1 Friday, 17 December 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.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. Could
10 we have the appearances for the Prosecution, please.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning,
12 Your Honours, counsel, and everyone in and around the courtroom. For the
13 Prosecution, Tecla Henry-Benjamin and Daryl Mundis, assisted today by our
14 intern, Jaspreet Saini, and Mr. Andres Vatter, our case manager.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could we have the
16 appearances for Defence counsel.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President, good
18 morning, Your Honours. On behalf of General Enver Hadzihasanovic, Edina
19 Residovic, counsel; Stephane Bourgon, co-counsel; and Muriel Cauvin, our
20 legal assistant. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could we have the appearances
22 for the other Defence team, please.
23 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. On
24 behalf of Mr. Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and Nermin
25 Mulalic, our legal assistant.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber would like to
2 greet everyone present in the courtroom, members of the Prosecution,
3 Defence counsel, the accused, as well as the Registrar, the legal officer,
4 the usher, and the court reporter, and the interpreters who have been
5 aiding us efficiently, as well as all the security officers.
6 This is our 158th hearing, and we should conclude with the
7 testimony of our witness, General Merdan. Defence counsel will now be
8 putting questions to this witness that arise from the questions put to the
9 witness by the Bench.
10 Could the usher please call the witness into the courtroom.
11 [The witness entered court]
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good day, General. I hope that
13 all is well. As I said yesterday, this will be the last day of your
14 testimony. I'll now give the floor to Mr. Bourgon who will be putting
15 questions to you, I believe, unless his colleague will take the floor.
16 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Good day, Madam Judge, good day,
17 Your Honour, good day, Mr. President. We will first give the floor to our
18 colleagues who represent the other accused.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I'll give the floor
20 to the other Defence team.
21 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We
22 don't have any additional questions.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The other Defence team have no
24 additional questions that arise from the Judges' questions.
25 Mr. Bourgon, I will give you the floor again. And you may place
1 your lectern.
2 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
3 WITNESS: DZEMAL MERDAN [Resumed]
4 [Witness answered through interpreter]
5 Further examined by Mr. Bourgon:
6 Q. Good morning, General.
7 A. Good morning.
8 Q. We have the opportunity of meeting at least twice before in
9 Sarajevo. Nevertheless, for the benefit of the transcript, let me
10 introduce myself this morning. My name is Stephane Bourgon, and I
11 represent the accused General Hadzihasanovic. This morning, General, we
12 will be conducting, as the Presiding Judge has mentioned, the last phase
13 of your testimony in this case. Before I do so, I would like to come back
14 briefly to something that was mentioned by the Trial Chamber yesterday
15 with regard to memory.
16 Now, I did not have too much to do last night, so I played the
17 game of trying to remember where I was ten years ago. And I found it
18 quite difficult. Now, of course, I was not the deputy commander of a
19 corps which has more than 25.000 men. But nevertheless, I thought it was
20 a very difficult exercise. So I just wish to take this opportunity to
21 join the comments that were made by the Trial Chamber yesterday and to say
22 how much everyone in the courtroom appreciates your effort over ten days
23 in trying to remember all those details that we have been asking of you.
24 Let me then proceed with a few questions. And I would like to
25 begin, first of all, by coming back on an issue which was raised by -- on
1 a number of occasions during your testimony. And General, I would like to
2 know whether -- when you were reminded that you were testifying under oath
3 before this Trial Chamber, whether you understood what that meant.
4 A. Yes, I fully understood what that meant.
5 Q. And after having spent almost ten days before this Trial Chamber,
6 would that lead you to change any of the answers you have given to this
8 A. Your Honours, I wouldn't change any of the answers that I have
9 given. I wouldn't change the substance of any of my answers. Perhaps I
10 made a slip of the tongue at some point, but I informed the Chamber of
11 everything I could remember. If I couldn't remember certain events, I
12 mentioned this fact.
13 Q. Thank you very much, General. The first issue I would like to
14 cover this morning is bringing you back to some of the questions which
15 were asked of you by the Presiding Judge with respect to the weapons that
16 were available to the 3rd Corps in 1993. Do you recall the essence of the
17 questions which were requested of you?
18 A. Yes, I do remember the essence of those questions.
19 Q. Thank you, General. I would like to ask you a few additional
20 questions with respect to weapons. Would you be able to enlighten the
21 Trial Chamber with respect to the number of bullets that a soldier going
22 into any combat task should be given according to the training that you
23 have received.
24 A. I don't quite understand the question. Are you referring to the
25 training I had in the former JNA or the training I obtained in the course
1 of the war and after the war? One never stops learning; one never stops
2 training. So perhaps you could put a more precise question to me.
3 Q. Thank you very much, General. I will try to have a little more
4 precise question. Based on your experience as a soldier, if soldiers
5 under your command were to be assigned to a combat task, what would be the
6 basic load that they would carry in terms of the number of bullets?
7 A. In all armies throughout the world, there are certain established
8 norms that are established when soldiers are assigned a task. These norms
9 vary depending on the army concerned. I know that for a soldier in the
10 former JNA, it was normal to have two combat sets and one reserve combat
11 set. If the soldier were to go into action, to mount a defence or to
12 engage in an attack, it depends on the type of action, the type of attack,
13 for example. In certain conditions, the number of bullets is increased.
14 As for the members of the 3rd Corps, I know that these norms, the
15 norms of any army in the world, were not respected. I know that we
16 couldn't even provide a soldier with half a combat set. If you have an
17 automatic rifle, you need a lot of ammunition. We were not able to
18 provide such ammunition. I remember that we would send soldiers to launch
19 an attack with only 25 bullets for an automatic rifle. If you're aware of
20 the number of bullets such a weapon can fire in one minute, then one might
21 say that this amounted to nothing. We tried to tell our soldiers not to
22 open bursts of fire, but save as much ammunition as they could. That was
23 the situation in the 3rd Corps.
24 Q. Thank you, General. Can you confirm some information which was
25 provided by some witnesses before this Trial Chamber, that the actual
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 number of weapons which were available to a unit was in some cases one
2 weapon for each three soldiers. Is that a ratio that is familiar to you
3 based on your experience with the 3rd Corps in 1993?
4 MR. MUNDIS: Objection, leading.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What makes the question a
6 leading one, Mr. Mundis? You have objected. Defence counsel has asked
7 the witness to mention the ratio he was aware of. I don't think that that
8 would be a leading question, Mr. Mundis.
9 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, it was the first part of that question
10 where my learned colleague put a statement to him, to the witness, and
11 asked him to confirm a ratio that other witnesses have provided. And then
12 in effect asked him either to agree or disagree with that. The way that
13 entire statement and question were formulated suggests the answer to the
14 question, in our respectful submission.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, Mr. Bourgon. Try to
16 put the question in a neutral manner. I know that you are trying to be
17 expeditious, but sometimes it is necessary to be cautious.
18 Please proceed, Mr. Bourgon.
19 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Naturally, this is an objection raised by my colleague that I anticipated.
21 Mr. President, the witness has been testifying for ten days now, and on a
22 number of occasions I refer to statements made either by the witness or by
23 the Chamber or by the Prosecution. And the purpose of referring to these
24 statements is to ask the witness to express his opinion. Although this
25 may appear to be a leading question, since we're asking the witness's
1 opinion, his answer is not going to be yes or no. The witness is only
2 asked to say what he thinks about a certain matter. So I don't think it's
3 a leading question, Mr. President.
4 But I will do my best to put the questions in a neutral way.
5 Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. General, I would like to rephrase my last question and simply ask
7 you, to your knowledge, what was the ratio of weapons per member within a
8 unit of the 3rd Corps in 1993?
9 A. The ratio was fairly unfavourable. Not every soldier had a rifle.
10 At the most critical locations, one soldier would have one rifle. At less
11 critical locations, the ratio was worse. There would be one rifle for
12 four soldiers. The weapons or the rifles they had were of very calibres
13 and various types. There were ordinary rifles such as the ones used in
14 the Second World War, and semi-automatic rifles that had been one of the
15 more important weapons in the former JNA. There were automatic rifles of
16 various calibres. None of this had been standardised. The men had no
17 other weapons. If you observe a front line, you will notice that there
18 are weapons that come from the First World War and weapons that are more
19 contemporary. But we didn't have the most modern automatic rifles such as
20 the ones used by NATO. So this was very outdated. Weapons had been used
21 a lot as they weren't very precise. We didn't have time to clean the
23 You probably know that it's necessary to clean the weapons
24 regularly. The barrels have to be maintained. They have to be protected
25 from rust. The conditions were very bad. There was fighting in the
1 trenches, et cetera, et cetera.
2 Q. Thank you, General. I would like now to ask that the -- you be
3 given the exhibit, Prosecution Exhibit 272, which will then be followed by
4 exhibit, Prosecution Exhibit 192.
5 Do you have this document, General?
6 A. I have Document 272 in front of me.
7 Q. Now, General, I would like to ask you a -- some questions in
8 relation to this document as a follow up to the questions that you were
9 asked by the Presiding Judge. Do you recognise this document?
10 A. Yes, I do.
11 Q. I would like to refer you inside this document to page 4. Do you
12 see in the middle of page 4 that there is a breakdown of materiel and
13 equipment in ten different tactical groups. The title of this paragraph
14 is called "filling in the OE2 form," O for oscar, E for echo.
15 Do you see this paragraph on page 4? The number of the page, to
16 help you out, the -- what we call ERN number is 01821334, which appears in
17 the top right corner of this document.
18 A. Yes, I have found that page.
19 Q. I would just like you to look at the list on this page, and then
20 move on further down to page 8 of the document -- sorry, page 9. And page
21 9, the ERN number for this page will be 01821337.
22 A. I've found that page, too.
23 Q. Now, I see on this page, General, quite an impressive list of
24 weapons, devices, and equipment. Did the 3rd Corps have this type of
25 equipment in 1993? And I'd ask to take your time and look at sections 1,
1 sections 2, and sections 3.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Could the document be placed on the ELMO for the
3 interpreters, please.
4 MR. BOURGON:
5 Q. Have you had time, General, to go through the list under serial 1,
6 which includes the way it is titled in English "weapons, devices, and
7 equipment"; under serial 2, "ammunition, mines, and explosives"; and
8 serial 3, "motor vehicles, trailers, carts, and other vehicles"?
9 A. Yes, I've had a brief look at these lists.
10 Q. Did this list, General, refer to equipment that you had in 1993?
11 A. Your Honours, this is just a list which refers to the weapons in
12 code, under codes. I don't think we had all these weapons, though. In
13 1993, people would also use or take some of their own weapons to the lines
14 they were defending in a given zone. So the chief of staff recorded the
15 numbers here so that it would be easier to follow and so that when reports
16 were provided, the 3rd Corps can understand them more easily since the
17 names used are identical.
18 Q. So am I to understand, General, that this is only a staff list,
19 and that has nothing to do with the equipment that the 3rd Corps actually
20 had in stock in 1993?
21 A. The 3rd Corps did not have all this equipment at its disposal, at
22 least not in the way it is written here.
23 Q. Thank you, General. I would now like to give you a second
24 document, which is Document Prosecution Exhibit --
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Are you saying that the 3rd
1 Corps did not have the weapons which are mentioned here? Is this the
2 right understanding of your words? Is that what you're saying?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I've said that the 3rd
4 Corps did not have all of the equipment and weapons that are on the list
5 here. They did have some weapons and some equipment.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In that case, it was a problem
7 of interpretation. What you're saying is they did not have all of these
8 weapons and equipment at their disposal, but just some. For example, RPG
9 number 163, and it seems that there were 28 of those in one of the
10 brigades, if -- I'm speaking from memory.
11 Mr. Bourgon, you may proceed.
12 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. General, I now refer you to Prosecution Exhibit 192. Do you have
14 this document, General?
15 A. Yes, I do.
16 Q. I would like to refer you to this document, and to move to page
17 24. And this is a chart called "overview of the use of artillery
19 A. Is this page numbered 01851616?
20 Q. Yes, it is, General. Sorry, I should have mentioned that number.
21 A. Yes, I am looking at that page.
22 Q. Can you, General, look at these figures which represent the use of
23 artillery ammunition and provide your opinion to the Trial Chamber as to
24 whether the quantities in this chart allow you to conclude as to how much
25 artillery ammunition the 3rd Corps had during 1993.
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 A. If we look at the standards of which I have already spoken
2 earlier, what is shown here as the total figure for the entire corps is
3 below the norm appropriate for a brigade. This was a minimum. At one
4 point in time, I said that it would have been equal to 0 for a
5 professional soldier. This number of artillery, bullets and shells, are
6 not very conducive to an efficient combat. And I've said that this is
7 below standard for a brigade, let alone for a corps which had over 10
8 brigades. If we talk percentages, this paints a very unfavourable picture
9 for the corps which had between twenty-five and thirty thousand men.
10 Q. Now, General, I would just like to -- there was a document that I
11 could show you now, but to gain time, a document highlighting the use of
12 3.000 rounds of artillery for a 24-hour operation by the HVO. Is that a
13 possible figure in your opinion?
14 A. I moved around quite a lot, and I had a lot of information. In
15 addition to that, I heard shelling -- shells being fired by the HVO and
16 the Serbian aggressor on our defence lines. I could hear the long-range
17 artillery very well, and I could tell very well where the shells came
18 from. You could tell exactly what direction the long-range artillery
19 shots came from. Based on that, I could come up with somewhat more
20 reliable estimates. I did not count the number and the frequency of
21 shells, but I'm sure that there were a lot of shells being fired from the
22 HVO and from the area under the aggressor, under the Republika Srpska
24 I'm sure that a lot of artillery ammunition was fired, both by the
25 HVO as well as from the area under the control of the aggressor.
1 Q. Thank you very much, General. Can you in any way compare the
2 artillery ammunition available to the 3rd Corps with that which was
3 available to the HVO in 1993.
4 A. According to my rough estimates, the ratio was 1 to 10, 15, or
5 even 20. If the army was able to fire one shell, then the HVO on their
6 hand could have responded with 20 or even more shells. So I suppose this
7 would have been an approximate estimate of the ratio.
8 Q. Thank you, General. Could you -- in response to a question which
9 you were asked concerning how you managed to obtain equipment throughout
10 1993, you mentioned that one of the sources was capture during operation.
11 Can you explain to the Trial Chamber how is it that capture during
12 operations becomes a source of getting new weapons for you.
13 A. It is correct that I said that capture of arms and equipment from
14 the aggressor against Bosnia and Herzegovina and from the HVO was one of
15 the sources of equipping and arming members of the 3rd Corps. When you
16 look at the other possible sources, then this was the main source of
17 supply of weapons and equipment for members of the 3rd Corps. I can say
18 before this Trial Chamber that members of the 3rd Corps on a number of
19 occasions captured arms and equipment. And I could give you individual
20 examples on several occasions I witnessed when the 3rd Corps members
21 captured weapons. On two occasions, I witnessed tanks being captured from
22 the enemy. An army fighter came 80 metres close to a tank. He fired an
23 anti-fire shell, and the tank was hit. It wasn't hit properly, but still,
24 it had to stop. The aggressor soldiers fled from the tank, and our men
25 brought a Caterpillar 8. This was a very heavy piece of engineering
1 equipment in private ownership, and they towed the tank to a workshop
2 where it was repaired. This tank was T84, and this is how we obtained we
3 it. You can imagine how happy we were when we were able to get hold of
4 two combat kits for this tank. It was a huge reward for us. I remember
5 that event. We were celebrating all day when we managed to get hold of
6 such a good tank and two combat sets for this tank.
7 I could share with you a lot more details. I know that our men
8 stormed into the trenches of the HVO and of the aggressor against the
9 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In those trenches, we would find
10 thousands upon thousands of bullets and hundreds upon hundreds of shells.
11 And this was the main source of supply for the units of the Army of Bosnia
12 and Herzegovina and of the 3rd Corps.
13 Q. Thank you, General. In response to questions that were put to you
14 by the Trial Chamber, you had the chance to talk about the combat power of
15 the HVO. How would you compare combat power of the HVO with that of the
16 3rd Corps, taking into account all factors that you said were relevant to
17 this comparison; namely, weapons and human resources?
18 A. Before this Trial Chamber, I have already mentioned the factors
19 that have an impact on the strength of a unit. Obviously, the number of
20 troops and the number of weapons are the most important factors. In
21 addition to that, the number of shells and the type of weapons are very
22 important. If your weapons are outdated, if they're not modern, that puts
23 you in a less favourable position. If you look and compare members of the
24 HVO and members of the 3rd Corps, I can claim with certainty that the
25 number of troops was in favour of the 3rd Corps. But the number of arms
1 was in favour of the HVO.
2 I had opportunities to see for myself when I was moving around as
3 a member of joint commissions. I moved around the defence positions of
4 the HVO as well as of the defence position of the BiH Army. I was with
5 Mr. Franjo Nakic. I did not enjoy any privileges with regard to members
6 of the HVO; however, I could clearly see that every member of the HVO was
7 equipped with very modern automatic weapons. A member of the BiH Army, on
8 the other hand, did not have a weapon each. If they had weapons, those
9 were rifles of different calibres, of different makes. I've already said
10 that we had rifles from the Second World War. There were semi-automatic
11 rifles of the former JNA. There were very few automatic rifles. I even
12 saw men on the line who had hunting rifles, unlike among the HVO who all
13 had automatic rifles.
14 I also know how many artillery pieces they had. I can also tell
15 you that judging by the number of shells fired, the HVO had a huge
17 As for the equipment that a soldier is supposed to carry, I had an
18 opportunity to see the difference between the equipment of the HVO and the
19 BiH Army soldiers. All the HVO soldiers had uniforms and shoes. Members
20 of the 3rd Corps did not have uniforms. Some had only parts of uniforms.
21 Some were in civilian clothes. Some wore tennis shoes instead of boots.
22 I saw among the HVO that they had flak jackets which is a very important
23 safety factor for an infantry soldier, for a foot soldier. And it also
24 serves to increase such soldier's morale. On the other hand, members of
25 the BiH Army, including the 3rd Corps, did not have any bulletproof
1 clothes or vests. I could provide you with a lot more details to show you
2 that there was a huge difference between members of the HVO and members of
3 the BiH Army.
4 Q. Thank you, General. Now, if I ask you for just a quick response.
5 In terms of taking all those factors into account, which army was
6 stronger, the more combat power: The HVO in terms of the central
7 operative zone of CBOZ, or was it the 3rd Corps?
8 A. When you look at all this, you have to bear in mind that the main
9 mission of the 3rd Corps of the BiH Army was to defend the state from the
10 aggressor. And we never backed down from that mission. As members of the
11 3rd Corps, we had at least two-thirds of soldiers engaged in fighting with
12 the Serbian aggressor, and those lines were never abandoned. The rest of
13 the soldiers could have possibly been used and engaged against the HVO.
14 Now, if you look at that ratio, and if you know that only one-third of our
15 men could be engaged in fighting the HVO, and if you know that during the
16 most fierce fighting in Central Bosnia, the HVO had abandoned all of their
17 positions facing the aggressor, and they channelled all of their strength
18 to engage in fighting at the BiH Army, and if you look at this complex
19 problem, you may say that in this situation, the HVO was much more
20 powerful and had a lot more advantage.
21 Q. Thank you, General. And which army was stronger or had the
22 strongest combat power between the Bosnian Serb Army and the Army of
23 Bosnia and Herzegovina in your area of responsibility?
24 A. The Serbian aggressor had a much higher combat power. When I was
25 explaining things using the map, I told you that the 3rd Corps had to
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 defend itself from an attack of one entire corps and two other Serbian
2 aggressor corps which were not engaged only in the area of responsibility
3 of the 3rd Corps. In any military, when you're supposed to attack, you
4 use a much stronger force than the army that defends itself. The
5 aggressor had a huge advantage at the beginning of war. They had initial
6 successes in taking territory. The aggressor's power was much higher than
7 the power of the BiH Army, and the same situation could be felt in the
8 area of responsibility of the 3rd Corps. In other words, the aggressor
9 was much more powerful than the BiH Army.
10 Q. Thank you, General.
11 Now, if you put the HVO and the Bosnian Serb Army together facing
12 the 3rd Corps, is there any way you can compare the combat power of these
13 two entities?
14 A. Your Honours, I've already said something about that when I was
15 talking about having just one front facing the aggressor. And then we had
16 to open the second front facing the HVO. I've said here that the HVO and
17 the aggressor against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina cooperated
18 for a while. They were in agreement. During that period of time, the BiH
19 Army had two enemies. On the one hand, we were facing the aggressor
20 against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and on the other hand we
21 were facing the HVO, which was an enemy during a period of time. So if I
22 can come to a conclusion, I would say that we had the Serbian aggressor
23 which was much more powerful than the units of the 3rd Corps, and on the
24 other hand we had the HVO which in some of the elements had an advantage
25 over the units which came in direct conflict with the HVO.
1 You can imagine what was the situation that members of the 3rd
2 Corps found themselves in. I believe that in the history of warfare, this
3 had never been recorded or seen. I know that officers of foreign military
4 forces who were aware of the situation, they admired our strength, and
5 they really wondered how we could survive in such a situation with we were
6 facing two much more powerful enemies. When I look back at that time
7 today and when I compare what we were facing with the type of warfare
8 today, I really don't know how we managed to survive and how we managed to
9 defend ourselves from two enemies.
10 I also answered questions with regard to the opening of the third
11 front. Now, if the third front had been opened, can you imagine how
12 difficult this would have been for us. And we would have certainly lost
13 that war if that third front had been opened.
14 Q. Thank you, General. Can you simply explain to the Trial Chamber
15 what kind of stress and obligation would such a situation impose on the
16 commander of the corps.
17 A. Your Honours, this is very difficult to explain. You should be
18 there in order to understand this. I believe that even my commander was
19 not aware of how difficult the situation is and under what kind of stress
20 he was. Sometimes when I talked to my friends, I tell them that it was
21 absolutely beyond belief how he could cope with all that stress. When I
22 was talking about losses, I told you that my commander is a very sensitive
23 person. And if a soldier dies, one feels compassion. Can you imagine how
24 he felt when thousands of people died? He was aware that he could not
25 provide his men with enough ammunition, enough food, clothes. It is very
1 difficult to put all this into words.
2 You would have had to be there in order to understand. Only a
3 person who had been through that can understand that. I've already told
4 you that we had a very difficult situation when the aggressor captured
5 Jajce, when we had a very difficult situation in the plateau of Vlasic. I
6 was practically comatose at the time. I couldn't sleep for nights. I was
7 hungry, but I couldn't eat. I didn't have any appetite. I know that my
8 commander could not eat or sleep for days. I would find him in his chair
9 day in, day out. During the night, he would sleep in the chair. He did
10 not have the time to go to bed and have some rest. Those are moments
11 which are very difficult to describe, explain, and put into words. To this
12 very day, I don't stop wondering how he could survive all that.
13 Q. Thank you, General. You just mentioned something concerning the
14 number of casualties. And this was a question put to you by the Presiding
15 Judge of the Trial Chamber. And the figures mentioned were something like
16 1500 killed and 6400 injured. While you did not remember these figures,
17 were you surprised by these figures?
18 A. I knew that the 3rd Corps had sustained casualties. This was the
19 result of the balance of forces that I have just been talking about.
20 There was no other way for us to defend our country. And this is why we
21 sustained significant losses. If we had had good weapons, good equipment,
22 the losses would certainly not have been so great. But such were the
23 conditions we had to fight in. I think we managed to carry our mission
24 out. We defended that part of the territory against the aggressor and
25 against the HVO at the time. So if a professional soldier takes into
1 account the number of victims and the mission that has to be carried out,
2 well, then one might say that the victims served to accomplish their
3 mission. I do know that each and every life is valuable, and the
4 commanders try to do everything to prevent the loss of life. But
5 commanders have to always bear in mind their main task; they have to bear
6 in mind the manner in which they'll accomplish that task. So the losses
7 were really grave. But nevertheless, the mission was carried out.
8 Q. Thank you, General. I have one last question on this topic before
9 moving on. And that is do you know if there was an ammunition factory in
10 the area of responsibility of the 3rd Corps, and if so, where was it and
11 who controlled it?
12 A. A munition factory was in Konjic which was outside the 3rd Corps's
13 zone of responsibility. But according to the information I had, there
14 wasn't enough gunpowder in the factory to use for the weapons. We had
15 quite a few connections. It was possible for us to produce shell cases,
16 but we didn't have the explosives with which to fill those shells. So in
17 the zone of the 3rd Corps, there were no factories that produced
18 explosives. We couldn't produce shells for mass use. The amount that we
19 could produce was very slight.
20 Q. General, did the HVO have any means of producing explosives?
21 A. Yes, the main factory for producing explosives was in Vitez. It
22 was under the control of the HVO. I have reliable information according
23 to which that was the biggest factory of explosives in the Balkans, and it
24 was one of the foremost factories in Europe and perhaps in the world. I
25 know that the JNA would export explosives from Vitez to countries abroad.
1 It was well known, this, in Europe and beyond. So the explosives factory
2 was under the control of the HVO.
3 Q. And General, you are probably not an expert in explosives, but if
4 I ask you that this factory in Vitez, blowing up such a factory, what
5 would be the result?
6 A. Well, the result would be a huge explosion with catastrophic
7 consequences. I don't know what else I could say. That would be the
8 briefest reply I could provide you with.
9 Q. Are you aware, General, that there was a threat by the HVO to blow
10 up the factory in Vitez?
11 MR. MUNDIS: Objection. Mr. President, we're aware that there
12 were some questions put from the Bench on the weapons, but the Prosecution
13 submits that we've gone way far beyond the scope of questions put by the
14 Bench, and the -- these lines of questions are also irrelevant to the
15 charges that the accused are here to answer.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bourgon, in fact, we asked
17 questions about ABiH weapons. You're asking about HVO weapons. And why
18 not? But you are now dealing with the Vitez factory and the consequences
19 of blowing it up. You see, you're going off on a tangent.
20 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I'll move
21 on to another subject. But to ask whether a factory might be blown up,
22 well, this might have an effect on the way in which command and control
23 was exercised. That was the purpose of my question, but I'll move on to
24 another subject.
25 Q. General, the second topic I would like to go over with you is
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 questions that were put to you by the Trial Chamber with respect to your
2 own position in 1993 and when you had one or two positions. And my first
3 question to develop on this issue is: Can you briefly explain what is a
4 municipal defence staff.
5 A. A municipal defence staff is an organisation for defence within
6 the structure of the Territorial Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It's
7 located in a given municipality. It's a Territorial Defence organisation
8 for a given municipality. It was based on the structure of the
9 Territorial Defence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
10 Q. Thank you, General. And inside a municipal defence staff, what
11 kind of units can we find and what is the average size of a municipal
12 defence staff?
13 A. In municipal defence staffs, there were units that were called
14 anti-sabotage detachments. This depended on the size of the municipality,
15 but there would be two to three such detachments. In addition to the
16 command of a municipal staff, the municipal staff also had smaller units
17 for protection and smaller communication units. This was all linked to
18 well-defined territory. Anti-sabotage detachments were organisations
19 within the Territorial Defence, and they consisted of one to two
20 companies. If it was one company, it was a stronger company, or it had
21 two companies. Or a detachment had two companies and a platoon. So there
22 were between 280 and 300 men in one such detachment. That was the way in
23 which municipal staffs were organised. That's how they were established.
24 Q. Thank you, General. Can you explain to the Trial Chamber what is
25 the difference between a municipal defence staff and a district defence
2 A. A district or regional defence staff is the staff that is superior
3 to the municipal staff. A district defence staff was responsible for a
4 number of municipalities. A district defence staff had units of its own.
5 They were not very large. I know that in terms of establishment, the
6 Zenica district staff was to have a brigade, a protection company, a
7 communications platoon. These are all fairly small units. And the
8 brigade that the district defence staff was supposed to have consisted of
9 about a thousand, a thousand and fifty men. So within the system of
10 command and control, it's the command that is superior to the municipal
11 defence staff.
12 Q. Thank you, General. And your position before being appointed as
13 deputy commander of the 3rd Corps, can you specify between municipal
14 defence staff and district defence staff? Which was it?
15 A. Before I was appointed as deputy commander in the 3rd Corps, I was
16 commander of the district Territorial Defence staff for the Zenica area.
17 This area included 13 municipalities. And my superior command was the
18 Territorial Defence staff in Sarajevo, the Territorial Defence staff of
19 the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.
20 Q. And General, as commander of the district defence staff, how many
21 municipal defence staff reported to you?
22 A. There were 12 municipal staffs which were subordinated to the
23 district Territorial Defence staff. They were subordinated since this all
24 occurred within the system of command and control. That would be the more
25 appropriate term.
1 Q. Thank you, General. I would now like to ask the usher to provide
2 the witness with Defence Exhibit 610, which is one of the new documents on
3 the Defence list.
4 We have copies here. I suggest maybe we can put it on the ELMO.
5 Maybe you can show it to my colleague from the Prosecution before we do
6 put it on the ELMO.
7 Do you now have this document, General?
8 A. I have two documents. I don't know which one you're referring to.
9 Q. General, the one that is presently on the ELMO, which is Defence
10 Exhibit 610. Can you tell me where this document is from and who it is
11 addressed to.
12 A. It's easier for me to look at the original, so I apologise if I
13 read the document in this way.
14 This document is from the supreme command staff of the armed
15 forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
16 Q. And who is it addressed to?
17 A. To the chief of the supreme command staff of the armed forces of
18 the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
19 Q. And to your knowledge, reading this document, what is the purpose
20 of the document?
21 A. This is a proposal to resolve the status of district and municipal
22 defence staffs.
23 Q. Can you turn, General, to this document, the last page looking at
24 the person who has signed this document and tell us -- what can you tell
25 us about the signature block of this document?
1 A. The signature block refers to the work group, to the deputy chief
2 of the armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jovan
4 Q. And General, do you know Jovan Divjak?
5 A. Yes, I know Jovan Divjak. He is a general in the Army of the
6 Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina now, too.
7 Q. Thank you, General. Now, can you tell me whether on 29 January
8 1993 the status of district and municipal defence staff was an issue of
9 interest to the 3rd Corps?
10 A. The existence of a district staff was no longer a matter of
11 interest for the 3rd Corps. That is why the district staffs were
12 disbanded. But municipal staffs remained to cover certain territories.
13 Q. I would now like to refer you, General, to Defence Exhibit 629,
14 which is a document dated on the 24th of January 1993.
15 A. I have that document.
16 Q. Can you look at the document and explain exactly what this
17 document is saying.
18 A. This is a document from the supreme command staff of the armed
19 forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The chief of the
20 supreme command staff of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sefer
21 Halilovic, has signed this document. It's forwarded to the -- or it's
22 addressed to all corps commands. And item one states that all municipal
23 staffs should be maintained in their present function, especially as
24 pertains to the districts and the running of local units based in the
25 territory of the municipality. Item two says that municipal defence
1 staffs should be maintained to unite the running of municipal staffs,
2 cooperating, coordinating with the secretaries of defence, organs of the
3 interior, and government organs in the territory, reduce the number of
4 staff in the municipal staffs to 10 per cent of establishment. The corps
5 commands will redeploy redundant personnel as they require.
6 Q. Thank you, General. I would now like the usher to provide you
7 with Prosecution Exhibit 320 as well as Prosecution Exhibit 245. And
8 before those documents are given to you, General, can you recall when the
9 district defence staff of Zenica was disbanded? Let's begin, General,
10 with Prosecution Exhibit 320, a document dated 16th of April 1993. Can
11 you read this document and inform the Trial Chamber whether you are
12 familiar with the contents of the document.
13 A. This is a document from the 3rd Corps command. It's an order to
14 all municipal defence staffs. This document refers to district staffs and
15 municipal defence staffs. The document says that the district defence
16 staff in Zenica will be disbanded, and the command of the 3rd Corps, the
17 organ for territorial structures will be taking over what was previously
18 the responsibility of municipal defence staffs. Municipal staffs which
19 aren't part of the district staff in Zenica have to carry out all the
20 responsibilities they have with respect to the command of the 3rd Corps.
21 Q. Thank you, General. I would now like to take you a look at
22 Prosecution Exhibit 245, a document dated 18 November 1992 and inform the
23 Trial Chamber whether you are familiar with the contents of this document.
24 A. This is a document from the supreme command staff of the armed
25 forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has been signed by
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 the chief of staff, the supreme command staff, Sefer Halilovic. This is
2 an order for war duties in the units of the Army of Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina, or rather, in the 3rd Corps.
4 Q. General, could you look at where it says "order" under paragraph
5 1.A(ii), and inform the Trial Chamber as to what you see there.
6 A. A(i) says Enver Hadzihasanovic is appointed to position of corps
7 commander. Number two says Dzemal Merdan is hereby appointed to the
8 position of the deputy commander of the corps.
9 Q. Thank you, General. I now refer you to paragraph 2 of this order,
10 and I would ask you to read this paragraph for the Trial Chamber.
11 A. Item 2: "The officers who have hereby been appointed as acting
12 officers in accordance with this order will be relieved of their duties to
14 Q. Thank you, General. And what were your duties before being
15 appointed as deputy commander of the 3rd Corps?
16 A. Before I was appointed as deputy commander of the 3rd Corps, as I
17 have already said, I was the commander of the Zenica district staff.
18 Q. Now, General, can you - if you know - inform the Trial Chamber
19 whether a new commander was appointed to replace you as commander of the
20 district defence staff.
21 A. No, Your Honours. No one was appointed to replace me as commander
22 of the Zenica district defence staff.
23 Q. Now, General, during your testimony, you explained that when in a
24 situation of war or other the commanding officer disappeared for some
25 reason, that the chief of staff would take over until a new commander was
1 appointed. Do you recall this part of your testimony?
2 A. I don't quite understand your question. Could you please repeat
4 Q. I'm sorry, General. I will try to be a bit more precise.
5 Questions were put to you in respect to your position as commander of the
6 district defence staff. Now, when you were relieved of your duties as
7 commander of the district defence staff, what happened there if no new
8 commander was appointed, as you say?
9 A. Usually an acting commander is appointed, especially since the
10 district staff was also supposed to be disbanded. As I have said, this is
11 an entire process. You can't just disband such a unit overnight. This
12 requires a certain amount of time. So in such cases, an acting commander
13 is appointed. Someone who isn't actually the commander, but someone who
14 is just the acting commander.
15 Q. And in this case, General, was an acting commander actually
16 appointed for a district defence staff? And if so, who was it?
17 A. In this specific case, the person who was appointed was
18 Mr. Ramiz Dugalic. He was appointed the acting commander of the district
19 defence staff of Zenica.
20 Q. Now, General, you were asked a question by the Trial Chamber as to
21 why -- during the period that you were relieved of your duties until the
22 district defence staff was disbanded, why your name continued to appear on
23 some documents of the district defence staff. In light of all answers you
24 have just provided, can you explain the situation.
25 A. The district defence staff still existed. It was in the process
1 of being disbanded. Now, when you look at the difference between
2 disbanded and "in the process of being disbanded," there is the time that
3 is required for such an institution to stop existing. There were still
4 functions that the staff performed, and the 3rd Corps was still in the
5 process of uniting all the defence staffs, and the 3rd Corps was still in
6 the process of establishing a body within the 3rd Corps that would take
7 over the duties. This is a transition period, a period that was still
8 going on.
9 Q. And General, one final question before the break: When the
10 district defence staff was disbanded, what happened to Ramiz Dugalic who
11 was then acting as commander of the district defence staff?
12 A. As far as I can remember, when the position of the acting
13 commander was abolished and when he stopped being in that position, he was
14 appointed the head of the department for security within the 3rd Corps of
15 the BiH Army.
16 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, General.
17 [Interpretation] Mr. President, I believe that it is the time for
18 our first break.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. It is 25 to 11.00. We
20 will have a 25-minute break and we shall resume at 11.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall now resume.
24 Mr. Bourgon, you have the floor.
25 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. General, we left off talking about the difference between district
2 defence staff and municipal defence staff and your position. I would now
3 like to address some questions which were put to you concerning the
4 difference between offensive and defensive actions. Do you recall being
5 asked questions in relation to such combat activities?
6 A. Yes, I do.
7 MR. BOURGON: I would ask the usher to provide the witness with
8 Prosecution Document P799 as well as P800.
9 Q. And General, I would begin with Document P799. And if you have
10 this document, I would ask whether you recognise this document.
11 A. Your Honour, I've never seen this document before. I recognise it
12 as a document from the General Staff of the Socialist Federative Republic
13 of Yugoslavia, and this is the temporary regulations of the army.
14 Q. General, I would like to you to turn to page 21 of this manual and
15 to look at paragraph 65, which is the paragraph that was read to you by
16 the Presiding Judge of the Trial Chamber.
17 A. I've found page 21 in this document. However, I am not clear on
18 the paragraph number. Did you say 6?
19 Q. 65, sorry.
20 A. Page 65?
21 Q. No, page 21, paragraph 65. Have you found this page, General?
22 A. In my copy, this is page 33.
23 Q. Can you read this paragraph, General, because I have a different
24 page number.
25 A. I can read paragraph 65.
1 Q. I would ask you to read paragraph 65, please.
2 A. Paragraph 65: "The commander bears full responsibility for the
3 exercise of the task. He makes the decision, he issues orders to his
4 subordinates, he organises coaction and cooperation and controls the
5 exercise of the decision. He is responsible for the coordination of all
6 the activities of his command, of his subordinate commands, and staffs as
7 well as of the appropriate social and political organisations when it
8 comes to the unification of combat operations and all the other forms of
9 fight and general people's resistance in the zone of responsibility given
10 to him."
11 Q. Thank you, General. In response to a question which was put to
12 you by the Presiding Judge, you mentioned that you had not been commander
13 of a corps and that applied specifically to a corps commander. However, I
14 would like to ask you, because you have been working for three different
15 corps commanders between 1993 and 1994, I would ask you to comment on this
16 paragraph and explain, if you can, what is meant by "the commander bearing
17 full responsibility for the accomplishment of a mission"?
18 A. I've already said that, and I've read, that this rule existed in
19 the former Yugoslav Army, and this was a temporary rule. As to bearing
20 full responsibility in the former JNA was considered a very broad term.
21 In the army, we believe that this responsibility was only for soldiers who
22 were subordinate to this commander. This is the responsibility that we
23 applied in our activities.
24 Q. Thank you, General. Now, when we talk about the accomplishment of
25 the mission, what is meant by "the responsibility for the mission"?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 A. A mission is something that is given in the form of a task to a
2 subordinate unit. And as soon as that is done, it is this subordinate
3 unit that is responsible for the task. However, when you look at the
4 overall mission of the corps, the corps had its own basic mission. I've
5 already spoken about that. The main mission of the corps command was to
6 defend the territory of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in its area
7 of responsibility. And this is the zone of responsibility of the 3rd
8 Corps. This was the main mission, and the corps commander was responsible
9 for this mission that he was given by his superior command. This was the
10 main mission of the corps commander.
11 Q. Thank you, General. Now, of course, this manual was never in
12 force in the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but I would ask you, based on
13 your military experience, what should the corps commander focus on while
14 he occupies the function of corps commander?
15 A. The corps commander focuses his entire attention to the
16 accomplishment of his main mission. I said what the main mission of the
17 corps commander was. This was the focus of his attention. This was his
18 main task, his main duty.
19 Q. Thank you, General. I will now ask you to turn to the second
20 document which was provided to you, which is P800. And I would refer you
21 to page 9 where it says "commander."
22 A. Can you please repeat the page number. I didn't hear you too
24 Q. Sorry. The page number was page 14 -- sorry, page 9 in your
25 version. And the ERN number is 00387498. And it says "commander."
1 A. Yes, I've found that text.
2 Q. Now, looking at the two first paragraphs, can you read this out
3 loud for the Trial Chamber, please.
4 A. "Corps commander: Commands over all the corps units and all the
5 units attached to it in the zone directly or indirectly through the chief
6 of staff, through his deputy, and through chiefs of branches.
7 "He commands the corps command directly. He issues tasks to his
8 subordinates. He controls the accomplishment of these tasks and bears
9 full responsibility for the accomplishment of these tasks and for the
10 overall situation in the corps."
11 Q. Am I to understand, General, from this paragraph that if the
12 mission fails, the commander is responsible; and if the mission succeeds,
13 the commander is responsible?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And General, do you see a difference between military
16 responsibility as we find it in this paragraph and legal or criminal
17 responsibility of a person?
18 A. I didn't understand your question. Could you please repeat it.
19 Q. Sorry, I will try to make my question more precise. In this
20 paragraph, we speak of the --
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I authorise you to put this
22 question. The Judges have not put this question to the witness. However,
23 I still will allow you to put this question.
24 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I believe
25 that this question stems from the Judges' questions, and I thank you for
1 your permission to put it to the witness anyway.
2 Q. General, the -- in this paragraph that we just read, we speak
3 about the responsibility of a commander for the corps and for the mission.
4 Now, in your -- to your knowledge, and that is, of course, if you know, do
5 you make a distinction between the responsibility of a commander to
6 accomplish his mission and the responsibility of a commander for crimes
7 that he may commit?
8 A. A commander is responsible for the accomplishment of his mission.
9 Q. Thank you, General. I will move on now to -- if you go a little
10 up on this page where we have "the duties of a corps command." And I
11 would ask you simply to look at these issues, including what the duties of
12 a corps command are, and confirm whether you would agree that these are,
13 indeed, the duties of a corps command.
14 Sorry, General, I will maybe -- I was just referring you to page
15 9, paragraph 2, and asking you to confirm whether the duties of a corps
16 command relate to the list that is on that page.
17 A. I would have to go over all of the duties of the corps command and
18 its bodies. There are a number of pages here. But only this would allow
19 me to answer your question completely.
20 Q. In this case, General, I would simply ask you to focus on the
21 duties of the commander personally which you find starts at the bottom of
22 page 9 and continues at the top of page 10. And I would ask you to read
23 all of the duties of the commander and to inform the Trial Chamber whether
24 all of these duties are indeed what a commander does.
25 A. I have gone through the main duties of a commander as they are
1 listed in here.
2 Q. And based on your experience, General, working with at least three
3 different corps commanders, is that what can be expected from a corps
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, in response to a question which was put to you by the Trial
7 Chamber, you mentioned the words "operational" and "strategic." The
8 Prosecution expert witness explained that there were three levels of
9 command and control, which were tactical, operational, and strategic. Can
10 you provide the Trial Chamber with your opinion as to whether these three
11 levels also applied to the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. The same expert witness for the Prosecution said that a commander
14 at the operational level needed to focus a minimum of four days ahead.
15 Would you agree with the expert for the Prosecution?
16 A. It depends on the situation. I've testified before this Trial
17 Chamber that the corps commander has to think ahead. And this is the
18 essence of his operative thinking. Sometimes it can be four days or five
19 days ahead. This depends on the situation. In any case, I claim that any
20 commander at that level has to think ahead.
21 Q. Thank you, General. Can you define for the Trial Chamber in order
22 that we try to clarify the issue of military operations as you understand
23 military operations to be.
24 A. The term "military operations" in my view implies the totality of
25 combat operations and actions of operational and strategic significance.
1 Q. Can you confirm for the Trial Chamber whether the corps -- at
2 which level do we find the corps when we speak of tactical, operational,
3 and strategic?
4 A. The corps is at the operational level.
5 Q. So are we to understand, General, that military operations, to
6 your understanding, would be operations conducted by a corps using all of
7 its assets at once?
8 A. Yes. Operations may be carried out by one corps or by two corps.
9 If it is just one corps that is involved in operations, then yes, only for
10 one corps.
11 Q. Now, did the 3rd Corps of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
12 conduct any military operations in your understanding of the term in 1993?
13 A. In 1993, the 3rd Corps was engaged in Defence operations. It was
14 never engaged in any assault operations. It was engaged only in Defence
15 operations because this was its operational mission. The mission was to
16 defend the territory that had come under the attack of the aggressor
17 against Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was the operational mission of the
18 3rd Corps, defence. The 3rd Corps was never engaged in any assault
20 Q. And General, did any units of the 3rd Corps conduct combat
21 activities at the tactical level during 1993?
22 A. One may say that in certain periods of time, lower tactical units
23 were engaged in tactical combat actions. But those were not operations.
24 There's a difference between an action and an operation.
25 Q. And if we look at the tactical combat activities, this was a
1 question put to you by the Presiding Judge, are there such things as
2 defensive tactical combat activities and offensive tactical combat
4 A. If we're considering the entire year of 1993, then in the 3rd
5 Corps' zone of responsibility, there are both offensive tactical
6 activities and defensive tactical activities.
7 Q. Thank you, General. At page 13.597 of the transcript, an example
8 was given of a tactical offensive operation. In order for the Trial
9 Chamber to understand the differences between the types of operation at
10 the tactical level, I would simply ask you to qualify different examples,
11 the first one being for a company to occupy an elevation where there is no
12 enemy presently. How would you qualify such activity?
13 A. If a company is attacking an elevation defended by the enemy which
14 was always present at that elevation, then this is an offensive tactical
15 action. If at that elevation, before the enemy took that elevation, that
16 unit or that company or part of that unit was present there, well, in such
17 a case, this is an offensive defence because you have to take up the
18 position at that elevation. That is how I used to interpret this, and
19 that is how I interpret it now, too.
20 Q. And General, if a company occupies an elevation and holds this
21 elevation in order to prevent the enemy from capturing this elevation, how
22 would you describe such combat activity?
23 A. I haven't understood your question. Was the enemy present at that
24 elevation or not? This is very important.
25 Q. I will say again this question. A company occupies an elevation
1 where there is no enemy but stays on the elevation to prevent an enemy
2 from taking the elevation.
3 A. I wouldn't consider that to be combat action. All that is is
4 taking up defensive position. This doesn't involve combat action, unless
5 an enemy sabotage group infiltrates the area. But if there is no combat,
6 we can't talk about combat action. This is a matter of taking up tactical
7 position, and it doesn't involve any combat.
8 Q. And last scenario, General: If a company occupying an elevation
9 loses the elevation and then succeeds in taking it back a few hours later,
10 how do you describe such combat activity?
11 A. Well, I would say that that is practically speaking an offensive
12 defence because this elevation might be lost for various reasons, and the
13 elevation might be very important for the company. Combat ensues, and the
14 company takes the elevation again. This is an offensive defence. The
15 unit engages in combat to regain the elevation it previously had. If they
16 continued with their attack from that elevation, then we could talk about
17 an offence, an actual offence, an actual attack.
18 Q. Thank you, General.
19 Now, in both defensive and offensive combat activity, is it
20 possible, and even likely, that weapons will be fired?
21 A. Yes, fire would be opened.
22 Q. Now, when we look at the corps commander, you've told us that he
23 was at the operational level. Is it -- are we to understand that the
24 corps commander does not focus on tactical combat activities unless they
25 are of an operational importance?
1 A. A commander is involved in tactical combat activities if such
2 activities are in the vicinity of some operative feature or if those -- or
3 if that tactical combat might threaten some sort of tactical target.
4 Q. Now, General, you were asked many questions about the combat
5 activities which took place in the Dusina area. And my question would
6 be: In your opinion, would the Lasva Valley junction qualify as an
7 operational feature?
8 A. Yes. As I have already explained, it's very important to have
9 good communications for a unit. The Lasva junction is the most important
10 road in the zone of responsibility of the 3rd Corps. It's important to
11 have good roads, functional roads. And that is why this feature had
12 operational importance.
13 Q. Now, General, I'd like to move on to the -- what actually happened
14 in Dusina. I don't want, of course, to ask over again everything that was
15 asked of you already. I would just like to go back in time a bit so that
16 we understand what gave rise to the events in Dusina. And my first
17 question would be: The combat activities which took place in Dusina, was
18 that an isolated incident, or was that part of a series of events which
19 started before that?
20 A. I have already testified about this subject. I'll just try to be
21 more precise now. It's necessary to bear in mind the exact dates and gain
22 a view of what took place at a given date and to see what the causes were.
23 I said that there was combat in the area of Busovaca on the 25th of
24 January 1993. HVO units were very successful along the axis in the
25 direction of the Lasva junction from Kaonik via the village of Katici and
1 then Medeni towards Lasva. It was necessary to take up positions there in
2 order to stop the HVO advance in the direction of the Lasva junction.
3 Q. Now, General, the -- you mentioned Busovaca. Was Busovaca the
4 origin of the events in Dusina, or can we go even further back to find the
5 origin of those events?
6 A. At the time it was quite clear to me that the HVO wanted to take
7 control of the wider area around the Lasva junction in order to gain
8 control of a very important road, a road that had operational significance
9 for the 3rd Corps. Naturally, when I now look back to those events, the
10 HVO was very successful on the 25th of January. Their objective was to
11 take control of the area around the Lasva junction. And this feature was
12 of exceptional importance.
13 Q. Thank you, General. Now, in many documents which were shown to
14 you in respect of those events, there was mention of fighting in Gornji
15 Vakuf. In your opinion, was the fighting in Gornji Vakuf related to the
16 fighting in the Lasva Valley?
17 A. Yes. This was combat that took place in the zone of
18 responsibility of the 3rd Corps. This was important for the corps command
19 because this is something that took place in the zone of responsibility of
20 the 3rd Corps.
21 Q. Now, given that you were involved in those activities, can you
22 recall when the fighting in Gornji Vakuf took place and what the HVO was
23 attempting to do at that time.
24 A. That's correct. I was in the area of Gornji Vakuf. That was in
25 mid-January 1993. And the HVO wanted to take Gornji Vakuf. The fighting
1 was fierce, the fighting to take control of the entire area of Gornji
3 Q. Did the 3rd Corps expect such activity in Gornji Vakuf, or were
4 you taken by surprise?
5 A. I don't believe that they expected such an action in Gornji Vakuf.
6 We were taken by surprise up there because at the time, we believed that
7 the HVO shared our objective, which was to defend ourselves from the
8 aggressor. We didn't expect to be attacked by the HVO.
9 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Mr. President, at this point, I
10 would like to produce three new documents. I would like to show the
11 witness three new documents which have to do with events in this area.
12 And we have copies for the witness, the Chamber, and for the Prosecution.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.
14 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, we'll wait until we see the new
15 documents. But of course, if it goes beyond the scope of questions put by
16 Your Honours, we would respectfully request the right to put some
17 additional questions to the witness concerning the documents.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. If I have understood you
19 correctly, you wanted to explain the events in Dusina in relation to what
20 took place in Gornji Vakuf.
21 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Mr. President, our objective is to
22 show the cause of the events in Dusina and to show why the commander acted
23 in a certain way. But this won't take very long, and we will only be
24 using these several documents to demonstrate the link.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There are three documents or
1 five documents?
2 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Mr. President, there are five
3 documents, but two are on our list and three were not on our list. The
4 two documents on our list are DH554 and DH562.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And where are the three new
6 documents from?
7 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] All these documents come from --
8 just a minute, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This will help us to save time.
10 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the first two
11 documents are dated the 12th and the 13th of January. And they come from
12 the Sarajevo collection, whereas the third document comes from the
13 Defence's archives, but it is directly linked to the two other documents
14 as the Chamber will be able to note.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Were these three new documents
16 on your list?
17 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] No, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Principally, you should ask for
19 leave. We are granting you leave to use these three documents.
20 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. General, may I ask you to look at those three documents very
22 quickly. The first document is dated 12 January, and the ERN number is
23 01822083. The second document is dated 13 January 1993, and the ERN
24 number is 01822089.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No, we don't have that one. The
1 document dated the 13th of January, we don't have that one. Apparently,
2 we have been given two copies of the same document, the document dated the
4 So that's the document dated the 13th January.
5 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Mr. President, there are three
6 documents. Two are dated the 12th of January, and one is dated the 13th
7 of January.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, so there are two documents
9 that are dated the 12th of January.
10 There are two documents dated the 12th of January. The numbers is
11 119 and 120. These are the 3rd Corps numbers.
12 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] The third document, which is dated
13 the 13th of January, has the 3rd Corps number 128.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] 128, that's correct.
15 MR. BOURGON:
16 Q. There are three documents, the first two dated --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute.
18 Mr. Mundis, can you find your bearings? There's a document dated
19 the 12th of January from the 3rd Corps signed by General Hadzihasanovic
20 which was forwarded to the 314th and 7th Brigade. On the same date, the
21 addressee is the same, but the number is 120. That's the number -- the
22 first one was 119. The first paragraph is identical to the previous one;
23 it's the second paragraph that changes.
24 The third document, number 128, was forwarded to the district
25 staff and the municipal staff, and it's dated the 13th of January. What
1 would you say about this, Mr. Mundis? Are there any objections that you
2 have to these documents that come from the 3rd Corps and relate to the 7th
3 Brigade and have been signed by the 3rd Corps commander?
4 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I now have the three documents. Our
5 objection is not so much to the documents at this point; it's to this line
6 of questioning which in our respectful view does not arise from questions
7 put by Your Honours concerning Dusina, and certainly could have been
8 covered in the direct examination concerning Dusina had the Defence opted
9 to do so.
10 And our view is questions coming from Your Honours should be
11 directly and closely linked to that, and it's not an open invitation to
12 conduct direct examination anew with new documents with issues that could
13 have and should have been put to the witness during the direct
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, would you like to respond.
16 But we have granted you leave to use these documents. So it would be best
17 to proceed since in the documents relating to Dusina, there was an entire
18 series of orders signed by the 3rd Corps commander. And reference was
19 made to an exacerbation of tension between the ABiH and the HVO. And in
20 Document 119 and Document 120, we can see that there is a reference to the
21 relation between the HVO and the ABiH. It all seems to be quite coherent.
22 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Q. General, I would simply ask you to look at these three documents,
24 and considering that you were involved in these events, whether you can
25 conclude or offer your opinion as to how the 3rd Corps reacted to the
1 events forced upon it by the HVO.
2 A. What the 3rd Corps could do at that time was to raise the level of
3 combat readiness of the forces that weren't engaged against the aggressor.
4 So units or parts of units which were on leave or which were absent, in
5 such cases, the 3rd Corps could order that these units attain a state of
6 readiness because when there was combat in Gornji Vakuf no one knew how
7 things would develop. So this is what the 3rd Corps had to do.
8 Q. Thank you, General. I will now move on to the next document,
9 which is Defence Exhibit 554, also dated 12 January and bearing number
10 02/31-94. General, I would ask you to read the document. And if you can
11 explain to the Trial Chamber what the purpose of this document is and what
12 the corps commander is doing at that time.
13 A. I'd just like to mention the number it was registered under in the
14 corps, to make sure that I'm reading the right document. The document is
15 02/31-94 dated the 12th of January 1993.
16 Q. Yes, that is correct, General.
17 A. This is a document that Commander Enver Hadzihasanovic sent to the
18 supreme command staff of the armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina. It states the following: "Subject, our document, 02/31-91
20 dated the 11th of January 1993. It is clear that you have informed the
21 Presidency. Tell us what to do at this moment, whether to accept a
22 conflict or not, and how to resolve the problems that have emerged, taking
23 into account your order to avoid a conflict at all costs."
24 Q. Can you explain this document or what the corps commander is doing
25 by this document.
1 A. This is the way I interpret this document. The commander faced
2 major problems in Gornji Vakuf. Obviously, he couldn't decide whether to
3 accept a conflict or not. He asks his superior command how to deal with
4 the problems, taking into account the fact that he had a standing order to
5 avoid a conflict with the HVO at all costs. The corps commander was faced
6 with a dilemma. BiH Army units were being attacked up there, and the
7 commander had to avoid a conflict at all costs. The commander was facing
8 a dilemma. He asked for advice and position of his superior command. He
9 wanted to hear from them whether to engage in a conflict or not because
10 the commander was not in the position to deal with the problem himself,
11 bearing in mind that he had his orders to avoid a conflict with the HVO at
12 all costs. That was the dilemma that the corps commander was facing at
13 the time.
14 Q. And in your opinion, General, even though you have not been a
15 corps commander, is this good commandership at this particular time?
16 A. I believe that the commander's decision was good.
17 Q. General, I'll now refer you to the next document, Defence Exhibit
18 562 dated 13 January 1993 bearing number 02/33-130. Do you have this
19 document, General?
20 A. Yes, I do.
21 Q. I have three specific questions, the first one being: In the
22 first two sentences, the commander is saying "to firmly hold the line,
23 reach towards the Chetniks, and to use those forces ready against attacks
24 by the HVO." Can you explain what is meant by the commander in those two
1 A. I've already said what this meant. "Hereby the commander issues
2 orders to the troops not to abandon their lines facing the Chetniks, i.e.,
3 the aggressor against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina," and that
4 the rest of the forces which were not engaged against the Chetniks should
5 be put on the ready, on the highest level of combat readiness.
6 Q. Thank you, General. Now, the last paragraph on this document
7 where it begins which "I assure you that holding back..." Can you read
8 this paragraph for yourself and explain the meaning of this paragraph.
9 A. I've read this paragraph. And the way I interpret it is as
10 follows: Holding back from an open conflict with the HVO was yet another
11 victory equal to any victory in a battlefield. "Should a conflict be
12 unavoidable, you will be informed in time," which means you will be
13 informed if I am forced to engage in combat against the HVO. I've read in
14 the previous document that the commander was faced with a dilemma, and he
15 wanted to hear what the position of his superior command was.
16 Q. Thank you, General.
17 Based on these observations and these documents, in your opinion,
18 was it normal in this context for the corps commander to be directly
19 involved in the coordination of these activities in Gornji Vakuf?
20 A. It is very obvious that the commander is very interested in the
21 situation in Gornji Vakuf. And the commander is faced with a dilemma that
22 he can't resolve himself. However, he does whatever is in his power. He
23 issues orders for his troops to continue holding the lines facing the
24 Chetniks, i.e., the aggressor against Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that
25 these lines should not be abandoned. As for the rest of the troops of the
1 3rd Corps, they should be put on the ready because if a conflict with the
2 HVO cannot be avoided, then these troops will have to be engaged.
3 However, this engagement should be preceded by a consent of his superior
4 command. That is why the commander consults his superior command because
5 he has his previous orders according to which he should avoid a conflict
6 with the HVO at all costs. This is a huge dilemma which burdens the
7 commander quite a lot.
8 Q. Now, General, given that you were involved in these activities,
9 did this result in combat activities and armed conflict between the HVO
10 and the 3rd Corps?
11 A. I was up there. My mission was to try and resolve the problem in
12 a peaceful way. I did my utmost with the mediation of the English
13 UNPROFOR, the company of which was in Gornji Vakuf, to resolve the
14 problem. However, combat activities continued in the area of Gornji
15 Vakuf. These combat activities ranged in scale, and this is what the
16 situation was in Gornji Vakuf.
17 Q. Thank you, General. Now, moving on closer to the combat
18 activities which took place later in January in Dusina, you've had the
19 opportunity during your testimony to describe how General Hadzihasanovic
20 deployed his troops. My only question at this time is: Was it normal for
21 him to deploy troops to such a low level as he did, giving orders even for
22 the deployment of companies?
23 A. I've already explained why sometimes a tactical level may be of
24 significance for the operation level. In this particular case, the
25 feature in question was the Lasva junction. It was normal for the
1 commander to deploy troops to defend the Lasva junction in the general
2 area of that junction. The Lasva junction could not be defended only on
3 the junction itself, and the troops were aware of that. Certain
4 elevations had to be taken in order to prevent anybody from accessing the
5 Lasva junction.
6 Q. Now, General, do you recall the Presiding Judge asking you a
7 question concerning Elevation 852. Now, that was on Document P128, which
8 I can give you if need be. But do you recall those questions being asked?
9 A. I remember that the Chamber has put a question to me quoting the
10 elevation. I believe that it was a general question asking me to explain
11 the general conditions of attacking an elevation or a trig point. And
12 that's how I answered. Obviously, it's very important if you know which
13 elevation it is. I was not shown any specific elevation. And the way I
14 understood the Trial Chamber's question was that they want me to explain
15 the difference between assault and defence. And I did make a difference
16 there. Maybe I have misunderstood the questions put to me because of the
17 errors in interpretation that I received in my mother tongue. I believed
18 that it was a general question involving combat operations around any
19 elevation. I didn't hear the Trial Chamber giving a specific number, the
20 specific number of a specific elevation point. I believe that it was a
21 general question that could be applied to any elevation point.
22 Q. Thank you, General. I would just ask you to take a quick look at
23 Document P128. And from the reading of this document, can you confirm
24 whether this was meant to be an offensive combat activity, or in other
25 words was this meant to be an attack when the order refers to Elevation
2 A. Your Honours, as far as I understand this order, this is an order
3 for defence. This is not an order for an assault in relation to the
4 Elevation 852. I am familiar with the area, and now that I have looked at
5 the specific elevation point and the line that is given leading up to this
6 elevation point, I can say that at that time there were no HVO units on
7 that elevation point. This elevation point was of the utmost importance
8 for the defence of the Lasva junction. This elevation point was taken
9 without any attack actions. This elevation point was free. There were no
10 enemy soldiers there. This was not an assault action. This was a defence
11 action, and it says here that this was an action to take positions for
13 Q. Thank you, General. I'd like to ask you a few quick questions as
14 a follow up to the Trial Chamber asking you whether the 3rd Corps command
15 requested reports from the field and actually received information from
16 the field. So my first question would be: Can you tell me what was the
17 standard practice within the 3rd Corps with respect to the submission of
19 A. Before this Trial Chamber, I've already testified about the
20 practice that was in place. Subordinate units were supposed to send their
21 reports to their superior command. In this case, those were the
22 subordinate units of the 3rd Corps which sent their reports to the 3rd
23 Corps command. Those reports could be periodical, could be regular, it
24 could be daily, weekly reports which all depended on the preceding orders.
25 In any case, they should have been daily reports. In addition to
1 that, there were also interim reports which were sent whenever something
2 extraordinary was taking place in that particular unit. It was customary
3 for the 3rd Corps command to receive both regular and interim reports from
4 its subordinate units.
5 Q. Thank you, General. If I use a concrete example to illustrate
6 what you've just said: If a company which belongs to a specific battalion
7 which, of course, belongs to a brigade, was resubordinated to a different
8 brigade, my question is would it be normal for this company to submit two
9 reports? One, to the unit to which it has been resubordinated; and a
10 second one to the battalion to which it belongs with the aim of keeping
11 its chain of command informed of its activities?
12 A. Your Honours, again, I have to point out a very important fact
13 here. Our officers were not trained. They had not completed military
14 education. We had major problems with reporting. You have to be aware of
15 the situation that we were facing. When the line of command is in place,
16 where everything is organised, where there are good means of
17 communications, it is a customary practice for a resubordinated unit to
18 send its report to the command that it has been resubordinated to, rather
19 than to its usual command. However, that unit can report to its original
20 command, the command from which it was resubordinated to another command.
21 We had cases in practice that due to the lack of education among
22 other officers, such reports would end up in different places.
23 Q. Now, General, could this explain that two reports would end up at
24 the corps for the activities of the same detachment or company?
25 A. I would have to see the specific documents. I said that this was
1 possible. I'm not excluding that possibility, and I've just explained to
2 you why this could happen.
3 Q. Thank you, General. The practice of requesting reports from units
4 deployed in the field and of obtaining information at regular intervals,
5 can you provide your opinion as to whether this is helpful in terms of
6 command and control?
7 A. Yes, I believe that this is very helpful. It is very helpful to
8 have as much information as possible.
9 Q. Now, General, going back to the events in Dusina, do you recall
10 being shown a number of reports in this courtroom which were submitted by
11 the units involved in the combat activities which gave rise to the
12 allegations of murder by the HVO?
13 A. In this courtroom before this Trial Chamber, I have been shown
14 some of those reports. I've had an opportunity to see them.
15 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] I believe that there is an error in
16 the transcript. Maybe it is me who has expressed myself. It is the HVO
17 that made allegations that crimes were committed. It is page 52, line 4.
18 So there were no activities which gave rise to the allegations of murder
19 by the HVO; it was rather the HVO that alleged that murders had been
21 Q. Now, General, you mentioned that the events in Busovaca were
22 directly related to what took place in Dusina. Can you provide further
23 information as to what was happening in Busovaca at the time and what the
24 HVO was trying to do.
25 A. The HVO tried to disarm members of the BiH Army and to take over
1 control in the entire area of Busovaca. I've already said that the combat
2 operations in Busovaca was -- were launched on the 25th of January 1993.
3 The goal was for the HVO to take over control and power in the entire
4 territory of the Municipality of Busovaca.
5 Q. Thank you, General. Now, you were asked some questions about the
6 meeting on the 26th of January. In your opinion, what was the aim of that
7 meeting that you attended on 26th January?
8 A. The goal was to stop combat in Busovaca and to resolve the
9 situation in Busovaca in a peaceful way, to put an end to the combat
10 operations in Busovaca. That was the goal of the meeting.
11 Q. Thank you, General. Now, you were asked also a number of
12 questions about the visit to the site in Dusina. And my interest is not
13 so much as to exactly what happened during the visit, but what was not
14 asked so far is what was the aim of going to Dusina?
15 A. The goal of our visit to Dusina was for us to see what the
16 situation was, whether everything was destroyed there as the
17 representative of the HVO had alleged. They said that a crime had been
18 committed there. Representatives of the HVO wanted to see for themselves
19 what the situation was there. They did not have any other possibility to
20 visit this area. That's why they used this joint commission in Busovaca.
21 I've already said who its members were. It was an opportunity for the HVO
22 to see for themselves what had taken place in the territory of Dusina.
23 Q. You were asked some questions in respect of what you concluded
24 from all the reports that you saw. Now, my question at this point is the
25 result of this visit to Dusina, did it confirm your views with respect to
1 the reports that you had read?
2 A. Yes. My positions were confirmed. Mr. Franjo Nakic who was the
3 representative of the HVO could see it for himself. Dusina and its
4 broader area were not damaged. No houses had been set on fire. We could
5 see that there had been fighting going on there, but it was on a low
6 scale. From our conversations with the locals and from what the local
7 commander told us at the moment, we could conclude that there had been
8 combat there. But we also realised that no crimes had been committed
9 there, or at least none of the persons that we spoke to told us anything
10 to that effect.
11 Q. And General, can you confirm that your knowledge of the
12 investigation taking place and the involvement of the municipal defence
13 staff in this matter also confirm your views that you concluded from
14 reading those reports?
15 A. Yes. All of that confirmed what I had learned from the reports.
16 Q. And as a final question in this area, at the time, General, based
17 on all the information that you had, did you have any reason to believe
18 that the HVO allegations might be true?
19 A. Based on the body of the knowledge that I acquired from the
20 reports that I read and my visit to the site that was organised a few days
21 later, and all the other information that I had had an opportunity to
22 gather, I am convinced that no crime was committed there. There was
23 combat there. There were casualties on both sides during combat. On the
24 side of the HVO as well as on the side of the BiH Army.
25 Q. And can you confirm whether General Hadzihasanovic held the same
1 views as you did?
2 A. Yes. I'm convinced of that. General Hadzihasanovic was of the
3 same conviction. He was of the opinion that there had been combat over
4 there. I'm absolutely sure that this was what he firmly believed.
5 Q. Thank you, General.
6 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I believe that we
7 have reached the time for our next break.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. I would like to remind the
9 Defence, they have 45 minutes left.
10 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I'll try to be as
11 fast as possible and make my questions as short as possible, and I will
12 ask the General to make his answers as short as possible.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well then. We will resume
14 at 5 to 1.00.
15 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 12.56 p.m.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bourgon, you may take the
19 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Q. General, we have 45 minutes. Don't despair. It's almost over.
21 I'd like to ask you a few questions now with respect to the events
22 in Miletici. You were shown by the Trial Chamber Exhibit P148 which
23 provides some details about the perpetrators, including something about
24 triangle police badges, and the name of one as being Ramadan. Can you
25 confirm that you were -- what you were told by these villagers and whether
1 you had any of this information at the time.
2 A. As far as I can remember, and this is what I have said before this
3 Chamber, I was told by the inhabitants that the crimes in Miletici were
4 committed by men whom they called the mujahedin. At the time, I don't
5 remember them mentioning someone by the name of Ramadan, nor do I remember
6 them mentioning them having badges in the form of triangles on the clothes
7 they were wearing. I did not hear such information from the inhabitants.
8 Q. While you were in Miletici, did you encounter any soldiers from
9 the 3rd Corps; and if so, did you do anything in this respect?
10 A. I didn't see anyone in the village of Miletici, apart from
11 UNPROFOR representatives and the delegation that was present in the
12 village of Miletici. There were no inhabitants there, and there were no
13 troops as far as I could see when I observed the village of Miletici and
14 when I was there.
15 Q. And while travelling to Miletici, do you recall at some point in
16 your testimony you mentioned meeting with members of the 3rd Corps?
17 A. Your Honours, as far as I can remember, I never said that on my
18 way to Miletici I met members of the corps. On my way to Miletici, I was
19 in an armoured personnel carriers that belonged to the British Battalion.
20 We did not stop on our way to the village of Miletici, and I did not see
21 any 3rd Corps members while I was travelling to the village of Miletici.
22 And this has been my testimony before this Trial Chamber.
23 Q. Thank you, General. What measures, if any, did the 3rd Corps take
24 with respect to the village in Miletici after what you saw there?
25 A. I can't say for sure, but as far as I can remember, some measures
1 were taken. The command of the 306th Brigade was ordered to look into the
2 event. I have testified about this before the Chamber.
3 Q. Thank you, General. Now, you mentioned your conclusions that from
4 what the villagers told you, and you also mentioned and replied to some
5 questions that Franjo Nakic had also spoken to the villagers. Do you
6 recall if Franjo Nakic -- what Franjo Nakic told you, if anything, in
7 terms of what he considered the event to have been?
8 A. I don't know how this is translated, but I think that there are
9 translation errors again. I believe that Franjo Nakic moved people to
10 Miletici, but I'm claiming that Franjo Nakic -- I did not meet any people
11 in the village of Miletici. As far as I can remember, it was when we were
12 returning from the village of Miletici that we met inhabitants who said
13 that they were from Miletici. This is a huge difference. We met these
14 people outside of the village. I don't know how this is being interpreted
15 into English, but I would not want to confuse you.
16 When Franjo Nakic and I spoke to inhabitants from the village of
17 Miletici, this was not in the village of Miletici. It was outside of the
18 village of Miletici. It was when we were returning from the village of
19 Miletici. Is that what you were referring to?
20 Q. Yes, General. I'm sorry, I was asking the wrong, with not enough
21 details, my questions. What I'm interested in is whether Franjo Nakic
22 drew the same conclusions you did following your encounter with the
23 villagers, and if you know that?
24 A. Yes. I know about that. That's what Franjo Nakic told me. His
25 conclusions were the same as mine, at least that's what he told me.
1 Q. Do you recall what the Busovaca joint commission of which you were
2 a member did after leaving Miletici that day?
3 A. I'll try and be clear. I don't want to mix anything up. At that
4 time, the mixed commission worked in Vitez. It no longer went to
5 Busovaca. There were local commissions in Busovaca, but the commission of
6 which I was a member on behalf of the army, it had its headquarters in
7 Vitez. It was no longer in Busovaca. It was near the English battalion.
8 There was a private house which is where we were located, and that is
9 where the joint commission was. Please, put a precise question to me.
10 It was the joint commission after the events in Miletici and
11 Vitez. Is that the joint commission you're referring to? Are you
12 referring to a local commission which is still in Busovaca.
13 Q. Once again, General, I'm sorry. I'm trying to go quick, and I'm
14 not providing you with sufficient information. I was simply thinking the
15 commission that day, did you visit any other places, or did the visit to
16 Miletici result in the work for the day being finished?
17 A. After the visit to Miletici, we finished our working day in Vitez.
18 Q. And the next day, did you work with the commission; and if so, was
19 Mr. Nakic there?
20 A. Yes, we worked on the following day. And Mr. Nakic was there,
21 together with me, at the same time I was there.
22 Q. And General, if you recall, did Mr. Nakic come back on the events
23 in Miletici that day with you?
24 A. I can't remember exactly, but we did speak to each other. And
25 Franjo Nakic expressed the same opinion that I had. I can't remember all
1 the details, but I have mentioned the substance of that discussion. As to
2 whether Franjo Nakic spoke to me about any other subjects, I can't
3 remember now. I wouldn't exclude the possibility. If Franjo Nakic says
4 that we had a discussion, well, that's something I can't remember.
5 Q. And the next day, when the work of the commission resumed, did
6 Franjo Nakic complain to you about the events in Miletici, or did you move
7 on to other incidents?
8 A. As far as I can remember, we had finished discussing the events in
9 Miletici, and we had started addressing the issue of other incidents that
10 had taken place in the Lasva Valley.
11 Q. And General, the Trial Chamber, when asking you questions about
12 the events in Miletici, referred to a -- some type of investigation having
13 been conducted by the Centre for Human Rights. And my question to you is
14 did you ever meet these people or were you ever visited by anyone asking
15 you questions about these events?
16 A. Your Honours, I really can't remember anyone coming to discuss the
17 events in Miletici. I have already said before this Trial Chamber that I
18 had numerous meetings with representatives of international organisations,
19 and I really don't remember members of a certain organisation coming to
20 ask about the events in Miletici. I don't remember having discussed this
21 particular subject with any such representatives.
22 Q. Now, General, can you tell me, after all these years, whether at
23 the time you had any reason to doubt concerning your conclusion that the
24 perpetrators in Miletici were mujahedin?
25 A. On the basis of everything that I have been shown, and believe me,
1 at the time I was also convinced that the mujahedin had committed the
2 crimes in Miletici given what the inhabitants had informed me of, there
3 are no two ways about this. I have no doubts about this.
4 Q. And General, you have already in response to a question from the
5 Trial Chamber confirmed that you had given that information and discussed
6 those events with General Hadzihasanovic. If you can, can you tell us if
7 General Hadzihasanovic shared the same views as you held with respect to
8 the perpetrators of these events in Miletici?
9 A. I'm sure that General Hadzihasanovic shared my point of view.
10 Q. And General, one last question on Miletici: Today, 11 years
11 later, or even more, do you have any doubts as to the fact that the
12 perpetrators in Miletici were, in fact, mujahedin?
13 A. Your Honours, even today, I have no doubts about that.
14 Q. Thank you, General. I'd like to move on now to the issue of
15 mujahedin which was discussed with you by the Trial Chamber in the form of
16 many questions. And the first thing I'd like to ask you is you mentioned
17 as part of the context of the meeting which took place in April, if I
18 recall correctly, you mentioned four events that were significant in
19 April, including the kidnapping of Zivko Totic, the information provided
20 to you in this respect by the ECMM some days later, to the fact that
21 this -- that the Totic kidnapping had been done by mujahedin, your
22 meeting with Sefer Halilovic, and the events in Miletici. Is that, in a
23 nutshell, the four events that you referred to in April of 1993?
24 A. Yes. That's correct.
25 Q. Now, if you look at the situation in Central Bosnia at the end of
1 April, can you describe what was the priority of the 3rd Corps at that
3 A. In April 1993, the 3rd Corps' priority was to defend the zone of
4 responsibility of the 3rd Corps against the Serbian aggressor. This was
5 at all times its main task. That was our main task. In addition to what
6 I have mentioned, the 3rd Corps continued to train its members. In April,
7 there was fierce fighting with the HVO. In Vitez Municipality, the
8 fighting was really fierce. There was large-scale combat and small-scale
9 combat in the area of Gornji Vakuf and in the area of Busovaca, in Novi
10 Travnik. The 3rd Corps focussed on these tasks, too, but the main task
11 was to defend the territory against the aggressor in Bosnia and
13 Q. General, when you mentioned the fighting in Vitez Municipality,
14 fighting that was really fierce, was there a reason for this fighting in
15 the Vitez Municipality, or what caused the eruption of the fighting in the
16 Vitez Municipality in April?
17 A. In mid-April 1993, there are two exceptionally large-scale combats
18 in Vitez Municipality. This was the attack of the HVO on Ahmici. And the
19 wider area of the village of Ahmici. Then there was also intense fighting
20 in the centre of the town of Vitez, the direction of the locations, the
21 part that we called Old Vitez, Stari Vitez. And in other villages in
22 Vitez Municipality, there was large-scale combat. In Gacice, Veceriska,
23 Gornji and Donja Kruscica, and in many other villages there was such
24 combat. These are villages in the Municipality of Vitez where there was
25 combat in the month of April. But on the whole in April, as far as the
1 relations between the HVO and the ABiH are concerned, the most intense
2 fighting was in Vitez Municipality in April 1993.
3 Q. And as a result of Ahmici, General, do you recall trying to
4 establish a cease-fire between the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the
5 HVO towards the end of April with the help of UNPROFOR?
6 A. A very important task of the joint commission, and I've already
7 said that in April its headquarters was in Vitez. So the main objective
8 of that joint commission which was under the auspices of the European
9 Monitoring Mission. The main task was to stop combat activities in Vitez,
10 to stop them from spreading. As a joint commission, we could not
11 accomplish this task. We could not stop combat activities in Vitez.
12 There were a number of attempts, and I know that the international
13 community endeavoured to help. We in the joint commission tried very
14 hard. However, the developments were such that we could not stop the
15 conflict in Vitez.
16 Q. Do you recall the difficulties in convincing members of the 3rd
17 Corps to accept the cease-fire and the actions taken by both commanders
18 in-chief at the time for this purpose? And I'm talking about, of course,
19 Petkovic and Halilovic. Do you remember what they did during that period?
20 A. A cease-fire agreement was signed, and all the troops were
21 instructed to withdraw from the lines and to fill in the trenches on both
22 sides. I remember that. This was in April 1993. An order to that effect
23 came from Mr. Halilovic and Mr. Petkovic. I remember that.
24 Q. And was there a relationship between the actions taken by
25 Mr. Halilovic and his presence in the Vitez Municipality at the time? Is
1 that why he was there, or were there any other reasons?
2 A. I believe that the main task was to reach an agreement on
3 cease-fire between the HVO and the BiH Army in the Lasva Valley. And
4 that's why the meeting was held in the first place.
5 Q. And I'd like to refer now to the meeting which was discussed with
6 one of the Judges of the Trial Chamber during which General Hadzihasanovic
7 decided to inform the supreme command of the problems or of the situation
8 with respect to the mujahedin. In your opinion, General, is it possible
9 that General Hadzihasanovic had the opportunity before this meeting to
10 inform General Halilovic of the situation?
11 A. I cannot say whether there were any discussions between my
12 commander, General Enver Hadzihasanovic, and Sefer Halilovic about that.
13 I know that the communications were very bad, that we practically did not
14 have any communication with the superior command in Sarajevo. I really do
15 not have this information, or I can't remember. I cannot say with any
16 degree of certainty whether this is true or not, because I can't remember.
17 Q. Now, General, immediately preceding the meeting, is it -- would it
18 have been normal for your commander, General Hadzihasanovic, to have a
19 tete-a-tete with General Halilovic before the official meeting which took
20 place late at night? Were you aware of such a meeting or of the
21 possibility of such a meeting?
22 A. This would be a normal procedure. I believe that they did have an
23 opportunity to get together before the meeting started. It would be
24 normal procedure for the superior officer to pay a visit to the office of
25 his subordinate officer and to inquire about the current situation. It
1 would be normal for the two of them to have a tete-a-tete, as you have put
2 it. I believe that this was normal, and I believe that my commander
3 General Hadzihasanovic indeed did that. I'm sure that he did have an
4 informal meeting in the 3rd Corps command prior to the beginning of the
5 meeting. I fully believe that. I believe that they did have a
6 tete-a-tete meeting, the two of them must have met, my commander and
7 Mr. Halilovic.
8 Q. Thank you, General. I'd like to move on now to a meeting which
9 took place in May. You provided some information to the Trial Chamber in
10 respect of this meeting. Can you confirm that you said that
11 General Halilovic at that point appointed both Delic and Mahmuljin to
12 contact the mujahedin; and if so, what were they supposed to do about the
14 A. I'm having another problem with the interpretation. According to
15 the interpreters, these two were appointed to deal with the problem of the
16 mujahedin. This is not what I said, Your Honours. I said that they were
17 tasked with addressing the problem of mujahedin. I never saw a written
18 order ordering them to be appointed to deal with the problem of mujahedin.
19 I believe that Mr. Delic and Mr. Mahmuljin were not ordered to do that.
20 It was just said that these two members of the supreme command were to
21 address the issue of the mujahedin.
22 Q. And General, what in your opinion was the tasking? What were they
23 supposed to do with respect to the mujahedin?
24 A. Your Honours, I can tell you what they were supposed to do and
25 what they did. They were members of the superior command, and it was not
1 my place as a subordinate officer to ask them what my superior command was
2 up to. At least in the situation when the general principles of security
3 and the main mission of the 3rd Corps were not jeopardised. The main
4 mission was not jeopardised. If it had been, then I would have asked them
5 why they were doing what they were doing. As things were what they were,
6 I did not have the right to ask my superior officers what they were doing
7 and what they intended to do with regard to the issue of the mujahedin.
8 Q. Now, in your opinion, General, was there one group of mujahedin,
9 or were there many groups of mujahedin to deal with for Mr. Delic and
10 Mr. Mahmuljin?
11 A. I have already testified about that. I said that according to our
12 information, this was a very mobile group, a small group of mujahedin who
13 were very mobile. We were not able to determine their number. I've
14 already testified about that. We could not even establish their exact
15 location. I've already -- I've also testified that the security services
16 took measures, I suppose they followed them. They recorded their moves.
17 However, it was very difficult to be sure about how many groups there
18 were. If we had known how many groups there were, we would have also
19 known how many troops there were. We didn't know how many men were there
20 among them. I didn't have that information. I don't know whether the
21 members of the supreme command could determine at the time whether there
22 was one group or two groups consisting of 20, 30 or more men. I know that
23 when I came across one group, there were about 10 to 15 men in that group
24 as far as I could see at that moment.
25 Your Honours, I really can't give you any more precise answer to
1 this question.
2 Q. Thank you, General. One of the next issues that was discussed
3 with the Trial Chamber was the letter which was sent by
4 General Hadzihasanovic to the supreme command. And in response to a
5 question, you said that you could not say for sure why General
6 Hadzihasanovic decided to send this letter at this specific time. Now, in
7 your opinion, could there be a link between the sending of the letter on
8 13 June and your encounter with mujahedin who wanted to blow up the
9 monastery in the days preceding the sending of the letter?
10 A. It is very difficult for me to establish a link between these two
11 events. Truth be told, both events are rather interesting. However, it
12 is very difficult for me to establish any sort of link between the two of
13 them. I know, however, that the activities carried out by the supreme
14 command staff from the moment when they received their task, which was in
15 May, until the moment when the letter was written in June did not yield
16 major results with respect to the mujahedin. I suppose that the corps
17 commander was not happy and that he himself wanted to address a letter to
18 the supreme command staff asking them to speed up their solution to the
19 problem of mujahedin, which was growing by the day.
20 Q. Now, General, you knew at that time that General Delic was now the
21 commander of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I would like to know if
22 in your opinion you were under the impression that Mahmuljin still had the
23 tasking to meet with the mujahedin and to try and solve this problem?
24 A. No, Your Honours. I did not have that information.
25 MR. BOURGON: I would like to show the witness Exhibit DH165/1.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have 10 minutes left.
2 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. General, one quick question with this document: The last
4 paragraph, we see that there are some letters in capital letters saying
5 "I am requesting your stances and opinions." Is it normal for a commander
6 of a corps in writing a memo to his superior command to put something in
7 capital letters the way he did, and what does this indicate to you?
8 A. This indicates to me that this was very important.
9 General Enver Hadzihasanovic insisted on receiving stances and positions
10 and views of his superior commander, the commander of the Main Staff of
11 the BiH Army. This is the way I interpret what I see here.
12 Q. You've already had the chance yesterday to answer many questions
13 with respect to this letter. But can you simply confirm, reading the
14 second paragraph, that there was no way for General Hadzihasanovic to
15 communicate with the mujahedin and that these people had already been
16 invited to join the army following proposals of the supreme command.
17 A. I can read in this paragraph that they wanted to communicate with
18 the leading people of the Main Staff of the BiH Army, rather than with the
19 commander of the 3rd Corps. In their opinion, he was only supposed to
20 call a meeting with the aforementioned people, not to communicate with
21 them. They only wanted to communicate with the leading personnel of the
22 Main Staff of the BiH Army.
23 Q. Now, General, you mentioned under many forms that there were never
24 any mujahedin under control or within the 3rd Corps in 1993. Is that in
25 essence your testimony before this Trial Chamber?
1 A. Your Honours, again, I have problems with the way things are
2 interpreted to me. Before this Trial Chamber, I have already testified
3 that the problem could be divided into two parts. I cannot say that for
4 the entire 1993, as I have heard it in my own language. We are talking
5 about the period up to the moment when the official order was issued to
6 establish the El Mujahedin detachment which was in August 1993 and
7 thereafter. I claim that up to the moment when the order was issued in
8 the month of August 1993, foreigners had never been on the strength of the
9 BiH Army in any capacity.
10 As from the month of August 1993, these foreigners were formally
11 and legally placed under the command of the 3rd Corps. However, I have
12 given you a lot of example showing to you that they never wanted to obey
13 any of the orders issued to them by the 3rd Corps command. I have spoken
14 at great length about that. And I also said that we had problems with the
15 foreigners all throughout my stay with the 3rd Corps. I really have to be
16 very, very precise here. I don't want to contradict my own testimony. So
17 let's say we have this period leading up to August 1993 and the period
18 after August 1993.
19 MR. BOURGON: I'd like to show the witness Exhibit P294.
20 Q. And General, I have four questions left, and this will be it.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Four questions, four minutes.
22 You may proceed.
23 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Q. General, can you look at this document, which is dated 10 December
25 1993, and provide me your opinion as to whether you agree that this
1 document shows that there were still foreign mercenaries completely
2 outside of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the 3rd Corps as of 10
3 December 1993.
4 A. Yes. This is confirmed by this document.
5 Q. General, will you agree with me that even though you were shown a
6 document with the word "mujahedin" yesterday which dated back to January,
7 is there any reason to believe that the situation in January of 1993 was
8 different than what it was in December of 1993?
9 A. I've already said something about that. The situation was
10 somewhat different during that period of time. However, the service which
11 dealt with these issues had information that there were some mercenaries
12 there, and they wanted information. They wanted intelligence on that.
13 Q. Thank you, General. Now, you split up the year 1993 into two, and
14 I have one question for each part. Until the creation of the El Mujahedin
15 unit, would it have been possible for you to stop the mujahedin, to order
16 them not to do some activities, or to punish them for doing so without
17 having to fight them?
18 A. We couldn't do that.
19 Q. And General, in the second part of 1993, after the creation on
20 paper of the El Mujahid, and even though some orders were issued to them,
21 was it possible for you to stop them from taking part in certain
22 activities or to punish them for doing so without having to fight them?
23 A. It depended on the specific situation. One would have to assess
24 the situation. At the moment a breach of discipline takes place and the
25 corps command learns of that or there is a suspicion that a crime was
1 committed by a member of the El Mujahedin detachment, he would be treated
2 the same as any other member of the 3rd Corps. Thus, it depended on the
3 situation, on the specific case.
4 Q. Now, General, I just have one last question. And that's more of a
5 gift for you. I would just like to read you a question, because this
6 relates to a document which has been used by the Trial Chamber --
7 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Mr. President, can we go into
8 private session, please.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are already running late.
10 But we will go into private session.
11 [Private session]
7 [Open session]
8 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We're in open session,
9 Mr. President.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, in open session, I
11 would like to say that your testimony is now finished. You have answered
12 the questions of both parties for two weeks. We would like to thank you
13 for your contribution in this search for truth. We wish you a happy
14 journey back home, and I wish you a pleasant retirement. I'm going to ask
15 the usher to accompany you out of the courtroom.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, for having
17 allowed me to testify before this Honourable Court which I deem to be the
18 most Honourable Court in the world. I'm always willing to respond to the
19 invitation by this Chamber to testify. Thank you once again, Your
21 [The witness withdrew]
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have worked for five
23 additional minutes. I apologise to the interpreters. This is the last
24 hearing this year. We'll be resuming on the 10th of January at 2.15. I
25 wish you and all your families all the best for the new year and have a
1 good rest before we resume in January. Thank you.
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.50 p.m.,
3 to be reconvened on Monday, the 10th day of
4 January, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.