1 Monday, 6 December 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Case number IT-01-47-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 Could we have the appearances for the Prosecution.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
12 Your Honours, counsel, and everyone in and around the courtroom. For the
13 Prosecution, Mrs. Tecla Henry-Benjamin and Daryl Mundis. We are assisted
14 by our intern Ms. Jaspreet Saini, and our case manager, Mr. Andres Vatter.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could we have the appearances
16 for Defence counsel, please.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. President. Good
18 day, Your Honours. On behalf of General Hadzihasanovic, Edina Residovic,
19 counsel, Stefane Bourgon, co-counsel, and Muriel Cauvin, our legal
20 assistant. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And could we have the
22 appearances for the other Defence, please.
23 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honours. On
24 behalf of Mr. Kubura, Rod Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and Nermin Mulalic,
25 our legal assistant.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber would like to
2 greet everyone present, in particular, the members of the Prosecution,
3 Defence counsel, the accused, and everyone else in or around the
5 We will be hearing a witness, whose testimony will take a number
6 of days. Without wasting any more time, could the usher call the witness
7 into the courtroom, please.
8 Defence, is there anything you would like to say?
9 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
10 [The witness entered court]
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good day. I would first like to
12 make sure that you're receiving the interpretation of what I'm saying. If
13 so, please say that you can hear me and you understand me.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can hear you and I understand you.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You've been called here as a
16 witness for the Defence. Before you take the solemn declaration, could
17 you tell me your first and last names, your date of birth and place of
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Dzemal Merdan. I was
20 born on the 6th of June, 1950 -- on the 6th of August, 1950.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were born on the 6th of
22 August, 1950. Where?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In Busovaca, in the municipality of
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you currently hold a position
1 of any kind, and if so, what position do you hold?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm retired now.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In 1992 and 1993, did you hold a
4 position of any kind, and if so, what position did you hold?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that period of time I did not
6 hold a position of any kind.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If you didn't hold a position,
8 did you have a civilian role or a military role of some kind?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Perhaps I didn't understand the year
10 you referred to. Could you repeat that, please.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In 1992 and in 1993.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it was a slip of the
13 tongue. In 1992, towards the end of 1992, and in 1993, I did hold a
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What position did you hold?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In mid-1992, I was in the
17 Territorial Defence, and in 1993, I was a member of the BH army.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As a member of the BH army,
19 where were you assigned, and what rank did you have?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1993, to be more precise, in
21 December, when the BH army corps was formed, I was the deputy commander of
22 the 3rd Corps of the BH army. And during that period of time, I did not
23 hold a rank of any kind.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you already testified
25 before an international or national court about the events that took place
1 in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992 and 1993, or is this the first time?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have testified before the Hague
3 Tribunal already, and I have testified before the district court in
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, if the witness is
6 to tell you where he testified, it might be preferable to go into private
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll go into
9 private session, then.
10 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in private session,
11 Mr. President.
12 [Private session]
12 Page 12919 redacted – private session.
6 [Open session]
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You now have to read out the
8 solemn declaration. Could you please read it out.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
10 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
11 WITNESS: DZEMAL MERDAN
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may sit down.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before we give the floor to
16 Defence counsel, I would like to provide you with some information about
17 the procedure that we'll be following here over a two-week period.
18 Initially, the Defence, who are to your left and whom you have
19 met, will conduct for a three-day period - Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday,
20 since there won't be a hearing on Wednesday - the Defence will conduct its
21 examination-in-chief, and this will take up three days.
22 After they have completed their examination-in-chief, the
23 Prosecution, who are to your right, will conduct what we call their
24 cross-examination. As a rule, if the Defence takes three days, the
25 Prosecution will also be granted three days to examine you. This means
1 that the Prosecution will examine you on Friday, and Monday and Tuesday of
2 the following week.
3 After that stage, Defence counsel may re-examine you.
4 Once Defence counsel has completed its re-examination, the Judges,
5 who are sitting before you, will also put questions to you. According to
6 the Rules of Procedure that govern this Tribunal, the Judges may ask a
7 witness questions at any point in time. But as a rule, for the sake of
8 efficiency, the Judges prefer to wait for the parties to complete their
9 examination before they put questions to a witness. Usually the questions
10 that the Judges put are put to the witness to clarify certain answers, or
11 sometimes the Judges may feel that there are certain gaps in your answers
12 and as a result the Judges will ask you questions in such cases, too.
13 And when you reply to questions, you might be shown documents by
14 the parties or by the Judges. You might be shown military documents and
15 asked to comment on the documents.
16 As you're already aware, since you already testified here, the
17 procedure followed is an oral procedure, and your answers will provide the
18 Judges will information about the events that took place in 1992 and 1993.
19 The answers you give are transcribed so that there's a transcript of the
20 questions and the answers. And this is why your answers are so important.
21 If you fail to understand a question, ask the person putting the
22 question to you to rephrase it. Sometimes the questions might be very
23 complicated, and if that's the case, ask the person putting it to you to
24 rephrase it, because it's necessary for your answers to be precise.
25 In addition, I would like to point out two other important
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 factors, in particular given the position you held in the past. You have
2 taken the solemn declaration; you said you will speak the truth, and this
3 means you should not give false testimony. False testimony is an offence
4 that can be punished by this Tribunal. A witness could be given a fine or
5 a prison sentence, or both measures could be taken. It is your duty to
6 testify, and as you have taken the solemn declaration, you are no longer a
7 witness who belongs to either of the parties, you will be testifying in
8 the interests of justice.
9 Secondly, I would like to point out the following: When you
10 answer a question, if you believe that the answer you provide could be
11 used against you at some subsequent date, you may refuse to answer that
12 question. The witnesses have these rights, because the witnesses should
13 not be placed in a position where they might incriminate themselves. This
14 is a measure that exists in the criminal code of a number of countries.
15 But in such very rare cases, the Trial Chamber may, nevertheless, compel
16 the witness to answer the question. However, the Chamber grants the
17 witness a form of immunity. I wanted to point this out to you.
18 This is how we will be proceeding here. The hearings might be
19 quite tiring, because witnesses might be under stress, but we will be
20 having breaks which will allow you to rest. And we also have to have
21 these breaks for technical reasons. Every hour and a half we will have a
22 break that will last between 20 and 25 minutes. So you will have two
23 breaks every day that will allow you to have one hour's rest. When we
24 have hearings in the afternoon, we work from 2.15 until 7.00 p.m.; in the
25 mornings we start at 9.00 and finish at 1.45. But on Thursday and Friday,
1 the hearings will be held in the morning, and next week the hearings will
2 be held in the morning, too; however, on Tuesday and Wednesday, our
3 hearings will be held in the afternoon.
4 I wanted to provide you with this information to ensure that we
5 can proceed smoothly. But rest assured the parties don't want to place
6 you in a difficult condition. All they want is to make sure that you can
7 contribute establishing the truth. If you encounter any difficulties or
8 feel you need to have a rest, please inform us of the fact. We will try
9 to grant your requests if we believe that they are justified.
10 I will now give the floor to Defence counsel who will provide you
11 with additional information.
12 Examined by Ms. Residovic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Merdan.
14 A. Good afternoon.
15 Q. As you've just been told by the Presiding Judge, I'm going to give
16 you another piece of information. We both speak the same language, and
17 you are in a position to answer my question immediately. However, my
18 question and your answer are being interpreted into two languages for the
19 benefit of the Trial Chamber and everybody else in the courtroom. That is
20 why I would like to ask you to make a pause between my question and your
22 Did you understand that?
23 A. Yes, I understand you completely.
24 Q. Thank you very much. Where do you currently reside, Mr. Merdan?
25 A. I currently reside in Sarajevo.
1 Q. You have told us that you're retired. Can you please tell me,
2 what was your profession before you retired, while you worked?
3 A. Throughout my entire career I was a professional officer, a
4 professional soldier.
5 Q. Can you tell me something about your education, where and when you
6 completed it.
7 A. I completed elementary school in my native village, Busovaca.
8 This lasted eight years. I went to the secondary school in Travnik for
9 four years, and I graduated in 1969. After that I went to the naval
10 academy. I stayed there for four years, and I graduated from the naval
11 academy in 1973. I also completed the Command Staff College in 1975.
12 This Command Staff College enabled me to acquire a theoretical knowledge
13 that enabled me to perform very high duties in the army.
14 Q. Where did you serve in the JNA, in the former Yugoslavia?
15 A. Throughout my engagement in the former Yugoslavia, I served in the
16 navy of the JNA, and all this time I spent at the Adriatic Sea.
17 Q. As an officer of the JNA, did you have a rank? What rank was
19 A. Yes. My last rank in the JNA was the frigate captain. This is a
20 very specific rank in the navy. In the army, it would be lieutenant
22 Q. Tell me, please, did you leave the JNA at any point in time? If
23 that was the case, can you tell us why you did that.
24 A. I left the JNA or the navy in 1992 -- to be more specific, towards
25 the end of 1992, after having noticed that there were some changes and
1 processes in the JNA that I could not subscribe to at the time.
2 Q. You said towards the end of 1992. Is that a slip of the tongue,
3 or ...
4 A. I apologise, I apologise, Your Honours. I misspoke. This was in
5 1991, and it was obviously a slip of the tongue on my part, the second one
6 today. I'm sorry.
7 Q. Towards the end of 1991, when you left the navy of the JNA, where
8 did you go?
9 A. I served on the island of Vis towards the end of my service, and
10 this is where I left the navy. I spent some time in Split, and after that
11 I went to Bosnia-Herzegovina. I arrived in Bosnia-Herzegovina in October
13 Q. When the JNA and the Serbian forces attacked Bosnia-Herzegovina at
14 the beginning of April 1993, where were you?
15 A. At the beginning of April 1993, I was in Busovaca, and from time
16 to time I would go to Zenica to spend some time with my relatives.
17 Q. You have told the Presiding Judge that you are retired. In the
18 JNA you had a rank that was the equivalent of a lieutenant colonel.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Counsel, could you please ask
20 the witness, at the beginning of April 1993, was that the beginning of
21 April 1992?
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President, this would be
23 the beginning of 1992. It seems that we are making quite a lot of
24 mistakes when it comes to years today. Yes, it was the beginning of April
1 Q. You said that you were retired. Could you tell us whether in the
2 BH army you acquired another rank, and what was the rank that you held
3 when you were retired?
4 A. In the BH army I acquired two ranks, and when I was retired, I was
5 a general.
6 Q. General, when the war started in Bosnia and Herzegovina, did you
7 join any of the formations that existed at the time, and if that was the
8 case, could you tell us what formation was that?
9 A. When the war started in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I
10 joined the Territorial Defence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
11 which, at the time, as far as the legal provisions and other enactments
12 were concerned, was the only armed force of the Republic of Bosnia and
14 Q. Which unit or staff did you join in 1992?
15 A. In 1992, when the war broke out in the Republic of Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina, I joined the district staff of the Territorial Defence,
17 covering the region of Zenica.
18 Q. General, in 1992, did you have a position? Did you perform any
19 duties in the Territorial Defence staff? And if you had a duty, can you
20 tell me what that duty was and until when?
21 A. In April 1992, when I joined the Territorial Defence, in other
22 words the district staff of the words, the district staff of the
23 Territorial Defence of Zenica, I performed the duties of one of the
24 assistants of the commander of this staff. Towards the end of May or
25 beginning of June of 1992 - I can't recall the exact date - I was
1 appointed commander of the regional staff of the Territorial Defence of
3 Q. General, you said that you arrived in Bosnia-Herzegovina towards
4 the end of October 1991. As an officer of the former JNA, you must have
5 followed the developments in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Tell me, did you know at
6 the time what was the attitude of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
7 towards the preservation of the then-existing state of Yugoslavia?
8 A. I followed the developments of the former Yugoslavia as much as I
9 could. I followed the events that took place in 1992 -- in 1990 and 1991
10 and 1992. As far as I was informed at the time, the Presidency of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina strived to preserve the unity of the Socialist
12 Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, but it also wanted to see all the
13 republics of the former state to have quality. And they wanted all of the
14 republics to remain as integral parts of that former state.
15 Q. General, we already know that in 1991, the war broke out first in
16 Slovenia and then in Croatia. Do you know whether, toward the end of
17 1991, Bosnia-Herzegovina took any measures in order to proclaim its own
18 sovereignty and independence?
19 A. Yes. I followed those developments, and as far as I knew at the
20 time, Bosnia-Herzegovina endeavoured and tried to preserve unity.
21 However, since there was a war in the Republic of Croatia, and before that
22 in the Republic of Slovenia, and one could already see that these
23 developments would result in the breakup of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina did not want to remain as part of Yugoslavia without the
25 republics of Croatia and Slovenia, because it was obvious that the
1 republics of Croatia and Slovenia would secede.
2 Q. Do you know whether Bosnia-Herzegovina and under what conditions
3 and when was recognised as an independent state?
4 A. Within the framework of the measures undertaken by
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bosnia-Herzegovina did request to become an
6 independent and sovereign state, and I know that this was discussed at
7 very high state and military levels outside Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina met almost all criteria to become an independent state.
9 The only thing that was still missing was a referendum that was to show
10 the will of the people and to demonstrate whether the people were for or
11 against the independency of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 Q. Did this referendum take place? And when about Bosnia-Herzegovina
13 become an independent state?
14 A. At that time I followed the events very closely, and I know that
15 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina did organise a referendum and that this
16 referendum was very successful, and that Bosnia-Herzegovina proclaimed its
17 independence on the 6th of April, 1992. This independence was recognised
18 by the countries of the European Union, the Republic of Croatia, and
19 somewhat later the United States of America. And after that, the Republic
20 of Bosnia-Herzegovina was recognised as an independent state by a series
21 of countries in Europe and all over the world.
22 Q. As an officer of the JNA, did you know what measures were put in
23 place in 1991 and 1992 in order to weaken the defence power of various
24 republics, and especially of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
25 A. I know quite a lot about this problem. The Yugoslav People's Army
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 at that time was one of the four leading armed forces in Europe. It tried
2 to weaken the defence power of the Territorial Defence, and the
3 Territorial Defence was under the authority of the respective republics.
4 The Territorial Defence was weakened, and it was disarmed in the following
5 way: The arms of the Territorial Defence was placed in the barracks under
6 the control of the JNA or in the depots of the JNA.
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, since I'm going to
8 be using documents in my next questions, I would kindly ask the usher to
9 give the witness the binder, and my following set of questions will be
10 divided into several parts: The first one will be the organisation of the
11 armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the 3rd Corps; the second part
12 will be the relationship with the HVO; the third part will be the
13 information that the general has about the indictment; and the fourth part
14 will be relative to his knowledge and information about the presence of
15 foreigners in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16 The binder that I would kindly ask to be provided to the generals
17 are relative to the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecution -- does the
19 Prosecution have a right to the binder as well?
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, we could not buy
21 enough binders over the weekend, and that is the only reason why we
22 haven't provided them with a binder. I'm sure our learned friends will
23 understand that.
24 Q. General, could you please look at the first four documents which
25 you can find after tab 1. The numbers are 1643, 1644, 1697, and --
1 actually, the first three documents, that is, and then the penultimate one
2 in this part, number 1663.
3 The first document is by the command of the 1st Military District,
4 and given what you have already told us, would you -- when looking at the
5 first and third paragraphs of this document, would you be able to
6 recognise the behaviour of the JNA on the eve of the war? In other words,
7 its organisation and mobilisation for the war.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.
9 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. I don't know if it's just
10 the pile that we received or if it's the Chamber's as well, but we don't
11 seem to have the translations of these documents. I know the Defence have
12 addressed this issue in the past, but I do believe it's important for the
13 record to reflect, when they are showing documents to the witness for
14 which there's no translation, that that be put into the record.
15 Alternatively, if there are English translations available, we'd be
16 grateful if we could be provided with those.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I must say that
18 very few documents from the new list will be shown to the witness only in
19 B/C/S, because it was not possible for these documents to be translated.
20 And for them we're just going to be given numbers for identification.
21 That's why I'm going to ask the witness to read the title and the date on
22 the document, and this will enable us to later identify the documents not
23 only by the Defence numbers but also by the title or the name of the
24 documents themselves. This is what you have already suggested that we
25 could do with regard to these documents.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We said that if there were any
2 translation problems, the witness would read out the paragraph that the
3 Prosecution wanted the witness to identify. We will mark this document
4 for identification and wait for the final translation to be provided,
5 because the Translation Unit wasn't able to translate all the relevant
6 documents in good time.
7 Mr. Mundis -- so this will be the case for the first document,
8 number 1643. There is no English translation of that document, but the
9 witness could read out the paragraph concerned. I believe that that would
10 be the third paragraph that is underlined.
11 Mr. Mundis.
12 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. I should also at this
13 point just note that the four documents that the witness is being shown
14 were not on the list that we were provided on the 29th of November, 2004,
15 with respect to documents likely to be used with the witness. I am aware
16 that the Defence disclosed to us just this morning a rather large number
17 of new documents pursuant to their new exhibit list, but we were certainly
18 not notified of any of those documents being likely to be shown to the
19 witness today. And I simply put that on the record at this time. Thank
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. It appears, according to
22 the Prosecution, that there are four documents which aren't included in
23 the official list; is that correct?
24 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, these documents are
25 on the official list of documents that we provided on the 3rd. This is
1 the additional list of documents, and since we disclosed all these
2 documents to the Prosecution today and a list of documents, it's correct
3 to say that they were not included in the previous list, which is why we
4 weren't able to inform the Prosecution of our intention to use them. But
5 as far as these new documents are concerned, they represent only a small
6 percentage of the total number of documents. I don't believe that they're
7 more than 5 per cent of new documents in this new list. But since the
8 Prosecution will only commence its Prosecution in four days' time, I
9 believe they will have time to familiarise themselves with the documents
10 that were disclosed to them this morning.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Please proceed.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. General, could you please read out the third paragraph in this
14 document so that everyone can hear what is at issue. And could you tell
15 me whether this is one of the documents on the basis of which you're aware
16 of the fact that the JNA was preparing for a war at that time.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The witness could
18 also tell us who drafted the document, because the Prosecution and the
19 Judges would like to know where this document comes from. The witness
20 could read out the heading of the document.
21 A. As far as I can see, this document was issued by the command of
22 the 1st Military District on the 7th of October, 1991. It was filed under
23 number 115/123. The title of this document is "Report on the Meaning of
24 the Declaration of an Imminent Threat of War in the Country," and it is
25 forwarded to the command of the Sarajevo Military District.
1 Q. Could you please read out the third paragraph, too, and could you
2 answer my question of whether, as far as you know, at the time the JNA was
3 preparing for the war that would break out.
4 A. "The decision of the Presidency and the statement of the federal
5 secretary for national defence are the basis for taking broad social
6 action, including propaganda and carrying out tasks by commands of
7 military districts, or rather, all military and territorial organs of the
8 JNA. This should include sending mobilised men and volunteers to all
9 units of the JNA. The organs of power and the commands of military
10 districts shall coordinate all activities involving propaganda,
11 mobilisation, and the organisation of receiving volunteers and sending
12 them to the deployment areas of the JNA war units."
13 Q. General, as a soldier, did you know that the army, when there was
14 an imminent threat of war, called on -- people had wartime assignments in
15 the JNA or did they gather volunteers?
16 A. As a soldier, I know that the Yugoslav People's Army had to have a
17 reserve force that it would use to bring units up to strength. And here I
18 can see that they've mentioned taking in volunteers. Since this document
19 is dated October 1991, I already observed in the Republic of Croatia,
20 while I was in the service, that there were volunteers reporting to the
21 JNA, and they didn't resemble the type of soldiers one was supposed to
22 have in the JNA.
23 Q. Thank you. Could you please have a look at another two documents
24 now. Could you read out who the document was drafted by and who it was
25 forwarded to. And does this demonstrate the relation or the attitude to
1 weakening the defence capacity of the Territorial Defence? The documents
2 are 1644 and 1697.
3 A. The first document is from the republican staff of the Territorial
4 Defence of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It's dated the
5 18th October, 1991. It's addressed to the regional staff of Territorial
6 Defence, to all regional staffs, to the town Territorial Defence staff in
7 Sarajevo, and there's something I can't read here. This is a report on
8 the men present in staffs and Territorial Defence units. It's an order.
9 The second document is dated December 1991. Again, it's from the
10 Territorial Defence republican staff, and it's addressed to the Federal
11 Secretariat For National Defence, the General Staff of the armed forces of
12 the SFRY. It's called "Organisational Changes in the Territorial Defence
13 of the BH," according to a plan Jedinstvo 3, that's a report.
14 Thank you for your warning. I will try to pay attention to it.
15 These two documents show that the Territorial Defence strength is
16 being reduced. It shows by what percentage the units of Territorial
17 Defence have been weakened in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina --
18 Q. General, so everyone can follow, on the last page of the first
19 document, could you say what the situation was on the 31st of December,
20 '85? And what was the numbers on the 31st of December, 1991? We can see
21 that in the first column. And what was the extent of the reduction, which
22 we can see in the last column?
23 A. Well, this table shows quite clearly that the reduction in the
24 forces of the Territorial Defence was very significant.
25 Q. Could you read out the first figure, please, towards the end of
1 8085, and the last one at the end of 1991, or rather the percentage of
2 reduction which we can see in the last column.
3 A. On the 31st of December, '85, the number of men was 313.990.
4 Q. 310.530. Are you looking at the table?
5 A. You asked me about the strength.
6 Q. Very well. 313.990.
7 A. On the 31st of December, 1991, the Territorial Defence had 86.164
8 staff members, and when we make the calculations and when we turn this
9 into percentages, this represents a reduction of 82.9 per cent.
10 Q. Thank you. And the third document, could you please read out --
11 you've already said who drafted the document and who it was forwarded to.
12 Could you just read out the third paragraph.
13 A. "On the basis of conclusions, the tasks, the guidelines received
14 from the Federal Secretariat of National Defence, and on the basis of the
15 analysis carried out regarding the organisational changes made and the
16 changes to the units within the Territorial Defence of the BH, in
17 accordance with the Jedinstvo plan, in 1991 a suggestion was drafted for a
18 new organisational structure of the Territorial Defence of the Socialist
19 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and for reducing it to a number
20 representing less than 2 per cent of the population within the republic."
21 Q. Thank you. General, tell me, when the JNA and the Serbian forces
22 attacked Bosnia and Herzegovina, what sort of condition were the BH armed
23 forces in?
24 A. I've already said that at the beginning of the war, or rather, the
25 aggression against the BH republic, the armed forces of the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina were represented by the Territorial Defence. This is
2 what the situation was like on paper. But at the time the Territorial
3 Defence had been significantly weakened, because the staff members of the
4 Territorial Defence had been significantly reduced. The number of staff
5 members had been reduced, and the Territorial Defence had been left by
6 members of certain ethnic groups. For example, many Serbs left the
7 Territorial Defence, and some Croats also left the Territorial Defence,
8 but not as many.
9 Q. Since Bosnia and Herzegovina was -- since Bosnia and Herzegovina
10 obtained independence but didn't have armed forces, could you tell me what
11 sort of decisions were made to organise the defence of the country?
12 A. The presidency of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was
13 responsible for the defence of the country, and they issued decree laws.
14 The first decree law was one on an imminent threat of war; then there was
15 a decree law on renaming the republican staff of the Territorial Defence
16 and calling it the staff of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina; and then
17 there were a number of documents that were very important as far as
18 creating an armed defence of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina is
20 Q. General, could you have a look at document 1650, 1651, and 1649,
21 and tell me whether these documents reflect what you have just been
22 telling us about. Could you please find out who -- could you tell us who
23 issued document 1650. What does this document state? And on page 4,
24 could you read out the last paragraph.
25 A. 1650, on the last page --
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.
2 MR. MUNDIS: Again, Mr. President, I apologise for the
3 interruption, but again, simply for the for the record, we note that these
4 three documents - 1650, 1651, and 1649 - do not at this time have English
5 language translations.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The transcript will
7 reflect the fact that we don't have the translations of these documents.
8 Please continue.
9 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. General, as far as document 1650 is concerned, who drafted the
11 document, what is it about, and could you please read out on page 4 the
12 decision? It's in the last paragraph.
13 A. These minutes from the Presidency of the Republic of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it's from the 65th session of the Presidency of
15 the Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was held on the 4th,
16 5th, 6th of April, 1992. The text says:
17 "The Presidency, at its session, in accordance with amendment 51
18 and 73 to the Constitution of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, took the
19 following decisions, or rather, issued the following decree laws: On
20 declaring an imminent state of war; on changing the name of Socialist
21 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Republic of Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina; on dismantling the republican staff of Territorial Defence
23 and on creating a staff of Territorial Defence for the Republic of Bosnia
24 and Herzegovina." And the signature is the signature of the president of
25 the Presidency.
1 Q. General, on page 5, could you read out the third paragraph from
3 A. You mean "the presidency."?
4 Q. Yes, "the presidency."
5 A. "The presidency appointed as commander of the territorial staff --
6 defence staff of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hasan Efendic, and
7 Colonel Stipan Siber was appointed as the chief of staff of the
8 Territorial Defence in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina." It's
9 signed by the president of the Presidency of the Socialist Republic of
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Alija Izetbegovic."
11 Q. General, the following decision, the number is 1651, can you
12 please tell me what the title of the decision is, and can you please tell
13 me what the decision is all about, if you know.
14 A. The title is "Decision on Uniting all Armed Forces in the
15 Territory of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina." It's signed by the
16 president of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic.
17 I've looked at this and I can see that all the armed forces in the
18 territory of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina which existed at the time
19 were supposed to be united.
20 Q. And can you now please look at the document number 1649. Can you
21 please tell me what this document represents, who was it issued about, who
22 was it forwarded to, and the title of this decision.
23 A. Can you please repeat the number?
24 Q. 1649. This should be the next decision.
25 A. I apologise, I have skipped a few documents. This document is a
1 decision on the recognition of the Socialist Republic of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina as a sovereign and independent state. It is signed by
3 the president of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Franjo Tudjman. And this
4 document means that the Republic of Croatia recognised the Republic of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina as a sovereign and independent state.
6 Q. Thank you very much. General, can you please tell me, to what
7 extent did the Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina try to
8 establish the way the war and the fighting would be conducted? Did they
9 also issue an enactment which would represent the strategy of the armed
11 A. I know that the Presidency did issue us the so-called platform for
12 the armed fight, and from the military point of view, this is the strategy
13 of defence of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
14 Q. Can you please look at the document 0392. This document has a
15 translation. As a soldier, would you be able to tell us what this
16 document is supposed to refer to, and who issued it?
17 A. Please give me a moment to find my bearings.
18 Q. This document is the first -- the fourth from the beginning of the
20 A. You said 0392.
21 Q. Yes.
22 A. I've found it. This is the staff of the Territorial Defence of
23 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The date is 12 April 1992. And this
24 is an instruction for the defence of the sovereignty and independence of
25 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, signed by Commander Colonel Hasan
2 Q. In military terms, after a decision on the strategy of the fight
3 has been issued, was the military duty-bound to issue documents to define
4 the strategy, such as this one?
5 A. Yes. Once the platform is issued by the Presidency, directives
6 issued by the commander of the Territorial Defence followed.
7 Q. General, did there come a time in 1992 when the city of Sarajevo
8 and the Presidency, as the command, were cut off from the rest of the
9 country? What problems were created in terms of the further organisation
10 of defence?
11 A. At the beginning of May 1992, the city of Sarajevo, as the capital
12 of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was completely blocked. This is
13 where the Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was, as well as
14 the command of the Territorial Defence of the Republic of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina. This caused major problems outside the town of
16 Sarajevo because it was impossible to communicate with the city of
17 Sarajevo. There were major military -- problems for the military, because
18 the regional and municipal staffs could not establish adequate
19 communication with their superior command in Sarajevo.
20 Q. Since you were in the territory of Zenica at the time, the
21 district of Zenica, can you tell us what was going on in the territories
22 outside of Sarajevo? How were units of the Territorial Defence
23 established and organised?
24 A. I was in the territory of Zenica at the time. After the documents
25 that we have just discussed were issued, we embarked on the organisation
1 of the Territorial Defence in the region of Zenica. At that time, I've
2 already said, there were plans on paper for the organisation of the
3 Territorial Defence; however, in practice, the Territorial Defence was not
4 organised at the beginning of the war. The Territorial Defence was
5 supposed to be organised in order to put up a defence against the
6 aggression, the aggression against the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
7 Q. What forms of organisation did the Territorial Defence take at the
8 time? What units did the Territorial Defence have at the time?
9 A. In the territory of Zenica, the main command body was the regional
10 staff of Territorial Defence. It had its subordinate units in various
11 municipalities. Those were municipal staffs of the Territorial Defence.
12 And within the framework of the municipal staffs, there were units of
13 Territorial Defence. Again, I'm saying this was only on paper, this was
14 pursuant to plans; however, in reality, this was very complex and it was
15 very different, and I told you why there were no units as such at the
17 Q. Given the fact that the Yugoslav People's Army, as you've already
18 told us, had its reserve at the time and it turned into a force attacking
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, how were militarily able-bodied men organised? Did
20 they all join the Territorial Defence, or did something else happen in the
22 A. Things were completely different in the field, because units of
23 Territorial Defence could not be established straight away. In April
24 there were a number of refugees arriving in the region of Zenica. The
25 situation was rather chaotic. We had a number of volunteers who organised
1 themselves into the units of patriotically inclined citizens who wanted to
2 defend the republic of Bosnia and Hercegovina from aggression.
3 Q. These people who were rallied around the so-called patriotic
4 forces who wanted to defend Bosnia-Herzegovina, to what extent did they
5 accept the command of the municipal staffs and the regional staff of the
6 Territorial Defence? Were they those that decided to act did quite
8 A. After the decision that I've already referred to, most of the
9 patriotic forces which had organised themselves placed themselves under a
10 joint command. Some of those patriotic forces that had organised
11 themselves and which were under the influence of various power-wielders,
12 private individuals, influential people in towns and in villages, did not
13 place themselves immediately under the command of the Territorial Defence.
14 With time, those independent patriotic forces or units of people who
15 wanted to defend Bosnia-Herzegovina organised themselves in different
17 Q. General, what tools, what facilities and armaments did the
18 Territorial Defence have at its disposal in 1992?
19 A. I can only speak about the area that I performed my duties. I
20 know that the arms of the Territorial Defence was under the control of the
21 JNA, because it had been placed in the barracks of the JNA or in the
22 depots of the JNA. I've already told you that all those weapons had been
23 taken away from the Territorial Defence, and it cannot be accessed. In
24 the barracks where those weapons could be found, I know of a number of
25 cases in the territory where I worked that these depots had been blown up
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 by the JNA and the weapons of the Territorial Defence was thus completely
2 destroyed. In the entire region, I had only one case of some of the
3 weapons having been given to one brigade. Those weapons were mostly
4 infantry weapons, without artillery, without shells, without grenades. In
5 other words, some weapons were given to this brigade, but it couldn't be
6 used in fighting.
7 Q. General, at that time, what were the detachments and units of the
8 Territorial Defence armed with? What kind of weapons were those? And to
9 what extent did people employ their own private means in order to obtain
11 A. In such a situation that I've just described as being really
12 chaotic, in light of the fact that the Territorial Defence did not have
13 any weapons, people resorted to the black market where they obtained
14 weapons. They joined the so-called patriotic groups that I've just
15 mentioned. They're names were varied. I know that there were the
16 so-called Patriotic League, that there was the Green Berets, that there
17 were different legions; there was a force called MOS, and so on and so
18 forth. Anyway, people obtained weapons for their own money, and again
19 this was infantry weapons. There were very few automatic rifles,
20 militarily, whatsoever.
21 Q. Thank you very much. Tell me, what facilities did the Territorial
22 Defence have at its disposal, and what staff, what personnel, did the
23 Territorial Defence have at its disposal that enabled them to organise
24 themselves in such a complex situation?
25 A. One should point out that all Bosniak patriots joined the
1 Territorial Defence, those who wanted to defend Bosnia-Herzegovina. There
2 were also the Serbian people; there were also some Croats. But mostly
3 they were Bosniaks. Why was that? Some of the Serbs joined the Yugoslav
4 People's Army; others volunteered or were reservists, or they joined the
5 army of Republika Srpska. I must say that the staff that was left was not
6 skilled, was not professional, and their education was minimal. We did
7 not have any barracks, any facilities. We mostly used premises of various
8 companies or private houses where we billeted commands of particular
9 detachments and companies that were being formed and replenished at the
11 Q. As the commander of the regional staff of the Territorial Defence,
12 who were you superior to?
13 A. As the commander of the staff, I was superior to the municipal
14 staffs of the 12 municipalities that formed the region of Zenica.
15 Q. At that time, who was your superior -- which was your superior
17 A. At the time, my superior command was the staff of the Territorial
18 Defence of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
19 Q. You have described the conditions that prevailed when the
20 Territorial Defence was being created. You have described the means that
21 you had at your disposal. Can you please tell me very briefly, what were
22 the military circumstances that prevailed in the territory of the regional
23 staff of Zenica? What was the military situation? Did you face any
24 combat operations in the area at the time?
25 A. The military situation was very complex. The aggressor had a
1 major advantage at the beginning of the war. They expelled a lot of the
2 population that mostly moved into the territory where I was commander. In
3 practical terms, some of the municipalities had been occupied. It was
4 very difficult at the time to put any -- put up any defence and stop the
5 aggressor's advancement. We did not have any weapons; we did not have
6 enough weapons to resist -- to put up any resistance against the aggressor
7 at the time.
8 Q. What were your major combat tasks at the time, in what areas, and
9 what were the military results of those operations?
10 A. At that time we endeavoured to stop the aggressor, if nothing
11 else. We were successful to a certain extent. If I'm looking at the left
12 and the right flanks of the area where I was commander, the complete
13 municipality of Kupres had been occupied; part of Bugojno had already been
14 occupied; Donji Vakuf was completely occupied; part of Travnik had been
15 occupied; and especially the Vlasic plateau had been taken; part of
16 territory of Novi Travnik had also been occupied. The aggressor had
17 reached the borders and took the most prominent facilities above the town
18 of Zenica. It had already Zepce and Zavidovici municipalities in their
19 hands as well.
20 Q. A little while ago you told us that the capital and the main
21 command in Sarajevo were completely blocked off and cut off from the rest
22 of the country. To which extent could you receive any of the decisions of
23 the Main Staff? To which extent were their decisions a reflection of what
24 was going on in the field?
25 A. I said that it was very difficult to communicate with the superior
1 command. I said that it was difficult to forward written documents to
2 subordinate commands. And members of the Territorial Defence staff did
3 not have an accurate vision of the situation in the field, because the
4 units, the subordinate units, weren't able to provide reports on what was
5 happening in the surroundings. When the communications with the superior
6 command were cut off, I know that we had two very modest forms of
7 communications: We had radio contact that we used, the equipment was very
8 poor; and the second link we managed to use was sort of a link used within
9 the railway system. It was very susceptible to breaking down. So as a
10 commander I wasn't able to receive these decisions taken at a higher
12 Q. General, could you have a look at the documents under B,
13 DH212-0431, 0432, 0441, 0454, 0455, 0456, 0465, 467, 468, 472, 473,
14 DH216-0481, 482, 483, and 484. And could you have a brief look at them.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, after the break, I
16 only have a few questions that I would like to ask the general about all
17 these documents.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The witness will
19 have enough time to examine the documents during the half-an-hour break.
20 We will resume at about 10 past 4.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 3.42 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 4.12 p.m.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll now resume after our
24 technical break.
25 Defence counsel may proceed.
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Q. General, I think you've had the opportunity of having a look at
3 these documents; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. With the exception of one document, could you tell me whether the
6 other ones are from the Main Staff of the armed forces, or rather, the
7 Supreme Command staff; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, I noticed them.
9 Q. Could you tell me whether, in 1992, this command was your superior
10 command, or is it some other military body?
11 A. Well, in the documents that I've examined, the body concerned was
12 my superior body, that is to say, it was my superior command.
13 Q. In some of the documents, reference is made to the Main Staff of
14 the armed forces, whereas the other documents mention the Supreme Command
15 Staff of the armed forces. Is the command concerned the same one, is it
16 the same superior command, and if that is the case, could you tell me
17 whether at that time the names in the BH army were frequently changed?
18 A. Yes, the command is the same one. It's just the name that has
19 changed. And obviously, in the course of the war, there were frequent
20 changes within the structure and as far as the names of commands and units
21 are concerned.
22 Q. You probably noticed that some of these orders relate to the area
23 where you were the commander of the regional staff. You have already said
24 that at the time communication was difficult between Sarajevo and your
25 superior command. Could you tell me whether at that time you received all
1 these decisions, or rather, all these orders from your superior command?
2 A. I have already told you quite precisely what sort of problems we
3 had as far as communications are concerned, as far as sending documents
4 are concerned. I mentioned the form of communications we had. And some
5 of these orders were not orders that I received from the superior command.
6 Q. Perhaps the fourth document towards the end, I think it's DH216,
7 but I'll tell you the exact number in a minute. It's DH216. Can you see
8 the document? It's document number 15. It's from the Supreme Command
9 Staff, and it's a document being forwarded to the commands of the 2nd,
10 3rd, and 4th Corps.
11 A. Yes. I have found that document.
12 Q. As far as I can see, this is a document on the formation of the
13 corps of the BH army. It's dated the 18th of August, 1992. Does this
14 document confirm what you have just said; namely, that some decisions did
15 not arrive in good time, and as a result it was necessary for them to be
16 forwarded again to subordinate units?
17 A. Yes, this document quite obviously demonstrates that that is the
18 case. It was necessary to forward the relevant document to the
19 subordinate unit again.
20 Q. Have a look at the fourth document in the series of these
21 documents. It's numbered DH212.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The witness mentioned the 18th
23 of August, 1992. DH216 is dated the 11th of October, 1992. So I wanted
24 to clarify this.
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, if you have a look
1 at the second page of the document, at the bottom it says: "When the
2 decision on creating a corps was taken," it's that date that the witness
3 was referring to. And it was necessary to forward it again on the 11th of
4 October, 1992, because at the time the decision was taken, it wasn't
5 possible to forward it to subordinate units. I think that that is the
6 date that the witness was referring to.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] For the sake of the transcript,
8 the document dated the 18th of -- is dated the 18th of October, 1992, but
9 it was forwarded on the 11th of October, 1992.
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 Q. General, could we now have a look at the first document in this
12 section. The first one, the number is DH212, what sort of a document is
14 A. This is a document from the Main Staff of the armed forces of the
15 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It's a decision on forming units of
16 the armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It's signed
17 by the Chief of the Main Staff of the armed forces, Mr. Sefer Halilovic.
18 Q. General, in which area should these units and brigades listed
19 under 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13, in which areas should these
20 units and brigades have been formed?
21 A. This decision stated that these units that you have mentioned here
22 should be formed in the territory that was in the zone of responsibility
23 of the regional defence staff in Zenica, and I was at the head of this
24 staff at the time. So of these -- out of these brigades, I was not able
25 to form these units, I was only able to form the 1st Zenica Brigade.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. The only document that we have mentioned and that you -- the
2 number is 0472. This is a document that doesn't come from the Supreme
3 Command Staff. Could you tell me who drafted this document? 0472 is the
4 number of the document.
5 A. Yes, yes, I've found the document. This document is from the War
6 Presidency of Banja Luka municipality. It's forwarded to the Supreme
7 Command Staff of the armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 It was forwarded from Zagreb.
9 Q. If you have a look at paragraph 4, what is being requested in this
11 A. They're requesting that the 1st Banja Luka Brigade be formed.
12 Q. Please have a look at the following document: 0473.
13 A. [No interpretation].
14 Q. [No Interpretation].
15 A. [No interpretation].
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: Stop, please. [Interpretation] Just a minute,
17 there's a problem with the transcript.
18 Defence counsel, please continue. No, it's not working.
19 Apparently it's working now.
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. I was asking you to have a look at the following document: 0473
22 [Realtime transcript read in error "0173"]. Could you tell me what it
23 states? Did the Supreme Command Staff accept the decision made by the
24 Banja Luka War Presidency?
25 A. Yes, it did. The Supreme Command Staff accepted the suggestion
1 that was made by the Banja Luka Crisis Staff.
2 Q. My following question was whether you, as the commander of the
3 regional staff, were aware of the fact that, in 1992, this Banja Luka
4 Brigade was formed; and did it become part of the Banja Luka -- I'm sorry,
5 of the Zenica regional staff?
6 A. While I was the commander of the regional staff, this unit was not
7 formed in the area of the Zenica regional staff.
8 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] In line 22, there's a mistake.
9 The number is wrong. The number should be - I apologise - 473 and not
10 173. Thank you.
11 Q. Thank you, General. In addition to the fact that you were defence
12 and stopping the JNA forces and the Serbian forces in the peripheral areas
13 that you have mentioned, tell me whether at any point in time were you
14 assigned tasks, and were you ordered to engage in other combat action?
15 And if so, what sort of combat action was ordered, and what forces was
17 A. In addition to my main task, which was to defend the territory --
18 that was my main task, I was to defend the territory from the aggression.
19 In addition to that task, in the zone of responsibility that I had, I
20 received from the Supreme Command Staff the task of singling out forces
21 for lifting the blockade of Sarajevo. To the extent that it was possible
22 to do this, I should find forces to lift the blockade of the capital of
24 Q. To what extent was the issue of lifting the blockade of Sarajevo
25 one of the main military and strategic issues that you were faced with in
1 1992, and, in fact, throughout the entire war?
2 A. Well, as a soldier, it was quite clear to me that if the aggressor
3 took Sarajevo, which was the capital of -- which is the capital of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, in such a case, he would have realised his objectives
5 and Bosnia and Herzegovina would have been completely occupied. I believed
6 the task I had been given to be a very important one, and if I had
7 available forces, I used them to try and lift the blockade of Sarajevo.
8 There were numerous men who volunteered to join the action to lift the
9 blockade of Sarajevo.
10 Q. When you say there were a lot of volunteers, could you tell us
11 whether these men were citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or were they
12 from somewhere else?
13 A. They were citizens of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And
14 I organised all those I could to form units. I knew there were men who
15 volunteered to fight in the territory to lift the blockade of Sarajevo.
16 They were citizens of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
17 Q. Thank you. General, at any point in 1992, did a group from the
18 Supreme Command Staff come from Sarajevo, and did they have the same task?
19 Were they to mobilise all the available forces in order to try, once
20 again -- in order to try to lift the blockade of Sarajevo once again, in
21 order to make a new attempt?
22 A. We tried to lift the blockade even before that on several
23 occasions; however, we were not successful. From the Main Staff, a
24 delegation came to my office, headed by Mr. -- General Hadzihasanovic. He
25 showed us a document from the Main Staff and explained to us what the goal
1 of this document was. As far as I could understand at the time, I saw
2 that General Hadzihasanovic's goal was to organise units in the territory
3 of the regional staff of Zenica, and to prepare them to embark on lifting
4 the blockade from Sarajevo.
5 Q. You have explained to us the situation that prevailed in the
6 territory of the regional staff of Zenica. The arrival of the group in
7 that area, did it make you think that the Main Staff did not have at their
8 disposal the accurate information on the situation on the ground? And did
9 you have at the time all the nine brigades that were envisaged by the
10 documents that you saw a little while ago, under number DH212?
11 A. At that time I was convinced that the staff of the Supreme Command
12 did not have the accurate information about the situation on the ground,
13 especially in my territory, in the territory under my command. And I
14 realised that this group was there only to unite the units and to channel
15 them towards lifting the blockade from Sarajevo. The group that had
16 arrived from the Main Staff, I believe that they had similar information;
17 however, when they visited us, they realised that there were no such units
18 in place that would be capable of lifting the blockade there and then.
19 Q. General, are you aware of what information did the working group
20 provide to the Main Staff? And after that, was the mission of that task
21 force, or the working group, changed?
22 A. General Hadzihasanovic was the leader of that task force. After I
23 provided him with detailed information, to the extent that he, as a
24 military expert, was able to gain an insight into the situation, he tried
25 to organise units. However, I told him what the problems were, and after
1 that he realised that in the period of time that he envisaged, he could
2 not implement the mission that he was given by the Main Staff. And I know
3 that General Hadzihasanovic informed the Main Staff of the armed forces of
4 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina about that.
5 Q. What was General Hadzihasanovic's mission? What mission was he
6 given after he provided the Main Staff with the accurate information?
7 A. General Hadzihasanovic realised what the situation was; he fully
8 appreciated the situation. And I have to emphasise here that at that
9 time, in the territory of the regional staff of defence, there were even
10 bigger problems, because the aggressor had been successful in the
11 territory of the municipality of Jajce, so the situation was even more
12 chaotic than before. And General Hadzihasanovic realised that I had not
13 been able to establish the corps pursuant to my orders, because during
14 that period of time, I did not have enough troops, I didn't have enough
15 men to form the 3rd Corps. And I know that General Hadzihasanovic sent a
16 proposal to the Main Staff in order to help the establishment of the 3rd
17 Corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the territory of Zenica.
18 Q. What was the decision of the Main Staff after that? And what was
19 the position of General Hadzihasanovic after that, and what was your
20 position after that?
21 A. The staff of the Supreme Command issued a decision to speed up the
22 establishment of the 3rd Corps, and they appointed General Hadzihasanovic
23 as the commander of the 3rd Corps. I myself was appointed the deputy
24 commander of the 3rd Corps of the army of the Republic of
1 Q. What steps did you take in order to implement the decision of the
2 Main Staff on the establishment of the corps and its units?
3 A. General Hadzihasanovic and I inspected the grounds; we did it very
4 quickly because we didn't have a lot of time at our disposal. I issued
5 adequate orders to the municipal staffs, and General Hadzihasanovic
6 drafted a proposal as to what the structure of the 3rd Corps could be at
7 the time.
8 Q. What kind of mutual relationship did you build, General, in light
9 of the fact that you had a very high military position and in light of the
10 fact that a person appeared who had assumed the highest position in the
11 area of Central Bosnia?
12 A. I have to say two things that I deemed important for the
13 situation: First of all, I'm a soldier, and I fully appreciated the order
14 of the Supreme Command, and I knew that I had to act on that order.
15 Secondly, I was delighted when I heard how General Hadzihasanovic had
16 reacted, and I realised that he was a very good soldier, a very
17 well-educated soldier, with very strong integrity. And I didn't mind at
18 all having him as a supreme commander, although I used to be the supreme
19 commander in the area before his arrival.
20 Q. Not only were you the commander of the regional staff, but you
21 hailed from Central Bosnia. Tell me, to which extent did you extend
22 assistance to General Hadzihasanovic when it came to his mission, and how
23 much he trusted your proposals, the proposals that you gave him as a
24 person who was well abreast of the situation?
25 A. I've told you that for these two reasons I did my utmost to help
1 General Hadzihasanovic and the staff that he had established. I tried to
2 help them to establish the 3rd Corps. Since General Hadzihasanovic had
3 received very significant information from me regarding the prevalent
4 situation, he took all of my proposals into account. I believe that it
5 was very important for my commander to take my proposals into account as
6 his subordinate officer.
7 Q. General, could you please look at documents under tab C,
8 DH220-0493, 0494; DH221-0498; and then documents without translation,
9 1686, 1687, 1688, 1689, 1690, 1691, 1694; and a document with translation,
11 First of all, I would kindly ask you to indicate what these
12 documents are all about. What do the documents without translation
13 represent, documents from number 01690? Maybe you will find it easier to
14 know that, at the beginning of the whole binder, you have a list of
15 documents. If you take it out, you will find it easier to recognise the
16 documents that I have just mentioned to you. At the very beginning of
17 this binder, there is a list of documents with the numbers that I have
18 just read out to you.
19 Tab C, and the documents are 1690, 1694, and before that, 1689,
20 1688, 1687. Start with 1686. And the documents under these numbers, can
21 you please tell us what these documents represent. They're all signed by
23 A. This is a series of orders by way of which I informed my
24 subordinates that there would be a meeting with the corps commander in
25 their territory, and I also informed them of the objectives of the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 meeting, as well as who should attend this meeting.
2 Q. The other documents that I have just mentioned bearing your
3 signature, are the contents the same?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. General, these documents, do they confirm what you have just told
6 us, and that is that, together with the new commander, you inspected the
7 territory covered by the regional staff in order to provide the new
8 commander with an insight into the situation which would help him to form
9 the new brigades of the 3rd Corps?
10 A. Yes, that is precisely what they confirm.
11 Q. Can you please look at the remainder of the documents. They
12 mostly have translations. My question is: These documents that I've just
13 mentioned, do they demonstrate the situation in the territory? Do they
14 also show how the decision on the mission of General Hadzihasanovic had
15 been changed, and what efforts -- what problems you faced in your effort
16 to establish the 3rd Corps?
17 A. I told you that I did not manage to establish the corps because of
18 the problems that I have clearly stated here, and it is absolutely clear
19 that General Hadzihasanovic made an effort in order to establish the 3rd
21 Q. Can you please look at the document 0519. The date is 10 December
23 A. I've found it.
24 Q. Can you please tell me, what kind of document is this?
25 A. This document is from a press conference.
1 Q. Let me ask you, General: You, as a soldier, do you know whether
2 the establishment of any unit, and especially of a corps, is it an easy
4 A. As a soldier, I know that the establishment of any unit is a very
5 tall order, and the higher ranking the unit is, the more complex the task
6 gets. When it comes to the establishment of the 3rd Corps, I know that in
7 the times of peace, in modern armies, it would take at least five to six
8 months to establish a corps. Some armies would take even a year to
9 establish a corps pursuant to the order for the establishment of the corps
10 in the territory of the municipality of Zenica. At that time, we had very
11 little time at our disposal to establish the 3rd Corps from the units
12 which did not exist but on paper. In reality, we did not have any units
13 of the 3rd Corps at the time. First, units had to be established, and
14 then we could start talking about the establishment of the 3rd Corps.
15 Q. At this press conference, General Hadzihasanovic, as the commander
16 of the 3rd Corps, answered a number of questions put to him. If you look
17 at what he was talking about, the statement on the last page, that is, on
18 page 3 of the B/C/S version, would you agree with the statement that was
19 given by Commander Hadzihasanovic, according to which the formation of any
20 army is not an easy task? And that in a number of states, it takes years,
21 and he emphasised that the given time was much too short for any
22 exceptional organisation to be established?
23 A. Yes, I completely agree with what General Hadzihasanovic said at
24 this press conference.
25 Q. To what extent is the training of the troops important, and how
1 important is it for the establishment of any military unit?
2 A. When it comes to the establishment of a unit, the major
3 requirement is the professionalism of the personnel. And this is followed
4 by a number of activities that have to be undertaken by these
5 professionals in order to establish this unit and in order to discipline
6 such a unit and prepare it to perform its task.
7 Q. Can you please look at the first page of this document, and look
8 at the part talking about the training centre. In this part,
9 General Hadzihasanovic says that the training centre will provide for the
10 training of staff up to the level of battalion commander; the second
11 segment is the training of sabotage units, engineers, and those; and the
12 third part is the training of foot soldiers. Training will be carried out
13 in Zenica and some other towns.
14 What General Hadzihasanovic said at the beginning of the
15 establishment of the corps, and your understanding that, from the very
16 outset, he was aware that the training of staff and their professional
17 education was the necessary condition for creating an army that he would
18 be able to command.
19 A. When we, as a team, tried to form the corps, while I should point
20 out that the corps command, which was formed but wasn't fully staffed, it
21 was composed of personnel who weren't professional enough, they didn't
22 have the adequate professional level. And we couldn't even find first
23 assistants for the corps commander who had the adequate professional
24 level. Only two of us had completed military academy,
25 General Hadzihasanovic and myself. All the others had partially completed
1 the military academy, but most of the staff members in the corps hadn't
2 completed a military school of any kind.
3 Naturally, General Hadzihasanovic took numerous measures in order
4 to train the personnel in the corps and to train the personnel in the
5 brigades. The units that we did form at the level of a brigade, we
6 weren't able to appoint brigade commanders who had completed military
7 schools, and in some brigades, we had men who had only completed secondary
8 school. But we proceeded in this manner in order to form the 3rd Corps,
9 to the extent that this was possible.
10 Q. General, the 7th Muslim Brigade is one of the 3rd Corps brigades.
11 Tell me, why did you suggest to General Hadzihasanovic that a brigade
12 should be formed and called in this way? And was this an exceptional
13 situation in the military history of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or was
14 this -- such a tradition already in existence?
15 A. This was not the first time that a Muslim brigade was formed
16 within the army. As far as I know my history, at the time of the
17 Austro-Hungarian army, there were brigades composed of Muslims, of
18 Bosniaks, and as far as I know, they fought exceptionally well. Such
19 Muslim brigades composed of Bosniaks were also formed in the Second World
20 War when fighting against fascism. And I know that such brigades were
21 exceptionally successful. It wasn't a problem to form one such brigade in
22 the 3rd Corps, since the situation was particularly complex. The
23 situation when this brigade was formed was exceptionally complex.
24 Since I was often present in the field, we noticed that after the
25 fall of Jajce, when the aggressor had taken Jajce, he had taken part of
1 the territory of Travnik, and especially the area called Karaula. We had
2 a lot of men there who were not organised and who had come from the area
3 of Krajina, from Jajce municipality. And they wanted to organise
4 themselves and form a brigade that would be called the Muslim Brigade.
5 This is what I observed in the field, and as a result, I suggested that
6 such a brigade be formed, the brigade formed of Muslims, that is to say,
7 of Bosniaks.
8 Q. General, at the time in the BH army, did all its members,
9 regardless of the ethnic group or religion they belonged to, for all these
10 people, were there rules which allowed them to express themselves freely
11 and practice their religion, which was not the case in the JNA, where
12 people couldn't practice their religion when serving in the army?
13 A. I must say that units in the Territorial Defence, or in the
14 regional Territorial Defence staff, or rather, in the area where I was
15 commander, were composed of members of all the ethnic groups in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina. The men were mixed, of mixed ethnic composition. And
17 I also suggested that a brigade be formed which would consist mainly of
18 Muslims. And religion was allowed in all units. All religions were
19 tolerated in all units. This was not the case in the JNA where I served
20 and where one was not free to practice one's religion.
21 Q. Thank you. You embarked on forming the corps command and the
22 corps in the conditions that prevailed at the time. Tell me, could you
23 describe the structure of the corps for us. You were all professional
24 soldiers. What sort of a structure did you plan, on the basis of what
25 sort of establishment? And to what extent was it possible to realise your
2 A. A corps command and corps units were supposed to be formed in
3 accordance with establishment rules. I remember that within a corps,
4 there was a mechanised brigade, there were motorised brigades, and there
5 were mountain brigades. When we started forming those brigades, we
6 realised we didn't have sufficient equipment, we didn't have men with the
7 adequate professional level. So we weren't able to fully form those
8 brigades, we were only able to form them to a certain extent. So we
9 weren't able to form brigades in accordance with the establishment rules.
10 We weren't even able to form the corps command in accordance with the
11 establishment rules.
12 Q. General, you issued an order stating how the brigades should be
13 formed, and you have just told us that you weren't successful in doing
14 this. But could you tell us whether issuing an order also means that a
15 certain military unit will be formed, or rather, to what extent is this a
16 process? And when you compare the time in which the order was issued,
17 well, what sort of results did you obtain towards the end of 1993?
18 A. As I said, forming such units, especially units of such a high
19 level, is especially difficult. We, as professionals, tried to form both
20 a corps command and corps units in accordance with the orders we had been
21 issued. We wrote all this down on paper. It was very nice to see such
22 documents, but we weren't able to put this into practice, we weren't able
23 to implement the orders. The fact that an order has been drafted doesn't
24 mean that the order has been successfully carried out.
25 I'll just provide you with one example. When we formed the 1st
1 Mechanised Brigade, we should have had about a hundred tanks in order to
2 form this brigade, but we only had a few tanks at the time. So we
3 couldn't even have formed one tank platoon, let alone a brigade.
4 We needed quite a lot of time to form the corps, but we saw that
5 we were partially successful. From the beginning, when we started forming
6 the corps, and up until the end of 1993, we noticed that we had been
7 successful to a certain extent. But this is far from what the corps
8 should have looked like if it was to function according to the criteria
9 that applied in all the armies throughout the world.
10 Q. General, earlier on you mentioned the personnel. When a state of
11 war is declared, naturally, according to our laws, general mobilisation
12 was proclaimed. Given the equipment that you had, were you able to take
13 in all the men who were to be mobilised, or rather, what percentage of the
14 men mobilised had arms at the time in the units of your corps?
15 A. I have mentioned the problems that we encountered back in 1992
16 when we formed Territorial Defence units. It wasn't possible for us to
17 supply 3rd Corps units with equipment and arms. It's well known that
18 there was a ban on arming the BH army, and the units which were part of
19 the 3rd Corps had inadequate equipment, inadequate weapons, insufficient
20 weapons. And according to our assessments, not even 20 per cent of the
21 men in the 3rd Corps units were armed, so not even a minimum had been
22 satisfied in order to carry out the basic tasks of a modern corps.
23 Q. General, you mentioned the personnel and the structure of the
24 command of the corps and the commands of the brigades. But tell me, how
25 important is it to have trained commanders of platoons and companies? And
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 what was the situation in the 3rd Corps like at that level?
2 A. Well, whenever a soldier took stock of his unit, well, he believed
3 it was important for his officers to be well trained. These are
4 commanders of detachments, of platoons, of companies, and higher level
5 commanders that at the time, when appointing these men as platoon and
6 company commanders and commanders of higher levels, at that time we
7 appointed other people, too, because we did not have men who were
8 professional enough and were able to lead these men in accordance with
9 contemporary standards. That's why we tried to train those men very
10 rapidly. We organised various training centres for these men, for
11 detachment commanders and commanders at higher levels. And we also
12 organised specialist training for certain fields within the units of the
13 corps of the BH army.
14 Q. General, what happened with the regional defence staff and with
15 the municipal defence staffs? When BH army units were formed and they
16 were trying to become a modern army, when this was occurring, did the role
17 of the military formations I have mentioned change?
18 A. When the 3rd Corps was formed, it was suggested that the regional
19 defence staff, the regional Territorial Defence staff, be disbanded in the
20 Zenica area. And the regional staff continued to function for a very
21 short period of time. It was a halfway situation. The Regional Staffs
22 continued to function until mid-1993, I think, and that is when the
23 municipal staffs were also disbanded.
24 General Enver Hadzihasanovic, in my opinion, found a good
25 solution. In the corps command, he formed a department for unifying the
1 work of municipal staffs. We called this detachment for municipal
2 structures, because the municipal staffs were still responsible for areas
3 where they were formed.
4 Q. You were the commander of the regional Territorial Defence staff,
5 and then you became the deputy commander of the 3rd Corps. Who took over
6 your duties, or rather, before the regional staffs were disbanded, did you
7 hold only one position or did you hold two positions?
8 A. Since we knew that the regional staffs of the Territorial Defence
9 were going to be disbanded, naturally we thought that it wasn't necessary
10 to appoint someone else as commander. So we appointed an acting
11 commander, and I then practically -- in practical terms, became the deputy
12 commander of the 3rd Corps. So this was a transitory period and we
13 decided it wasn't necessary to appoint new commanders, we just appointed
14 an acting commander.
15 Q. Tell me, what sort of staff did -- the municipal Territorial
16 Defence staff, you said that these were area-based units.
17 A. The municipal staffs then had an -- had anti-sabotage detachments.
18 The name itself is very significant. But these were people who were quite
19 old. They weren't adequately armed; on the whole they had infantry
20 weapons, hunting weapons; there were not many automatic weapons. These
21 were not manoeuvre units; they couldn't carry out manoeuvre tasks. They
22 were based in a given area.
23 Q. You've mentioned the problems you had as far as command staff is
24 concerned and as far as weapons are concerned. Tell me, in 1993, how was
25 control and command functioning from the level of the 3rd Corps command
1 down to the level of an ordinary soldier? And what sort of problems did
2 you encounter? As the case in all armies, was it normal for a soldier to
3 carry out an order once a commander had issued an order?
4 A. Well, this is a very complex problem, and these are problems that
5 you find in the most modern and the best-equipped army and in corps. And
6 this was particularly the case in the 3rd Corps. We issued orders,
7 according to which certain tasks were to be carried out. We received
8 reports from subordinate units, reports on the implementation of these
9 tasks. But the normal process that is followed in units throughout the
10 world, this process involves controlling how orders were carried out.
11 Representatives of the corps command were sent to subordinate
12 units to control the extent to which orders were carried out. Naturally,
13 in such situations, if communications are not adequate and if our links
14 are not adequate, then it's possible for an order issued by the 3rd Corps
15 command not to reach each soldier at all times and in all areas.
16 Q. General, tell me, to what extent did you and
17 General Hadzihasanovic and all the members of the command often find that
18 it was necessary to explain, persuade, and relay certain orders -- to what
19 extent was it necessary to persuade your own commanders and soldiers to
20 carry out these orders in order to establish command and control?
21 A. Well, it's difficult in the case of a soldier in a modern army,
22 but in the 3rd Corps, it was even more difficult to carry this out. We
23 issued orders. We went into the field to control the situation. We
24 received reports from the field, but these reports did not sometimes
25 accurately reflect the situation in the field. We sometimes had to draft
1 additional orders to ensure that the first order we had forwarded was
2 carried out. So sometimes orders from the corps command wouldn't even
3 reach the first subordinate unit. In certain cases, we couldn't forward
4 an order to the first subordinate unit. But it's necessary for the
5 soldiers in these units to be immediately informed of these orders, too.
6 Q. General, can you please look at the other tabs. Skip tab C and
7 look at the documents which are listed after tab D. The documents are
8 DH158, number 1; DH158, number 2; DH158, number 3; DH158, number 4;
9 DH0613; 1728; then DH154, document 5; 1738; 0715; 0724; 0758; DH0773;
10 DH154, document 7; 0805; DH1454, document 8; DH1454, document 9; 1771;
11 DH0880; DH0896; 0917; DH154, document 10; DH158, document 5; 0996; DH156,
12 document ID [as interpreted]; DH158, document 7; document 1038; DH158,
13 document 8; DH154, document 11; 1183; 1215; 1296; 1300; 1298; 1312; DH154,
14 document 12; DH128; DH158, document 10. Please look at these documents,
16 In reference to these documents, can you please tell me, do these
17 documents reflect some of the efforts that you invested during the period
18 while the corps was being established in order to establish it, train
19 people, organise its structure according to the plan, discipline the army,
20 and so on and so forth? Can you please look at all these documents and,
21 firstly, tell me whether you recognise them as documents issued by the 3rd
22 Corps, and then answer the questions that I've just put to you.
23 A. Yes, I recognise them as documents issued by the 3rd Corps. This
24 is probably just one set of documents issued by the 3rd Corps in order to
25 establish the 3rd Corps according to its formation. The corps command, in
1 addition to the task that it had in terms of training, in such a sort
2 period of time - and I've already spoken quite a lot about that - the 3rd
3 Corps command also did quite a lot in order to discipline its troops.
4 That's why certain organisational units were established within the corps
5 and within the corps units.
6 We informed our subordinate units and the troops about the orders
7 and international documents that any army should adhere to. We requested
8 from our subordinate units to educate troops, to discipline soldiers, to
9 take a number of measures which would serve to discipline and train the
10 troops in accordance with rules and regulations. However, having said
11 that, we had a number of problems that we faced at the time, not even to
12 mention the problems in our environment. We tried to establish
13 cooperation with the civilian structures; we also established cooperation
14 with the civilian police. All this in our effort to educate and train, as
15 well as discipline, our corps units and the corps itself the way they
16 should have been organised, the way we wanted them to be organised.
17 Q. When it comes to disciplining the troops, did the corps establish
18 the necessary bodies, such as the military police? Did it request its
19 subordinate units to establish such bodies? Were there military courts
20 established? Was the responsibility of brigade commanders and other
21 commanders established when it came to instituting disciplinary and other
22 measures for those soldiers which did not obey rules and laws?
23 A. The corps command did embark on the organisation of special bodies
24 which would be engaged in disciplining troops. In addition to training
25 that we carried out, or at least tried to carry out at all the levels,
1 starting from the highest to the lowest, to the lowest foot soldiers, we
2 also established the military police within the corps; we established the
3 military police at the level of the brigade; we also established
4 disciplinary courts at the level of our brigades; we established the
5 military court which was not under the command of the corps. We had a
6 very close cooperation with all of these bodies. Our military police was
7 not equipped or trained well enough. Very often when the military police
8 implemented their tasks, we had to ask the civilian police to assist us.
9 Brigade commands took a number of disciplinary measures, starting
10 from various reprimands, taking troops into custody. A lot of actions
11 were undertaken in order to discover perpetrators of various crimes. We
12 filed complaints and instituted proceedings with the military prosecutor's
13 office and the military court. Everything that the corps command was able
14 to do they did in order to discipline soldiers and officers who were
15 members of the 3rd Corps and its units.
16 Q. General, tell me, what were the conditions like when you did all
17 that? Was the situation peaceful or was your combat situation rather
18 complex at the time?
19 A. It would have been ideal if we had had conditions to carry out all
20 of these activities; however, it is very difficult to comprehend the
21 situation that the 3rd Corps was in. From the moment the 3rd Corps was
22 established, the situation in the territory under the control of the 3rd
23 Corps was getting more complex by the day. I've already said what the
24 situation was at the beginning, when the 3rd Corps was first established.
25 At that time we had only one enemy, one aggressor. However, in the fourth
1 common period, when we strived to establish the corps, the second front
2 line was opening facing the Croatian Defence Council, and in that period
3 of time, from January 1993 onward, we had problems with the Croatian
4 Defence Council. Again, we had a huge wave of refugees coming to the
5 area. There was a number of other activities which made the work and the
6 training of the units of the 3rd Corps very complex.
7 You can imagine the situation that it was in if I tell you that,
8 in addition to fighting two enemies, we also had to discipline our units
9 which were composed of the people who had lost their dearest, who had been
10 expelled from their homes, and who had been temporarily accommodated in
11 the territories of the municipalities that were under the command of the
12 3rd Corps. This was a very complex situation, extremely complex
13 situation. The corps command, headed by General Hadzihasanovic, did not
14 sleep for nights. For days we did not have time to eat due to all of the
15 obligations that we had. This was a situation that is very described --
16 is very difficult to describe in a short period of time.
17 Q. Whatever you have just told us now, General, clearly tell us that
18 you were in a war, day in, day out. As the command of the 3rd Corps, and
19 especially its commander, to what -- how much attention was paid to teach
20 troops to respect international conventions? What were the measures that
21 you took in that respect?
22 A. I know that General Hadzihasanovic did almost the impossible in
23 order to establish, train, and discipline the 3rd Corps. Obviously we all
24 helped him as much as we could, as much as we were able to do that, as
25 much as our education enabled us to do that. However, when it came to the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 international conventions and the international humanitarian law, we did
2 issue orders for the soldiers to respect the international humanitarian
4 Whenever we learned that those conventions were being violated, we
5 immediately took measures. And we even conducted criminal proceedings
6 against perpetrators. We filed reports with the military prosecutor's
7 office, instructing them to punish such troops. We were involved in the
8 education of our staff, and we not only issued orders, but we also
9 explained to them the meaning of the violation of the international
10 humanitarian law. We told them that nobody had the right to violate those
11 conventions. And we tried as hard as we could; however, this was not easy
12 to implement in the field, under the conditions that I have described to
13 you. We had a number of problems that we faced at the time.
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] In the transcript, on page 53,
15 line 9, can the correction be made: The number of documents is DH156,
16 which is not "ID," but a document which has already been admitted into
17 evidence under DH156, without ID.
18 Q. In order to be economical with our time, I would kindly ask you to
19 look at all the documents after tab F. I'm going to give you five or six
20 minutes. For the transcript, I'm going to mention all these numbers.
21 These are DH0704; DH263; 0760; DH158, document 4; DH161, document 1;
22 DH160, document 1; DH163, document 1; DH162, document 1; DH161, document
23 2; DH111, document 3; DH264; DH265; DH161, document 4; DH266; DH163,
24 document 2; DH161, document 5; DH267; DH161, document 6; DH161, document
25 7; DH161, document 8; DH161, document 10; DH257; DH -- document 11; DH161,
1 document 12; DH161, document 13; DH161, document 14; DH161, document 15;
2 DH161, document 16; DH161, document 17; DH163, document 12; DH68; DH161,
3 document 18; DH161, document 19; DH163, document 14; DH159, document 5;
4 DH155, document 3; DH160, document 8; DH119; DH56; DH275; DH155, document
5 2; and finally, DH120.
6 Can you please look at these documents, and I'm going to put a few
7 questions to you afterwards.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It will be best for the witness
9 to have a look at the documents during the break, and you could then put
10 the questions to the witness after the break.
11 It's 25 to 6.00. We'll resume at about 6.00, and that will leave
12 us with one more hour.
13 --- Recess taken at 5.35 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 6.03 p.m.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll give the floor to the
16 Defence again. But if the Defence refers to a document, I'd be grateful
17 if the Defence could specify exactly which document the witness's answer
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 Q. General, having examined these documents, naturally, with the
21 exception of documents that come from the military prosecutor's office and
22 courts, DH119 and the others that follow, in these documents, did you
23 recognise documents that come from the 3rd Corps of which you were the
24 deputy commander?
25 A. Yes. These documents were drafted by the 3rd Corps command and
1 its bodies.
2 Q. General, in some of these documents, were you able to recognise
3 your own signature, and could you tell me in what sort of conditions would
4 you sign on behalf of General Hadzihasanovic?
5 A. In the documents that I have been shown, I was able to recognise
6 my own signature, and I was able to recognise documents that I signed on
7 behalf of the commander. I did this when the commander was not able to
8 sign a document and it was urgent to carry out a given task or order. In
9 other circumstances, it was the corps commander who would sign the
11 Q. This entire series of documents consists, on the whole, of orders
12 you issued to subordinate units, or rather, they are documents that were
13 forwarded in cooperation with other bodies to those bodies. Tell me
14 whether you, in the 3rd Corps, only issued orders, or did you take other
15 measures in order to ensure that your orders were actually being carried
17 A. When issuing orders and implementing orders, the element of
18 control is of crucial importance; I have mentioned this already. This is
19 the case in all armies throughout the world. In addition, I said that
20 there was such control on the level of the corps command, and bodies of
21 the corps command would carry out such controls in the field. In
22 addition, we asked for other reports if we weren't quite clear about the
23 extent to which orders had been carried out. This was especially the case
24 when we received information from other sources, according to which our
25 orders were not being implemented in the field by certain soldiers. In
1 such cases, we took additional measures, issued additional orders, and
2 asked for further clarification from units. We asked for them to provide
3 us with reports on what was happening in the field. These are measures
4 that we took in addition to issuing the orders.
5 Q. General, at the time that General Hadzihasanovic was the
6 commander, tell me, what sort of relations did you have with the civilian
7 authorities, or rather, at any point in time did you become superior to
8 those authorities and did you establish a military administration?
9 A. General Hadzihasanovic, that is to say, the 3rd Corps command, had
10 a full understanding of its role in the defence of the Republic of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina in territory where 3rd Corps units were deployed, as
12 well as its command. In that territory, the civilian bodies of power
13 functioned, and they were separate from military bodies of power. That
14 was a vast area, and the civilian authorities functioned to the extent
15 that it was possible to function under such conditions. The corps command
16 made attempts to cooperate with the civilian authorities, and it never
17 placed itself above the civilian authorities, and in particular, it never
18 tried to establish command and control over the civilian authorities.
19 We had problems, for example, in the command in the case of
20 mobilisation. That was the responsibility of the civilian authorities.
21 And as far as logistics and providing food is concerned, we had problems.
22 This was also the responsibility of the civilian authorities. Whenever we
23 encountered problems, we requested that the civilian authorities assist
24 us. We did speak to each other, but we never placed ourselves above the
25 civilian authorities. We never assumed authority over them.
1 Q. General, on the basis of orders, and in practice, what sort of
2 attitude did you have towards the civilian population, or rather, to what
3 extent did your orders reflect the responsibility that each soldier had,
4 or rather, to what extent did they reflect the sort of responsibility
5 incurred by a soldier who would treat civilians and their property
6 contrary to the orders?
7 A. We couldn't issue orders to civilians and to citizens, but we
8 could issue orders to our soldiers who were members of our bodies. We
9 issued them orders. We tried to prevent violations of discipline
10 perpetrated against citizens. We tried to prevent theft committed by our
11 soldiers. There were such incidents, I can't deny that. Our soldiers did
12 commit theft, but whenever we found out about such cases, we, within the
13 system of command and control, took the necessary measures.
14 A number of disciplinary activities were implemented, carried out.
15 Naturally, we couldn't prevent each and every soldier from stealing
16 something from the civilian population. As I have said, some of our
17 soldiers lost everything they had in the war. They lost their family
18 members, and it was necessary to understand that situation. Nevertheless,
19 we would take disciplinary measures against such soldiers. And if we
20 suspected that a crime had been committed, we would suggest that the
21 district military courts institute criminal proceedings against such
22 individuals and punish them.
23 Q. General, since we are now discussing the documents under section
24 F, from 1 to 27, could we now have a look at document DH161, document 2.
25 This is an order dated the 18th of April, 1994. Have you found the
1 document, DH161, document 2? It's number 5 on this list of documents.
2 A. I've found document number 1. Yes, I've found it. 162.
3 Q. 161, document 2. It's under number 5. You should go two, three
4 documents back.
5 A. Could you please tell me the number?
6 Q. 161, document 2. This is an order dated the 18th of April, 1994.
7 It's under number 9. It's the ninth document in the list.
8 A. I can find document 1 but not document number 2. Is it -- does it
9 follow on?
10 Q. No. It's a document that follows the conclusion.
11 A. You'll have to help me. It's an order. I found document number
12 1. 161, document 1, I've found that one.
13 Q. It's the eighth document from the beginning.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In future, if you have such
15 binders, it would be good to do what you did before, to have little tabs,
16 and this will enable us to find the tab immediately. I know that takes up
17 a lot of time.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've found the document, document
19 161, document 2.
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. General, in response to my previous question, you said that your
22 orders were issued for your soldiers in cases when you could take certain
23 measures against them. Have a look at paragraph 2 in this order. Does
24 this paragraph, in fact, reflect what you have just said? Does it reflect
25 that it is your responsibility to take action in the case of your own
2 A. Yes, that's correct.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we'll follow your
5 suggestion. We'll do that tomorrow. But we weren't able to do that today
6 because there were a lot of documents, and we weren't able to organise
7 them all. It will make it easier for all of us.
8 Q. General, tell me, what was your attitude toward the protection of
9 religious buildings and the clergy and cemeteries?
10 A. The corps command and General Hadzihasanovic and I, as the deputy,
11 always requested that religious buildings be protected. We requested that
12 they not be destroyed. We said that believers should be protected. And
13 we would take disciplinary measures against individuals who violated these
14 instructions, and we would also criminally punish such individuals.
15 Q. General, given the conditions, the wartime conditions in that
16 area, was it necessary for you to approach this issue in a very serious
17 manner, so to speak? Was it necessary for you to ensure that the rules
18 were respected, as is the case in all armies? Was particular attention
19 paid to this issue because of the situation in the area, as far as the
20 religious buildings of other peoples are concerned?
21 A. Well, since the corps command and its commander were in favour of
22 religious freedom and allowed believers, regardless of their faith, to
23 practice their religion, people were allowed to pray in accordance with
24 their religious beliefs. Given this attitude, we were very concerned by
25 religious buildings being destroyed, we were concerned by the maltreatment
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 of certain religious groups, so sometimes we had to use the military
2 police to secure such buildings, if we believed that a religious building
3 might be damaged. We thought that this was the right of every citizen.
4 It was every citizen's right to practice his or her religion.
5 Q. In the documents I have shown to you, did you come across any such
6 orders, orders in which the corps commander requested a particular form of
7 protection for religious buildings and for members of the clergy?
8 A. Yes, I've come across such a document in this series of documents,
9 and this document shows that the military police was given the task of
10 protecting religious buildings.
11 Q. Have a look at document DH161, document 16. It's somewhere in the
12 middle of the series of documents that I have shown to you. It's an order
13 dated the 19th of June, 1993. Have you found it?
14 A. Yes, I have.
15 Q. This is an order by which prevention of arrest of civilians,
16 looting and destruction of property is ordered. If you look at item 4,
17 within the general protection, does this order confirm exactly what you
18 have just told us, that particular attention was being paid to religious
19 facilities and members of the clergy?
20 A. Yes, number 4, item 4, in this order confirms precisely that.
21 Q. Can you please look at the document DH257. This is a few
22 documents back from the one that we are looking at right now. The date is
23 14 June 1993. So if you go back, a few documents back, you will find this
24 particular one.
25 A. Can you repeat the number, please.
1 Q. The date is 14 June 1993, and the number of this document is
3 A. Can you please help me and instruct me what to look for in the
5 Q. This is under number 19, number 19 in this batch of documents,
6 somewhere in the middle of your table there.
7 A. Yes, I've found it.
8 Q. Tell me, please, the corps commander, or the corps as such,
9 starting from the things that you have just told us about, did they pay
10 special attention to the significant monuments of religion and culture in
11 Central Bosnia even before any combat activities ever took place?
12 A. Yes. In the corps command, headed by General Hadzihasanovic, we
13 issued orders to that effect and warnings to that effect, saying that if
14 combat operations should take place in the area where there were religious
15 facilities, that these facilities should be protected. And this is
16 confirmed by this particular document.
17 Q. With regard to this set of documents, let me ask you about the
18 document which is second in this batch after tab F. Can you please
19 explain: In light of your previous answer, when you became deputy
20 commander of the 3rd Corps, you stopped performing any duties in the
21 regional staff of Zenica. Tell me why the signature block of this
22 document still contains your name as commander.
23 A. Because in this particular month, the month of February, we still
24 had the regional staff; however, the number of staff was reduced, because
25 some of the staff was transferred to the 3rd Corps command with a task to
1 organise the 3rd Corps. By that time, the regional staff was still not
2 disbanded. It was disbanded only later. And the regional staff was still
3 in the position to issue orders to the municipal staffs which were
4 previously under its authorities. In the wartimes, this was the way to do
6 Q. Was this an order issued by you or by the person who was the
7 acting commander, the person who, for the reasons specified by you, was
8 not appointed commander?
9 A. Yes. I said that the person was appointed that would be the
10 acting commander, and I don't see that anybody signed on his behalf. So
11 it's very difficult for me to explain why my signature is not here if my
12 name is indicated on the signature block.
13 Q. Thank you very much.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I apologise for my intervention;
15 however, I'm not quite clear, the Chamber is not quite clear about the
16 previous answer. If you look at the document DH263, have you found DH263?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This document, DH263, in B/C/S,
19 there's your name there but there's no signature. The document has not
20 been signed. The name has been typed. In the left part of the English
21 translation, it says that the document originates from the Zenica district
22 defence staff, and this document was addressed to other municipal defence
23 staffs, Bugojno, Gornji/Donji Vakuf, Travnik, and so on and so forth. And
24 it is indicated here that Commander General Merdan, and under item 6, it
25 says that "Municipal defence staff commanders will be responsible to me
1 for the implementation of this order." So did you wear two hats at the
2 time? Were you assigned to the 3rd Corps as an officer, but wasn't, at
3 the same time, your position in the regional staff? Because in this
4 order, the order is not on behalf of the municipality, it is sent to the
5 municipality. In the month of February, our impression was that you were
6 deputy commander of the 3rd Corps, but according to this document, you had
7 other responsibilities as well. How do you account for that? How can you
8 explain that?
9 This document refers to civilian prisoners, and it says that it is
10 forbidden to loot, and so on and so forth, and you make municipal staff
11 commanders responsible to you. What is your explanation of that?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the course of my testimony, I've
13 already said that when the command of the 3rd Corps was established, I was
14 assigned the duty of deputy commander of the 3rd Corps. I was appointed
15 to that position, and I performed those duties and tasks. When the 3rd
16 Corps was established, the regional defence staff was not abolished and
17 municipal defence staffs in municipalities were not abolished, they still
18 existed. In order to provide for the chain of command some of the
19 positions in the regional staff were kept, but acting commanders were
20 appointed. We did not want to have commanders, because the regional staff
21 would soon be disbanded. It is very difficult to conceive that such a
22 huge organisation could just disappear overnight. Command over municipal
23 staffs still goes via the regional staff, and the chain of command is from
24 the corps via the regional staff to the municipal staffs.
25 I was the deputy commander of the 3rd Corps; however, in order to
1 issue command over the municipal staffs, which were territorial units, in
2 order to establish this chain of command, we had to have this chain. As
3 far as I can remember, the municipal staffs were abolished only in the
4 month of June 1993.
5 I've also testified that the corps command --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. Should we then
7 conclude that, until the month of June, when the municipal staffs were
8 abolished, you had two responsibilities: You were the deputy commander of
9 the 3rd Corps, but you were also the commander responsible for the
10 municipalities, for the defence of the municipalities? Is it not true
11 that you had two functions, two positions?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, I didn't have two functions
13 or positions. The original staff, the original defence staff was
14 abolished at the beginning of March 1993, as far as I can remember. At
15 the level of the corps command, we established a department for
16 cooperation with regional defence bodies, in order to still have a certain
17 connection with the municipal staffs which were abolished in June,
18 according to my information. In the course of the reorganisation of the
19 army, we still didn't receive the order to abolish municipal staffs as
20 regional defence units when the corps was being established. At the
21 moment when the corps was being established and organised, when its units
22 were being organised, our municipal staffs still functioned because no
23 order was issued for them to be abolished. So for a certain period of
24 time, we still had to have communication and connection between the corps
25 command and the municipal defence staffs. That is why we appointed the
1 acting commander of the regional defence staff in order to provide for
2 this chain of command.
3 This means I didn't have a dual role, I didn't have two positions.
4 I was the deputy commander of the 3rd Corps from the 4th of February,
5 1993, onwards.
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. General, I will continue along the same line of questioning as the
8 President of the Trial Chamber in order to clarify certain things which
9 still maybe remain unclear after your answers.
10 You have told us that your position in the regional defence staff
11 was filled by an acting commander; is that correct?
12 A. Yes, that is correct.
13 Q. Who was de facto commander of the regional staff, was it the
14 acting commander or you? Because your signature block was still there,
15 who was de facto performing these duties?
16 A. It was Mr. Ramiz Dugalic, who was appointed the acting commander
17 of the regional staff until the moment it was abolished.
18 Q. The second question that I would like to put to you is the
19 following: Who is this document addressed to, the document that bears the
20 signature block with your name but no signature? Who was this document
21 addressed to?
22 A. This document was addressed to the municipal defence staffs, and
23 here it says to which municipalities it was addressed.
24 Q. General, tell me, did the municipal defence staffs figure as
25 military defence structures, or were they civilian bodies who --
1 A. The municipal defence staffs were military structures, they were
2 not civilian structures.
3 Q. In addition to the municipal defence staffs as military structures
4 in certain municipalities, were there also civilian bodies of power over
5 which you, as a member of the army, did not have any authority? And if
6 there were such bodies, what bodies were those?
7 A. In the territories of these municipalities, there were also
8 civilian bodies, and they functioned according to the constitution, in
9 keeping with the constitution. And the municipal defence staffs could not
10 issue any orders to the civilian bodies of power. However, during the
11 transition of power, the head of the municipality could propose his
12 candidate for the commander of the municipal staff, because the parties
13 that won in the elections could propose their candidates for commanders of
14 municipal staffs.
15 Q. When we look at the structure of the military authorities and the
16 civilian authorities, did, at any point in time, any of the military
17 units, be it a brigade or a corps or municipal or regional staffs, as
18 military units, did they become incorporated into the structure of the
19 civilian bodies, municipalities, war presidencies, of any other bodies
20 that had their own tasks during the defence; or alternatively, were they
21 part of the chain of command which went from the municipal staff to the
22 command of the 3rd Corps?
23 A. Commanders of municipal staffs were entitled to attending sessions
24 of municipal councils in order to inform themselves of the situation in
25 the area; however, the control and the command and the chain of command
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 followed the military line of command.
2 Q. Thank you. Tell me, in relation to this document, because we
3 already mentioned who you were responsible for, as commanders, as far as
4 implementing orders are concerned, and you mentioned who these orders
5 related to. In item 1 of this order, who is the order intended for? And
6 who is forbidden from acting contrary to this order?
7 A. This order is forwarded to all BH army units in the zone of
8 responsibility of defence staffs.
9 Q. Is this an order issued to the soldiers who are members of the BH
10 army? Does this order prohibit them from committing such acts, or is
11 something else in question?
12 A. This is a prohibition issued to BH army members, because units of
13 municipal staffs were also members of the BH army.
14 Q. Thank you. You mentioned the zone of responsibility. What sort
15 of tasks did the 3rd Corps and its units have in the zone of
16 responsibility, or rather, what did you take the meaning of the zone of
17 responsibility of BH army units to be?
18 A. Well, the definition of "zone of responsibility" is very simple,
19 but in practice it's a very complex matter. A zone of responsibility in
20 brigades or a zone of responsibility in a corps only involved the
21 responsibilities of soldiers of the BH army. It didn't concern civilians,
22 international organisations, refugees; it didn't concern those who were
23 circulating in the zone of responsibility of the brigade or the corps. A
24 zone of responsibility is a zone where combat action is ongoing, and the
25 commander is responsible for his soldiers in that area. But naturally, a
1 commander is responsible for his soldiers wherever these soldiers might
2 be. So the zone of responsibility only concerns responsibility for
3 soldiers who are under the authority of a particular commander.
4 Q. Thank you, General. I would now like to move on to another
5 subject that I would like to examine with you. This concerns the
6 relations of the BH army and the HVO.
7 General, in 1992, when you were the commander of the Territorial
8 Defence regional staff in Zenica, at that time, in addition to Territorial
9 Defence units, were HVO units being formed in the area of your region?
10 A. HVO units were being formed. They existed in all municipalities
11 where the regional defence staff had its zone of responsibility.
12 Q. What sort of relations developed between the Territorial Defence
13 and the HVO in 1992, given that at the beginning of your testimony, you
14 had said that, in accordance with a Presidency decision, the Territorial
15 Defence represented the only armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in
16 accordance with the constitution in force in the country?
17 A. In practice, we tried to talk to the units and commands of the HVO
18 and we tried to act jointly in response to the aggression carried out by
19 the Serbian forces. At the time I wasn't able to reach a common position
20 with the HVO command. It wasn't possible for us to engage in defending
21 the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The HVO was involved in other
22 activities, although they said that they were fighting the side that had
23 committed an aggression against the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
24 Q. Upon arriving in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and at the very beginning of
25 the war, in the territory of Central Bosnia, did you encounter any
1 different political objectives expressed by one of the parties in power,
2 by the HDZ? And if so, could you tell me what sort of objectives they
4 A. I had certain information, and I was able to see a tape in which
5 leaders of the HDZ stated that their objectives were to create a state for
6 the Croatian people, and to ensure that the territory of Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina, in which the majority was Croatian, joined Croatia. They
8 wanted to annex this part of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 Q. Since we have already heard evidence about the composition of the
10 population in Central Bosnia, could you tell us whether such political
11 objectives amounted to denying the existence of other peoples? The
12 attitude of these leaders, did this pose a risk? Did that attitude pose a
14 A. Well, it's quite clear that we had to fight for a unified Bosnia
15 and Herzegovina, a country that had obtained international recognition.
16 And we believed that the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina should not be
17 divided yet. The objectives expressed by some representatives of the HDZ
18 showed that they wanted the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina. According
19 to their statements, it was necessary to annex part of Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina to Croatia. And naturally, our positions were different, so
21 this had to result in problems in the fields.
22 Q. Since you said, in 1992, in Central Bosnia, the HVO armed forces
23 were being formed, could you tell us whether those forces accepted the
24 command of the regional or Territorial Defence staff as a legitimate
25 defence force? And did you make any attempts to unify the armed forces in
1 the area with one common objective, that is to say, with the objective of
2 mounting a defence against the enemy who had attacked the country?
3 A. The HVO at that period of time had units in various areas which
4 were preventing the aggressor from penetrating in the direction of Central
5 Bosnia. At that time we couldn't establish common objectives, although
6 the HVO stated that they were fighting the aggressor in Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina. But we tried to establish joint commands, we tried to act
8 jointly in certain areas, in order to prevent the aggressor from
9 penetrating further into Central Bosnia.
10 I remember making a suggestion. We said that in the Lasva Valley,
11 the commander of all units of the HVO and of the Territorial Defence
12 should be Mr. Filip Filipovic, who is now a retired general of the
13 federation army, just like myself. And it was suggested that I should be
14 his deputy. But the HVO did not accept this suggestion. So I made
15 attempts; I strove to create a joint command and to act jointly against
16 the same aggressor.
17 Q. Since, as you have just said, these suggestions were not accepted,
18 did the fact that there were two armies in the same area, and did the fact
19 that they had various political objectives, result in armed clashes as
20 early as 1992? And do you have any personal experience of such clashes?
21 A. Well, it's quite clear that two armies cannot operate in one area
22 if there is not -- if they don't have a joint command. In spite of my
23 efforts to create a joint command, I personally had problems as far as
24 carrying out such a task is concerned. On a number of occasions, I was
25 arrested by members of the HVO. This was an affront to my dignity. And I
1 remember that at the beginning of May, I was arrested for the first time.
2 I fared very badly. I was asked to order that the Territorial Defence
3 units be disarmed, and to order that they be resubordinated, or rather, I
4 was asked to request that they be subordinated to the HVO. And this is
5 something I could not have done at that time; I did not have such
7 Naturally, when trying to resolve the difficulties that we
8 encountered, since, in 1992, there had been a number of incidents which
9 resulted in a number of individuals being killed. Some BH army members
10 would be disarmed. For example, at checkpoints held by the HVO, BH army
11 units were not allowed to pass through territory controlled by the HVO
12 towards the Serbian aggressor, and there were a number of other incidents,
13 from stealing from the civilian population -- there were cases of
14 maltreatment, there were some difficult situations in which equipment was
15 taken from the Territorial Defence, vehicles were taken from them and
16 weapons, and Territorial Defence members were severely maltreated at the
17 checkpoints that they passed through.
18 Q. General, you said that the first time you were arrested was in May
19 1992. Tell me, at the time what position did you hold in the Territorial
20 Defence? And when you were arrested, were you physically maltreated too?
21 A. At the beginning of May, I was one of the assistant commanders of
22 the Territorial Defence staff in Zenica. In the regional -- the commander
23 of the regional staff in Zenica at the time was someone who is now a
24 retired general, Ramiz Dugalic. I was then arrested by HVO units. I was
25 physically maltreated; I was beaten. They even prepared to execute me. I
1 felt very bad. But as a commander of the Territorial Defence, sometime in
2 the autumn of 1992, I was arrested at a checkpoint of the HVO. They
3 disarmed me, took me to the command, but I managed to persuade the HVO
4 command to release me and to return my weapon to me. I was arrested as a
5 deputy commander of the 3rd Corps too.
6 Q. General, you said that these were incidents, you mentioned
7 numerous incidents that involved yourself. But tell me, in 1992, did an
8 armed conflict break out in the territory of the regional Territorial
9 Defence staff? And how did the Territorial Defence, or rather, army, try
10 to deal with such situations?
11 A. Naturally, in all these cases, and in my prior testimony I have
12 spoken about -- I spoke about this in detail, but now I would say that
13 there were incidents which turned into armed conflicts. I will now only
14 mention an example. For example, when the barracks in Busovaca
15 municipality, at a place called Kaonik, were taken over, there was an
16 incident. One Territorial Defence member was wounded and one HVO member
17 was wounded. There was an extremely difficult situation in Gornji Vakuf,
18 in June, and then in October. And the most difficult situation was in
19 Novi Travnik, in October, when someone was killed in the BH army, or
20 rather, in the Territorial Defence. In June there was a clash in Novi
21 Travnik, but only two Territorial Defence members were killed. But in the
22 clash in Novi Travnik in October, as far as I can remember, four to six
23 Territorial Defence members were killed. As to the casualties that the
24 HVO have, I had no information.
25 Q. Before we finish for the day, because, as I see, we are running
1 out of time, tell me whether, in 1992, it's not just that a joint command
2 wasn't established, as you said. In the territory of the regional
3 Territorial Defence staff, did parallel civilian bodies appear? And if
4 you have any personal information about this, could you tell us about it,
6 A. Well, there are two issues I would like to testify about here.
7 One problem concerned the municipalities in the zone of responsibility of
8 the regional Territorial Defence staff, where the population was mostly
9 Croats; and the other problem was in municipalities where the Bosniaks
10 were in the majority.
11 In municipalities where the Croatian population was more numerous,
12 the HVO established -- took power. And I saw this in an order which
13 concerned my arrest. The HVO, at the beginning of May 1992, in the area
14 of Busovaca, took a decision and prohibited the legal authorities from
15 working. And all the orders from the legal authorities and the
16 Territorial Defence staff were proclaimed to be invalid.
17 Where the Bosniaks were in the majority, in these municipalities,
18 parallel organs of power were established. In addition to the legal
19 organs of power of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, HVO bodies were
20 also established. Civilian bodies, parallel bodies were created. A
21 parallel police force was created. They tried to use Croatian currency,
22 and they took various other measures. They created parallel bodies.
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's 7.00 p.m. We
25 will have to adjourn now. The Defence would like to help us by placing
1 tabs in our binders. So since we have already used the binders, I feel it
2 might be difficult to return them to you. But I'm sure you'll do what is
3 necessary when presenting us with new binders.
4 General, tomorrow the hearing will start at 2.15. As I've said,
5 you are now a witness testifying in the interests of justice, so you
6 shouldn't have contact with anyone, you shouldn't see the Prosecution or
7 the Defence. And we'll see you tomorrow at 2.15.
8 I would like to thank everyone, and I will see you all at the
9 hearing at 2.15 tomorrow.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
11 to be reconvened on Tuesday, 7th day of December,
12 2004, at 2.15 p.m.