhaps he was, but he wasn't in contact with me.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And who -- well, so you know
2 this person. You know Mr. Adilovic. Who is this document addressed to?
3 A. It's addressed to the 3rd Corps command, to the operations group,
4 to the operations department.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. And what is the
6 purpose of this document?
7 A. It's a request for a helicopter flight.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So it's a request for a
9 helicopter. On whose behalf was this request made?
10 A. Well, this was drafted by the gentleman in question, but you can't
11 see whether these individuals -- well, it says we know 11 individuals.
12 They are Arabs and Turks who should go to Igman. I don't think that this
13 document is formulated in military terms. You can't see which structure
14 is involved and the vocabulary -- well, it says transport them by
15 helicopter and it should be used for one or two flights. But the
16 vocabulary used doesn't seem to be military. The document is
17 inconsistent, and it's not a military-type document. So the document
18 really doesn't merit military comments of any kind. Because the 3rd Corps
19 command issued a precise order in which they stated how a helicopter would
20 be requested. You would have to mention the coordinates, you would have
21 to mention the place where the helicopter was supposed to land, you would
22 have to mention the time, the landing point, et cetera. I've used
23 helicopters to transport the wounded from Kruscica to Zenica, so this is
24 how I know about these things.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you're telling us that you
1 don't understand why 11 Arabs or Turks should go to Igman by helicopter
2 following a request within the 3rd Corps. You can't explain this?
3 A. I haven't got an explanation to provide because army helicopters
4 were used for the purposes of other transports in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
5 this group certainly didn't participate in stopping the Chetnik attack on
6 Igman. Because our units were transferred via Fojnica, Tarcin, they
7 participated in combat -- well, I think this was before this date. I
8 think the attack had been stopped before this date.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You said that Ahmet Adilovic was
10 someone you knew, but he was an imam and not a member of the military. On
11 the 27th of August, 1993, he didn't have a military status?
12 A. That's not what I'm saying. I know that he was an imam and that
13 he was the director of the Medresa in Travnik. But I couldn't say that he
14 was a member of the army or not. I know that he was an imam in Travnik.
15 He was the director of the Medresa, and that is what I know.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you don't know understand why
17 an imam would make a request, would request that the military authorities
18 provide a helicopter; you can't provide us with an explanation of any
20 A. Well, it says that the assistant commander for morale and
21 religious affairs, well, this still wouldn't have been his responsibility,
22 though. Only a corps commander can sign such documents. The battalion
23 command isn't responsible for communicating with the corps command, let
24 alone an officer for moral guidance. As a soldier, I don't understand
25 this. And in military terms, this is a document which is quite
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll take the
3 document from you. You can take the floor in a minute. I'll go on to
4 another subject now.
5 If I have understood you correctly, you were the commander of the
6 17th Krajina Brigade; is that correct? From January to December 1993?
7 A. I have to add something. From the time it was formed on the 25th
8 of November, 1992, up until the 7th of April, 1994.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. When you weren't on
10 the battlefield, as commander, where was your office located? Where was
11 your office?
12 A. Well, it was in the centre of the brigade command, on the top
13 floor, behind the stage in the barracks.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And this brigade command, which
15 town was it located in?
16 A. In Travnik. The building of the brigade command. The command of
17 the brigade was engaged as necessary.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Wasn't it in the former JNA
19 barracks, or what we call the JNA barracks?
20 A. Yes, absolutely. That's what I'm saying. It was in the barracks.
21 There was the central stage and it was to the rear, on the top floor.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In June 1993, as far as you
23 know, were there any prisoners who were detained in the former JNA
25 A. Prisoners of war?
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes?
2 A. Yes.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] These prisoners, who was
4 responsible for these prisoners?
5 A. Until the 3rd Corps command regulated the situation, and before
6 the commission for POWs was formed, naturally, I was the person who was
7 most responsible for them, but I assigned this responsibility to Colonel
8 Dedic Salko. He was my assistant for morale. He would monitor the
9 situation and report to me on the situation. As far as controlling the
10 situation, monitoring them, naturally it was the military security
11 department and the military police who were responsible for this.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As an officer who was
13 responsible for the situation, did you ever visit the prisoners of war?
14 Did you visit the individuals who were detained?
15 A. Well, I didn't pay them a visit to visit them for this sole
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you didn't see them?
18 A. Well, I did see them, but I didn't plan visits to them, because
19 there were other reasons for which I would go to that area, so perhaps I
20 passed through and saw them when passing through.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you saw them, none of them
22 complained about being maltreated, about being beaten, none of them
23 complained about the living conditions? This never took place?
24 A. No.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So everything was fine?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. As far as I know, everything was fine. And according to reports
2 from the International Red Cross when visiting -- when the 3rd Corps
3 command visited them, when Mr. Pavo Nikolic visited them, everyone
4 established that the situation was fine. And as I said, the conditions
5 that my soldiers had when detained were the conditions that POWs lived in
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you know why these people
8 were detained? What were they charged with?
9 A. I don't understand this question.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The detainees, why were they
11 detained? What was the reason?
12 A. Well, yesterday I explained that, on the first, second, and third
13 day of the conflict with the HVO, we had 40 POWs. After investigations
14 had been conducted by the security body, and after a report, according to
15 which about ten of them had been imprisoned in the houses in Slimena,
16 these houses were the first to be attacked, I then ordered that these
17 people should be released. As for those who were captured in the course
18 of combat, they were kept as POWs in prison. Until it was possible to
19 determine whether they could be charged with having committed war crimes,
20 et cetera. We had to keep them in detention. We weren't going to let
21 them open fire on us.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I've understood you
23 correctly, those who were not released, while there were investigations
24 that were conducted to determine whether crimes of war had been
25 perpetrated, so there was an ongoing investigation. Is that what you're
2 A. Absolutely.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And who conducted or who was
4 conducting this ongoing investigation?
5 A. Well, the security service bodies.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Within the framework of the
7 investigation carried out by the security service bodies, did the military
8 prosecutor -- or did the military prosecutor have to be informed of the
9 fact that there were people held in detention, and if he should have been
10 informed of this fact, was he in fact informed?
11 A. As far as I know, that was done. We had to forward reports from
12 the security body of the 3rd Corps on POWs.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, other witnesses have said
14 that among these prisoners there were some who were exchanged. How can
15 you explain the fact that there was an investigation into crimes of war
16 and in spite of this fact, prisoners were exchanged? How would you
17 explain this? Do you have an explanation?
18 A. I wouldn't comment on that. That's what was done. But when
19 criminal reports were filed against individuals or the Presidency would
20 grant a sort of amnesty and then there was an exchange. But in the case
21 of people against whom criminal reports hadn't been filed, well, these
22 individuals would be used in exchanges of POWs.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you're telling us something
24 that we hear for the first time. It's line 7 in the transcript. You say
25 that the Presidency should issue a document allowing the exchange to take
1 place. Which Presidency are you referring to? War Presidency? Which
2 Presidency are you referring to?
3 A. I can't say that I'm a hundred per cent sure. I'm not a lawyer.
4 I'm a member of the military. But I think that the Presidency concerned
5 is the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So it's the Presidency at a
7 political level?
8 A. Yes, absolutely. And this had nothing to do with my authority.
9 When such a document arrived, the orders it contained were obeyed, and the
10 exchange commission carried the order out.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So as you are one of the most
12 high-ranking officers present, and if I'm following you correctly, you say
13 that when an exchange took place, it was possible to have such an exchange
14 only if the Presidency had granted permission for such an exchange, and
15 they had to indicate that among those who were going to be exchanged,
16 there were no individuals who were suspected of having committed crimes of
17 war. Is that what you are telling us?
18 A. No. I said that this concerned individuals against whom criminal
19 reports had been filed, or individuals who had already been sentenced or
20 were serving their sentence. To have an exchange, you need some kind of
21 an amnesty. But in the case of POWs, this was the commissions for
22 exchange in the 3rd Corps, in operations group, that became involved in
23 these matters. I'm not sure, because I wasn't really involved in this. I
24 carried out orders. I would be glad if I've managed to clarify this.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's perfectly clear now. Thank
2 JUDGE SWART: Good afternoon, Witness. I have a few questions for
3 you on a -- concerning a meeting you had with another witness we have had
4 here before in this courtroom, some seven, eight months ago. The subject
5 of that meeting has not been discussed yesterday and this afternoon, but
6 it has to do, I think, or I guess, with a number of things you told us
7 yesterday and today. And you are the only person to whom I can put these
9 Do you remember that in the month November 1993 you had a meeting
10 at the JNA barracks with an older Croat gentleman?
11 A. Look, I often saw Croatian citizens who had remained in Travnik. I
12 would often receive them. You have to be a little more specific.
13 JUDGE SWART: Well, this was a gentleman who had been, according
14 to his story, kidnapped and remained in a camp somewhere in the
15 neighbourhood of Travnik, and afterwards was released and was taken into
16 the basement of the Travnik military barracks. You remember now who I'm
17 talking about?
18 A. I can't say exactly because there was a group of them who were
19 released, Rajkovic, Fisic. But that's correct, they were taken to the
20 barracks, and I think some of them were in the clinic in Travnik, and some
21 of them were placed in the cellar, perhaps. But the situation was
22 particular. We took them to the barracks to provide them with protection
23 and to make sure that they didn't find themselves in the situation that
24 they had already been in. Because we believed that the group who had done
25 what they had done might try threaten their lives again. So that this was
1 a measure that was purely preventive. They weren't treated as prisoners
2 or detainees. So that was our intention. And that was the way that
3 members of the 17th treated these individuals.
4 JUDGE SWART: [Previous translation continues]... because the
5 person I'm speaking about is Mr. Fisic [realtime transcript read in error
6 "Visic"] and you his mentioned name. That is the older man that stayed
7 for a while in the Travnik barracks. I don't want to discuss whether he
8 was there freely or for his own protection or whatever else, but I want to
9 relate -- to put a few questions on a conversation between him and
10 yourself as told by him in January of this year to the Trial Chamber. He
11 has been here on the 13th -- 30th of January, and I'd like to quote some
12 things he said.
13 First on the page 2270, he describes you as being a very gentle
14 and human person. And then he tells us -- well, he told us about a
15 conversation he had with you. He told you the story about his being
16 detained elsewhere, in other such, as he said, together with others. And
17 he describes also your reaction to that story, and that's the matter I'm
18 talking about now. He quotes you as saying the following thing: "I can't
19 stand this any more." These are your words in the French original: "I
20 can't stand the situation concerning certain unities here. I will clarify
21 the matter or otherwise I will go." And then he says, he's quoting you as
22 saying: "I will call the President Izetbegovic." And then he says:
23 "That's what Mr. Cuskic has done, and Mr. Izetbegovic has come to Travnik
24 while we were still in the basement of the barracks."
25 That's -- I quote him now on page 2271, the original French text.
1 Well, I have a few questions about this conversation between the
2 two of you. The first, of course, is whether this is an exact reflection
3 of what you said. Do you recognise the words or do you say "I said
4 something else," or ...
5 A. I can recognise my position and my attitude, and I think that on
6 the whole, this is fairly accurate.
7 JUDGE SWART: My second question, then, will be the following: If
8 you say to him "I'm going to call President Izetbegovic," have you indeed
9 done this also?
10 A. Well, look, I'm a member of the military. I follow the law. I
11 didn't contact -- I didn't phone Mr. Izetbegovic. I think at the time
12 General Alagic was the commander of the 3rd Corps, and I wanted this
13 problem to be discussed at the highest level. I wanted President
14 Izetbegovic to be informed of the problem, and I wanted this problem to be
15 solved in the area. Because it was tarnishing the honest reputation. I
16 don't know if this was the result of what Alagic did, but sometime in
17 mid-November, and paragraphs it was on the 15th of November,
18 Mr. Izetbegovic in fact was in Travnik and he visited the barracks in
19 Travnik at that time.
20 JUDGE SWART: Thank you. But you have no way of knowing whether
21 Izetbegovic was told the story by Alagic or by someone else?
22 A. No. I didn't say that. I know that General Alagic informed
23 President Izetbegovic of this event, and he requested that the problem of
24 the El Mujahed and the behaviour of the Mujahedin be solved. He requested
25 that they be placed under control. He didn't only inform President
1 Izetbegovic. Commander Alagic also addressed the superior command and
2 made some suggestions. I think he did this in written and in oral form.
3 JUDGE SWART: And by talking about superior command, you mean
4 probably the Command Staff in Sarajevo? Mr. Delic, I remember as being
5 the ...
6 A. I said as commander of the operations group, while he was the
7 commander in Travnik, he addressed the 3rd Corps commander. But as corps
8 commander, I also know that he contacted or addressed Mr. Izetbegovic and
9 made such requests. So he addressed Mr. Izetbegovic when he visited
10 Zenica and when he visited Travnik. He didn't only contact Mr. Delic
11 about this matter.
12 JUDGE SWART: [Previous translation continues]... aren't you?
13 A. Yes.
14 JUDGE SWART: And do you know what answer the President
15 Izetbegovic has given or was it not reported to you?
16 A. I was not informed about it.
17 JUDGE SWART: When hearing his story, you said: "I will clarify
18 these things or otherwise I will go. I will call President Izetbegovic."
19 Apparently you are so unhappy with the situation that you threaten to
20 leave the forces. What made you so unhappy in this situation?
21 A. I was shocked by the behaviour and by the fact that civilians were
22 taken from their houses, innocent people, especially when I heard the
23 story about the killing of Mr. Popovic in such a horrific, brutal manner.
24 I think that is a normal human mind could not do such a thing. So I was
25 shocked, as an ordinary human being. I don't know how to explain it
2 JUDGE SWART: Were you, after having told this story to your
3 superior, Alagic, in any way personally involved in the further
4 developments of the situation?
5 A. I was, as a commander, I ensured protection, family encounters,
6 visits, et cetera. But as for subsequent matters, they were not in the
7 hands of my bodies, so not part of my responsibilities.
8 JUDGE SWART: My last question on the matter is the following:
9 Did you, by any chance, or in whatever way, hear about an investigation
10 into the case, into what happened, by police or public prosecutors or
12 A. I'm unable to give you a precise answer. I think that there was
13 an investigation by the military security service, but I don't know for
14 sure and I can't tell you about any details, at what level, which
15 prosecution, was it the civilian police. Because military security organs
16 are responsible for members of the army, whereas the civilian authorities
17 are for civilians. So I can't give you a specific answer. But I do know
18 that my security organs were not involved.
19 JUDGE SWART: On the other hand, yesterday, and today also, you
20 said that you had testified in a case pending in a court in Bosnia against
21 the person who might also have been involved in this event. So that's the
22 background of my question.
23 A. I don't see the background. I said that, as a citizen of Bosnia
24 and Herzegovina, I received a summons from the prosecutor's office, I
25 testified, I told them what I knew, and I stand by that.
1 JUDGE SWART: But that apparently is not about this event, or is
3 A. It is partly linked to it. I don't know to what extent it is of
4 interest for this case. Mr. Jonathan Schmidt knows best. It has to do
5 with my knowledge about Meqtauf and his possible role in this, and that is
6 what I testified about.
7 JUDGE SWART: Okay. I'll not pursue these questions. I have just
8 one remark to make. I was referring to the Witness Ivo Fisic, with an F,
9 who testified on the 30th of January, 2004. I quoted from the French
10 transcript, especially page 2271. That's for the record.
11 Thank you for your answers.
12 A. Thank you, too.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It is 5.20. The best idea is to
14 have the break now and then we will resume after the break with possible
15 questions by the Prosecution and the Defence. So we will resume at about
16 a quarter to 6.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 5.21 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 5.52 p.m.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before giving the floor to the
20 Prosecution for their questions, I think there was a translation problem,
21 so I give you the floor.
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, with all due
23 respect, twice since the beginning of these proceedings, I tried to assist
24 the Trial Chamber in drawing attention to a translation problem, and
25 particularly when Your Honours were asking questions. And the same
1 problem occurred today. So I think that while you were asking questions,
2 we should not be allowed to ask for the floor, because I feel very
3 embarrassed if I'm not given the floor. But in this specific case, I
4 wanted to ask Your Honours, when the document PT669 was discussed, I wish
5 to indicate that the first sentence has been mistranslated. This document
6 begins with the words "we know 11 persons," and the translation says "we
7 have 11 persons." So I felt the error to be substantive, and I wished to
8 draw attention of Your Honours to this error so that the interpreters
9 could provide the Judges with a correct translation in time.
10 Thank you for hearing me out. I'm talking about document P616. I
11 apologise. I made a mistake. P616. I gave the document the wrong
13 Thank you for hearing me out.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There's no problem. If you note
15 a translation problem, because stand up immediately. But I thought that
16 you wanted to ask a question of substance. Yes.
17 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Just
18 to add to what my colleague has said: When the witness was testifying, he
19 said precisely what Ms. Residovic has just said. We know he said 11
20 persons, and this is reflected in the transcript when you were asking your
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed. The document
23 says "we have" instead of "we know 11 persons." So you're quite right.
24 I shall give the floor now to Mr. Mundis. I think he has some
25 questions emanating from the Judges' questions.
1 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. We do have just a few
2 questions for the witness. But before we do that, I would like to point
3 out to the Chamber and, as I indicated to the Defence at the break, during
4 the line of questioning that the Presiding Judge put to the witness
5 concerning P616, we were -- or I directed that the original of that
6 document be retrieved from the Evidence Unit. During the break I've shown
7 this to the Defence. I would like to show this original document, P616,
8 in Bosnian to the witness and put a few questions to him, with your leave.
9 And I will certainly make this available for the Trial Chamber, and also I
10 think it should be shown to the accused, because they haven't seen the
11 original of this document.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, you have the floor.
13 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you.
14 Further cross-examination by Mr. Mundis:
15 Q. Sir, you now have before you the original of P616. Earlier you
16 were shown photocopies of this document. I simply ask you to look at the
17 original document, and in light of your earlier comments I would ask you
18 now if there's anything you would like to clarify or to explain, having
19 had the benefit of seeing the original, which includes some markings in
20 blue that were not visible on the photocopy.
21 A. This is obviously an original document, registered under this
22 number. But I still stand by all the comments I made as a military man
23 with respect to this document.
24 Q. But you clearly see on the document a stamp of a unit within the
25 3rd Corps?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes, yes, absolutely. There's a stamp and a registration number.
2 Q. And I believe you told us earlier that the person who signed the
3 document, Mr. Adilovic, according to the document, was the assistant
4 commander for religious and morale, religious affairs and morale.
5 A. I didn't say that that is what he was. I just said that that is
6 the title indicated in the signature. I know him as -- I don't know him
7 as such. I know him as the imam in Travnik and the director of the
8 Medresa in Travnik.
9 Q. That's right, sir. And my he question in English was: According
10 to the document, the signature block of the document indicates that he
11 held that position within the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade on or about the
12 27th of August, 1993?
13 A. Yes, absolutely so. That is what it says in the document.
14 Q. And it's also clear, sir, is it not, from the subject line that
15 Mr. Adilovic is not ordering helicopter transport but is simply requesting
16 such transport?
17 A. That is what it says. But he's asking for transport for persons
18 he knows, 11 Arabs and Turks, persons he knows, not members of his unit.
19 Q. That's fine, sir. I would ask now that the document be --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Wait a moment, please. In the
21 French translation, we are told persons he knew. In your own language,
22 the document in your language, does it say "we know" or "we have 11
23 persons"? How would you interpret the first line in your language?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is crystal clear.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In your own language, yes. What
1 is clear in your language? Because there's a difference. These persons,
2 they may have asked for a helicopter for persons he knew, this person
3 knew, but if he says "we have," it is not quite the same thing. So I'm
4 asking you: What do you read in your own language?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I quite agree with your explanation.
6 It's sufficient to read this. There's no interpretation needed. I will
7 read it in Bosnian slowly, and I would ask the interpreters, and I
8 apologise to them for speaking quickly. And it says: "We know 11
9 persons - Arabs and Turks, who need to go to Igman. So we are asking you
10 to allow helicopter transport for them in one or two flights, when it's on
11 your way. We are not asking a special flight for this."
12 And in addition to my previous comment, saying that it was not in
13 appropriate military language, one can see that this is not a priority
14 issue, that it's not a question of battle, but simply transport of persons
15 he knew.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you for the
17 clarification. Because the English translation says "we have." And this
18 does not correspond to "we know."
19 MR. MUNDIS:
20 Q. Sir, do you have any recollection or knowledge about events
21 occurring on Igman on or about the 27th of August, 1993?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. MUNDIS: I have no further need for the witness to have that
25 document. If it could be returned. Thank you.
1 Q. I have just one other question in terms of clarification, Witness,
2 from an answer that you gave in response to a question from the Trial
3 Chamber. This is on page 54, at line 20. You were discussing how you had
4 delegated responsibility for the care and protection of persons detained
5 in the basement of the former JNA barracks in Travnik. And according
6 again to the English transcript, you immediate reference to delegating
7 that responsibility to, and the English says "Colonel Salko, the assistant
8 for morale." I would ask you, sir, if you could please give us that
9 individual's full name that you were referring to, this Colonel Salko.
10 A. I think I gave his full name. Colonel Salko Dedic, my assistant
11 for moral guidance. And the reason why I designated him is that, in
12 addition to the people who were normally responsible for this was, first
13 of all, because he was married to a Croat and he had good relations with
14 Pavo Nikolic in Travnik. So I wanted to have the proper information and
15 proper care for these people.
16 Q. Thank you, Witness.
17 MR. MUNDIS: The Prosecution has no further questions,
18 Mr. President.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 The Defence.
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Further re-examination by Ms. Residovic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] General, answering a question from the President
25 of the Trial Chamber about fighting at Karaula from the 6th of September
1 until the beginning of November, you said that you saw some Mujahedin in a
2 part of a village and that you participated with them in two combat
3 operations. Tell me, please, General: In that period of time, in
4 addition to those Mujahedin, did other units take part in the defence of
5 those lines that did not belong to the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the
6 Croatian Defence Council, the HOS, H-O-S, or some other units that were
7 ready to defend Jajce and the town of Travnik?
8 A. During my testimony yesterday, I was more specific when talking
9 about the defence of this area between Travnik and Jajce. So HVO units
10 did take part in defending Jajce, as well as HOS, H-O-S, the Territorial
11 Defence, and my own brigade, which was already called the 7th Brigade of
12 the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Regarding this group of Mujahedin in
13 Gradina, this is a small group of some 15 people. A lot of hullabaloo is
14 made about them. They couldn't have any significant effect in the
15 struggle. Perhaps psychologically it meant something for the people of
16 the village. But I have some experiences in a battle later on, when they
17 took part with us. However, in this period, until the fall of Jajce, the
18 line was 136 kilometres, almost a circle. The HVO, the Territorial
19 Defence, the HOS, and the Krajina units that were already called the Army
20 of Bosnia and Herzegovina took part.
21 Q. After those events and the battles at Karaula, do you know where
22 that group of Mujahedin went, and did you come across them ever again?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Thank you. His Honour Judge Swart drew your attention to a part
25 of your conversation with Mr. Fisic, which you basically confirmed. Tell
1 me, please, General: When you told Mr. Fisic that you would make a
2 request to General Alagic, did this confirm your position that the
3 question of the Mujahedin could be resolved only at the highest political
5 A. I must now convey my personal opinion. Perhaps 95 per cent of
6 former JNA officers who held command positions, not only in my brigade but
7 in brigades in the area of Travnik and under the 3rd Corps command, we
8 simply were not convinced of the justification or necessity or correctness
9 of the presence and actions of the Mujahedin. And the position of
10 Commander Alagic and Commander Hadzihasanovic was that it should be
11 resolved, and this could only be resolved by political institutions. It
12 was our legal obligation to follow instructions received from the
13 political level.
14 So we knew that President Izetbegovic gave orders to General
15 Delic, General Delic to General Hadzihasanovic, and so on. And we
16 respected that command. That is how we were trained and that is what we
17 did in practice.
18 Q. One further question. Well mentioned the Mujahedin at Karaula.
19 Did you know at the time, in 1993 and later, that certain groups of
20 Mujahedin were located in other areas around Teslic, around Konjic,
21 sometimes smaller groups, in any way, parts of the country that had
22 nothing to do with the 3rd Corps?
23 A. To be quite frank, I did not know about that. We were under a
24 communications blockade, totally surrounded for a year, so I only knew
25 about the area in which the operations were conducted. The area of
1 Zenica, Travnik, and nothing beyond that.
2 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
3 Thank you, Mr. President.
4 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] We have no additional questions,
5 Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. General, your
7 testimony is over. You answered questions put to you by the Defence, the
8 Prosecution, and the Judges yesterday and today. We thank you for coming
9 to testify in The Hague. We wish you a safe journey home, and best wishes
10 in your future life.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. I look forward to a good
12 pension, and I apologise to the interpreters.
13 [The witness withdrew]
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Defence tells us that we
15 have a witness. We have another 50 minutes left. We can begin now and
16 continue tomorrow because the witness is waiting. And then we will
17 continue tomorrow. We can start him today.
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the documents that
19 I should like to tender, should we do that tomorrow morning?
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Unless we can do that quickly --
21 yes, please, go ahead. We will save a few minutes that way. I give you
22 the floor. No. He's already here, so we'll do it tomorrow.
23 [The witness entered court]
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir. I wish to
25 check that you're hearing in your own language the interpretation of my
1 words. If that is so, just let me know.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can hear you and understand
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have been called as a
5 witness for the Defence. Before asking you to read the solemn
6 declaration, I need to know your exact identity. Can you give me your
7 first and last name and date of birth.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Mesud Hadzialic. I was
9 born on the 14th of February, 1956, in the Foca, in the state of Bosnia
10 and Herzegovina.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your occupation today?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Today I teach at the electrical
13 engineering faculty for transport and communications at the university in
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In 1992 and 1993, did you have
16 an occupation at the time? If so, which? What was your job?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1992 and 1993, I was in the units
18 of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the beginning of 1992, I was
19 still working in an institution called the maintenance institute of
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And in 1993?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1993, I was a member of the Army
23 of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In which unit, and what was your
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was in the Municipal Staff of
2 Territorial Defence, and later I joined the communications battalion of
3 the 3rd Corps. In the former army, Yugoslav People's Army, I had the rank
4 of major.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you previously testified in
6 an international or national court about the events that took place in
7 your country in 1992 and 1993, or is it the first time for you to testify?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have never testified before. This
9 is the first time for me.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Will you be kind enough to read
11 the solemn declaration.
12 WITNESS: MESUD HADZIALIC
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
15 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may be seated.
17 We have 45 minutes before we adjourn. We'll be adjourning at 7:00 p.m.
18 I'd like to provide you with some information about the procedure that
19 will be followed today and tomorrow. You'll first have to answer
20 questions put to you by Defence counsel. After their
21 examination-in-chief, which will take up part of the hearing tomorrow, the
22 Prosecution, who are to your right, will cross-examine you. The purpose
23 of their cross-examination will be to verify how credible your testimony
24 is and to clarify some of the answers that you provide to Defence counsel.
25 After this stage has been completed, Defence counsel may
1 re-examine you. Their questions should be related to the Prosecution's
2 questions. Then the three Judges sitting before you will certainly have
3 some questions for you. The Judges may ask you questions that might be
4 completely different from the ones put to you by both parties, but they
5 may also be related to the questions put to you by the parties. As a
6 rule, we ask questions to clarify certain issues or to fill any gaps that
7 we feel need to be filled.
8 If you find that a question is complicated, do your best to answer
9 it, because we don't have any written documents about your testimony, and
10 it is what you say here that will inform us. The parties or the Judges
11 might show you documents in the course of your examination. This may
12 constitute part of the procedure. If your question is too complicated,
13 ask the person putting it to you to rephrase it. I would also like to
14 point out that, as you have taken the solemn declaration, you should not
15 give false testimony, since false testimony is an offence. It's an
16 offence throughout the world, and it's an offence in this court as well.
17 Secondly, but this shouldn't be applicable to you, if a witness
18 believes that his answer might provide information that could be used to
19 prosecute him, the witness may refuse to answer the question. But in such
20 an exceptional case, the Trial Chamber may compel the witness to answer
21 the question, but the witness is granted a form of immunity. This is a
22 provision that should help us determine the truth. If you encounter any
23 difficulties, please inform us of the fact. As a rule, we work for an
24 hour and a half, then we have a break, a 25-minute break, and then we
25 continue for another hour and a half. Now we only have about 40 minutes
1 left, but I will now give the floor to the Defence counsel, who will start
2 their examination-in-chief.
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Examined by Ms. Residovic:
5 Q. [Interpretation] Good evening, Professor Hadzialic.
6 A. Good evening.
7 Q. The Presiding Judge has just provided you with some important
8 information, but there is something I would like to add. We speak the
9 same language, and you might want to answer my questions immediately. But
10 it is necessary for my questions and your answers to be interpreted, so
11 that the Chamber can follow us, as well as my colleagues in the courtroom.
12 I'd be grateful if you could make a brief pause after I put my question to
13 you. I also briefly pause after your answer. And in this way, we will
14 ensure that your testimony is of assistance to the Chamber. Have you
15 understood me?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Professor Hadzialic, you said you are now a professor at the
18 engineering faculty at the University of Sarajevo. Please tell me when
19 and where you were educated.
20 A. I completed the electrical engineering faculty in Sarajevo in
21 1978. I then served in the army, and as I had a scholarship from the
22 former JNA, I worked in the maintenance institute in Travnik. I became --
23 I finished my work there as the chief of investigations. I completed my
24 postgraduate studies in the technical faculty in Sarajevo, the electrical
25 engineering faculty in Sarajevo, and I defended my doctoral thesis there.
1 Q. You said you served in the JNA. Did you then obtain a rank of any
2 kind, or rather, as you said you were a major, when did you obtain this
3 rank and how did you obtain this rank?
4 A. I obtained the rank of major in 1991, at the beginning of 1991. I
5 obtained it by going to certain schools and by following certain seminars.
6 As I had graduated from civilian faculties, I had to train in this way.
7 So I went to certain schools that enabled me to have a higher rank, that
8 enabled me to have the rank that I would have had had the situation been
9 normal and had my professional career developed in a normal manner.
10 Q. If I've understood you correctly, you immediately started working
11 in the repairs and maintenance institution in Travnik; is that correct?
12 A. Yes. I worked as an assistant at the electrical engineering
13 faculty for a few months before an order was issued on commencing work in
14 the maintenance institute in Travnik, and I finished my professional
15 career in that field in Travnik.
16 Q. Could you tell me what the maintenance institute in Travnik was
17 involved in?
18 A. It was involved in the military sphere. It was a military
19 institution. Its main task was to repair, or rather, maintain the
20 communication system in the former JNA. It was to develop and produce
21 certain systems and certain devices for training communications officers
22 in the former JNA.
23 Q. Who governed the institute? Who was in charge of the institute of
24 the military institution in the former Republic of Yugoslavia?
25 A. Well, the Federal Secretariat for National Defence was in charge
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 of the institute. It was the technical administration department that was
2 in charge of it. This department is in Belgrade or was in Belgrade.
3 Q. Please tell us where exactly the institute in Travnik was located?
4 A. This institute, the repairs institute, was in the centre of
5 Travnik. It's right next to a barracks, which is now the barracks of the
6 Federation army, and there is only a fence separating these two buildings.
7 Q. When the JNA, together with the Serbian forces, attacked Bosnia
8 and Herzegovina, what sort of situation was your repairs and maintenance
9 institute in? Did you withdraw with the JNA or did something else occur?
10 A. During that period, we were quite well prepared. We had prepared
11 with the Territorial Defence and we managed to organise the workers and
12 the officers in the institute who intended to stay on managed to organise
13 themselves. So we managed to establish full control over all the
14 institute's resources, at a time that there was a unit of the former army
15 in the neighbouring barracks, and they were there with the reserve forces,
16 which were in fact infantry forces.
17 Q. Could you tell us when exactly the JNA withdrew from the barracks
18 in Travnik?
19 A. I know the dates. I don't know the days. But I'm sure that the
20 withdrawal of the army from Travnik occurred after we had started -- after
21 we had taken charge of the institute, or rather, after the administration
22 recognised the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I think that was in
23 the month of May 1992.
24 Q. You have just provided a partial answer to my next question. Who
25 took over the administration of the maintenance institute in Travnik?
1 A. Since at the time communications with centres, or rather, with the
2 state organs in the BH, the ministry and the Presidency, weren't
3 functioning very well, we sent reports on the situation in the institute,
4 and they suggested that the War Presidency in Travnik should temporarily
5 take charge of the institute.
6 Q. At any point in time did the Travnik War Presidency take over the
7 administration of the institute, and did it appoint a temporary
8 administration for the institute?
9 A. Yes. The War Presidency in Travnik did take over the temporary
10 administration of the institute, and I was appointed as the temporary
11 director of the institute. But my colleague -- I was supposed to have a
12 Croatian counterpart, a certain deputy for the administration of the
14 Q. Professor, how long did you perform the duties of the director of
15 the maintenance institute in Travnik?
16 A. Well, this temporary regime of administering the institute went on
17 until about the end of July 1992. That's when an administration staff was
18 elected and a kind of administration committee for the maintenance
19 institute in Travnik was elected.
20 Q. After that period, did you still hold a position of any kind in
21 the institute, and were you able to follow the work of the institute?
22 A. I remained as a member of this supervisory body, whose task was to
23 help to efficiently run the resources that the maintenance institute in
24 Travnik had at the time.
25 Q. Professor, at any point in time in 1992 did you join the armed
1 forces; and if so, which armed forces did you join?
2 A. I joined the Territorial Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In
3 April 1992, I reported to them. And I actually became part of the
4 Territorial Defence Municipal Staff in July 1992.
5 Q. Who was the commander of the Municipal Staff at the time? Can you
6 remember that?
7 A. I think it was Ribo Haso, who is a brigadier now. I think that
8 was the period when he assumed the duties of commander of the Territorial
9 Defence Municipal Staff.
10 Q. What sort of duties did you have to perform in the Municipal
12 A. Given my experience in the field of telecommunications, and in the
13 field of military communications, my task was to provide assistance, or
14 rather, we were supposed to establish a communications system for units
15 which were part of the Municipal Staff and for units that were under the
16 control of the Territorial Defence Municipal Staff in Travnik.
17 Q. You told us about the function of the maintenance institute before
18 the war. Could you now tell us what the function of the maintenance
19 institute was at the beginning and in the course of 1992, and what sort of
20 resources did the institute have?
21 A. Well, I will try to first provide you with my answer to the second
22 question. The institute had resources that had remained. These were
23 communications -- this was communications equipment, various sorts of
24 technology for various tactical purposes, and they also had some
25 equipment, although it wasn't a complete system of equipment, they also
1 had some equipment that was in the warehouses of the communications
2 administration in Belgrade. The institute, as someone who was responsible
3 for developing and producing complex communications centres, had a
4 warehouse in its surroundings. So some equipment remained in the
5 institute, and we regarded this equipment as military equipment that could
6 be provided to Territorial Defence units for their use.
7 The institute still maintain the still regime. They worked on
8 repairing the equipment we had in the warehouse. So the quality of the
9 equipment was at the required level. Naturally, the institute started
10 dealing with certain technical problems, minor problems, that were
11 encountered in the Territorial Defence with their equipment. The
12 equipment was equipment that was obtained from radio amateurs, et cetera.
13 Q. While you were the director of the maintenance institute, could
14 you tell us whether this equipment was distributed, the equipment that the
15 institute had was distributed; and if so, according to whose decision?
16 A. Well, during that period of time, the -- I was under a lot of
17 pressure in the institute. I was under a lot of pressure from the HVO
18 military structures. They wanted the available equipment in the institute
19 to be redistributed. Since there were workers who were Bosniaks and
20 Croats in the institute, the Territorial Defence and the HVO had
21 information on the amount of equipment and on the state of the equipment.
22 Since the HVO exerted pressure on a daily basis, the only way to preserve
23 the status of the institute, the only way to ensure that it didn't fall
24 into the hands of some military formations, was to act in accordance with
25 the War Presidency decisions and to distribute the available equipment, or
1 rather, the military devices, to HVO members and to members of the
2 Territorial Defence in Travnik. We also did this in the case of
3 Territorial Defence units which were outside the Travnik, if they had
4 received authorisation for such equipment, for the use of such equipment,
5 from the Travnik War Presidency.
6 Q. In accordance with that decision issued by the War Presidency,
7 what was the principle followed when distributing the equipment you had
8 and when sharing it among the Territorial Defence and the HVO?
9 A. The equipment was shared out on an equal basis. This was what was
10 done whenever the Presidency signed an order. Perhaps the equipment
11 wasn't identical, perhaps the systems weren't identical, but the agreement
12 was that each side should receive the same amount of equipment.
13 Q. When the equipment was being distributed, did the War Presidency
14 in your institute take into account how well equipped the HVO units and
15 the Territorial Defence units were, or was this principle applied
16 regardless of how these units were equipped?
17 A. Well, as an institute, we weren't able to find out how well HVO
18 units were equipped. We knew how well the Territorial Defence units were
19 equipped, though. In order to find a peaceful solution to this issue, we
20 had to ensure that the equipment was distributed equally to both sides,
21 that each side was given the same amount of equipment.
22 Q. Tell me: How long did you remain in the Municipal Staff, and what
23 duties did you assume afterwards?
24 A. I remained in the staff until the formation of the 3rd Corps,
25 which is when I was assigned to communications battalion within the
1 3rd Corps.
2 Q. What were your main tasks in the communications battalion in the
3 3rd Corps?
4 A. Since the corps covered a wide area and a number of units, it was
5 necessary to become more engaged in training and engaging those units. My
6 main task was to work together with the commanders in the communications
7 battalion, to create the conditions for the system of command and control,
8 or rather, to create the conditions that would ensure that the
9 communication system was functioning properly.
10 Q. How did you equip units with communications equipment, and how did
11 you equip 3rd Corps units with such equipment?
12 A. Well, we can't talk about equipping units and the command with the
13 communication systems. These weren't complex systems that were used to
14 establish a system of command and control. It was more a matter of
15 individual devices for these purposes. The main source of such equipment
16 was the equipment that had remained from the JNA. Units would obtain
17 equipment from the warehouses of the institute on the basis of Presidency
18 decision. Some of this equipment came from the Territorial Defence
19 warehouse. But on the whole, this equipment was equipment such as amateur
20 radio devices.
21 Q. You are an expert in the field of telecommunications. Tell me:
22 What sort of staff did the command in the 3rd Corps have when its
23 battalion -- when its communications battalion was formed?
24 A. When the battalion -- when the communications battalion was
25 formed, it consisted mostly of people who had served either in the former
1 JNA and who had that sort of establishment, or it consisted of people who
2 had some sort of experience in that field or had been involved in work as
3 radio amateurs.
4 Q. Since you said that you were involved in training and in equipping
5 units, tell me: Did you ever start training men in order to establish a
6 communications system within the 3rd Corps?
7 A. Given the variety of the equipment we had, given the difficult
8 conditions, it was necessary to carry our tasks out, and the job that a
9 communications officer has is very demanding, since such people have to be
10 trained and have to be provided with the adequate knowledge, it was
11 necessary to rapidly establish the relevant procedures and to provide them
12 with the relevant technology. So individuals and units had to be trained
13 to carry out this task. Because we believed that a lack of -- we believed
14 that our lack of technology -- we could compensate for our lack of
15 technology by providing men with better training.
16 Q. Tell me, Professor: Which cadres did you train and where was the
17 training carried out?
18 A. These were mostly personnel that were assigned to communications
19 units, or were going to be assigned to those units, and personnel who were
20 to be assigned as commanders. We started with those personnel. And the
21 training was provided in an organised fashion in Zenica, in premises
22 assigned to the communications battalion, and in the barracks, and on the
23 ground as well, wherever we had a chance of training people with the use
24 of these devices. We devoted special attention at the beginning to the
25 training of encoders, people who had to encode, encrypt documents, and
1 also persons who would later be using such documents as operators.
2 Q. As you have just said how important it was to train people for the
3 communications system, tell me: Does this system have any significance
4 for the overall effect of the army, or rather, is it in connection with a
5 system of command and control?
6 A. Allow me to use the NATO name, C-3, they refer to them, as
7 command, control, and communications. Therefore, it is not possible to
8 develop an efficient system of control and command without an effective
9 communication system, and I mean both in terms of communications and in
10 terms of the security of communications.
11 Q. Professor, you have just told us how important it was for the
12 personnel to be properly trained, but for communications to be effective,
13 what else is necessary?
14 A. In addition to manpower, a very important element is the
15 equipment, or rather, the integration and establishment of the functions
16 of the equipment under given conditions. As the technologies were
17 diverse, it required a lot of effort for them to become fully functional.
18 Q. You told me a moment ago which were the main sources of the
19 equipment. Tell me now what kind of communications equipment the
20 Territorial Defence had at its disposal, and later the ABiH army.
21 A. I shall try and be brief and divide it into three different
22 levels, according to the strategy in place. For the combat level, to
23 ensure communications during combat operations, the equipment and number
24 of devices was absolutely insufficient for the level of communication
25 between units, that is, battalions and brigade commands. It was possible
1 to establish such communications on an individual basis, which means you
2 would need five channels, but you could make only one channel functional.
3 And as for the operational level between brigade command, staff commands,
4 and the 3rd Corps command, this was supported with equipment coming from
5 radio amateur institutions and occasionally using the centres for
6 observation and information.
7 So, as I was saying, communications at the combat level hardly
8 existed, with the exception of hand-held amateur radios, which cannot be
9 used under those certain conditions. For the tactical level, the
10 equipment of the former JNA was used, mostly conventional devices, and
11 devices that could be maintained in Travnik, whereas for the third level,
12 mainly radio amateur equipment was used.
13 Q. Professor, in establishing this system in the 3rd Corps, did you
14 have any priorities, or rather, did you focus on establishing one
15 particular set of communications in relation to others, or could you
16 briefly describe the ways in which you established the system in the
17 3rd Corps.
18 A. The available equipment dictated the priorities. Certain devices
19 could not be used for combat level, could not be used for the tactical
20 level. So what we had dictated the solutions. But at the command level,
21 we did our best to ensure exchange of information between unit commands
22 and the 3rd Corps command. I said that we tried to do that.
23 Q. Tell me, please: In those days, what was the infrastructure like
24 that you relied on in order to establish this priority level of
25 communications between superior and subordinate units?
1 A. The concept of the former army, and any army in a particular
2 territory, is to use to a maximum the resources of public communications
3 systems or operators, as we call them today. In our case, we tried to use
4 the resources of the postal system, a part of the system of the public
5 post office, with wired infrastructure, and certain commutation that was
6 located in Travnik.
7 Q. Could you tell us: In addition to this basic infrastructure in
8 the area of Travnik, were there any other elements that could establish
9 communications, and did you use that infrastructure; and if you did not,
11 A. Apart from these public resources, there were resources of the
12 centres for information and observation. Such centres existed in all
13 municipalities before the war. But our situation was such that we didn't
14 use those resources, for the simple reason that the centres for
15 information and observation were intended to monitor aircraft in the
16 airspace above the municipality of Travnik, Novi Travnik, or Bugojno, for
17 instance. So that at first we left those systems aside and let them be
18 used for their primary purpose. We could have used the electricity supply
19 systems, but they used a different frequency, so we didn't use them
21 There were no other serious providers of communications in the
22 area at the time.
23 Q. Professor, in view of the situation, such as it was, in Travnik,
24 and especially in view of the configuration of the ground, tell us: To
25 what extent was it possible or difficult to use -- using this
1 infrastructure to establish a communications system?
2 A. The answer to this question was two parts to it. If we're talking
3 about public resources, then these communications could be used quite
4 well, using the cables of the postal service of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
5 But because of constant squabblings and disputes over the use of those
6 cables, these cables were frequently out of use. So they were not
7 available. But for the organisation of the system of control and command,
8 radio communications are much more important, and it should be said
9 straight away that Travnik and its surroundings, that is, Mount Vlasic and
10 the hills leading to Vlasic, and in the direction of Zenica, are difficult
11 for radio communication. Because you have to use intermediaries, that is,
12 features from which all the participants are visible, to make sure that
13 you have proper communications, or to use free radio channels at the
14 operative, tactical level, which are subject to disturbances and can be
15 obstructed by features on the ground.
16 Q. Establishing the communications system in the 3rd Corps,
17 especially in the area of Travnik, did you come across other obstacles in
18 1993 which prevented you from establishing a stable and reliable system of
19 communication between higher-level and lower-level commands?
20 A. This was a period when certain lines had already been established
21 between the Serb side and the ABiH and the HVO, and those lines had to be
22 secured mainly with wired systems, and to some extent with radio systems.
23 In view of the location and the area that needed to be covered, we -- our
24 main problem was the shortage of appropriate wire cables which are
25 resilient to bad weather and which are laid above the ground. They were
1 not available, and it was difficult to find them. Then there was the
2 problem of power supply for such systems, in view of the fact that units
3 were located in places where there was no electricity. And if there were
4 electricity lines, they were cut; they were broken. There were no
5 alternative sources of power or energy, and what I mean, various
6 generators. Here and there, one could find a leftover military generator
7 that was used for higher-level command.
8 Then there was a shortage of batteries that were not maintained,
9 and they couldn't be recharged because of the shortage of electricity. So
10 that then there were failures, shortage of parts, as the equipment was
11 being used under conditions that they were not adapted to. So these were
12 very serious difficulties which we had to grapple with. For instance, we
13 would have more than ten participants using the same wires, so that if
14 somebody calls up on that line, he would hear all the other nine persons.
15 So you would have to indicate by name who you wanted to talk to.
16 So we did have a lot of difficulty, but we did our best to ensure
17 conditions for the communication of information.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're going to interrupt your
19 testimony. It is four minutes to 7.00. So, Professor, you will continue
20 your testimony tomorrow. We're working in the afternoon. So it will
21 begin at 2.15, so be present at that time. In the meantime, you are
22 prohibited from meeting the parties. As you have taken the solemn
23 declaration, you are now a witness of justice, not a witness of either
24 party. So make the best of your time, but don't meet with anyone. I'm
25 going to ask the usher to be kind enough to escort you out of the
2 [The witness stands down]
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the beginning of the
4 afternoon tomorrow, at 2.15, I will give the floor to the Defence to
5 tender exhibits into evidence. I will hear the observations of the
6 Prosecution. If there is no dispute, we will ask the registrar to give
7 the numbers to those exhibits. If there is a dispute, we will deal with
8 them in due course. At the end of that stage, I will give the floor
9 tomorrow to the Prosecution, who are going to orally respond to the oral
10 motion that you formulated. We have asked the Prosecution to respond
11 before this evening, but in any event, it will be tomorrow. I gather that
12 the Prosecution will need some 20 minutes to respond to this question and
13 to tell us the origin of the documents received.
14 After that, we will have the witness brought back into the
15 courtroom and we will continue with his testimony.
16 If there are no other questions to be addressed, I'm going to
17 adjourn the meeting, and I invite you to come back tomorrow at 2.15.
18 Thank you.
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.58 p.m.,
20 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 24th day of
21 November, 2004, at 2.15 p.m.