1 Monday, 14 February 2005
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, will you please
6 call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President. Case number
8 IT-01-47-T, the Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Apparently our screens are
10 empty. We have nothing on our screens. Oh, it's better now. It's fine
12 Can we have the appearances for the Prosecution, please.
13 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
14 Your Honours, Counsel, and everyone in and around the courtroom. For the
15 Prosecution, Stefan Waespi and Daryl Mundis, assisted by our case manager,
16 Andres Vatter.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 And the appearances for the Defence, please.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. President.
20 Good afternoon, Your Honours. On behalf of General Enver Hadzihasanovic,
21 Edina Residovic, counsel, Stephane Bourgon, co-counsel, and
22 Mr. Demirdjian, legal assistant.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the other Defence team?
24 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
25 On behalf of Mr. Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and Nermin
1 Mulalic, legal assistant.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 On this Monday, the 14th of February, 2005, 183rd day of
4 hearings, I bid good afternoon to the Prosecution, the Defence, the two
5 accused, as well as all the personnel in this courtroom, be they inside or
6 outside the courtroom.
7 Before beginning hearing the witness, there are several small
8 problems that we need to deal with. First of all, I wish to inform the
9 parties that I was informed by the President of this Tribunal of the
10 possibility that we will have to work on Friday afternoon. As you know,
11 in the interest of good management and to allow both the Prosecution and
12 the Defence to prepare well for the next week of hearings, it was decided
13 up to now that we would not sit on Monday morning or Friday afternoon.
14 However, we know that the Defence needs to meet their witnesses and we
15 know the difficult conditions under which they are working, because you
16 told us quite recently that you would have -- you had to work very late at
17 night and to have documents copied during the night to disclose to the
18 Prosecution, which illustrate the difficulties you are encountering. And
19 to give you the Friday afternoon and the Monday morning time to prepare
20 was, we felt, a good solution, which allowed us to proceed smoothly.
21 However, the President has explained to me that we have three courtrooms
22 and that currently there are three trials on going -- six trials, which
23 means that for this reason we need to sit on Fridays afternoons.
24 Aware of this difficulty, I informed the Registrar; however, they
25 maintain their position, which is that as of the 1st of March, we will
1 have to sit on Friday's afternoon. We take note of this, and if they
2 have -- if anyone has any problems, I advise them to contact the President
3 of the Tribunal or the Registrar. Personally, I feel that to work for
4 five consecutive days is already a heavy burden, particularly as we are
5 sitting without any breaks since December 2003. If this measure can apply
6 to very short trials, in the case of longer trials like this one perhaps
7 it would be appropriate to reduce the number of working days, because, as
8 far as I know, in no country in the world do we have five consecutive
9 sittings, five consecutive days of sitting, for months on end. And if
10 anyone would like to comment on this, I would be glad to give them the
11 floor. That was by way of information for both parties.
12 I also wish to inform the parties about something that we Judges
13 have discussed. In the month of April, there is a holiday, that is,
14 Friday, the 29th of April. Like last year, we will have a break in the
15 month of April, and it will start from Monday, the 25th of April going
16 through until Friday, the 29th. This will certainly be of interest to the
17 Defence of General Kubura because at that time we will be having the
18 Defence witnesses for General Kubura. So I wish to inform them of this so
19 that they can take note of it and act accordingly.
20 I now move on to another subject, but I should like to discuss it
21 in private session.
22 Mr. Registrar, can we go into private session, please.
23 [Private session]
11 Page 15952 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 15953 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 15954 redacted. Private session.
15 [Open session]
16 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in open session,
17 Mr. President.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We need to deal with the
19 question of the documents. And I give the floor to the Defence now.
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
21 The Defence proposals -- proposes the following documents, that
22 is, number 3, 1717; number 4, 1724; and number 22, 1775, to be marked for
23 identification as they only exist in B/C/S.
24 We should like to tender as exhibits documents under number 7,
25 1726; number 9, 1727; number 10, 1735; number 11, 1737; number 13, 1742;
1 number 14, 0804; number 17, 0859; number 18, 0874; number 20, 0909. Thank
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecution.
4 MR. MUNDIS: The Prosecution has no objections, Mr. President.
5 I would ask before the next witness is brought into the courtroom
6 my co-counsel has a few issues he'd like to raise with the Chamber,
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Registrar, will
9 you please do your duty and give us final numbers for these documents to
10 be marked for identification first.
11 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] The following documents are being
12 marked for identification. I will give the numbers in English to avoid
13 any errors.
14 [In English] DH177 [sic], marked for identification; DH1724,
15 marked for identification --
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Stop for a moment. There's a
17 mistake. At the outset. Line 15, it's -- it's not 177. It's 1717.
18 Continue, please.
19 THE REGISTRAR: The next document is DH1726, English version
21 DH1727, its English translation DH1727/E.
22 The Registry notes that DH1735 is already an exhibit.
23 DH1737 with its English translation, DH1737/E.
24 1742, DH1742, with its English translation, DH1742/E.
25 DH804, its English translation, DH804/E.
1 DH1 -- sorry, 859, English translation DH859/E.
2 The DH874, its English translation, DH874/E.
3 DH909, with its English translation, DH909/E.
4 Eventually the DH1775, marked for identification only.
5 [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
7 I turn to the Prosecution, who would like to take the floor.
8 MR. WAESPI: [Microphone not activated]
9 Good afternoon, Mr. President. There are a few points I would
10 like to raise are the following: The first one, if the Defence, I take
11 it, in closed session or private session could tell us the order of the
12 witnesses -- or rather, the -- I think the last witness on Friday hasn't
13 been yet confirmed or even told the name. And second, also to confirm the
14 witness for Thursday.
15 The other point though, Mr. President, is somewhat related to
16 what you told us about the burden of the Defence to conduct their case, to
17 disclose documents and so on, and so the related burden on the
18 Prosecution. Again, for today's witness we have received only this
19 morning 42 documents and 18 of them have not been translated into English,
20 so are in B/C/S. Something similar occurred last week. I believe it was
21 the BH military attache in the US, Mr. Husic, and there again we had out
22 of 64 documents only 30 -- or 30 were only in B/C/S.
23 And, Your Honours, that's really difficult for us to -- to
24 prepare. Of course, we -- we do have language assistants, but not the
25 same day the witness is -- is coming to testify. If these documents are
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 disclosed a week before, it's -- it's really easier for us, and not the
2 same day. If it's only about one or two documents the same day or the
3 night before, that's really fine. We can deal with that. But 30 new,
4 untranslated documents, that's -- that's difficult. And we, you know,
5 reserve our right to recall these witnesses once we have received the
6 English translations and assessed that we have to -- to ask a few
7 questions to these witnesses. So we would make an assessment then whether
8 we need to recall these witnesses, and obviously that's a -- a issue about
9 resources and timing, which -- which we don't want to do.
10 But I just wanted -- wanted to inform Your Honours about this
12 And just to -- to make it clear, it's about disclosure and -- and
13 translation, and we have absolutely no objections to the Defence bringing
14 in new documents. That's their right. We know exactly the way it is.
15 But it's sort of the untimely disclosure of untranslated documents in this
17 The next point is a little bit related. That's the insufficiency
18 of the 65 ter summaries. We had a number of witnesses who really went
19 beyond these summaries. And again, it's very difficult for us to prepare
20 then these witnesses. You might recall I think last week or the week
21 before a witness -- an international witness talked about a secret source,
22 and I believe in other Trial Chambers the Defence team would inform the
23 Prosecution orally, "This witness has done something -- told us something
24 new," perhaps proofing notes, whatever. But if the Defence could -- could
25 tell us in advance, you know, what's coming, that would be very helpful,
1 if it goes beyond the 65 ter summaries.
2 That's the points I wanted to raise, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I shall give the floor to the
4 Defence. But before I do that, I should like to make two remarks. This
5 is a repeating problem that we are encountering. So the Prosecution is
6 raising two problems. The first is the summaries of witnesses are highly
7 concise; that is, the list, one can say. And the Prosecution notices that
8 sometimes the Defence addresses points that are not contained in the
9 summaries. And the Prosecution tell us that they are encountering
10 difficulties because they were unable to prepare properly. At this stage,
11 without making any judgement, I would like to say in my own name that the
12 witness summaries were far more detailed when the Prosecution provided
13 those summaries than the Defence summaries, which are highly -- summary,
14 and in those conditions it is very difficult for the Prosecution to
15 prepare. So I am asking you to respond regarding this matter, which is
16 not being raised for the first time. If I were to review the transcripts,
17 it is at least the fifth time that the Prosecution is raising this
19 The second problem which the Defence will certainly clarify for
20 us, and it follows on to what has just been said, that this -- the time
21 needed to prepare for witnesses, that this morning they received dozens of
22 documents, a large portion of which have not been translated, which means
23 that the Prosecution, in spite of the vast resources it has at its
24 disposal, cannot prepare properly for the cross-examination because the
25 documents are in B/C/S, and this is a true problem.
1 The Chamber through me would like to know why the Defence did not
2 consider it useful to have those documents translated before, or maybe
3 they found those documents at the last moment, which could be an
4 explanation, or you certainly must have encountered difficulties and could
5 you let us know what those were. In view of the fact that the Prosecution
6 has raised a certain number of problems and it is your duty to respond, I
7 give the floor - I don't know whom - to Mr. Bourgon. Very well.
8 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Good
9 afternoon, Your Honours.
10 Mr. President, I will respond to the points raised by my learned
11 friend from the Prosecution and in the same order in which he raised them.
12 First of all, my learned friend from the Prosecution spoke about
13 the witness of last Friday. Last Friday's witness I discussed with one of
14 the officials from the Prosecution to explain that this witness is a
15 witness who was substituted for another witness who could not come. I
16 myself didn't have the name of this witness. He was a technical witness
17 who will come to speak about distances and what one could see with
18 binoculars. And I informed my colleague of this, saying that as soon as I
19 have the name of this witness, I will be able to communicate it to him.
20 And I can tell him today the name of that person. The witness who should
21 have testified this week Friday --
22 I think I need to read the name in private session.
23 [Private session]
11 Pages 15962-15974 redacted. Private session.
15 [Open session]
16 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in open session,
17 Mr. President.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In open session, I would like
19 to ask you to stand up, because you have to take the solemn declaration.
20 Can you please give me your first name, your last name, the date
21 of birth, and the place of birth.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Mladen Veseljak. I was
23 born on 28 May 1952 in Zenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am an attorney-at-law.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Are you a member of any bar or
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am a member of the Regional Bar
5 of Zenica in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In 1992 and 1993, were you
7 employed? Did you work? Where did you work?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I worked in 1992. Up to 12
9 October, I worked as the director of personnel department in an export
10 company, and after that I was a judge of the military district court in
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Have you already
13 testified before an international tribunal or a national court about the
14 developments that took place in your country in 1992 and 1993?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have testified before this
16 Tribunal, and if my memory serves me well, it was in 1998, at the
17 beginning of that year, in the Blaskic case, and I was a Prosecution
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
20 Can you please read the text of the solemn declaration.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can I do it like this?
22 I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
23 and nothing but the truth.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may be seated.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 WITNESS: MLADEN VESELJAK
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to the
4 Defence lawyers, I would like to provide you with some information about
5 your testimony. However, as a former judge and as an attorney-at-law, I'm
6 sure that you understand the procedure very well.
7 You're here to answer questions put to you by the Defence team of
8 the General -- of General Hadzihasanovic, whom you have already met in
9 preparation of your testimony. They have informed us that they will need
10 about an hour and a half for their examination-in-chief.
11 After that, the Defence team of General Kubura, who are seated on
12 my right, will also be given the floor to put some questions to you if
13 they so wish.
14 We are here practicing the kind of procedure which is a
15 combination of the common law and German law, but let me tell you that the
16 questions put to you by the Defence should not be leading, should be
17 neutral in their nature. If they put to you a question that might appear
18 leading, the Prosecution will certainly object.
19 After the examination-in-chief, the representatives of the
20 Prosecution, seated on your right, will have the right to cross-examine
21 you; however, their questions may be leading. They may be formulated in
22 such a way that sometimes it will suffice for you to answer either
23 by "yes" or "no." They are allowed to put such questions to you.
24 At the end of that stage, the Defence may have some additional
25 questions for you that will be linked with the questions put to you during
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the cross-examination. The Defence will certainly have some documents to
2 show you. They will ask you whether you are familiar with these
3 documents, whether you know something about them, and so on and so forth.
4 The three Judges, who are in front of you, can ask you questions
5 at any moment; however, for the convenience sake and to allow the Defence
6 to evaluate the entirety of your testimony, the Judges prefer to wait
7 until the end to put their questions to you. Whenever the Judges ask you
8 questions, this is with the sole goal in mind, and that is to search for
9 the truth. That is why we will ask you questions either to clarify some
10 of the answers that you provided to the questions put to you by the two
11 sides or if the Judges deem that none of the parties has asked you some
12 important questions that are important and that will help the Judges to
13 arrive at the truth.
14 At the end of that stage, after the Judges' questions, both the
15 Defence and the Prosecution will have the right to ask you questions
16 arising from the Judges' questions.
17 If at any moment a question appears too complicated to you, you
18 have the right to ask the person putting it to you to rephrase it;
19 however, since you yourself are an attorney-at-law, I believe that you
20 will not have any problems with any of the questions.
21 I have to remind you of two other things that appear in our Rules
22 of Procedure, and I'm doing this just to remind you of them, although we
23 have never been in the position to apply those Rules. You have taken the
24 solemn declaration, which means that you are not to -- to give us false
25 testimony. And the second technical question is that when a question is
1 put to the witness, the witness may refuse to answer that question if he
2 believes that the answer may one day be used against him or incriminate
3 him. And in that case, a very exceptional case that we have not seen so
4 far, in this very hypothetical case the Chamber may compel the witness to
5 answer such questions; however, the Chamber will guarantee the witness
6 immunity. And this is in very general outlines how your testimony is
7 going to proceed.
8 If at any moment you encounter a difficult in your testimony, you
9 can always ask for our help. For example, if your health does not allow
10 for the correct answer or if you're tired.
11 Let me just tell you one more thing for technical reasons and to
12 allow you to take a short rest, we will have a break every hour and a
13 half. Since we started at quarter past 2.00, we will have our first break
14 at quarter to 4.00 for 20 minutes and then we will proceed.
15 If everything goes well, which I fully believe that it will, your
16 testimony should end today.
17 I'm now going to give the floor to the Defence, who are going to
18 start their examination-in-chief.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Examined by Ms. Residovic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Veseljak.
22 A. Good afternoon.
23 Q. You said that by occupation you are an attorney-at-law. Will you
24 tell us your educational background.
25 A. I graduated at the Faculty of Law at the university in Sarajevo
1 in 1976. After that, I took all the other examinations prescribed by our
2 legal system to be able to act as an attorney, so I took the judicial
3 examination and later the exam for attorneys-at-law.
4 Q. Tell us, for how many years were you a judge?
5 A. Just under 12 years.
6 Q. What cases did you deal with as a judge?
7 A. Always criminal cases.
8 Q. Colleague, I would now like to make an observation that I omitted
9 to do at the beginning. As what we are saying needs to be interpreted for
10 Their Honours to be able to follow, would you please wait a few seconds
11 for my question to be translated before answering it.
12 Tell me, please, what was the ethnic composition of the district
13 military court in Zenica?
14 A. It was Bosnian, which means there were Bosniak, Croats, and I was
15 a Serb. Among the judges, of course. Roughly the composition
16 reflected -- among the judges, reflected the same composition as the rest
17 of the staff.
18 Q. In those days, was there any inequality or any discrimination
19 towards colleagues with different ethnic backgrounds?
20 A. Definitely not.
21 Q. Tell me now, Mr. Veseljak: Your district military court in
22 Zenica in those days, was it part of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina or
23 part of the 3rd Corps?
24 A. It was not then nor ever.
25 [Defence counsel confer]
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. My colleague tells
2 me that in French "district military court" was translated as "a cantonal
3 court." I think the word should be "district" because cantonal courts
4 were established after the war only, so I think it is advisable to have
5 the same term used in both languages. And I apologise.
6 Q. In view of the fact that you did not belong to the army nor were
7 you under its wing, what kind of relationships existed between the
8 district military court and the 3rd Corps of the BH army or any other
9 military units of the BH army in those days?
10 A. Professional relationships only; that is to say, certain elements
11 of the BH army or the corps. And I am referring to the Security Services,
12 the military police. They serviced or carried out the instructions of the
14 Q. Tell me, colleague, did the 3rd Corps manifest its interest in
15 maintaining good cooperation with the district military court and were
16 there any pressures to that effect or were those relationships based on
17 the law and the position of the court?
18 A. Naturally the corps did have an interest in the proper
19 functioning of the district military court, which I thought then and still
20 think was only normal. There were literally no pressures, not even
21 suggestions, on the part of the corps command as to how we should work or
22 what we should do. If I may say this in this courtroom, I remember an
23 event or a meeting, a courtesy meeting -- actually, that was the only
24 occasion when I actually saw the gentleman who is on trial here today,
25 Mr. Hadzihasanovic. It took place shortly after the formation of the corps
1 when all of us judges of the district military courts and the military
2 prosecutor and his deputies were invited to meet Mr. Hadzihasanovic. This
3 was the only direct contact we had. And as it was the only one, I
4 remember it well.
5 Mr. Hadzihasanovic said first that he apologised for not coming
6 to see us but, rather, invited us to come and see him because he had so
7 much to do that he couldn't leave his command. He wanted to meet us, and
8 he wanted to ask us to do our utmost to speed up our criminal proceedings
9 as much as possible because that was in the interests of all of us and our
10 goal, which was to defend us and form a state.
11 Q. Mr. Veseljak, tell me, please: On what bases did the judges of
12 the district military court operate?
13 A. On the basis of the Law on Criminal Procedure taken over from the
14 former SFRY and on the basis of certain amendments made to it through
15 decrees with the effect of law in amending that Law on Criminal Procedure.
16 So the same laws were applied as were used by all the other courts in
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 Q. Who decided on appeal in relation to your rulings?
19 A. Two courts of a higher level. As a district military court, we
20 were responsible for all criminal acts committed by military personnel.
21 Sometimes we judged individually. In some cases there were one or -- were
22 several judges, and in the most -- in the gravest cases, there were three
24 In the first case, the appeals court in Zenica was responsible
25 for appeals against our rulings when we ruled individually.
1 Q. In addition to district military courts in the judicial system of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, were there any other judicial bodies?
3 A. There were courts that we called regular courts. Now they're
4 known as municipal courts. Earlier they were known as basic courts,
5 higher courts, and the supreme court.
6 Q. What was the difference between basic and higher courts as
7 regular courts?
8 A. Only in terms of the level of competencies. If we're talking
9 about crimes, then basic courts would try crimes envisaging sentences up
10 to ten years, and higher courts covered crimes for which sentences were
11 envisaged above ten years.
12 Q. Can you remember and tell us how many regular courts there were
13 in the territory covered by the 3rd Corps?
14 A. Actually, I'm not quite certain regarding the territory covered
15 by the 3rd Corps, but I think there was the higher court in Zenica in that
16 area, the municipal court in Zenica, the municipal court in Travnik, the
17 municipal court in Kakanj, I think in Zavidovici, I think even in Maglaj.
18 There were five or six. There may even have been up to eight municipal
19 courts and one higher court.
20 Q. What persons were tried by regular courts in criminal cases?
21 A. Civilians, and some military persons if they were co-perpetrators
22 in crimes.
23 Q. A moment ago you said that district military courts tried
24 military personnel. Tell me first how many district military courts there
25 were in the area of Central Bosnia, that is, the area of the 3rd Corps.
1 A. There were two; one in Zenica and one in Travnik.
2 Q. What acts were they responsible for?
3 A. They were responsible for all criminal acts committed by military
4 personnel. As for civilians, a certain number of criminal offences,
5 mostly covered by two chapters of the Criminal Code. There were -- one
6 set were crimes against the social order, and the other set were crimes
7 against the armed forces. Should there be dispute over competencies, if a
8 civilian was to be tried simultaneously for a criminal offence within the
9 competence of the district military court and another offence within the
10 competence of the civilian court, in that case both -- the person would be
11 tried for both offences in the military court.
12 Q. I'm informed by my colleague that the answer you gave may be not
13 quite precise, on page 33, line 16, so I'll ask you the question once
14 again. Will you tell me, please, what persons were regular courts -- had
15 jurisdiction over?
16 A. Over civilians and also military personnel if they were
17 co-perpetrators with civilians.
18 Q. Thank you. A moment ago you said that you tried in accordance
19 with the procedure laid down by the Law on Criminal Procedure taken over
20 from the former SFRY and applied as the republican law. Tell me whether
21 the criminal proceedings in regular courts were conducted in accordance
22 with the same law or in some different manner in those courts.
23 A. There was no difference. We were guided by the same law.
24 Q. In addition to responsibility of persons for acts committed
25 within our system and pursuant to the law, were there any other bodies
1 which would decide about the responsibility of individuals?
2 A. Yes, there were. There were bodies that established and ruled
3 certain disciplinary measures for disciplinary offences. Then there were
4 two-level courts for misdemeanours, and in establishing responsibility and
5 sanctioning those offences, there's what is known as the judicial
6 protection. This is an extraordinary remedy. And only beyond that were
7 there courses -- courts that tried criminal offences as laid down by the
8 Criminal Code.
9 Q. You just said that there were -- there was judicial control of
10 decisions made by magistrate courts. That is why I am asking you,
11 Mr. Veseljak, whether those magistrate courts and those disciplinary
12 bodies were a component part of the judicial system or were they a
13 component part of some other state structure.
14 A. I may not have quite understood your question initially.
15 Disciplinary bodies and the system of magistrate courts were never part of
16 the judicial system, and they are not today. Magistrate courts are
17 administrative bodies, and disciplinary bodies are located within other
18 bodies and they have legal jurisdiction to sanction certain disciplinary
19 violations or violations of discipline.
20 Q. Tell me, Mr. Veseljak: In the legal system of Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina, which was the body that carried out the prosecution?
22 A. The responsible prosecutor exclusively.
23 Q. Before we move on to certain procedural matters, I should just
24 like to ask you one more thing: Do you have any knowledge, awareness of
25 the existence of any other courts that were not part of the judicial
1 system but were within the armed forces?
2 A. I know that there was a decree with the effect of law on
3 so-called special military courts. I knew and still know the gist of that
4 decree. It prescribed the possibility of forming special military courts
5 exclusively to sanction conduct contrary to the interests of the armed
6 forces and only on condition that serious consequences ensued from that
7 act, as the only sanction that those courts could issue was the death
8 penalty. And there was a corrector which said should that court discover
9 the existence of any mitigating circumstances which would not lead to the
10 death penalty, then the proceedings in those courts would be interrupted
11 and the case diverted to regular military courts. I know that in several
12 military units such courts were formed, but I am not aware of them ever
13 adopting any such decision.
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] As I will be using some documents
15 with this witness and it is now time for the break, perhaps it would be a
16 good idea to distribute this set of documents so the witness could have a
17 look at the documents to be able to answer my questions more easily. And
18 let me just say that this is the same set of documents that will be used
19 for the witness that appear -- will appear after this witness.
20 So could this binder be given to Their Honours.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Usher, will you please
22 distribute the documents.
23 It is quarter to 4.00. We shall now have the break for 20 to 25
24 minutes. The witness will be able to rest and also consult the binder.
25 So we will resume at ten past 4.00.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 4.12 p.m.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to the
4 Defence, I'll wait for the accused to arrive.
5 Before I give you the floor, with regard to the translation
6 issue, the Chamber has raised two issues: First of all the issue of
7 documents which are in B/C/S, in the binder you provided, and the
8 Prosecution has not had access to these documents. We believe that at
9 this moment the Prosecution is entitled to request additional time at the
10 end of the examination-in-chief in order to look for the documents that
11 have been provided. As a result of that, the witness may be requested to
12 come back later. It is up to the Prosecution.
13 What does the Prosecution have to say? Do you believe that after
14 the examination-in-chief you will be able to conduct your
15 cross-examination, or would you rather conduct your cross-examination on a
16 different occasion, which would require from the witness to come back to
17 The Hague later? Mr. Waespi.
18 MR. WAESPI: Well, I haven't heard much of the
19 examination-in-chief yet, so I don't know what the witness is going to say
20 about the heart of our case. But anticipating everything I know about the
21 testimony of the witness, I can certainly start and -- and finish
22 cross-examination today. But once we have received translation of these
23 perhaps 30 B/C/S documents, then we need to reassess. That's perhaps in a
24 week or two weeks. I don't know whether, you know, we need to recall
25 the -- the judge and ask additional questions, but we simply can't say at
1 this point.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. We shall wait
3 for the end of the examination-in-chief and then you will advise us as to
4 what you wish to do.
5 As regards the other matter, we can discuss it in the presence of
6 the witness because there is nothing to hide there. We believe that the
7 fact has been mentioned that we have 300 documents that haven't been
8 translated yet, and the Prosecution doesn't have these documents. And
9 taking into account the fact that the Registry will be able to provide us
10 with a translation of these documents by 28 February, we believe that we
11 will be able to have a break next week while the documents are being
13 I'm going to ask the registrar to confirm to us whether all of
14 the documents will indeed be provided to the Prosecution in English and to
15 the Defence in the two languages by the 28th of February, that is, next
16 week. So shall we wait for all of us to have all the documents and to
17 have a break in the proceedings, as suggested by Mr. Bourgon. You can
18 inform us about that later.
19 We shall now continue with the examination-in-chief of the
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Q. Mr. Veseljak, before the break, I asked you who was the
23 authorised Prosecution body. And as far as I could understand you, you
24 said that it was the prosecutor. Is that the case?
25 A. Yes, it is.
1 Q. Thank you. What was the document or the piece of regulation in
2 keeping with our Rules of Criminal Procedure served to start this criminal
3 proceedings or prosecution?
4 A. It started with the request to instigate investigation or
5 proposal for prosecution where there was no need for the investigation to
6 be carried out. Where investigation was not provided for by the law as is
7 stated in the criminal proceedings.
8 A. Before the criminal proceedings were instituted, which body was
9 in charge of the pre-prosecution proceedings and which body decided
10 whether the collective material gives enough reason to support -- suspect
11 that a crime has been committed and that criminal procedures should be
13 A. It was always the prosecutor.
14 Q. When this decision was made by the prosecutor --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The answer was not heard by the
16 French interpreter. Can you please ask the witness to repeat the answer.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Veseljak, before the beginning of criminal proceedings, what
19 body in keeping with the law on criminal procedure was authorised to
20 manage the pre-trial procedure and to decide whether the collected
21 evidence gives ample grounds to start criminal proceedings?
22 A. It was always the prosecutor.
23 Q. Mr. Veseljak, once the prosecutor reached the decision that there
24 is enough grounds to start criminal proceedings, did a military body, a
25 court, or the police have a say in that decision or could they influence
1 that decision?
2 A. Nobody could have an impact on the prosecutor's decision of that
4 Q. Mr. Veseljak, can you tell us, please, what authorities did the
5 prosecutor have at the moment when he learnt that there were grounds to
6 suspect that a crime had been committed or when he received a criminal
7 report? What is it that the prosecutor could do? What tools were
8 available to him?
9 A. The prosecutor could accept this criminal report and file a
10 request with the court to start criminal proceedings. He could decide
11 that there were no grounds for further criminal proceedings. And he could
12 reject such a criminal report. He -- in addition to that, he could
13 request from the police and even from the investigative judge of the
14 competent court to carry out certain pre-trial investigation actions in
15 order for him to be able to arrive at the previously mentioned decisions.
16 Q. In keeping with our law, who was it who carried out
18 A. Investigations were carried out by the investigative judges of
19 the competent court.
20 Q. Was the investigative judge in the position to decide on the
21 proceedings, or in other words, what did the investigative judge do once
22 the investigation was completed?
23 A. If I understood your question well, I believe that it consists of
24 two parts. That's why I'm going to give you two answers. When the judge
25 received the request to start proceedings, an investigation, the judge
1 would evaluate this request and drafted an appropriate document by which
2 he either allowed for the investigation to be carried out or rejecting
3 such a request. In both cases the competent prosecutor's office had the
4 right to appeal against such a decision and the final decision upon the
5 appeal would be taken by the panel of judges of the competent court.
6 Q. And now I would kindly ask you --
7 A. After the end of the investigation.
8 Q. Yes, this was the second part of the question. I forgot.
9 A. After the end of the investigation, the investigative judge
10 informed the competent prosecutor that the investigation was completed,
11 and he forwarded to him the set of documents that resulted from the
13 Q. Mr. Veseljak, what is -- what kind of decision could be taken by
14 the prosecutor once the investigation was completed and he was provided
15 with the documents by the investigative judge?
16 A. He could have taken three decisions. The first one would be to
17 ask for additional investigation if he deemed that the investigation was
18 not complete. Secondly, if he thought that the investigation was
19 complete, he could take either of the two following decisions: Either to
20 issue an indictment, or to halt any further proceedings, to suspend any
21 further proceedings.
22 Q. Mr. Veseljak, since you were a judge for a number of years, could
23 you tell us whether there were situations, and if so, can you describe
24 those situations to us, when judges became involved in certain
25 investigations or although criminal proceedings had not been formally
2 A. Yes, there was such situations. And I can say that those
3 situations were not uncommon. A common situation would be for an
4 investigative judge to carry out certain activities before the criminal
5 proceedings in the form of an on-site investigation, once he was informed
6 that something had taken place which could later on be interpreted as a
8 The second situation is the situation in which the competent
9 prosecution -- prosecutor could officially ask the competent investigative
10 judge to carry out some preliminary actions that would serve -- that would
11 help the prosecutor to decide whether official criminal proceedings would
12 be started or not.
13 Q. If the judge carries out an on-site investigation upon having
14 been informed that a crime might have been committed, who was it who was
15 in charge of that investigation? Who was the one who decided how this
16 on-site inspection or investigation would be carried out?
17 A. If this stage, the investigative judge is the absolute dominus
18 litis. He is the one who decides what action will be taken and what course
19 the investigation will take.
20 Q. If an on-site investigation carried out by the judge also
21 involves the police bodies, either the civilian or the military police,
22 whose orders should they obey and what actions can they carry out?
23 A. An on-site investigation is carried out by the investigative
24 judge. The investigative judge sets up a team and he requests from the
25 police to place at his disposal certain experts with certain knowledge and
1 certain equipment and then on site everything is carried out according to
2 the judge's orders. During the on-site investigation, nobody can do
3 anything that has not either been requested by the judge or approved by
4 the judge.
5 Q. Mr. Veseljak, when the investigative judge receives all the
6 findings from the bodies from which he requested certain actions during
7 the investigation, what does the judge do with all this material?
8 A. The evidence collected in this way is forwarded by the
9 investigative judge to the competent prosecution, and in practice one copy
10 is also forwarded to the police organs that were involved in the
11 investigation, but this is not binding. It was just a custom. In any
12 case, the answer to your question is that all the evidence is forwarded to
13 the competent prosecutor, and at that moment the investigative judge, in
14 terms of the court administration, concludes his case. He proclaims it
15 completed, and it is filed in the court archives.
16 Q. After this procedural situation in which the investigative judge
17 forwards the complete evidence to the prosecutor who is -- who takes over
18 the management of the proceedings, who is it who decides how all the other
19 involved actors will act? In other words, who decides that the evidence
20 presents enough grounds for criminal proceedings?
21 A. Again, the -- this is completely in the hands of the prosecutor.
22 Q. While the judge is conducting his on-site investigation, who is
23 it who decides whether during the investigation certain professional or
24 forensic activities will be carried out? Who is it who decides on the
25 parts of procedure to be carried out in order to establish who the
1 perpetrators of the possible crime were?
2 A. It is always and exclusively the investigative judge.
3 Q. Before we move on to some other questions that arise from the
4 documents, can you please tell me: When the judge who learns about the
5 event does not have precise information as to where the event happened,
6 who is it who decides whether an investigation will be carried out on site
7 or, in other words, are there any real grounds for on-site inspection to
8 be carried out in such a case?
9 A. It is the investigative judge who decides on that. He will be
10 the one to evaluate whether there are any grounds to conduct an on-site
11 inspection if he learns that the on-site situation has changed, has been
12 altered, that the evidence is no longer present there. So it is the
13 investigative judge who has the right to decide on that. He makes a note
14 of his decision, and this serves to complete this stage.
15 Q. I should now like to ask you, Mr. Veseljak, to have a look at a
16 document which is under number 1, and the number is DH276. Tell me first
17 what kind of a document this is. Are you familiar with it or with the
18 event? And who carried out the on-site investigation?
19 A. I see from the signature that I wrote this document, which is a
20 report on the investigation. Yes, I remember this event too. This was an
21 event which was quite specific. It so happened that I was the on-duty
22 investigating judge of the district military court. I happened to be an
23 eyewitness of the event. And then I also carried out the on-site
24 inspection -- investigation.
25 Q. This example of an on-site investigation report, could you tell
1 us on the basis of it what are the elements that it has to contain and
2 that have to be entered by the judge?
3 A. The on-site investigation report, as can be seen from this
4 document, contains the markings, the number, the name of the court, the
5 title, that it is an on-site investigation report. Then the team of
6 investigators who carried out the actions required during the
7 investigation. The main elements that the judge is -- was aware of before
8 the investigation and during the investigation, certain basic elements
9 about the event, followed by a description of the scene, which, depending
10 on the circumstances, may be more or less detailed; then the eyewitnesses
11 are listed, as well as other persons who might be useful at a later stage
12 as witnesses if proceedings are instituted; and finally, the investigating
13 judge describes the measures he undertook and the instructions he gave
14 during the investigation, documents he signed to the police, forensic
15 experts, and other persons, in the aim of collecting or describing the
16 evidence or traces that may have been found at the scene.
17 Q. Look at this second chapter, "Description of the scene," and in
18 Chapter 5, it says that "The scene was sketched and photographed in detail
19 and that the sketch and photographs will be a component part of this
20 report." Does this statement correspond to what you said a moment ago,
21 that the judge on the scene is duty-bound to wait for the forensic reports
22 which he has required and, once he receives them, he hands everything over
23 to the prosecutor? Does this sentence reflect your testimony about the
24 role of the on-site judge?
25 A. Yes. I apologise. My headphones.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 All the instructions I gave as an investigating judge which could
2 not be completed during the on-site investigation itself, I will wait for
3 those documents, make a collection of those documents, and then forward
4 them to the prosecutor without entering into any analysis of the documents
5 I received. So if I gave instructions for a sketch to be made, then I
6 will attach the sketch made following my instructions by members of the
7 crime technology department of the military or civilian police, depending
8 on the period of time. The same applies to photo documents, traces of
9 blood, forensic reports about firearms, and -- et cetera.
10 Q. Now, look at page 3, paragraph 3 from the bottom, which says:
11 "Taking statements from the perpetrators and witnesses was handed over by
12 the judge to military police organs." Does the on-site judge give
13 instructions to the military police as well as to what they should do?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In connection with the statements taken by the police, be they
16 the military or the civilian police, what is the significance of those
17 statements in the proceedings themselves? Could the judge use those
18 statements as evidence, that is, the trial judge?
19 A. The President and Their Honours will forgive me, but I will tell
20 them what our practice was and how we called these reports. We called
21 them "holy water," which meant that they could do no harm and no good;
22 therefore, statements taken by the police according to the Law on Criminal
23 Procedure could not be used as evidence that could be relied on by the
25 If I remember well, Article 79 obliged the investigating judge
1 himself that statements of this kind given to the police should be
2 separated from other documents, that they should be kept separate from
3 other documents. If the investigating judge omits to do this, there was a
4 provision of Rule 323 which obliged the trial chamber to do the same, and
5 in that case the trial chamber was duty-bound to return those separated
6 documents to the investigating judge to keep separately from others, which
7 meant these statements could not physically be part of the file, not to
8 mention that they could not be used at trial. Should it so happen that
9 the trial chamber used any one of these statements and relied on them for
10 their judgement, this would mean an absolute violation of the criminal
11 procedure and the higher level court would annul the decision of the lower
12 court on that basis.
13 Q. Would you please now look at document under tab 2 and tell me
14 whether this report is familiar and who did the investigation in this
15 particular case.
16 A. Yes, I am familiar with this report. I was the one who carried
17 out the on-site investigation in this case. This case was unfortunately
18 the worst case of civilian casualties in the town in which I live.
19 Q. Look at page 2, please, "Steps taken." In paragraph 2 it says
20 that "The duty judge allowed TV crews, Zetel, and BH Television to film
21 the scene." Tell me, apart from actions required --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
23 continues] Yes ...
24 MR. WAESPI: Yes. Mr. President, as it happens, this exhibit was
25 discussed by the witness during the -- the Blaskic trial, and it's part of
1 the documents I had prepared for cross-examination, so I do have a English
2 translation, if Your Honours, you know, would like to -- to see the -- it
3 will be ready. It's entirely up to you and, of course, to the Defence.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It was my understanding that
5 the Defence was questioning the witness about document 2, and document 2
6 does have an English translation.
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President. Thanks to
8 our colleagues from the Prosecution, they provided us with documents they
9 intend to use and they provided this document in English. In the
10 meantime, we copied it and used that translation and provided copies for
11 the Trial Chamber and for the other party. So thanks to this cooperation,
12 we were able to have the document in translation.
13 So thank you.
14 Q. Tell me, Colleague Veseljak, I was just asking you about
15 paragraph 2, under "Steps taken," when you approved or allowed --
16 MR. WAESPI: I'm sorry to interrupt. At least in the binder we
17 received - and I take it the Judges have the -- the same one - there is no
18 translation. So I do have my translation, but perhaps the Judges don't
19 have it. I'm sorry to raise it again.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Defence, you didn't give
21 the translation to the Prosecution, but they have it nevertheless.
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, as following your
23 suggestions we do our best to provide our colleagues far ahead of the time
24 that we give them to you, so we apologise for not providing the
25 translation in their binder, because we received the translation later.
1 We did, however, provide the translation in the other binders, so everyone
2 else does have a translation. Thank you.
3 Q. Mr. Veseljak, tell me now, looking at this second paragraph under
4 the subtitle "Steps taken," who has the competence during an investigation
5 to allow others and not just the participants in the investigation the
6 possibility of access to the scene or engaging in any other activities
7 in -- in the area where the judge is?
8 A. Whatever is happening on site, in those days there was a police
9 ribbon. In those days -- nowadays we have these ribbons. In those days
10 we didn't. But within the secure scene, the sovereign decision-maker is
11 the investigating judge. Whatever is being done there, including who will
12 be inside that secured area, which we call "the scene."
13 Q. A moment ago you said that the judge attaches all the evidence
14 and documents that he collects -- he forwards that without looking into
15 those reports. However, if the judge does give some sort of an assessment
16 during the investigation, is it binding for the prosecutor and does the
17 prosecutor have to take it as it is, as it stands?
18 A. The prosecutor is not bound by anything written by the
19 investigating judge in his report. He takes a position about the
20 contents, regardless of any assessments the report may contain. The
21 investigating judge could make certain assessments to the effect that this
22 could be used for further collecting evidence but later on it was the
23 prosecutor who was the dominus litis who would decide about all the facts
24 without being bound by the investigating judge or having to consult him.
25 Q. Look at page 3, where it says: "According to the greater
1 characteristics, the investigating team came to the conclusion that the
2 shells were fired from the Vitez-Bila direction." How did you come to
3 this conclusion and was this one of the conclusions that was merely your
4 own and was not binding for the prosecutor?
5 A. You see, in any situation in life, one does acquire certain
6 experience. We, unfortunately, learnt that a shell explosion leaves a
7 very -- highly recognisable trace. If a shell were to come into contact
8 with the surface at an angle of 90 degrees, then the dispersion of its
9 shrapnel would take lines that would spread out equally from the centre in
10 the form of a fan. However, shells usually hit the surface at a certain
11 angle which is smaller than 90 degrees, and in those cases, as in this
12 particular case, on the asphalt we have a visible spot in the form -- in
13 the shape of a crater showing that the shell hit the surface at an angle
14 and we know exactly where its point was, and in front of the shell there
15 is a spread of the shrapnel in shorter lines; whereas, behind the lines
16 the shrapnel disperse in longer lines. When you step at the point of
17 contact and face opposite the point from which it came, you will see
18 something, and what we saw was the direction west-southwest, and at the
19 end of that imaginary line would be Vitez and Bila.
20 Signing this report, I did not indicate the place from where the
21 shell was fired but only the direction from which they came. So
22 theoretically they could have come from the first department building in
23 that direction.
24 Q. Thank you. Now, will you please look at document under tab 4,
25 and tell me, please, what is the difference between this document
1 entitled "Official report" in relation to the documents that you saw a
2 moment ago that were entitled "On-site investigation report"? But first
3 tell me: Do you recognize this document?
4 A. I do. I do recognise this document. The difference between an
5 official report --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, the Prosecution.
7 MR. WAESPI: Yes. Again, if the Defence could indicate for
8 existing exhibits the number of the exhibit. It's easier for all the
9 participants, including the clerks of the judges, you know, to trace the
10 exhibit. And I think this one, if I correctly see, that's tab 4, which
11 will be DH280. Thank you.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Perhaps the Defence could tell
13 us the exhibit number, if they have already become exhibits, for the
14 benefit of the transcript and the other parties.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. I will correct my
17 The previous document that Mr. Veseljak has commented on was a
18 document of the district military court in Zenica, number 146 through 93,
19 dated the 19th of April, 1993.
20 This document is DH280.
21 Q. So, Mr. Veseljak, will you please look at it.
22 A. I already said that I do recognise this document.
23 The difference between this official report and an on-site
24 investigation report is the following: This time again we went to carry
25 out the on-site investigation. That was our intention. Upon arriving
1 close to the scene, we learnt that the scene had been changed, the bodies
2 of the victims had been taken away, that the on-site situation had
3 changed, that we are in the area of direct war operations, and the
4 investigating judge came to the conclusion that there were no conditions
5 or reason to carry out the investigation. And as can be seen, certain
6 instructions were given, but we did not carry out the investigation
8 Q. In paragraph 1 of this official report entitled "Description of
9 the crime scene," you said that the bodies had been taken to Dragovici
10 village, that the traces had been destroyed, and the scene of the crime
11 altered. For the on-site judge, is that reason enough for him to be
12 unable to carry out an investigation on site and is prompted to make such
13 a decision, or what decision could he later take in situations of this
14 kind, as you have described?
15 A. I have to say first that the duty of the judge is not to carry
16 out an investigation anywhere but on the crime scene, the actual scene of
17 the event. The reason in this case for not carrying out the investigation
18 is that the bodies had been taken away, which means that the on-site
19 situation is not as it was initially. However, during further
20 proceedings, should it prove to be essential for persons, objects, and the
21 actual event to be located at a particular site, it is possible to
22 reconstruct the scene as prescribed by the Law on Criminal Procedure and
23 this is carried out by the court in keeping with the relevant rules.
24 May I just add this does not mean posterior investigation. It
25 means reconstructing the event, assuming how it took place, and this is
1 done on the basis of certain other evidence, traces collected, forensic
2 opinions, witness statements, and so on.
3 Q. Thank you. Before you look at document under tab 5, this
4 reconstruction, when is it done? Is it done before or during the criminal
6 A. If you ask me what the prevalent practice was, then this act is
7 undertaken during criminal proceedings. But the same legal basis exists
8 if the trial judge requires from the investigating judge a reconstruction.
9 Both possibilities are envisaged, but it was more frequently done during
10 the trial phase itself.
11 Q. Look now at document under tab 5. It is a document of the
12 district military court of Zenica, number 202 through 93 dated the 1st of
13 September 1993. Do you recognize this document, please?
14 A. Yes, I do.
15 Q. This document too is entitled "Official note." Look at the first
16 paragraph after the investigation team is listed. Do we find here a
17 similar situation as in the previous case leading to a similar decision on
18 your part and wasn't this customary on the part of judges who found that
19 the scene had been altered in the meantime?
20 A. Yes. We are talking about a more or less identical situation.
21 Q. Thank you. Will you now look at document under tab 6, entitled
22 "CRY [as interpreted] 219 through 93 dated the 17th of October, 1993." Is
23 that another document that you can recognise?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. In paragraph 2 of this document, we can see that there was a
1 dilemma as to who the possible perpetrators of this act were. Tell me
2 what you did in this case and is this one of the documents showing one of
3 the ways in which the investigating judge acted in accordance with the
5 A. Yes, this follows from your earlier questions about the division
6 of competencies. The duty judge, the duty on-site judge of the military
7 district court, in keeping with the competence of the court, did carry out
8 on-site investigations; however, there were different situations, and I
9 would like to remind you that the time in question was a time of war and
10 that information that we received initially was very scarce and did not
11 provide you with the ample grounds to decide what to do. And this is one
12 of the situations in which I asked my colleague who was on duty at the
13 time - he was a judge of the municipal court - I asked him to accompany me
14 to the site and to try and see what happened and who of the two of us
15 would be really competent in the case, and then once this was decided the
16 competent person would complete the investigation, or in other words, his
17 activities would end up with the investigation report and the activities
18 of the other person would end up with an official note in which he would
19 state that he was present and that he did take certain steps during the
20 course of the activities.
21 This document that you are showing to me now is somewhat specific
22 because I was the duty judge at the time and I recognise some
23 circumstances for which I thought that I should take interest in them
24 because this situation involved some missing weapons.
25 Q. Mr. Veseljak, can you please look at the documents which are
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 after tab 2, from 1 to 7. And for the record, I'm going to read their
2 numbers. The first one is 1366. The second one is document of the --
3 dated 25 August 1993. Number 3 is document of the prosecutor's office of
4 Zenica, KT387/93. The date is 25 August 1993. Number 4 is a document
5 issued by the Zenica district military court. The number is KI243/93,
6 dated 29 October 1993. Number 5 is document number 1560. Number 6 is
7 document 1973. And finally, number 7 is a document issued by the Zenica
8 senior public prosecutor's office, number KT11/94, dated 5 March 1994.
9 My question to you is as follows: When you look at these
10 documents, tell me, please, whether they are documents issued by the
11 competent prosecutor's office by which the prosecutor requests an
12 investigation to be carried out. In other words, are these documents of
13 the investigating judge by which the investigations are allowed?
14 A. Yes, these are indeed such documents. I'm looking at the
15 request, and based on the request there is a decision by which the
16 investigative judge decides that an investigation will be carried out, and
17 this document number KT389/83 [as interpreted], there is a mistake in the
18 title. It says here "To the senior prosecutor," so this is not to the --
19 to the senior public prosecutor's office but from the senior public
20 prosecutor's office. So this is a typo in the way you interpreted the
21 title. So these are the documents, one preceding and one following.
22 The preceding document is a request for investigation and the
23 subsequent act is the decision of the judge by which it is stated that the
24 investigation will indeed be carried out.
25 Q. Can you please look at the first document. In the description of
1 the action, it says that "In the village of Bjelavici somebody took a cow
2 weighing 280 kilogrammes from an abandoned Croatian house and a calf.
3 After that, it says that this is an aggravated burglary from Article 148
4 of the Penal Code.
5 My first question to you is as follows: Who would be the first
6 body who would suggest a certain legal qualification of the crime that is
7 the subject of the criminal proceedings?
8 A. It is the competent prosecutor's office.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Stop, please.
10 The Prosecution has the floor.
11 MR. WAESPI: Yes. If -- perhaps I am the only one who can't
12 follow. But just, again, identify which document are we now talking
13 about. She says it's the first document. And I looked at it and this one
14 dates 5th August 1993, a B/C/S document. It carries the Defence number
15 1366. Is that the one we are talking about now?
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Defence, could you please
17 be more precise and can you tell us whether this document is, after tab 2
18 in the binder, chapter number 2, and the date is 5th August 1993? Is that
19 the case?
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, this is the document, and
21 the number is 1366. My question to the witness is as follows:
22 Q. Firstly, is this a request to carry out an investigation which is
23 the beginning of every criminal proceedings? And the witness confirmed
24 that. And now I have asked the witness to comment upon the description of
25 the event, after the name of Jakob Torsum [phoen], in paragraph 3, and in
1 which the event or part of the event is described as I have quoted it, and
2 there is also the legal qualification of this crime, and it says here that
3 this is an aggravated theft pursuant to Article 148.
4 My question to the witness was: What is the first or the primary
5 body that suggests what the qualification of the crime should be, the
6 crime that is the subject of this criminal procedure?
7 A. The witness started his answer by saying that the first body that
8 suggests the legal qualification of the crime is the prosecutor's office
9 that files the request for criminal proceedings.
10 Q. Mr. Veseljak, who is it who decides on the final qualification --
11 legal qualification of the crime? In other words, is the court duty-bound
12 to adopt the qualification proposed by the prosecutor's office?
13 A. The court is not bound by that legal qualification, and the final
14 decision on the legal qualification of the crime lies with the court and
15 only the court.
16 Q. Tell me, please, when it comes to the police, did the police have
17 any say whatsoever in the factual description and the legal qualification
18 of the crime as proposed by the prosecutor, or can they have a say in the
19 final qualification of the crime as decided upon by the court?
20 A. The police has no obligation whatsoever to suggest any
21 qualification, legal qualification of the crime. In practice, it does
22 happen that the police try to see what a crime could constitute in legal
23 terms. However, this suggestion is not binding on -- either upon the
24 prosecutor or the court. So in other words, the police does not have any
25 say whatsoever as to what the legal qualification of the crime would be in
1 the further proceedings.
2 Q. In the description of this crime that I have just quoted, it says
3 that some things were stolen from the abandoned houses of Croat citizens.
4 Tell me, please: How did you as a judge evaluate and assess such acts?
5 How did you qualify those acts during your tour of duty in the military
6 district court in Zenica?
7 A. I did that from the point of view of the factual description of
8 the crime as per the Code. We evaluated whether in the actions
9 perpetrated by a person we could find the elements of crime in the way
10 this crime is described in the law.
11 Q. In the Penal Code, which was in effect at the time, which was the
12 Penal Code of the former Yugoslavia, which was later on adopted by Bosnia
13 and Herzegovina, there are also crimes against the civilian population
14 that were committed during the war and one element of those crimes is also
15 theft and plunder. Tell me, please: Did you in the court find any
16 elements or did you have any elements that could serve as the base for
17 qualifying such and similar acts in keeping with the provisions of the
18 Penal Code?
19 A. In a similar way, in the way that the court was not bound by the
20 qualification of the crime, it was bound by the fact provided to him by
21 the prosecutor about the crime that he was in charge of. Obviously in
22 every crime that happens during the war you are bound to recognise
23 possible murders of the crime -- war crime against the civilian population
24 pursuant to the then-provision 142 of the Penal Code. However, in this
25 particular case, these things were done by thief -- before the war, during
1 the war. Unfortunately, it is still being done by thieves today. So
2 whenever you have such a factual description, you will not find any
3 elements to qualify such crimes as war crimes. We -- and when I say "we,"
4 I don't want to speak on behalf of the others, so I'd like to say I was 14
5 thinking whether I could recognise a certain intention to perpetrate war
6 crimes or it was just the case of somebody needing a cow and the easiest
7 thing for this perpetrator to do was to go to an abandoned house and steal
8 a cow from such an abandoned house.
9 I have also to say that very soon there were no -- there was no
10 longer abandoned property and thieves continued stealing cows.
11 Q. Mr. Veseljak, were such crimes committed also against other
12 ethnic groups or did the situation apply only to one ethnic group?
13 A. These crimes involved those who possessed a cow. Unfortunately,
14 the situation was horrendous, and some people made the most of that
15 horrendous situation in order to steal goods from whoever the goods
16 belonged to. If we embarked on a statistical analysis, you -- we will
17 notice that at a certain moment the victims of the crimes were more often
18 members of a different ethnic group in a village that had been abandoned
19 by -- by the population. However, that statistic will soon change because
20 there were no more abandoned cattle after a while and theft continued. So
21 if you look at the final statistical picture, you will see that the
22 victims of the crime were members of -- of our own ethnic group, rather
23 than of a different ethnic group.
24 Q. When you evaluated crimes as a judge, can you tell me whether the
25 legislator, on the one hand, and the army or the 3rd Corps, on the other
1 hand, tried and did they do everything possible in order to prevent such
2 crime? Did they ask for efficient prosecution or did such -- was such
3 practice tolerated in the area?
4 A. Let me start by answering the second part of your question first.
5 No, this was not tolerated, and I can illustrate that by giving you an
6 example. I personally during the 39 months of the existence of the
7 military court, either as an individual judge or a member of a panel, I
8 was sitting in over 750 cases. I was involved in over 250 criminal
9 proceedings. I believe that these figures speak for themselves, and this
10 equally applies to all the other colleagues of mine. There were an
11 average of eight of us during that period of time.
12 In addition to that, I know the following: The military
13 authorities in some participants of the territory which were very
14 sensitive because they were populated by the minority population who were
15 sometimes exposed to harassment by individuals and who by the logic of the
16 matter felt more exposed -- so the military set up checkup points in order
17 to prevent looting of property from these areas. And I assure you that
18 every perpetrator who could be detected was prosecuted by the competent
19 bodies. The police would report them and then the prosecutors would
21 Q. Mr. Veseljak, do you remember before the war what was the penalty
22 for aggravated theft as provided for by the law?
23 A. I can't be 100 per cent sure that I remember, but I believe that
24 it was a maximum of five years in prison.
25 Q. During the war, do you know what was the penalty for theft of
1 property from an abandoned house?
2 A. I remember. It was either ten years or a maximum, it could have
3 been capital punishment.
4 Q. What was the position of the legislator and the bodies that were
5 involved in investigation of looting from abandoned property? Was the
6 position that this was a lesser crime or a crime equal to war crimes?
7 A. Let me give you an example. For the cases of aggravated robbery
8 and aggravated theft and the crimes of war crimes against the civilian
9 population, the punishment was identical in terms of a special minimum, a
10 special maximum, and in terms of the penalty provided for by the law. It
11 was from ten years in prison up to the capital punishment.
12 Q. Before I complete my examination, I should just like to ask you
13 to look at tab 4, and from 1 -- or Chapter 4, from 1 to 16,
14 entitled "Judgements," and could you please recognise the judgements that
15 you personally handed down or were a member of a trial chamber that handed
16 them down during the war as a member of the military court in Zenica.
17 A. I seem to be having problems like the prosecutor. You are
18 referring to Chapter 4 "Judgements"? And the first judgement is dated
19 K12/93? Is that the one you're referring to?
20 Q. Yes. Look at number 7, which is number IK233/93, dated the 27th
21 of September, 1993. Tell me, is this a judgement that you handed down as
22 president of a trial chamber? Would you be kind enough to look at the
23 document under tab 11, with the number Zenica district military court
24 number IK334/94, dated the 8th of September, 1995. Do you recognize this
25 judgement too?
1 A. Yes, I do. I recognise this one as well.
2 Q. This is a judgement for aggravated robbery provided for by the
3 Criminal Code, Rule 151/2. Was that the crime you referred to a moment
4 ago for which the same penalty was provided as for the crime of war crime
5 against civilian -- the civilian population?
6 A. Yes. But one correction: In this case, Mehrid Duvnjak [phoen],
7 when committing the crime, was a young adult, and that is why he could not
8 be sentenced to death but in principle the answer to your question is yes.
9 Q. Tell me, Mr. Veseljak, who decided about the penalty itself?
10 A. The trial chamber, consisting of five members: Two professional
11 judges and three lay judges, had a total of five votes. So each one of
12 them had one vote, and the majority would decide.
13 Q. The document under tab 12, it is Zenica district military court
14 number IK552/94 dated the 9th of December, 1994. It of course refers to
15 events in 1993. Tell me, did you participate in rendering this decision?
16 A. Yes, I was a member of the trial chamber in this case.
17 Q. Document number 13, district military court number IK606 through
18 94 from the 21st of December, 1994, is this a judgement that you were
19 involved in as a judge of the district military court?
20 A. Yes, in this case as president of the trial chamber.
21 Q. Look at document number 14. It is the document of the Zenica
22 court, IK169/93, dated the 13th of June, 1995. Were you involved in this
23 case as a judge?
24 A. Yes, and again, as the presiding judge.
25 But if I may, I would like to say why I emphasised when I was the
1 presiding judge and when I was a member of the trial chamber. The Law on
2 Criminal Procedure prescribed the order in which judges would participate
3 in chambers. When I was the presiding judge, I would have the last vote
4 when it came to the sentence.
5 Q. The previous document was DH314, and this document we are talking
6 about is DH155/20.
7 So a moment ago you said you were a member of the chamber, and
8 with respect to this one, of the 13th of June, you were the presiding
10 Now, please look at the next two documents of the Zenica high
11 court, number K194/96, dated the 20th of March, 1997. Tell us, were you a
12 judge in this case? And the document under number 16, K67/00, dated the
13 12th of March, 2002. Tell me whether this was a case that you tried.
14 A. In this one, I was the presiding judge, and the witness who is
15 following me was a member of the trial chamber.
16 Q. Mr. Veseljak, in these several cases, we saw that the sentences
17 were handed down in 1994, 1995, and even after the war. Can you tell us
18 briefly the kind of problems you encountered in discovering, prosecuting,
19 and sentencing -- you were faced with, especially the courts, and why in
20 some cases the proceedings lasted some time. Actually, my first question
21 would be whether proceedings were conducted speedily or not; and an
22 additional question: Why did in some cases trials last a long time?
23 A. Let me say first of all that in my deep conviction, trials did
24 not take long but what did take long was the preliminary process before a
25 trial could start. There were problems with communications.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 The last document you showed me, I was then already a judge of
2 the cantonal court, because this took place in 2002. There were very
3 great problems in finding people, identifying people. The territory was
4 cut up and it was impossible to communicate between various areas.
5 The event that this last document refers to took place in Bugojno
6 or Gornji Vakuf, which means that between the territory covered by the
7 district military court and this area was the area of another warring
8 party which couldn't be crossed. People moved around without ID
10 I will give you an example, with your permission: At the
11 cantonal court much later, we tried a murder in which a man, an Egyptian
12 citizen, was allegedly murdered. His name was Hisham Diyab and we found
13 the man guilty and sentenced him for this crime. Several years later,
14 through the mediation of the Egyptian Embassy, Mr. Hisham Diyab appeared.
15 He is well, alive, and kicking, thank God, a doctor in Egypt. So it just
16 shows the circumstances under which we worked and how we strove to be
17 efficient. But we had enormous difficulties of an objective nature, not
18 due to any -- any lack of will on the part of the court.
19 I have to tell you that never in my life and never again in my
20 life will I work as hard as I did in this period of time we are talking
22 Q. Tell me, Mr. Veseljak, as judges or the prosecutor in your courts
23 or the police, be it civilian or military, could they from January 1st,
24 1993 until the end of the war reach areas that were de facto under the
25 control of the HVO or the VRS to investigate an event, to find a witness,
1 to interview a witness? Did you have any such possibilities?
2 A. With the exception of murder, no -- I'm sorry, with the exception
3 of suicide, no [as interpreted].
4 Q. And tell me, Mr. Veseljak, now: Mr. Veseljak, as a person who
5 spent the whole time in the district military court from the moment it was
6 founded until it ceased to operate, when looking back at that period and
7 your work in the court and the policy of the 3rd Corps to prevent, detect,
8 and punish the perpetrators of all crimes, do you believe now that more
9 could have been done than all of you together managed to do, that is, the
10 military authorities, the prosecutors, and the judges? Could you have
11 done more than you actually did?
12 A. If you're asking me and in view of the circumstances under which
13 we worked, we could not have done more. If I look back today, fortunately
14 some wounds have healed over the years and I'm doing my best to forget
15 many of the things that happened. But when you make me look back, as you
16 are doing now, I wonder from this point of view how we managed to do as
17 much as we did, because during 39 months I signed 750 judgements, three
18 and a half thousand cases were processed at the district military court.
19 I believe several thousand - I'm not quite sure of the figure - several
20 thousand requests for investigations, endless decisions on detention on
21 remand, innumerable instances when witnesses got killed, when they left to
22 go to third countries, we couldn't trace them. In a situation when a
23 single photograph with a camera was something we could only dream about,
24 when the paraffin glove test was something from outer space because you
25 simply didn't have paraffin, when we had to run to the laboratory to take
1 blood traces because we didn't have any means to prevent coagulation, and
2 so on.
3 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Veseljak.
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, that completes our
5 examination-in-chief of this witness.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I close this now? Oh, it's not
8 finished. I see.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before the break, the other
10 Defence team, do you have any questions?
11 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we have no
12 questions for this witness.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In that case, it will be best
14 to have the break straight away, and we will resume at about 6.00 and give
15 the floor to the Prosecutor for their cross-examination.
16 --- Recess taken at 5.34 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 6.03 p.m.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to give the floor to
19 the Prosecution, and don't forget that we are supposed to finish at 7.00.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the Judges will also need a
22 few minutes for their questions. And so if you take too long, we will
23 have to continue tomorrow, tomorrow morning. In any case, you will be
24 given the same time as the Defence.
25 MR. WAESPI: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
1 If the -- Your Honours and the Defence could be distributed a set
2 of documents which I intend to show to the witness.
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Waespi:
4 Q. Good evening, Mr. Veseljak.
5 A. Good evening.
6 Q. Let me just start with just a few general points about the role
7 of a duty judge. And I believe you were a duty judge, a judge quite a
8 number of times, you know, in 1992 and 1993. Is that correct?
9 A. Yes, that is correct.
10 Q. And I think in the Blaskic case you also said that a duty judge
11 was on shift. He was available, I think, for a week or so and would be
12 called whenever it was required to do so.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Who would assign judges -- duty judges to be on a certain shift?
15 Who would do that?
16 A. The president of the court, and there would be a rota. Every
17 week we would start at 00 on Sunday and we finished at 2400 on the
18 following Sunday, and we took turns. If there were eight of us and I had
19 my shift during week 1, then my turn would again come during week 9, after
20 all of my eight colleagues had their turns. And this was the only
22 Q. So in Zenica and for the jurisdiction of the military courts,
23 there was one duty judge at one time.
24 A. Yes, at any given time, there was a duty judge who was
25 accompanied by a deputy of the district military prosecutor. I believe
1 that in the prosecution their shifts were somewhat longer because there
2 were fewer of them.
3 Q. And if you were called to a given case, one of these many, many
4 you testified about before the break, how long on average would you be
5 concerned with one of these cases, you as the duty judge?
6 A. It's hard to say for how long, but I can give you a description.
7 For as long as it took me to complete my investigation and draft either an
8 official note or an official record after that. So as soon as I completed
9 my documentation and forwarded it to the competent prosecutor, I would be
10 finished with the case. We tried to spend as little time as possible on
11 the case, and I'm talking about the complete procedure. The on-site
12 inspection itself took as long as it had to take, depending on what you
13 found on the site, how many traces you had to collect, how big the site
15 Q. Yes. I looked at a few of these documents which were presented
16 to us, and it's amazing how quick you acted that -- when the events
17 occurred on one day, usually the judge would arrive on the same day, and
18 the report would carry the date of the next day. So it was a very, very
19 efficient procedure.
20 A. If you are talking about the records that I drew up, I have to
21 say that the judgements that I signed as the presiding judge, I tried to
22 dictate them on the following day. If you're asking me about on-site
23 inspections, I can tell you that we arrived at the scene as fast as
24 possible, as fast as this was doable. I arrived at a number of such
25 scenes on foot.
1 Q. You mentioned a few documents, you know, which perhaps may be the
2 result of your inquest as a duty judge. Would it be correct to say that
3 the typical document, report which comes out of a detail for you as a duty
4 judge was this on-site inspection report? That would be a typical work
5 product of you being called as a duty judge to a crime scene?
6 A. Yes, on a condition that an on-site inspection was carried out.
7 Q. Yes. And if it wasn't carried out, you would even include that
8 very fact, as you have testified before the break, into the report, that
9 it was not possible to go to a specific crime scene.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, you already talked about a few of these reports, and I --
12 I'm going through a few of them again. But let me start with a different
13 one. And this one is contained in tab 1. That's the first document. It's
14 a Defence exhibit, DH279, and it has been discussed here before Your
15 Honours with Judge Adamovic. And I would just like you to have a look at
16 this report. It dates 23rd July 1993 and is a on-site investigation
18 Now, that's again a typical report: Two pages, very succinct, a
19 typical example of -- of an on-site investigation report; is that correct?
20 A. Please give me a moment.
21 Q. Yes. Please take -- take your time. By all means.
22 A. Let us say that this is a typical report.
23 Q. And we see that Mr. Adamovic went to the -- to the crime scene
24 and he looked at what -- what happened. Apparently here a person was
25 killed while a -- a weapon was being cleaned, a person called Asim Sivro
1 was cleaning that weapon. And Mr. Adamovic was very precise in the
2 location he found the body of the victim. I think he says the body was
3 sort of half-sitting position, back to the wall. And he also looked at
4 blood traces.
5 Now, let me ask you: How important is it to record exactly the
6 position of a victim, a body, in your assessment? And you have a lot of
8 A. Whenever this is possible for the subsequent actions, this is
9 what one should do. This is important in principle; however, one cannot
10 be as precise as my colleague Adamovic was in this particular case. If
11 one takes this as being very precise, one cannot always be as precise as
13 Q. But certainly the aim has to be as precise as possible under the
15 A. No objection to that. You're right.
16 Q. Now, another feature we see here is the heading "Information
17 about the participants," and Mr. Adamovic -- our colleague talked about,
18 you know, witnesses, mentioned specifically names of witnesses, and I
19 believe these are army members. And again, my -- my question is: How
20 important is it to list witnesses who may have been eyewitnesses to the
21 events, in your experience?
22 A. This is very important, if such information is available. If you
23 make an effort and if you look at the records that I signed, you will see
24 that I had an identical approach. Whenever I had information about
25 participants or eyewitnesses, I would make a record of that. If we didn't
1 know that, then we would instruct the military police to continue with
2 their operative work in order to get as much information as possible about
3 possible participants in the event.
4 Q. Yes. And I think we see that on the second page of the English
5 translation. It may be also on the second page -- on the first one in
6 your original, the role of the military police. But let me go to the
7 penultimate paragraph, when he talks about information of relatives, and
8 then, I quote, "As well as the command of the brigade to which the person
9 who inflicted the injury and the injured person belonged."
10 Perhaps you can tell us, how important is it to inform, you know,
11 these people, the relatives, and here the brigade? If you can help us.
12 A. First I have to tell you that this is certainly not a job of the
13 investigative judge. However, beyond this context, I would also provide
14 information if I had an opportunity to learn where they are and if I were
15 in the position to provide such information. However, these are personal
16 reasons, not formal reasons. This is what military police anywhere in the
17 world in the course of events should certainly do. They should do it, by
18 all means.
19 Q. And the last paragraph talks about the vicinity of combat
20 operations and that the scene of the crime was very close to -- to the
21 front line. I believe you also were working under difficult conditions in
22 your work. Is that correct?
23 A. Yes. Most often, but not always.
24 Q. And we might come to that, to the Zenica shelling of the 19th of
25 April, 1993. I think there you even conducted your investigation as a
1 duty judge while detonations were still being heard. Do you remember
3 A. I do remember that. At that time, I was involved in an on-site
4 inspection. I was not in charge of investigations. I was involved in a
5 very concrete investigative action. I was involved in an on-site
6 inspection while detonations could be heard. That is correct.
7 Q. And I believe occasionally on the 19th of April you had even to
8 take shelter because, you know, you -- you feared, and rightly so, for
9 your life and the life of the people who were with you.
10 A. Yes, that is also correct.
11 Q. Let me go on to the next document, and this is tab 3 in this
12 bundle, and this is a document which features you as the duty judge. Just
13 take a look at the whole document, if you may. It's DH278, a Defence
14 exhibit, an on-site investigation report dated 1st of June, 1993. And if
15 you have familiarised yourself, do you still remember this investigation?
16 A. Yes, I do.
17 Q. Now, first of all, just above the title "Description of crime
18 scene," I see the sentence: "The scene of crime was secured by members of
19 the Military Police Battalion." That would be a battalion of the 3rd
20 Corps; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And was that a normal feature that you would ask the military
23 police to secure a -- a area? You talked about in your chief that at that
24 time you didn't have these red-white tapes, if I correctly remember. But
25 at that time, did you sort of always have the military police operating on
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 your behalf?
2 A. Let me first tell you something about this particular event. In
3 this particular event that we are discussing now, members of the military
4 police battalion secured the scene of crime because they were deployed in
5 its vicinity. This is what I said in the course of my direct. There was
6 a checkpoint the role of which was to protect the Croatian population in
7 the Stranjani village and that's why they were first to arrive at the
8 scene of crime. The military police was always involved in the
9 investigations -- actually, the police. Sometimes the military police,
10 sometimes the civilian police. Everything that we did was assisted by the
11 military police; to be more specific, by the battalion of the military
12 police of the 3rd Corps. There were also some exceptions. There were
13 some situations when I asked for the assistance of the civilian police
14 because the event was of such a nature that I required a more professional
15 team of crime experts, a team that was better equipped with equipment and
16 everything that was necessary to carry out an on-site investigation.
17 Q. Now, on the first page of this report, under the title
18 "Description of crime scene," you talk about - assuming you, I mean you
19 drafted this report - you talk about, and I quote, "Traces of blood and a
20 bloody bandage were found at about 10 metres away in the direction of the
21 woods and a gate was found next to the cow. The trace of a bullet was
22 found on a tree trunk on the edges of this clearing and about 5 metres
23 away there were several traces where the bullets struck on the ground."
24 And then you talk about photographs and sketches and so on.
25 Now, how important is it to look for traces of bullets and -- and
1 properly describe it in a -- in such a report, in your assessment?
2 A. I believe that this is extremely important. No doubts about
3 that. And every time you are in a position to do that, you should do
4 that. It is better to collect everything at the scene, even if it is not
5 important and even if later on you discover that those things are not
6 important, than to leave something uncollected. If you're asking me in
7 principle, this would -- this would be my answer to you.
8 In this particular case, whatever I was able to locate, I
9 collected. It was easy to collect evidence because the area was peaceful,
10 it was secure, and I had ample time to collect all these things.
11 Q. Now, let me ask you about the incident itself. The way I
12 understand it and it is described under the heading "Probable course of
13 events," was that initially a cow was stolen, abducted, and this incident,
14 the stealing of a cow - and you've mentioned cows before the break, by the
15 way, on a couple of incidents - triggered two members of the military
16 police to get involved. So being Swiss, I have obviously no problem with
17 taking cows very seriously, but why is it -- was it such an importance to
18 investigate using military police resources for that? Can you explain
19 that to us?
20 A. You don't understand. Your cows are violet and they have a name;
21 they're called Milka, aren't they? But here we're talking about a
22 different thing, we're talking about an area in which there is a certain
23 number of Croats residing and during the conflict they did not leave their
24 homes. And one of them had his cow stolen. He informed two military
25 policemen at the checkpoint that this had happened. This checkpoint had
1 been set up in order to protect this particular population from such
2 incidents, from somebody stealing their cow. These two military policemen
3 decided that they could not intervene on their own. In the meantime, the
4 thieves took a cow to a place which you could call a thicket or a wood and
5 this is where they slaughtered the cow, because I believe that they deemed
6 that they -- it would be easy for them to cover the traces of the theft if
7 they slaughtered the cow and butchered it.
8 When these two military policemen got reinforcements, they
9 encircled the area where these two thieves were with the butchered cow,
10 with the beheaded cow, and they asked them to surrender. Fire was opened.
11 The military police returned fire. And the result was what it was. And
12 you can see what happened from the reports. One of -- one of the military
13 policemen succumbed to his wounds. The other one was seriously injured
14 but -- but survived. And that is why the intervention of the military
15 police was needed. The military police intervened in order to detect and
16 capture the perpetrators of this serious crime.
17 I must say that during the time when this crime was committed,
18 the -- the penalty envisaged for this crime was a minimum of five years in
20 Q. But you would agree that a lot of resources and efforts, even
21 fighting, you know, shooting, was involved in -- in arresting the two
22 alleged perpetrators of that stealing of the cow.
23 A. I don't know what you are trying to imply. In my view, we -- we
24 reacted with an adequate response. At that particular moment, I'm sure
25 that none of the policemen intended to shoot at the perpetrators.
1 However, if you're a policeman and if you see somebody fleeing, if you ask
2 them to surrender and they open fire at you, I don't know whether you
3 would say that the reaction was inadequate and that this should not have
4 been done.
5 Q. And I believe here, again, witnesses were traced and -- and
6 talked to in this incident.
7 A. I have to change my glasses now. I can't see you very well with
8 my reading glasses, and with the others I can't read. I think you're
9 right, but let me look.
10 I know that at the time we knew about the policemen. I remember
11 that. But I don't believe that we knew at the time the names of the
13 Q. Yes, but I think later you found out that there were two persons
14 called Fetic and then I believe you included that into this report.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And again, that's important that the -- obviously the possible
17 perpetrators are named right from the beginning if -- if they are known or
18 can be ascertained.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Now --
21 A. There's -- also exists a criminal report against an unknown
22 perpetrator, and as a lawyer I think it is very important to document an
23 event, even if you don't know who the perpetrators are.
24 Q. Let me go to the next exhibit. That's tab 4. Again, it's a
25 Defence exhibit, DH280. And you have talked about that before the break,
1 because my learned colleague has showed you this document already.
2 Just a couple of points. It's about the killing of four persons
3 in a village called Sastavci on the 18th of August, 1993, and apparently
4 that village -- the municipality, Vares, lies, and I quote your report,"in
5 the zone of war operations."
6 And again, here you obviously didn't achieve to go to the crime
7 scene, and it's reported in -- under item 1, "Description of the crime
8 scene," that you could not go there; is that correct?
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. Yet you were able - and that's on page 2 of the English
11 translation and I believe also in your B/C/S version under item 3 - there
12 were some witnesses available who were talked to perhaps not by you but by
13 somebody else, and you incorporated that information into your report.
14 A. That is true, yes.
15 Q. And specifically, the second person, the witness B, Ibrahim
16 Sarac, the commander of the Bosnian Independent Company - I'll just read
17 out the first sentence of the what he apparently took - "a few hours after
18 we took over duty in our zone of responsibility, one villager informed us
19 that four bodies were lying on the road leading to Dragovici village not
20 far from Ljesvaca [phoen] village." He goes on and says what he was
22 How important, again in your assessment, having dealt with all
23 these military units on the ground, was it to talk to the commander who
24 was there and who could give information about what was happening in his
25 zone of responsibility?
1 A. I am not quite sure I understood correctly your question, so
2 would you be kind enough to elaborate a little. I didn't quite understand
3 what your question is.
4 Q. Yes. I'm sorry for the unprecise question.
5 You see that apparently you had information about two witnesses
6 or the person who drafted the report; that was your colleague Mr. Armin
7 Seco. The first witness was a -- in fact, two witnesses, Fikret Krivokapa
8 and Fahrudin Krivokapa, two members of the SJB police forces,
9 that's under A. And then you also had information from a Mr. Ibrahim
10 Sarac. He was the commander of the Bosnian Independent Company, the unit
11 in whose area of operations or the zone of responsibility the crimes
12 occurred. My question is for you: As duty judge, how important is it to
13 talk to the military commander of a unit who was in the vicinity and
14 perhaps indeed in the middle of that area where the crime scene was lying.
15 A. I don't believe that it was of any special importance; however,
16 you can see that my very young colleague at the time, Armin Seco and
17 myself were in a situation where we learnt that the bodies had been taken
18 from the scene, that we were on the edge of the area of combat operations,
19 and on that occasion we wanted to learn from peoples who were not
20 eyewitnesses of the event but who were witnesses of the consequences what
21 we might see if we were able to enter that area, and we learnt that
22 locals, villages, had removed the bodies, that they had informed the
23 soldiers present that they had removed the bodies, that in passing they
24 had seen pools of blood in the grass. These were elements that we wanted
25 to find out about so as to collect as much information as possible and to
1 be able to convey that information to the prosecutor later.
2 Q. So to summarise, because you did not have access to the crime
3 scene, you tried to talk to people who could sort of give information
4 about the -- the vicinity and the crime scene.
5 A. Certain information, assuming that they knew something which
6 might give us indication as to where we should look for future -- in our
7 future investigations.
8 Q. Let me go on to the next exhibit, Mr. Veseljak, and that's tab 5,
9 and again that's a document whose exhibit number is DH276, which you have
10 discussed in -- in chief already. And you remember that's the one dating
11 26 December 1992 to which you were also a witness, an eyewitness, the way
12 I understand it.
13 A. Your understanding is correct.
14 Q. And again, I see a very detailed description of the crime scene.
15 It talks in the middle of the first paragraph about a ricochet, a bullet
16 which had hit the radiator of a Golf car, and so on. So again, that would
17 be an example of what's requested if somebody like a duty judge or indeed
18 the police goes to a crime scene where a murder or a -- a murder involving
19 the death of a person is concerned.
20 A. All I can do is agree with what you said. You haven't asked me
21 anything yet.
22 Q. Yes. On the next page, you even went -- the next page in the
23 English version and I think in your version it's the same -- you are very
24 detailed again about the calibres of a gun. You talk about the locations
25 where a cartridge was found. Can you see that?
1 A. Yes. Yes.
2 Q. Something I'm interested in is the following: After you talk
3 about eyewitnesses to this incident and just above the heading "Measures
4 taken," we see that - and I quote the paragraph - "Along with the injured
5 man, the MUP employee also tried to arrest Sead Patkovic, son of Serif,
6 residing in Nemila, one Ahmet Spahica number 6 who was probably also an
7 eyewitness to the entire incident." Do you remember that? It's sort of
8 unusual that an eyewitness needs to be arrested in order to provide his
9 account for what has happened. Perhaps you remember what this was all
10 about. Just above the heading "Measures taken."
11 A. I'm trying to find the spot you're referring to.
12 Q. Yes, it's on page 2 of your B/C/S version, the last paragraph,
13 "Zajedno," and so on. Do you remember --
14 A. Yes, I do. I'm trying to recollect the whole event, to
15 reconstruct it in my memory. It was the centre of town, the street lined
16 with houses on both sides, and in those days at that spot people were
17 illegally converting money for German marks, and everything started with a
18 police raid against these people who were converting foreign currency for
19 local currency. So what you're reading out to me, I wouldn't call it
20 "arrest." It is a normal police procedure whereby an eyewitness is
21 identified and asked for an interview, an informative interview.
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I think that once
23 again we have a problem with the translation.
24 I am looking at the English translation, which says "arrest."
25 And in our own language, it says "to take in." And that -- or "bring in."
1 So that may be the cause of some confusion.
2 MR. WAESPI: [Previous translation continues] ... obviously
3 controlling what the B/C/S version says here.
4 Q. Anyway, do you remember the person Sead Patkovic, son of Serif?
5 Do you know who that person is?
6 A. I don't know.
7 Q. Do you know his father -- what appears to be his father, Serif
8 Patkovic? Do you know him?
9 A. I don't know who the person named Serif Patkovic may be. But
10 since I know what it is you're leading up to, I know that there is a Serif
11 Patkovic. I assure you that this person who was a very young man could
12 not have been -- had a son of the age that would be of interest for the
13 police. You see, we have villages with the entire population bearing the
14 same surname and every other person having the same first name. You know,
15 father Serif, son Serif. These are local customs.
16 Q. Let's move on to the -- to the next page, the last page of this
17 document. And, first of all, it mentions an interesting -- item 4 says:
18 "The perpetrator underwent a paraffin test." So I take it that, you know,
19 when you said before the break that it was -- I don't know what the exact
20 words you used -- impossible or it would have been a miracle to have it.
21 Occasionally it was done, a paraffin test.
22 A. We did have paraffin for a time, so we did do the paraffin tests.
23 And then later on we had no paraffin and we couldn't do the test. And I
24 must say to you as a professional that for me as a professional I was not
25 too sorry about the paraffin glove test because, as you know, by itself it
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 is not proof of anything. The reaction you get is non-specific, through
2 nitrates, and it can only indirectly lead to gunpowder. When you have a
3 pistol, an eyewitness, an admission, then the paraffin test may be of
4 use. If you only have that test, then it's better not to have it at all.
5 Q. Let me go on to another paragraph on this page, and it's the
6 third one from the bottom. It starts: "On 27th December 1992, an autopsy
7 was performed. Attended by the judge and on this occasion a piece of lead
8 bullet without its jacket was found in the left lobe of the cerebellum of
9 the deceased, which was also handed over to VP operative Alija Limanovic."
10 Again, for you as a duty judge, an investigative judge, how
11 important is it to look for, find, report the presence of a bullet in --
12 in one of these bodies of a victim?
13 A. I have to tell you something else first: According to the Law on
14 Criminal Procedure in force at the time, it is the duty of the
15 investigating judge, though this may seem strange to you now -- it was the
16 legal obligation of the investigating judge to prepare a report on the
17 postmortem. We found various ways to do this. We attended postmortems
18 and copied down what the person performing the postmortem found during the
19 autopsy. And if we ordered an autopsy, it was very important for me to
20 find out the finding, because the finding of the autopsy was an indication
21 of many other things that may later arise during the investigation: The
22 type of weapon, the direction, the angle of the projectile, the injuries
23 caused, the injuries that were the cause of death, et cetera. So in
24 answer to your question, it was very important to write down what the
25 autopsy produced as a result.
1 Q. A related issue is the firearms, you know, the object of -- one
2 of the objects, you know, which -- which may be helpful in finding what
3 has occurred. Can you confirm that you as, you know, the representative
4 of the authority had the power to seize firearms of alleged perpetrators
5 and to analyse them in order to establish which rifle has fired, which
6 empty shells match with the rifles found, and -- and so on? You had the
7 authority to do that and you -- you did that? Can you confirm that?
8 A. Yes. In this particular case, as you have chosen this one, which
9 is highly specific -- you see, it was up to my personal assessment. Due
10 to the highly tense situation that all this was happening under, I seized
11 a cocked pistol from the man's hand. Now, whether I had the authority,
12 it's up to you to judge, but that is what I actually did at the time.
13 Q. Because you wanted to find out what happened.
14 A. The actual act of seizing the pistol from his hand was simply
15 motivated by stopping further action. This seizure of the pistol, which I
16 ordered the police to do against a receipt on temporary seizure, was
17 intended for further criminal processing to establish that the bullets
18 that we found had come from the -- that weapon, that the jackets we found
19 had been fired with that weapon. You're familiar with the technique. I
20 don't want to waste your time explaining how we compared disputed and
21 undisputed facts.
22 Q. Let me go on to -- briefly only to the Zenica shelling of the
23 19th April 1993.
24 MR. WAESPI: And, Your Honours, that's -- the report is in tab 2
25 of my -- my bundle.
1 Q. You already talked about that, and you were certainly very
2 specific also in the -- in the Blaskic trial about that.
3 Just a couple of points: In the Blaskic trial, you were shown
4 and commented upon a number of documents -- a number of photographs from
5 the crime scene and you explained, you know, the craters, whatever you
6 also told us before the break. Now, again in your expertise as a judge,
7 an investigative judge, how important is it to take photographs of the
8 crime scene?
9 A. It is of fundamental importance. In this particular case, I have
10 to tell you that we made as many photographs as we had available film.
11 Q. Just a couple of other points about the Zenica shelling of the
12 19th April. Just to confirm: It was you who ordered the civil defence
13 people to clean, to wash, the area from -- from blood? Do you remember
15 A. The next day, yes.
16 Q. And just to go back to -- to the previous point: It was you who
17 had ordered the people, the specialist technicians, to take the photos of
18 all these impacts?
19 A. Yes.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It would be best to stop now.
21 We will continue tomorrow, because you haven't exhausted the time
22 available to you and the Defence will certainly have some re-examination,
23 as will the Judges.
24 So, sir, unfortunately you will have to stay until tomorrow, so I
25 would like to ask you to come for the hearing which will begin tomorrow
1 morning, luckily for you, because often we work in the afternoon. But
2 tomorrow we will continue at 9.00, and the Witness and Victims Department
3 will make sure that you will be present here tomorrow at 9.00.
4 From now until then, you must not meet with anyone because, as
5 you have taken the solemn declaration, you're a witness of justice and you
6 mustn't have any contact now with the Defence, which brought you here as a
8 I'm going to ask the usher to be kind enough to accompany you out
9 of the courtroom, and we will see you again tomorrow.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Since I've missed St. Valentines
11 Day with my wife today, I can just as well stay tomorrow. That's fine.
12 Thank you.
13 [The witness stands down]
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So tomorrow we will continue
15 our work, beginning at 9.00.
16 How much more time do you need do you think? You haven't taken
17 an hour and a half.
18 MR. WAESPI: Perhaps 20 minutes, half an hour, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That's fine.
20 So we will now adjourn, and I'll see you all again tomorrow
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.56 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 15th day of
24 February, 2005, at 9.00 a.m.