1 Friday, 26 November 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, can you call the
6 case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Mr. President, thank you. Case
8 number IT-01-47-T, the Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can we have the appearances for
11 the Prosecution, please.
12 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning, Your
13 Honours, counsel, and everyone in and around the courtroom. The
14 Prosecution has a new member of the trial team in this case who is
15 appearing today for the first time, Mr. Stefan Waespi. Also appearing for
16 the Prosecution, Daryl Mundis, and our case manager Mr. Andres Vatter.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Mundis. Can we
18 have the appearances for the Defence, please.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President; good
20 morning, Your Honours. On behalf of the General Enver Hadzihasanovic,
21 Edina Residovic lead counsel, Stefan Bourgon co-counsel, and Alexis
22 Demirdjian legal assistant. Thank you.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. And the other
24 Defence team, please.
25 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. On
1 behalf of Mr. Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and Nermin
2 Mulalic, legal assistant.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. The Chamber bids
4 good morning to all those present, and in particular the new arrival,
5 Mr. Stefan Waespi, on the Prosecution side. I also bid good morning to
6 the Defence attorneys, the accused, and all the personnel of this
8 Today we have one witness planned, who should appear in the next
9 few minutes, but the Prosecution wishes to make a comment, and we'll go
10 into private session, please.
11 [Private session]
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12 Page 12389 – redacted – private session.
22 [Open session]
23 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in open session.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Usher, will you please
25 bring in our witness.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning, sir. Let me check
3 that you're hearing me in your own language. If so, please tell me.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can hear you and understand you.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, you have been called as a
6 witness for the Defence, and before you make your solemn declaration, will
7 you please tell us your first and last name, your date and place of birth,
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Hazim Barucija, born on
10 the 2nd of January, 1954.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And where were you born?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In Lasva.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you have a job today? If so,
14 what is it?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I'm working in the elementary
16 school in Janjici.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I see. In the primary school.
18 And in 1992, 1993, were you employed; and, if so, what were you doing?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I was employed in the same
20 school. At the time I was director of the school, or principal.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were director in 1992 and
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you testified before in an
25 international or national court about the events that took place in your
1 country in 1992 and 1993 or is this the first time?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have never testified before. This
3 is the first time.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Would you please read the solemn
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
7 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. You may be
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 WITNESS: HAZIM BARUCIJA
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, I'm going to give you some
14 information so as to make sure that the proceedings proceed smoothly and
15 that you can testify in a relaxed manner. Being a school principal, you
16 certainly have some idea of what a trial is like. The trial and the
17 proceedings before this Tribunal take place in the following manner: You
18 will first have to answer questions that will be put to you by the
19 representatives of the accused, whom you have certainly met, and they are
20 seated to your left. This would normally last between one and one and a
21 half hours. At the end of that period of questions, what is known as the
22 examination-in-chief, the Prosecution, which is seated to your right, will
23 also have questions which will take the same amount of time, one hour to
24 one and a half hours, and this is called the cross-examination. And you
25 will notice that the form the questions will take will not be quite the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 same as those put by the Defence.
2 At the end of this stage, the attorneys for the Defence may have
3 additional questions for you linked to those during the cross-examination.
4 The three Judges in front of you may also have questions for you, and they
5 may put them to you at any point of time. But to make sure that the
6 proceedings run smoothly, we prefer to wait until the
7 examination-in-chief, the cross-examination, and re-examination is over to
8 ask our questions. We will normally be putting our questions towards the
9 end of your testimony.
10 If the questions appear to you to be too complicated, please ask
11 the person putting them to rephrase them, because the questions will
12 relate to a period that was more than ten years ago, so you may have
13 forgotten certain things. Answer if you're quite sure of yourself. If
14 you're less sure, tell the person putting the question whether you
15 remember well or not so well, because it is very important to know that as
16 far as you're concerned, we have nothing in writing from you, so it is
17 only your oral answers that will be used by us; hence the importance of
18 your answers.
19 I also need to inform you of two other points, which I do for all
20 witnesses, regardless of who they may be. You have just made the solemn
21 declaration to tell the whole truth, which excludes all false testimony.
22 As a teacher, you must know that false testimony is an offence, and that
23 offence can be punished in this Tribunal.
24 And another point which certainly doesn't apply to you, but I
25 still wish to draw your attention to it: When a witness needs to answer a
1 question, should he consider that that answer could possibly incriminate
2 him in another proceeding, the witness may say, "I don't wish to answer
3 that question." That exists in our Rules and also in the legislation of
4 many countries. This is quite an exceptional situation. The Chamber may,
5 nevertheless, instruct the witness to answer, but you will be granted
6 immunity. In American law, immunity is granted by the Prosecution, but
7 according to this procedure, it is the Chamber who grants you immunity.
8 I'm just telling you of this, though it is something that we have
9 not encountered so far.
10 If in the course of the examination you have any difficulty of any
11 kind, please let us know. Don't hesitate.
12 I also wish to tell you that we will be having two breaks in the
13 morning to allow you to take a rest, because the examination may be quite
14 exhausting, but also for technical reasons, because of the tapes that need
15 to be changed every hour and a half. As we begin at 9.00, the break will
16 be at 10.30, and the break will be 25 to 30 minutes.
17 So I've conveyed to you all the information that I wish to. The
18 Defence will add something else, but I leave that to them.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,
20 Mr. President.
21 Examined by Ms. Residovic:
22 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Barucija.
23 A. Good morning.
24 Q. As you've just heard from the Presiding Judge, I'm going to ask
25 you one more thing. You and I speak the same language. Therefore, you
1 would be able to answer my question as soon as you hear it. However, my
2 question and your answer have to be interpreted for the Trial Chamber and
3 everybody else in the courtroom. This is very important, because you are
4 here to testify before this Trial Chamber. That is why I'm -- would like
5 to ask you to make a pause after my question, wait for the interpretation
6 to be over, and answer after that.
7 Did you understand me?
8 A. Yes, I did.
9 Q. Thank you very much. You've told us you were born in Lasva.
10 Where did you reside before the war? Where do you currently reside?
11 A. Up to 1994, I resided in Lasva. I lived there for 40 years, and
12 then I moved to Zenica, where I currently reside.
13 Q. You've also told us that you work in an elementary school. What
14 are you by profession, and where did you acquire your grades, your
16 A. I'm a teacher. I teach classes from first to fourth, and I
17 graduated from the teachers academy in Travnik, in a town which is some 40
18 kilometres from the Lasva Valley.
19 Q. Mr. Barucija, for how many years did you work in the primary
20 school in Lasva?
21 A. I worked there from 1974, and I have never worked anywhere else.
22 Q. Mr. Barucija, where is Lasva? Which municipality does Lasva
23 belong to?
24 A. Lasva is between Zenica, Kakanj, and Busovaca. It is the local --
25 the last local commune on the south of Zenica municipality, and it belongs
1 to the municipality of Zenica.
2 Q. When we say Lasva, do we only imply a village or do we also imply
3 a local commune?
4 A. I'm referring to the entire local commune.
5 Q. Can you tell us, please, what other villages belong to that local
7 A. Lasva with the hamlets called Sajtovici, and Rajici. Dusina
8 village with hamlets called Kegelj and Brdo. Donja Visnjica, Gornja
9 Visnjica, and Dolipolje village with its hamlet Bozici.
10 Q. Mr. Barucija, who resided in Lasva before the war? What was the
11 ethnic composition of that local commune?
12 A. There were Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats. According to the ethnic
13 structure and according to the 1991 census, if I can remember well, there
14 were between 70 and 75 per cent Bosniaks, and there were between 12 and 15
15 per cent Croats and Serbs respectively.
16 Q. What was the relationship among the villagers, and what was your
17 relationship with your Croat and Serb neighbours?
18 A. We lived well with our neighbours, Serbs and Croats. Our
19 relationships were good. If anybody came from outside, they wouldn't be
20 able to spot any difference in terms of our ethnic origin. I personally
21 had a very good relationship with both of these ethnic groups in respect
22 of my profession. I was even closer to some of my Croat neighbours and to
23 my Bosniak neighbours. I had a lot of friends among Croats.
24 Q. You've told us that the local commune of Lasva has three
25 neighbouring -- actually two neighbouring communities, Busovaca and
1 Kakanj. Can you tell us which villages and hamlets border on the
2 municipality of Busovaca?
3 A. Dusina village with Kegelj and Brdo hamlets.
4 Q. Given the mixed population of the entire local commune, could you
5 please tell me, what was the ethnic make-up of Dusina?
6 A. In Dusina, there were only Bosniaks. In Kegelji, there were
7 Croats, and they were two or three Serb families there, and in Brdo there
8 were a few Bosniak families and a few Croat families. The distance
9 between those two hamlets is about a kilometre to a kilometre and a half.
10 Q. Mr. Barucija, the local commune of Lasva, is it significant in any
11 respect when we're talking about the general region of Central Bosnia or
12 the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole?
13 A. Our local commune, up to 1972, was a railroad junction, a very
14 important railroad junction. There was a railroad leading to Jajce
15 passing through Lasva. So Lasva was a -- the main railroad hub. When the
16 road was built two kilometres away from the entrance to Lasva, a big
17 crossroad was built on that main road and this crossroad was very
18 important in state terms.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] May the witness be shown two maps
20 that I will be using during his testimony. These two maps that I am about
21 to present to the witness are already in evidence. The scale of the first
22 map is 10:25000, and the number is DH1 to 14, and the second one is DH90.
23 This is a section depicting this region, and it has been taken from a map,
24 the scale of which is 1:50000. And this map, the latter, is our Defence
25 Exhibit 90.
1 I may have been speaking very fast. There are wrong numbers in
2 the transcript. The map one is DH104, and DH105. DH104 is the section
3 42, and DH105 depicts the section 44.
4 Q. Mr. Barucija, can you please take the map on which it says Dusina
5 set four, 1:50000, and I would kindly ask you to take a marker from the
6 usher and try and draw the borders of your local commune, if these can be
7 seen on this map.
8 A. [Marks]
9 Q. Thank you. And now on the border draw a circle, marking it by
10 number 1. This is how we will know that this circle represents the
11 borders of Lasva local commune. It doesn't matter where you're going to
12 draw this circle. You just draw the circle, draw two arrows on each side
13 of the circle and put number 1.
14 A. You want me to make a circle around the border?
15 Q. No, just a small circle that will serve to put number 1 into that
16 circle, and on that border itself draw an arrow so as to show us that this
17 number 1 refers to the border of the local commune of Lasva.
18 A. [Marks]
19 Q. And now can you please show me the part where the local commune of
20 Lasva borders on Busovaca municipality. Draw another line to show where
21 your local commune borders on the municipality of Busovaca.
22 A. I believe that it is up to here. And further on towards east,
23 this is already Kakanj municipality.
24 Q. I would also kindly ask you to draw another circle, put a number 2
25 next to it, and for the transcript, it will be marked that this is the
1 border of your local community with Busovaca municipality.
2 A. [Marks]
3 Q. Thank you very much. Now, Mr. Barucija, on this same map, can you
4 please mark the seat of the local commune of Lasva. Do it by drawing a
5 circle and putting number 3 in it. This is going to denote the seat of
6 your local commune.
7 A. [Marks]
8 Q. And I will also ask you, Mr. Barucija, to draw another circle and
9 put number 4 in it to mark the strategic point of national interest, the
10 so-called Lasva junction.
11 A. [Marks]
12 Q. For the record, number 1 denotes the borders of Lasva; number 2
13 denotes the place where Lasva borders on Busovaca; number 3 is the seat of
14 the local commune of Lasva; and number 4 is the Lasva junction.
15 Thank you very much. We will continue your testimony.
16 Mr. Barucija, what links and with what towns existed for the
17 villagers of your local commune?
18 A. All of our inhabitants, regardless of their ethnic background, had
19 the only link with Zenica. That was their only link.
20 Q. What does that imply? Where did they go to school? Where did
21 they work? Where did they do anything else that was important for the
22 life of every citizen?
23 A. Once they finished primary school, those who wanted to go to
24 secondary school had to go to Zenica. I'm one of the very few exceptions.
25 I went to the secondary school in Travnik. So everybody went to Zenica to
1 continue their education. Everybody worked in Zenica in production or
2 non-production company. It would be a very rare case for somebody to work
3 somewhere else and not in Zenica.
4 There were a few cases of people who went to the secondary school
5 in Sarajevo if such schools did not exist in Zenica. For example, the
6 secondary traffic school did not exist in Zenica, but most of the
7 population -- 99 per cent of the population went to school and worked in
9 Q. Mr. Barucija, what were the roads to Zenica like? Was it easy to
10 get to Zenica from your local commune?
11 A. Yes, it was. We had railroad, and it took some 15 minutes for us
12 to get to Zenica. There was also a road. There were buses. There was a
13 regular bus service, and it took only about 15 minutes to get to Zenica by
14 car or by bus.
15 Q. What were the links of your local community with Busovaca
16 municipality? How easy and simple was it to get to that municipality?
17 A. One could get from Lasva to Busovaca only by road, only by using
18 private vehicles. There was one bus a day from Lasva to Busovaca, only on
19 Saturday, because Busovaca has an open market on Saturday. There was no
20 railroad, and there were no other connections for the -- for our villagers
21 with Busovaca.
22 Q. Mr. Barucija, did the Croatian population of that region have any
23 connection with Busovaca at all?
24 A. As for education and work are concerned, there was nothing. The
25 only links that they had with Busovaca was a religious link. I believe
1 that they belonged to the parish office in Busovaca, and that's where they
2 went to church.
3 Q. Mr. Barucija, at the beginning of war, did the population of Lasva
4 get militarily organised? Did people respond to the general mobilisation
5 call, and what happened next?
6 A. After the general mobilisation call, it was mostly the Bosniaks
7 that responded. They were the ones who wanted to join the Territorial
8 Defence. However, there was an objective problem in terms of the fact
9 that there was no arms available. Serbs did not wish to join such units.
10 Croats were partly sitting on the fence, and they were saying that there
11 was no need for them to join. They were not so very categorical in -- in
12 refusing to join the territorial units as the Serbs were.
13 Q. Did you notice at any point in time that the Croatian population
14 organised themselves militarily in a different way? If you did, can you
15 tell us what happened? How were they organised?
16 A. At the beginning of April, as soon as the war broke out and -- I
17 believe that this was on the first or second day of Bajram, the Muslim
18 holiday, I was not in Lasva. I was in Janjici, in the school there.
19 I heard that on that day, Dario Kordic came to Lasva, that the
20 Croats rallied around him. There was some 20 or 30 of them. They armed
21 themselves with infantry weapons. It was their intention to establish a
22 unit of the Croatian Defence Council. It was at the beginning of April
24 Q. Mr. Barucija, this HVO unit, which brigade did it become part of?
25 A. As far as I know, it became part of the Busovaca HVO Brigade,
1 because their commander had constant contacts with Busovaca. He was in
2 Busovaca on a daily basis, and I believe that their command was there,
3 which means that they belonged to the Busovaca Brigade.
4 Q. Do you know who their commander was?
5 A. It was Zvonko Rajic. He was the commander of the HVO unit in
7 Q. Mr. Barucija, did there come a time when you joined some armed
8 forces; and which forces were those?
9 A. In April, May, up to the 20th of June in the territory of our
10 local commune, there was no regular army formations of the Territorial
11 Defence. There was just this HVO unit, which didn't bother most of the
12 population, as far as I know. I personally was satisfied that at least
13 those neighbours armed themselves and we could feel a certain degree of
14 safety because they patrolled the area of the commune with those arms on a
15 daily basis. This gave us a certain sense of safety, because none of the
16 Bosniaks had arms. Serbs had arms, but they had not used it up to then.
17 In June of that year, after the JNA unit left the barracks in
18 Zenica, the arms were placed under the control of the Territorial Defence,
19 and then the Territorial Defence gave our local commune some 20 or 25
20 pieces of infantry weapons. Those were mostly M-48 rifles, several
21 semi-automatic rifles, some antiquated Russian automatic rifles. And it
22 is only then that we formed a platoon consisting of some 20 to 25 members
23 of the Territorial Defence.
24 Q. Did you join that platoon? Did you have a position in that
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. At the time, I didn't join this platoon, because before that, I
2 had been appointed as the president of the Crisis Staff in Lasva. The
3 president was Nezir Brkic, at the very beginning, in April up to mid-May.
4 For some health reason he wanted to be relieved of that duty, and that is
5 when I took over as the president of the Crisis Staff, and I remained in
6 that position up to the end of August, thereabouts.
7 Q. After the month of August 1992, did you join the Territorial
8 Defence, and did you have a position within the Territorial Defence after
10 A. During the month of August, in the Municipal Staff of the
11 Territorial Defence of Zenica, there were very intense activities aimed at
12 establishing sector staffs. On the left bank of Bosnia, we formed a
13 so-called Bosnia detachment, which became operational in September. I was
14 then appointed a commander of that detachment, which became operational in
15 September. It was after then that I became engaged in the military.
16 Q. Which local communes were covered by that detachment?
17 A. This detachment covered the local communes of Lasva, Janjici,
18 Drivusa and Raspotocje, which means the entire left bank of the River
19 Bosna from the border on the south, which was Lasva, up to Zenica itself.
20 The entire area is about 15 kilometres on the left bank of the River
22 Q. Mr. Barucija, tell me, did there come a time in 1992 when there
23 was some misunderstandings between this detachment of the Territorial
24 Defence and the HVO unit, or in other words, did the relationship between
25 the Croatian and Muslim populations deteriorate?
1 A. There were no special tensions between Bosniaks and Croats up to
2 the moment when the Territorial Defence platoon was established in June.
3 When the Territorial Defence platoon was established and when some of the
4 Bosniaks took arms, and when we started controlling and securing the
5 territory of the local commune, some sort of incidents which were not
6 serious did take place. It was not serious, but the situation from then
7 on was not as it had been before.
8 Q. Mr. Barucija, did the HVO accept the fact that Bosniaks also
9 organised themselves within their legitimate military structures, or did
10 they express some reservations against this?
11 A. They accepted the fact that the Territorial Defence platoon had
12 been formed. At that time, I was the president of the Crisis Staff. This
13 Crisis Staff was mixed. It consisted of the representatives of the Serbs,
14 Croats, and Bosniaks. The majority were Bosniaks because of the ethnic
16 We met on a daily basis in order to deal with everyday problems.
17 We also called -- we asked the representatives of the HVO and asked them
18 to have a joint unit, whatever it may have been called, but we wanted to
19 have one unit with one commander and one deputy commander. One of them
20 would be a Croat, the other one would be a Muslim. We wanted for us to
21 act jointly; however, they did not accept our proposal.
22 Q. Mr. Barucija, did there come a time when you started experiencing
23 communication problems? Were obstacles placed on the roads? And if this
24 did happen, who was it who did it and in which places?
25 A. When the Bosniak detachment was established in September -- in the
1 September of 1992, the first thing we did was to secure the Lasva
2 junction. We placed it under our control. We blocked exits from Zenica
3 and Sarajevo or -- and we channeled everybody through one checkpoint.
4 That's where we controlled traffic, and we secured the area.
5 When we established that checkpoint in response, the HVO put up a
6 checkpoint at the very entrance to Lasva, on the railroad. They asked us
7 not to control traffic on the Lasva junction. In our view, this was
8 inconceivable, and we could not accept that.
9 Q. Which was you superior command at that time?
10 A. Our superior command at the time was the Municipal Staff of the
11 Territorial Defence in Zenica.
12 Q. Mr. Barucija, did there come a time when there were changes in the
13 Municipal Staff? Were there also changes in the Territorial Defence in
14 your area?
15 A. These detachments were active in September, October, and November.
16 When the 3rd Corps was established with a headquarters in Zenica, these
17 detachments were also reorganised, and these detachments became three
18 anti-sabotage detachments; the 1st, the 2nd, and the 3rd Anti-Sabotage
20 Q. Which one did you belong to?
21 A. We belonged to the 2nd Anti-Sabotage Detachment.
22 Q. Did you have a military position then?
23 A. With the formation of the 2nd Anti-Sabotage Detachment, I became
24 deputy commander of that detachment.
25 Q. Tell me, Mr. Barucija, what is the main task of the so-called
1 anti-sabotage detachments in those days, and of your detachment in
3 A. The name itself speaks for itself. It means that its main task
4 was to prevent any sabotage activities or incursions within the zone of
5 responsibility of the detachment, to secure facilities of strategic
6 importance, and to have control over the territory. Combat activities
7 were not a priority task of these detachments.
8 Q. Tell me, who were the members of your detachment? Were they
9 people with military training or what kind of manpower did you have in
10 that detachment?
11 A. The detachment was formed of members of former detachments,
12 Bosnian, Kubar, Kocevo, there were several such detachments, and as far as
13 I know, none of the members were active duty military officers. They were
14 all volunteers, people who certainly did not have sufficient military
15 knowledge, but for patriotic reasons would accept any assignments they
16 were given.
17 Q. In answering my questions a moment ago, you said that the HVO, in
18 response to your establishing the checkpoint to secure the crossroads,
19 that they also set up checkpoints. Tell us, in December, where did the
20 HVO set up its checkpoints?
21 Would you like to show it to us on the map? If so, use the other
22 map that is to the scale 1:25000. Would you mark that position with P1,
23 checkpoint 1.
24 A. [Marks]
25 Q. If I understand what you have written correctly, it means that the
1 HVO set up five checkpoints within the territory of your local commune; is
2 that right?
3 A. Yes, in the course of the month of January. When we set up our
4 checkpoint at the Lasva crossroads, they formed a checkpoint at the
5 entrance to the local commune, at the railway station itself, which I have
6 marked as P1. And that went on like that throughout.
7 Then in January, as the situation became increasingly tense on the
8 front in Busovaca and Vitez, they didn't set up checkpoints to obstruct
9 traffic, but they did control the traffic. There were usually two men
10 checking the traffic passing. P2 at the entrance to the hamlet of Rajici,
11 inhabited exclusively by Croats; P3 at the crossroads between Gornja and
12 Donja Visnjica; P4 at the -- where the road turned off for Brdo, where
13 several Croat families lived; and P5 in the village of Dusina where the
14 road leads off to the hamlet of Kegelji.
15 Q. Tell me, Mr. Barucija, in view of the duty that you had as
16 commander of this Anti-Sabotage Detachment, did you know whether it was
17 possible in January to move freely from Zenica to Busovaca, passing
18 through the crossroads and then from then on to Travnik? Was it possible
19 to move in that way?
20 A. One could travel normally from Zenica to the Lasva crossroads.
21 From that crossroads to Travnik you could go as far as Grablje and Gavrine
22 Kuce, as far as I know, and from there on units of the army of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina could not pass along that route towards Busovaca.
24 Q. Tell me, which was then the only available route from Zenica to
25 free territory under the control of the army in the vicinity of Sarajevo?
1 A. The only road link between the capital, that is Sarajevo, and the
2 Zenica valley was the highway M17, going from Sarajevo to Zenica. And
3 where the Lasva joins the Bosna River, we strengthened security at the
4 crossroads and the bridge.
5 Q. After that route was captured by Serb forces in one segment, and
6 you said also that one couldn't move along the Lasva River valley, what
7 was the only possibility of reaching the environs of Sarajevo and free
9 A. Going from the direction of Lasva and Zenica, one could reach
10 Sarajevo only if you used the highway passing through the Lasva
11 crossroads. From Busovaca municipality, from villages mostly inhabited by
12 Bosniaks, Solakovici, Sudine, et cetera, you could travel through Dusina,
13 you see. And then this whole route via Lasva to the Lasva crossroads and
14 from there on to Zenica and Sarajevo. So that was the only chance of the
15 Bosniaks from Busovaca to use this road to reach other free territories in
16 Sarajevo, Zenica, and the like.
17 Q. To what extent the formation of checkpoints that you have now
18 marked led to problems with -- for the Territorial Defence and the
19 population in Dusina and the other areas that you have just mentioned in
20 terms of travel?
21 A. These checkpoints actually prevented Bosniaks from Busovaca
22 municipality to move around normally, because there was control or checks
23 by members of the HVO at all the crossroads or roads leading to their
25 I can give you an example from October 1992. A TAM with a mortar,
1 I don't know what calibre, set off from Solakovici, and at the checkpoint
2 P5, by radio communications, I don't know exactly which, P2 was informed
3 that this small van had passed with a mortar and that they should capture
4 it down there when it arrives.
5 I was told that there were certain problems at the P2 checkpoint
6 and that we should come and investigate. Members of the HVO told us that
7 they had stopped a TAM van with a mortar there, asking where it was going.
8 We had a discussion for some time. We felt that regardless of where it
9 was going, it was going to the front against a common aggressor, because
10 that was our position, and we saw no reason why they should stop it. They
11 should let it go to the front. If you don't want to go to war, don't
12 prevent us from doing it.
13 At some point, I think it was Zvonko Rajic's father reported by
14 radio in Busovaca that they had captured a van with a mortar. And after
15 some half hour of discussion and debate, a jeep arrived from Busovaca,
16 five to six men in black uniforms came out - that was the first time for
17 me to see them - and they asked where the mortar is. And they said the
18 mortar had already left, because we somehow managed to let the driver
19 leave together with the mortar. He probably went to free territory
20 somewhere in Busovaca. And Zvonko's father, Igo [phoen], cocked his gun
21 at his brother Marko, saying why he behaved in that way and why he
22 wouldn't allow soldiers of the army to move freely along that route? He
23 pointed his gun at his own brother, in fact.
24 Q. Thank you, Mr. Barucija. Tell me, did a part of your
25 Anti-Sabotage Detachment, at some point in time was it engaged elsewhere?
1 And as a result, which forces were left behind within the territory of the
2 local commune?
3 A. I think it was around the 10th of January that our detachment had
4 to send a platoon to the Maglaj front to assist units in Maglaj that were
5 securing the territory against the Chetniks because they were constantly
6 shelling and endeavouring to capture Maglaj. So a number of members of
7 the 2nd Anti-Sabotage Detachment were sent to the front in Maglaj, and
8 these were mostly members coming from our own local commune.
9 Q. Tell me, the fact that a part of your members left to another
10 quite distant area, did this make it necessary to engage some other units
11 to assist in securing the Lasva crossroads?
12 A. When our members left for Maglaj, the Lasva crossroads was left
13 unattended, virtually unattended. And the detachment commander informed
14 the Municipal Staff which, probably in communication with the 3rd Corps,
15 found a solution for this, and as a replacement for the soldiers who had
16 left for Maglaj, the corps command, as far as I know, resubordinated to
17 the Municipal Staff a company from the 7th Muslim Brigade, whose main task
18 was to continue to protect and secure the Lasva crossroads.
19 Q. Mr. Barucija, were you absent for a period, and why, from the
20 territory of the local commune?
21 A. Yes. I was absent for a number of days. I think it was between
22 the 17th and the 22nd of January. The Staff Command ordered me to go to
23 the Maglaj front to tour the fighters there, because they were rather
24 scared. So that I was meant to calm them down, to encourage them, because
25 actually that was their first encounter with actual battle. Until then,
1 our members had not participated in battle, in fighting, they had just
2 secured facilities. And I stayed there, I think, for four to five days.
3 Q. When you returned, Mr. Barucija, this company that had come to
4 assist, was it already securing the Lasva crossroads?
5 A. When I returned from Maglaj, yes, the company from the 7th Muslim
6 Brigade was stationed at the Lasva crossroads together with a company
7 command in the house of Anto Miladin, a Serb, who gave us this house to
8 use -- to be used by the Bosnian detachment to protect the Lasva
9 crossroads. So their command was housed there, and they took over full
10 responsibility for securing the Lasva crossroads.
11 Q. Shortly after your return, Mr. Barucija, were you confronted with
12 combat activities in the immediate vicinity of your local commune? And,
13 if so, tell us where those operations were taking place between the army
14 and the HVO.
15 A. I believe that on the 24th of January, active combat activities
16 started in the territory of Busovaca municipality. On that day, I came
17 from the detachment command, which was in Zenica. I came to the
18 headquarters of the company of the 7th Muslim Brigade to see whether there
19 were any problems with our own members who were left with them, to assist
20 them, to give them certain instructions, because these were people who
21 were not from the area, who didn't know the area.
22 So I stayed there for a short while. I think it must have been
23 between 8.00 and 9.00 a.m. that intensive shelling started of the village
24 of Merdani, which is within the territory of Busovaca municipality. And
25 this shelling went on for about -- until about 3.00 or 4.00 in the
2 Q. Mr. Barucija, will you now show on the 25000 -- no, I'm sorry, the
3 50000 scale map - the one you used a moment ago - would you mark with a
4 circle the locality that was shelled.
5 A. [Marks]
6 Q. And will you put the letter M inside so we can know that it is
7 Merdani that is in question.
8 A. [Marks]
9 Q. Tell us, how far is Merdani from Lasva?
10 A. As the crow flies, maybe two kilometres. But by road, I think
11 it's about three kilometres to the crossroads, and to Lasva itself about
12 another two kilometres. Therefore, a total of five if one would use the
14 Q. After the beginning of the intensive shelling of Merdani, did some
15 people arrive in Lasva, or how in fact did you know what was going on in
17 A. As we were here at the confluence of the Lasva and Bosna Rivers
18 where the company headquarters was by the -- the distance is not even two
19 kilometres. We could hear the shelling of the village. It could be heard
20 very well.
21 Sometime in the afternoon, between 3.00 and 4.00, there was a
22 column of people moving along this road from Travnik to Zenica. There's
23 the village of Grablje using this road. There was a column of people, and
24 we spoke to them about what was happening, and they said that their
25 village was being shelled all day, that there was infantry fighting. And
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 those people were heading towards Zenica. Some of them went to Lasva,
2 others went to Janjici, depending on where people had acquaintances,
3 friends, or relatives. What happened, actually, was an exodus of the
4 population of Merdani.
5 Q. In view of this situation and the closeness of the combat
6 operations and the fact that the population was fleeing the village en
7 masse, did you, as deputy commander of the Anti-Sabotage Detachment, feel
8 it to be your duty to inform anyone, or did you do anything at all?
9 A. As we virtually had no means of communication, I asked the deputy
10 company commander from our own detachment that we use his passenger car to
11 go to the corps command to see whether they had any information about what
12 was happening on the ground, and if not, for us to tell them about it and
13 for the corps to take appropriate steps.
14 Q. Did you reach the corps? Where did you go and what happened?
15 A. Yes. We arrived at the corps. I think we found the duty
16 operations officer. We asked him whether they had any information about
17 what was happening on the ground in the immediate vicinity of the Lasva
18 crossroads. He said that he had heard something, but he just waved his
19 head, he said he didn't know anything with reliability. Then we informed
20 him in detail that the village had been shelled, village of Merdani had
21 been shelled virtually all day and that the population had left.
22 Q. Tell me, Mr. Barucija, on the 25th of January, in the village of
23 Dusina itself, were there any incidents? Had you heard about them? Had
24 there been any arrests or anything like that?
25 A. I was not within the territory of the local commune on that day,
1 that is the 25th, but I heard later on that two members of the army had
2 been captured, in a sense, when they were moving through the village. I
3 don't know exactly where they were going nor what they were doing, but we
4 received no report in the military sense because they were not members of
5 our detachment. But I don't think there was any special problem, because
6 the men were released during the day.
7 Q. Did anyone tell you or did you know that on that day, the 25th of
8 January, there was an armed conflict in the village of Dusina and that all
9 Croatian houses were set on fire on that day?
10 A. As far as I know, on the 25th of January there were no conflicts
11 whatsoever and, therefore, no torchings either.
12 Q. Did you have any knowledge that there had been a slaughter of
13 Croatian women, children, and the elderly in the village of Dusina?
14 A. If there had been no conflicts, then it's absurd to talk about any
15 slaughter, which is much worse. There were no conflicts on the 25th of
17 Q. Thank you very much.
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, perhaps this would
19 be a suitable moment for the break, so that after that I can move on to
20 questions relating to the 26th of January.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. It is twenty-five past
22 ten, and we will resume at about five to eleven.
23 --- Recess taken at 10.25 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 10.57 a.m.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You may proceed, Ms. Residovic.
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Barucija, after your return from the command of the 3rd Corps
3 on that night of the 25th to the area where the command of the detachment
4 guarding the junction was, did any other units also come there? And if
5 they did, did you know what their task was?
6 A. In the area of responsibility of our detachment, during that
7 evening, that is after we received information from the 3rd Corps, a unit
8 from the strength of the 303rd Mountain Brigade arrived there sent to the
9 Merdani sector. They just passed by us. We gave them escorts, and they
10 proceeded toward Merdani village.
11 Q. Can you please use the same map you used a while ago. This is the
12 map the scale of which is 1:50000. Can you put an arrow in the direction
13 where this unit of the 303rd Brigade went to.
14 A. [Marks]
15 Q. Kindly put a circle above the arrow and put number 303 within that
17 A. [Marks]
18 Q. Did you know what the task of that unit was, of the unit that was
19 sent to Merdani village? What was its mission?
20 A. Merdani had been shelled, and according to the information that we
21 had from the population that had fled the village, there were two attempts
22 to launch infantry attacks. These two attempts failed. And I was aware
23 of the task of this unit because their commander told me that they had
24 been sent by the corps pursuant to our information to provide security for
25 Merdani village, because it was not known at the time whether any new
1 infantry attacks would be attempted.
2 We didn't know what units were available in Merdani village
3 because they belonged to the Municipal Staff of Kacuni. So their
4 exclusive task was to provide security for Merdani village, and within
5 that scope they were also to provide security for the area behind Lasva
6 local commune.
7 If Merdani were protected and remained free, that meant that part
8 of the territory bordering on our local community would also remain free.
9 Q. You've told us that you tasked some of your troops to escort this
10 unit. Why did you task troops from Lasva to go with these men?
11 A. You mean to Merdani?
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. Yes. We asked them to show them the way and to put them in touch
14 with the villagers of this village so that these people would be aware
15 that reinforcement was there.
16 Q. Mr. Barucija, did you find out whether there was any other unit or
17 a part of any other unit had arrived in the general area of that region
18 during that night or, in other words, in the area that was covered by your
20 A. In the area of responsibility of the 2nd Anti-Sabotage Detachment
21 we saw the arrival of another unit from the 317 Mountain Brigade. This
22 unit was billeted in the school in Janjici.
23 Q. I would kindly ask you to mark the place where that unit, the
24 mortar battery, was billeted, and mark it with letters MB, which will show
25 us that this was the place where the mortar battery was billeted.
1 A. [Marks]
2 Q. I apologise. On line 23, page 34, the number is wrong. It says
3 317, and the witness said that it was the 17th Krajina Brigade, the 17th
4 Brigade, that is. That is what --
5 A. 317 Mountain Brigade.
6 Q. Mr. Barucija, tell me, please, do you know who the commander of
7 this company of the 7th Muslim Brigade was, the one that was at the
9 A. The commander was Elvedin Camdzic.
10 Q. Did there come a time during that night between the 25th and the
11 26th or in the morning of 26th January that you had a conversation with
12 Mr. Camdzic, and did he tell you on that occasion whether he had a certain
13 mission or task?
14 A. Yes, I did have a conversation with him during the night, and he
15 told me why they were there. Their goal was to provide security for the
16 Lasva crossroads and control the territory of Lasva local commune.
17 Q. Tell me, please, you said there was a mortar battery of the 17th
18 Brigade and the company of a 303rd Brigade there. This company of the
19 17th Brigade and the company of the 303rd Brigade, did they at any point
20 in time on the 25th or on the 26th January enter --
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Wait a minute, please. In the
22 transcript he said 317th. You are referring to that brigade as the 17th.
23 He said the 317. Can we please be clear on this.
24 When you're talking about the mortar company, was that a company
25 of the 317th or the 17th brigade?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did say the 317th, but if that was
2 not its name, then I may have been mistaken. I cannot guarantee what its
3 name was. I don't know whether it was the 17th or the 317th, but it seems
4 to me that it was the 317th.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The witness said 317th. Don't
6 make him say 17th.
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. I was not reading
8 the transcript, and I might have overheard what the witness said. I
10 Q. In addition to the mortar battery that was billeted in Janjici,
11 was there any other mortar battery present in Janjici; in other words, in
12 the Janjici school?
13 A. No. That battery was the only one there.
14 Q. Mr. Barucija, this battery or the troops of the 303rd which were
15 moving towards Merdani, did they at any point in time on the 25th or the
16 26th of January enter the area of Lasva local commune or the territory of
17 Dusina village?
18 A. No. The troops did not enter Lasva because that was not their
19 task. They did not engage in combat in the territory of this local
21 Q. In reply to my question, you've told us that you had a
22 conversation with the commander of the company of the 7th Muslim Brigade,
23 Mr. Camdzic. In that conversation, did he tell you whether his task was
24 to engage in combat in that area?
25 A. No. As I've already told you, he told me that their exclusive
1 task was to provide security for the Lasva crossroads and to secure the
2 territory of Lasva.
3 Q. Did Commander Camdzic ask for your assistance in any shape or
4 form? Do you know whether his company, on the morning of the 26th, set
5 off to a certain area? If that is the case, did you know what direction
6 they went in?
7 A. When combat started in Busovaca, and this reflected on the
8 relationship within our local commune, whatever was going on in Busovaca
9 had an immediate ripple effect on our local commune, it was to be expected
10 that if Merdani were to fall or if the HVO came to the border area with
11 Busovaca, the situation would no longer be certain and clear for us. He
12 told me that in addition to providing security for the Lasva crossroads,
13 he would take a platoon of men and start patrolling the area of Lasva
14 local commune on that morning. He told me that he would go to reconnoiter
15 and control the territory with some of his troops.
16 Q. Awhile ago you told us that they had arrived a few days earlier.
17 Did these men know anything about this area? Were they familiar with the
19 A. They had been there for a week on the 26th of January. They were
20 not familiar with the territory of the local commune. Up to that main --
21 up to that date, no member of the 7th Brigade had ever set foot in that
22 local commune. They stayed at the crossroads.
23 Q. In light of the fact and given the fact that you were the deputy
24 commander of an Anti-Sabotage Detachment, did Commander Camdzic ask you to
25 provide him with certain assistance? Did you provide him with any
1 assistance with the execution of his task?
2 A. I informed the commander with the situation as it was in the local
3 commune. I told him that the HVO controlled the entire road from this
4 checkpoint number 1 throughout the entire local commune and that it would
5 not be advisable, if they were to control the territory, to take this
6 road, because they could bump into them. The two groups did not know each
7 other, and it could have ended up in undesirable consequences. That's why
8 we instructed them to take a different road from their command post via
9 some fields called Crna, for a simple reason: We wanted them to avoid
10 bumping into the troops of the HVO.
11 Q. What you have just told us, could you please draw that on the
12 other map, on the 1:25000 map, and can you show the direction that the --
13 this platoon was supposed to go to, this platoon of the 7th Muslim
15 A. As I've already told you that these people were not familiar with
16 the area, that's why I believe that I gave them two men from our
17 detachment to show them and explain certain things to them. We gave them
18 two of our men to take them by different routes.
19 Q. Can you please take the other map, the map the scale of which is
20 1:25000 and use the marker to mark the route that they were supposed to
22 A. Yes. I have that map.
23 Q. Can you please mark the road that you suggested that they take.
24 A. That would be that.
25 Q. Put an arrow from the set-off point towards the place where they
1 were headed.
2 A. [Marks]
3 Q. Where were you in the morning of 26 January?
4 A. I was at the Lasva crossroads, in the house where the command of
5 the 7th Muslim Brigade was.
6 Q. Can you put a circle above this arrow that you have just drawn,
7 and can you put letters "CS, 7th Muslim Brigade," or can you just put
8 "7th Muslim Brigade."
9 A. [Marks]
10 Q. What happened in the course of that day? Did there come a time
11 when you received certain information from the field?
12 A. On that morning -- now we know what happened, what incidents took
13 place and what the consequences of those incidents were.
14 The company commander said that he would accompany that platoon in
15 controlling the territory of the local commune. His goal was to try and
16 establish contact with the HVO, and the ultimate goal was to establish
17 joint control of that road.
18 It was to be expected that what had happened in Busovaca might
19 have an impact on our local commune. And secondly, whenever there is an
20 armed conflict, there is a realistic danger that some of the population
21 would be injured. And the only way out would have been through Dusina.
22 They would not have been able to use that road if we were not able to
23 establish control of that road.
24 So the goal was to control the local commune, to establish
25 cooperation with members of the HVO in order to establish the joint
1 control of the road, because we always said that regardless of what was
2 going on around us in Busovaca, Vitez, and Zenica, and regardless of who
3 was engaged in the war, that this should not reflect on us, and that is
4 why we wanted to avoid being dragged into any conflict ourselves.
5 Q. After a certain time in the course of the day, did you learn
6 whether this unit reached the lines that they were supposed to secure or
7 did something else happen?
8 A. All this time I was at the command at the crossroads. A couple of
9 hours later, a group of men of the 7th Muslim Brigade returned, and they
10 had up to five or six captured members of the HVO. I asked them what had
11 happened as soon as I saw these captured soldiers. I was certain that
12 something bad had happened. And they told me that when they had arrived
13 at Brdo hamlet, in that hamlet there were three or four houses inhabited
14 by Bosniaks, and the rest of the houses were empty because the population
15 had moved out to Zenica. And there were also three or four Croat families
16 residing there.
17 When they reached this hamlet called Brdo, they were -- they went
18 behind somebody's house, somebody opened fire on them, and I believe that
19 Elvedin Camdzic was hit in the head.
20 Q. Can you please make a circle around the place where you were told
21 that fire had been opened on the company commander, and can you mark this
22 place with a letter B, because I believe the name of that place is Brdo.
23 A. Yes, Brdo.
24 Q. Did you receive any information as to what happened next?
25 A. After that, a man called Softic ran up to the company commander to
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 help him as he was falling down. As he was running towards him -- I was
2 not an eyewitness so I can't tell you whether this was true or not -- at
3 that moment while he was running up to the commander, he was also hit, and
4 he died on the spot.
5 Q. What happened next according to the information that you received?
6 A. According to the information that I received from them, when the
7 company commander and Softic were killed, there was an open fighting. The
8 men were scared. Fire was opened on both sides. How did this conflict
9 develop? I don't know, because I did not receive any precise information
10 to that effect, but this is what happened.
11 Q. Mr. Barucija, when these men were setting off for this combat
12 task, did they ever tell you that this was supposed to be an attack?
13 A. No. There was no mention of any attack. They said that they were
14 going to control the territory of the local commune in order to establish
15 control over the road leading through Dusina. There was no mention of any
16 attack of any sort.
17 Q. Mr. Barucija, on that day, were you aware of the fact that the
18 17th Krajina Brigade and the 303rd Brigade had carried out an attack on
19 the village of Dusina?
20 A. No. I've just told you that these two brigades were not engaged
21 in combat in the territory of the local commune.
22 Q. Mr. Barucija, in the course of the day, did you notice any other
23 events taking place in the local commune of Lasva? If that is the case,
24 what do you know about these events? What happened later on?
25 A. I don't know what the course of the combat was. I was not an
1 eyewitness. I was not in the area. I only know that during the day, in
2 the afternoon hours, the civilian population and members of the Croatian
3 Defence Council started arriving in the office of the local commune and in
4 the school building.
5 Q. Who provided security for the school and for the population that
6 had arrived?
7 A. The arrival took place in the afternoon, after 3.00 in the
8 afternoon. All the population arrived; women, children, the elderly, and
9 members of the Croatian Defence Council. I believe that they all came,
10 some of them in uniform, some of them had already changed into civilian
12 Later on, I heard that the fighting took place in the Vranjaca
13 elevation, mount elevation until the afternoon hours. And once the HVO
14 had realised that they didn't stand a chance, they withdrew into Donja
15 Visnjica village. Some of them withdrew into Rajici. And when they
16 realised that the civilian population was leaving their houses, they
17 decided to join them.
18 Some of them had arms, but they abandoned their arms en route.
19 Some, however, brought their arms to the office of the local commune and
20 left their arms there. Then they all proceeded towards the school where
21 they were accommodated. There none of the members of the HVO had arms, so
22 they could move freely, and they did indeed move freely from Brdo via
23 Donja Visnjica, Kegelj, and Rajici, and they all arrived in the school.
24 How they were organised, I wouldn't know. They carried arms, but
25 there were -- there was no more shooting. They left their arms and they
1 were all accommodated in the school.
2 Q. You mentioned that people were coming from Donja Visnjica and
3 other locations. Did you see the people arriving? Were those people
4 captured and taken in, or did they come of their own free will to the
5 school area?
6 A. As the shooting could no longer be heard at the Lasva crossroads
7 where I was, in the afternoon I, too, headed towards the village. I
8 reached the school, because I had the keys of the school. When I was told
9 that the people were coming, I opened the school so that they could be put
10 up there. I didn't see a single member of the 7th Muslim or any other
11 soldier leading them as if they were detainees nor that they were
12 mistreated. They came there of their own free will, and they were put up
14 Q. You said that after a few hours, in the morning five or six HVO
15 soldiers were taken in. Tell me where they were put up.
16 A. They were brought to the headquarters of the 7th Muslim company at
17 the Lasva crossroads.
18 Q. Did you learn that day whether the fighting led to any
19 consequences or, rather, whether there were casualties? Were there any
20 dead or wounded?
21 A. When a number of soldiers of the 7th Muslim reached the Lasva
22 crossroads with the captured members of the HVO, I heard from them that
23 two of our soldiers had been killed, Camdzic and Softic, that the fighting
24 continued, though they had not been planned at all, and that there were
25 other dead. I didn't know how many.
1 Q. Tell me, Mr. Barucija, at that point in time, were you in contact
2 with Municipal Staff headquarters or with the 3rd Corps headquarters?
3 A. No. We had no communication with them. The only way to contact
4 them was by telephone when they were working. However, on most occasions,
5 there was no electricity in the local commune, so you couldn't call
6 outside the building. So the only contact we had was by telephone, when
7 that was possible, and directly. So that the Municipal Staff could not
8 hear from us any report from the 7th Muslim. I know they did have some
9 communication of their own, but that was not within my competencies. It
10 was a unit that was resubordinated to the Municipal Staff of the
11 Territorial Defence, and it was not up to me to interfere with what they
12 were doing.
13 Q. My friends are telling me that the interpretation is not clear
14 enough, so I'm going to repeat the question.
15 Were you in communication with the Municipal Staff? Did you send
16 them any information on that day?
17 A. We were not in communication with the Municipal Staff, and we did
18 not send them any reports.
19 Q. Do you know whether a company of the 7th Muslim had any
20 communication with them, and do you know whether they sent any
22 A. I do know that they had some means of communication. Now, whether
23 they sent information or report and to whom, I really don't know.
24 Q. Did you have any authority over that company of the 7th Muslim
25 Brigade or, rather, do you know to whom it was resubordinated?
1 A. We had no authority over them because they were resubordinated to
2 the Municipal Staff of the Territorial Defence.
3 Q. Mr. Barucija, on that day, did you see, in addition to the
4 soldiers that had been detained and the civilians who were coming and were
5 put up in the school, were wounded people being brought in, and what
6 happened to them?
7 A. There were wounded on both sides. I think there were two to three
8 army members that were wounded, and as many members of the HVO. I don't
9 know whether anybody informed the medical unit of the corps, or did the
10 corps, knowing that there had been some fighting, assume that there would
11 be wounded and they sent a medical unit to take care of all the wounded,
12 soldiers belonging both to the army and the HVO.
13 Q. Since you said a moment ago, Mr. Barucija, that you had heard that
14 there had been casualties on both sides, did you learn that day or the
15 following day what happened to the bodies of those killed?
16 A. I heard that the next day - and this was the 27th of January -
17 that the bodies of the dead members of the army and the HVO were driven
18 away by the Civil Defence to the mortuary of the Zenica hospital.
19 Q. Apart from the information that there had been dead on both sides,
20 did you that day or the following days hear from anyone at all, members of
21 the army, of the 7th Muslim, or from Croat citizens that the death of
22 those persons had occurred due to some other reasons?
23 A. No. All the information I had from all sources was that these
24 people had been killed in direct clashes after the killing of Camdzic and
1 Q. Mr. Barucija, in your anti-sabotage unit, was there a police unit
2 or some kind of investigating body that could perhaps check out those
4 A. No. Our Anti-Sabotage Detachment did not conduct any
6 Q. Tell me, Mr. Barucija, after those events in the area of your
7 local commune, and more specifically in the area of Dusina, did any kind
8 of commission come? And if they did, tell us why.
9 A. As the territory of the local commune was reattached to the 7th
10 Muslim Brigade after these events, from the company headquarters which was
11 at the Lasva crossroads, I went to the command of the 2nd Anti-Sabotage
12 Detachment, which was headquartered in Zenica.
13 Two or three days later, with a couple of men, I went to Lasva
14 again, I visited my family, and we went to Dusina to see, once everything
15 had calmed down, the wounded had been taken care of, the dead had been
16 transported to the mortuary, that we visit the village and try and collect
17 more information.
18 While we touring the village of Kegelj, I think it was deputy
19 corps commander Dzemal Merdan who arrived. Then there was the commander
20 of the HVO, I don't know his name; a representative of UNPROFOR; and an
21 interpreter who was with them, the daughter of Jozo Kegelj, an inhabitant
22 of the hamlet of Kegelji. We were introduced there. They saw that I too
23 was some sort of military commander, and they told me that they had
24 information that there had been a conflict there and that there had been
25 slaughter, a massacre, and that the village had been set on fire, et
1 cetera, et cetera. But they were able to see for themselves.
2 We told them that the fighting started in such-and-such a way,
3 that so many people had been killed, but that the village had not been
4 burnt down. I think there were two houses whose roofs had been burnt.
5 And after those conflicts, members of the HVO from Busovaca had shelled
6 the local commune, and two shells fell on their houses, and that is how
7 the roofs were destroyed. Those shells were fired at random throughout
8 the territory of the local commune. They even reached the other bank of
9 the Bosna River.
10 The deputy commander had no information about what the HVO
11 representative claimed, that there had been a massacre. He just said that
12 there had been so many dead in an armed conflict, and they were able to
13 see for themselves that the village had not been burnt.
14 Q. Tell me, Mr. Barucija, when did you hear for the first time some
15 different reports that were launched by the HVO or the Herceg-Bosna TV
16 that described the situation in a different way from what you have told
18 A. We received various reports from various sources, and we knew that
19 some information was true but that there was also total disinformation,
20 false information. And none of the people I met with among the soldiers
21 or the inhabitants or even the Croats that we would see later, and we were
22 on very good neighbours in the past, and nobody could understand why this
23 had happened and how, but nobody mentioned a crime. They just said that
24 what happened, happened, but nobody mentioned any crimes, nor did I have
25 any such information.
1 The first time I heard reports of that kind was that the Croatian
2 propaganda was claiming a war crime of large proportions in October 1993.
3 My brother's daughter lived in Busovaca, and she couldn't leave until
4 October 1993. And when she came to Zenica, she told me that on television
5 - I don't know whether it was Kiseljak television or Croatian television
6 from the Republic of Croatia - anyway, that she had heard on television
7 reports about that event to the effect that the Croatian population in
8 Lasva had been massacred, that there were tens of killed civilians, women,
9 and children, burnt houses, and the exodus of the Croats, and that Zeljko
10 Cvijanovic had named me personally, showing a bayonet he would use to
11 punish me for what had happened.
12 Q. Tell me, Mr. Barucija, do you know what was the attitude of
13 civilian and military authorities regarding the protection of property
14 after those events?
15 A. After those events, it was normal to expect possible attacks on
16 the local commune. So I think that the command of the 7th Muslim stayed
17 there for a few more days, after which they withdrew, and the zone of
18 responsibility was again taken over by the 2nd Anti-Sabotage Detachment.
19 Behind the village of Dusina we formed a line in case of an attack
20 so as to protect the local commune in such an event, but it never came
22 Q. Were the civilian authorities operating at the time and taking
23 measures to protect the Croatian population and the property of those who
24 had left the local commune? Were you aware of that?
25 A. I do know that elements from the local commune, primarily through
1 the Civil Defence forces, joined in clearing up the ground, in taking care
2 of the population, in giving them some moral support, telling them that
3 what had happened had happened due to force of circumstances but not due
4 to anyone's intentions.
5 The Civil Defence took care of the population, of the livestock,
6 because some Croats had started leaving the territory. Some were going to
7 Zenica, some to Busovaca, but some also stayed. I think in March and
8 April, they were still there. But as for those who left, their livestock
9 was taken care of as well as their abandoned property, because one could
10 expect some looting to take place. And I know that the Civil Defence
11 organised the collection of belongings from the abandoned houses, and
12 these belongings were put in the school again, which was not working
13 because of the war, and if they did not return, and they didn't return,
14 then these belongings were distributed, with receipts, to refugees who
15 were coming later in waves from Busovaca and other places. So the
16 civilian authorities took care of the villages, their livestock and their
18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Barucija. Would you please look at both maps that
19 you have before you and which you marked at my request. Would you please
20 sign those two maps and date them.
21 A. [Marks]
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have no further
23 questions for this witness, and I should like to tender these two maps
24 into evidence as Defence exhibits.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Regarding the admission of
1 the maps, Mr. Mundis?
2 MR. WAESPI: Well, Mr. President, we don't have any objections.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, we have two maps.
4 Two numbers, please.
5 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] They will be admitted under the
6 Exhibit numbers as follows: The first map indicated by the witness,
7 DH347. The map which indicates four points.
8 And the second map marked by the witness will be admitted as
9 DH348, with five -- five checkpoints and their locations marked on it.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. The other Defence
11 team for their questions.
12 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the time period
13 of the indictment for Mr. Kubura begins with the 1st of April, so we have
14 no questions for this witness.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecution.
16 MR. WAESPI: Yes, Your Honours. I have a few questions. If I can
17 have a moment to put a little podium onto my desk. One second, please.
18 Your Honours, I'll -- with your leave, I'll be using later just
19 two exhibits with this witness. These will be P530 and P131, and I will
20 have a number copies for you.
21 Cross-examined by Mr. Waespi:
22 Q. Good morning, Mr. Barucija.
23 A. Good morning.
24 Q. I would like to discuss a few issues with you in the next hour and
25 a half, perhaps a little bit more, and I hope you can help us in
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 clarifying these things. Let me ask you first, you said you were the
2 director of the elementary school in Janjici. Is that correct?
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. And this Janjici, that's the same village or small town which is
5 up on the River Bosna, and I think you marked it as the location of the
6 mortar unit. That's the same village or little city?
7 A. Yes, it is.
8 Q. So you weren't really the schoolmaster or director of the school
9 in Lasva; is that correct?
10 A. No. I was director of that school too. The central school is in
11 Janjici, and in our educational system, there are regional classes. And
12 the school in Lasva belonged to the school in Janjici, so it was all one
13 entity, one school.
14 Q. I see. So you were also in charge of the school in Lasva?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And that's why you had the key on the afternoon of the 26th of
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, I heard carefully to what you were testifying this morning,
20 and the way I understand it, you weren't really an eyewitness to what was
21 happening in the course, certainly, of the 26th of January, in the
22 morning, around the hill -- or the village of Brdo. You weren't present;
23 is that correct?
24 A. That is correct; I wasn't present.
25 Q. So everything that was reported to you was observed, witnessed,
1 perhaps told by somebody else?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now, the people who reported, you understand, were the people from
4 that unit from the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade which was stationed with
5 you at the confluence of the Lasva and the Bosna River; is that correct?
6 A. They were members of the 7th Muslim Brigade and two members of our
7 detachment who were attached to them to assist them. So I learnt from
8 both of these the information about the event.
9 Q. So are you saying that also members of your -- of the 2nd
10 Detachment was at the Brdo village together with the people from the 7th
11 Muslim Mountain Brigade?
12 A. No. In those days, members of our detachment were not in the
13 territory of the local commune but just at the confluence we had two or
14 three of our members to assist them, to explain things to them. It wasn't
15 a military unit, just two or three men who acted as guides for them.
16 Q. Yes. I was only interested in the information that you received
17 on the morning of the 26th of January about the events in Brdo. That
18 information you received exclusively from members of the 7th Muslim
19 Mountain Brigade?
20 A. From members of the 7th Muslim Brigade and two members of our own
21 detachment who went with them as guides.
22 Q. I see. Now I understand it.
23 A. The information I received were identical.
24 Q. Can you tell us the name of the two members of the two escorts who
25 went with the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade?
1 A. I think one was Bulut Mujo, and I don't remember who the other one
3 Q. Who gave you the information mainly about these -- the killing of
4 the company commander? I think his name is Mr. Camdzic. Was it the two
5 members from your unit or was it the members of the 7th Muslim Brigade?
6 Do you remember that? It's a long time ago, of course.
7 A. The information about the killing and the events following the
8 killing reached me from members of the 7th Muslim Brigade and our two
9 members; from both of them. Now, who the members of the 7th Muslim
10 Brigade were, I really don't know. I didn't know a single one of them by
12 Q. Who had more information to give you, the people from your unit,
13 your two escorts, or the other people, the other soldiers?
14 A. The same. What one set said, the others did as well; not more,
15 not less. That they arrived at the village, upon arriving at the village,
16 a shot was fired, killing Camdzic. After that, Softic was killed, and
17 that's when the fighting started. That is what both said.
18 Q. Now, did they also tell you about the murder of Mr. Zvonko Rajic?
19 A. No.
20 Q. So they didn't tell you the circumstances of how he was killed?
21 A. They did not. I heard about Zvonko Rajic's killing the afternoon.
22 Q. And who told you that?
23 A. I don't know. One of the locals when I came in the afternoon to
24 open the school. One of the local people, I really don't know who.
25 Q. A Muslim local or a Croat local?
1 A. A Muslim.
2 Q. And what did he tell you?
3 A. They told me that Zvonko Rajic had been killed as well.
4 Q. Did they tell you --
5 A. They asked me whether I had heard that Zvonko had been killed. I
6 said I hadn't, and they said it appears that he has been killed as well.
7 Q. Did they give you the circumstances of how he was killed?
8 A. They didn't, and I think they couldn't, because those, they were
9 locals who were in Lasva, and the events were at Dusina. So they just
10 heard, probably by telephone. I don't know how. So they didn't speak
11 about the details, nor could they know about the details. If they did
12 know, they could have only heard from others the way I heard from others,
13 because we were not witnesses.
14 Q. Now, you just mentioned they may have or probably heard by
15 telephone. So the telephones were working at that time on that day?
16 A. They were always working within the local commune regardless of
17 whether there was electricity or not. Locally. But if there is no
18 electricity, then you could not communicate beyond Lasva, nor could Lasva
19 be reached. But within Lasva, the telephone was functioning always.
20 Q. Now, let me ask you about a number of persons, and you may know
21 them or not. Just tell me, please: Do you know a person called Serif
23 A. Personally, no, but I have heard of him.
24 Q. What have you heard of him?
25 A. I heard that he was commander. What exactly he was at that time,
1 I think he was battalion commander and, later, commander of the 7th Muslim
3 Q. And battalion commander means commander of a battalion within the
4 7th Muslim Brigade?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And would that be his position in January 1993?
7 A. I think so. I'm not sure, but I think so.
8 Q. Now, on the 26th of January, you know, you were at the confluence
9 of those rivers, in the morning at least, talking to members of the 7th
10 Muslim Brigade. Did you see Serif Patkovic on that day?
11 A. I saw him in the afternoon. He came to Lasva in front of the
12 school when almost all the Croatian population had reached the school. So
13 I saw him sometime around 4.00 p.m. in front of the school. I hadn't seen
14 him before that in the field.
15 Q. Did you talk to him when you saw him in the afternoon in front of
16 the school?
17 A. I did. We introduced one another. I told him that I was the
18 school principal, I also told him what my position was in the 2nd
19 Anti-Sabotage Detachment, and that I had come to unlock the door of the
20 school so that the population could be put up there. That was the first
21 time that we met. And I never saw Patkovic again. I have never seen him
22 before that nor after that.
23 Q. Sorry, did he ask you to open the school, or why did you open the
25 A. No. I told him that I had come to open the school because the
1 civilian population was arriving and we should house them there. He
2 didn't ask for anything.
3 Q. Did he say something to you?
4 A. I think he said, "That's fine. That was a good thing you did." I
5 think something to that effect.
6 Q. Did you see him entering the school?
7 A. No, he didn't enter the school.
8 Q. For how long were you around at that school? I believe you came
9 around 4.00, but please clarify that.
10 A. Around 4.00. I think that was the time when the people started
11 arriving. Among them there were five soldiers of the HVO, some in
12 uniform, some in civilian clothes. They were being put up in the school.
13 I stayed there, I think, until around 6.00 p.m., primarily to make sure
14 that all the people are put up and that they're okay. I didn't fear any
15 reprisals, but still I was their neighbour. And they would come there
16 often as parents to attend parents' meetings. They would come to my home,
17 we socialised. I wanted to make sure that they were all right and that I
18 could then leave.
19 Patkovic did not enter the school, and the school was secured by a
20 squad, I think from the 1st Sabotage Detachment. Soldiers of the 7th
21 Muslim Brigade were not in the school at the time, nor did they enter the
22 school premises at all.
23 Q. Was there a difference in uniforms between the members of the 7th
24 Muslim Mountain Brigade and the anti-sabotage detachments? Could you
25 distinguish which one was which?
1 A. I believe that the colours differed. Those were camouflage
2 uniforms with the insignia of the BiH army. It was already dark, however,
3 I had spent time with them during the day in the command, and I didn't see
4 anything special about them. I don't know whether they were better
5 equipped than our detachment. I think that their boots were better, they
6 had gloves; but those were the only differences that I could see.
7 Q. Just going back to something you just told us, that the squad of
8 the 1st Anti-Sabotage Detachment was guarding these HVO soldiers. How big
9 was the squad?
10 A. It was a small unit with some seven to ten men altogether. Their
11 task was to secure the school in order to prevent any incidents from
12 taking place where these people were there.
13 It was war. War operations were taking place. It would not have
14 been advisable to keep those hundred men, women, and children there
15 without any security.
16 Q. So there were about a hundred men and women there at the school?
17 A. There were women, children. The entire population, regardless of
18 their age.
19 Q. But only Croats.
20 A. Only Croats.
21 Q. And it was not just civilians but also I believe you mentioned
22 five HVO soldiers; is that correct?
23 A. There were civilians and most of the HVO members. Some 30 of them
24 were in uniform, and the rest of them had already changed into civilian
25 clothes. After combat, they went back home, they put on civilian clothes
1 and joined the rest. They were all there. Most of them were in uniform,
2 but they were not afraid to come to the school. And we knew all of them.
3 They were all our neighbours, so we knew that even those who wore civilian
4 clothes were members of the HVO.
5 Q. So why, then, did they need to be guarded by a squad from the
6 anti-sabotage detachment?
7 A. It was just a precaution. It was already dark. It was a measure
8 of precaution. We never thought that anything tragic might occur. This
9 is just how things are done in the army. Wherever there is a group, a
10 large group of people, those people have to be guarded. Somebody could
11 have just walked in with a hand grenade and blown the place up. There
12 were drunk people around, there were lunatics around, so we had to have
13 some precaution measures in order to prevent something unforeseen happen
14 and something that an individual could have caused.
15 Q. Let me go back to the squad. Who was the -- and I believe you
16 said the squad was part of the 1st Detachment of the anti- -- yes, 1st
17 Detachment, and I believe you were the commander of the 2nd Detachment.
18 Now, who was the commander of the 1st Anti-Sabotage Detachment?
19 A. The commander of that detachment was Zajko Kozlic.
20 Q. Was he present that evening?
21 A. He was.
22 Q. How many much squads does an anti-sabotage detachment have?
23 A. It consists of three squads, and every squad has three platoons.
24 One squad has anything between eight and hundred men. Every squad has
25 three platoons, and every platoon has smaller units, three such units
1 consisting of eight to ten people. So three small units are a platoon,
2 three platoons are a squad, three squads are a company. Kozlic Zajko was
3 the commander, he must have given some tasks to the staff, and the staff
4 has issued an order to us. There were between eight and ten people.
5 Their commander brought them. They provided security for the school in
6 order to prevent anything unforeseeable happening.
7 Q. So if one of the persons there, one of the HVO soldiers, tried to
8 leave because he knew a friend in the area who has sort of house he could
9 stay, would that be possible?
10 A. Are you referring only to HVO members or any Croat citizen?
11 Q. Everybody there. If anybody would have left -- would have wanted
12 to leave, because probably not too much fun to stay in a cramped
13 classroom, would he or she be allowed to do that?
14 A. They were there of their own will. I don't know how they
15 organised themselves to get there, whose idea it was. In any case, they
16 all arrived of their own will, both the civilians and HVO members. And
17 they could go wherever they wanted, because until that day, we socialised,
18 we visited each other.
19 Around 1800 hours, I left the school. I heard that they stayed in
20 the school for three or four hours. It was winter, it was cold, they
21 didn't have any food there. It was nobody's goal to kept them during the
22 night. They were not captives. They just came there of their own will,
23 feeling that they would be safer there than in the village.
24 After those three or four hours, they all left the school. Some
25 of them went back home, and some stayed with their Muslim neighbours. All
1 the while when they were in the school, a Croatian family whom I
2 socialised with were in my apartment. They were not in the school, they
3 were in my apartment.
4 Q. Now, who told you that they were there on their free will?
5 A. I suppose that they came of their own will or they organised
6 themselves freely. I only know that they came. I know that Faruk
7 Barucija and Ivica Kristo, who were really, really good friends, one's a
8 Muslim and the other is a Croat, the two of them went from one house to
9 another, inviting people to come to the school. They all listened to them
10 and nothing ever happened to them on the way to the school or in the
11 school. If they hadn't trusted me, if they hadn't been sure that the
12 school would be a safe place for them, they would not have come. If the
13 members of the HVO felt safe, then of course you must understand that they
14 all felt safe.
15 Q. Now, I asked you before whether anybody would be allowed to leave,
16 and I believe you said yes. Now, asking specifically about the HVO
17 soldiers, people, were they also, in your opinion, allowed to leave?
18 A. If somebody had asked me, I would say yes, because they all came
19 of their own free will. They were not forced to go there. If somebody
20 had asked me whether they were free to go home that very moment, I would
21 have said yes, but I would have also told them not to do that because they
22 wouldn't be safe there. It was dark, it was night, anything could have
23 happened. But as I say, if anybody had asked me, I would have said yes,
24 they would have been free to leave.
25 Q. Now, were they all together, the civilians and the HVO, or were
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 they in two or perhaps more different classrooms, if you know?
2 A. When they entered the school, they could not all fit in one
3 classroom. Those classrooms are very small. The surface of those
4 classrooms is 37 to 38 square metres. And as they were entering those two
5 classrooms, they organised themselves. All civilians entered one
6 classroom, and members of the HVO entered the other classroom. They did
7 it again of their own initiative. As they were entering the school,
8 that's how they sort of divided themselves into two different groups.
9 Q. Like magic, coming in, and so the civilians, very disciplined,
10 left and to the right. That's what it looked like to you, very
11 disciplined. The people, you know, without any orders given, one group
12 into one classroom and the other one into the other one. Is that what
13 you're saying?
14 A. That's how they entered. That's how they organised themselves. I
15 don't know if there was anybody at the entrance telling them what to do,
16 whether there was any member of security who told them what to do and
17 where to go, I don't know that. I only know that that's how they were
18 divided, that's how they were organised.
19 If -- even if they had been in one room, you could see who members
20 of the HVO were, because they wore uniforms. Most of them were in
22 Q. Did you see, while you were there in those two hours from, I
23 believe, 4.00 to 6.00, did you see any mistreatment of the HVO soldiers or
24 perhaps civilians?
25 A. No. There was absolutely no such thing.
1 Q. Did somebody tell you about mistreatment happening in one of the
2 classrooms or outside?
3 A. No. No. I never heard of any such thing. In the course of those
4 few hours, this certainly didn't happen.
5 Q. Now, perhaps you can assist us with a few names. Can you tell us
6 names of HVO soldiers you saw being kept at the school on that evening,
7 26th of January, 1993? Whom did you recognise?
8 A. They were all there, all of them. There were no exceptions. They
9 were all there. I knew them as if we had lived in one house. The Rajics,
10 the Kristos, the Kegeljs, the Radoses. All of those family names were
11 present, were represented. So all the people that lived in those villages
12 were there. I could give you all the names and family names, but if I
13 tell you they were all there, I don't see the need for me to tell them
14 their individual names.
15 Q. Yes. That's fine. Did you talk to them, any of them?
16 A. I felt very awkward in such a situation. I believe you can
17 imagine. We were neighbours, there were casualties on both sides. There
18 were no casualties amongst Bosniaks from Lasva, but there were casualties
19 amongst Croats.
20 They arrived in the school. They did experience some degree of
21 fear, and I really feel very, very awkward and embarrassed to meet them or
22 to talk to them in light of the relations that we had had in the past.
23 I did exchange a few words with somebody - I don't remember who it
24 was - and their comment was, Look what has happened to us. All this time
25 we were saying, Let's not do this, who needed this? and still this
1 happened. And I left the classroom, because the circumstances were very
2 difficult for me.
3 It is not because I felt any hostility towards them. The
4 circumstances were such as they were, and we found ourselves in those
5 circumstances without any need for us to face such circumstances.
6 Q. Now, I believe you mentioned one of the citizens of that village
7 before, Zeljko Cvijanovic. Do you remember this person?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Now, was he one of the persons you saw in the school?
10 A. I believe so. I cannot be sure of that, but I should think so.
11 Q. What were you wearing on that day, by the way?
12 A. Camouflage uniform and a heavy overcoat. I did not have any
14 Q. And the other members of the -- you know, the squad which was
15 guarding the school, were they armed?
16 A. Of course they were. How would the troops provide security
17 without arms?
18 Q. Now, would you be surprised to hear that people in the classrooms
19 were mistreated that night?
20 A. I would. I would, because according to the information that I
21 have, nobody was mistreated. I never heard any such thing from anybody.
22 Q. Now I would like to ask you about another name. Velid Subotic.
23 Do you know such a person?
24 A. No. I've never heard the name before.
25 Q. He also goes by the nickname of Geler.
1 A. I've heard of Geler. Geler is a shell fragment. When a shell
2 explodes, that's a geler. I did hear people mentioning Geler as somebody
3 who did participate in combat. That was the context, but who the man was,
4 I really don't know.
5 Q. He had a very distinctive feature; he had a glass eye.
6 A. I don't know really.
7 Q. Now, on that day did you see him or did you hear that he was in
8 the area?
9 A. If you don't know a person, how can you say that you saw him? I
10 may have seen him, but I didn't know that it was him.
11 Velimir Subotic you said. I don't know. I've never heard of
12 anybody called Velimir Subotic. I did hear people mentioning somebody
13 called Geler, but I don't know him.
14 Q. Do you remember what the people were talking about Geler, and only
15 as it relates to the 26th of January?
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I object. The
17 witness has not said anything about what Geler did on the 26th of January,
18 so the question is not grounded in any of the answers provided by the
19 witness so far.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecution doesn't ask what
21 Geler did on the 26th. The witness said that he did hear people
22 mentioning Geler, and the Prosecution didn't ask the witness what Geler
23 did on the 26th.
24 You may proceed.
25 MR. WAESPI: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. If I can repeat, Witness. You said that -- yes. People -- you
2 heard people talking about him. I'm just merely asking whether you heard
3 people talking about him having a certain involvement in the events of the
4 26th of January, 1993. You gave us a lot of hearsay today, so perhaps you
5 have also heard something about Mr. Geler.
6 A. I have told you that I don't know Velid Subotic. When you said
7 that he also goes by the name Geler, I told you that I heard of somebody
8 referred to as Geler but I don't know who that person is or what he did.
9 I've heard of Geler. Whether that was Velimir Subotic or not, I don't
10 know, and I don't know what Geler did; I only heard that Geler existed.
11 Q. Let me show you - with your leave, Mr. President - a document, a
12 combat report from one of these anti-sabotage detachments, and it's
13 Exhibit P530.
14 Now, if you could just look at the -- these two pages, just
15 quickly familiarise yourself, see the person who signed it. I believe you
16 mentioned his name already, but if you can tell the Trial Chamber who the
17 person is who signed this document.
18 A. The person who signed is Zajko Kozlic, commander of the 1st
19 Anti-Sabotage Detachment. I don't know whether this is his authentic
20 signature. I cannot be sure of that.
21 Q. Now, this is a combat report pertaining to the events we are
22 talking around, or it appears to be about the events we are talking about,
23 and I would like -- you are mentioned twice in this document, so perhaps
24 you could enlighten us as to what your role was at that day.
25 Now, the second paragraph, starting with "On 28th January 1993,
1 around 13 hours," talks about the involvement of the 2nd PDO, that's the
2 Anti-Sabotage Detachment. Then it goes on. In the middle we see that
3 commander Serif Patkovic coordinated the whole operation. That's what it
4 says here. And then it goes on, and I would like to -- to read it out to
5 you, and perhaps you can follow us.
6 It says: "The 2nd PDO Operations Officer Hazim Barucija rejected
7 the surrender and organised the reorganisation of the HVO forces with our
8 platoon. It was agreed that all weapons be placed in a pile outside
9 Zvonko Rajic's house and that they proceed towards the school in Lasva
10 with their arms in the air."
11 And then it goes on and talks about the -- that's the next
12 paragraph, the separations between civilians and soldiers, that they are
13 placed in different rooms in the school, that the soldiers were searched,
14 operation lasting between 4.00, that's when you arrived at the school, and
15 7.00. A squad arrived, and we heard that from you as well, and so on.
16 And then it mentions you again. That's the next paragraph, and I
17 quote: "From 1900 to 2030 hours, we held them in classrooms, and after
18 receiving approval from the 2nd PDO operations officer - that's the same
19 function attributed to you in the paragraph above, "turned them over to
20 the company commander Salih Heco, or Heco, to guard them."
21 Now, you having been on -- present at that day, perhaps you can
22 tell us how you see these comments or this report made by the commander of
23 the 1st Anti-Sabotage Detachment. And perhaps I should add you have seen
24 -- he talks about 28th of January, 1993, and perhaps you have an opinion
25 about the date as well, the report being drafted on 22nd February 1993, a
1 month, almost, after the events.
2 Now, can you tell us what your observations are on that document.
3 MR. WAESPI: And, Mr. President, I observe the time. I'm entirely
4 in your hands. Perhaps the witness would like to read it over during the
5 break. It's entirely up to you.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, maybe it would be best for
7 you to take the time to read this document during the break. It is half
8 past twelve. We're going to resume in 25 minutes, and I would like to
9 remind everybody that we continue until quarter to two.
10 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 12.57 p.m.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before continuing, regarding the
13 time. The Defence used one hour, forty minutes, whereas originally one
14 hour was planned. Theoretically, the Prosecution has one hour forty,
15 which means that will take us on to Monday. If the Prosecution wishes to
16 use the same amount of time, they may. The Chamber has also some
17 questions to put to the witness. There will be a re-examination. So
18 apparently it is quite possible, sir, that you will be staying until
20 I give you the floor.
21 MR. WAESPI: Thank you, Mr. President. No, I won't be using all
22 my name. I think it would be preferable if Mr. Barucija could go home
23 over the weekend. I can only just shorten my cross-examination and
24 perhaps that leaves time for everybody.
25 Q. Now, Mr. Barucija, I hope you still could have a good break, but
1 at the same time, did you have a chance to familiarise yourself with this
3 A. I have read this combat report during the break, and I can say the
4 following: There's a factual error in the date. So it isn't the 28th of
5 January but the 26th. This combat report was written a month after the
6 event. They are usually written immediately after certain events, so it's
7 a bit strange that so much time had elapsed, but that doesn't matter.
8 What the commander of the 1st Anti-Sabotage Detachment says, that
9 he received orders from the Territorial Defence Staff, he probably did. I
10 don't know what orders he received. I know that we saw one another in
11 Lasva between 3.00 and 4.00 in the afternoon, that he told me that they
12 had been given certain assignments, and I told him, on the basis of the
13 information that we had, that the population had been informed and that
14 they were coming to the school, and there was no need to implement those
15 assignments they had been given, and those were to take positions in the
16 Lasva River valley and to encircle villages of Donja Visnjica and others.
17 There was no need to do this because the Croatian population was already
18 coming to the school.
19 On the other hand, MOS and other units are referred to. They are
20 not MOS but a company of the 7th Muslim Brigade who had stayed there, and
21 they also started arriving sometime after 4.00.
22 My name is mentioned here. I don't know what he meant. "The
23 operations officer from the 2nd Anti-Sabotage Detachment unit rejected
24 this surrender and organised with our platoon the realisation of the HVO
25 forces." I really don't know what this means. Probably the detachment
1 commander was given these assignments, but there was no need to implement
2 or realise those tasks except for securing the school once all the people
3 had arrived.
4 So perhaps could you explain to me what this means in this
5 sentence where my name is mentioned? I don't know what I wanted to
6 organise regarding the realisation of the HVO forces with our platoon. I
7 don't know what that means.
8 Q. Just the term in the second paragraph in the middle, the term "the
9 civilians surrendered," "surrendered to the units in Lasva." That doesn't
10 suggest that they came, as you repeatedly said, at their free will. And I
11 take it this commander who wrote this report has more information about
12 that than you who has not, as you said, spoken to these people.
13 A. To the best of my knowledge, they did not come by force but of
14 their own will.
15 Q. Very well. Let me ask you, on the second page of this document,
16 just the second sentence to last. It says: "The platoon returned to
17 Bistricak base on 31st of January, 1993." Can you tell us where this
18 base, the Bistricak base of the Anti-Sabotage Detachment was?
19 A. The 1st Anti-Sabotage Detachment covered the area of
20 responsibility of the local commune of Nemila -- Nemila, which is quite a
21 large area covering more than ten villages, and Bistricak is one of those
22 villages in the Nemila local commune, which is to the north. You can see
23 it on the map.
24 Upstream -- no, sorry, downstream. You will see Nemila. That was
25 the area of responsibility of the 1st Anti-Sabotage Detachment and their
1 base was in Bistricak. Now, what they were doing on the 31st of January,
2 I don't know. They only spent that one night in Lasva and then they left.
3 Q. Let me just ask you, how close to Lasva, Lasva village, is
5 A. From Lasva to Zenica it's 16 kilometres, and from Zenica to Nemila
6 I think 40 kilometres. From Nemila to Bistricak another 10 or so
7 kilometres, so that would make it 50 to 60 kilometres away.
8 Q. In what direction, north from Lasva?
9 A. North, yes, north; downstream.
10 Q. Thank you very much. Just a couple of points to clear up. This
11 -- you told us that when you were at that confluence, the headquarters of
12 the company from the 7th Muslim -- Mountain Muslim Brigade on the morning
13 and the days before of the 26th of January, then these five HVO soldiers
14 were captured and brought. Who were these people? Do you know their
16 A. That happened on the 26th of January, after the conflict had
17 started. I think one of them was Viktor Rajic.
18 Q. And the other ones?
19 A. I really don't know the names of the others. I can claim with
20 certainty that Viktor Rajic was one of them. And there was five to six of
21 them. After all, it was 12 years ago, so one forgets the details.
22 Q. Now, you mentioned, apart from the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade,
23 also the 303 Brigade, I guess. Now, how do you know that, first, the unit
24 you were located with was from the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade? Did
25 somebody tell you? Did they have insignias? Did you know them
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 A. They told me, and when I returned from Maglaj, as I passed through
3 by train, because at the confluence of the Lasva and the Bosna, there's a
4 railway bridge, and just below it is the house where our guards were
5 housed and the company of the 7th Muslim. I saw people I didn't know, and
6 when I got off the train, I was told by friends that because our people
7 had gone to the front, that they were replaced by a company of the 7th
8 Muslim Brigade who were securing the crossroads and everything else that
9 we spoke about.
10 Q. So you were told by friends but not by these people from -- the
11 soldiers from the brigade?
12 A. When I came from Maglaj and first went home, when from my home I
13 went to the headquarters of the detachment, I was briefed on the whole
14 situation, and I learnt in the headquarters and also from information I
15 got at home that this was -- that these were members of the 7th Muslim
16 Brigade who were a regular part of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
17 Q. Now, the same question in relation to the 303 Brigade. How do you
18 know those were the people, you know, which came -- the unit which came to
19 help out in -- I think in Merdani? So how do you know that these people,
20 these soldiers, were from the 303 Brigade?
21 A. When that unit arrived, I assume that in the corps command, they
22 were told to report to us at the confluence, where we were, that they
23 would be given two or three men to assist them, to take them to Merdani.
24 And when they arrived, we asked them who they were, and they said that
25 they were members of the Railway Battalion which was part of the 303rd
1 Mountain Brigade. This is the ironworks company which had a battalion of
2 its own which was part of that brigade.
3 Q. Let me briefly show you another document, the second document,
5 Now, you told us this morning that there was this unit, and I
6 think you showed it on one of the exhibits, that came from the -- your
7 position and passed -- passed along to the village of Brdo. And then I
8 think that's the unit who came back with HVO soldiers.
9 Now, looking at this document now, and this appears to be a report
10 by the 7th Muslim Brigade, and it talks about that action, and the first
11 sentence and the second one says that: "In the morning on that day, early
12 morning hours, we captured elevation 852 above the village of Lasva," and
13 then talks about who were -- was the unit involved, 2nd Company of 2nd
14 Battalion, and later, we also see in the middle that, indeed as you told
15 us, the commander, Elvedin Camdzic, was killed.
16 Now, it appears from this document that in fact they didn't just
17 pass by and went to the village of Brdo as you told us, but they got the
18 elevation. It even talks about "captured" the elevation. Were you aware
19 of that?
20 A. As far as I know, they were not at the elevation, nor was that
21 their assignment. All the information I received from everybody else was
22 that they set off from the headquarters and entered the village of Brdo.
23 They didn't capture any elevation. I don't know why this report says
24 this. My information is that they entered the village of Brdo after the
25 killing, as I have already described.
1 About reaching elevation 852 is something I have no knowledge
3 Q. Do you think Mr. Asim Koricic, who signed for the commander of
4 that brigade, would have misled in an official report to the duty officer
5 of the 3rd Corps about taking the dominant elevation of the Lasva area?
6 Do you think he may have misled his commander?
7 A. No. I can't say what he meant and what he wished. I'm just
8 saying that my knowledge does not concur with this. Now, what his
9 intentions were is something I can't comment on.
10 Q. And help us again with where your knowledge comes from.
11 A. My knowledge comes from both members of the 7th Muslim Brigade who
12 came after the conflict to the headquarters and from our own soldiers who
13 went with them and after I arrived in the Lasva in the afternoon.
14 As for this elevation and its feature and its capture, I heard
15 nothing about it. Because there was no need to capture that elevation.
16 Elevation 852, I think it is Crna. There's already a company of the
17 Ironworks Battalion in Merdani village. Now, why it was written like
18 this, I really don't know. I have no knowledge of the elevation being
20 Q. I don't want to enter into a military discussion, but do you think
21 there is a military sense in capturing the highest elevation point in an
22 area? You as deputy commander of the 2nd Anti-Sabotage Detachment, do you
23 think there is a military sense in capturing the highest elevation of an
25 A. A military reason may certainly exist, but just then there was no
1 need, nor do I have any knowledge that that is what happened. Of course a
2 capture of a certain elevation gives you a control and better view of a
3 certain area, but at that point in time, this was not necessary, and I
4 have no knowledge that it was done.
5 Q. Just incidentally, did you serve in the JNA?
6 A. I did my regular military service, but I was not an active-duty
8 Q. But did you leave with a rank?
9 A. No. I served in the former JNA like any other citizen. I was a
10 soldier. I graduated from the school of reserve officers and had the rank
11 of reserve captain.
12 Q. Let's briefly talk about this commission who said -- who came to
13 -- I believe you said a couple of days after the events, to your area,
14 and then they were talking about, I think, an UNPROFOR person was talking
15 about slaughter, the way I understood you. Can you name us this UNPROFOR
16 person with whom you had contacts?
17 A. I don't know that, who was present on behalf of UNPROFOR. I don't
18 know who the commander of the HVO from Zenica was. I just know that there
19 was the deputy commander of the 3rd Corps, Dzemal Merdan. As for these
20 other two persons, I never saw them before in my life and I really don't
21 know their names.
22 Q. Could you help us with his rank, the UNPROFOR person, the
23 nationality? Sometimes that is something you could catch, rank and
24 nationality, of the UNPROFOR --
25 A. I don't know.
1 Q. Very well. Now, were you ever interrogated, interviewed by a
2 police or security or military person in relation to the events on the
3 26th of January, 1993?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Did somebody else -- are you aware whether somebody else from your
6 unit, of which you were deputy commander, was answering questions in
7 relation to any such investigations? Have you heard -- are you aware of
9 A. As far as I know, no one from our detachment, because our
10 detachment did not have any assignments in that area at that time. So I
11 have no such knowledge of any interrogations of members of our detachment
12 or any kind of investigation.
13 Q. Well, you told us this morning that your area of responsibility,
14 or the one of your detachment, was that area, Lasva and the other
15 villages; is that correct?
16 A. Yes, correct. That was the area of responsibility of our
17 detachment, but at the time that members of our detachment went to the
18 front in Maglaj, the resubordinated company of the 7th Muslim Brigade to
19 -- was resubordinated directly to the territorial staff, so they became
20 fully responsible and competent for any subsequent actions.
21 We couldn't command a company of the 7th Muslim Brigade because it
22 was resubordinated to the Municipal Staff of the Territorial Defence to
23 which we were subordinated as well.
24 Q. My last question is about Serif Patkovic, whom you have mentioned.
25 Do you know what he's doing now, what his role, his function, his job is?
1 A. I have heard that he has a farm somewhere. Up until two years
2 ago, he was in the Zenica-Doboj canton, minister for veterans affairs.
3 But just now I don't think he is employed anywhere, but he has a farm of
4 his own. That is what I heard. I don't really know. I saw the man only
5 once in my life, on that day, at that time, and never again. We had no
6 contacts or any activities after that.
7 Q. Now -- and that's really my last question. I apologise. You told
8 us that you weren't aware of any mistreatments and that nobody had told
9 you about that in relation to the people who were kept at the school.
10 Now, after the events, after you left, I believe, at 8.00 that evening,
11 did you ever talk to the local people, the Croats, who were kept at that
12 school? Did you ever talk to them again?
13 A. I said that I left the school about 6.00 p.m., not 8.00 p.m., and
14 according to what I know, the citizens stayed in the school up until about
15 9.00, and after that, they were released. All the civilians were released
16 home or wherever they wanted to go.
17 Of course I did later see those neighbours, Rajic Miroslav, for
18 instance, who was a friend of mine. He was a member of the army, he was
19 with us in the unit, and the man never told me that there had been any
20 mistreatment in the school that evening. And as far as I know, they
21 stayed there until 9.00 p.m., and they were released home.
22 As for the HVO soldiers, they were taken to the KP Dom in Zenica.
23 Q. When did you talk to Miroslav Rajic for the first time after the
25 A. Maybe a couple of days after that, because I went to the
1 headquarters and we had other assignments. So several days later, when we
2 saw each other. Anyone, like Marko Rajic. We were good friends, we
3 worked together in the local commune together as well. No one ever
4 mentioned any kind of mistreatment in the school, absolutely never.
5 Q. Where is Miroslav Rajic today?
6 A. I think that, with his family, he's in America.
7 Q. Very well.
8 A. Marko Rajic is in Lasva. He returned to Lasva, and he's living
9 there to this day. So according to all the information I have, there was
10 never any mistreatment in the school at all.
11 Marko Rajic has returned and has been living in Lasva for several
12 years, and he might be the closest person to those events.
13 Q. Thank you very much. I appreciate your answers.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Defence.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I have
16 no additional questions.
17 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] No questions, Mr. President.
18 Thank you.
19 Questioned by the Court:
20 JUDGE SWART: Good morning, Witness. I would like to ask you a
21 few small questions on the last part of your testimony, and that is your
22 meeting with the commission a short time after the fighting on the 26th of
24 You said -- you told us that you saw, when touring in the
25 neighbourhood of Dusina, the deputy commander of the 3rd Corps,
1 Mr. Merdan, and you saw a person from UNPROFOR, an HVO commander, and an
2 interpreter. And you mentioned the name of the interpreter, but I noticed
3 that it was not reflected in the record, but I think I understood the name
4 of the interpreter. Could you tell us who the interpreter was?
5 A. Milica Kegelj, the daughter of Jozo Kegelj, who lived in the
6 hamlet of Kegelj.
7 JUDGE SWART: I had the impression -- I understood the name Kegelj
8 also. Now, she has been here in December last year, almost a year ago,
9 and she said that she returned to Dusina with a commission of UNPROFOR on
10 the 11th of February. Could that be right? Could that be the date?
11 Because you spoke about a few days after the events.
12 A. It's possible. From this time distance, it could have been the
13 beginning of February. I said a few days. It could be five or six or
14 seven, but it wasn't a long time after the events.
15 JUDGE SWART: Okay. Thank you. The commission you saw was
16 composed of these four persons, or were there other members of the
17 commission present, or were there just three and the interpreter?
18 A. As far as I can remember, just the four of them; a representative
19 of the army, of the HVO, of UNPROFOR, and the interpreter. It wasn't a
20 real meeting. We were on the ground, doing our own things, and we
21 happened to be there.
22 JUDGE SWART: You met them in the open field, so to speak. You
23 were touring around, maybe on foot, maybe in a car, and suddenly you met
24 them somewhere in the neighbourhood of Dusina? Where was it exactly,
25 under what circumstances?
1 A. We were reconnoitering the terrain because, not knowing how things
2 would develop in Busovaca, we expected combat activities towards the Lasva
3 commune. We formed a defence line behind Dusina towards Busovaca, and we
4 were touring the area and we came across them. They didn't know about us,
5 nor did we know about then.
6 Q. And when you say "we," you imply the members of the 2nd
7 Detachment, your anti-sabotage unit?
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE SWART: How many of you were there at the moment?
10 A. I mean the associates that were with me; the company commander and
11 his deputy.
12 JUDGE SWART: So you were three, so to speak.
13 A. Yes.
14 JUDGE SWART: So you started to talk with them, or they invited
15 you to talk, and they put you questions? Did you go anywhere or was it on
16 the spot, or could you tell me some more details on how this interview or
17 this conversation went?
18 A. We didn't talk at length because we didn't know about them coming,
19 nor did they know that there was someone up there. What their aim was, I
20 don't know. I know that Milica Kegelj was pointing out her house, which
21 had already been burned down by a shell coming from Busovaca. As they saw
22 that I was wearing certain insignia which meant I was in the military, and
23 I knew the deputy corps commander and I introduced myself, I said, Deputy,
24 I am so-and-so. We have formed defence lines towards Busovaca, and that
25 was it. We were just witnesses of the arrival of that commission
1 independently of one another.
2 JUDGE SWART: Was Milica Kegelj also present in the school on the
3 26th of January? Do you remember having seen her there?
4 A. I think not. I think she wasn't.
5 JUDGE SWART: So it was the commission and the three of you, I
6 suppose. There were no other persons present except the members of the
7 commission, the interpreter, and you three, the three of your unit?
8 A. As far as I can remember, there were the four of them. I with my
9 associates, we were touring the lines, and that was it.
10 JUDGE SWART: You spoke about the HVO commander whose name you
11 don't remember. Somewhere later in your testimony you spoke about an HVO
12 representative, but I take it that these are the same person. There were
13 no other members of the HVO present at the -- at the moment; is that
15 A. Are you referring to the commission that arrived?
16 JUDGE SWART: Yeah. You spoke about the HVO commander and later
17 on you spoke about the HVO representative. And just to be sure, to
18 exclude any other possibilities, I ask you, is this the same person?
19 A. Yes. Yes, the same person. Whether he was the commander of the
20 HVO in Zenica or his deputy or somebody else, I don't know. In any case,
21 he was a member of the HVO from Zenica; the same person, that is.
22 JUDGE SWART: So it is the HVO commander who claims that there has
23 been a massacre. Is that a proper conclusion, then? One of the members
24 of the commission, the HVO commander, is telling you that there has been a
25 massacre. Is that your testimony?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. I heard this representative of the HVO or their commander, or
2 whatever his position was, mentioning a massacre. He used the word
3 "massacre," but nobody else. What the context was, I don't know.
4 Later on, what I heard from the propaganda, they started talking
5 about this massacre immediately after that day. We did not, however, have
6 any information about the massacre. It was a regular combat operation,
7 nothing else. And I've already said that my niece left Busovaca, what she
8 saw on TV. Already a day later they reported about a terrible massacre
9 having taken place, casualties among civilians, women, the whole village
10 being torched. I suppose it was that context that he was mentioning the
11 massacre in.
12 JUDGE SWART: [Previous translation continues] ... this
13 commission. You said the HVO commander claimed that there has been a
14 massacre, and I wrote down - please correct me if I'm wrong - that the
15 deputy commander, meaning Mr. Merdan, said there was no information about
16 what the HVO commander claimed. Are these your words, and is this your
17 recollection also?
18 A. Yes.
19 JUDGE SWART: So there was, so to speak -- there were, so to
20 speak, two views. The HVO commander said there has been a massacre, and
21 Mr. Merdan saying, "I have no information about a massacre." May
22 interpreter -- may I understand the situation in these terms, or is that
23 not correct?
24 A. Yes, you may. According to the information that we had, the
25 killings happened in the way I described them. I was not an eyewitness.
1 I only heard about that. But in any case, all the killings happened
2 during combat.
3 On the other hand, the Croatian side, already on the 27th, started
4 talking about a horrendous massacre and dozens of civilians having been
6 JUDGE SWART: [Previous translation continues]... questioning.
7 Was the UNPROFOR person the person who interviewed you or were the HVO
8 commander and Mr. Merdan putting questions to you or did you just tell
9 your story? How was the interview going? How was it conducted?
10 A. We didn't spend any time with them. They came independently of
11 us. They didn't know that we were there, we didn't know that they would
12 arrive; we just bumped into them. I introduced myself, I told the deputy
13 commander why we were there, that we were inspecting the combat positions,
14 and then I heard a representative of the HVO speaking about massacre.
15 Nobody asked us anything, and we did not continue to participate in any of
16 the talks. It was not an organised meeting.
17 JUDGE SWART: [Previous translation continues] ... how long the
18 meeting took; a few minutes, more, or less?
19 A. We spent maybe five or six minutes with them and then we
20 proceeded, and they stayed there on their own.
21 JUDGE SWART: I noted down you said during your testimony, "We
22 told them that the fighting started in such-and-such a way and that so
23 many people had been killed but that the village had not burned." Was
24 that the essence of what you said or did you add more detail?
25 A. Yes, that was mostly that. I was not in a position to speak about
1 the facts objectively, because I was not an eyewitness to the incidents.
2 I just interpreted to anybody who asked me about things the things that I
3 had heard, the things that I had heard from others.
4 JUDGE SWART: And the same was true for your -- the other members
5 of your detachment? They were not present at the events either; is that
6 correct? You were all at the Lasva junction on the 26th; is that correct?
7 A. What incident are you referring to, what event?
8 JUDGE SWART: I think you heard from others on the 26th, or after,
9 before you met the commission, was only that there had so many people been
10 killed. I'm asking this because there are two stories. There is the
11 Croatian story saying there has been a massacre, some people had been
12 killed after fighting, and there is another story saying these people have
13 all been killed during the battle. So you haven't been there, you can't
14 tell us anything about that, but I want to make sure what exactly you said
15 to this commission. Did you speculate about the circumstances? Did you
16 say they were all killed in combat, or did you say, "I don't know about
17 the circumstances," that kind of thing? Can you tell me anything about
19 A. I received information from various sources. According to all
20 that, the killings happened in the way that I described. The information
21 that I conveyed to the others who asked me about this incident was that
22 our men and members of the HVO were killed in an armed conflict which
23 followed the killings of Softic and Camdzic.
24 JUDGE SWART: And between the 26th and the 11th of February, if it
25 was that date, you didn't speak, I understood from what you answered to
1 the Prosecutor, with someone of the family of Kegelj, for instance, or
2 other Croats from Dusina?
3 A. No. I didn't see any of them, because I believe that they left
4 the village immediately, and nobody remained up there. And a few days
5 later, the village was empty; there were no Kegeljs in the village. Some
6 were still in Donja Visnjica and some were in Rajici. Kegelji was
7 completely empty.
8 JUDGE SWART: My final question then, to come back to what you
9 said on the 26th. There are two possibilities. You either said to the
10 commission so many persons have been killed on that day, or you said the
11 same thing and you added, "I believe they were killed in combat." What
12 did you say exactly, to make absolutely sure what you said, if you
14 A. I don't know whether there were any such questions and answers.
15 If there were, I can't say for sure. If I had been asked and if I had
16 answered, then I could only say that so many people on the two sides were
17 killed. I never heard anybody conveying to me any information about the
18 killings or that I conveyed to anybody such information, because nobody
19 ever spoke to me about murders, because murders and killings are two
20 different things.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We still have five minutes. The
22 Defence? The Prosecution? No? The Defence then?
23 Further examination by Ms. Residovic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Barucija, when you bumped into the commission
25 in that area and when you participated for a very brief period of time in
1 that conversation with them, what was your conclusion after that? Why did
2 the commission come in the first place?
3 A. Our conclusion was that they were here to inspect the village,
4 because rumour had it that the village had been torched. And as for the
5 word "massacre," I first heard it from the representatives of the HVO.
6 The others didn't mention any such thing. Whatever they asked us,
7 whatever short questions they put to us, we told them and then we
9 Q. Mr. Barucija, in your previous answers, you said that you went to
10 the ground three or four days after the end of the combat operations in
11 order to set up the defence lines, that it was then that you came across
12 this commission. The Judge showed you a statement of a witness speaking
13 about the incident which took place on the 11th of February. Since the
14 defence lines had been established by then, can you remember whether this
15 was closer to the 26th or closer to mid-February?
16 A. I believe that it was closer to the 11th of February. If this was
17 stated by somebody who had connections with Milica Kegelj, who was a
18 member of the commission, I'm sure that they will remember things better
19 than I do, but I believe it was rather closer to mid-February than closer
20 to mid-November -- mid-January. We took several days to set up the
21 defence lines and inspected the ground on several occasions.
22 Q. If I were to ask you whether you went to a -- you saw more than
23 one commissions on the ground, a member of which would also be Milica
24 Kegelj, could you tell us whether you came across such a commission only
25 once or on several occasions?
1 A. I don't know whether there were more than one commissions. I saw
2 Ms. Kegelj only once, on that occasion that I've described.
3 Q. And my last question: If there were a report by an international
4 organisation speaking about a visit that took place towards the end of
5 January, would you be able to remember when this would have been? When
6 was it that you came across this commission?
7 A. I can't be sure. It was maybe a few days later. Maybe five or
8 six days later. Maybe it was even 15 days later, as it is stated in your
9 other source. I can't be sure of that.
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I have no
11 further questions.
12 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] No questions, Mr. President.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. Sir, I would
14 like to thank you for coming to The Hague to testify. You have answered
15 all the questions put to you. On behalf of the Chamber, I wish you a
16 happy journey back home and success in your professional career.
17 I'm going to ask the usher to accompany you out of the courtroom.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 [The witness withdrew]
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I understand that the Defence
21 has an issue to raise, but if it is not urgent, maybe we can put it
22 forward for Monday. We have to go into private session first.
23 [Private session]
23 [Open session]
24 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in public session,
25 Mr. President.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Defence has applied for
2 permission to reply to a response made by the Prosecution. The Chamber,
3 which heard the arguments of both parties, believes that there's no reason
4 to authorise such a reply, as the Chamber is fully informed of the
5 problem. So the permission is not granted for a reply.
6 It is ten to two. The hearing for today is over. We will resume
7 work on Monday at 2.15. Thank you.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.50 p.m.,
9 to be reconvened on Monday, the 29th day of
10 November, 2004, at 2.15 p.m.