1 Wednesday, 26 January 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.13 p.m.
5 [The accused entered court]
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could the registrar please
7 announce the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. This is
9 case -- against -- [No interpretation].
10 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
11 Your Honours, counsel, and everyone in and around the courtroom. For the
12 Prosecution, Tecla Henry-Benjamin and Daryl Mundis, assisted today by our
13 intern, Lisa Hartog, and our case manager, Andres Vatter.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,
15 Mr. Mundis.
16 Could the Defence also introduce themselves.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honour. I am
18 Edina Residovic, defending Mr. Hadzihasanovic, and we have our case
19 assistant with us.
20 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour.
21 For Mr. Kubura, we have Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Today on the 26th of January,
23 2005, the Chamber would like to welcome all those present, those from the
24 Prosecution and those from the Defence, the accused, as well as all the
25 other persons in the courtroom and around the courtroom and who are
1 assisting us to work.
2 Today we will continue with the cross-examination. And I do not
3 wish to waste any more time. I would like to hand the floor to the
4 Prosecution for their cross-examination, unless the Defence wishes to say
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as we promised
7 yesterday, document DH0232 [as interpreted], which did not have the second
8 page translated, we have provided the translation in its entirety and we
9 would like to present that, because perhaps our colleagues from the
10 Prosecution would need to use that in the course of their examination. So
11 I would like to submit the translation of this document to the Chamber and
12 to our colleagues in the courtroom.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Microphone not activated]
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Is document is 0832, DH.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Judge, please.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I apologise. There was a
17 mistake in the transcript. We are talking about 0832 and not 0323.
18 The Chamber doesn't have a translation of this document.
19 Yes, we now have everything that we need.
20 Mr. Mundis, you have the floor.
21 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 WITNESS: ESED SIPIC [Resumed]
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 Cross-examined by Mr. Mundis: [Continued]
25 Q. Good afternoon, Witness.
1 A. Good afternoon.
2 Q. Sir, I'd like to pick up where we left off yesterday, which was
3 with the issue of foreigners in the primary school in Mehurici. You told
4 us, sir, that - and this is at lines 18 and 19 on page 81 yesterday - "I
5 didn't exactly pay attention to the date when they left." And I'm
6 wondering, sir, if you can give us an approximate time period when the
7 foreigners left the Mehurici primary school based on the information that
8 was made available to you.
9 A. According to the information that I had in early December, or in
10 late November, so that was that period, in early December.
11 Q. To your knowledge, sir, or based on any information that you may
12 have received, did any of the foreigners remain at any point in the school
13 or in any location within the primary school in Mehurici into 1993?
14 A. I am not aware of that, absolutely. This was not something that
15 I took any interest in. I didn't have time to deal with that, so I don't
16 know exactly whether any of them stayed or where they went exactly.
17 Q. Let me turn now to ask you a couple of follow-on questions -
18 excuse me - with respect to the issue of the armed Mujahedin or the armed
19 foreigners. You told us yesterday, sir, that the first time you saw them
20 was on the road. You -- you told us that they shared -- that they were
21 travelling on a road that you often travelled on yourself and that was the
22 first time you saw armed Mujahedin. Would that be correct?
23 A. That was the only road. There was no other road. Everyone used
24 it, not only myself and the Mujahedin. The Croatian population, the
25 Bosniak population, they all used that road, because it was the only road
1 that you could use to move. So you could meet anyone. Anyone could meet
2 anyone else on that road. It wasn't a special road for the commander or
3 members of the 306th or for the Mujahedin, you know.
4 Q. Yeah, I understand that, sir, but my question was simply: You
5 told us yesterday that the first time you ever saw the Mujahedin was on a
6 time you were travelling on the road and you saw them on the same road.
7 A. That is correct. In the Biljani Valley was the first time I met
8 them and saw them. As we were passing each other in the cars, I noticed
9 them. I turned around and I noticed them, but that was it.
10 Q. Do you recall the approximate time period when you first saw the
11 armed Mujahedin?
12 A. It was at the end of the year, perhaps in the month of January,
13 in early January. In that period I saw them. But it's hard to remember
14 because it was such a long time ago. It's hard to remember the details.
15 I saw a lot of soldiers of all sorts, from the HOS, from the HVO, the
16 army, and so on.
17 Q. Sir, when you say "January," that would be January 1993; is that
19 A. That is correct. That's what I thought, yes.
20 Q. So I take it then, sir, that at no point in late 1992 or in the
21 autumn of 1992, when you were with the Territorial Defence in Travnik, did
22 you ever see armed foreigners in Travnik, in the town of Travnik.
23 A. That is correct. I never saw an armed foreigner while I was in
24 Travnik. Absolutely not. I saw foreigners passing by, passing through.
25 There were foreigners there. I did see them. There were UNPROFOR
1 soldiers; they were foreigners who were there on their missions. As far
2 as Arabs, those foreigners, if that's who you mean, I did see them in
3 Travnik around the town in civilian clothing, in their traditional
4 clothes, yes. But I did not see any of them in uniform with weapons.
5 Q. So then, sir, at no point in 1992, just so we're clear, at no
6 point in 1992 did you see armed Mujahedin in the area of the Medresa in
8 A. That is correct, yes.
9 Q. Now, sir, with respect to this road that you've told us about in
10 the Biljani Valley, where you first saw the armed Mujahedin, on how many
11 occasions did you see armed Mujahedin travelling on that road?
12 A. In view of the fact that I travelled in the morning and in the
13 afternoon or early evening, I would encounter them rarely. Perhaps they
14 did pass by. But when I used that road, it was night. It was dark. It
15 was winter. So it would start to get dark around 4.00, between 1600 and
16 1700 hours. I would stay in the command to work until 2200 hours because
17 I was dealing with the formation of the brigade, so I couldn't really
18 notice it at night. But on a couple of occasions when I was travelling
19 during the day, that's when I was able to see them and that's when I
20 noticed them. But in other -- other times, other occasions, I didn't have
21 the opportunity to encounter them.
22 Q. Sir, on this road that you've told us about in the Biljani
23 Valley, did the HVO maintain any checkpoints along that road during the
24 time period that you're discussing?
25 A. Yes, that is correct. There were several checkpoints. Not one
1 but several of them.
2 Q. At any point in time during this time period, did any units of
3 the ABiH maintain checkpoints along this road?
4 A. On that same road, the army did not have any checkpoints.
5 Q. Did units of the ABiH, including the 306th Mountain Brigade,
6 experience difficulties getting through these HVO checkpoints?
7 A. Yes, they did have difficulties. At least my assistants, my
8 officers, informed me when they passed that they did have certain
9 problems. I personally also had problems because they knew that I was a
10 commander, and I would go to the HVO brigade commander, Frankopan, and we
11 would cooperate, be resolving issues, and I warned him several times that
12 I had problems, that his soldiers were stopping me frequently and asking
13 to check me, to do controls. And I asked him at least not to do that as
14 far as I was concerned. However, it was no good. Every day when I
15 passed, I would be stopped, checked. I didn't go through anything in
16 particular; however, my officers were mistreated to a certain degree,
17 disarmed. Their technical equipment was seized. I mentioned that,
18 computers and so on. This was something that happened practically every
20 Q. Sir, at any of these meetings or discussions that you had with
21 the commander of the HVO brigade, Frankopan, were complaints about the
22 Mujahedin raised with you?
23 A. In the beginning, nobody insisted much on that or initiated that
24 question, as far as the Frankopan Brigade was concerned. But as time went
25 on - we're talking now about April, May - then certain questions began to
1 be asked about these foreigners, about their stay. So perhaps in March,
2 April, and May, that's when these -- the question of these foreigners
3 became topical, when certain conflicts began in Central Bosnia, Gornji
4 Vakuf, Novi Travnik, Vitez, that's when they were the subject of
5 discussion or the topic of interest, those foreigners, at those
7 Q. Let me ask you, sir, about access through the HVO checkpoints on
8 the road in the Biljani Valley by the Mujahedin. Do you have any
9 information or knowledge as to how the Mujahedin were treated at any of
10 these checkpoints on this road?
11 A. No. Believe me, I really don't know. Perhaps you could ask the
12 HVO how they dealt with them, how they released them. But there was
13 nobody who would convey such information to me, not the HVO or they
14 themselves. I cannot really tell you what they did or what problems those
15 people who had checkpoints had with those people, but they probably didn't
16 have any major problems. If we see where these foreigners came from, how
17 did they come. This is a hypothetical question. They had to have come
18 from somewhere. How did they get into this territory, and so on and so
19 forth, without any problems. To arrive from a certain territory to come
20 to Bosnia and Herzegovina without any problems, while a member of the
21 army, the B and H army, could not go anywhere. Why? I really never went
22 in-depth into that question.
23 Q. So I take it then, sir, from your answer that you have no idea or
24 no information about where these foreign Mujahedin who were in Central
25 Bosnia came from?
1 A. When I was in the Travnik municipality, where I saw them in
2 civilian clothing, I saw them with vehicles with Zagreb license plates, in
3 jeeps. They were civilians who were there, and I was asking myself how
4 come they were there. How did they get here from Zagreb? It was a bit
5 unclear. The whole situation was unclear. But this is what happened.
6 Q. During the time you were with the Territorial Defence in Travnik
7 or later with the 306th Mountain Brigade, did you receive any intelligence
8 or security briefings concerning the armed Mujahedin?
9 A. No. I personally did not receive that.
10 Q. Did you at any --
11 A. Or I'm not aware of it.
12 Q. At any point in time when you were with the Travnik Territorial
13 Defence or commander of the 306th Mountain Brigade, did you direct any
14 security or intelligence officers within your command to obtain
15 information on these foreign Mujahedin?
16 A. See, as commander of the 306th Brigade, as I said yesterday,
17 besides providing certain -- well, actually, they were not the topic of
18 interest of the 306th Brigade. They were not in its jurisdiction or of
19 any interest to it. Primarily our aggressor were the Serb forces, and we
20 would collect intelligence data about them or information. However, like
21 I said yesterday, when the foreigners started to create problems in the
22 functioning of the brigade, we would report to our superior command about
23 that. We received certain instructions to collect data about them. And I
24 said I did go to see if I could find anything out, who they are, exactly
25 what they were doing, what their objectives were, and so on.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 In the last period, after I left, I don't know whether they were
2 of interest, as far as intelligence data was concerned or whether any
3 directives were given. I really don't know. Once I left the brigade,
4 nobody requested any information about that from me.
5 Q. Sir, my question is: Other than when you were directed from a
6 superior command, did you on any occasion order your 306th Mountain
7 Brigade, security service, or assistant commander for intelligence to
8 gather any intelligence information on the armed foreigners within the
9 306th Mountain Brigade's area of responsibility?
10 A. According to the information that you received from the organs,
11 it was not possible to get any information. These were people who were
12 not professionals. The information that I did have available, I did pass
13 it on to the people in documentation. Whatever I found out about them, I
14 informed the superior command. I didn't keep anything to myself. There
15 was no need for that because had it been my unit, I would have had to
16 resolve that. However, I passed it on to the superior command as the
17 responsible officer, as the responsible superior, who had to pass on any
18 information, facts, the situation. I had to acquaint my commander with
19 that. Otherwise, how was he to make decisions? I didn't conceal
20 anything. Whatever I knew, I sent it up -- along. Whatever I didn't
21 know, I just didn't know. That's it.
22 Q. Sir, in passing this information up the chain of command, did you
23 expect your commander to resolve the problem?
24 A. I don't know. I didn't know what the jurisdiction or the
25 competencies of my corps commander were, and that's logical. I was
1 expecting a certain amount of help. How were we supposed to resolve these
2 problems? Probably my superior also requested help from somebody else. I
3 don't know that. I requested it because I believed that there was nobody
4 else who was going to help me except my superior commander. And when I
5 received returned information, then that was something that I implemented.
6 How successful that was or could that have been even more successful is
7 something that could be re-examined. But I did say what kind of personnel
8 I had available to me. They were untrained officers. And you yourself
9 know how much an intelligence officer had to be trained, how much training
10 they needed. I know that in the old army, in the JNA, such cadres were
11 given particular attention and special training. These people never had
12 anything to do with that kind of job before in their lives and during the
13 war they were finding out exactly what that work was, and so on. So there
14 are methods; however, we did not have the option to apply all of those
16 Q. Sir, can you please tell us approximately how many armed
17 foreigners were in the area of responsibility of the 306th Mountain
19 A. That's what I really wanted to know, but I was never able to find
20 that out. In order to know somebody well, you would need to find out
21 everything about them, what their weapons were, what type of weapons they
22 had. I didn't know anything about them. I knew that they were there,
23 that they had a camp, that it was secure, that they didn't allow access to
24 anyone. And I knew that myself. I didn't know of a way to get to that
25 information, how to find out that data.
1 Also, believe me, I had so many other problems that I didn't know
2 what I could do there. They were not the only problem that I had. Had
3 that been the case, it would have been much easier. I had the HVO in the
4 immediate vicinity. I also had the HOS, which is an even more extreme
5 section of the HVO. So all of them would come there and create certain
6 problems and so on and so forth. I also had some renegade members of some
7 units and brigades and so on.
8 Also, in my area - you must understand this - in the areas that
9 were under the control of the army, the organs of the civilian authorities
10 were also functioning. It was not a total military administration. The
11 MUP had their own people there, the civilian protection, and there were
12 other organs there other than the army's. These people were not members
13 of the army. How was I supposed to treat them, in what way? Perhaps
14 other people had jurisdiction over those bodies. That's something that I
15 don't know. But I know that I was responsible for my brigade, for my men.
16 I was the commander. So everything that prevented me from functioning as
17 a commander and as a brigade, any kind of problems -- if they were inside
18 the brigade, I would resolve them. If not, and if such a problem happened
19 to be interfering with my work as a brigade, I would inform my superior
20 commander. And this is how it's usually done in all the other countries
21 in the world. This is the regular procedure.
22 Q. Did the problem of the Mujahedin ever rise to the level where it
23 threatened your ability to command the 306th Mountain Brigade?
24 A. No, not to that extent. They didn't attack us. They didn't
25 disarm us. They didn't physically abuse us. They didn't interfere in our
1 communications. I told you what their basic problems were yesterday.
2 The -- their attempt was to win over some more people into their ranks by
3 propaganda. I didn't have any problems that they were blocking the
4 barracks or that they had formed a front line in relation to us. They
5 simply closed themselves up within a certain area and functioned with that
6 area, the way they were. However, when they came to the village and were
7 trying to promote their cause amongst the people in the village or when
8 they were telling people not to go to the lines but to sit in their camp
9 where they had certain activities - I don't know what they were doing -
10 and they offered these people money for that. On the other hand, I was
11 not able to give them money or food or anything, but I was making them go
12 to the front line. These are -- were my problems, and I consulted with
13 the command about how to resolve these problems. This affected my work.
14 I had soldiers, believe me, who had 11 children. I had one soldier who
15 had 11 children. He couldn't do anything because he was mobilised into my
16 brigade. So can you imagine how he was supposed to survive?
17 During the war, I had one child, and I hardly survived, and I was
18 the commander of the brigade. So I responsibly state that my child ate
19 jam for two months, the jam that my wife made.
20 What about my soldiers though? It was difficult -- it's
21 difficult perhaps from this time -- distance to understand what the
22 circumstances were at that time. They were not disarming me. They were
23 not preventing me from moving around and communicating. They were not
24 interfering with me in any way. And I had no jurisdiction in this matter.
25 These were my problems.
1 Q. Sir, did the presence of the 306th -- or did the presence of the
2 Mujahedin, the armed foreigner, have a negative impact on morale or good
3 order and discipline within the 306th Mountain Brigade?
4 A. Believe me, we're confusing things here. Their actions, what
5 they did, the things that I told you about, did have negative effects, and
6 this is why I reported about this, because the people who were going to
7 them had everything provided for them and I was not able to do that for
8 them. If any soldier left, he would weaken my unit. He would weaken our
9 combat ability. And this is something that I informed the superior
10 command about. Whatever directly affected my unit, that bothered me and
11 that's something that I would report about. If they hadn't done that,
12 they would not be something that I would be interested at all. I wouldn't
13 have any problems with them. I had a mission received from my commander.
14 That was my line of defence. I was supposed to implement that and that is
15 my task. As for everything else, how the territory is being controlled,
16 how the civilians functioned, along the depth, that is something that I
17 absolutely had no interest in and it was not in my jurisdiction. If,
18 however, I did encounter some problems, I had to say, "I have such and
19 such problems. I cannot function properly." Then I don't know whether
20 perhaps the military authorities were instructing the civilian authorities
21 to do something about this or giving them directions. That's something I
22 don't know.
23 I was at an altitude of 1600 metres. I didn't have any problems
24 up there. They didn't go up there. They weren't there. I was up there
25 with my soldiers and I was guarding the entire Travnik municipality from
2 Q. Sir, other than the camp run by the Mujahedin in Poljanice, were
3 you aware of any other areas within the 306th Mountain Brigade's area of
4 responsibility where there was a concentration of armed Mujahedin?
5 A. While I was the brigade commander, I didn't know anything about
6 that. I was only aware of Poljanice, first of the school and then of
7 Poljanice. Later on, I don't know whether there was any -- a particular
8 camp or a place where they gathered and stayed.
9 Q. And, sir, how far was the Poljanice camp from the school where
10 the 1st Battalion of the 306th Mountain Brigade had its command post?
11 A. Since I am not a native of that area, I don't hail from there,
12 it's very difficult for me to say, and I was there only once. There was
13 no need for me to take that road. It's a blind alley and it doesn't lead
14 anywhere. It's very difficult to say, but I don't think it was more than
15 2 kilometres from one place to another. I never measured the distance and
16 it's very difficult for me to say how far it was as I sit here. You can
17 look at the map. And if you want me, I can look at the map and give you
18 the -- a more precise information.
19 Q. Sir, let me move on to a -- to a slightly different topic.
20 During the time period that you were the commander of the 306th Mountain
21 Brigade, were there any foreigners in the 306th Mountain Brigade or any of
22 its subordinate units, including the battalions and within the battalions,
23 the companies and platoons?
24 A. I claim with full responsibility while I was the brigade
25 commander from November up to mid-August, there were no foreign members of
1 the 306th Brigade.
2 Q. And, sir, you told us that during this period from November up
3 until mid-August, when you were the commander of the 306th Mountain
4 Brigade, that your brigade maintained positions along a front line that
5 extended approximately 25 kilometres. Would that be correct?
6 A. Yes, that's correct.
7 Q. At any point in time during the period that you were the
8 commander did any other units of the 3rd Corps operate with your forces
9 along that 25-kilometre front line?
10 A. I did not quite understand your question. Are you referring to
11 my area of responsibility, the one that was assigned to me, or did you
12 refer to something else?
13 Q. Let me -- let me rephrase the question so that we're clear. The
14 306th Mountain Brigade had an assigned geographic area of responsibility;
15 is that correct?
16 A. That is correct.
17 Q. And during the nine -- approximately nine-month period that you
18 were the commander of that brigade, on how many occasions did other units
19 of the 3rd Corps operate within the zone or area of responsibility of the
20 306th Mountain Brigade?
21 A. As far as I know, this happened on the 8th or on the 9th, to be
22 more precise. Members of the HVO in concert with the Serb forces
23 abandoned the lines that they had been holding. On my left flank, there
24 had been members of the HVO up to then. On the 8th and on the 9th, they
25 abandoned those lines. They informed the Serb forces that they had
1 abandoned their lines, and they gave them the green light to start moving
2 towards Travnik. Luckily enough we received intelligence on that and we
3 reacted very quickly. A unit of the 17th Krajina Brigade was sent there
4 to take those lines in order to close the front line. The Serb forces had
5 already been almost a kilometre up to the line, and luckily enough we were
6 managed -- we managed to stop them. Because if we hadn't, they would have
7 achieved their goal, and that was to take Travnik.
8 Q. Sir, can you tell us -- the transcript at least in English says
9 this happened on the "8th or on the 9th, to be more precise." Can you
10 give us the month and year you were referring to when you say "on the 8th
11 or 9th"?
12 A. 1993.
13 Q. And the month?
14 A. June.
15 Q. Now, other than this occasion on the 8th/9th of June, 1993, did
16 any other units of the 3rd Corps operate within the 306th Mountain
17 Brigade's area of responsibility, to the best of your recollection?
18 A. This was not the case. If this had happened on any front line, I
19 would have known that. Maybe you're talking about cooperation. We
20 cooperated with -- with the 314th Brigade, but it was not in my zone.
21 They were on our right flank. We linked up with them. We were in combat
22 together, but not within my zone. I had my zone of responsibility; they
23 had theirs. But we acted in concert. We worked together.
24 Q. Sir, did you receive any information or intelligence about the
25 armed Mujahedin engaging in combat at any point in time during the period
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 you were the commander of the 306th Mountain Brigade?
2 A. Yes, I received certain information from my intelligence officer.
3 According to that intelligence, some armed Mujahedin were reconnoitering
4 some axis facing the HVO and they undertook some activities on their own,
5 independently. We didn't know what they did. They were there, and the
6 HVO opened fire on them. We lodged a protest because we didn't know what
7 this was about. And then members of the HVO informed us what had
8 happened, because this was not on our line of defence. This was the line
9 of defence that was manned by the HVO, especially facing Mehurici and Suhi
10 Dol. They had firing positions. They had trenches. They had minefields.
11 And while we were up there thinking how we were going to stop the Serbs,
12 they were making their lines around the Bosniak villages. And the HVO had
13 certain problems, and in the month of April and in the month of May the
14 issue of Mujahedin was raised. And I believe that the HVO did have
15 certain problems with them. I myself did not have any such problems. And
16 when I say that, I mean attacks, sabotage attacks. At that time, I had
17 problems with the HVO, not with the Mujahedin.
18 Q. Sir, were you aware at any point in time -- let me ask you this:
19 This incident that you've told us about, can you recall approximately what
20 month and year these events took place?
21 A. As far as I know, this happened before the events in Miletici.
22 This happened some seven days before, around the 20th of April. This is
23 when this happened. These events preceded the developments in Maline [as
24 interpreted], the incident in Maline. This is according to the
25 intelligence that we had. I don't know whether there were any other
1 incidents, because nobody informed us. We did not have that information,
2 or at least I didn't have that information.
3 Q. Sir, were you aware of --
4 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
5 I suppose this is a mistake in the transcript. The witness
6 mentioned Miletici and then in the transcript we read that this happened
7 before the events in Maline.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In Miletici, not in Maline.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for this
11 MR. MUNDIS:
12 Q. Sir, were you aware at any point in time of reports or
13 information about the Mujahedin engaging Serbian forces on or around Mount
15 A. I'm not aware of that. I know what was happening on my defence
16 line. How was I supposed to know what was happening on somebody else's
17 defence line? The commander who was in charge there did not send
18 information to me. He sent information to his superior officer. As far
19 as my zone of responsibility is concerned, I am not aware of any such
20 thing happening there.
21 Q. Sir, during the time period that you were the commander of the
22 306th Mountain Brigade, did your unit maintain a war diary or a war log?
23 A. Yes. But during the period when the command was fragmented, this
24 was very difficult because the command did not act as a command.
25 Everybody was somewhere else, and wherever they were, they did keep some
1 notes. I'm talking about the period when the command was broken up,
2 between the 20th of May, 1993 onwards. The command was not reunited
3 before the 18th or 19th of June, and it is then when it started working as
4 a proper command. That's when we had daily briefings, an exchange of
5 information among the members of the command.
6 Q. Sir, where was the 306th Mountain Brigade war diary kept?
7 A. It was with the operations officer. The chief of staff was the
8 most responsible person, and he was in charge of the war diary. He made
9 sure that it was kept, and he made sure that I was informed and kept
10 abreast of the most important information.
11 Q. How frequently, sir, did you personally review the war diary
12 of -- of the brigade that you commanded?
13 A. Whenever I had an opportunity to do so, and especially during the
14 period starting with the 25th. I was not in a position to review the
15 diary at all from the 25th May 1993 up to July or August. There were
16 times when I didn't sleep for seven nights in a row. The situation was so
17 difficult that I did not see my family for a month and a half. My wife
18 and my child were in Travnik, but I did not have a possibility to go and
19 see them, let alone the war diary. My family was more important than
20 anything, but I couldn't see them. Because there was fierce combat taking
21 place, and it was hard to know who was shooting from where. There were
22 daily attempts on the part of the HVO to regain the lines that they had
23 lost, and they would launch a counterattack after a counterattack. I was
24 dealing with so many problems. I had a 25-kilometre-long line up there
25 and I received a new 25-kilometre-long line down there on my own. My
1 brigade was poorly equipped. My soldiers had 10 bullets each. One had to
2 be a magician to deal with that.
3 We were lucky that the HVO was not very good at reconnoitering.
4 If they had been, they could have done us a lot of harm. All sorts of
5 things were happening during the war. Unfortunately, we would have been
6 so much better off if there was no war, I must say.
7 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, with the assistance of the usher, I
8 would ask that a small number of exhibits be shown to the witness. We
9 distributed these to the Defence yesterday.
10 And if the usher could perhaps assist us with this. We
11 unfortunately don't have them tabbed. But the first one I'd like the
12 witness to be shown is P679. The documents are in numerical order with
13 the English on top, followed by the B/C/S.
14 Q. Sir, I'd ask you to take a quick look at this document. Sir, is
15 this a document that you drafted and submitted to the 3rd Corps?
16 A. No, not me personally. This was done by my chief of staff.
17 Q. Are you familiar with the contents of this document?
18 A. I didn't sign it at the time, but I'm familiar with its contents.
19 Q. I'd like to turn your attention, sir, to paragraph C, which is on
20 the first page of the document, and I have a few questions for you about
21 that. If you could please -- if you could please read out, sir, the first
22 two sentences -- or three sentences of that paragraph, please.
23 A. "Frequent cases of all forms of crime in our zone of
24 responsibility recently have damaged the combat readiness of units."
25 Should I go on?
1 Q. Please.
2 A. "And for that very reason, the security situation is visibly
4 Do you want me to go on?
5 Q. Please read the entire paragraph.
6 A. "The Muslim units which are stationed in our zone of
7 responsibility contribute to this significantly. They are financed by
8 people from Arab countries, so they have purchased plenty of MTS [phoen].
9 The perpetrators have been discovered through efficient activities by the
10 military security service and the military police and criminal reports
11 have been submitted against them, which has greatly contributed to the
12 fact that crime in our zone of responsibility has been reduced to a
13 minimum." Q. Sir, can you tell us what the reference to "Muslim
14 units which are stationed in our zone of responsibility" refers to?
15 A. Let me tell you this: People describe these forces with
16 different words. Somebody called them "Mujahedin." Somebody called them
17 "Muslim forces." Somebody called them "Arabs." But they had in mind the
18 same people. We did not have a standard name for these people, and
19 everybody referred to them as they wanted.
20 Q. So this reference, are you saying, sir, could be to the
21 Mujahedin; it could be to the Muslimanske Snage, the Muslim forces?
22 A. Probably. Q. Can you tell us what it means when it says
23 "the perpetrators have been discovered through the efficient activity by the
24 military security service and military police"? A. They were
25 discovered, and I saw those criminal reports. Members of my brigade had sold
1 them some of our equipment. This was probably one of their goals, to disarm
2 the brigade and to weaken its combat readiness. The security officer was in
3 charge of investigating any possible crimes. If he was aware of something
4 like that happening, he would take steps…or prevent, then file a criminal
5 report and inform me that a criminal report had been filed.After that I had
6 no authority. It was up to the judicial organs to prove or establish what
7 happened. I know that four criminal reports were issued against four people;
8 one of them was Jasarevic. One of those four was selling equipment to people
9 who were not members of the brigade.
10 Q. So your military security office had the authority to arrest the
11 foreigners who were buying this equipment from members of your brigade?
12 A. No. If any of my men were selling arms to anybody, to a
13 civilian, for example -- I didn't have anything to do with the civilian,
14 but I could take my man to task for having done that. All this -- all the
15 weapons that my men had, they had bought with their own money. We did not
16 have any weapons that we could provide them with. People seized weapons
17 or bought them. That's the weapons that they had. I, as the brigade
18 commander, never provided anybody with a weapon, because I didn't have
19 any. I did not provide any of my soldiers with a single bullet. They
20 bought them themselves. And still we tried to prevent them from selling
21 those weapons. Some did because they didn't -- they had to survive. But
22 if we had allowed one to sell their weapons, the flood gate would have
23 been opened. That's why we fought that. My security officer had the --
24 the authority to fight against that and informed me of the things he did
25 in order to prevent those things from happening.
1 Q. So, sir, let me see if I understand what you've told us. Some of
2 your soldiers had to buy their own weapons because there weren't enough
3 weapons for the army to issue them weapons?
4 A. Some? All of them. All of them. All those who had weapons had
5 to buy them themselves.
6 Q. And some of these soldiers were then selling these weapons to the
7 Mujahedin or to members of the Muslim forces?
8 A. Or anybody else. There were such attempts to sell weapons to
9 either Mujahedins or civilians. And whenever we learnt of that, we tried
10 to prevent such transactions.
11 Q. Why would it be unlawful for a soldier to sell a weapon to a
12 third party if he himself had purchased the weapon and it wasn't issued to
13 him by the army?
14 A. It goes without saying that this is the case. But the situation
15 was such: We were facing extermination, and I was aware that my soldiers
16 had their own private property which was not supposed to be violated.
17 However, we had to organise ourselves. We had to help each other in order
18 to survive. If we had waited to receive weapons from anybody, we would
19 have never gotten it.
20 You know that there was an embargo, and we would have faced
21 extermination worse than Ahmici, worse than Srebrenica. I'm sure that
22 you're aware what was happening to the Bosnian people in Bosnia. If we
23 had not taken timely measures and if we had not kept those weapons for us,
24 regardless of the fact that it was private, then we wouldn't have
25 survived. The situation is different now. I was a soldier before this
1 war, during that war, and after the war. And whatever I learnt before the
2 war was completely different during the war. The situation was what it
3 was. During the time of peace, I'm sure that a soldier who was prevented
4 from selling his own property would sue his commander or the army, but at
5 that time we had to make do with what we had. If we would not organise
6 ourselves, if we did not do everything possible to organise ourselves, I
7 wouldn't be sitting here today, I'm sure.
8 Q. What were the Mujahedin doing with the weapons that they were
9 buying from your soldiers?
10 A. You have to ask them. I don't know. I was the commander of the
11 306th Brigade. Ask me what my men did with the weapons in the 306th
12 Brigade. You have to ask them. You have to see why they needed the
13 weapons in the first place.
14 MR. MUNDIS: With the assistance of the usher, I'd ask that the
15 witness now look at P660.
16 Q. Sir, can you take a quick look at this document, and is this --
17 does this document bear your signature?
18 A. Yes, this is my signature.
19 Q. I'd ask you, sir, if you could focus your attention on the final
20 paragraph of this document, under heading number 3, that indicates
21 "unusual incidents and relations with the HVO." And I'd ask you, if you
22 could, quickly read that part to yourself.
23 A. Should I read it out loud or just for myself?
24 Q. Just read it to yourself, the final paragraph under number 3.
25 A. I've read it.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Now, sir, the incident that's described in this paragraph, did
2 that happen within the area of responsibility of your brigade?
3 A. No. This was not my zone of responsibility. My zone of
4 responsibility and my line of defence was shared by three brigades, so it
5 was hard to tell whose zone of responsibility it was. There was the
6 Frankopan Brigade, the 306th Brigade, and one part of the 314th Brigade.
7 And this incident happened on the road that the HVO constructed. This was
8 a new road that was constructed in 1992. I have told you already that
9 from March onwards the Mujahedin did carry out certain activities
10 independently, and maybe this is what caused it. This was not my zone of
12 Do you know what "zone of responsibility" means? You have a
13 certain width, a certain depth, and so on and so forth. We had a line of
14 defence facing the Serbian forces. In the depth of that area, I did not
15 have any responsibility. There were three MUP stations. There were
16 civilian bodies. There was an HVO brigade. And this particular area was
17 more leaning onto the area where the HVO brigade was. This is where we
18 had to pass my bodies, my organs, my police. They had to pass on that
19 road, and we noticed that. We reported it. And then an investigating
20 judge came and took over from us. It was our duty to report to the
21 competent body that a dead body was seen on the road. A judge was sent to
22 that place, and I don't know how the whole thing ended. It was not up to
23 me to know.
24 Q. How did you know -- how did you know, sir, that this incident
25 caused disgust among some members of the 7th Muslim Brigade? How did you
1 know that?
2 A. I told you yesterday, if you were following me, that some parts
3 were -- went renegade, who represented themselves as being members of the
4 7th. But in later contacts, the commander of the 7th separated himself
5 from those individuals, and in the village they were protesting against
6 those cases. We really thought that they were members of the 7th. And
7 that's how my assistant received information from those villages, that
8 those people had come from the 7th Brigade. And of course he informed the
9 superior brigade to see who are these people, is there a 7th Brigade. I
10 didn't know where that was located, what were its tasks, was it there, and
11 so on.
12 However, he relied on information from certain villages. He had
13 positions in villages. You know how security organs operate. They had
14 positions in the villages amongst the soldiers and so on. I don't know
15 what the source was, but this is the information that he got. He checked
16 it with the commander, and yesterday you saw in the exhibits that we
17 warned the commander of the 7th, that there were certain individuals who
18 had a negative effect on conduct, security, and so on. However, he
19 replied that they were having certain problems, that they had renegade
20 groups, and so on. And I told you that from the Bila Valley soldiers were
21 being acquired for the 314th, 306th, 307th, 312th, and the 17th Krajina
22 Brigade. But it's very difficult for me to check. I cannot stop these
23 people and ask for their identification. That would be very difficult to
25 Q. Do you know, sir, the identity of any of these so-called renegade
1 members of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade?
2 A. It's very difficult for a commander. Believe me, I didn't even
3 know the names of my own soldiers. I was able to find out the names of my
4 immediate associates, people that I cooperated with from the brigade
5 commands, the company, and the unit commands, and so on, where I was a bit
6 further removed, because the duty of the commander of a platoon or of a
7 company is to know the names of all of his soldiers. My task was
8 different. My main task was to form a unit, prepare it, train it, and
9 also take up and maintain the lines. I was constantly being warned by my
10 commander that this was what I had to do. That was my main mission.
11 Everything else was secondary.
12 Q. Sir, did you direct the military police assets of the 306th
13 Mountain Brigade to arrest any of these renegade 7th Muslim Mountain
14 Brigade soldiers?
15 A. Sir, subordination, the lines of subordination are well known.
16 I'm sorry, but if I need to repeat again the authorities of the brigade:
17 There is the corps police, the operative group of the brigades, and the
18 brigade police. The authority of the brigade police was only for members
19 of the 306th, so I could not use my police to arrest any other member from
20 any other brigade, because each brigade had its own police force and they
21 took care of their own members. I could not issue orders for a member of
22 some other brigade to be arrested. I don't know at that moment whether
23 such and such a person was from the 7th or not. If my soldier from the
24 306th did not come or if they violated some rule or something, I could
25 arrest them.
1 The other information I would pass on to the superior command,
2 and then they could instruct the brigade where a particular soldier was
3 from, if further steps were necessary.
4 Q. Sir, if you didn't know which brigade the soldier was a member
5 of, how could you categorically rule out the possibility of arresting such
6 a soldier?
7 A. You see, according to that, I could have arrested members of the
8 HVO who would commit or cause certain incidents. They were also in a
9 uniform. Why? Well, we happened to be allies at that time.
10 Another thing: My commander, my security organ is from that
11 area. All the police officers, the soldiers, were from that place. They
12 knew each other very well, where who was from and so on. I was in a
13 different situation. I know every man in my own village, the village
14 where I was born, where he comes from, and so on. But people just knew
15 that it wasn't our member or it would be written down that it wasn't our
17 Q. Sir, could you take a look, please, at the next document in the
18 collection, which is P661. Can you tell us what this document is about?
19 Again, specifically with reference to the first paragraph, where it talks
20 about certain members of the 7th Muslim Brigade.
21 A. It's a little bit difficult. I see the document, but it's a
22 little bit hard to read. Let me just read it, and then I can comment on
24 It's very difficult to read. This passage is talking exactly
25 about what we were commenting on a little bit earlier. We had information
1 that they were members of the 7th, and this is what we put down. However,
2 in further activities -- and we received a response to this from the 7th
3 Muslim Brigade. They had distanced themselves from such incidents.
4 Q. Let me ask you, then --
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There is no transcript. [In
6 English] It's okay.
7 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you.
8 Q. Let me ask you then, sir, if you could please turn to the next
9 document, P662, which is a daily operations report dated 8 April 1993.
10 MR. DIXON: Your Honour, I'm sorry to interrupt, but I think it
11 might be fair for all the parties if I make this point at the outset.
12 This is the first time this document has been shown to a witness, and
13 there is a translation problem which I wish to bring to the attention of
14 Your Honours. It may need to be sent to the -- the Translation Unit, but
15 it appears on the face of the document to be quite an obvious error. And
16 that is, Your Honour, at the bottom of the first page of the English
17 translation, it reads that "There have been some cases of members of the
18 7th Muslim Mujahedin Brigade being mistreated." That is an incorrect
19 translation of the original in Bosnian. There is a whole word missing,
20 Your Honour, and that word is a very important one; it's -- it's "and."
21 The correct translation should read that "There have been some cases of
22 the 7th Muslim Brigade and the Mujahedin being mistreated."
23 If Your Honours look at the Bosnian original over the page, it's
24 the word "odnosno," that is, in the original Bosnian but has not been
25 translated into the English version.
1 MR. MUNDIS: For this --
2 MR. DIXON: I did want to point that out immediately so that if
3 there are questions asked, the confusion doesn't arise, because in the
4 English version it would appear that the 7th Brigade is called a Mujahedin
5 Brigade, but in the original that's not the case; it just reads "The 7th
6 Muslim Brigade."
7 MR. MUNDIS: That was precisely why this document is being shown
8 to this witness as a starting point. I appreciate my learned colleague's
9 comments. I would ask that this document be placed on the ELMO for the
10 benefit of the interpreters in the booth. I fully expect we will need to
11 send this document to CLSS for further translation. I'm going to ask the
12 witness to read out that paragraph. I believe it would be of assistance
13 to our friendly colleagues in the booths to have that document placed on
14 the ELMO, and I will then ask the witness to read out that entire
15 paragraph and then we can go through the usual procedure of sending it off
16 to CLSS.
17 MR. DIXON: Your Honours, I -- I fully agree with that proposed
19 If I could mention though that the rest of the paragraph has
20 another "odnosno" mentioned in it. That's further down. That's two lines
21 down from the section that we say is incorrect. And that has been
22 properly translated as "The HVO and their command." It goes on from
23 there. So it would appear, just from a plain reading of the paragraph,
24 that when that word is properly translated as "and," the English
25 translation is entirely incorrect.
1 I do appreciate my learned friend's suggestion that it can be
2 corrected now through it being read by the -- the witness and -- and
3 translated. And of course the witness can comment on the document because
4 it appears that -- that it's his document.
5 Thank you, Your Honours, for the opportunity.
6 MR. MUNDIS:
7 Q. Sir if you could take a look at the document that's to your right
8 on the ELMO. You may also be able to observe it on the screen. Let me
9 ask you, first of all, sir, if this is a document that you signed and
10 submitted both to the 3rd Corps operations centre and the OG Zapad command
11 in Bugojno.
12 A. I didn't draft the document, but I did sign it.
13 Q. Sir, I'd ask you if you could, under paragraph 2, read out loud
14 please the third paragraph under section 2, the one beginning "With regard
15 to the security situation." If you could read that entire paragraph out
16 loud, please.
17 A. "With regard to the security situation, it is satisfactory.
18 Relations with the HVO are currently favourable, except that there have
19 been some cases -- there have been some cases of members of the 7th Muslim
20 Brigade, meaning the Mujahedin, being mistreated at checkpoints controlled
21 by the HVO. Because of this, we would ask the relevant command to send an
22 appeal to the HVO units, meaning their commands, to" -- well, it's a
23 little bit difficult to see -- "their commands to" -- it's not easy to
24 see -- "to stop these excesses because they could lead to undesirable
1 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, can you tell us, when you just read out the
2 document, you said "some cases of members of the 7th Muslim Brigade,
3 meaning the Mujahedin." What do you mean by that or what does that refer
5 A. Probably you are familiar with the way in which reports are
6 written. All the command organs participate according to their segments,
7 so the intelligence sector deals with the aggressor. That's done by the
8 security organ. Then own forces is done by the operative chief of staff.
9 The security situation is done also by the security staff. So the
10 assistant commander for security received information through his channels
11 probably that certain members of the 7th, who are perhaps coming for a
12 rest from the brigade from Travnik to their houses -- I said there were
13 members of the 7th from my territory, people who were in that brigade.
14 And probably when they came for a rest at home, they experienced these
15 incidents and probably this incident showed that foreigners who were
16 passing through were receiving special treatment. Like I said, from
17 March -- from February, March, the intensity of the checks of foreigners
18 and all the other members became more intense and more strict. Probably
19 he had certain information, this assistant commander. Probably they were
20 thinking about the 7th Muslim Brigade, those who were coming. It was in
21 Zenica, and it was in Travnik from -- so when they were coming from Zenica
22 to my area, they had to cross the Ovnak road where members of the HVO had
23 a checkpoint ever since they were in that territory. So this is my
25 Q. Let me try the question again: What is the reference to
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 "Mujahedin" in this paragraph? What -- what is that a reference to in
2 this paragraph, in this document that you submitted to your higher
4 A. Probably those persons who I mentioned earlier that I encountered
5 passing through the checkpoints in their vehicles. That's probably
6 thinking of them, who were using the road going towards Travnik or Zenica.
7 I don't know where they were going. They were going, and probably my
8 security organ had certain information, whether this was from members of
9 the HVO or from somebody else. You know, that security organs had
10 positions on other sides, in different areas. So he probably had access
11 to certain information. I don't know. You would need to ask him about
12 that. But a part of what he knew has been written down in this report or
13 included in this report.
14 Q. Let me try this, Colonel, one more time and then perhaps we'll
15 take the break. My question is: The document that you signed submitted
16 to your superior commands says "Members of the 7th Muslim Brigade, meaning
17 the Mujahedin." That's what you've told us it said when you read the
18 document. That's my question. What is the connection between the
19 Mujahedin and the 7th as stated in this document?
20 MR. DIXON: I'm sorry, Your Honour. I don't want to -- I don't
21 want to stop the witness from answering the question.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have to be very precise
23 because I believe that this question is not clear enough. The Prosecution
24 puts to the witness the following and wants the witness to say that
25 members of the 7th Brigade or, in other words, the Mujahedin. That's at
1 least what I derived from the French translation and from what I read in
2 English. The word in English is "meaning," and it is translated into
3 French, and this is what I receive.
4 The Defence, what -- what do you have to say about this question?
5 I would like to hear you before I give the floor to Mr. Mundis.
6 Mr. Dixon, can you clarify things for the Judge here?
7 MR. MUNDIS: Perhaps -- but if the witness could perhaps be
8 taken out of the courtroom before we discuss this any further, we would
9 appreciate it.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: Yes, okay.
11 [The witness stands down]
12 MR. DIXON: Thank you, Your Honours.
13 Firstly, if I can say there's no objection to the witness
14 answering the question about what he means by "Mujahedin" in the document.
15 And it is a important question for him to clarify.
16 My objection relates to the way in which the document has been
17 translated. The witness has not said when he was reading out the document
18 that 7th Brigade means Mujahedin. That's what the translation booth said,
19 and that's what I've got in English, and in French it's come across in a
20 slightly different way. "In other words" is the way it's come across in
22 Our objection is that the word that has been left out of the
23 English translation, "odnosno," they referred to earlier on, simply means
24 "and." This is confirmed by another translation of that word, "odnosno,"
25 just a few lines down where in the original it says "The HVO odnosno," and
1 then it goes on, and that is translated as "HVO units and their commands"
2 And our submission is simply that it should be translated consistently
3 throughout the document. It's being translated as "and" a few lines down
4 and it should just be translated in exactly the same way a few lines up.
5 It should read: "The 7th Muslim Brigade and the Mujahedin." We say that
6 is absolutely the correct translation of this document, and that's what
7 should be put to the witness. And then his answer, whatever that might
8 be, is something separate to -- to be recorded. But we must have an
9 independent, verified meaning for the -- the document in English and in
10 French. And in our submission, it doesn't mean "meaning the Mujahedin,"
11 or "in other words the Mujahedin." It doesn't mean either of those. It
12 simply means "and." It's referring to two separate entities, in our
14 Perhaps we could use the break to see if that could be clarified
15 with the translation booths and then put the question to the witness
16 thereafter. In our submission, it would have to be clarified by the
17 Translation Unit in any event. So it will still have to be sent to the
18 Translation Unit.
19 Thank you, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Dixon has just said that
21 the word "odnosno" means "and." And this is what he already said. The
22 interpreters, however, have translated this word differently. They didn't
23 say "and." They translated this word as "meaning," or "in other words."
24 So we have a problem which has to be solved. Before we take the
25 break, I'm going to give the floor to the Prosecution, and they have to
1 take into account the words of the Defence and they have to take into
2 account the possibility that the word "odnosno" means "and," rather than
3 "in other words" or "meaning," which would imply that the members of the
4 7th Brigade were also the Mujahedin.
5 Mr. Mundis, you have the floor.
6 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, our position has been quite clear and
7 quite consistent with respect to interpretation or translations of
8 documents. We have no objection with that being done.
9 I will note, however, that in the course of the witness reading
10 this out, the interpretation booths translated the word "odnosno" meaning
11 "meaning," in both contexts. That was pointed out by Mr. Dixon, and
12 that's reflected in lines 12 through 20 of page 31. They -- the
13 interpretation booths here translated that term consistently,
14 notwithstanding the defect, if there is one - and I think it's probable
15 that there is - in the written translation. I simply point that out in
16 the event that we can't get this resolved very quickly over the next break
17 in terms of wishing to ask this witness the very question that I proposed
18 putting to him, which -- which drew the initial comments from my learned
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Maybe the other team may help
21 us with that. They are specialists for B/C/S.
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, this may be
23 interesting from the linguistic point of view, but you will be able to
24 interpret the significance of this document once you hear the witness,
25 because the word "odnosno" can be interpreted as "meaning" or "in other
1 words," but it can also serve as a conjunction when you enumerate things.
2 In our language, it depends on what the author of the text wanted to say.
3 The word "odnosno" can be translated differently in other languages. I
4 personally believe - and I agree with my colleague Dixon - that in this
5 particular case this word means "and," i.e., it serves to enumerate
6 things. It's up to the translators to resolve that issue.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much for this
9 We are going to take the break. We will resume around ten past
11 --- Recess taken at 3.43 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 4.12 p.m.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as the interpretation is
14 concerned, the Judges have discussed the matter during the break. There
15 are a few things that have to be mentioned. There is a dictionary, B/C/S
16 and B/C/S into English. We have consulted Benson, which was printed in
17 the United States at the University of Pennsylvania. And in this
18 dictionary, it says that this word means "in other words." So according
19 to Benson, it means "in other words," or "more exactly" or "to be more
21 According to the interpretation service, this word can also mean
22 "and," but it depends on the author of the document. The author can use
23 this word as meaning "and." The interpretation service has given us a
24 written explanation of things, and this is it. However, this does not
25 prevent the Prosecution from interpreting the document which was written
1 by somebody, not by the witness himself. The witness signed it, but maybe
2 the witness can give us his interpretation of the document.
3 We are going to bring the witness into the courtroom, please.
4 The time that we have just spent in discussing this matter will
5 not be counted as the time used by the Prosecution.
6 Mr. Mundis, you have the floor.
7 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 Q. Witness, if we could again turn to P662, this paragraph that we
9 were discussing prior to the break. And I would like you to tell us the
10 phrase that you read out: "The 7th Muslim Brigade, meaning or in other
11 words the Mujahedin." Can you tell us what that means?
12 A. Here these two things are separate. This is not one thing.
13 There are members of the 7th, on the one hand, and then a comma, and then
14 the others, who are the Mujahedin. In this context, this is not one
15 thing. As far as I know the rules of our language, the comma here means
16 that the 7th Muslim is one thing and the Mujahedin is another thing. This
17 is my interpretation and this is according to the grammar of our language
18 and this is also the reflection of the reality.
19 Are you -- I don't know why you are confused. Are you saying
20 that the two things here are the same? This is not true. This does not
21 stem from the document, and this does not stem from the reality of the
23 Q. Can you tell us, sir, what information you had about Mujahedin
24 being mistreated as checkpoints controlled by the HVO.
25 A. No, I didn't have any, because I wasn't interested in them. It
1 was my assistant for security who decided to inform the command about
2 certain instances of ill-treatment at checkpoints. What did this mean for
3 my unit for their combat readiness? Nothing. These were not my members.
4 There was ill-treatment at the checkpoints. And this information was sent
5 to the commander indicating that the situation might get worse. Because
6 there was already tension in the air, and this meant that we as a brigade
7 might face problems in the future and I would be responsible for that. I
8 was responsible for that situation.
9 Q. Sir, I'm simply asking you a question. You told us that in the
10 context of this document, the way it was drafted, the 7th Muslim Brigade
11 and the Mujahedin are not the same thing. You've just told us that. Is
12 that correct?
13 A. That is correct. Yes.
14 Q. Well, this sentence then says: "Relations with the HVO are
15 currently favourable except that there have been some cases of members of
16 the 7th Muslim Brigade and the Mujahedin being mistreated at checkpoints
17 controlled by HVO units." And my question to you is, sir: What
18 information did you have about Mujahedin being mistreated at HVO
20 A. I've just told you. My assistant for intelligence and security
21 received certain information, I don't know who from. I was not interested
22 in either the checkpoints or the Mujahedin. I was not interested in the
23 7th Muslim Brigade or the HVO. However, this information might have had
24 some repercussions on the territory where my brigade was, and these
25 incidents might have compounded the situation. And it was within this
1 context that this was mentioned. This information was sent to the
2 superior command so that they could react. I as a commander was
3 duty-bound to incorporate any information that any of my assistants might
4 have had into our report. My assistant commander was under my command,
5 but he also was in a different chain of command. He was subordinated to
6 his counterpart in the 3rd Corps.
7 Q. What kind of reaction did you expect the 3rd Corps commander to
8 take with respect to mistreatment of Mujahedin by members of the HVO at
10 A. I didn't expect anything. I don't know what the word "the
11 authorities of the commander of the 3rd Corps" -- I just provided him with
12 information. I don't know what his authorities were and what measures he
13 was supposed to take, what measures he took for that matter. You have to
14 ask him. I expected him to help me with my unit, and he didn't help me.
15 I expected him to arm my unit and to help me with that. He didn't. As to
16 -- as regards this matter, what he was going to do, I didn't know and it
17 was not something I was interested in. However, we had to provide him
18 with this information because this might have had repercussions on our
19 situation, and that's why we did it. What he did after that, I don't
20 know. You have to ask him.
21 Q. Sir, let's turn to document P663, which is the following
22 document. It's a relatively long -- it's a three-page document, sir. I'd
23 ask you, first of all, if that's your signature at the bottom of this
25 A. Give me a minute to look at the document.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Yes, this is my signature.
2 Q. Sir, I'd ask you to take a quick look at this document. I will
3 tell you, however, that I'm primarily interested in asking you questions
4 starting on page 2, the very last paragraph on page 2, and parts of the
5 top of page 3 and then the proposal section.
6 Can you look, please, sir, at the last paragraph on page 2 in the
7 original, and it begins "Soldiers of other units." Do you see that
8 paragraph, sir?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. Can you read, please, the first two sentences of that paragraph
11 out loud for us.
12 A. "A particular security problem in our zone of responsibility are
13 members of other units which have become renegades and are not under the
14 control of their respective commands."
15 Q. Yes, please. Read the next sentence as well.
16 A. Do I have to read on?
17 "They are primarily members of the 7th Muslim Brigade and we do
18 not fully know the status of the Mujahedin. They and members of the 314th
19 Motorised Brigade have committed arbitrary acts which further aggravate
20 the already tense situation with the HVO."
21 Q. Sir, can you tell us a little bit more or can you elaborate upon
22 what you were communicating to the 3rd Corps and the OG Zapad commanders
23 by way of this document.
24 A. If you will allow me, I would like to say that we have already
25 discussed all of those issues. It is true that there are some people who
1 are not under control. It is true that we are not clear on the status of
2 the Mujahedin and this is beyond dispute. We have also mentioned members
3 of the 314th who committed acts which were not in keeping with standards
4 and norms. However, this is all beyond my authority. I was not
5 responsible for the 314th. I was not responsible for the 7th. I was not
6 responsible for the Mujahedin. I informed my command that the things that
7 are happening on the ground are aggravating the situation, which was true
8 at the time. And this caused certain problems and this resulted in
9 further tensions between the HVO and the 306th Brigade. I was aware of
10 the situation in my brigade, and if the things got out of hand, then how
11 was I supposed to control my members?
12 Q. Sir, I'd ask you now to look on page 3, under the heading
13 "Proposals," or "We propose." I would like you to read out the fifth
14 proposal listed on this document. If you could read that out loud,
16 A. "To resolve the status of the Mujahedin and members of the 17th
17 Muslim Brigade quartered in Mehurici." Should I read on?
18 Q. No, no, that's fine, sir. Let me ask you this: What -- this
19 reference in this document to the 17th Muslim Brigade quartered in
20 Mehurici," can you tell us what that is?
21 A. It must be a typo. There was never a 17th. There was a -- the
22 17th Krajina Brigade. I believe that this was a human error. It is a
23 typo to my mind. It was not spotted when the document was being sent. I
24 believe that the reference was made to members of the 7th Muslim Brigade,
25 rather than the 17th Brigade.
1 Q. Were there --
2 A. I apologise. I apologise. I'm sorry. The second proposal
3 refers to the 17th Mountain Brigade, but the fifth proposal refers to the
4 7th Muslim Brigade. I believe that the person who typed the document made
5 a -- a typing error. So these are two different proposals. One of them
6 refers to the 17th Brigade, and the -- the other one refers to the 7th
8 Q. And, sir, this document is describing the period 15 April through
9 five May 1993; is that correct?
10 A. That is what it says here.
11 Q. Can you tell us a little bit about this 7th Muslim Brigade or
12 members of the 7th Muslim Brigade quartered in Mehurici? Can you tell us
13 what that's all about?
14 A. I repeat again: In my zone of responsibility, there were
15 soldiers who belonged to the 7th Muslim Brigade of the 314th and so on
16 and -- so on and so forth. They were not only from one village. They
17 were from a number of villages. And I don't know how many members of the
18 7th Muslim Brigade were from the Bila Valley. You should ask their
19 commander that. Nobody had to provide me with that information. The
20 truth is that they were from the Bila Valley. Already in May the Bila
21 Valley was completely encircled and nobody could leave the Bila Valley.
22 It is quite probable that people from that area were resting and they
23 could not leave the Bila Valley. They could not join their unit. They
24 were probably there staying with their families in their houses because
25 they couldn't report either to Zenica or to Travnik. Also, there were
1 some rogue soldiers, some renegade soldiers of the 7th Muslim Brigade who
2 were there.
3 Q. Let me ask you again, sir, if you at any point in time became
4 aware of the identity of any of these rogue or renegade soldiers of the
5 7th Muslim Brigade who were there at the time.
6 A. Absolutely not. I wasn't interested in that. They were not my
8 Q. Fine.
9 A. They didn't belong to me. The person they belonged to or the
10 unit they belonged to had to take interest in them, not me.
11 Q. Can I ask you, sir, why under this fifth proposal on this
12 document, P663, you proposal resolving the status of the Mujahedin and
13 members of the 7th Muslim Brigade quartered in Mehurici in the same
14 proposal. Why are those two items lumped together in this proposal on
15 this document?
16 A. This is a compound report covering a certain period. This report
17 unites all the previous information. All the problems that I listed were
18 present in my zone, and if those problems had been solved, I would have no
19 problems. A lot of things would have been better if these problems had
20 been solved, and that's why my proposal was for these problems to be
21 looked at and solved.
22 Q. I understand that, sir, that you've listed a number of proposals
23 that you would like to be resolved. My specific question is: Why you
24 list the Mujahedin and members of the 7th Muslim Brigade quartered in
25 Mehurici in the same proposal, in the same phrase, rather than considering
1 them as separate problems.
2 A. This is just a technical issue. There's no essence to this.
3 This is a technical issue. These could have been two different proposals.
4 One has nothing whatsoever to do with the other. It is just a matter of
5 technical approach, how this proposal was worded. The person who drafted
6 this report did it this way. He could have done it differently. Maybe
7 this proposal could have been number 1, because it was more important than
8 anything else. I'm sure that the person who received this report and read
9 it knew exactly what this was all about. We're talking about
10 technicalities of writing a report.
11 Q. But, sir, you signed this document the way it was drafted and
12 presented to you. Did it occur to you to say, "Wait a second. These are
13 two different problems," or in your mind were the Mujahedin and the 7th
14 Muslim Mountain Brigade members quartered in Mehurici one in the same?
15 A. I believe that we are talking at cross-purposes here. We're
16 talking about grammar, about linguistic problems. You can name ten
17 different problems within one single sentence without putting these ten
18 things in the same context. These are two different problems, two
19 different things. It was just a technical issue. This is the way the
20 person who drafted the report worded it, and it's a technicality.
21 Q. Let me just turn for a second to another paragraph in this
22 document so that we don't have to come back to it later. Earlier, sir, I
23 asked you to look at the last paragraph on page 2 in the original
24 language. I'd like you now to look at the first paragraph on page 3. And
25 in the English version, this is the first full paragraph on page 3. And
1 I'd like to ask you some questions about what's being reported in that
2 paragraph. And again, it starts "On this occasion." Can you please read
3 that paragraph out loud to us, please. And perhaps if you'd put it on the
4 machine to the right, the interpreters in the booth will be able to see
5 precisely what's written in the document.
6 Do you see the paragraph I'm referring to, sir?
7 A. Yes, I do. I do.
8 Q. If you could please read that out to us.
9 A. "On this occasion, without giving a description of the event, I
10 would like to mention the attack on Gornji Miletici and the looting in
11 Dolac Purici, the expulsion of Serbian families from Mehurici, the daily
12 instances of fire being opened on HVO members and retreating." This is
13 out of the context. You have to read the previous paragraph first because
14 the previous paragraph will probably tell you why this was so. If you
15 will allow are me to read the previous paragraph, this would put things in
16 perspective. Can I look at the previous paragraph, please?
17 Q. Absolutely. Absolutely, sir.
18 A. This is precisely that. These problems that I have just read
19 about are within that context. Shall I read the entire thing? That would
20 give us the whole context. The paragraph that I have just read out has
21 been taken out of the context. You have to read the last paragraph on
22 page 2, and you will see that this paragraph is compatible with the
23 following paragraph, which is on page 3. This is just a continuation of
24 the same thought that starts on the previous page. You can read it. I
25 can read it. Anybody can read it and you will see that the reference is
1 made to that thing.
2 Q. Let's be -- in order to save time here, sir, because you've
3 already read that paragraph out loud to us and because everyone in the
4 courtroom has a copy of the document in front of us, let me just ask you
5 some further questions, then. This paragraph talking about the attack on
6 Gornji Miletici, what was that all about? When was it and what units
7 or -- or forces were involved in the attack on Gornji Miletici? During
8 this time period covered by this report.
9 A. It referred to that because in the prior report, those from the
10 brigade involved immediately in the events in Miletici processed
11 completely that event in Miletici. In order not to repeat everything in
12 this report, this time they had said that they did not want to repeat
13 things that had already been reported. So it refers to events on the 25th
14 of April, 1993 the Mujahedin attacked the village of Gornji Miletici,
15 killed five civilians, and arrested the others. However, being persuaded
16 by members of the 1st Battalion and my assistant for security, they
17 persuaded them to release these people also because of the fact that one
18 of their fathers was arrested. They assumed that members of the army
19 accommodated those people and kept them alive. I got a report how it
20 happened. There was a joint HVO and army commission which confirmed the
21 report and the description of the events in Miletici.
22 Q. Let me ask you this, sir: You've just told us that this
23 paragraph with the reference to Miletici relates to the preceding
24 paragraph, the paragraph coming before. Is that what you told us a few
25 moments ago in relation to the context?
1 A. No. No, a part of the excerpt refers to the report, especially
2 to a report and also to these problems here which are being mentioned in
3 this passage, especially the problems with the Mujahedin. But there is a
4 previous report about who did what in Miletici, and then they say it here
5 in order not to repeat a description of what happened in Miletici and then
6 these problems which are in the context of what is happening here. This
7 is a continuity of reporting and probably the person who received the
8 report knows what this is all about.
9 Q. To what extent does the information in the preceding paragraph,
10 which mentions the 7th Muslim Brigade, the Mujahedin, members of the 314th
11 Motorised Brigade, how does that relate to the paragraph describing the
12 attack on Gornji Miletici?
13 A. Please, these problem, these Mujahedin who had evaded control,
14 specifically there, that they had units which were out of control of their
15 superior command are primarily members of the 7th Muslim Brigade and the
16 status of the Mujahedin is not fully known. So the Mujahedin were evading
17 control, so they in this context did this in Miletici. So without
18 repeating the description of the events that had taken place, because
19 prior reports spoke about the incident in Miletici.
20 Q. Sir, I'd ask you now to move on to P704. Perhaps the usher can
21 assist with finding that document.
22 Did you in fact sign this document, sir? Oh, sorry.
23 A. I don't know.
24 Yes, I did.
25 Q. Can you tell us what -- what this document is all about, sir?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 What is this reference to "Staff belonging to the 7th Muslim Brigade"?
2 A. I have previously stated that from my part of the territory for
3 the needs of the 7th Muslim Brigade a number of conscripts were mobilised.
4 I told you that in May the situation was that the valley was entirely
5 blockaded. Most of the members were from the village of Kljaci from the
6 7th Muslim Brigade and they happened to be resting at home on their
7 regular leave and they were unable. Now, we're talking about the regular
8 parts, the regular parts. And they reported to my commander that they
9 wanted to place themselves at the disposal in order to defend their
10 villages where they were living, where they had their families, because
11 they were not able to go to their units, so that they could be engaged for
12 guard duty and the immediate security of the village of Kljaci and they
13 requested me to allow them to do this and of course I permitted them to
14 become part of the village forces because they were from the village and
15 that they could organise the defence, just like any patriot from the 306th
17 Q. Sir, at the top right-hand portion of this document there is a
18 security classification. And I'm wondering if you can tell us based on
19 your career as a military man who or what authorities indicated this
20 document was top secret and very confidential. Do you see that on the top
21 of this document?
22 A. In the army, we had degrees for each document from the superior
23 command, what types of documents were to be given which degree of
24 confidentiality, and that depended from document to document. This is
25 part of command and control. Most of the documents are strictly
1 confidential, internal requests, requisition forms. Logistics documents
2 could be such but did not have to be so necessarily. It depended on what
3 kind of a document it was and then it was given the adequate degree of
4 confidentiality. Sometimes I want didn't have to do anything with the
5 contents of the document, whether it was given a certain level of secrecy
6 and confidentiality.
7 Q. Can you tell us, sir, where in the hierarchy, if you will, of
8 classification of documents top secret, very confidential fits into the
9 scheme of things.
10 A. The first are documents which are confidential, internally
11 confidential -- strictly confidential, and state secret. These are the
12 classifications for confidentiality.
13 Q. What about -- this document, at least in the English, is
14 translated as "Top secret, very confidential," and I'm wondering how that
15 fits into the scheme.
16 A. I don't understand the question. What would you like me to say?
17 Q. Can you tell us, sir, what -- what the classification stamp of
18 this document is? What does it say?
19 A. It states "Strictly confidential." There's nothing in dispute
20 about that.
21 Q. Okay. Let me ask you now, or perhaps with the assistance of the
22 usher, if you could turn to P481.
23 Sir, have you ever seen this document before?
24 A. May I just read it first?
25 I have never seen this document before. And if I may comment,
1 this document is illegal. Even if I had received it, it would have meant
2 nothing to me. Correspondence of relations and subordinations in
3 accordance with that, no one is obliged to act upon or take this document
4 into account. It means nothing to me as commander of the brigade. It
5 could be an internal matter for somebody, but it means nothing to me.
6 Another unit, especially a unit of lower rank, or the same unit, the
7 commander of the brigade cannot resubordinate somebody. I cannot
8 resubordinate a part of my own brigade. And it is out of the question for
9 somebody of lower rank to resubordinate somebody to me. This is something
10 that could be only done by the corps commander. Had an order come from
11 the corps commander, then I would be duty-bound to comply. But this is
12 something that I'm seeing for the first time. The relationships are quite
13 well known. It is very clear who has authority over whom and how that is
14 carried out and respected.
15 Q. Sir, on any occasion in August of 1993 did you meet with any of
16 the UNPROFOR BritBat liaison officers in Travnik?
17 A. It's possible. There were I don't know how many such meetings
18 and when. If there was a meeting, that was scheduled by a British
19 officer. I attended all the international meetings scheduled by the
20 international forces. I don't know what this is all about. I don't
21 recall whether I was there or not, but if you have any questions in
22 relation to that, perhaps I can -- I can try to remember. Perhaps you can
23 help me to recall that.
24 Q. Well, sir, the -- the very first document that's in the
25 collection that you have, P355 - and the second page of the bundle would
1 actually be the version in your language - is an internal UNPROFOR BritBat
2 daily situation report. Now, sir, I wouldn't have expected you to have
3 ever seen this document, but in this document the Travnik liaison officer
4 reports a conversation that he had with you on the 7th of August, 1993.
5 And I'm specifically interested in what he reported concerning this
6 conversation as reflected in paragraph 3 of this document.
7 A. I would not go into any comment on this. This is not the proper
8 context. I perhaps only warned or provided information, which was my duty
9 to do, to provide the organs -- the international organs, that they could
10 expect problems there so that they can be prepared. I was not trying to
11 tell them to go and that they -- that if they went, they would have
12 problems. I told them that if they went there, they might have problems.
13 I was not able to protect them. I didn't have any control over that. I
14 just warned them. But this comment, I have no idea which context he -- he
15 drew this conclusion on. I acquainted the commander and the international
16 factors that these people were there and that they could create problems.
17 This was well-meaning information to these people, nothing other than
18 that. I don't know how that officer understood that information at that
19 particular time. That is something that I leave to him.
20 Q. Well, sir, my -- I guess my question is: Did you tell -- do you
21 recall telling the liaison officer in Travnik on the 7th of August, 1993
22 that there were Mujahedin based in the school in Mehurici?
23 A. I don't remember that meeting. I am saying it again. But the
24 problem of the Mujahedin did -- the Mujahedin was something that was
25 discussed at a number of meetings. The officers would try to go through.
1 They would be stopped. Then they would come to me asking to be able to
2 allow to pass through Mehurici. That's something that they didn't write
3 down, but they did write down this. I don't remember the context based on
4 which they wrote down something like this. There were problems at a
5 number of meetings. They had their own problems. They were unable to
6 carry out patrol duties even though they had UN insignia and markings. I
7 repeated several times that I did not have any authority there, that it
8 was not in my competence, and that I was not able to help them there. I
9 said that the Mujahedin were not under my competences and that there was
10 nothing that I could do there. As far as the 306th was concerned, I said
11 there was no -- no problem from at all. They could go anywhere and I was
12 the one in that case who could guarantee them access and passage and
13 the -- the ability to fulfil their mandate.
14 Q. Do you recall telling any of the BritBat personnel that a BH army
15 commander should accompany them if they wished to move through that
16 village? Is that what your testimony is?
17 A. No. I said that they had to go to a command that was superior in
18 relation to mine. They had to go to a higher command than mine; that
19 would be either the operational group or the corps, that they had to try
20 to cooperate with them. I would have resolved that myself had I had the
21 proper competence in that matter, but I didn't.
22 Q. I'd ask you now, sir, to turn to the following document, P418.
23 And as -- as the usher is assisting us with that, sir, yesterday in
24 response to some questions from my learned friends from the Defence, you
25 spoke about your commander ordering you to come up with three scenarios.
1 This is on page 36, lines 2 through 9, and you described these three
2 scenarios: One, an attack by the Serb forces; the second, an attack by
3 the HVO; and the third, an attack from both sides.
4 I'm wondering, sir if this document that you have before you -
5 and I understand there's a blank plan page in the middle of this
6 three-page document in your language - is this the document you were
7 referring to yesterday when you talked about your commander ordering you
8 to come up with a plan with respect to three scenarios?
9 A. Yes. Yes, that's it.
10 Q. And, sir, I direct your attention to paragraph 3.2, "Variant in
11 case of attack by the HVO." I'm wondering if you can tell us why in the
12 306th Mountain Brigade plan you envisioned using part of the forces of the
13 7th Muslim Brigade.
14 A. You're coming back to this. This is a proposal. This is not a
15 final request. The corps command requested a proposal from us. When they
16 received the proposal, then they would draft the order that we were to
17 comply with. This was our thinking and what we thought would be the best
18 way to act. However, I said when we were working out all these options -
19 this is from May - there were members of the 7th who were unable to reach
20 their units and I asked for an order so that the commander could regulate
21 that, that they could be part of the composition, but the commander never
22 did that, and this plan was actually never implemented. It was asked for
23 by the commander. I don't know why. He probably wanted to see if the
24 units were ready and how he could issue the orders. But we never received
25 a confirmation of what we sent out and we never received a returned order.
1 This is just our thinking about how we could do something like this, what
2 would be a good way to do it.
3 Q. Sir, during the combat activities that occurred on the 8th and
4 9th of June, 1993, were those undertaken as part of some kind of a plan?
5 Was there a plan behind the combat activities of 8/9 June of 1993 in the
6 306th area in the Bila Valley?
7 A. There was absolutely no plan. And I repeat: The attacks on
8 Bosniak villages of Ricica, Radojcici, Bandol, Bukovica which resulted in
9 the 17 dead was not something that was ordered by me. I just asked for
10 assistance from those officers who were in Mehurici. That was my
11 operations officer, my assistant for logistics. I asked them to find
12 any -- any way to help these people who were at risk.
13 In those villages, there were members of the 2nd and 3rd
14 Battalions of the 306th Brigade. And this was done spontaneously. And
15 whatever was done did not resemble in the least the plan. It was done
16 spontaneously. The officers who were there decided on the shortest
17 possible way to help those villages that had come under attack.
18 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I would ask with the assistance of
19 the usher that the witness be shown DK22, which he looked at yesterday.
20 Q. Sir, perhaps -- perhaps I'm not following what you've just said,
21 but if you look at this document, which is from your brigade to the 3rd
22 Corps, the very last sentence indicates that everything is going
23 "according to the plan." And I'm wondering if you can just explain
24 what -- what that means.
25 A. Well, I did not draft this document. I saw it subsequently,
1 after the events. At my request for assistance to be provided to these
2 villages, I assumed that one part of my command -- I wasn't there. I just
3 assumed. They drafted something. There must have been some sort of
4 agreement as to how this would be done because they were leading people,
5 not cattle. I suppose that they decided what to do and at the command
6 post they were aware of some plan. And this plan has nothing to do with
7 this order. Don't link one with the other. It was a hastily made plan
8 which was drafted because of the situation. Otherwise, we would have been
9 held heavily responsible if we hadn't done anything. So this was done in
10 a haste, and it was some sort of a plan, I suppose.
11 Q. Now, sir, I'd like to ask you a few questions about the period on
12 the 11th of May, 1993, when you went to the camp in Poljanice. And for
13 your benefit, sir, it might be -- if the -- again, with the usher's
14 assistance, document 1007 in the Defence binder, which perhaps I can give
15 you the tab number. It's actually the very last document in the entire
16 binder, the very last document, which has been marked by the Defence 1007.
17 Now, sir, this document, which is a report to the 3rd Corps
18 military security body from the military security commander in your
19 brigade, Mr. Asim Delalic, does this document accurately reflect --
20 A. I apologise. He was not commander. He was assistant commander.
21 There's a huge difference between commander and assistant commander.
22 Q. I -- I appreciate that correction, sir. The assistant -- his
23 title was assistant commander for security in the 306th Mountain Brigade;
24 is that correct?
25 A. Assistant commander for security in the 306th Brigade. That is
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 Q. Okay. Now, this document that Mr. Delalic submitted to the 3rd
3 Corps security body, does it accurately reflect the information that was
4 obtained during the meeting you had in Poljanice?
5 A. This report, the assistant commander was not duty-bound to keep
6 me abreast of all the reports. He had his own link with his counterpart
7 in the 3rd Corps. When I was in Poljanice, I -- I heard some things and I
8 told him what to write about that. He, however, had some other
9 information that he incorporated. As I already said yesterday, this is
10 just one of the things that he knew. The assistant commander had other
11 information that he incorporated into the report that he sent through his
12 own chain of command to his counterpart in the 3rd Corps.
13 Q. I understand that, sir, and I -- I appreciate you informing us of
14 that. My question though was: Does this document accurately reflect what
15 happened in Poljanice when you went there on the 11th of May, 1993?
16 A. I repeat: One part of this report reflects that. There are some
17 other parts of the report that I was not familiar with. Some names are
18 mentioned. And, for example, Alija Izetbegovic is mentioned, and Ramo
19 Dervis, Sljivo Malik. I've never heard of these people before. I don't
20 know who these people are.
21 We were informed that they had received approval from the Main
22 Staff of the BiH army that they would establish the 8th Muslim Brigade and
23 that this brigade would be subordinated to the General Staff. This is
24 what we discussed in Poljanice. The rest of the report was up to him, and
25 it was how to -- up to him to incorporate into this report whatever he
1 wanted without informing me.
2 Q. Okay.
3 A. No commander is aware of -- of what the assistant commander for
4 security does or what measures he takes.
5 Q. Do you recall or were you ever informed of the name of the Emir
6 that you obtained information from in Poljanice?
7 A. No, absolutely not. I was never interested in that name in my
8 capacity as a commander.
9 Q. Now, sir, towards the bottom of that document -- in fact, it's
10 the last paragraph of this document -- it seems to imply that if the 8th
11 Muslim Brigade would have been formed, the 306th Brigade would be
12 disintegrated. Do you see that?
13 A. Give me a minute, please.
14 Q. Do you see that -- do you see that phrase there, sir?
15 A. Yes. Yes, I do.
16 Q. Did -- did Mr. Delalic discuss that issue with you and the
17 possibility that the creation of the 8th Muslim Brigade might cause your
18 brigade to disintegrate?
19 A. Absolutely not. These are probably his estimates.
20 Q. Okay.
21 A. I don't know what these estimates are based on.
22 Q. Did you -- did you ever come to a similar conclusion personally?
23 In other words, did you ever think to yourself: If an 8th Muslim Brigade
24 was created by these people in Poljanice, the 306th Mountain Brigade would
25 disintegrate or would be threatened perhaps because many of its soldiers
1 would have gone to this new brigade?
2 A. I did not engage in speculations. We were a military. There was
3 a command which issued an order for the establishment of the 306th
4 Brigade. The same command could have ordered the disintegration of the
5 306th Brigade. It could have given it a different name. It could have
6 done whatever. I did not engage in speculation. I had my obligations and
7 I did not have other concerns. It was my commander who maybe was thinking
8 about possible further moves.
9 Q. Sir, can you look now, please, at the preceding document, that
10 is, number 0923, which is in the tab immediately -- again, this is Defence
11 document or -- 0923.
12 Sir, prior to coming to The Hague a week ago, a few days ago, et
13 cetera, did you ever see this document before?
14 A. No, never. I am not familiar with this document.
15 Q. And that's not surprising, since this is a document that was an
16 HVO document and delivered to Commander Blaskic personally.
17 A. I -- I cannot give you any comment because I'm not familiar with
18 their correspondence.
19 Q. That's --
20 A. I don't know what you -- what you -- what you expect from me.
21 What is your question.
22 Q. That's -- that's precisely my point, sir, is that you in the
23 course of the war in April 1993 did not, as a matter of routine, read HVO
24 documents addressed to Colonel Blaskic. That was not something that was a
25 routine in April 1993.
1 A. Of course not.
2 Q. Now, this description in here, which the Defence asked you about
3 yesterday, concerning events in Miletici, can you verify for us that this
4 account, as set forth in this document, was not something that you were
5 necessarily familiar with on the 26th of April, 1993?
6 A. I repeat: I was the commander of the 306th Brigade. I had my
7 assistants, my organs. I had my superior command and my subordinate
8 commands. The reports sent to me by subordinate commands are the ones I
9 read. I read those reports and I received orders from my superior --
10 superiors. My superior was Mr. Dzemal Merdan, who was there together with
11 others and he was involved in -- in investigations. If he had something
12 to tell me, I'm sure that he would have. He would have either asked me to
13 change something or to take some actions in my capacity as -- as
15 Q. Sir, did you ever receive any order or any request to prepare for
16 undertaking any kind of combat operations against the Mujahedin from any
17 of your superiors?
18 A. No, never.
19 Q. You were never tasked with preparing for such action or gathering
20 intelligence against them for purposes of undertaking combat action
21 against them?
22 A. You have changed your question now. Your first word was
23 "attack." The second word you used was "gathering." Attack is one thing
24 and we did not have such orders. However, we did receive orders for our
25 intelligence organs to be activated in order to gather intelligence,
1 because the commander believed that this was necessary and he ordered his
2 assistant for security and this person in turn ordered my assistant to
3 gather intelligence and to send that information to the command of the 3rd
5 Q. Were you briefed by your assistant commander for security at any
6 point in time about the intelligence-gathering with respect to the
7 Mujahedin within your area of responsibility?
8 A. No, and he was not duty-bound to inform me. His duty was to
9 inform me about my problems and anything that had to do with the 306th
10 Brigade. And as for intelligence gathered during his operative work, he's
11 duty-bound to send that information to his counterpart, the assistant
12 commander for security in the 3rd Corps. He was not duty-bound to inform
13 me of any intelligence gathered during his operative work. The only case
14 when he was duty-bound to inform me about such things was when the
15 information was pertinent to the 306th Brigade. He sent his intelligence
16 information to his counterpart, and I don't know where else they went.
17 Q. Sir, let me ask you a couple of questions about the events that
18 occurred in Maline around the 8th of June, 1993. Can you tell us about
19 the steps that you took as the 306th Mountain Brigade commander to
20 investigate allegations concerning the deaths of Bosnian Croats that
21 occurred in Maline Bikosi on the 8th of June, 1993.
22 A. As I've already testified, I learnt about that on the 12th June
23 1993. My assistant informed me that this had happened and that the
24 investigation was underway.
25 As soon as I received that information, I issued an order to my
1 assistant to send a report to the superior command informing them that
2 this had happened and that the investigation was underway. I issued an
3 order to my assistant to engage the police and the assistant commander
4 from the 1st Battalion and to investigate. They did investigate. They
5 briefed me. And since the investigation showed that members of the 306th
6 had not taken place in that event, I was of the opinion that this was
7 where my work stopped. I only asked them to inform the superior command
8 that this had happened and that it was the Mujahedin that had done that.
9 I believe that my authorities stopped there, that I did not have any other
10 authorities with respect to that event.
11 Q. Let me ask you now some follow-on questions, sir, in order to
12 clarify what you've just told us. Do you recall approximately what time
13 on the 12th of June, 1993 you were informed of this incident?
14 A. I cannot really recall it. It was during the day. I don't know
15 what time we had the meeting. I really cannot remember. That was a long
16 time ago. It was sometime during the day.
17 Q. Sir, if you can tell us, if you recall, where you were when you
18 were told this information and, again, the person who informed you about
20 A. I am saying it again. I was in the village of Krpeljici and I
21 was informed about -- informed about it by Delalic Asim, the assistant
22 commander for security.
23 Q. And that would be Mr. Delalic? It's now appeared in the
24 transcript. Yeah, okay.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, sir, when you then ordered Mr. Delalic to carry out the
3 A. Immediately when he informed me that there was a report, or to
4 send the report and to start the investigation immediately. I didn't go
5 into the methods that they would do. I was involved with the combat
6 operations, so I was concentrating on my tasks. I tasked him with
7 investigating it and informing me about the results.
8 Q. And, sir, when you became aware of this initial information on
9 the 12th, did Mr. Delalic inform you that the Mujahedin were responsible?
10 A. That was his assumption. There were indications about that. It
11 was his assumption. He wasn't sure, but there were indications. Because
12 I ordered that an instruction -- that an investigation be carried out. I
13 was the one who asked him to investigate it, to find out exactly who did
14 what. And he did the investigation, said that it was done by the
15 Mujahedin and that they had taken a number of those civilians. And -- and
16 I ordered them to report about that. They assumed in the investigation
17 that no member of the 306th had taken part in this incident.
18 Q. When was the first time, to your recollection, that your superior
19 command, the 3rd Corps, was informed that the Mujahedin were responsible?
20 A. The first information arrived on the 12th. It was sent to the
21 3rd Corps -- that there were indications. And then after some 15 days or
22 so - because this was done by the security organ, not by the command and
23 control - the investigation was conducted, and after that at a -- on or
24 about the 27th of June there was this definite information, which I
25 received, and I ordered him to pass that on to the higher command.
1 Q. So the first time the higher command, the 3rd Corps, was informed
2 about the involvement of the Mujahedin was about the 27th of June, 1993?
3 A. There was one report on the 8th and then there was another
4 report, if you understand me. There was one -- first, there were
5 indications that this happened. An investigation was ordered. It was
6 conducted. And then the results of the investigation were told to me, I
7 as the commander. And then I instructed my assistant also to send written
8 information to the corps command, to the assistant for security. That was
9 also given -- that was what I knew.
10 Q. At the time Mr. Delalic completed his investigation, other than
11 providing you with the results, did he give you a briefing or explain to
12 you the steps he had taken to conduct the investigation, such as his
13 methodology, whom he may have spoken to, what he did, et cetera?
14 A. No. It wasn't like that. I am not duty-bound to monitor him. I
15 am not interested in how he will get his information. I am only
16 interested as commander in the final information, because it's out of the
17 question that I wouldn't trust my assistant. His superior could have
18 checked on him and then he could suggest to me that perhaps he was not the
19 competent person to do that and then a substitution could be suggested to
20 the control and command and that another person be appointed to that post.
21 Even I, as commander, could not replace this assistant, because it was
22 something that was proposed by the administration for security of the
23 General Staff. He is helping me, and he's there for my needs when I asked
24 him to do something. But he also had other duties in relation to his
25 superior command.
1 Q. Sir, do you recall if at any point in his investigation
2 Mr. Delalic questioned you or asked you any questions about what units of
3 the 306th Mountain Brigade may have been involved in any combat activities
4 in the area in and around Maline? Did he speak to you?
5 A. Not with me. Again, that day, when it happened I was in
6 Krpeljici. I wasn't even informed about it. I was woken up by shooting.
7 I didn't know who was attacking whom. I wasn't able to command the units
8 at that point in time. There was a team at Mehurici which was commanding
9 those units. There was nothing that they were going to ask me, because I
10 didn't know anything, up until that moment when he informed me what
11 happened and I instructed him to carry out an investigation. He couldn't
12 have asked me anything because I didn't know what had happened. I didn't
13 know. I was isolated and surrounded, so I didn't know what was happening
14 in the broader area.
15 Q. That's fine. Let me ask you about what you were told. Can
16 you -- can you just briefly tell us what you were told happened in Maline
17 Bikosi on the 8th of June, 1993 with respect to these Bosnian Croats.
18 What happened? What do you remember being told happened?
19 A. I cannot remember everything definitely. The only way would be
20 if I had recorded the conversation. The most important to me from that
21 investigation was whether members of the 306th took part in it or not,
22 because I know what would then happen. I would need to take certain
23 steps. So that was my focus, to find out that when he informed me that it
24 was not done by them but by Mujahedin, I was no longer interested. The
25 only thing I was interested in was whether somebody from the 306th was
1 there, when they were taken away, and if any of them had participated in
2 that. That was the main thing. They were -- there were witnesses there,
3 police officers from the 306th, and who provided them with certain
4 statements. So it wasn't interesting all that much to me afterwards,
5 anything else. What I was most interested in was whether any of my
6 members participated in that. But it's absolutely impossible for me to
7 recall exactly how the conversation went. I cannot remember all of those
9 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I have just a few more questions, I
10 believe, and -- and that will complete the cross, if I can continue for
11 just a few more minutes.
12 Q. Sir, now, you also had information towards the end of April 1993
13 that the Mujahedin had committed crimes in Miletici; is that correct?
14 A. That is correct.
15 Q. Now, once -- and did you know or have any suspicions or any
16 knowledge or any information that the Mujahedin who had committed the
17 crimes in Miletici had come from the camp in Poljanice?
18 A. I don't know that. I didn't have information about that. I
19 don't know that.
20 Q. But I believe, sir, you told us earlier that at least within the
21 area of responsibility of the 306th Mountain Brigade, which you commanded,
22 you were not aware of any other areas where there were concentrations of
23 Mujahedin, armed Mujahedin.
24 A. That is correct. But there's nothing in that. I know about the
25 camp in Poljanice. Whether it was them or not; perhaps it was; perhaps it
1 wasn't. According to what the population from there said and the
2 committees that went there, it seemed that the Mujahedin had done that.
3 But where they were from, from this place or that place, that is something
4 that I really don't know.
5 Q. Following the event in Miletici, did you issue any orders to the
6 1st Battalion commander or any of the other units within your brigade to
7 avoid the Mujahedin camp near Poljanice?
8 A. I did not issue any orders in that context, neither to avoid or
9 not to go there. I don't know why I would issue such an order.
10 Q. Well, let me give you two suggested reasons why you might have
11 issued such an order and see what -- what response you have. In the first
12 instance, sir, if we -- if you had suspicions or any information that the
13 Mujahedin had committed violent crime, they might pose a threat to your
15 And number two, because you've already told us that the Mujahedin
16 in that camp occasionally offered money to your soldiers as a way of
17 enticing them to join them. Did you ever consider saying in effect that
18 the area around the Poljanice camp is off limits to 306th Mountain Brigade
19 soldiers or the area extending, a perimeter extending 200 metres around
20 that camp is off limits to 306th Mountain Brigade soldiers? Did you ever
21 consider that for either of those reasons, that the Mujahedin might have
22 been dangerous or the Mujahedin might have posed some kind of financial
23 incentive or other incentives for your soldiers to go near that camp?
24 A. Once again, I would like to say: My soldiers, when they were on
25 leave, they were at home in civilian clothing. I didn't have contact with
1 them. I couldn't monitor them. I could do that only with those soldiers
2 who happened to be on the lines of defence. What kind of a security
3 measure could I have if they were at home? This wasn't a barracks, not a
4 unit. My line was up there. Down there the people walked around like any
5 other regular citizens. I'm thinking of members of the 306th. It wasn't
6 a barracks where you could gather a unit together and tell them things.
7 My combat tasks were in Vlasic. In the depth of the zone, I didn't have
8 any duties, until the 8th.
9 Q. Let me ask you, sir, because I neglected to do so earlier: With
10 respect to the events in Maline on the 8th of June, 1993, did the 1st
11 Battalion -- did your 1st Battalion commander, the 1st Battalion of the
12 306th Mountain Brigade, ever report to you about anything he may have
13 discovered concerning the events in Maline?
14 A. Again, I would like to say that my assistant and the assistant
15 battalion commander Zukanovic conducted the investigation together. The
16 battalion commander had his own assistant, and these were the results.
17 There was a joint investigation that was conducted by members of the 306th
18 command and the 1st Battalion, and I've already told you what the results
19 of the investigation are and I can repeat that, if necessary.
20 Q. My -- my specific question, sir, was whether the 1st Battalion
21 commander ever reported at any point in time to you about information that
22 he may have discovered concerning the events in Maline.
23 A. Again, I would like to say: When I received the task -- because
24 this was the time when the brigade command had not assembled, until the
25 18th or the 19th. At no point in time was I able to do that. My
1 battalion commanders were out in the field with the unit, so I was not
2 able to call them to me and request information from them, because they
3 were carrying out combat duty. Their main tasks were combat operations.
4 They had their own organs, just like I had my own organs. The battalion
5 commander, and I myself as the brigade battalion commander, we had our
6 duties. So they were supposed to carry out a joint investigation and
7 inform me about what they had found out. They were not able to do that
8 because they were out in the field in combat with their soldiers. So he
9 wasn't able to do that. But it was sufficient that his commander would
10 inform -- his assistant would inform my assistant and that for me would be
11 sufficient information as commander to find out what was happening.
12 Q. And, sir, my final question: Were you ever made aware of any
13 investigations by the 3rd Corps Command concerning the events in Maline or
15 A. I didn't have that information.
16 Q. Thank you, sir.
17 MR. MUNDIS: The Prosecution has no further questions,
18 Mr. President.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. It is 20 to
20 6.00. We are going to take the break and we shall resume at 6.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 5.37 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 6.02 p.m.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall now resume.
24 I give the floor to the Defence for re-examination.
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Re-examined by Ms. Residovic:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Sipic.
3 A. Good afternoon.
4 Q. I'm going to ask you a few questions arising from the questions
5 put to you by my -- by my learned friend.
6 On several occasions you had been asked why you informed your
7 superior command about the presence of the Mujahedin. Do you remember
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. As the commander of a brigade and as a professional soldier, can
11 you tell me whether an officer is duty-bound to inform his superior
12 command about any fact that might have an impact on the performance of his
13 mission, irrespective of the fact whether that fact has anything to do
14 with the brigade or it is beyond the scope of the brigade's
16 A. Yes. I am a responsible officer, and as such I believe that it
17 was my duty and my obligation to inform my superior commander about the
18 situation in my unit as well as anything that might have been going on in
19 my immediate vicinity. It was my belief that the commander had to know
20 all of that and that all that could help him to perform his duties and
21 carry out his mission.
22 Q. Is that the reason, Mr. Sipic, why your reports contain
23 information on the behaviour of the HVO, of the civilian protection, and
24 other such things that you deemed were of significance and that your
25 superior command should be aware of?
1 A. Yes, that is correct.
2 Q. The fact that something was mentioned in your report because you
3 believed that this was of some significance for your superior command
4 because it might have an impact on the combat readiness of your brigade
5 and its mission, does that mean that the fact that you mentioned in your
6 report was at the same time the fact for which your superior commander was
7 responsible or did you include that particular fact only to keep your
8 commander abreast of all the factors present in your zone of
10 A. My commander had to be informed about all the factors existing in
11 my area.
12 Q. In other words, I want to clarify this situation -- when my
13 learned friend asked you about your reporting and when you reported to the
14 command of the 3rd Corps about the presence of the Mujahedin and other
15 similar groups. My question to you is as follows: Did it mean to you
16 that this command was responsible for them, or was that just one more
17 factor that was present in your area?
18 A. I did not imply that my command was responsible for those groups.
19 I just wanted to inform them of what was going on.
20 Q. You have also been asked several questions regarding foreigners
21 and their presence in the area. You have clearly replied that these
22 foreigners were not under your command and control but you were informed
23 about their presence because they were a problem to you. My question to
24 you is as follows: Since you were the commander of a brigade in the area
25 where some of these foreigners were, tell me, please, did you ever
1 personally or any of your subordinate commanders issue any orders to these
3 A. Absolutely never.
4 Q. Did you ever as the brigade commander receive information that
5 your superior command, either the West OG or the Bosanska Krajina OG or
6 the 3rd Corps, at any time while you were a commander issue any orders to
7 these Mujahedin?
8 A. No, I'm not aware of any such order ever having been issued.
9 Q. Mr. Sipic, during the time when you were commander, did you ever
10 receive a report from these Mujahedin about the way they performed some of
11 their duties in the camp or in the general area?
12 A. Never.
13 Q. Mr. Sipic, did you know that the Mujahedin ever sent any reports
14 to your superior command describing their behaviour, who they cooperated
15 with, and so on and so forth? Did you ever receive any such information?
16 A. No, I never received such information.
17 Q. My learned friend asked you something about the renegade
18 soldiers, and you said that you could only look for the members of the
19 306th Brigade. The question that was put to you was if you ever went to
20 Poljanice to see whether any of them were there. Tell me, were the laws
21 of our country binding upon the commander? Did they make him look after
22 his own soldiers and instigate measures against them should they leave
23 their unit?
24 A. That is correct. I had the authority only over my men, members
25 of the brigade. And if they deserted, I had the obligation and duty under
1 the law to institute measures against them.
2 Q. You have told us that your military police went to the person's
3 house to see if they were there. Was that one of the measures that meant
4 the beginning of a procedure -- a procedure in order to establish where
5 your soldier was, or was this just an exercise to gather information on
6 his residence?
7 A. No, this was to check where the soldier was. We did not make
8 house-calls without a reason.
9 Q. If your security organ or the military police established that
10 this person had deserted, if they learnt of their whereabouts, would they
11 continue investigating or would they stop at finding his whereabouts?
12 A. They would continue investigating according to their
14 Q. Mr. Sipic, you have been shown a document in which you point to
15 the problem of Arabs having money, buying weapons, and this was very early
16 on in March 1993. Tell me, please: Were you aware as the commander, as a
17 professional soldier, and as a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina that
18 people were mobilised and that equipment was requisitioned?
19 A. Yes, I was aware of that.
20 Q. As you have already explained to us, the BiH army did not have
21 especially at the beginning any resources in order to provide soldiers
22 with equipment and weapons. Were you familiar with the orders according
23 to which the citizens were ordered to hand over all the equipment and arms
24 that they had in their possession? Were you familiar with the order of
25 the Secretariat that people were to be mobilised and that equipment would
1 be requisitioned?
2 A. That is correct. It was the Secretariat that was in charge of
3 all that.
4 Q. Mr. Sipic, at the moment when people were mobilised and equipment
5 requisitioned, were people entitled to a free disposal with these
7 A. No. These things were to be used for a very specific purpose,
8 the purpose for which they were requisitioned.
9 Q. If a person was mobilised and his rifle, hunting rifle, or some
10 other type of weapon requisitioned, would it be the command of the brigade
11 that would decide how the weapons would be used, which soldiers would take
12 it to the front line, or was it up to the previous owner of the weapon?
13 A. From then on, it was the brigade that had a say in how resources
14 would be used.
15 Q. If I understand you well, at the moment when a person decides to
16 sell such a weapon, this meant that he acted against the property of the
18 A. Yes, this is exactly how we interpreted it and that's how we
20 Q. You have explained how you were received when you attempted to
21 enter the Mujahedin camp in Poljanice. Tell me, please: During your stay
22 there, did you ever learn how many Mujahedin were stationed in that camp?
23 A. While I was the brigade commander during that period, I never had
24 precise information.
25 Q. Did you have precise information as to how many Bosniaks whom you
1 have mentioned in your documents, how many Bosnians had joined the
2 Mujahedin in their camp in Poljanice?
3 A. No, I didn't have precise information.
4 Q. Mr. Sipic, while you were the commander of the 306th Brigade, for
5 the reasons that you have already testified about - and I mean
6 recruitment, recruiting people with money and humanitarian aid - could you
7 assess what was the percentage of the local population that supported the
9 A. No, I did not engage in that research. There was a certain
10 number; however, I didn't analyse it. I never came up with any
11 percentages. I only knew that a certain number of people from the area
12 supported them.
13 Q. I mentioned only a few of the elements. Would a responsible
14 commander have to be aware of all the previously mentioned elements in
15 order to be able to use force against such an armed group, irrespective of
16 its size?
17 A. Not only that. Every operation that is to be undertaken has to
18 have the so-called intelligence support, and this intelligence support
19 consists of all the relevant information that would be used for the
20 planning of such an operation.
21 Secondly, I state once again that as a commander, I could not
22 undertake any operation, military or other, before I received an order
23 from my superior. I couldn't even undertake an operation against the HVO
24 unless we were attacked. It was only under those circumstances that I
25 could launch an operation, in order to protect my equipment and my men.
1 Q. Did you know as commander that a commander at every level, if
2 that was not an integral part of their mission, were they in the position
3 to reach a decision without a prior order of the superior command?
4 A. The answer is no.
5 Q. At the end of today's cross-examination, you were talking about
6 the events and measures that you instigated in order to carry out
7 investigation and learn what had happened with the kidnapped civilians and
8 members of the HVO on the 8th of June, 1993. Do you remember that?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. You have told my learned friend that after the investigation
11 which was carried out, you received information from your assistant for
12 security. And if I interpret your words well, you said that you didn't
13 have any reason not to believe that this assistant had done whatever was
15 A. Yes, that is correct.
16 Q. Is it customary in the military practice and doctrine that a
17 commander, once he has issued an order to his subordinate, irrespective of
18 the level of command, that he should believe that his subordinate will do
19 everything that is within his jurisdiction and within his role? Is it
20 normal for a commander to trust his superior?
21 A. This is the prerequisite of the chain of command. If there's no
22 trust, there can be no cooperation.
23 Q. During your tour of duty as commander, I'm sure you received a
24 number of orders from the corps commander in which it is stated that you,
25 as the brigade commander, are responsible for the execution of the order.
1 Did you receive such orders?
2 A. Yes, I did.
3 Q. And it's normal -- was it normal for a corps commander that if
4 you inform him about the implementation of an order, that he would trust
5 you or believe you as his brigade commander?
6 A. Absolutely.
7 Q. The corps commander or any other officer by law or under military
8 rules or under the circumstances in real life is not obliged to come out
9 into the field and carry out the task that you're supposed to do and
10 inform him that you are being -- you are in the process of implementing it
12 A. That is correct.
13 Q. The superior command -- is this the situation that you can talk
14 about? If you encounter a problem in the implementation of orders, would
15 you then ask for help? And is it then the duty of the superior command
16 commander to provide certain assistance, or does he have to come every day
17 and involve himself in your implementation of the order?
18 A. Only by request or if it happens to be in his assessment to do
20 Q. I would just like you to look at one of the orders which you also
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please look at
23 DH65. That is a Defence exhibit.
24 Q. This is an order of the command of the 3rd Corps of the 19th of
25 June, 1993. Is that the order that you have in your hands?
1 A. Of the 19th of June, 1993.
2 Q. I would just like -- we won't discuss the order itself but only
3 item 6, which I just asked you about. Is it a customary part of an order
4 when a commander orders his subordinate commander or unit for him to carry
5 out the order, for him to be responsible for that order, and also to have
6 the confidence in his commander that the order will be implemented? This
7 item 6, is that the manner in which the superior officer conducts himself
8 towards his subordinated units?
9 A. Yes, that is correct.
10 Q. In view of the confidence and trust and your responsibility to
11 implement orders, I would just like you again in this set of documents
12 which I showed to you to look in this first part, document after number 10
13 or document under number 10. That is number 1903. Have you found it?
14 It's the first set of documents, document number 1903. Have you found the
16 A. Yes, I have.
17 Q. As you have already replied to my learned friend's question on
18 the 12th - the 11th or the 12th - at a meeting of the inner command you
19 received information from the security assistant that there was the
20 killing of 20 arrested civilians and members of the HVO.
21 A. Yes, that is correct.
22 Q. Could you please read the last sentence of this information that
23 you sent to the 3rd Corps Command.
24 A. "Investigation is underway and once it is completed, you will be
25 informed about the results in due time."
1 Q. Since you sent the information out to the 3rd Corps and at the
2 same time informed the 3rd Corps that the investigation was underway, was
3 this a sign for your superior commander that his subordinate commander was
4 doing what he was supposed to be doing?
5 A. Yes, that is correct.
6 Q. Was there any need now for some superior command to come to your
7 area where you and your organs were conducting an investigation in order
8 to conduct a parallel investigation?
9 A. No, that is something that was not supposed to happen and did not
10 happen in practice.
11 Q. So by implementing the order that you need to adhere strictly to
12 the law, you were actually implementing your mission in the usual way it
13 is done in any army.
14 A. Yes, that is correct.
15 Q. And finally, Mr. Sipic, in view of the fact that you established
16 once the investigation was completed that these Mujahedin had committed
17 this act, can you please tell me whether the problem created by somebody
18 who was not a member of the army obliges you as a commander to carry out
19 other measures other than the ones that you already did undertake.
20 A. No, it does not.
21 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Sipic.
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have no further
24 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We
25 will have some questions for Mr. Sipic.
1 Further cross-examination by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Sipic, during the cross-examination, you
3 were shown a number of documents. I don't think that there is any need
4 for you to read them again, since you've already analysed them. These are
5 documents of the Prosecution, 679, 660, 661, 662, 663. So I would like to
6 ask you to clarify just these following things: In these documents, when
7 the 7th Muslim Brigade is mentioned, the 314th Brigade, the Mujahedin,
8 would you agree with me that in the course of your testimony you
9 differentiated clearly between the Mujahedin and the units of the Army of
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina? Is this correct?
11 A. Yes, it is.
12 Q. Would you agree with me that when you were writing these reports
13 or your subordinates were doing so or assistant commander, when the 7th
14 Muslim Brigade and the Mujahedin were mentioned that in these reports the
15 Mujahedin were not represented as members of the 7th Muslim Brigade. Is
16 this correct?
17 A. Yes, it is.
18 Q. In the course of your testimony today in response to my learned
19 friend's questions, you were shown a document, Prosecution Exhibit P704,
20 and that is an order about the resubordination of a part of the 7th Muslim
21 Brigade in the village of Kljaci and you have explained how this came
22 about. What I would like to ask you is as follows, and you already said
23 that, that these members of the 7th Muslim Brigade at that point were
24 resting in the Bila Valley in the Kljaci village. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Is it correct, Mr. Sipic, that soldiers of the 7th Brigade or
2 your own brigade, at the point in time when they were resting, were they
3 there without weapons? They had gone to their homes without weapons,
4 which they had left in their home units?
5 A. Yes, that is correct.
6 Q. At this point in time when this order was issued, the one that
7 you signed, members of the 7th Muslim Brigade were practically without
9 A. Yes, that's logical.
10 Q. At that point in time, were you able to provide them with weapons
11 in the event of combat or possible conflicts?
12 A. I was not able to do that for my own members, and I could not
13 definitely do it for members of the 7th.
14 Q. One more question I would like to clarify with you: You
15 mentioned several times the renegade soldiers, members of either the 7th
16 Muslim Brigade or the 314th Brigade. Would you agree with me that when
17 you say "a renegade member of the 7th Muslim" or any other brigade, that
18 this meant that that soldier or those soldiers were no longer members of
19 the B and H army or members of the brigades?
20 A. Well, that is exactly why they are described as "renegade
21 soldiers." At one point in time, they were members of those units but
22 then they were out of control [as interpreted] and they happened to be in
23 these certain areas.
24 Q. Does that mean that the commander of the battalion or the brigade
25 did not have control over those soldiers and were not able to issue orders
1 to them?
2 A. Yes, that is correct.
3 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I think that
4 there is a mistake in the transcript, line 10 and 11. Not that they were
5 out of control but once they had left the unit, they were no longer under
6 the control of the battalion or the brigade command.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that is correct.
8 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be
9 shown document DH269, and that will relate to some questions put by my
10 learned friend during the cross-examination today.
11 Q. You were today presented by a document -- exhibit of the
12 Prosecution, P663, presenting some problems relating to the status of the
13 Mujahedin and - I repeat - and members of the 7th Muslim Brigade which
14 were stationed in that area.
15 I asked you yesterday and you confirmed: According to what you
16 know the 7th Muslim Brigade was not stationed in Mehurici and did not have
17 any organised unit there is. Is this correct?
18 A. Yes, it is.
19 Q. Could you please look at this document, an official document of
20 the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade. It's a letter sent to the
21 Bosanska Krajina OG. And if possible, I would like you to read this very
22 brief text.
23 A. It refers to the OG Bosanska Krajina, your request number
24 01/700-2 of the 5th of July, 1993. "We are not able to comply because on
25 several occasions we had informed you officially that these units in the
1 area -- in that area do not belong to the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim
2 Brigade and we have no right to command and control those units at the
3 Mehurici camp."
4 Q. Does this document confirm what we were just talking about, that
5 the 7th Muslim Brigade was not stationed in Mehurici and that those
6 soldiers or whatever they were there -- who were there, foreigners and
7 local Bosnians, were not members of the 7th Muslim Brigade or members of
8 the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
9 A. Yes, that is correct.
10 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I have no
11 further questions, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, I have a few questions
13 to put to you. I'll be brief.
14 Questioned by the Court:
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The first one is relative to
16 your arrival in the camp in Poljanice where you met a foreigner who told
17 you that he had contacts with Halilovic. Who was Mr. Halilovic? Can you
18 tell us?
19 A. I understood that to be Mr. Sefer Halilovic.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And what was the function or
21 position of Mr. Sefer Halilovic in the army?
22 A. He was the chief of the General Staff of the Army of Bosnia and
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At that moment, the -- where
25 was his office? Where was the office of the chief of the General Staff?
1 A. It was in Sarajevo.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can we then conclude that the
3 Mujahedin in question went to Sarajevo to discuss things with the chief of
4 the General Staff?
5 A. I don't know. I -- that's something that I don't know. I
6 provided this information based on what they stated about those talks. I
7 don't know whether they went or whether they didn't go. That is why I
8 sent the information to the command of the 3rd Corps, so that they could
9 check if that was true or not.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At your level he told you that
11 he had met with the highest ranking officer in the army. Did you
12 believe -- believe him, or maybe he was lying to you and telling you
13 stories. What did you think?
14 A. It's possible at that moment in time, because his goal was for me
15 to leave that camp in Poljanice as soon as possible. I received this
16 information, but I was not able to check it. I could have doubted it or
17 not doubted it, and I could have written it down or not. However, I did
18 pass it on for the superiors up there who had the right contacts with the
19 General Staff to check whether it was really possible that this was so.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You have also told
21 us about the problems that you had with the HVO and the HOS, and you have
22 even told us that they were more extreme, the latter were more extreme.
23 Can you tell the Chamber who these people were? Who were the members of
24 the HOS?
25 A. These were members -- the members were of -- were both from the
1 Croat and the Bosniak population, who were in the HOS. Then in the HVO
2 there were some more extremist forces, commanded by Jandric, who was
3 feared by all the people in the Travnik valley, in Central Bosnia. Still
4 to this day he is a threat to that whole area because he's involved in
5 crime, kidnappings, blackmail, threats. On one occasion his group met me
6 when I was going from Mosor to Travnik on that road and it was terrible
7 for me. They all were wearing bull horns on their heads, about 20 of
8 them. A gang ran out from the woods. They stopped my vehicle and my
9 driver. And I didn't have any security. It was just myself and the
10 driver. I didn't know what to do at that moment, and luckily -- luckily
11 they let me go. They forced me -- they gave me one bottle of plum brandy
12 and forced me to drink it. They asked me, "Where are you going?" I told
13 them that I was going to a meeting with the HVO regarding the resolution
14 of certain problems, and they said, "Well, go but pay attention to how you
15 will resolve them." So that was one personal experience that I had with
16 those forces.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] These people who belonged to
18 the HOS, did they have a geographic area that they controlled and were
19 they facing your forces or were they people who just arrived in the area
20 without any control or organisation?
21 A. For a while HOS was together with the HVO. They coordinated
22 their actions, but they were characteristic because they wore black
23 uniforms, they had insignia -- "U" insignia on their caps. They were
24 black. They wore black, including gloves in order to look as terrifying
25 as possible. You could see them in Travnik, in Vitez. They had tasks of
1 their own that nobody else was aware of. I know that afterwards they
2 became a part or joined the composition of the HVO.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for this
5 Another question: In your -- in the 306th Brigade, how many men
6 did you have under you, generally speaking?
7 A. There were about 1.960 soldiers.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were responsible for 1.960
9 men, almost 2.000, during your tour of duty.
10 A. That is correct.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] During your command, how many
12 people were killed and how many were injured?
13 A. I know the total that the brigade had, the number of persons who
14 were killed. But according to the stages, I don't know the exact data. I
15 know that at the end of the war, that brigade, according to some
16 indications, had about 136 casualties, those who were killed, and there
17 were also from three to four hundred wounded.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you please take the
19 document number 663 and go back to the page where there is the following
20 sentence -- just a moment. This is a Prosecution exhibit.
21 Have you got the document 663? This is a document that you
22 signed but you didn't draft it. The date is 5 May 1993.
23 A. I don't have it. It's a mistake. This is not the 5th of May
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This document was addressed to
1 the West OG in Bugojno, and the date is 5 May 1993.
2 A. Yes.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On the last page, there is a
4 proposal. Actually, there are six proposals. Can you please look at the
5 fifth proposal. Can you please read that sentence.
6 A. "To resolve the status of the Mujahedin and members of the 17th
7 Muslim Brigade quartered in Mehurici."
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have told us that you
9 obtained a degree in political sciences, so you can appreciate the meaning
10 of a sentence. When you read this sentence, the word "status," "To
11 resolve the status of the Mujahedin," does the word "status" also apply to
12 the 7th Brigade?
13 A. Here what is meant is the status of the Mujahedin and the status
14 of the 7th. There's a mistake here. It's not the 17th, because there was
15 never a 17th Muslim Brigade. So what is meant is the renegade groups, the
16 7th Muslim Brigade, to resolve their status because they had left the 7th
17 but remained in that area. So this was to see whether the superior
18 command would decide where they would be mobilised or for the 7th to give
19 us lists of who these people were so that we could resolve their status so
20 that we would stop them from walking around without any control, without
21 knowing why.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you are saying that this
23 sentence has two aspects: The status of the Mujahedin has to be resolved,
24 and also the question of some of the groups of the 7th Brigade has to be
25 resolved. And this is way we have to understand this proposal.
1 A. That is correct, yes.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may return the
3 document to the usher.
4 My last question, very brief question: The Defence has given you
5 document, DH -- which is relative to the investigation of the event in
6 Maline and in which it says that the superior command will be advised of
7 the results of the investigation in due course. When you say that this
8 event in Maline was the result of the action of the Mujahedin, and when
9 you learned that, did you report to the 3rd Corps saying that after the
10 end of the investigation hereby we inform you that the action was carried
11 out by the Mujahedin and that members of the BiH army were not involved?
12 Did you send a report saying that -- what the results of the investigation
13 were? As far as I can remember. It was almost ten years ago, and it
14 might be difficult for you to answer this question. However, you have
15 been shown a document in which you informed your superior command that you
16 would advise them of the results of the investigation.
17 A. No. I ordered my security assistant, Asim Delalic, who was
18 conducting the investigation, to inform in writing about the results of
19 the investigation and to send that to the superior command. He informed
20 me that he had sent this out.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did he show you this report or
23 A. No, he didn't, because I was out in the field with the units. I
24 was in touch with him, and I didn't doubt. If I had ordered it and
25 that -- and he reported back to me, there was no reason for me to doubt
1 that he did actually implement my order.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So at your level, you knew that
3 he had sent a report to the 3rd Corps with the results of the
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Theoretically speaking, this
7 report should be found in the archives of the 3rd Corps.
8 A. Probably it should be, yes.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the archives of the 306th
10 Brigade, it should be there as well, shouldn't it?
11 A. It should be there at the security organ, because it's their
12 report. So it should be there.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you very
15 I'm going to ask the two parties whether they have any questions
16 arising from the Judges' questions.
17 Mr. Mundis.
18 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. We have just a couple of
20 Further cross-examination by Mr. Mundis:
21 Q. Sir, at any time in May of 1993 were you informed by any source
22 that Sefer Halilovic actually went to the camp in Poljanice and met with
23 the Mujahedin?
24 A. I don't know that, no.
25 Q. And in response to a question from the Presiding Judge in terms
1 of casualties, you said you were only aware of the number of casualties
2 within the 306th Mountain Brigade at the end of the war or by the end of
3 the war. And I just wanted to be clear about that. Were you referring to
4 the casualties from the commencement of the war through approximately
5 December 1995?
6 A. Yes, that is what I was referring to.
7 Q. So the number of casualties from the 306th Mountain Brigade in
8 total numbered about 136 from November 1992 through December 1995.
9 A. Approximately, yes, as far as I can recall. Because there was an
10 analysis made. So as far as I can recall, that's the number and there
11 were also about 400 wounded mentioned.
12 Q. Thank you, sir.
13 Further examination by Ms. Residovic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Sipic, when you talked with this man who
15 introduced himself as the Emir of the Mujahedin, at the time did you know
16 who was behind these Mujahedin?
17 A. No, I absolutely did not.
18 Q. During the conversation, did you notice whether he respected you
19 as a commander of a brigade or whether his conduct towards you was --
20 MR. MUNDIS: Objection.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Why? Why the objection? Can
22 you explain?
23 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, this doesn't arise directly out of
24 the questions that the Trial Chamber put to the witness on this issue.
25 These questions could have been asked in direct examination or even in --
1 in redirect.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] However, I did tackle the issue
3 of his encounter with the Emir and it seems useful to me to obtain some
4 detail. Can you please proceed.
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Sipic, in your conversation with them, did you notice whether
7 he felt that you were not at his level or that you were superior to him
8 during your conversation?
9 A. Well, I felt so uncomfortable. I had the feeling that he could
10 kill me. He simply ignored me. This was very short. Simply his words to
11 me led me to have nothing more to ask him and I simply wanted to leave the
12 camp as soon as possible.
13 Q. You have just told the President of the Trial Chamber that you
14 don't know whether he was in communication with Mr. Halilovic or not. But
15 based on that conversation, were you able to conclude that he was behaving
16 as if somebody powerful was backing him?
17 A. Yes, precisely.
18 Q. I have just one brief question arising from the question asked by
19 the Trial Chamber's President, referring to the HOS. You have already
20 replied that the HOS became a part of the HVO. Do you know what its
21 position was in 1993? Was the HOS part of the HVO already in 1993?
22 A. Yes, it was.
23 Q. You also mentioned how they were dressed, and you said that they
24 wore black and wore the insignia, a letter "U." Could you please tell us
25 what this letter "U" indicated, and did it mean the same thing to all the
1 people in that region?
2 A. Me, as a person, associated that with World War II, because in
3 films as a child I would see the Ustasha wearing the same uniforms, black
4 uniforms with the letter "U" and also with knives that they had at their
5 belts. So I as a commander and the majority of my officers linked that
6 with supporting and following the tradition of the Ustashas.
7 Q. All the people, whether they were young or old, did they all know
8 who the Ustashas were?
9 A. In my area, where I was, they all did know that and they had
10 reason to do so because many of them were the victims of these Ustashas.
11 They looked so terrible. Please believe me that everybody avoided
12 encountering them on the streets because their impression was just so
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I have no
15 further questions.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. The other Defence
18 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I
19 have no further questions.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, your testimony is now
21 finished. I would like to thank you for coming to testify, for having
22 answered the questions put to you by both parties and by the Trial
23 Chamber. We wish you a happy journey back home.
24 And I'm going to ask the usher to accompany you out of the
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And now I'm turning to the
3 Defence to see if they have any exhibits to tender into evidence. Maybe
4 you prefer to do it tomorrow.
5 [The witness withdrew]
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I would rather do
7 that tomorrow, but I would like to ask to go into private session briefly
8 because I would like to address you on another question.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] However, very briefly. We
10 are -- let's go into private session, please.
11 [Private session]
11 Page 14927 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 14928 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 14929 redacted. Private session.
16 [Open session]
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It is ten past 7.00. I would
18 like to invite all of you present here to come back for the session is
19 that starts tomorrow at quarter past 2.00.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.10 p.m.,
21 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 27th day of
22 January, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.