Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 14732

1 Tuesday, 25 January 2005

2 [Open session]

3 --- Upon commencing at 2.19 p.m.

4 [The accused entered court]

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, can you call the

6 case, please.

7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Case

8 number IT-01-47-T, the Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir

9 Kubura.

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.

11 Appearances for the Prosecution, please.

12 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon, Your

13 Honours, counsel, and everyone in and around the courtroom. For the

14 Prosecution, Mathias Neuner and Daryl Mundis, assisted today by Mr. Andres

15 Vatter, the case manager.

16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Appearances for the Defence.

17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour. On

18 behalf of General Hadzihasanovic, Edina Residovic, counsel; Stephane

19 Bourgon, co-counsel; and Muriel Cauvin, legal assistant. Thank you.

20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The other Defence team, please.

21 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.

22 On behalf of Mr. Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and Nermin

23 Mulalic, legal assistant.

24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.

25 The Chamber would like to greet everybody on the 25th of January,

Page 14733

1 2005. We would like to greet the representatives of the Prosecution, of

2 the Defence, as well as everybody else in the courtroom and in the public

3 gallery.

4 Before we bring the next witness into the courtroom, we need to

5 deal with the issue of exhibits. I'm going to give the floor to the

6 Defence.

7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.

8 The Defence would like to tender the following documents into

9 evidence: They are all on our list. Under Roman II, 1871; under Roman

10 I/2, 1920; and after that, documents under II, item 5, which is a set of

11 documents, the first one of which bears the number 092/2-65, the date is

12 16 September 1993. We would also like to tender documents under

13 Roman III/2, bearing number 1603. Under Roman number IV, document

14 number 9, which is a set of documents, the first one bearing number

15 092/2-149, and the date is 1st November 1993. Document number 10, another

16 set of documents, the first one of which bears the following number:

17 09/2-1 and the date is 7 July 1993. Document number 11 is another set of

18 documents, the first one of which bears the following number: 09/1-1, the

19 date is 7 July 1993. Document number 12, "Decision," again, a set of

20 documents, the first one in the set bearing number 09/1-3. The date is

21 7 July 1993. Document number 13, a set of documents, the first one of

22 which bears number 09/1-2. Document under 14 is another set of documents,

23 the first one of which bears a number, 09/10-2/KU-5/93 and the date is

24 14 July 1993. Document number 15, a set of documents, the first one of

25 which bears number 09/24-2, the date is 18 July 1993. Document number 16,

Page 14734

1 a set of documents, the first one of which bears number 06/08/1993. Under

2 number 17, the document dated 7 August 1993, again this is a set of

3 documents involving Zahid Mujcic. Document number 18, again the date is

4 7 August 1993, involving Hamo Ivkovic. Document 19, the date is 7 August

5 1993, relative to Velija Hrnjic. Document number 20, the date is 7 August

6 1993, relative to Ismet Delic. Document number 21, dated 7 August 1993.

7 And document number 22, relative to Nermin Hadziabdic and his case. This

8 is another set of documents. These are documents that we would like to

9 tender into evidence as Defence exhibits.

10 We would also like to have the following documents: 13 -- 1936

11 [as interpreted] to be marked for identification. We would also like to

12 say that documents under Roman numeral III, item 1 and 3, as well as

13 documents under Roman numeral V from 1 to 13 have already been marked for

14 identification.

15 I apologise. Can we please check whether I have also tendered

16 into evidence document 1603. Yes, I can see it in the transcript. I have

17 already tendered it.

18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. These documents

19 have been shown to the witness.

20 I'm turning to the Prosecution. Do you have anything to say,

21 Mr. Mundis?

22 MR. MUNDIS: No objection, Mr. President.

23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then.

24 Mr. Registrar.

25 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.

Page 14735

1 We have three big categories of documents. The first one bears

2 the mark T -- this is 1671 [as interpreted], and the English translation,

3 this is part of the large group of three documents.

4 The next one is DH1920. I apologise. There has been --

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I apologise. There has been an

6 error with regard to the first document.

7 The transcript reads that the document is 1671. It is actually

8 1871.

9 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] The second document will be

10 DH1920, and its translation into English will be DH1920/E.

11 DH1603 will be admitted, with its English translation, 1603/E.

12 We will also admit the 15 documents that are as follows: DH1994.

13 The date is 16 --

14 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear the date.

15 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] The -- 1994/E. Then 1995. This

16 is a series of 11 reports of which the first bears the date 1st November

17 1993. Its English translation will be 1995/E.

18 DH1996 is a document composed of two reports. The first one

19 bears the date 7th July 1993. The English translation will be DH1995/E.

20 DH1996 is a decision. The date is 7 July 1993. The English

21 translation will be DH1996/E.

22 The report will be 1997 -- correction, the next one will be 1998.

23 The exhibit number 1998, the date on the exhibit is 7 July 1993.

24 This exhibit consists of three reports, and the English translation will

25 be marked by "/E."

Page 14736

1 The next one will be DH1999. The date is 7 July 1993. The

2 English translation will be DH1999/E.

3 The next document is DH2000, which is a group of three reports of

4 which the first one bears the date 14 July 1993. These are criminal

5 reports, and the English version will be DH2000/E.

6 The next document is DH2001, which is a group consisting of four

7 reports, of which the first one bears the date 18 July 1993, and its

8 English translation will be DH2001/E.

9 The next one is DH2002. The date is 6 August 1993, and its

10 English translation will be DH2002/E.

11 DH2003, the date is 7th August 1993, relative to Zahid Mujcic.

12 The English translation will be DH2003/E.

13 The next document is DH2004. The date is 7 August 1993. It is

14 relative to Hamo Ivkovic. Its English translation will be DH2004/E.

15 The next group of documents is DH2005. The date is 7 August

16 1993. It is relative to Velija Hrnjic. The English translation will be

17 DH2005/E.

18 The next group of documents will be Exhibit DH2006. The date is

19 7 August 1993. It is relative to Ismet Delic. The English translation

20 will be DH2006/E.

21 The next document is DH2007. The date is 7 August 1993. The

22 name of the document is "Receipt for temporarily confiscated items." The

23 English translation will be DH2007/E.

24 The next document will be DH2008. It is a group consisting of

25 several documents relative to Nermin Hadziabdic. The English translation

Page 14737

1 will be DH2008/E.

2 And finally, the third group of documents are -- actually, we

3 only have one document in that group, and the number is 1936, which has

4 already been marked for identification.

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. So we have

6 given numbers to all of these exhibits, and the last one has been marked

7 for identification. That's number 1936.

8 And as far as the list under number 5 is concerned, this is a

9 series of documents; however, those documents are only in B/C/S. I

10 suppose you will be tendering them through some other witnesses.

11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the first list of

12 documents in keeping with your decision has already been marked for

13 identification. Since they do not have a translation, we did not ask for

14 another marked for identification. When we receive their translation, we

15 will ask for their admission.

16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.

17 Mr. Usher, can you please bring the witness into the courtroom.

18 [The witness entered court]

19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good day, sir. Please tell me

20 whether you can hear the interpretation of what I am saying. If so, say

21 that you understand me.

22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I hear you and understand you.

23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, you have been called as a

24 witness for the Defence. Before you make the solemn declaration, I will

25 ask you to tell us your first and last name and your place and date of

Page 14738












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Page 14739

1 birth.

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Esed Sipic. I was born

3 on the 17th of May, 1962 in the village of Siprag.

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current

5 occupation? Are you employed?

6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am a professional soldier in the

7 army of the federation.

8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you have a rank?

9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Colonel.

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In 1992 and 1993, did you have

11 an occupation and were you a professional soldier at that time? If so,

12 what unit were you in and what rank did you hold?

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was in the Army of Bosnia and

14 Herzegovina, that is, in the Territorial Defence initially. We did not

15 have ranks in the army at that time. I was a former professional soldier

16 in the JNA, and I was carrying out certain duties in the Territorial

17 Defence in the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And in 1993, what unit were you

19 in?

20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1993, I was in two units:

21 First, in 1993, up to mid-August, I was commander of the 306th Brigade.

22 After mid-August, I was in the Bosnian Krajina OG.

23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Colonel, please

24 tell us, have you ever testified before an international or national court

25 about the events in your country in 1992 and 1993, or is this the first

Page 14740

1 time?

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the first time.

3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I will now ask you

4 to read out the solemn declaration.

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will

6 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You may sit down.


9 [Witness answered through interpreter]

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, before I give the

11 floor to the Defence counsel, whom you will have met while preparing for

12 this session, I must give you some information as to the manner in which

13 these proceedings will take place.

14 First of all, you are expected to testify today, and if your

15 testimony is not completed, you will continue tomorrow afternoon.

16 Initially you will answer the questions put to you by the counsel for the

17 Defence, sitting on your left-hand side, and this is what we call the

18 examination-in-chief. Direct questions will be put to you.

19 After that, the representatives of the Prosecution, sitting on

20 your right-hand side, will put questions to you, and this will be the

21 cross-examination. If necessary, the Prosecutor can also put leading

22 questions to you.

23 Finally, both these stages will last for an equal length of time,

24 and then you may be asked questions in redirect by the Defence counsel in

25 connection with issues arising during the cross-examination.

Page 14741

1 When all this is over, the three Judges sitting on the Bench, if

2 they feel it necessary, may also put questions to you. As a rule, the

3 Judges ask questions either because they wish to clarify certain points or

4 because they consider that your replies were not exhaustive enough.

5 After we put our questions to you, the two parties will again

6 have the floor and they will be able to ask you questions on matters

7 arising from the questions of the Judges.

8 As you are a Defence witness, the witness [sic] will be the last

9 to put any further questions they deem necessary. That is how today's

10 session will proceed.

11 I wish to draw your attention to a few other matters. You have

12 now made the solemn declaration, and as you know, you and every other

13 witness is duty-bound to tell the truth. False testimony is an offence,

14 and this Court may take certain steps should anyone testify falsely.

15 Secondly - and this is in our Rules of Procedure and Evidence -

16 when replying to a question, you have the right not to answer the question

17 if you feel that your response might one day in the future incriminate you

18 in some way. You can, should this happen, tell the Judges you do not wish

19 to answer the question. In this case, the Chamber may require you to

20 answer the question, and in this case the Chamber will guarantee that your

21 question will not later be used against you. It will not incriminate you.

22 So you will be granted a certain kind of immunity. This is clearly stated

23 in our Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

24 Apart from a very brief summary of your testimony, we know

25 nothing about you. We have no documents about you. Your replies will be

Page 14742

1 interpreted into English, and you have before you a monitor in which you

2 can see everything that is being said in this courtroom, and your replies

3 therefore will be the basis for the examination-in-chief, the

4 cross-examination, and the Judges' questions. Your answers are very

5 important. If you do not understand a question, please ask whoever put

6 the question to you to reformulate it. Questions may at times be very

7 complex, and you might find yourself in a situation that -- in which

8 you're unable to answer. It's possible that during the examination one of

9 the parties will put a document to you - most probably a military

10 document - in order to learn what your comments on this document are.

11 This is a general outline -- a broad outline of what your testimony will

12 look like.

13 Should you have any difficulties, please do not hesitate to tell

14 us. We will have a break every hour and a half for technical reasons, and

15 this will give you an opportunity to take a 25-minute break, a 25-minute

16 rest, as will the interpreters, who are doing a very difficult and

17 exhausting job and therefore they need a break.

18 Today the sitting will last until 1900 hours and we will have two

19 25-minute breaks. Broadly speaking, this is what today's hearing will

20 look like. I tell every witness this information.

21 I will now give the floor to the Defence, who will give you some

22 technical instructions.

23 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.

24 Examined by Ms. Residovic:

25 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Sipic.

Page 14743

1 A. Good day.

2 Q. The President has just told you how important the work of the

3 interpreters is. You and I speak the same language, and you can answer my

4 question right away without making a pause. However, it's very important

5 for my question to be interpreted for Their Honours and for my learned

6 friends, and it is also very important for your reply to be interpreted.

7 This is how we can best assist the Court to follow your testimony. Do you

8 understand me?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Mr. Sipic, please tell me, what education did you have before the

11 war and what is your education today?

12 A. In 1978, I enrolled in the secondary military school in Sarajevo,

13 which lasted for four years, and I completed it in 1982. After this, I

14 was assigned to a duty in the former JNA. During my work in the former

15 JNA, in 1988 I enrolled in the military academy in Belgrade, where I

16 graduated in 1991. After the war, I enrolled in the faculty of political

17 sciences, and I graduated in the year 2000.

18 Q. Tell me, where did you live before the war and where did you work

19 as a professional soldier before the war?

20 A. As a professional soldier, before the war I lived in the Republic

21 of Slovenia, which was part of Yugoslavia, in the town of Kopar, and I

22 lived there until August 1991.

23 Q. Mr. Sipic, why and with whom did you leave there in 1991?

24 A. As everyone probably knows, in 1991, in August, the Yugoslav

25 People's Army withdrew from the territory of the Republic of Slovenia and

Page 14744

1 became dislocated. My unit was transferred to Travnik municipality. I

2 arrived in Travnik with my unit.

3 Q. Mr. Sipic, did there come a time when you left the JNA? When and

4 why?

5 A. Yes. I left the former JNA in March 1991 because I could see

6 that it was no longer the Yugoslav People's Army. It was no longer the

7 army in which I had been educated and worked; that it was now a pro-Serb

8 army representing the interests of only the Serbs in the former

9 Yugoslavia.

10 Q. After you left the army or that -- rather, the JNA, where did you

11 go? And did you join any other armed force?

12 A. As I was in Travnik, as soon as I left the former JNA I reported

13 to the Municipal Territorial Defence Staff in Travnik in March 1992. I

14 was received by the then-commander of the TO Municipal Staff, Mr. Zijan

15 Caber.

16 Q. Mr. Sipic, how long did you stay in the Municipal Staff? Were

17 you transferred to another duty? And if so, how long did you perform this

18 other duty?

19 A. I remained in the Municipal Staff of the Travnik Territorial

20 Defence until November 1992. After this, there were big changes. There

21 was a big reorganisation of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And in

22 November 1992, pursuant to an order by the commander of the Supreme

23 Command, I became the commander of the 306th Mountain Brigade.

24 Q. Mr. Sipic, after you were appointed commander of the 306th

25 Mountain Brigade, did you come across any problems or was this a simple

Page 14745












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Page 14746

1 and easy job?

2 A. When the order was issued that the 306th Mountain Brigade was to

3 be established, it was supposed to be a manoeuvring unit, an

4 ex-territorial one. However, under the then-conditions it was impossible

5 to establish such a brigade, a brigade such as the one envisaged. Rather,

6 we had to establish it as a territorial unit in the Biljanska Dolina area.

7 Q. And who became part of the 306th Mountain Brigade?

8 A. Pursuant to an order of the General Command of the General Staff

9 of Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the detachments existing in the

10 Biljanska valley before, and these were Han Bila, Mehuric, Ljuta Greda,

11 the 1st Siprage Battalion, and the Hum Detachment, they were all to become

12 part of the 306th Mountain Brigade.

13 Q. Mr. Sipic, did all these units that were there in the Bila Valley

14 enter into the composition of the 306th Mountain Brigade.

15 A. No. As I have already said, I did have some problems in

16 establishing this brigade. These were not the only problems. There was

17 also the problem of the Mehuric Detachment, which was later called

18 Gluha Bukovica. We did not want to become part of the 306th Brigade.

19 Rather, they demanded that they become part of the 314th Motorised

20 Brigade. Later on there was an additional order from the Supreme Command

21 that the Mehuric Detachment was to be part of the 314th Motorised Brigade.

22 Q. Mr. Sipic, the men of military age in the Bila River Valley, were

23 they the men used to bring up the manpower levels of the 306th Mountain

24 Brigade alone or other brigades as well?

25 A. The men from the Bila River Valley joined not only the 306th but

Page 14747

1 also the 314th Motorised Brigade, the 312th Motorised Brigade, the

2 17th Krajina Brigade, the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade.

3 Q. What about the replenishment of the brigade and its equipment?

4 Was the brigade up to its strength?

5 A. It is a well-known fact that this area is rather poor and people

6 there were mostly engaged in cattle raising and agriculture. There were

7 no people with either military experience or education save for a couple

8 of exceptions, and those were people that made up the brigade. As for the

9 materiel and technical equipment, we had very little because we didn't

10 have any means to obtain any equipment, so I would say that the brigade

11 was not up to its strength either when it came to men or -- and especially

12 when it came to equipment.

13 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, since I'm going to

14 show the witness some documents, I would kindly ask the usher to

15 distribute the binders that have been prepared for this witness. We have

16 a binder for the Trial Chamber and for our colleagues in the courtroom.

17 Q. Mr. Sipic, could you please look at document under Roman

18 numeral I, item one -- item 1, and the number of this document is 1749.

19 Can you see it?

20 A. Yes, I do.

21 Q. First of all, is this a document from your brigade?

22 A. Yes, it is.

23 Q. You have just been telling us about the problems you had with

24 replenishment. If you look under item 2, would you say that the item

25 describes those problems that you experienced at the beginning which was

Page 14748

1 due to the make-up of the population?

2 A. Yes. When men joined the army, they abandoned their cattle and

3 their field and they didn't have anything to live on, either them or their

4 families.

5 Q. Was the Croatian population from the area also mobilised into

6 your brigade? If not, how were they mobilised?

7 A. When it came to the 306th Brigade, we did not mobilise Croats

8 because they had managed to establish their own units and commands, so

9 they were already deployed and assigned to their units. We lagged behind

10 them in our own organisation and in setting up our units.

11 Q. Mr. Sipic, you -- you've told us that you did not have enough

12 professional officers and educated men. You became the brigade commander.

13 And although you were a professional soldier, what duties were you

14 assigned to before you joined the brigade? Were you qualified to become

15 the brigade commander?

16 A. I said that I didn't have enough professionally educated men,

17 especially to fill up command posts. I can illustrate that by my own

18 example. I was very young. I was not a very experienced officer. I was

19 only 30 at the time. My military experience was anything but rich.

20 Before I joined the BiH army, I was the deputy commander of a command post

21 of a company in the Republic of Slovenia. And we all know what a brigade

22 is, and we all know how experienced an officer has to be in order to

23 become a brigade commander. First of all, he has to have a rank, either a

24 lieutenant colonel or a colonel, and I didn't have that at the time.

25 Q. Mr. Sipic, if you look at the following document, number 2, and

Page 14749

1 especially its part talking about materiel and technical equipment. And

2 the number that the document bears is 1753. In addition to the problems

3 that you had with the mobilisation of people, did you have any other

4 problems and does this document reflect your problems on the 28th of

5 March, 1993?

6 A. Yes, this is the situation on the 28th of March, 1993. This

7 report, I would say, is a somewhat optimistic reflection of the situation,

8 which must have been even worse. But let's say that we can accept this as

9 a realistic reflection of the situation.

10 Q. Mr. Sipic, did the situation in the 306th Brigade improve

11 throughout the year, or did you encounter even bigger problems when it

12 came to the replenishment of the brigade and its equipment?

13 A. I hoped that with time the situation would improve; however, as

14 time went by, the situation got worse by the day, by the minute,

15 especially for my brigade, because we did not have any means to obtain

16 equipment, to service what we had, and that was broken and the situation

17 got worse.

18 Q. Where was the command of your brigade? Where were the command

19 posts of your battalions? First of all, how many battalions did you have

20 and where were their commands?

21 A. The 306th Brigade had four battalions on its strength. The

22 brigade command was in the Bila mine, in Han Bila, and in the

23 administrative building of the mine. The 1st Mountain Battalion of the

24 306th Brigade was deployed, and its command post was in Mehuric in the

25 primary school there. The 2nd Mountain Battalion of the 306th Brigade was

Page 14750

1 in Krpeljici in a house there which serviced as the community reading

2 room. The 3rd Battalion was in Han Bila, in the primary school there.

3 And the 4th Battalion was deployed in the village of Visnjevo.

4 Q. Where were the troops billeted? Were they billeted in barracks,

5 as would be customary for a military unit?

6 A. The troops that were not on the defence lines facing the Serbs

7 were staying at home, in their own houses. All but some men from the

8 1st Battalion; those people were billeted in the school. This is where

9 they stayed. This is where they lived. This is where they rested.

10 Q. What was the location of the defence line where you were? How

11 big was that line? How long was that line, especially in terms of the

12 size of your unit and its level of equipment?

13 A. The 306th Brigade was on Mount Vlasic on the defence line facing

14 the Serbs. The height of that mountain is around 1600 metres. In the

15 winter it was cold. In the summer it was hot. Our defence line was up to

16 25 kilometres long. All of us soldiers know what would be the optimum

17 length of the defence line for a brigade to be able to put up an efficient

18 defence. It should be five to six kilometres. We had a very long line

19 and we adjusted our means to that line.

20 Q. You have just told us, Mr. Sipic, that the situation got worse by

21 the day. Can you please look at the document number 4, and the number is

22 0930881.

23 A. Yes, I can see it.

24 Q. Can you please look at the second paragraph after item 2, "Armed

25 forces." The first words are "logistical support."

Page 14751

1 A. Yes, I can see that.

2 Q. Can you please read this and can you tell me whether what it says

3 here in this report reflects the deterioration of the situation in the

4 brigade.

5 A. "The logistical support of the unit is bad. We have been

6 prevented from performing our regular duties because we don't have enough

7 fuel, lubricants, and spare parts for the vehicles. We don't have enough

8 ammunition or clothing. We have already drawn your attention to that.

9 The link with the command post of the OG has not existed for the last ten

10 days. This should be resolved urgently," and so on and so forth.

11 Do you want me to go on reading?

12 Q. No, I would just like to ask you whether this reflects the

13 situation that you have already described and the deterioration of the

14 situation in the brigade.

15 A. Yes, it does. I have already testified about that. I have said

16 that as time went by, the situation got worse by the day, and this is

17 reflected in the report that I have just read out.

18 Q. Can you please look at the document after number 5. The number

19 is 1821. And if you look at this part in B/C/S, the fifth line from the

20 bottom of the page.

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. In this part, we can see your request that some of your troops

23 should be relieved and replaced by some other troops in -- from the

24 region. Is this your warning that the unit was not in the position to

25 perform its duties because of the problems that it was facing, or was the

Page 14752












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Page 14753

1 situation in the brigade at the beginning of May maybe better?

2 A. The situation was as is described in this document.

3 Q. Given the problems that you have briefly described for us, tell

4 me, Mr. Sipic, did you as a commander take any steps firstly to train your

5 soldiers; secondly, to discipline your soldiers? What were the -- what

6 were the conditions like and what -- how did you try to do that?

7 A. I was aware of the situation in the brigade, and we did not sit

8 and wait for the situation to be resolved on our behalf. We tried and do

9 whatever we could within our limitations. As far as the brigade command

10 is concerned, we organised some training for all the bodies of the

11 command. We involved the subordinate battalion commands. We asked them

12 to carry out certain training of the non-commissioned officers who could

13 then work as platoon commanders. We did that in order to soldierise the

14 strength of the 306th Brigade as best as we could.

15 Q. In the document that we have just seen, you described the

16 inability to communicate with the West OG. Tell me, please: What were

17 the links and communication like in the first half of 1993 with your

18 superior commands and with your subordinate units? When was it

19 approximately when you began having somewhat more stable links?

20 A. Throughout the entire period from January to mid-July, our

21 communication with the superior command was almost non-existent.

22 Sometimes it was impossible to communicate with the West OG, so we used

23 the command of the 3rd Corps in order to obtain information and to forward

24 some information from the 306th Brigade. It was only when the Bosanska

25 Krajina OG was established and we joined this OG, our links became

Page 14754

1 somewhat more efficient.

2 Q. Can you please look at document after number 4, bearing number

3 DH0831.

4 A. 0831.

5 Q. Yes, after number 4. We're going a bit back. You're saying here

6 in the last sentence: "The reason is that we are 13 kilometres away from

7 Travnik and we don't have the means to send our courier three times a

8 day." Does that mean that you did not have means even to establish a

9 courier link? What communications means did you have at your disposal?

10 A. Well, yeah, this is correct. We did not have any means of

11 communication, wire or wireless. At that time, we did not have any

12 vehicles or fuel in order to be able to establish a courier link as a last

13 resort. We had very poor communications links. The strongest

14 communication link was RUP 12. Those people who are familiar with the

15 army will know what RUP 12 is. This was a customary link between the

16 commander of the company and the commander of a platoon. Its range, the

17 range of this radio set, is very short and that's why it was normally used

18 by tactical groups at lower level.

19 Q. Did you receive the package communication link at any point in

20 time? And for how long did you have it? Why didn't you use it for any

21 longer?

22 A. After I -- complaints and -- we received the package

23 communication, which broke down, we had this type of communication only

24 for 10 or 15 days. We tried to take the equipment for servicing to

25 Travnik. The person who could deal with that problem could not come to

Page 14755

1 our command post. He asked us to bring the radio set to Travnik. As we

2 were transporting the radio set to Travnik, we were stopped at the HVO

3 checkpoint and it was -- this radio set was seized from us, and from then

4 on we never had a radio package.

5 Q. Can you please look at document number 8. The number is 1854.

6 The date is 30 May 1993. Do you see the document?

7 A. Yes, I do.

8 Q. Can you please look at the document and tell me whether this

9 document describes this problem of yours involving the package

10 communication set that was seized from you.

11 A. Yes. This is exactly what the document describes.

12 Q. Mr. Sipic, on several occasions you have mentioned the OG West.

13 Tell me, which was your superior command, the superior command of the

14 306th Brigade, and for how long?

15 A. When the 306th Brigade was established in November 1992 up to

16 March 1993, the first superior command was the command of the 3rd Corps.

17 After the subsequent reorganisation and changes in the command structure

18 of the BiH army and OGs were established on the strength of the 3rd Corps.

19 In the territory of Bugojno, the West OG was established, and from then on

20 this was the first superior command to the 306th Brigade. This was from

21 March 1993 up to June 1993.

22 After that, after June 1993, the first superior command to the

23 306th Mountain Brigade was the Bosanska Krajina OG.

24 Q. A little while ago you said that you made efforts to train your

25 men and that this was rather difficult in spite of all your efforts.

Page 14756

1 Please look at the document in tab 9, 1874. This is an order of the

2 3rd Corps of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina or, rather, yes, this is an

3 order of the 306th Brigade in which you order the way in which reports are

4 to be made pursuant to the order of the Bosnian Krajina OG. Tell me,

5 these efforts to train the operations and training organ as to how the

6 superior command was to be reported to in June, does it illustrate the

7 problems you have testified about and were the efforts made to train your

8 staff made only in a limited period of time or did they extend over the

9 entire period?

10 A. Unfortunately, from June -- or rather, from the time when the

11 brigade was established until June, the method of reporting had not yet

12 been agreed on, that is, reporting by the unit to the superior command,

13 and this confirms what I have already said about the kind of officers and

14 the kind of staff appointed to the brigade. This is yet another effort to

15 explain to people how they should report to the superior command. We made

16 such efforts daily. For as long as I was the brigade commander, I saw

17 that people didn't really know how to do things, so we had to train them,

18 advise them, inform them to the best of our ability as we went along.

19 Q. Mr. Sipic, you are speaking of continual problems. You were the

20 commander. The commander had significant authority. Tell me, why didn't

21 you simply ask for trained men? Were you able to do that? Were there

22 such men available? Or did you have to do this as you went along,

23 training people on the job?

24 A. Unfortunately, we were forced to use these people because the

25 Secretariat for National Defence of Travnik Municipality did not have a

Page 14757

1 sufficient number of men available who had military training. We did ask

2 our superiors whether there were any men available who were qualified and

3 trained in order to fill the officer's posts, but this was a very serious

4 problem in the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina since we did not have

5 sufficient officers who were already trained.

6 Q. Mr. Sipic, we will now move on to another topic. You said that

7 the Croat population organised themselves before you did into units of the

8 HVO. Tell me, first of all, what were the relations between your brigade

9 and the HVO, whether any problems arose in those relations and when.

10 A. From the very beginning, when the brigade was established, there

11 were certain problems with HVO units, primarily relating to their

12 checkpoints which were set up all along the valley. Wherever there was a

13 Croatian village, there was a checkpoint. That's where most of the

14 problems arose. There was mistreatment, and I can't even remember the

15 number of occasions on which I was checked, questioned by lower-ranking

16 officers and soldiers, mistreated, and so on. The situation grew worse in

17 January, in the latter half of January, when an announcement was made on

18 the media that all members of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina should

19 place themselves under the command and control of the so-called Croatian

20 Community of Herceg-Bosna and those who did not do so would be disarmed.

21 Believe me, this was such a shock for all the members of the army and for

22 the entire Muslim, Bosniak population because we had never dreamed that

23 such a thing might happen. We truly considered them to be our allies. We

24 thought we could count on them participating in a joint struggle against

25 the Serbian forces. Believe me, this was a terrible time for everyone in

Page 14758

1 that valley.

2 Q. Mr. Sipic, would you please look at tab 2, the document -- or

3 rather, the document behind tab 1 in section 2, and this is

4 document DH0588.

5 In the paragraph before the last --

6 A. Just a moment, please.

7 Q. It says "January," and then number "one," have you found this?

8 A. January.

9 Q. And then under number 1 is DH0588.

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Would you please look at the paragraph before the last, and in it

12 the second sentence. "Besides this, the commander of the Travnik HVO

13 informed us of the order of the HVO of the so-called Herceg-Bosna about

14 putting all the units of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the

15 command and control of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna." Was this

16 ultimatum made known to you officially at a meeting?

17 A. Yes, this is correct. We had a meeting in order to resolve

18 certain problems in Travnik municipality. And at this meeting, we were

19 officially told by HVO officials that we should act in compliance with

20 this order by the top leadership of Herceg-Bosna. We were amazed when we

21 heard this and when we received this information officially. Our

22 standpoint, however, was clear and unambiguous, and that was that we would

23 carry out only the orders of our superior command, the command of the

24 3rd Corps, regardless of the HVO ultimatum.

25 Q. In connection with possible conflicts, were there any open-armed

Page 14759












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13 English transcripts.













Page 14760

1 conflicts in your area? And did they influence the situation in the area

2 where your brigade was?

3 A. Yes. Open clashes between the HVO and the army had already taken

4 place in Gornji Vakuf and Novi Travnik. Believe me, this had a major

5 impact on my brigade and my men, and we were very concerned. We wondered

6 where all this was leading.

7 Q. In view of this situation, Mr. Sipic, did you know what the

8 orders of your superior command were in connection with these conflicts

9 and were any orders issued to you in relation to this and to what extent

10 did you comply with these orders?

11 A. Yes, certainly. We had explicit orders from the commander of the

12 3rd Corps that we constantly had to comply with all agreements and that we

13 must never enter into an open clash with HVO units; that we should do

14 everything possible to avoid such clashes; and if we were attacked

15 directly, only in that case could we respond and enter into a conflict.

16 Otherwise, we were by no means to enter into a conflict with them and we

17 complied with this.

18 Q. In view of these orders coming from the 3rd Corps, did you take

19 any steps in your brigade, and was the aim of these to prepare for defence

20 or was it to prepare for a possible conflict?

21 A. Yes, certainly. We constantly had precautions. We were

22 organising defence from the Serb forces, and we always had to have

23 sufficient forces to prevent a breakthrough of the Serb forces from the

24 Lasva area. Also, part of the men were on the alert in the villages

25 should there be an open conflict with the HVO and an HVO attack on our

Page 14761

1 villages or the members of the 306th Brigade.

2 Q. Mr. Sipic, would you please look at the documents in tab 2. One

3 is 1723 and the other one, 725.

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Are these orders issued by you in which, for the sake of

6 precaution, you envisage a certain combat situation in the brigade while

7 saying that the brigade was not to cause a conflict?

8 A. Yes, this was one of the measures. Putting the commander at the

9 ready. This is an order issued by me.

10 Q. Mr. Sipic, you mentioned Gornji Vakuf and Novi Travnik. Tell me,

11 were these places where there was an open conflict near the territory of

12 your brigade? And did this cause concern that the conflict might spread

13 to your territory?

14 A. You know that the Bila Valley is 15 to 20 kilometres away from

15 Novi Travnik, and it was to be expected that the conflict would spread to

16 the Bila Valley area.

17 Q. Mr. Sipic, the situation that prevailed in January, did it calm

18 down, and in later months, in April, did the threat of a conflict with the

19 HVO vanish or did something else happen?

20 A. On the contrary. Instead of calming the situation down, there

21 were new flashpoints, new offensive activities by the HVO which opened up

22 a conflict in the Vitez area, where units of the 325th were attacked and

23 the inhabitants of predominantly Bosniak villages. There was an

24 unfortunate event in the village of Ahmici, which additionally worsened

25 the situation and brought it to boiling point.

Page 14762

1 Q. Mr. Sipic, did you regularly report to your superior command

2 about all these events?

3 A. Yes. We constantly sent daily reports on all the problems and

4 all the events that took place to our superior command.

5 Q. Would you now, please, look in the section entitled "April," in

6 tab 1, documents 2, 3, and 4 -- or rather, in -- the numbers are 1758,

7 1762, 1764, and DH0832.

8 And tell me, please: Does this illustrate the way in which you

9 reported to your superior command on events in relation to the HVO and do

10 they mention the events that took place in that period on your brigade's

11 territory in the Bila Valley?

12 A. Yes, that's correct. And these orders confirm this.

13 Q. After these reports in number 4, would you look at this document,

14 number 4, DH0832.

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. As far as we can see, this is a report from the intelligence

17 organ. Are you familiar with this document?

18 A. Yes, I am. This is a collective intelligence report pertaining

19 to the previous period and events in the 306th Brigade.

20 Q. At the beginning of page 2 of this document, you evaluate the

21 ability of the HVO in the Bila River Valley and about their good

22 logistical support, but there is a sentence that mentions the road

23 communications. What happened? Why did you mention this fact in your

24 report that they are constructing a road in this area? Who was

25 constructing a road? Through what villages? And what effect did this

Page 14763

1 have on your men?

2 A. Yes, correct. I wrote this for the following reason: As the HVO

3 had organised checkpoints on all public roads leaving the Bila River

4 Valley in the direction of Travnik, to hinder movement for members of the

5 army and the population of the valley, they constructed an alternative

6 road which members of the army could neither control nor obstruct, and

7 they linked up all the villages where there was a Croatian population in

8 order to make it possible for their forces and men to move without any

9 hindrance. They simply bypassed the existing road communications in order

10 to be able to perform all their tasks without any hindrance.

11 Q. On page 2, in the next paragraph, you mention elevation 1486,

12 where they could fire on the valley. Tell me, on which positions were HVO

13 forces deployed in the valley? And what does this statement of yours mean

14 in your report to the superior command?

15 A. As I've just said, the defence line of the 306th Brigade toward

16 the Serb forces was 25 kilometres long. Here we were trying to say that

17 the HVO, which had one HVO brigade in Travnik municipality and another one

18 in the Bila River Valley, and they held only 500 to 1.000 metres facing

19 the Serb forces, and they had all their other men at their disposal, and

20 they used them to deploy them behind our lines. They took up dominant

21 facilities, including this one, where they put artillery weapons on the

22 elevation in order to control the valley. Then they built fortifications

23 and engineering work near all the villages where there was a majority

24 Bosniak population. They started preparing on time, especially in the

25 Bila Valley. And this is what we reported on.

Page 14764

1 Q. My colleague --

2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. The Prosecution has the

3 floor.

4 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.

5 I just note for the record that page 2 of DH832 does not seem to

6 be translated into English, at least not in the binder that I have. So

7 that all the information pertaining to the road which the witness was just

8 asked about and -- and the paragraph after that, we don't seem to have an

9 English translation of page 2 of this document, at least in the materials

10 that we were provided with today.

11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. I have noticed that when

12 you mentioned that elevation point there's no English translation of the

13 last bit of that document.

14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, my legal assistant

15 has just drawn my attention to that same thing. This must be due to

16 either printing or something. There is a translation, I'm sure. We shall

17 try and see by the end of the day.

18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have an English translation.

19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes. But you do not have the

20 entire document, and this is what our learned friend has drawn our

21 attention to.

22 I apologise. I have not compared the originals with their

23 translations before I distributed my binder. But before the end of the

24 day today or tomorrow morning at the latest we will, I'm sure, be able to

25 provide you with the rest of the English translation. Thank you very

Page 14765

1 much.

2 Q. Mr. Sipic, you said that in mid-April there were combat

3 activities in the region of Vitez and in the Lasva Valley, and you have

4 emphasised the village of Ahmici. Can you tell me, where were your troops

5 deployed at the time and how did you deploy your troops?

6 A. As I have already said, one part of the 306th Mountain Brigade

7 was deployed on the defence line facing the Serbian forces and the

8 remainder of the troops I had to regroup, and I had to move all of them

9 towards Vitez because there was a realistic danger that some of the

10 conflict from Vitez will spread on to the Bila Valley. As the brigade

11 commander, I had to bring some of my troops into the state of readiness in

12 that area in order to prevent possible enemy moves. The situation was

13 even more compounded by the fact that there were refugees in the Bila

14 Valley, and they kept oncoming and passing through the Bila Valley because

15 this was the only place where they found a safe haven for themselves.

16 Q. Mr. Sipic, can you tell us briefly what happened in May in the

17 area covered by your brigade. Did the situation improve? Did it become

18 stable? Or did it become even worse?

19 A. In the month of May, there were even more incidents. Every day

20 there was an incident, there was a skirmish, there were killings of the

21 command members at the command post. Sniper fire was opened every day on

22 the neighbouring villages.

23 In the month of May, the entire Bila Valley was encircled. Part

24 of it was encircled from the Mount Vlasic by the Serb force and then from

25 the Zenica, Novi Travnik, and Nova Bila, that's where the HVO forces were.

Page 14766












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Page 14767

1 And we were completely encircled in the Bila Valley at the time.

2 Q. Please look at tab entitled "May 1993." There are a number of

3 documents there from 2 to 22. I'm going to ask you to look at these

4 documents, and can you tell us what these documents are about.

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Maybe the witness can do that

6 during the break. It is quarter to 4.00.

7 Colonel, we will have to take a technical break. During the

8 break, maybe you can have a look at the documents that the Defence has

9 just mentioned.

10 We shall resume at ten past 4.00.

11 --- Recess taken at 3.43 p.m.

12 --- On resuming at 4.10 p.m.

13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Defence has the floor.

14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.

15 Q. I hope, Mr. Sipic, that you have managed to look at the documents

16 I asked you to look at, from 2 to 22.

17 A. I did not take the documents with me. They -- they've stayed

18 here all the time.

19 Q. Can you please look at the documents now. I was hoping you might

20 be able to look at them during the break.

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecution, you have the

22 floor.

23 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.

24 Perhaps while the witness is looking through the documents, it

25 might be helpful if the numbers were read into the record by my learned

Page 14768

1 colleague, because of course several weeks or months from now when we

2 review the transcripts, we don't know what documents 2 through 22 will be,

3 and so perhaps she could -- if she could do that while -- while he's

4 looking at them, that might be helpful for the future.

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Could you please read out

6 the numbers of these documents.

7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I've asked the

8 witness to look at the following documents: 1824, DH0976, 1827, DH0986,

9 number 1830, number 1831, number 1832, number 1835, DH1001, DH1011, number

10 1839, DH1014, DH1013, number 1021, DH1020, number 1842, number 1844,

11 number 1848, number 1851, number 1064, and number 1858.

12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. Some of the

13 documents have already been admitted, and documents like, for example, 184

14 are the ones that have been marked for identification. In the list, there

15 is a document that hasn't been translated into English; that is 1064,

16 which is only in B/C/S, as we can see from your list. According to the

17 Defence, these documents will illustrate the developments that took place

18 in May 1993.

19 I believe that the witness has had the time to look at the

20 documents. You may proceed.

21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

22 Q. Mr. Sipic, first of all, tell me whether you recognise these

23 documents as documents that you personally drafted, either you or members

24 of the brigade command.

25 A. Yes, I do.

Page 14769

1 Q. In these documents, did you describe incidents that took place in

2 the area covered by your brigade and involving the HVO?

3 A. Yes. Every day we described what was going on in the Bila

4 Valley.

5 Q. Mr. Sipic, we have seen some documents that were typewritten, but

6 there are some others which are either telegrams or handwritten documents.

7 Tell me why there is no uniformity in these documents, why there was no

8 customary way of reporting to your superior brigade.

9 A. This arose from the very specific situation that we were in.

10 I've already testified about our communications means, which were

11 practically non-existent, so there was no way for us to communicate. That

12 is why we sent coded telegrams to our superior command. When the superior

13 command was not in its command post, when the command post was moved, that

14 person did not have anything but a piece of paper and a pencil, and that's

15 how they drafted reports.

16 Q. Tell me, please: These numerous problems, incidents, blockades,

17 the fact that the brigade was encircled - and all this is described in the

18 documents that you have just looked at - did all this have an impact on

19 the morale of your men and their combat readiness?

20 A. All of the developments and events that are mentioned in these

21 documents had a big impact on the morale of the members of the 306th,

22 because all of these developments were taking place very close to either

23 them or their families and that's why they exerted a huge impact on their

24 morale and combat readiness. As far as combat readiness is concerned, one

25 can see from the documents that the combat readiness of our men was at a

Page 14770

1 very low level. From the month of May, the unit could not be sent to a

2 mission as a whole. The movement was restricted. People could not move

3 from one village to another. And that is why the unit was active in those

4 areas where its members happened to be. That's how the unit functioned.

5 And part of the command was transferred and its work covered the whole

6 territory of the Bila Valley.

7 Q. Mr. Sipic, did your men point to the problems that their families

8 might have had? Did you come across the problem of men refusing to go to

9 the line, or did they maybe go to the line without any objections?

10 A. I have to tell you that the members of the 306th Brigade were

11 very poor. They didn't have any food. They were poor and they still had

12 to be sent to the lines on the Vlasic plateau. They did not leave their

13 wives and children behind easily, because their families were at a

14 constant risk of attacks and other things. Sometimes we even had to

15 punish our soldiers for failing to report when they were called to the

16 lines. This was a very complex and specific situation during that period

17 of time, both in the 306th Brigade and in the entire Bila Valley.

18 Q. Mr. Sipic, where were you at the beginning of June?

19 A. Not only at the beginning of June, but from the last part of May

20 onwards I was in the village of Krpeljici. On that particular day, we had

21 a meeting in Guca Gora with the representatives of the HVO and civilian

22 bodies of power from Travnik municipality. The goal was to overcome the

23 existent problems and difficulties. On that day, during the break I went

24 to have a coffee in Krpeljici, which is the village next to Guca Gora.

25 And while I was there, the entire Bila Valley was blocked and nobody could

Page 14771

1 move. Nobody could pass through the Bila Valley. A member of the HVO

2 informed me that I was not to leave the place where I was because anybody

3 at any of the HVO checkpoints could arrest me. That's why I stayed in

4 Krpeljici village for a somewhat longer period of time, until the moment I

5 handed over my duty as the brigade commander. All this time I was in

6 Krpeljici.

7 Q. What about the rest of the command? Where were they?

8 A. I'll try and reconstruct the situation. It was a long time ago.

9 I may not be able to remember all of them. However, the -- I'm going to

10 mention the key figures. I, as the commander, and Chief of Staff, Remzija

11 Siljak, and the assistant for finances, Mujo Husanovic, as well as with my

12 assistant for morale, Halem Husic, we were in Krpeljici. The other part

13 of the command, with Mustafa Fazlic, who was the assistant commander for

14 training, was in Mehurici. The assistant commander for logistics, Munir

15 Karic, he was also in Mehurici at the command post of the 1st Battalion.

16 I was in Krpeljici at the command post of the 2nd Battalion.

17 Some other officers who were in charge of mobilisation and

18 organisation, Halihodza [phoen] Omer, was in Alihodzici, the logistics

19 officer was in Mosor, and one part of the officers had remained in the

20 main command post in the mine. This is where the assistant commander for

21 security, Asim Delalic, was, as well as the officer for operations, Husic.

22 Those are the ones that I remember. I believe that if I saw documents, I

23 would be able to remember some others. But these were the key figures and

24 this is where they were at the time.

25 Q. Having looked at the 22 documents, I'm sure you can see that the

Page 14772

1 situation was very dramatic. Tell me, did you receive any order from the

2 3rd Corps or did you yourself decide to prepare for a defence in case

3 there was an open conflict in the territory covered by your brigade?

4 A. Our commander, our corps commander was a very responsible person.

5 He received information every day. And he had -- he ordered us to come up

6 with three scenarios. One of them envisaged an attack by the Serb forces.

7 The second one envisaged an attack by the HVO. And the third one

8 envisaged an attack from both sides. At that time, this was a realistic

9 situation where all the three scenarios could have taken place. And we

10 did it. We drafted our plans and we submitted them to our superior

11 command.

12 Q. Tell me, please: In June was there occasion for you to act

13 pursuant to this order, or did the conditions you found yourself in

14 dictate something else?

15 A. We drew up these three scenarios, but they were never

16 implemented. According to these reports, the situation changed from day

17 to day, and from day to day new decisions had to be made, new procedures

18 put in place. I had no communication with the commander. My command had

19 no communication with the superior command. Communication was very

20 difficult. We simply had to adapt to the situation as it arose in the

21 Bila Valley.

22 Q. Can you now briefly explain what the situation dictated to you in

23 early June as the commander. What happened to your men, to the encircled

24 villages, and what were the moves made by the HVO at that time in relation

25 to your forces?

Page 14773












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Page 14774

1 A. As I was where I was, not at my command post, and it was very

2 difficult for me to communicate with the rest of my command, although my

3 chief means of communication was only a RUP 12 - and I have explained what

4 the characteristics and possibilities of a RUP 12 are - I received a

5 telegram saying that the village of Ricica in the immediate vicinity of

6 Han Bila was encircled and that an ultimatum had been issued to the

7 population to hand over their weapons and abandon their village. The

8 village of Radojcici had been attacked. This was very close to the

9 village of Ricica.

10 On the 3rd of June, I received an alarming request saying that

11 the village of Velika Bukovica had been encircled and had been issued with

12 an ultimatum to surrender and disarm by nightfall on the same day.

13 The villages of Ricica, Radojcici, and Bukovica were asking for

14 assistance. As these villages were part of the 2nd Battalion's territory,

15 I was with the commander of the 2nd Battalion. Ricica and the Radojcici

16 were on the territory of the 3rd Battalion. So I told the commander of

17 the 2nd Battalion to sent a small unit in the direction of Bukovica.

18 However, this was not possible because his battalion numbered very few men

19 in the village of Krpeljici because other parts of his battalion were in

20 other villages. So he was unable to respond.

21 I asked a part of the command, the part that was in Mehurici, to

22 see whether it was possible to find a way to send assistance to the

23 village of Velika Bukovica and to inform the command of the 3rd Corps of

24 the situation and also to ask any humanitarian organisation or UNPROFOR to

25 urgently come to the village of Bukovica because we could expect something

Page 14775

1 terrible to happen there at any moment.

2 Q. Tell me, please: Was there any movement of these forces from

3 Mehurici where part of the command was in the direction of Velika Bukovica

4 and was there any assistance from UNPROFOR at the time when you requested

5 it?

6 A. There was no assistance either from UNPROFOR or any other

7 international organisation. One morning - that's between the 7th and

8 the 8th - I was still asleep. This was in the village of Krpeljici. In

9 the early morning hours, I was awakened by heavy gunfire. I didn't know

10 who was shooting at whom. I thought first that we had been attacked by

11 the Serbian forces or perhaps the HVO. The village was being shelled from

12 all sides. In my immediate vicinity, a house burst into flames. A barn

13 caught fire. I had no information as to what was happening. I composed a

14 telegram and sent it to the command at Rudnik and at Mehurici telling the

15 commands to tell the superior command that we were being attacked from all

16 sides, that we didn't know who was attacking us, and that we were asking

17 for help. The situation appeared to be very dramatic, and I saw no way

18 out.

19 Q. In the course of that day - you say this was the morning of the

20 8th of June - did you learn what was happening and who told you this?

21 A. There was fighting on all sides. The entire valley was in

22 flames. There was shooting everywhere. You couldn't tell who was

23 shooting at whom. I went to a shelter because there was shelling and my

24 command post could be shelled.

25 Sometime in the early afternoon a member of the 17th Krajina

Page 14776

1 arrived. He was a member of the reconnaissance platoon, his nickname was

2 Zenga. And he arrived at my command post. And of course I asked him what

3 was going on, and he told me that our forces were fighting in order to

4 help the forces in the direction of Mehurici and Velika Bukovica.

5 In the late afternoon, he passed -- or rather, my assistant for

6 logistics, Munir Karic, came along, and he said that they had decided to

7 help the forces in Velika Bukovica. He said he didn't have much time to

8 talk to me. He said there were many casualties, dead and wounded, that he

9 urgently had to go to Mehurici to carry out evacuation, to provide

10 assistance, and to take people in the direction of Zenica. That's what I

11 learned on that first day.

12 Q. Tell me, please: According to this first information you

13 received, what was the direction taken there by parts of the 306th Brigade

14 from Mehurici? Were they going in the direction of Bukovica or in some

15 other direction? And where did they stop on that day?

16 A. They were moving towards Bukovica under the foothills of

17 Mount Vlasic in the direction of Gornje Maline, Bukovica, Radojcici, those

18 villages. And on that day that's where the lines stopped, Bukovica,

19 Radojcici, Maline. That was the line on the 8th that was reached on that

20 day.

21 Q. As you had already learned that our forces were successful and

22 that they were pushing back the HVO units, tell me, did you then take any

23 steps in order to link up the forces? And if so, who went out onto the

24 ground to find out where individual units were?

25 A. As I received reports on that day from Velika Bukovica that we

Page 14777

1 had 18 dead in the village of Bukovica and 5 wounded, that the village had

2 been torched, that members of the HVO were using a human shield of the

3 civilian population, and that they had taken them to Nova -- Stara Bila.

4 During the day, there had been an attack in the direction of the villages

5 of Bandol and Mosor, and I received urgent requests from my forces for

6 assistance. As the situation was what it was, I had only one officer

7 available whom I could send in that direction to coordinate and join up

8 the forces, and this was Remzija Siljak, my Chief of Staff. He went out

9 onto the ground in order to see what the situation was, to link up the

10 units, and to -- to lead the units.

11 Q. Mr. Sipic, on the following day, did any members of the units

12 from Travnik arrive at your command post, and had they started out in

13 response to your appeals for help?

14 A. As I had asked for help everywhere, from anyone who could offer

15 help, to -- when the village of -- when the village of Bukovica was

16 liberated from the siege, they were able to go in the direction of my

17 units. And on the following day, the Chief of Staff of the 312th arrived

18 at my command post, and he told me that part of his forces from the 312th

19 and part of the forces from the 17th Krajina and from the 7th Muslim from

20 the direction of Travnik had arrived in the area of Velika Bukovica and

21 that it was necessary to link up these forces. I looked at the map with

22 him to see where these units were and how far they had arrived -- come,

23 and we tried to agree joint activities by these units. And at around 3.00

24 or 4.00 I received news that this Chief of Staff had been killed out on

25 the field in his effort to link up these forces. He was killed out there.

Page 14778

1 And this all shows how difficult it was, how impossible it was in that

2 situation to establish joint operations and control and to link up the

3 forces.

4 Q. Mr. Sipic, on the following days, your forces, which had come as

5 far as Guca Gora, did they fight in Guca Gora? Did they come up against

6 any resistance? And where were your forces moving on the following days,

7 the 9th and the 10th?

8 A. As we had received certain intelligence reports from the

9 assistant for intelligence, we learned that Guca Gora had been abandoned

10 and that there were no HVO members or men there. I ordered the commander

11 of the 2nd Battalion to enter the village of Guca Gora with a view to

12 protecting the Franciscan monastery in Guca Gora, to secure it. And as we

13 had information that this had been the command post of the Frankopan

14 Brigade, to secure this command post and to establish outside the village

15 of Guca Gora -- or rather, that they were to go as far as they were able

16 to until they came up against HVO resistance, and in this way to see where

17 the HVO had established their lines. In the meantime, in Perici, I was

18 still commanding the commanders of the subordinate units.

19 Q. Mr. Sipic, did you join up with part of your command at some

20 point? And if so, when was this?

21 A. In view of the situation and the impossibility of communicating

22 or moving by motor vehicle, after all this - and I can't remember

23 precisely whether it was on the 11th or the 12th of June - a part of the

24 brigade command managed to gather together after being separated for some

25 10 or 15 days and not acting jointly as a command.

Page 14779

1 Q. You said that your units passed through Guca Gora and went in the

2 direction of the newly established HVO lines. At that point, how well

3 equipped were your units? After this fighting, did they have sufficient

4 means to continue fighting?

5 A. I have to tell you that in our previous fighting, the equipment

6 and materiel we had had had been spent more or less. Let me just tell you

7 that on the average, at least according to the reports from Fahir Camdzic,

8 the battalion commander, he said that on the average his soldiers had 10

9 to 15 bullets. And those were the circumstances under which they were to

10 continue fighting because we had no way to replenish these supplies and no

11 way to bring any supplies to the units.

12 Q. Mr. Sipic, would you please look at the tab entitled "June 1993,"

13 and will you please look at the documents numbered from 1 to 14.

14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecution has the floor.

15 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. I would again ask if

16 perhaps my colleague could read the numbers into the record and also

17 indicate which documents we're missing translations of.

18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Would the Defence please

19 respond to this.

20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. The documents are

21 1094, which is only in B/C/S; document 1105 --

22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you please tell us what

23 document is under 1094.

24 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] This is an operative report for

25 the 1st of June, 1993. These are various documents pertaining to the

Page 14780












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13 English transcripts.













Page 14781

1 month of June issued by the 306th Brigade. Document 1105 also exists only

2 in the B/C/S version; it is a daily operative report for the 3rd of June,

3 1993. Number 3 is document 1864; number 4 is document 1867. This is also

4 only a B/C/S version. It's a telegram reporting on the situation of the

5 2nd of June at 21.15 hours.

6 The next document is 1869, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1886,

7 1889, 1893, and document 1902.

8 Q. Mr. Sipic, do you recognize these documents as documents issued

9 by your brigade? Were these documents sent by you or persons subordinated

10 to you?

11 A. Yes, I recognise them.

12 Q. Are these documents reporting on a certain situation obtaining on

13 the territory of your brigade from the 1st of June?

14 A. Yes. Probably because of the situation the person compiling

15 these documents didn't have all the necessary information because even

16 worse things happened to us as a brigade on the entire territory of the

17 Bila Valley. However, they sent only the information they were aware of

18 at that point in time.

19 Q. You said the person at the basic command post compiled

20 information known to that person. If I understood you correctly, this

21 would be at Rudnik?

22 A. Yes, that's correct.

23 Q. Tell me, how did you communicate with this basic command post?

24 What was your method of communication with them?

25 A. It was very poor. Sometimes I managed to send a telegram through

Page 14782

1 the RUP 12, but most of the time I had no communication at all with this

2 basic command post.

3 Q. In some of these documents, there is mention of the appeals for

4 help you sent to the superior commands. Did you forward these requests to

5 the basic command post and did then they send them on, or did you send

6 them to the superior command directly?

7 A. Part of my appeals for help were sent to the basic command post,

8 and then the officer at the basic command post would forward them on to

9 whomever he was able to communicate with.

10 Q. As the documents were for the most part drawn up at the basic

11 command post, were you able to learn all the information contained in

12 these telegrams that were sent to the superior command at the time these

13 events took place, or were you informed of these events later on?

14 A. Not a single telegram sent while I was in Krpeljici during those

15 15 or 20 days was something that I knew about. I didn't even know what

16 was in the reports sent to the superior command. I was able to learn this

17 only when the command was again reunited at a single command post.

18 Q. The documents sent from your brigade, if you compare them with

19 any normally functioning brigade, to what degree do they deviate from the

20 normal methods of communication and the normal possibilities of a

21 commander to establish command and control over his units and inform his

22 superior command of this?

23 A. This situation was absurd. These means of communication and this

24 method of communication is something that was already outdated in

25 World War II, this kind of communication. Every one of these telegrams

Page 14783

1 had to be written, drawn up, and it's a question of who did that, and then

2 they had to be encoded by hand and then decoded. As for the situation, at

3 the basic command post they were under constant fire. The members of the

4 HVO had positions in the immediate vicinity of the command, and they

5 constantly opened fire in an attempt to take the command post.

6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Sipic.

7 Tell me now: When did your command join up again? You said that

8 you had a meeting of part of the command, the narrow circle. When was the

9 entire command reunited?

10 A. At that first meeting, I ordered all my assistants and the Chief

11 of Staff to inform all the command officers that they were to gather

12 together on the 18th or the 19th of January in the village of Krpeljici,

13 where I had the command post.

14 Q. Mr. Sipic, given all that the brigade went through in the month

15 of May and at the beginning of June, how long did it take you to

16 re-establish the brigade and to restore it to the situation that was

17 before the month of May?

18 A. Believe me, I never managed to re-establish the chain of control

19 and command as it should have been and then I was transferred. So during

20 the three months, I did not have an opportunity to re-establish my brigade

21 because of the constant fighting.

22 Q. You have just told us that there was constant fighting. In

23 addition to the line that you had on Mount Vlasic facing the Serbs, where

24 else did your brigade have to fight?

25 A. At the same time, when we held the line facing the Serbs, we had

Page 14784

1 an equally long line facing the HVO. This was a newly opened front line,

2 which was even more difficult than the front line facing the Serbs.

3 Believe me when I say that every day on that line I had one or two dead

4 soldiers. Every day we had to launch a counterattack against the HVO in

5 an attempt to restore our positions and to regain the territories. This

6 was a -- day in, day out. Fire was open everyday from all types of

7 weapons and pieces. Sniper fire was opened on my men, and they found it

8 very difficult to bear. A month would pass before I could relieve my

9 soldiers from the lines. Shifts lasted for a month. They had to sleep in

10 the trenches. They had to be there all the time because I did not have

11 fresh troops that could relieve them. I had what I had, and I had to

12 organise myself accordingly. There were no other troops.

13 I did ask for reinforcement, but I could never receive any

14 reinforcement.

15 Q. Mr. Sipic, let's move on to another topic. Earlier on you were

16 testifying about mobilisation of the Bila Valley population into different

17 units. In the spring of 1993, did you face the problem of individuals and

18 armed groups? And if you did, can you tell us something about that

19 problem and how did it become a problem for your brigade.

20 A. As I have already told you, several units were replenished from

21 the territory of the Bila Valley, and this made my life much harder

22 because I could not ask for a reinforcement. Everywhere in the world when

23 you -- your unit suffers losses and when you send a request for

24 reinforcement, that request is usually granted. However, I did not have

25 any possibility to do that because there were other units that had to be

Page 14785

1 replenished and reinforced. Members of those units would come to the

2 area -- my area of responsibility and stay there, and I did not have any

3 authority over them. There were even troops that did not belong to any

4 unit, and still they said that they belonged to a certain brigade. They

5 stayed at their homes, and they didn't go to any of the defence lines.

6 There were such cases rather frequently in the Bila Valley in my area of

7 responsibility.

8 Q. Since there were rogue individuals and groups present in the

9 area, did you inform anybody about that? Did the situation improve? Or

10 did you continue feeling that problem throughout your stay with that

11 brigade?

12 A. We informed our superior command about this problem. We even

13 informed particular units and we told them that there were some people who

14 said that they belonged on their strength. Whenever we did that, we

15 received a response from those units that those people did not belong to

16 them, that they were rogue individuals, and that they were not under the

17 control of any of the units that we had contacted.

18 Q. Mr. Sipic, did you face the fact that in your area there were

19 also some foreigners from African and Asian countries? If you did face

20 that fact, when did this happen and what can you tell us about that? What

21 did you learn about these foreigners once you joined the brigade in 1992?

22 A. When I became the commander of the 306th Brigade, I was aware of

23 the presence of people from African and Asian countries, of foreigners.

24 As a commander, I was interested in what they were doing there, and I

25 received information that they had arrived in the area in order to

Page 14786

1 distribute humanitarian aid to the Bosniak population of the area and also

2 that they were engaged in religious education. This was the initial

3 information that I received about these people who could be found in the

4 area.

5 Q. Where could they be found? Do you know?

6 A. According to my information, they were in Mehurici, in the

7 primary school there. In the primary school at Mehurici.

8 Q. How long did they stay in the primary school? Were they there

9 permanently, or did they change the place of their stay?

10 A. They stayed in the Mehurici school up to the moment when the

11 brigade was established. Once the brigade was established, my

12 1st Mountain Battalion [Realtime transcript read in error "Brigade"] was

13 billeted in the Mehurici primary school, and that's where its command post

14 was. Members of this battalion were not locals of the Bila Valley. Most

15 of them had arrived from Krajina and Kotor Varos. They were refugees from

16 those areas. They had been expelled by the Serbs. They were billeted

17 there because this is the only place where they stayed. They did not have

18 any other home in the area, and this -- this is where they were billeted

19 as members of the brigade. They had a problem with alcohol. They swore.

20 And that's why these foreigners had left Mehurici and the school and they

21 organised a camp in Poljanice.

22 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, just an error in

23 the transcript. On page 48, line 8, it says: "The 1st Mountain Brigade,"

24 and it should be "The 1st Mountain Battalion."

25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.

Page 14787












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Page 14788

1 Q. Mr. Sipic, did there come a time when you saw these people

2 carrying arms? How did you learn about that? Did you see it personally?

3 A. These people were using the same road I used from the direction

4 of Han Bila towards Travnik. I came across these people in Jeep vehicles,

5 and as I was passing them by in my vehicle, I saw that they were carrying

6 long-barrelled rifles, automatic rifles.

7 Q. You have just told us that according to your information, they

8 had arrived as humanitarian workers and religious trainers. Do you know

9 what their relationship with the local population was, and are you aware

10 of any problems that occurred among the local population with regard to

11 these Arab men?

12 A. Based on the information that I had, I can say that at the

13 beginning they were engaged in humanitarian activities. They organised

14 schools and religious centres. They were teaching children. However, as

15 time went by, they became more extreme when it came to religious matters.

16 They demanded from the Bila Valley population to follow their codes of

17 behaviour, and this was something that the Bila Valley locals were not

18 familiar with. Some people were put off by such religious practices

19 because this was not something that was traditional and typical of the

20 area. These foreigners tried to impose their customs. And there were

21 even discords in the mosque. There was even an initiative in Kljaci

22 village for the mosque to be divided in two parts. The locals did not

23 want to perform the religious service the way they did. And all of a

24 sudden these people became a problem for the locals.

25 Q. Mr. Sipic, did they start influencing men in your brigade? Did

Page 14789

1 they try to recruit younger men, able-bodied men from your brigade?

2 A. Yes, we did experience certain problems, but they didn't ask from

3 us to give our members to them. They had direct contact with the local

4 population, and they invited young men to come to their camp. Those young

5 men were sometimes of age, and they made promises to them. They told them

6 they would give them money, clothes, weapons. And given the economic and

7 general situation in the area, some individuals were attracted by those

8 offers and they did go to their camps -- actually, to their camp. I

9 apologise.

10 Q. As this became a problem for your unit, did you inform your

11 superior command about that problem and did you point to the fact that

12 something was happening in the area that was beyond your control and

13 beyond the control of the BiH army?

14 A. Yes, of course, I informed my superior command about that

15 problem. Since I did not have any authority over civilians who were not

16 members of my brigade, I could only take measures and steps against

17 members of my brigade. Those other things went beyond my authority and my

18 competence, and that is why I believed it was my duty to inform my

19 superior command, because I thought that they were better suited to deal

20 with the problem that I have just described.

21 Q. Mr. Sipic, in addition to recruiting young men and dividing

22 population into those who were for them and those who were against them,

23 did you face another problem towards the end of April involving these

24 Mujahedin? And if that was the case, can you tell us what the problem was

25 about?

Page 14790

1 A. Yes. This was on the 25th of April, in the morning, when I

2 arrived at my command post in the mine, in the Han Bila-Rudnik, the duty

3 operations officer, Captain Dervis Suljic, informed me that there had been

4 an incident in Miletici village during the previous night. The Miletici

5 village had been attacked by foreigners. He went there because he resided

6 in the close vicinity of that village, and he told me that his father had

7 also been arrested by these foreigners and that the battalion command came

8 to the rescue of the civilian population. They tried to persuade these

9 foreigners to let the civilians go. The battalion command sent me a

10 report on the event, and on that same day a mixed commission had been set

11 up involving the BiH army and the HVO. The head of the BiH section was

12 General Merdan. They went to investigate to find out what had taken place

13 in Miletici village. Since I was informed by the command of the 1st

14 Battalion and my duty operations officer that no member of the 306th

15 Brigade was involved in the attack on Miletici or any other member of the

16 BiH army, for that matter, I issued an order to my officers to draw up

17 information and to inform the superior command of the matter. And this is

18 the information that we sent to the corps command.

19 Q. Mr. Sipic, can you please look at the last tab,

20 entitled "Foreigners," and can you look at the first document, number

21 0923, which is only in B/C/S. Can you please put it on the ELMO.

22 I apologise. I believe that maybe somebody from the registry

23 could help us. My colleague has just told me that you do have this

24 document in English. So maybe your English version of the document could

25 be placed on the ELMO. If that is correct, Mr. Sipic, you will be able to

Page 14791

1 keep your B/C/S version before you.

2 Can you tell me now, before we put this document on the ELMO:

3 Did you have any doubt in your mind on that day as to who had committed

4 the crime in Miletici? Did all the information that reached you speak

5 only of the Mujahedin?

6 A. Yes, that's correct. I had no other information apart from the

7 information I received, and this information indicated that it was the

8 members of the Mujahedin who had done this.

9 Q. You have a document of the HVO before you, Central Bosnia

10 operative zone of the 26th of April, 1993. Would you please now look at

11 this document, paragraphs 1 and 2, and tell me whether the HVO was fully

12 aware of who had committed the crime in Miletici.

13 A. It's obvious here and it can be seen from the HVO reports that it

14 was the members of the Mujahedin who had committed the crime, not anyone

15 belonging to the 306th Brigade or the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

16 Q. Regardless of the fact that in the joint commission which was

17 established, there were reports, did you also send a report to the

18 superior command about this, and did they request that you undertake

19 certain steps?

20 A. As you know, we did send a report to the superior command in

21 connection with the events in Miletici, and this report contained the

22 information we had available. The security organ also sent a report, and

23 the superior command wrote to the security organ. Based on the reports in

24 which we had indicated the problems that these foreigners were causing,

25 they told my assistant for security that he should attempt to collect as

Page 14792

1 much information as possible about these foreigners, who and what they

2 were, where they were working, and to send any information he could

3 collect about them to the superior command.

4 Q. Before I put a question to you in connection with this request,

5 tell me, did you have any material or other possibilities to carry out an

6 investigation in that camp, to interview those men or ask them about

7 previous events, either about the recruitment of young men or about the

8 event in Miletici?

9 A. Absolutely not. There was no way I could do that. I had no

10 resources that would enable me to do this or to solve all these problems.

11 As commander, I had no authority over these persons.

12 Q. Mr. Sipic, when you received information from your assistant

13 commander for security, who told you that his security organ from the

14 3rd Corps was asking him for additional information about these persons,

15 do you know whether he attempted to contact them and whether at any point

16 there was any contact with these Mujahedin?

17 A. My assistant for security, Asim Delalic, told me what his orders

18 were from the superior command, that is, that he was to gather certain

19 operative knowledge about these forces and these men, these foreigners in

20 our area. I personally - personally - asked that he arrange for a certain

21 contact with them, for me to go to the camp in Poljanice and to ask the

22 persons responsible there what they were doing, what their aim was, what

23 the purpose of their activity was, and why they were creating these

24 problems in the area.

25 Q. And did you ultimately succeed in establishing contact with them?

Page 14793

1 A. Ultimately my assistant informed me that on the 11th we could go

2 to the Poljanice area, and he and I - he was driving - so we set out in

3 his vehicle in the direction of Poljanice. As I am not very familiar with

4 that area in the immediate vicinity of the village of Mehurici and

5 Suhi Dol, my assistant for security knew the road to Poljanice and we set

6 out along that road.

7 When we got close to their camp, we noticed a barrier improvised

8 out of wood and next to it was a guard. The guard was wearing a uniform

9 and carrying a rifle. We came there by car, as far as the barrier, and he

10 raised his hand to stop us. We got out of the car and we asked to be

11 received there. When he saw us in uniform, he took out a whistle and blew

12 it. We didn't know why he was whistling. We expected to be attacked.

13 But some 20 metres away there was an old house, and two uniformed persons

14 got out of -- went out of the house and started coming towards us. I

15 observed that one of these was a bearded foreigner and the other one

16 looked like a Bosnian by his external appearance.

17 When they came up to us, they asked us what we wanted. I

18 introduced myself. I said I was the commander of the 306th Brigade. I

19 said I had come to visit their camp because I needed to solve certain

20 problems that they were creating, taking these civilians, attacking

21 Miletici, and so on. The man next to this foreigner was interpreting, and

22 he told me that his name was -- that he was the emir of the camp, and he

23 said, "What is your business here?" I said, "I've come to talk about

24 problems." And he said that two days previously they had talked with

25 Sefer Halilovic about establishing themselves as the 8th Muslim Brigade

Page 14794












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Page 14795

1 directly under the General Staff of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina,

2 and he said that I had no business there. He said that in two or three

3 days they would go there to finalise their agreement with him. When they

4 explained this to me, they said, "Now you can leave our camp."

5 I was a little frightened. I saw that their attitude was quite

6 hostile and arrogant, so I told my assistant we were going. We left, and

7 I ordered my assistant personally to write up an informative report on our

8 visit to the camp and to tell the superior command what had happened. He

9 told me that he had informed the superior command about this event.

10 Q. Would you now look at the last documents in this series of

11 documents. The document is dated the 13th of May, 1993 and the heading

12 is "The command of the 306th Mountain Brigade." Would you please tell me

13 whether this is the document compiled by your assistant for military

14 security and whether this document describes your attempt to establish

15 some kind of relationship with these representatives of the Mujahedin

16 because of the numerous problems to which your attention had been drawn by

17 the superior command.

18 A. Yes. This is my personal attempt to try and see what was going

19 on, what the problems were, and what the aim of these forces was.

20 Q. Thank you very much. Mr. Sipic, would you now tell me: During

21 these combat operations in June that we talked about, did you receive

22 information to the effect that something had happened during those battles

23 that required an urgent investigation?

24 A. Yes. On the 11th or 12th, when part of the command gathered in

25 Krpeljici, I briefly asked my subordinate commanders to brief me according

Page 14796

1 to their sphere of competence what the problems were and what was going

2 on. At this briefing, the various officers told me of various problems,

3 and Asim Delalic, the assistant for security, informed me that on the 8th,

4 when combat operations were carried out, some civilians of Croatian

5 ethnicity who had been escorted towards the village of Mehurici by

6 military police of the 1st Battalion were ambushed by foreigners and that

7 some of them were taken off and there were grounds to suspect they had

8 been killed. He said that he had started an investigation and that he

9 would tell me the details when he found out what had happened. I told him

10 that he was to inform the superior command of this event and on completing

11 his investigation, he was to inform me of the results of his

12 investigation.

13 My assistant for security carried out this investigation with his

14 men and with the assistant from the 1st Battalion. This, due to the

15 complexity of the task, lasted for some 10 or 15 days, the investigation,

16 that is. And then the assistant commander for security of the 306th,

17 Delalic, and the assistant from the 1st Battalion came to see me, and they

18 told me that some of the civilians of Croatian ethnicity had been abducted

19 under threat of weapons and taken off somewhere and probably killed. I

20 also learnt from them that members of the 306th had not participated in

21 this, nor had any members of the army. I ordered him to inform the

22 security organ of the superior command of all this.

23 Q. Mr. Sipic, in this set of documents, the first set of documents,

24 would you look at the document under tab 10. It's 1903, under tab 10,

25 yes, in the first section.

Page 14797

1 A. What number?

2 Q. 1903. This is about the situation in the 306th Mountain Brigade.

3 It's a short report of the 306th for the command of the 3rd Corps. Tell

4 me, is this the information you received from your assistant for security

5 that there are indications of the execution of 20 captured civilians and

6 members of the HVO and that investigation is pending? Is this the

7 information you received and forwarded to the 3rd Corps?

8 A. Yes, this is the information.

9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Sipic. I only have one further question: In view

10 of all these events, tell me, did there come a time when you were

11 commander of the 306th Brigade when these foreigners, Arabs, or Mujahedin,

12 were under the command of your brigade? Did this happen at any point in

13 time? And, secondly, when they left the brigade in mid-August, were they

14 members of the 3rd Corps [as interpreted]?

15 A. As a commanding officer, I can assert that while I was commander

16 of the brigade, they were never under the command of the 306th Brigade

17 nor, as far as I know, were they under the command of the 3rd Corps.

18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Sipic.

19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have no further

20 questions.

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It is now time for our break.

22 We shall resume at about 6.00 and then I will give the floor to General

23 Kubura, after which we will have cross-examination.

24 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] There is an error in the

25 interpretation. I do apologise for interrupting. Page 57, line 6, I

Page 14798

1 think it is not a good interpretation. I said "and secondly, up to the --

2 up to mid-August, were they under the command of the 3rd Corps?" I think

3 the interpretation is not correct. My witness did -- the witness did

4 answer the question, because he heard it in the original B/C/S. That's

5 page 57, line 6 and 7.

6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, there is something missing

7 on page 10 -- or rather, in line 10, page 57 -- no, could you please

8 repeat your question and then everything will be clear.

9 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

10 Q. Mr. Sipic, I will put two questions to you. First, these

11 foreigners or Mujahedin, at any point while you were commander of the

12 306th Brigade, were they members of the 306th Brigade?

13 A. I assert with full liability that as long as I was the commander

14 of the 306th Brigade, at no point in time were they under the command of

15 the 306th Brigade.

16 Q. Up to that time, do you know whether they were under the command

17 of the 3rd Corps?

18 A. To the best of my knowledge, they were not under the command of

19 the 3rd Corps.

20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. We shall

22 resume around 6.00.

23 --- Recess taken at 5.29 p.m.

24 --- On resuming at 6.01 p.m.

25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall now resume, and I give

Page 14799

1 the floor to the Prosecution -- I forgot the other Defence team. I

2 apologise.

3 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We

4 do have a few questions for this witness.

5 Cross-examined by Mr. Ibrisimovic:

6 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Sipic.

7 A. Good afternoon.

8 I'm sorry, I'm not receiving any interpretation and the

9 microphone is not working.

10 Q. You've told us today that you were the commander of the 306th

11 Brigade of the 3rd Corps from the end of 1992 up to mid-August 1993. Did

12 I understand you well?

13 A. Yes, this is correct.

14 Q. Your brigade was composed of four battalions.

15 A. Yes, that's correct.

16 Q. Could you please answer a few questions with regard to the

17 1st Battalion of your brigade. The headquarters of the 1st Battalion of

18 your brigade, the 306th Brigade, was in the school in Mehurici; is that

19 correct?

20 A. Yes, it is.

21 Q. You said that unlike other battalions, the troops of this

22 battalion were billeted in that school because they were refugees and they

23 didn't have any other home in the area; is that correct?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. How many troops were members of the battalion and how many were

Page 14800

1 billeted in the school in Mehurici?

2 A. Most were from Krajina, refugees from Krajina. There were other

3 members from Kakanj and so on and so forth. Not everybody in -- from that

4 battalion was billeted in the Mehurici school. Some were in Zenica and so

5 on and so forth. Some 100 or so men did not have any other accommodation

6 and they stayed in the school. This battalion had about 250 men

7 altogether, and these men stayed across Central Bosnia. Some were in

8 Zenica, some in Kakanj. And those who had families there, when they were

9 free they went there. Those who did not have families in Central Bosnia

10 were billeted in the school in Mehurici.

11 Q. So approximately 100 people were there on a permanent basis, in

12 the school in Mehurici.

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Mr. Sipic, I put it to you that in the school in Mehurici there

15 were never members of the 7th Muslim Brigade of the 3rd Corps.

16 A. I would agree with that. I -- to my knowledge, members of the

17 7th Battalion -- 7th Muslim Brigade were never there in the school in

18 Mehurici.

19 Q. I also put it to you that the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim

20 Brigade was never stationed in Mehurici as an organised unit. They were

21 never stationed in Bila Aragina [phoen]; is that correct?

22 A. As far as I know, this is correct. I don't have any information

23 to the effect of them being stationed in the area of the Bila Valley.

24 Q. You have told us today that you visited the camp -- actually, you

25 came as far as the entrance to the camp of the foreign fighters. I

Page 14801












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and

13 English transcripts.













Page 14802

1 believe that on record we only have the date 11th, but there's no month.

2 A. It was on the 11th of May.

3 Q. What year?

4 A. In 1993.

5 Q. You said at the entrance you met with two foreign fighters, and

6 according to you one of them was a foreigner and the other one spoke

7 Bosnian. Is that correct?

8 A. No, it is not correct. One of them was a guard, and he was a

9 foreigner. And the other two, when the whistle was blown, came from the

10 house in Poljanice, came towards us, and one of the two that I -- that

11 approached the entrance spoke Bosnian; therefore, he was a Bosnian. And

12 the other one was a foreigner. And the guard as well was a foreigner.

13 Q. The persons that you met at the entrance to the camp did not have

14 any insignia showing that they belonged to the BiH army.

15 A. No. They wore camouflage uniforms without any insignia.

16 Q. While you were the commander of the 306th Brigade, in the school

17 in Mehurici foreign fighters were billeted and you found them there when

18 you -- when you came there.

19 A. No, I didn't find them there personally, but I have information

20 that they were there before the brigade was established. Once the brigade

21 was established, then the 1st Battalion was stationed there. They

22 abandoned the primary school in Mehurici and from then onwards the

23 1st Battalion of my brigade was billeted there.

24 Q. I didn't say that you saw -- saw them personally there but that

25 they were there when the 1st Battalion was billeted there.

Page 14803

1 A. In that case, I didn't understand you well.

2 Q. To Mrs. Residovic's question, you answered that these foreign

3 fighters were never under the control of the 306th Brigade or under the

4 control of the 3rd Corps of the BiH army.

5 A. Yes, that's correct.

6 Q. I put it to you, Mr. Sipic, that these foreign fighters who were

7 billeted in the school in Mehurici and those who stayed in the Poljanice

8 camp were never members of the 7th Muslim Brigade and they were never

9 under the control of the 7th Muslim Brigade of the 3rd Corps of the BiH

10 army.

11 A. As far as I know, those people who stayed there were not under

12 the command of those units that you have mentioned.

13 Q. I would like to go back to the events that you have testified

14 about today, and those events took place at the beginning of June 1993.

15 You have told us that from mid-May 1993 you were in the command of the

16 2nd Battalion of your brigade, which was in Krpeljici village; is that

17 correct?

18 A. Yes, it is.

19 Q. And with you there was your Chief of Staff, the Chief of Staff of

20 the 306th Brigade, Remzija Siljak; is that correct?

21 A. Yes, it is.

22 Q. During your testimony, you've also told us that approximately

23 during that period of time the Bila Valley was completely blocked.

24 A. Yes, that is correct.

25 Q. That means that from the command of your battalion in Krpeljici

Page 14804

1 you could not reach your brigade command in the mine.

2 A. Not only that. I could not reach any of the villages. I

3 couldn't go to Ricica, or Radojcici, or Bandol, Velika Bukovica, or

4 Mehurici, Alihodzici. All these villages that were in the vicinity, I

5 could not reach. I could not reach any of the villages outside that

6 circle. There was a circle around the entire valley, and there were some

7 smaller circles around smaller points of the territory, depending on where

8 the HVO positions were. The whole Bila Valley was sort of transected and

9 divided into smaller parts which were all encircled.

10 Q. If we look at the situation that you have just described, one

11 would say that the units that were in the town of Travnik were not able to

12 leave Travnik and reach the Bila Valley.

13 A. That is correct. I've already said that. It was only after the

14 8th or the 9th that they were able to reach us from the direction of

15 Travnik. There was no chance in hell for them to reach us unless they

16 undertook an air lift and an air drop. They couldn't do it.

17 Q. I believe that you know that the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim

18 Brigade was stationed in Travnik.

19 A. As far as I know, that is correct. They were on the strength of

20 the Bosanska Krajina OG and they were subordinated to the Bosanska Krajina

21 OG.

22 Q. During your testimony on page 39, you've told us that on the

23 8th of June in the afternoon you met with Munir Karic, who was your

24 deputy, the deputy commander.

25 A. No. He was my assistant for logistics.

Page 14805

1 Q. Of the 306th Brigade.

2 A. Of the 306th Brigade.

3 Q. And he told you what had happened during that day.

4 A. Yes. He gave me a brief -- a briefing, a very short briefing.

5 Q. And you told us that Munir Karic told us that parts of the

6 306th Brigade were engaged on the line towards Gornje Maline, Bukovica,

7 Radojcici, and that's where they reached their final lines. Is that

8 correct?

9 A. Yes, it is.

10 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] With your leave, Your Honour, I

11 would like to show the witness three documents. And since these three

12 documents are interlinked, I would like the witness to be shown all the

13 three documents at the same time; this would save us some time. Can the

14 usher please show the witness the following documents: DK22, P579, and

15 P465.

16 Q. Mr. Sipic, can you please look at the telegram which was sent by

17 the 306th Brigade to the command of the 3rd Corps. The dates are the

18 8th of June and the 9th of June, 1993. This is the first document. The

19 first one is P579 and the second one is DK22.

20 In the first, the telegram reads: "We are currently on the line

21 Maline-Guca Gora-Velika Bukovica. Can you see that?

22 A. Yes, I can.

23 Q. In the second, dated the 9th of June, it says at the

24 bottom: "Yesterday our forces reached the line of villages Maline,

25 Guca Gora, Mosor, and Velika Bukovica." My question to you now is as

Page 14806

1 follows: These telegrams that were sent to the 3rd Corps, do they reflect

2 what you were told by Munir Karic on the 8th of June in the afternoon?

3 A. Yes, they -- they do.

4 Q. Mr. Sipic, do you know where Hajdareve Njive elevation is?

5 A. Yes, I do. This elevation is very close to the blue water, to

6 "Plava Voda." As you enter Travnik from the direction of Vitez, this

7 elevation is immediately before the blue waters. This is a restaurant on

8 the right-hand side, and you can see it from the main road some 500 metres

9 from the main road.

10 Q. This is in the vicinity of Travnik, isn't it?

11 A. Yes. It is not more than one kilometre from Travnik.

12 Q. Can you please look at the last document, which is a regular

13 combat report of the Bosanska Krajina OG Command, and it was sent to the

14 command of the 3rd Corps. This document is P465. If you look at the last

15 sentence, it says: "The 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade is active

16 on the Hajdareve Njive elevation towards Bukovica."

17 A. Yes, I can see that.

18 Q. I put it to you, Mr. Sipic - and this has been confirmed by some

19 officers of the 306th Brigade, including your Chief of Staff - that on the

20 8th of June, 1993 the 7th Muslim Brigade was not engaged in combat in the

21 sector of Maline, Bukovica, nor did it operate from the direction of Mehurici

22 towards these settlements.

23 A. As far as I know, what you're saying is correct. I don't have

24 any other information to the contrary.

25 Q. According to the report of the command of the Bosanska Krajina OG

Page 14807

1 to which the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade was resubordinated,

2 which you have just confirmed to us, the 1st Battalion was engaged on the

3 Hajdareve Njive facility, which is some 500 metres away from Travnik; is

4 that correct?

5 A. Yes, it is.

6 Q. To Mrs. Residovic's question, you answered that during the next

7 following -- the few following days, the conditions were put in place for

8 the units from Travnik to arrive in this area. If we say "a few following

9 days," that means a few days after the 8th of June, 1993; is that correct?

10 A. Yes, it is.

11 Q. This is when members of the 312th Brigade, the 17th Krajina

12 Brigade, and the 7th Muslim Brigade, the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim

13 Brigade that has arrived in that area.

14 A. As far as I was informed by the Chief of Staff, who was

15 leaving -- leading this temporary tactical group which was composed of the

16 312th, parts of the 7th and the 17th Krajina Brigade, they arrived in the

17 Bukovica sector on the 9th. He reported to me and he informed me about

18 that. This is the information that I have.

19 Q. On the day when you met up with the members and officers of the

20 312th, the 17th, and the 7th Brigade, the Chief of Staff of the 312th

21 Brigade got killed.

22 A. No, I didn't meet up with all of them. Their representative came

23 to my command post in Krpeljici. He was the Chief of Staff of the

24 312th Brigade. I did not see any other officers. They remained in the

25 sector, in their areas around Bukovica. He was the only one. He came to

Page 14808












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and

13 English transcripts.













Page 14809

1 see me to agree with me on our contacts. They were on our -- on my right

2 flank. On his return, when he was trying to link up all these units, he

3 was killed.

4 Q. And on the same day when you met up with him.

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. So the Chief of Staff of the 312th Brigade was killed on that

7 day. This was confirmed to us by the Chief of Staff of the 306th Brigade.

8 A. It is possible that this was on that date. All I know, that -- I

9 don't know whether it was on the 9th or on the 10th. I don't know. But

10 when he came to see me, on that day, when he talked to me, after he

11 returned he was killed. It is possible that it was on that same day, but

12 it was -- it is not possible for me to remember all those dates. It was a

13 long time ago, but I'm not excluding that possibility.

14 Q. Thank you very much.

15 Let's go back to what you were testifying about when you were

16 answering Mrs. Residovic's question with regard to the events that took

17 place in the village of Miletici. You learned about all that the day

18 after, because you were in Rudnik, in the brigade command.

19 A. No, I wasn't there. On that day in the evening, I was in

20 Travnik. On the next day, when I arrived at the command post of the

21 brigade, I was briefed on what had happened by my duty officer and by the

22 command of the 1st Battalion.

23 Q. It was Suljic Dervis, the duty officer, who briefed you.

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Are you aware that on the same day, the 24th of April, in the

Page 14810

1 command of the 1st Battalion of the 306th Brigade there was a meeting

2 attended by the duty officer who briefed you, Mr. Dervis, as well as Ribo

3 Sulejman from the 312th Brigade and some members of the Mujahedin and that

4 they were negotiating the release of prisoners from the village of

5 Miletici?

6 A. I was not aware of that. I didn't know what they were talking

7 about. I knew that there were some negotiations, but I'm not personally

8 aware of what you just mentioned.

9 Q. Are you aware that on the 24th of April, 1993 members of the

10 7th Muslim Brigade were not in Miletici?

11 A. According to the information I received from my duty officer and

12 from the subordinate commands and my organ, I did not have any information

13 about this -- or rather, they were not there.

14 Q. Thank you very much.

15 I would now like to go back to the document shown to you by

16 General Hadzihasanovic's Defence. It's the document before last in this

17 bundle. It's 0923. Have you found the document?

18 A. What document?

19 Q. Well, the number at the top is 0923.

20 A. 0923? Yes, I've found it. I can see it now.

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is the document that has a

22 translation. The registrar has the translation of this document.

23 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] In the meantime, we have

24 received the translation of this document.

25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, can we have a

Page 14811

1 copy of that document in English, number 0923.

2 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]

3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On top of that.

4 We shall have it put on the ELMO. Thank you.

5 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation]

6 Q. You've already seen this document, sir?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. It's an interim report by the chief of the service of the Central

9 Bosnia operative zone. And it says that you as the commander said that

10 the command was helpless in view of the Mujahedin and had no control over

11 them. Is this correct?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Would you look at a sentence mentioning the Chief of Staff of the

14 7th Muslim Brigade.

15 A. Yes, I see it.

16 Q. It says: "The chief of the 7th Muslim Brigade replied that if

17 he's unable to command them and if there is a conflict, let them send

18 their members, the 307th Mountain Brigade, and let them kill them."

19 THE INTERPRETER: The 306th. Interpreter's correction.

20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know who said this.

21 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation]

22 Q. Well, you -- this is in this report, and you have just explained.

23 A. Yes. What I explained is all right, but I don't know who this

24 chief is and what was said.

25 Q. That wasn't my question.

Page 14812

1 A. Yes, this is what it says. This is what it says.

2 Q. I'm simply reading out a sentence from the document shown to you

3 by the Defence of General Hadzihasanovic.

4 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. We have no further

5 questions.

6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Thank you. I

7 will -- I'll return the document to the registrar.

8 And, Mr. Registrar, can we have a copy of this document

9 immediately. I would like the usher to make a photocopy of this document

10 in English immediately.

11 It is half past 6.00. The Prosecution has half an hour. We will

12 then probably continue tomorrow, I suppose.

13 Mr. Mundis, you have the floor.

14 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.

15 Cross-examined by Mr. Mundis:

16 Q. Good evening, Colonel Sipic.

17 A. Good evening.

18 Q. My name is Daryl Mundis, and along with my colleagues here today,

19 we represent the Prosecution in this case.

20 As the Presiding Judge has indicated, we will have some questions

21 for you. And unfortunately, we'll continue into tomorrow. I would like

22 to stress, sir, at the outset that if at any point in time you don't

23 understand my question, simply ask me to rephrase it. My intention is in

24 no way to confuse you, but I'm hoping that you can help us out in terms of

25 providing us with some information on some of the important issues that

Page 14813

1 are at stake in this trial.

2 Let me start by just asking you a few questions that I have that

3 relate to what you've testified about here earlier today. If I understood

4 what you told us, sir, you were the commander of the 306th Mountain

5 Brigade from November 1992 until mid-August 1993.

6 A. That's correct, yes.

7 Q. And, sir, once you left the 306th Mountain Brigade, you were then

8 assigned to the Operation Group Bosanska Krajina? Is that -- is that

9 correct?

10 A. Yes, that's correct.

11 Q. And what position did you hold within the operations group?

12 A. Within the operations group, I was the operations officer -- an

13 operations officer in the operations group for a time, until the end of

14 1993. And in 1994, I was appointed in January assistant commander of the

15 operative group for security.

16 Q. Let me ask you a little bit -- you told us earlier this afternoon

17 about the Mehurici Detachment, which you said was later called Gluha

18 Bukovica. And I believe you said, sir, on page 13 of the transcript, that

19 this detachment wanted to be part of the 314th Motorised Brigade.

20 A. Yes, that's correct.

21 Q. Can you tell me, sir, a little bit about what knowledge or

22 information you had concerning the Mehurici Detachment at the time the

23 306th Mountain Brigade was established in November 1992.

24 A. I had the following information about this detachment: It

25 recruited men from Gluha Bukovica, Zagradje, part of Mehurici, Fazlici,

Page 14814

1 and some other areas in the Bila Valley, and they simply boycotted the

2 brigade. They didn't want me as their commander. They didn't want to be

3 in my brigade. They wanted to be in the 314th Brigade. And the superior

4 command approved their request, so they became part of the 314th Brigade

5 with the seat -- or headquarters in Gluha Bukovica.

6 Q. Now, this unit, the Mehurici Detachment, prior to the

7 establishment of the 306th Mountain Brigade, was that a unit that was part

8 of the Travnik Municipal TO?

9 A. Yes. All these detachments that became part of the 306th Brigade

10 in the Bila Valley had been part of the Travnik Territorial Defence Staff.

11 Q. In November 1992, can you tell us approximately how many men were

12 in the Mehurici Detachment?

13 A. Well, this was up to 300 men, not more. I can't be more precise,

14 but it would be about 300. Maybe up to 350.

15 Q. Do you recall, sir, the names of any of the commanders or senior

16 leaders within the Mehurici Detachment as of November 1992?

17 A. Yes. I remember two: The commander of the detachment was Fahir

18 Camdzic, and in the detachment there was also my assistant for

19 intelligence, Dervis Suljic. I don't remember the others so well, but I

20 remember these two because they were transferred to my brigade. They

21 didn't want to remain in that unit and be part of the 314th.

22 Q. Do you recall, sir, why the Mehurici Detachment did not want to

23 be part of the 306th Mountain Brigade?

24 A. I didn't talk to them about it personally. They simply refused.

25 My assistants for morale and for security who had the task of seeing what

Page 14815












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13 English transcripts.













Page 14816

1 was happening simply didn't want to, either because I was the commander or

2 because of the Chief of Staff or some other reasons I'm not aware of, they

3 simply refused. And then we reported to the command that they were

4 refusing. I had only just arrived in that area, and they didn't go into

5 the reasons why. My duty was to establish the brigade. They refused. I

6 informed the superior command. They were given approval to join another

7 brigade. I didn't comment on it, nor did I evaluate these decisions or

8 their merits.

9 Q. Colonel, did it strike you as being in any way odd to you as a

10 professional soldier that this detachment would have some say in terms of

11 what brigade it would form up with?

12 A. The way the situation was then, well, I have been a professional

13 soldier since I was 15. I've been in uniform since then. But this was

14 self-organised. The situation was imposed. The units were not properly

15 established. Certain villages could even say they refused to do this or

16 that and there was no way to make them accept. Our aim was to organise

17 ourselves as best we could, because we saw what was the danger threatening

18 us. We were happy for them to join any unit so that we could use them.

19 As a soldier, I wasn't all that interested into why they wanted to

20 or didn't want to join this or that brigade. I was simply carrying out

21 the assignments and tasks given me by my command. I didn't have time to

22 think about the reasons why. And if the superior command approved this,

23 then probably they did have a good reason. I don't know what it was.

24 Somebody knew something. But I didn't know why they refused. I thought

25 maybe because I had been in the former JNA, because there was hostility

Page 14817

1 toward officers from the former JNA. So that might have been one of the

2 reasons. But I didn't go into it. I didn't investigate it, believe me.

3 Q. Sir, I take it though from your answer that Mr. Camdzic and

4 Dervis Suljic did in fact join the 306th Mountain Brigade.

5 A. No. They were mobilised into the Municipal TO Staff. On my

6 arrival, I looked at the men available for the brigade command. I talked

7 to each officer in the brigade command, and the officers I had planned as

8 battalion commanders, I talked to them, and at my proposal they were

9 appointed to new duties and new posts, and they had to hand over their

10 duty to the new officers, and Camdzic was appointed commander of the

11 2nd Battalion, and Dervis Suljic was appointed. He couldn't just come

12 along of his own initiative. I didn't have anyone better, so I appointed

13 him my assistant for security and intelligence. And that's how it was.

14 It wasn't all that democratic. People couldn't just go and join wherever

15 they wanted to. That's how it was.

16 Q. Let me ask you a question. You told us that from November 1992

17 through March of 1993 the 306th Brigade reported directly to the

18 3rd Corps.

19 A. Yes, that's correct.

20 Q. And then upon the establishment of the Operation Group Zapad,

21 your brigade was part of that OG, from March until June 1993.

22 A. Yes, that's correct.

23 Q. And then from June of 1993, the 306th Mountain Brigade was part

24 of the OG Bosanska Krajina.

25 A. Yes, that's correct.

Page 14818

1 Q. Do you recall, sir, the date at which the 306th Mountain Brigade

2 shifted from being part of OG Zapad to being part of OG Bosanska Krajina?

3 A. That was in mid-June. As soon as Travnik was -- the siege of

4 Travnik was lifted, the operative group already existed and the difficulty

5 of commanding part of the 306th and the 312th, in mid-June the corps

6 commander issued an order that the 312th and the 306th should be put under

7 the command of the Bosanska Krajina OG.

8 Q. Sir, you said earlier today on at least two occasions that to the

9 best of your knowledge the foreign fighters, or Mujahedin, were never

10 under the 3rd Corps command. Is that -- is that your testimony, sir?

11 A. That was the information I had as the brigade commander. I was

12 aware of this. I knew they were not. I didn't know what was happening in

13 the 3rd Corps. I can't confirm they were under the command of the

14 3rd Corps.

15 Q. My question, Colonel, is: What information do you base this

16 conclusion on?

17 A. I base it on the information. If I was sending reports to the

18 superior command about these problems occurring in the area of the Bila

19 Valley, then the corps commander had competence and had he been able to

20 solve something, he would probably either have ordered me to solve it or

21 he would have taken steps within his competence. I know what the system

22 of command was, and if there was a unit, you had to know who was in

23 command and who was responsible for who. So these are my conclusions as a

24 soldier. It would not be logical if someone was under my command for me

25 not to be able to take certain measures. If I was able to take certain

Page 14819

1 measures, I would do that on my own; if not, I would seek assistance from

2 the superior command. And if they are not under my command, then

3 according to the system of the chain of command -- control and command, my

4 duty was simply to inform the superior command of what was happening and

5 what the problems were in my area.

6 Q. On how many occasions, sir, did you discuss the issue of the

7 Mujahedin with your superior commander, whether it was someone from

8 OG Zapad, OG Bosanska Krajina, or someone from the commander of the

9 3rd Corps, for example?

10 A. I can't remember exactly how many times it happened. According

11 to the brigade of the 306th Brigade [as interpreted], the superior command

12 was informed and that's the command of the 3rd Corps. And the Operations

13 Group West would find it difficult to be informed because the only

14 communication we had with the Operational Group West was through the

15 command of the 3rd Corps. That's how it was at that point in time.

16 Q. Sir, earlier today you described - and this is on page 49,

17 line 20, running through the top of page 50 - you told us about the

18 Mujahedin in effect recruiting or reaching out and trying to take soldiers

19 from the 306th Mountain Brigade. Do you remember testifying about that?

20 A. They were not only from the 306th. They didn't recruit only from

21 the 306th. They toured the villages. The procedure for recruiting is

22 well known. There is a Secretary for National Defence, and every time

23 there is need they will mobilise civilians for a certain brigade and they

24 assign civilians to those brigades. They, however, did something else.

25 They toured the villages and they advertised themselves. They spoke about

Page 14820

1 religion. They said they would help them with material goods. And I'm

2 sure that they found approval of some individuals in the valley. There's

3 no doubt about that, because that's what the situation was. There was no

4 humanitarian aid. Nothing arrived from anywhere. And people accepted

5 anybody who was able to help them survive. And I'm sure that these people

6 benefitted and made the most of that situation of hardship.

7 Q. Do you know, sir, or do you have a rough idea as to the number of

8 soldiers who left the 306th Mountain Brigade in order to join with the

9 Mujahedin?

10 A. I don't know exactly, but I would say some 50 people left the

11 brigade. I don't know where they went, whether they joined the Mujahedin

12 or not. Very simply put, we just couldn't find these people on their home

13 addresses. I would send military police to find them. If a soldier did

14 not turn up on the defence line and I was informed about that, I delivered

15 the list of the names of those who were missing. I gave it to the

16 military police and sent them to the place where those people resided.

17 But those people were simply not there. We didn't know what to think.

18 They might have joined other units, but there was no way for us to -- to

19 tell. There were no barracks. When they were on leave, they went home;

20 and from home, they could go wherever they wanted. Their rest was 15

21 days, and during those 15 days of rest they -- nobody could control them.

22 They wore civilian clothes and they could go wherever they wanted.

23 It would have been a different situation if we had had barracks

24 in -- if we had had barracks, they would have been under control. But the

25 situation was different, and our men would go directly from their houses

Page 14821

1 to the line. They would gather in a -- in their villages. A vehicle

2 would come, collect them. They would be transported to the line. And

3 this is the only time when the command had any control over these soldiers

4 and -- but when they were at home, when they were on leave, there was no

5 way to control them.

6 Q. Sir, did you ever direct any military police unit or units or

7 military policemen of the 306th Mountain Brigade to go to the Mujahedin

8 camp in Poljanice looking for soldiers who left the 306th Mountain

9 Brigade?

10 A. No. No, I did not have any authority over them. According to

11 the law, I only had authority over my subordinate troops and officers.

12 They could have joined the HVO. We had such cases. If these were my men,

13 I would have had the authority. What I did: I went to their home

14 addresses because those were the places where they resided. What they

15 did, where they went; they could have joined other brigades. Whether they

16 did or not, I didn't know. I did not have any information as to where

17 they went.

18 According to some assessments and what I heard from my assistant

19 commanders, this was a possibility, but I did not have any authority over

20 the camp, so there was no way for me to go there, even with the military

21 police. This was beyond my authority. As a soldier, I knew exactly what

22 my duties and obligations were and what my authorities were as well, as

23 the brigade commander.

24 Q. Sir, you told us that in this type of situation you would send

25 the military police to go to the soldier's home of record. What type of

Page 14822












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13 English transcripts.













Page 14823

1 authority did you have to visit the homes of these soldiers and to

2 question family members about where they might be?

3 A. I didn't say anything about questioning anybody. When a person

4 is questioned, it is done in a certain way. My soldier, a member of the

5 306th Brigade who is supposed to go to the defence line, and he didn't go

6 there, pursuant to my chain of command, my subordinate command informed me

7 about those who failed to report for duty. After that, we had to check

8 whether that particular person was home. And when we went home, we rang

9 the bell and we asked for that certain person, mentioning that person's

10 name. And that was it. And if we were told that this person was not

11 home, this is where our authority stopped, because that person could have

12 gone anywhere. That person could have gone across the forest to Zenica.

13 But his options were numerous and he could have chosen any of them.

14 Q. Okay. Sir, just so that I'm clear, then, if a soldier failed to

15 report for duty, the military policeman would go to the soldier's home or

16 home of record; the military policeman would knock on the door; and if the

17 soldier's, for instance, mother answered and said he wasn't home, that

18 would be the end of it and the military police would simply leave the

19 house?

20 A. Yes. That's precisely what happened.

21 Q. And at no point in time, sir, did any of your soldiers go to the

22 guard at the front gate of the Poljanice camp and ask if any local

23 soldiers from the 306th Mountain Brigade were inside that camp.

24 A. Not to my knowledge.

25 Q. Sir, were you aware of any instances where soldiers who had left

Page 14824

1 the 306th Mountain Brigade or any of its subordinate units joined with the

2 Mujahedin and then came back to the 306th Mountain Brigade or any of its

3 subordinate units?

4 A. Not to my knowledge. I don't have such information.

5 Q. And, sir, if I recall what you told us earlier in response to a

6 question from my learned colleague for the Defence, you told us that this

7 problem of Mujahedin recruiting, if I can use that term, was reported by

8 you to the 3rd Corps Command. Is that an accurate summary of what you

9 told us earlier?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And, sir, why did you report this information to the 3rd Corps

12 Command?

13 A. Because there were Mujahedin there. We did not have any control

14 over them. And they caused some problems. We asked for our superior

15 command to see who was it who had the authority to solve this problem.

16 Maybe it was the civilian police, politicians, somebody. I don't know. I

17 simply sought ways to deal with that problem, because I didn't have the

18 authority to deal with that problem and I wanted it to be dealt with. And

19 I thought that if I sent accurate reports, I would become part of that

20 solution that I was after.

21 Q. But, sir, if you told us that the Mujahedin were not part of the

22 3rd Corps and the 3rd Corps had no authority for the Mujahedin, why would

23 you report this information to the 3rd Corps?

24 A. Do you know what subordination in the army is? I was

25 subordinated to the corps command, and anything that happened in my unit

Page 14825

1 and in the area where it existed, I had to inform my superior command

2 about that, especially if I thought that it was interesting for them to

3 know about those -- about those things. I had to inform them about

4 problems. They were a higher level. They were my superior command. I

5 just informed them. I reported to them. I don't know what they did. I

6 don't know whether they acted on my information.

7 When there was this incident in Miletici, we were asked to collect

8 information on these people, on who they were, what their goal was, what

9 activities were they taking. This is the information that I sent them.

10 And what happened with that information, I don't know. It was not within

11 my purview to follow up on that information.

12 Q. Sir, we're just about to the point where we have to break for the

13 evening, but let me ask you a couple of questions about the presence of

14 these Mujahedin -- foreign Mujahedin in the Mehurici primary school. To

15 the best of your knowledge, sir, when did those foreigners leave the

16 school and establish the camp at Poljanice?

17 A. I joined the brigade at the beginning of November. I didn't go

18 myself to reconnoiter. I wasn't interested in that. I was more focussed

19 on the establishment of the brigade. Once I appointed Mirzet Lubenovic as

20 the commander of the 1st Battalion, he was given the order to station his

21 battalion command at the school. This was sometime mid-November. I don't

22 know exactly when. My goal was to establish the brigade, to establish the

23 battalion, and to billet the battalion somewhere. I suppose that these

24 foreigners just could not agree with these new men who behaved

25 differently, and they simply left without any pressure on our part. I had

Page 14826

1 different things on my mind at the time, so I didn't exactly pay attention

2 to the date when they left.

3 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I think this is an appropriate time

4 to adjourn for the day.

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It is 7.00. We will have to

6 stop here.

7 Colonel, I will ask you to come back tomorrow at 2.15. From now

8 onwards you're not supposed to talk to anybody about the case. You are

9 under solemn declaration and you are not supposed to talk to anybody about

10 the case.

11 Tomorrow we shall resume at 2.15, so I invite all of you to be

12 here in the same courtroom.

13 Thank you.

14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,

15 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 26th day of

16 January, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.