1 Wednesday, 13 April 2005.
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.55 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are in open session.
6 Mr. Registrar, could you call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Case
8 number IT-01-47-T, The Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could we have the
11 appearances for the Prosecution, please.
12 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning,
13 Your Honours, counsel, and everyone in and around the courtroom. For the
14 Prosecution, Matthias Neuner, and Daryl Mundis, assisted by Mr. Andres
15 Vatter, our case manager.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could we have the appearances
17 for Defence counsel, please.
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President. Good
19 morning, Your Honours. On behalf of General Enver Hadzihasanovic, Edina
20 Residovic, counsel and Stefane Bourgon co-counsel.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could we have the appearances
22 for the other Defence team, please.
23 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. On
24 behalf of Mr. Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic and legal
25 assistant, Nermin Mulalic.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On the 208th day of our
2 hearings, I greet everyone present. Members of the Prosecution, Defence
3 counsel, General Hadzihasanovic, Brigadier Kubura. And I would not like
4 to forget to greet everyone else present in the courtroom and around the
6 The Trial Chamber would like to ask Defence counsel whether they
7 would agree, perhaps not now, but after the break and in the following
8 days, to change position. Because Brigadier Kubura's Defence counsel is
9 examining witnesses, so it would be better for you to be in the front row
10 so that you could have closer contact with the witness. This could be
11 done after the break. It's not necessary to do this now. I think that
12 would be preferable, otherwise you're too far away.
13 Having said that, I will now ask the registrar to go into private
15 [Private session]
12 [Open session]
13 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We're back in open session, Mr.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now that we are in open session,
16 I will ask the usher to call the witness into the courtroom.
17 [The witness entered court]
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good day, sir. I would first
19 like to make sure that you are receiving the interpretation of what I am
20 saying. If so, please say yes.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can understand you.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, you have been called here
23 as a as a witness for Mr. Kubura's Defence counsel. Before you take the
24 solemn declaration could you please tell me your first and last name, your
25 date and place of birth.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Dzemail Ibranovic, son of Zina
2 [phoen], born on the 22nd of October 1966.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What are you by profession, if
4 you are currently employed. If you have a profession.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm a religious cleric in the
6 Islamic community in Travnik.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In 1992 and 1993, were you
8 employed? Did you have a position of any kind? And if you were in the
9 ABiH, which unit were you assigned to?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As other members of the clergy, I
11 was in Brajici when the war broke out and I joined the 7th Muslim Brigade.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you already testified
13 before an international or national court about the events that took place
14 in your country in 1992 and 1993? Or is this the first time?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the first time.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could you please
17 read out the solemn declaration.
18 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
19 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You may sit down.
21 WITNESS: Dzemail Ibranovic
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to
24 Defence counsel who will commence their examination-in-chief, I would like
25 to provide you with some information about the procedure that we will be
1 following here. You will first have to answer the questions put to you by
2 Mr. Kubura's Defence counsel.
3 You have certainly met them already before this hearing. Defence
4 counsel have told us that they will need an hour, hour and a half for
5 their examination-in-chief. Perhaps less. But this is a rough estimate.
6 Once this stage has been completed, you will have to answer the questions
7 put to you by the Prosecution who are to your right. The Prosecution will
8 conduct what we call their cross-examination and they will have the same
9 amount of time as Defence counsel. Then defence counsel may put
10 additional questions to you. The three Judges who are sitting before you
11 may ask you questions at any point in time, but the Judges prefer to wait
12 for the parties to put all their questions to you before we put our
13 questions to you in order to clarify some of your answers or because we
14 believe that there are certain gaps that need to be filled in the interest
15 of justice.
16 Under such conditions we might feel it necessary to put questions
17 to you. There are two things I want to point out that concern our
18 procedure. As you have just taken the solemn declaration, this means that
19 you should not give false testimony, but this is something you are
20 certainly aware of. In addition, there is a fairly complicated provision
21 that I must inform witnesses of. If you believe that you should not
22 answer a question because it could be used against you at a subsequent
23 date you may refuse to answer such a question. Such cases have never
24 arisen to date, but in such a case the Trial Chamber may compel the
25 witness to answer the question, but the witness is guaranteed immunity.
1 The procedure followed here is Anglo-Saxon. The procedure is
2 almost completely oral, and that is why your testimony is so important.
3 When you speak, whatever you say is transcribed and interpreted.
4 You may also be shown documents and asked to identify the
5 documents or to comment on some of the documents. If the questions put to
6 you seem too complicated or confused, don't hesitate to ask the party
7 putting the question to you to rephrase the question. If you encounter
8 any difficulties in the course of the proceedings, don't hesitate to
9 inform us of the fact. We're here to deal with any difficulties that may
11 In about one hour and 25 minutes, we will have a break so that you
12 can have a rest because, as you will realise, to answer questions
13 incessantly can be quite tiring. We will then have a 20 or 25-minute
14 break and after the break we will resume and continue working for an hour
15 and a half. If everyone adheres to the schedule, to won't be necessary
16 for you to remain in The Hague tomorrow. Hopefully we will be able to
17 complete your testimony today.
18 Without wasting any more time I will now give the floor to Mr.
19 Kubura's Defence counsel who will commence their examination-in-chief.
20 Examined by Mr. Ibrisimovic.
21 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Q. Since we have started a little late, I will try to be expeditious
23 and apart from a few general questions, I will limit myself to the counts
24 in the indictment that this witness could testify about.
25 Mr. Ibranovic, you've already said that in 1992 you became a
1 member of the 7th Muslim Brigade. When was this?
2 A. The unit was established as the situation unfolded we were not
3 prepared when the war broke out and I, as a member of the clergy, would
4 never have believed that such a situation could arise. So initially there
5 were these guard patrols and I became part of those guard patrols in our
6 community at the beginning of the war.
7 Q. When exactly did you become a member of the 7th Muslim Brigade?
8 A. Well, the 7th Muslim Brigade, when it was being formed, I was in
9 the Travnik area.
10 Q. Was that in November 1993 -- 1992?
11 A. 1992? I think it was in the second half of that month. It was
12 cold. We were holding the lines after the fall of Jajce at that time, a
13 very tumultus time.
14 Q. Did you become a member of the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did you have any particular establishment post within the first
18 battalion, any particular duties that you had to perform?
19 A. Assistant commander for morale in the 1st Battalion.
20 Q. Can you remember when you were appointed as assistant commander
21 for morale and religious affairs?
22 A. I think it was around March.
23 Q. For the sake of the transcript, could you say in which year?
24 A. In 1993.
25 Q. In 1993. As assistant commander for morale, you were the
1 assistant commander for morale and religious affairs. So could you tell
2 us what sort of duties you had to perform?
3 A. I think that everyone knows that this unit followed the rules and
4 regulations of Islam. Our purpose was to inform all the fighters of the
5 basic rules. This meant informing them of how to maintain their personal
6 hygiene and how to maintain their purity, their spiritual purity. It's
7 not just a matter of a soldier knowing how to perform the rites. It's
8 also a matter of informing them how to protect themselves from envy,
9 hatred, during that extremely difficult period of time.
10 These duties involved instructing the soldiers in the field of
11 religion, in that field of religion, and naturally one had to spend time
12 with the troops, that was very important. Sometimes if someone who was
13 involved in these matters simply appeared, that was very important for the
14 soldiers, even if you didn't tell them anything in particular.
15 Q. Mr. Ibranovic, given what you have just said, you mentioned
16 teachings, et cetera. You're a member of the clergy. We've already
17 discussed these matters. Could you tell us what sort of educational
18 background you have.
19 A. Well, before the war I graduated from the Faculty of Islam in
20 Sarajevo, the Islam Theological Faculty as it was called at the time. And
21 even before that I became involved in another field of activity, in
22 learning the Koran by heart. I completed that training.
23 Q. What sort of education do you have now, as far as that area is
25 A. After the war, I wrote a masters thesis. I'm now writing my Ph.D.
1 thesis on a certain fraternity, a Sufi fraternity, Nex Appendi [phoen].
2 I'm from the Central Bosnian area and this tradition, the tradition of
3 fraternities has taken root in that area. And that is a tradition that I
4 feel spiritually akin to.
5 Q. I've already shown you this booklet. The instructions to the
6 Muslim fighter. P11 is the exhibit number. You've had a look at it and
7 you've read it. Could you comment on it, and could you first tell me
8 whether you've ever seen this booklet. Did you ever see the booklet
9 before I showed it to you?
10 A. I saw it in the course of the war. I saw many other such booklets
11 in the course of the war. There's no censorship. Anyone could write
12 whatever they wanted to write. This was not something that -- it was
13 obligatory to read. And from a scientific point of view, since I'm now
14 involved in scientific work, I can tell you that there are many things
15 that could be objected to in this booklet, because if something is to be
16 regarded as a serious literary work or a serious work of science, it has
17 to have a solid basis. The relevant literature must be referred to. I do
18 not have such sources so anyone could have written almost anything.
19 Anyone could have expressed their point of view. And naturally this was
20 not binding on anyone else.
21 Q. As a member of the clergy and as the assistant commander for
22 morale and religious affairs, did you ever provide any sort of instruction
23 based on this booklet?
24 A. Someone who has graduated from the theological faculty will use
25 books and won't use booklets of this kind in the course of his lectures,
1 but if I had used such booklets, if someone used these booklets, that
2 would show his degree of education, his degree of knowledge.
3 Q. This booklet or these instructions, whatever we call it, was it
4 something that members of the 7th Muslim Brigade had to have and had to
6 A. Well, naturally that was not the case.
7 Q. Thank you. Mr. Ibranovic, I would now like to move on to another
8 subject, since in 1993 you were in Travnik. So I would first like to ask
9 you whether you've ever heard of the village of Miletici?
10 A. The village of Miletici is about 15 kilometres from the community
11 that I worked in. And at the time I wasn't even aware of the existence of
12 that hamlet because it was never necessary for me to go there. It was
13 only after all of those events that I heard about it and I heard about the
14 events that had happened there.
15 Q. When these events occurred in Miletici - perhaps I could put a
16 leading question to the witness - it was on the 24th of April, 1993. When
17 these events occurred, where were you?
18 A. I was in my community, in the Alihodza community.
19 Q. When did you arrive in the village of Alihodza when you arrived
20 there were there any other members of the 7th Muslim Brigade in your
21 village or in the surrounding villages?
22 A. Before I arrived there, I spent a lengthy period of time, perhaps
23 about a month in Bijelo Buca at the front line or in the town of Travnik,
24 and I was supposed to go and leave, to have a rest. I was in Travnik when
25 these events occurred, when the events occurred in Ahmici. And then after
1 a telephone conversation with my wife, I was told that the situation was
2 deteriorating in my community, around my community, and I felt that I
3 should return rapidly, which is what I did.
4 I returned with some of the members of the young men from the
5 area, from those villages.
6 Q. Could you just clarify where exactly it was that you returned to,
7 you and those young men.
8 A. So I got to Alihodza. Facing Alihodza - and you can see it on the
9 map - is a village called Kljaci. In that village there were about ten
10 members of our battalion. So it was after Ahmici and before Miletici,
11 that sort of time scale.
12 Q. And those members of the 7th Muslim Brigade who were in your
13 village or in the village of Kljaci, were they armed?
14 A. As a rule we had to -- or rather the weapons had to be left,
15 either at the front lines or at the command, depending on who did what.
16 Q. Could you reply once again. I believe that it has gone into the
17 transcript already. Your village of Alihodza and the village of Kljaci
18 are very close to one another, well, facing one another. How far are they
19 from one another? How far is it from Mehurici?
20 A. I think seven to eight kilometres.
21 Q. About your village or the village of Kljaci or in the Biljanska
22 Valley, was there an organised unit of the 7th Muslim Brigade?
23 A. There was no organised units, but we had young men from those
24 villages who would come to Travnik and be distributed according to needs,
25 and then they would go back to their own villages.
1 Q. When they were on leave, they would go back to their own
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us for how long you stayed in your
5 village of Alihodza and, if you know, the same about the others who were
6 in the neighbouring village of Kljaci?
7 A. I would say throughout that period until -- until the final
8 conflict. I was in that, my community of origin, in the same way as those
9 young men. And people are not used to war. They were frightened. Apart
10 from that, I had my own family there and, quite simply, I just joined in
11 with the rest of them in forming the lines above Alihodza in that forest,
12 because above that village the HVO was already forming their lines.
13 Q. Could you tell us, in terms of time, if I'm not mistaken, you said
14 sometime mid April, and then until when did you stay in the area?
15 A. Throughout that period until we got the order to go to Kiseljak.
16 And that meant the end of the operations in that area. I think mid-June.
17 Q. When did you go back to Travnik for the first time?
18 A. To the battalion? Oh, with that piece of news, well I heard and I
19 was just standing in front of my house and I was told we were going to
20 Kiseljak, and I was kind of pleased, because that's where I was born, in
21 that area. So when I got to Travnik, things continued like that.
22 Q. In this period when you said you were there, on the 24th of April,
23 did you go to the village of Miletici and have you ever been to the
24 village of Miletici at all in that period?
25 A. The hamlet of Alihodza is a small hamlet, some 15 houses, 20 at
1 most. And in the beginning, because there were very few of us, well, we
2 held that line for eight hours. So there was no question of us going
3 nowhere else. And any movement would have been difficult, because if you
4 take a look at the map, you will see that, that road from Alihodza in the
5 direction of Mehurici, there could have been snipers there, and people
6 used to get killed there, and there were people who were wounded there.
7 So you could only go there at night or during the daytime if there was
9 Q. So neither you yourself nor -- and can you tell us about the other
10 members who were at that village of Kljaci. Do you know whether any of
11 them had gone there at that period?
12 A. I'm talking about this critical day, the 24th of April. We were
13 all basically chained our own -- chained to our own door steps because it
14 was about defending our own homes at the time. And it would have been
15 illogical, and my own wife mentioned that to me in that phone
16 conversation, it would have been illogical for me to spend time somewhere
17 else. And HVO was basically on our own door step. There were shots being
18 fired already.
19 Q. As to the escalation of this conflict at the beginning of June,
20 1993, did it find you in your own village again? Did you, at any point in
21 time, find out about the whereabouts of the 7th Muslim Brigade in the
22 beginning of June 1993 and whether they have actively participated in any
23 of those actions?
24 A. Since I was linked to that line -- well, it would take up too much
25 time if I were to tell you all the details at this stage. Of course I was
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 in my own community. I found people there who were the representatives of
2 the authorities. But as to war, up until then it had not been felt in the
3 area. And my assistance there basically consisted of the take digging of
4 the ditches and setting up of the front line.
5 Q. No, no, no, you misunderstood me. What I asked you was if at some
6 point in time later you found out where the 1st battalion was involved
7 there, in what sort of activity?
8 A. After the end, since the communication lines were disrupted I
9 couldn't go to Travnik and none of them could visit me. I found out all
10 the details later on, how things happened and what in way and everything
11 when we were about to go to Kiseljak.
12 Q. Could you give us the names of the people that you talked to.
13 A. One of our commanders, a company commanders, Suad Jusovic.
14 Q. Suad Jusovic told you where the first battalion was involved in
15 combat activity?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. What did he tell you?
18 A. That's at the area around Travnik. Hajdareve Njive, at the area
19 of Sibicara. And then we -- there were further operations Mjavin [phoen],
20 Jajce, et cetera.
21 THE INTERPRETER: We did not hear the question from the counsel.
22 I'm sorry.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the entry in Travnik, as you go
24 from Sarajevo to the right, there is a slope where the HVO had their
1 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Just for the sake of the transcript. My question wasn't there.
3 However, the interpreters did not hear it. I asked about where exactly
4 the Hajdareve Njive village was and the witness has just answered.
5 You mentioned Sibicara, there were combat activities there. Where
6 exactly is Sibicara, what part of the Travnik municipality is it?
7 A. It is opposite Hajdareve Njive. Once again, very near to Travnik.
8 Hajdareve Njive is to the right and Sibicara is to the left. It's an area
9 which is called, and it used to be called in that way in the
10 Austro-Hungarian monarchy, and there was a factory built there at the time
11 and it is still called Sibicara, even though -- oh, it was a factory for
12 the manufacturing of matches and now very few of such articles are being
13 produced there. But those are slopes which are very close together. But
14 they are facing one another.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: I can see on the transcript that the names of the
16 localities have not been made clear. Could you ask the witness to repeat
17 the name of the villages or to spell the name of the villages please.
18 Q. Mr. Ibranovic, you've heard what the Judge has just said. Could
19 you spell the name of the village Sibicara?
20 A. S-i-b-i-c-a-r-a.
21 Q. When you mention the name of the place, you said that it was a
22 synonym for "match factory."
23 A. [No interpretation]
24 Q. Your answer did not appear in the transcript. When you talk about
25 the place called Sibicara what you had in mind was the production plant
1 for matches at Travnik?
2 A. Yes. And the area surrounding the factory where the HVO had their
4 Q. Mr. Ibranovic, I'm going to ask you something else now. Have you
5 ever met foreigners -- some people called them Mujahedin. Others called
6 them Asian-African country soldiers, fighters. Have you ever met them
7 anywhere in Travnik or in the area of Travnik?
8 A. Yes, I did come across them.
9 Q. Have you ever had any contacts with those foreigners?
10 A. Their arrival, in as far as our people were concerned, was kind of
11 interesting. But very soon I realised that our views of certain matters
12 were worlds apart. An educated man and somebody who has some knowledge of
13 theology cannot go along with the reasoning of a hand labourer, no matter
14 where that person comes from.
15 What I mean by this is certain interpretations of Islam, because
16 of which they've created huge difficulties for us in our own communities.
17 Since I myself am one of the clergy who used to work at one of these
18 communities, I could not accept those things. So that we had differing
19 views and we didn't have lots of contacts.
20 Q. And this contact that you were referring to earlier on, did you
21 meet them in private? Or was it within the framework of what you did as
22 the assistant commander for moral and religious issues?
23 A. Those are things related to religion, to faith. For example, in
24 the course of the ritual washing, I wash my neck as well, and they could
25 come along and tell me that I shouldn't be doing that, that that is not
1 allowed. And I do know that he has no real argument on which to base that
2 comment. Obviously we can't find a common denominator. I'm just quoting
3 this as one example. Quite apart from the fact that when it comes to the
4 very understanding of Islam, all those who study Islam know that there are
5 different ideas. We could divide them into somewhat softer approaches,
6 such as Sufija [phoen], and I have already mentioned that I was from that
7 area, and somewhat similar extreme approaches that tend to come from the
8 east. And those two different views of Islam simply can't go together.
9 In this respect, I have undertaken to work on my doctorate in
10 connection with this one, Sufism.
11 Q. Mr. Ibranovic, have you had frequent contacts with the soldiers,
12 members of the 7th Muslim Brigade?
13 A. In as far as the circumstances allowed, because I was -- as most
14 of my -- as most of our soldiers, I was involved in two different things.
15 On the one hand, I had my family. On the other hand, I had the community.
16 And then the fighters. And I did what I could. But the time was as it
17 was. And all that was indispensable.
18 Q. Are you aware of the fact that those foreign fighters were at
20 A. I had heard that they did snoop around that area and that they
21 moved about. I mean they had not actually links to any specific area.
22 That's the sort of people who don't really fit into any system.
23 Q. And the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade, did they have any
24 links with that --
25 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the rest of the
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, we had our own command and all
3 the needs that we had to deal with, we could deal with through our
5 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. My question was, for the sake of the transcript, was the 1st
7 Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade -- have any links with the Mehurici
8 camp? Your answer has already gone into the transcript. Thank you.
9 Mr. Ibranovic -- and now I would like to move on to an altogether
10 different topic. I think we have dispensed with this one. In November
11 1993, were you in the town of Vares?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Could you, before this Trial Chamber, tell us for what reason you
14 went there and how you got there.
15 A. After the massacre at Stupni Do perpetrated by the HVO, we got the
16 orders to move in that direction. The entire brigade was directed to do
17 so and we came from the direction of Breza. We were stationed in a
18 village which is called Strijezevo. My battalion, the 1st Battalion, went
19 through the valley. There was no combat activity because the HVO had
20 withdrawn so that we could enter without any fighting. We could enter the
21 town itself without any fighting.
22 Q. Were you personally in the town of Vares?
23 A. Yes, I was.
24 Q. Can you tell me how many soldiers of the 1st Battalion entered the
25 city of Vares and did they enter the city of Vares at all?
1 A. We were at the gates of the city. I don't know what the name of
2 the place was, An or Majdan, I don't know exactly. A couple of us,
3 members of the 1st Battalion went in. I was especially interested in the
4 mosque, of course, myself. And from the lower part of town I walked to
5 the upper town. As to soldiers, not too many. Perhaps fifty or so.
6 Q. What did Vares look like when you entered the town itself?
7 A. It looked deserted and here and there I met a couple of members of
8 the local police. In the upper part of town, I remember, I think two
9 buildings were on fire. They were new buildings.
10 I didn't see civilians at all.
11 Q. How long did you and that group of soldiers - if I've understood
12 you correctly it was about 50 soldiers - how long did you stay in the town
13 of Vares itself?
14 A. Very briefly. By sunset we had left the centre of town and had
15 gone back to Strijezevo.
16 Q. Can you tell us about the rest of the 1st Battalion, why didn't
17 they enter the town?
18 A. Look, there was military police and they controlled the comings
19 and goings and most probably I wouldn't have been allowed to go in, had I
20 not been a member of the command.
21 Q. And the same situation applied to when you left Vares?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And did the police officers at that checkpoint carry out any
24 controls? Did they carry out controls with regard to soldiers as well?
25 A. Yes, they did.
1 Q. Did you notice that those soldiers that went in, that --
2 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry. Again, we did not hear the Defence
4 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. I do apologise. I will repeat my question. When you entered the
6 town of Vares and when the soldiers were there, did you notice the members
7 of the 7th Muslim Brigade looting or stealing any of the property from
8 Vares? Were they looting in this town of Vares?
9 A. What could a soldier have put into his bag? Well, that's a very
10 delicate matter. It's true to say that in Central Bosnia people were
11 going hungry. And given what I could observe, the town of Vares was full
12 of food and I had the impression that it was more necessary than the
13 weapons themselves.
14 If anyone could have taken anything, then they took whatever would
15 fit into a military bag, so judge for yourself what could have been taken.
16 Q. You mentioned food. Could you just explain what you meant when
17 you said "food".
18 A. Food. Oil. Flour. Sugar. Staple items. As a souvenir I took a
19 bottle opener but I lost it somewhere.
20 Q. Did the military police check people at the exits from the town of
21 Vares to see whether anyone had taken or misappropriated property?
22 A. Naturally. It was quite normal to expect such situations since
23 from the very beginning of the conflict with the HVO this area had been
24 closed off and, in some areas, there was a shortage of such goods. There
25 was a black marketeering, looting, and that was to be expected.
1 Q. Did the military police prevent such acts?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. President. We have no further questions for this
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Does the other
6 Defence team have any questions for the witness?
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President. We have a few
8 questions for Mr. Ibranovic. On the whole, the questions have to do with
9 clarifying some of the answers given to my learned colleague. Could the
10 witness first be shown DH52 [Realtime transcript read in error "D852"],
11 which is a map, which would help the Trial Chamber understand the
12 witness's location.
13 Cross-examined by Mrs. Residovic:
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] DH52. Not 8-5-2. DH52.
15 I have the map on me. Other witnesses have marked it. I don't
16 want the witness to comment on it. But perhaps the witness could just
17 indicate his location on the map. Could we place this map on the ELMO.
18 Q. Mr. Ibranovic, while the map is being placed on the ELMO, I would
19 just like to tell you that the questions I put to you might be somewhat
20 different from the questions put to you by my learned colleague. I am
21 allowed to put leading questions to you and you can just answer my
22 questions by saying "yes" or "no." Naturally if there is anything that
23 you would like to add, you may naturally do so.
24 In response to a question put to you by my learned colleague you
25 said that at sometime after the events in Ahmici, sometime after the 16th
1 of April, you and a group of combatants and -- who were from the village
2 of Alihodza arrived in the village of Alihodza. Could you please use the
3 pointer. You will be provided with to indicate on the map the location of
4 the villages of Alihodza and Kljaci. These are villages you mentioned
5 when talking about your presence during that period of time in the
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the village of Kljaci, and
8 here on the opposite side, on the map, it says "Brajici," but that's the
9 name for three hamlets. One of them is marked here it says "Karahodze."
10 In the middle we have Alihodza, and further above we have Zolote. These
11 are three old tribes so to speak that have been living there for
12 centuries. This place is known as Alihodza because an old Bosnian family,
13 Ali Hodza lived there. But when Austria arrived, all these three hamlets
14 were called Brajici.
15 Q. Have I understood you correctly, you said that you and comrades in
16 arms arrived there in that village, or rather in the surroundings of that
17 village, and you were there on the 24th of April when these events in
18 Miletici took place; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Could you use the map to show where Miletici is located in
21 relation to your village.
22 A. [Indicates]
23 Q. That's where it is. Mr. Ibranovic, if I understood you correctly,
24 you said that although you worked in your community near Alihodza. Before
25 the war you had never been to the village of Miletici and you weren't
1 aware of its existence?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Is it also correct to say that in your village, in the village of
4 Alihodza, not far from Plijaka [phoen] [Realtime transcript read in error
5 "Klaka"], you were there at the time of combat at the beginning of June,
7 A. Yes.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute. The transcript
9 doesn't reflect the names of the places. Page 23, line 1, "from Klaka."
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes. I asked whether it would
11 also be correct to say or rather I asked whether I had understood you
12 correctly, did you say that you in the village of Alihodza and in the
13 surroundings of Kljaci, were you there all the time in the course of the
14 combat in the Bila valley at the beginning of June; did I understand you
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Since you have explained to us where Hajdareve Njive in the
18 Sibicara were located, could you use the map to show us the exact
19 locations of Hajdareve Njive and Sibicara?
20 A. At the very entrance to Travnik you have Dolac marked in red here.
21 To the right when you enter Travnik, there is a slope called Hajdareve
22 Njive. The HVO held their lines there. To the left and below there is a
23 small hill and the HVO also held its lines there. And just a little below
24 we have Sibicara. The people still call that area Sibicara to this very
1 Q. Mr. Ibranovic, tell me was that in fact the position held by the
2 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade? It was subsequently explained to
3 you by the company commander, Mr. Jusovic.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Thank you. I think that -- that your position and the position of
6 some of the members of the 1st Battalion is clearer to me now. I now have
7 some questions that have to do with your establishment post of assistant
8 commander from morale and religious affairs. Would you agree with me, Mr.
9 Ibranovic, if I said that the ABiH had very clear rules on the freedom of
10 individuals to practice various religions within the army?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Naturally this concerned members of the Catholic, Orthodox,
13 Jewish, and Muslim confession. Is that correct? As a highly educated
14 theologian, could you confirm that Islam in Bosnia-Herzegovina had been a
15 religion of tolerance for centuries in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a religion
16 which advocated living together with other faiths in the area?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Mr. Ibranovic, could you also confirm that many ordinary people,
19 religious people and people who weren't religious, were surprised by the
20 cruelty shown, the cruel attitude shown towards religious edifices of that
21 people and towards the religion of that people?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. In the course of your duties and as an ordinary man, did you ever
24 feel and were you ever given strict orders, according to which our
25 soldiers and the people as a whole, should not retaliate in kind, should
1 not treat other religious buildings in the way that Islamic buildings had
2 been treated in that area?
3 A. The rules of Islam are quite clear, as far as that is concerned.
4 Mustafa Hamed [phoen] over 1.400 years ago quite clearly said that women,
5 children, the helpless should not be touched. As far as tolerance is
6 concerned, or at least as far as my area is concerned, tolerance was so
7 great that, for example, for a member of the Sufi faith, there was --
8 there were items for religious rites in a Catholic house. There was
9 water. There were -- there was a towel, because the Catholics considered
10 such people to be holy people.
11 Q. Mr. Ibranovic, a lot of evidence presented before this Chamber
12 indicates that in the area of Central Bosnia, mosques were destroyed in
13 Ahmici and Donje Bandol. Since the 7th Muslim Brigade was composed of
14 fighters who were religious men, you as the commander for morale, did you
15 tell the soldiers that they should not treat the religious edifices in
16 this way, and did you ever observe or did you ever notice that members of
17 the 7th Muslim Brigade had desecrated or damaged buildings belonging to
18 other ethnic groups, churches, cemeteries?
19 A. They were all familiar with the code of conduct and if they
20 committed such acts, they were aware of the fact that they would be held
21 to account.
22 Q. Mr. Ibranovic, did you, in the battalion, also receive clear
23 orders from your superior command according to which religious buildings
24 and members of the clergy should be given particular protection?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. As far as you know, did members of the 1st Battalion of the 7th
2 Muslim Brigade adhere to these orders, did they abide by these orders?
3 A. As far as I know.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Ibrisimovic.
5 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. This
6 is not an objection, but members of the 7th Muslim Brigade are not accused
7 of having committed acts of any kind against religious edifices. That is
8 all that I wanted to point out. Nothing else.
9 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I didn't mean to suggest that they
10 had been accused of that. I just wanted to hear, from a highly educated
11 imam, what the attitude of religious people was and they weren't only
12 religious people in the 7th Muslim Brigade. You tried to answer that
13 question, so with the Trial Chamber's leave I would ask you to please
14 answer the question.
15 A. As far as I know there were no such excesses. They had been
16 warned and we all knew about these things, given the way in which we had
17 been brought up.
18 Q. Thank you. I have a few more questions with regard to your duties
19 as assistant commander for morale and religious affairs. You have told
20 the Chamber that you were involved in religious affairs and religious
21 instruction. But you also said it was very important for you to spend
22 time among the troops because your presence among them raised their morale
23 and you taught them not to hate and not to be afraid.
24 My question is as follows: In the course of your duties, did you
25 try to instill patriotic feelings in the soldiers? Did you try to
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 encourage them to defend their country, their people and their religion?
2 A. It wasn't necessary to tell them about such things. We all were
3 fully aware of the situation we were in. We had to decide whether to stay
4 and attend like Palestinians or to defend one's home in which, God
5 willing, our children would be able to live, would be free to live.
6 Q. Mr. Ibranovic, tell me whether within that department from morale,
7 were you also involved in certain social affairs; for example, assistance
8 for the wounded, for families of members of the clergy, or did your duties
9 only involve religious instruction?
10 A. Naturally everything that had to do with wounded men or the
11 families of men who had been killed, we would visit these families, if
12 that was possible and provide them with assistance to the extent that was
13 possible. Usually we would provide them with goods. So that is how we
14 would visit them.
15 Q. Instilling a feeling of patriotism in the troops, taking care of
16 the wounded and of the families of men who had been killed, were these
17 duties the duties that you had to perform within the 1st Battalion?
18 A. Yes.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
20 Mr. President, I have no further questions.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It is now 11.20. I
22 think it would be best to have our break now and the Prosecution will then
23 commence with its cross-examination. It is now 11.20. We will resume at
24 about ten to 12.
25 --- Recess taken at 11.20 a.m.
1 --- On resuming at 11.50 a.m.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will now resume, and I give
3 the floor to the Prosecution.
4 Cross-examined by Mr. Neuner:
5 MR. NEUNER: Thank you very much.
6 Good morning. My name is Matthias Neuner I'm appearing here along
7 with my colleagues on behalf of the Prosecution and I will put a couple of
8 questions to you.
9 If you don't understand any of these questions please ask me to
10 repeat it and I will do so and I am also prepared to rephrase the
11 question, if necessary. Do you understand this?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. I want to take you to Vares. You testified on page 18 that "We
14 got the orders to move in that direction," meaning moving to Vares, and
15 the and I wanted to ask you who gave you, at the end of 1993, the order to
16 wanted to ask you who gave you, at the end of 1993, the order to move to
18 A. Within the chain of command we were under the brigade command. We
19 act in accordance with orders issued by the brigade command, and the order
20 stated that the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade was to engage in
21 the direction of the town of Vares itself.
22 Q. Do you remember who was issuing this order? Was it your battalion
23 commander or was it the brigade commander?
24 A. The brigade commander issues orders that are forwarded to
25 battalion commanders and then the battalion commander distributes the
1 orders in the various departments. For example, in my -- in the
2 department for morale. So that the troops can then be informed of the
3 situation, we then express our opinion on the situation in terms of the
4 morale of the troops, in terms of whether we can set off to carry out the
5 task or to see whether any other preparations are necessary.
6 Q. Just for the record, do you know the name of the commander who
7 issued the initial order?
8 A. I can talk about my own level, the level of battalion.
9 Q. Please.
10 A. Junozovic [Realtime transcript read in error "Jusovic"] was the
11 commander of the 1st Battalion at the time.
12 Q. And when you arrived in the wider Vares area, at what time was it,
13 if you can try to recall.
14 A. It was in the autumn.
15 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President, it
16 says "Jusovic." Line 20 -- page 29. It should say "Junozovic." That's
17 line six.
18 MR. NEUNER: I can clarify. Will you please repeat the first name
19 and the last name of the battalion commander who issued the order.
20 A. Safet Junozovic.
21 Q. Thank you. Can you please spell Junozovic for the record.
22 A. J-u-n-o-z-o-v-i-c.
23 Q. And Mr. Junozovic --
24 A. It's one word. It hasn't been written down quite correctly it's
25 been separated. In fact that's correct.
1 Q. And Mr. Junosovic, he was the commander of the 1st Battalion of
2 the 7th Muslim Brigade?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. What time did you arrive in the wider Vares area, in 1993?
5 A. Perhaps it was in the month of October.
6 Q. [Previous interpretation continues] ... of October?
7 A. It was rainy. I don't know when it was exactly though, I don't
8 want to guess the date.
9 Q. You mentioned Strijezevo. And just for clarification, Strijezevo,
10 is this a hamlet near mount Trebijas [phoen], about seven kilometres south
11 of Vares?
12 A. It's a village at the entrance to Vares near Breza. Perhaps that
13 is the distance. It's on the left side of the road. I wasn't very
14 familiar with that area. I was slightly familiar with the area -- THE.
15 INTERPRETER: Correction.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- because when I went to secondary
17 school, I spent some time in a village near Brijezovo [phoen] that was in
18 1982. I went to the second class of the madrasa, the religious school.
19 Q. And in Strijezevo, before you decided to go to Vares, did you meet
20 anybody from the command of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade?
21 A. The command of the 1st Battalion was located in a summer house.
22 And given the communication I had with the members of the command, there
23 was the assistant commander for morale there, Kurtanovic, Sulejman
24 Kurtanovic. We assistant commanders from the battalion had meetings with
25 him, and we discussed the current situation and how the situation was
1 developing. We discussed what should be done and how it should be done.
2 Q. And what conclusion emerged out of this discussion? Can you
3 please tell the Trial Chamber.
4 A. Well, there was a surprise. Most people were surprised because
5 the town was taken without a fight. And since the town was full of food
6 and naturally the soldiers needed food, this is the subject that we
8 Q. And you just said the soldiers needed food and you discussed it.
9 Can you please elaborate a little bit. What was the course of action
10 decided upon?
11 A. We were surprised. I did say that before. Even if at that time
12 one wanted to provide for the soldiers, we did not have the necessary
13 infrastructure. We did not have any trucks to carry the food. So we
14 talked about these things.
15 Q. And what was the solution? The solution was to order some trucks
16 or what was the solution taken? You said you didn't have any trucks at
17 the time, but you were organising some?
18 A. As far as I know, very few, because we got to that area from
19 Zenica and we came by train to Visoko, I believe, and then we travelled by
20 busses part of the way and then we walked. So we came from the opposite
21 side, as it were. The other side of the hill, as you said, you said the
22 name of the mountain.
23 From where the logistical support was, so we had very little in
24 the way of logistical support. Perhaps we had a small car or a small
25 utility vehicle because we had basically walked there, as simple as that.
1 Q. You just said you walked there and you described the little bit.
2 Is it correct to summarise this. You took the main road through Vares
3 Majdan from the south and you entered Vares? Is this a correct
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And how many cars did you take with you or trucks, or did you just
7 walk by foot?
8 A. If there were any vehicles, there was one vehicle belonging to the
9 battalion command and I had the opportunity to ride in that vehicle as
10 well. Very often -- I mean, for the most part we had a Jeep. And I don't
11 know exactly at what distance I myself travelled by that car, because I
12 know I walked into town on foot. The situation was not altogether safe.
13 One had to watch out because there could have been shots coming from
14 someplace. So in that case of semi-occupation or -- we were a bit
15 careful. And we were surprised that there was no shooting, but it was
16 obvious that the warehouses were full of food, and so.
17 Q. And did you or your colleagues, I mean the officers with you, did
18 you inspect some of these full warehouses once you had entered Vares town?
19 A. I remember I turned off. Because that's a very narrow road. It's
20 in a ravine. So there's no width to speak of. All you can see are the
21 buildings alongside the road and then you walk down the main road and then
22 you can basically see the doors of some of those cellars, and I opened
23 some of those doors and I could see what the situation was.
24 Q. And what was the situation you just mentioned? So the cellars
25 were full with certain food items or -- please just describe; how many
1 cellars did you see?
2 A. I've mentioned this. I mean, my main intention was one and one
3 only. I wanted to check out the state of the mosque. And you have to
4 go -- walk up from the lower side of the town to the upper town. So you
5 go through the entire city centre and perhaps I saw one or two cellars on
6 my way, and -- I mean, I wasn't particularly curious or anything, because
7 I had no opportunity to take anything -- anything that was there anyway.
8 You could take a look and see what the situation was and that was it.
9 Q. You mentioned earlier about 50 soldiers were with you entering
10 Vares town. Did they stay with you while you were visiting the mosque?
11 Or did they go somewhere else in town?
12 A. As far as I can remember, they stayed back in the lower part of
13 town. I checked out the mosque and it was all right and then I went back
14 and I found them down there opposite us, as it were. There was the --
15 where the UNPROFOR people, they had armoured vehicles and tanks and they
16 were looking at us and we were looking at them. And one of those people
17 came up, and I remember this quite well because those two buildings I
18 mentioned, newish buildings, were on fire. And the whole thing was rather
19 chaotic and this man said, and it was nothing strange. I mean for them to
20 say so, he said "This is your country. You have to keep it safe or guard
21 it." I mean, he might have thought that we might destroy something or
22 whatever. But we stayed there for a very short period of time. If you
23 just think of the fact that we entered the town in the afternoon and
24 before sunset we had already gone.
25 Q. Do you remember the name or maybe, if you don't remember the name,
1 the nationality of this UNPROFOR person who spoke with your group on that
3 A. No, I can't remember that.
4 Q. And we are talking about one particular day from early morning to
5 the sunset you said. Do you have an idea whether it was the 3rd of
6 November, was it the 4th of November? Was it another day? Please try to
7 recall. I'm referring to 1993.
8 A. What I do remember clearly is that -- I mean, that's the way we
9 experienced it. Since that was the first liberated town, from our point
10 of view, our own service was working on a programme that we were going to
11 implement and carry out at that particular mosque. We wanted to provide
12 some moral support and give some incentive to people to come back and
13 start normal life. And that day, the day after, I mean, was a Friday.
14 And I know this for a fact because there was a central event there on
15 Friday which was called Djuma and after that Djuma we carried out this
16 programme that we had. So this is all easy to check, if you look at the
18 And after Djuma, we were addressed by someone from the ministry,
19 the then-ministry, Rusmir Mahmutcehajic and he was there with the local
21 Q. Can you just clarify. On the Thursday you entered and left Vares
22 town, that's what I understood. But this celebration, or Djuma you just
23 mentioned, was this the next day, a Friday and so you returned to Vares
24 for a short while to attend this Djuma? Can you please clarify.
25 A. Yes. But I think that there were no armed forces present, because
1 they had to leave. It was a ceremony marking the liberation of the town,
2 and we just wanted the people to see that that was the start of normal
4 Q. You just mentioned there was -- there was somebody from the
5 ministry, "and I got hold of an article which was written in the bulletin
6 of the 37th Muslim Light Brigade, on the 1st of January, 1995. And it is
7 called 'taking Fatih's path.'"
8 And I just want to mention one little portion of it. It says here
9 that: After a short recovery - meaning after the Vares operation. I
10 quote now, beginning of quote, "after a short recovery, the unit prepares
11 for a festive review when President Alija Izetbegovic visited".
12 The location isn't mentioned here in the article. I think it is
13 authored by yourself. But may I just ask for clarification: Was this
14 review in Zenica, which was attended by Alija Izetbegovic? Or did this
15 review take place somewhere else?
16 A. Yes, that was in Zenica and afterwards as well, after Vares. To
17 be a bit more specific, it was perhaps sometime between the 5th and 7th of
18 December, as far as I can remember. Yeah, that's correct; I'm the author
19 of that text. It was an article illustrating the events that were taking
20 place there. I mean, of course I was not present on every occasion, but I
21 talked to the fighters as well.
22 Q. So you attended also this review by Alija Izetbegovic in Zenica?
23 I think it was in the sports hall in Zenica, but please clarify for the
24 Trial Chamber.
25 A. Yes, I was. I was there. I think it was at the sports hall.
1 Q. Thank you. You want to say something?
2 A. Yes. Certain prizes were awarded and awards were given to certain
3 fighters, so we had to prepare for that. It was a bit difficult.
4 Q. If I can just for one second go back to this article again. It
5 says here, and I quote: "Following an order from" -- I think it is -- I
6 will start again. I think this is relating to another incident, and I
7 quote here: "Following an order from Bjelovac, the battalion heads for
8 Fojnica via Mount Zahor. At the entrance to Fojnica, Izetbegovic and his
9 entourage pass by the unit." And I believe you're talking about the 1st
10 Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade. But can you please clarify.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's my area. That's where I come
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, perhaps I'm not
14 entitled to ask a question here, but I do not understand the questions
15 being asked by our learned colleague at the moment, and they have nothing
16 to do with the questions asked by the other Defence team, by my questions,
17 by the indictment, or by anything that the witness has said so far.
18 Perhaps he should first establish a link with the questions he is putting
19 to the witness now. Is it just coming out of the blue? Or does it have
20 anything to do with the actual facts that the Prosecution is trying to
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecution.
23 MR. NEUNER: The witness has just said that Mr. Izetbegovic
24 reviewed the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade in Zenica, I believe from 3 to 5
25 December 1993, and I'm just trying to establish the temporal link between
1 this review and the other portion mentioned in the article. And since we
2 have the author sitting here, I thought he could shed some light on it.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What I don't quite see is the
4 link between the visit of Mr. Izetbegovic in December and Vares. Yes, the
5 Defence please.
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, my learned colleague has just
7 mentioned an article. I don't know whether it is Prosecution exhibit or
8 what. Perhaps if they could tell us so we can follow it. If it's a new
9 document, then you will have to rule and the Prosecution will have to
10 stick by your decision.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's speed things up here.
12 Now, this document, is it a new document?
13 MR. NEUNER: Your Honours, this document, which the Prosecution
14 doesn't seek to introduce at this stage, is, indeed, a new document. It
15 has been disclosed to both Defence counsels this Monday, meaning far
16 beyond the 24-hour time period to which the Prosecution is obliged. And
17 in line with your decision on memory refreshment, I'm just asking the
18 witness whether he could tell us something about what he wrote in the year
19 1995 on the 1st of January. That's all the Prosecution tries to
20 establish. It is not intended at all to introduce this article into
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You may proceed.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've mentioned that that's my birth
24 place. And that's why it says, the path of Fatih, that's where we went,
25 the Sultan, Fatih the 2nd, who ruled between 1443 and -- well, or in that
1 year, in that area of Milodrasko Polje where there was a residence of the
2 Bosnian king, allowed the then-keeper of the military monastery to issue a
3 document with regard to the fact that any religion can be practiced
4 freely. We went through that area and that is why I entitled the article
5 in that way.
6 After the event in Zenica, since at about that time HVO carried
7 out an attack near Kiseljak and Fojnica and took our lines, we received
8 orders to go in the direction of Fojnica straight away.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, the Defence please.
10 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I
11 believe that there is a mistake in the transcript. Because it says that
12 he allowed the military monastery. But the witness said that it was the
13 guardian of the monastery in that period who was authorised to practice
14 religion, and this was in 1463.
15 MR. NEUNER:
16 Q. May I just ask one last question. You referred to Fojnica and
17 it's mentioned in this article that the entrance to Fojnica, Izetbegovic
18 and his entourage passed by the unit. Were you, yourself, present when
19 this encounter between Mr. Izetbegovic and the unit occurred, and when was
21 A. Yes. But we had left Zenica, but he stayed at Zenica. We marched
22 across the mountain. There was snow on the ground. And when we were
23 descending in that column, our column of soldiers, then Alija Izetbegovic
24 with his entourage caught up with us. He was pleased because when we
25 entered Fojnica, Fojnica had already been emptied. People had fled. And
1 what little population was left there, when they heard that we were
2 coming, they were pleased. I know that one woman came to me saying she
3 was bringing out fruit and Alija was waiving to us from his Jeep and they
4 went down to Fojnica and presumably continued in the direction of
5 Sarajevo. We too got to Fojnica. We organised the defence lines and
6 somewhere halfway up the mountain - I can't remember exactly the name of
7 the mountain - that's where we stopped the advance of the HVO and that's
8 the way it remained until a truce agreement was signed.
9 Q. I want to switch the topic. You reported in 1993 as assistant
10 commander of morale to your battalion commander and you stated his name
11 already. Is it correct to say that you were also reporting, in 1993, to
12 the assistant commander for morale and information of the 7th Muslim
13 Mountain Brigade command?
14 A. Occasionally I would get certain orders from him; for example,
15 I've mentioned the case of -- with Vares, Sulejman Kurtanovic. The reason
16 why we did not have more of a communication was that we were physically
17 separated. We were in two totally different towns. And we almost always
18 were involved in some kind of war activity.
19 Q. If I may just ask for the name of the assistant commander for
20 morale and information in the 7th Muslim mountain brigade, your superior
21 there. Is his name Ahmet Adilovic?
22 A. No. His name was Sulejman Kurtanovic.
23 Q. And he was on the brigade, in the brigade command of the 7th
24 Muslim Mountain Brigade in 1993?
25 A. Kurtanovic, Sulejman, we were together in Vares, that's what I
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 mentioned earlier on.
2 Q. If I may ask. You have stated your military career to us. Before
3 you served in the 7th Muslim mountain brigade in November 1992, did you
4 serve in any other unit in 1992?
5 A. The beginning of the war was marked by a very confused situation,
6 and those units were being set up all over Bosnia. For the most part they
7 were made up of volunteers who did not want to flee. They wanted to
8 fight. And when I heard that one such unit was being set up within the
9 framework of which there would be one part dedicated to religion, and this
10 was something that attracted me as a man of faith, I made enquiries and I
11 got the relevant information and then I joined that unit.
12 Q. Can you please state the name of that unit, and its location.
13 A. The Muslim forces.
14 Q. And when did you join the Muslim forces in 1992?
15 A. At some point in the beginning of June, I believe. On the 5th or
16 the 6th of June, thereabouts.
17 Q. Is it correct you're talking about the Muslimanske Snage in
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. I want to take you now back to 1993 when you were assistant
21 commander for morale in the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Mountain
23 You testified that you were in the Bila valley from approximately
24 April or mid-April to mid-June, 1993. Have you ever heard about incidents
25 committed by members of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade, in the Bila
1 valley in that time period?
2 A. There were no members of the 7th Muslim Brigade, because I suppose
3 what you mean is foreign nationals.
4 Q. Not necessarily, no. I'm actually referring to any member. Any
5 soldier within the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade. I didn't mention foreign
6 nationals, just did you hear that any soldiers from the 7th Muslim
7 Mountain Brigade were committing isolated or were committing incidents in
8 that time period?
9 A. I did point out that after my departure and the departure of
10 another group of soldiers from Travnik, after Ahmici and before Miletici,
11 we joined that region defence sector. So we had a command and the
12 location where we were was known precisely.
13 Q. So can you just clarify. Did you hear certain incidents? Or
14 didn't you hear any incident at all? I couldn't get this from your
16 A. Yes, I did hear, as everyone else down in that valley, that
17 something had happened. But establishing a link between that and the
18 members of the 7th Muslim brigade did not really make sense.
19 Q. So your testimony is, you heard about incidents but you didn't
20 hear about links. I was actually just asking for whether any soldiers of
21 the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade were ever involved in that time period in
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Defence counsel.
24 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I
25 believe that this line of questioning is confusing the witness. If my
1 learned colleague wants to ask such a question, he should refer to a
2 specific incident and provide the date and time of the incident concerned.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Which incident are you
4 referring to?
5 MR. NEUNER: The Prosecution is actually not referring to any
6 particular incident. The Prosecution is simply interested whether the
7 witness has heard anything, an isolated incident, since he was based in
8 the Bila valley or at the entrance of the Bila valley or at the entrance
9 of the Bila Valley, in Alihodza, from what I understand. And the
10 Prosecution is simply asking, since he was on the ground in that
11 particular time period, whether the witness has heard anything. If he
12 hasn't heard anything, that's fine. There is -- I'm not asking for a
13 particular incident.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bourgon, a new incident?
15 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. On a
16 number of occasions the Prosecution has told us that they're exercising
17 their right to cross examine a witness, but in this case we really don't
18 know what the Prosecution is trying to do. If they're trying to undermine
19 the witness's credibility, they have to say "We have such-and-such
20 information and we believe that you claimed the contrary or that you are
21 going to claim the contrary." If the Prosecution wants to obtain
22 information from the witness to support its own case, this is something
23 that they have to do pursuant to Rule 90 of the Rules and they have to
24 mention the evidence that they are seeking. They have to put its case to
25 the witness, as one says in English. But the Prosecution is on a fishing
1 expedition and this is leading nowhere.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Given Rule 90 of the
3 Rules of Procedure and Evidence, bearing that Rule in mind the witness
4 said that he was familiar with the incident. To save time ask him about
5 the incident concerned and then you may refresh his memory if there is any
6 other information that we have. We are currently wasting time. I have to
7 point that out to you
8 MR. NEUNER:
9 Q. Can you please mention the incident or an incident you heard about
10 which involved a member of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade in the Bila
11 valley in 1993, during your tenure as assistant commander for morale. If
12 you don't remember an incident, please just state so, I am prepared to
13 move on.
14 A. No. I don't remember an incident.
15 Q. Thank you. I want to ask you, during the time period you were
16 assistant commander for morale in the 1st Battalion, have you heard that
17 certain soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade
18 broke away from their unit?
19 A. Well, there was a somewhat long story. After the events in
20 Visoko, before the New Year in 1992, when a fierce attack was launched
21 against us, certain individuals somehow separated themselves in a way that
22 was not obvious. They weren't happy with the command. So some of those
23 individuals, two such individuals -- well, for some of those individuals,
24 they didn't want to find themselves among our soldiers, because they would
25 carry out all sorts of acts that were not in accordance with the code that
1 I have mentioned.
2 Q. Can you please refer to -- you mentioned certain individuals. Do
3 you recall any names of these certain individuals? Just for
5 A. Ramo Durmis.
6 Q. What do you know about Ramo Durmis?
7 A. As far as I could judge him, he was a very willful man. He had
8 his own opinions. This is very dangerous, especially in wartime
9 conditions. When it's necessary to listen to or to abide by the orders
10 issued by the command. When I arrived in Visoko, I saw that he had been
11 involved in a number of excesses, and he had placed himself in a position
12 to be, in some way, removed, set aside.
13 Q. You mentioned he was involved in some excesses in Visoko. What
14 did you see when you came to Visoko? You mentioned you were there on the
16 A. I was supposed to carry out what the first group was supposed to
17 carry out, but I was in the second group where we heard that the line had
18 been penetrated, so we set off in a good mood. We wanted to raise the
19 blockade of Sarajevo. We were aware of the situation that people were in
20 over there. However, in the course of the day the situation changed. And
21 when I arrived there, I entered some sort of a bowling hall or some sort
22 of a sports hall, I don't know what it was exactly. But when I arrived
23 there, I was shocked so to speak. Many people had died people who were
24 there spoke to me about such things and they also mentioned what Durmis,
25 Ramo had done. He had physically assaulted certain officers, believing
1 that they were responsible for what had happened.
2 Rumour had it that he had also reached for his weapon. That's
3 something that could not have been tolerated according to the code that we
4 had, regardless of the situation.
5 MR. NEUNER: With the assistance of the usher, can we have
6 document -- Prosecution Exhibit P610 distributed. This is a document
7 dating 4 August 1993 from Mr. Ahmet Adilovic. And I'm referring to number
8 4(b) of this document. This is on page 1.
9 Q. Can I please ask you to read out loud the text after number 4(b).
10 A. "A number of experienced and exceptionally good soldiers broke
11 away from our unit with Ramo Durmis and Malik Basic, and the soldiers of
12 the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade want them returned to
13 our force, if that is at all possible."
14 Q. First of all, I want to ask you, have you heard about this
15 incident, that they broke away? I mean ...
16 A. Yes, I heard about that.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Defence counsel.
18 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] The witness has already answered
19 the question, but the witness had previously confirmed that Ramo Durmis
20 had left the unit.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. The Prosecution, you are
22 asking this question because there is a purpose that you have? Please go
24 MR. NEUNER: I have only one question left.
25 Q. Do you recall the time period when Ramo Durmis and his people
1 broke away from the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade?
2 A. After what had happened in Visoko, I saw Ramo Durmis very rarely.
3 I don't even know what the details are. I, at the time I did not have
4 much information. I would gradually receive the information. I wasn't at
5 the site. However, from the time these excesses were committed, relations
6 turned cold. As far as I could understand, he asked -- or he was trying
7 to find other men who shared his same opinion in order to attempt to do
8 something with them, because it was quite obvious that he wasn't satisfied
9 with the command.
10 Q. This document is from August 1993. And when was this Visoko
11 operation? Can you please give a time period.
12 A. The New Year of 1992.
13 Q. So according to your knowledge, did he break away directly after
14 New Year 1992? Or did he break away in early August 1993, since this
15 document is dating from the 4th of August, 1993.
16 A. He was trying to find men who shared his opinion and he certainly
17 needed some time to find such men. In August, that was after the events
18 and with the HVO in the Bila valley. Throughout that period of time he
19 wasn't under our command, as far as I can remember. Whatever he did, he
20 did on his own initiative. He certainly took some other members of our
21 battalion with him who followed him.
22 Q. And these members from the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim
23 Mountain Brigade, do you recall whether this was from the 1st Company,
24 from the 2nd company, or from the 3rd company? I'm just asking. It
25 states here in the text from the 1st Company. But can you confirm this?
1 Actually, it states here in the text, "the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim
2 Mountain Brigade." Do you know whether it is -- from which company of
3 the 1st Battalion these soldiers broke away?
4 A. I can't remember those details now. We were constantly on the
5 move. At that time it was still possible to move from one unit to
6 another, especially in the case of volunteer units. Men would try to see
7 whether certain units suited them. If it didn't suit them, the men would
8 leave. And it is now very difficult to remember all those faces and all
9 of those names.
10 MR. NEUNER: I thank you for answering all my questions. The
11 Prosecution has no further questions.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Any re-examination?
13 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We
14 have just a few questions.
15 Re-examined by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
16 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Could DK29 be shown to the
17 witness, please. I have a copy for the witness here.
18 Q. You can have a look at the document. Could you have a look at the
19 document, sir. It's dated the 19th of February, 1993. Could you have a
20 look at the company commanders listed in the document.
21 A. Seferovic Basic, Rusovic Podek [phoen].
22 Q. The commander of the 1st Company. What's his name?
23 A. Mesud, Seferovic.
24 Q. No, that's --
25 A. No, Muhamed Basic.
1 Q. Ramo Durmis was the commander of the 1st Company up until December
2 when that operation in Visoko occurred?
3 A. I think he was in charge of a group because we started by
4 establishing combat groups. That was at the beginning of the war. And
5 the tactics were good until the lines had been established. And this is a
6 system that we inherited to a certain extent.
7 Q. With regard to the document dated the 19th of February, does this
8 document show that Ramo Durmis was not the company of the first company in
9 February 1993?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thank you very much. We have no further questions, Mr. President.
12 But the word "company commander" is missing from the transcript. Page 48,
13 line 6.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The other Defence team?
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President I have just one
17 Further cross-examination by Ms. Residovic:
18 Q. Mr. Ibranovic, I would just like to clarify something when
19 answering questions about incidents that may have occurred involving
20 members of the 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade, you provided your
21 answer. All I would like to do is ask you the following question.
22 Would you agree with me if I said that members of the 1st
23 Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade were all Bosniaks?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. There were no foreigners in your battalion?
1 A. They would occasionally appear and move around, but they couldn't
2 oblige us to do anything and we couldn't oblige them to do anything.
3 Q. They weren't members of the 7th Muslim brigade, is that correct?
4 A. No. They weren't on our records.
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
6 Questioned by the Court:
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I have a few
8 questions for you and there is one question that follows on the answer
9 that you have just provided us with us. You said some foreigners would
10 occasionally appear in the 7th Brigade. Could you provide us with any
11 additional information. Who were these foreigners? Were they from the
12 north, the south, the east, the west, and what were they doing in the 7th
14 A. Well, given what one could learn through contact with them, they
15 either introduced themselves as members of humanitarian organisations or
16 as people who had come to assist. But in light of what I mentioned a
17 while ago, there were certain disagreements because you can't come to
18 assist me and take my heart at the same time.
19 You want to help me, but I'm supposed to do what you want me to
20 do. And for this reason, they caused us many problems in our communities.
21 People were divided because they came with their own interpretation of
22 Islam, which was not appropriate for our area, or did not fit in with our
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you say that these
25 individuals caused problems, was this because they were soldiers in 7th
1 Brigade units? Or were they outside the 7th Brigade?
2 A. They weren't members of any brigades. They weren't obliged to act
3 in any particular way. At one point they would be in one area. At
4 another point in another area. They would move around Bosnia. And the
5 problems they caused were as follows. They acted in the following way: I
6 want to help you, but you have to change your religious tradition, your
7 way of thinking, what you practice. And on the whole, this is why we
8 couldn't see eye to eye.
9 For example, there are situations in which Hasan would listen to
10 one of the members of those humanitarian organizations. He would then
11 receive food or something like that and would then come into conflict with
12 his parents because he would start to perform rites in accordance with the
13 rites that these Arabs perform.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did you ever have the
15 opportunity of speaking to these individuals?
16 A. Yes.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as religion is concerned,
18 did you have the impression that their religious training was more or less
19 equivalent to the sort of training that you had? Or were these
20 individuals people who didn't have the religious background that you
21 yourself had? They didn't have the sort of education in religious matters
22 that you yourself had?
23 A. I had the impression that they had left their homes and they had
24 transplanted their local practices in our area. When I referred to this
25 booklet a while ago, when I referred to science, science requires firm
1 evidence, if claims of any kind are to be made. However, since these
2 individuals came from all walks of life, there were labourers there too,
3 well imagine such a situation, if you have to discuss religious matters
4 with such a person.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have another question for you.
6 As a member of the clergy when you were a member of the 7th Brigade, did
7 you wear a uniform? Or were you in civilian clothes? Or in religious
8 robes? Or did you have a uniform? Did you perhaps carry a weapon?
9 A. I had an ordinary uniform, just like all the other soldiers.
10 While I was in the army, we didn't even have any particular ranks. It
11 wasn't possible to distinguish us on the basis of our ranks. And as far
12 as weapons are concerned, I had a pistol.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as you know, who was the
14 commander of the 7th Brigade?
15 A. Changes were made, given the information we obtained in Travnik
16 initially Asim Koricic was or should have been the commander and then he
17 suddenly left. He went on some sort of a trip. I don't know the details,
18 because I was in the field. And later, Kubura took up that position.
19 There were frequent changes. It depended on the time and the situation
20 and that was the case at the battalion level too.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I will move on to my last topic,
22 that of Vares. As far as we have understood your testimony, you entered
23 Vares. You don't know the exact date because first you said in October
24 and then later the month of November was mentioned. So the exact date of
25 entry into Vares is a little vague. But when you entered Vares, were you
1 and the other soldiers the only ABiH soldiers who entered the town? Or
2 were there any other army units there?
3 A. Given the situation I found there, the local police were present.
4 I think that they were from the town and under local authorities. And at
5 the same time we had information, according to which the 2nd Corps was
6 coming from the north. We called them the "Tuzla Men," although I
7 personally never met them. We stayed there for a very brief period of
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But about the first BiH army
10 soldiers who entered Vares, were they from your unit? Were you the first
11 ones to enter Vares?
12 A. From my unit, I entered myself with a couple of other members of
13 the command and I walked down the main street. I walked on foot. I've
14 already mentioned the fact that there were some 50 young men there as
15 well. And they stayed behind in that area. And when I came back from the
16 upper town to the lower part of town, I found them there in an area where
17 the UNPROFOR forces were. I've already mentioned that before.
18 Apart from those local police officers who entered before we did,
19 I don't know in what way because -- but we found them there, but apart
20 from them, I did not mean -- meet anyone else.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you entered with your 50
22 men, were you -- I was going to say the highest-ranking officer, but at
23 any rate, the person who had the highest degree of responsibility? Or was
24 there another officer who had higher authority than you did? Or was it
25 you? Were you the person in charge of those 50 soldiers?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Well, no. There was battalion commander there, Junosovic. I had
2 already mentioned him as well. Let me reiterate once again I went to the
3 upper part of the main street and I saw two buildings on fire, I believe,
4 and I visited the mosque. And then I came back to the lower part of town
5 where our fighters were.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] How can you explain the fact
7 that there were two buildings on fire? Who had set fire to those
8 buildings because apparently you're saying when you entered Vares, the
9 town was basically deserted. There were no HVO fighters there, so who had
10 set those buildings on fire.
11 A. According to the information I received, the HVO forces, as they
12 were withdrawing.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And when you left Vares, as far
14 as you know, were there any other buildings on fire or you only remember
15 those two buildings being on fire?
16 A. Just those two.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Right then. The Prosecution,
19 MR. NEUNER: Just a few clarifying questions.
20 Further cross-examination by Mr. Neuner:
21 Q. The Presiding Judge has asked you about the presence of senior
22 commanders in Vares or in the Vares area. To the best of your
23 recollection where was the brigade command or the brigade commander during
24 the Vares operation? Was he out of town, was he in town, to the best of
25 your recollection?
1 A. At Strijezevo, the village where we came and stopped. It's
2 somewhat larger village.
3 Q. So early in the morning when you with your 50 soldiers started to
4 go to Vares, the brigade commander remained behind in Strijezevo?
5 A. I suppose so. I suppose. Because we did not meet until the next
6 reporting perhaps, when the facts had been established, that is to say the
7 HVO forces had fled. There was no combat activity. The city was full.
8 And we had to decide what to do next.
9 Q. You said "we have not met until the next reporting." Can you
10 please clarify, when did you, for the last time, meet him before you
11 descended down to Vares? Was this hours before you left? Or was it days
12 before you left to descend towards Vares?
13 A. It was a bit dark when we started from Strijezevo Celo, which is
14 at a higher altitude. So we had to go down. We went down a narrow path
15 which zig-zagged in the direction of the canyon. It was impossible to see
16 anything whatsoever at that stage or observe anything of any consequence.
17 Our command was to go straight ahead. We found mines on the road down
18 there, but apparently the HVO had planned to have the rocks falling and
19 then blocking the road.
20 At a crossroads - I can't remember what the name of the crossroads
21 is - there was a Muslim house there. And we stopped there and we waited
22 for further commands. But when people heard that we were there, they went
23 back to their house straight away and said -- we left. And then we just
24 walked straight a head on the main road from that crossroads. I can't
25 remember the name. Han or Majdan.
1 Q. Majdan, meaning the suburb of Vares? Were you just referring to
3 A. I don't know if that's the precise name. It is a place where one
4 road branches off to Vares, to the left, and I don't know where the right
5 hand road goes to.
6 Q. But to follow up on my previous question, I had asked you along
7 the lines of the Presiding Judge who was asking for senior commanders.
8 Where did you last meet the brigade commander before you descended to
9 Vares? Was this in Strijezevo, just please clarify. I didn't get it from
10 your answer.
11 A. When we met the last time. It is a bit difficult for me to
12 remember because for the most part we were all housed up there at that
13 place. The commander from my battalion, I remember, was in a holiday
14 home, that belonged to some kind of director or manager. We had
15 communication, we were not too far away. But as to when exactly the last
16 meeting took place, it's a bit difficult for me to tell.
17 Q. Just to clarify. You're talking about the commander of your
18 battalion. Not the commander of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade? You
19 just mentioned commander "from my battalion," on line 55 -- on page 55,
20 line 12. You're referring now to the commander of your battalion which
21 you last met before you descended?
22 A. I thought you were asking me about the brigade commander.
23 Q. Yes, I was. That's in your answer. On page 55, line 12, the --
24 you are stating "commander from my battalion." He was in a holiday home.
25 But indeed I was asking you for the commander of the 7th Muslim mountain
1 brigade, when you for the last time met him, before you descended towards
3 A. Look, that's not my level, as it were. I had links to the
4 battalion. The assistant commander for the brigade, I mean.
5 Q. One last question relating to Vares. On page 55, line 8, you
6 reported, I assume, about your return from Vares. And I had asked you
7 when you met the commander and you stated, on page 54, line 8: We have
8 not -- and I quote "We have not met until the reporting."
9 Did you report back to anybody upon your return from Vares?
10 A. Those of us who were the battalion assistant commanders for
11 morale, we had meetings with the assistant commander of the brigade for
12 morale. And that was when we met and when we exchanged that information,
13 as to further plans and to the further development of the situation.
14 Q. Do you recall what you reported once you were returning? What did
15 you report about the situation in Vares?
16 A. The city was full of provisions. It was also full of stuff which
17 was not of any consequence to us, such as alcohol and cigarettes. But
18 there were still this problem of logistics, how to get the provisions to
19 the soldiers for the upcoming activities since we had no means of
21 Q. So how did you solve -- or did you discuss the transport problem
22 on the meeting of --
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Defence.
24 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. My
25 first comment is that this is outside the framework that you have
1 determined. And secondly, my learned friend has already asked the same
2 questions in the course of his cross-examination. The witness has already
3 replied to those questions.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have heard the comment. I
5 am not going to deal with matters of transport. Move on to another
6 question, please.
7 MR. NEUNER:
8 Q. I will move to another subject. The President of the Trial
9 Chamber has asked you about your encounters or your meetings with
10 foreigners. And you said, indeed, occasionally -- or at least you had met
11 some foreigners. I just wanted to ask you: Approximately how many
12 foreigners did you talk to in 1993?
13 A. About the number, you mean?
14 Q. I'm referring not to -- just for clarification -- not to your
15 encounters with UNPROFOR or people from Croatia. I'm referring to
16 Mujahedin, persons, foreigners who called themselves Mujahedin or who were
17 considered by the locals to be Mujahedin. I'm just asking how many such
18 foreigners did you meet in 1993?
19 A. As to a specific number, I can't really name that, because I was
20 mostly banned to a certain area. So that those things that happened in
21 the hinterland, as it were, went straight over my head, in the sense that
22 some information I only found out about after the war or maybe even now,
23 even though recently.
24 Q. You were referring to the hinterland. I assume you were referring
25 to the Bila Valley area where you were in 1993. In the Bila Valley, how
1 many foreign Mujahedin did you encounter in 1993?
2 A. The places they went to was Mehurici. And if you look at the map,
3 it's seven to eight kilometres away from Alihodza. So we were physically
4 separated. And going anywhere was risky business, really, even if anyone
5 were to attempt to reach them.
6 Q. I understand. But you told the Presiding Judge that you, indeed,
7 met some Mujahedin. Where did you meet them?
8 A. Those meetings were nothing special. They were not especially
9 agreed or they were not in a specific place. They could have happened in
10 the street, or in the country, or in the middle of the road. I mean,
11 exchanging views about certain matters. But I've already said that we
12 simply could not find a common language to speak about these matters
13 because, in that - what should I call it - in this somewhat more extreme
14 version or interpretation of Islam, they even go as far as to say -- for
15 example they will say: You're religion is incorrect. It's not all right.
16 And when you hear these things, then you can't really have any sort of
18 Q. You're now talking about the different perceptions of religion.
19 If I may ask. The foreigners you met, were they from Sunni faith or from
20 Shia faith?
21 A. For the most part they were Sunnis, a couple of Shiites. That's a
22 historic quandary, really. A problem that I perhaps shouldn't go into
23 now, but what is of essence is this. This is the whole root of all the
24 problems we're seeing today. An attitude to one thing. Muslims living in
25 Europe obviously bring along their own culture the way it is, and their
1 religion. But somebody who lives in the East, they have their own views.
2 And when these two groups, as it were, meet obviously there are problems
3 and you have to take account of the fact, okay, this guy is coming from
4 the Orient and then you want to help us out. But if you cause more
5 trouble than it's worth, then there is a question mark over the whole
6 thing then.
7 Q. Would it be fair to say that the majority of the foreigners you
8 spoke to were Sunnis? In the Bila Valley, of those people you happened to
10 A. In my --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I believe that this is not a
13 correctly put question, because the witness has already replied that he
14 could have met these people passing by in the street, in the country. He
15 never once mentioned the Bila Valley. And, therefore, the question in the
16 way it has been put does not really reflect the witness's answer to the
17 previous question. Thank you.
18 MR. NEUNER: I'm prepared to withdraw it.
19 Q. Do you remember any names or pseudonyms, these people gave
20 themselves, like "Abu," and so on, these people you spoke to.
21 A. I do remember some. Although what you're saying is something I
22 found out later on. Those were codes, in fact, because they were hiding
23 their real names. And that too tends to corroborate the fact that this
24 kind of mixing is likely to cause a great deal of confusion.
25 Q. Can you state -- state some of these names?
1 A. I was present at an autopsy, after an event either at Ahmici, or
2 thereabouts, one of those Arabs had been killed and his name was Abu
3 Sahar. His body near to my community. Just one detail. I mean,
4 apparently he was still alive and then he died on the way to hospital, and
5 a committee of enquiry was set up to investigate the case and I was a
6 member of that committee and we looked at the body. I think he took about
7 seven bullets from a pistol at close range. So Abu Sahar.
8 Q. Do you have any other names?
9 A. In the beginning of the war, I met somebody who was Abu Sahar, I
10 can't remember. He was the first person I met, and he was killed at
11 Visoko in 1992, in the summer of 1992, sometime in July or August. That's
12 what I heard. The line was at Karazici [phoen].
13 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the name of the
14 place very well.
15 Q. Can you repeat the name of the place, please, where the body was
17 A. Cekrcic. It's a bit difficult. C-e-k-r-c-i-c.
18 Q. Can you please also, for the record, state the place where Abu
19 Sahar was found. You said your community. Can you please just state in
20 which location he was found.
21 A. So we were looking at the map earlier on. My community is made up
22 of three parts: Zelote, Alihodza, and Karahodze. In the vicinity of
23 Karahodze there is a bridge which is called the Zukic Bridge. And he was
24 thrown off the road and he was wrapped in a blanket. And one of the
25 people working in the fields noticed that and reported it.
1 Q. My last question is, you stated you were in a commission
2 investigating this incident and you also talked about the other dead body
3 near Visoko. Did you find any documentation on the bodies of the corpses
4 of these dead foreigners?
5 A. As to Abu Sahar at Visoko, I only heard the information about him.
6 So I don't know exactly. I was told about the location and, as to Abu
7 Sahar, I was present. No documents were found on him. I think everything
8 he had had been taken. I had the impression that he had been robbed, in
10 Q. Earlier you mentioned to the Presiding Judge that you met some
11 Mujahedin. Now you gave us the -- two incidents which involved more or
12 less dead Mujahedin. I see my colleague on their feet.
13 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] This line of questioning may
14 confuse the witness. When the learned colleague was asking the question,
15 he asked whether the witness heard of incidents in which members of the
16 7th Muslim Brigade participated, whereas now this obviously has no link to
17 the questions he had asked before.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. You may proceed.
19 MR. NEUNER:
20 Q. I'm just asking a follow-up question relating to the Judge's -- or
21 Your Honour's question, which related to contacts which this witness had
22 with Mujahedin. I'm not following up on questions I put during my
23 cross-examination. So with the leave of the Trial Chamber, I would put
24 one last question relating to potential -- mere encounters.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The last question now, because
1 time is ticking.
2 MR. NEUNER:
3 Q. Do you remember any names of foreign Mujahedin which you met, if
4 allow me, while they were alive.
5 A. The one who died at Visoko, I met him whilst he was alive,
6 Buzuhera [phoen] because when he came at some point mid-June it was a
7 rather exclusive event in Bosnia. Consider the situation we were in. All
8 this murder and persecution going on and then all of a sudden somebody
9 comes along to help you. And since our people is good and welcoming,
10 certainly they were willing to host people who came along to help. So it
11 was at some point mid June. He moved to Visoko I think in August, that
12 was my information.
13 MR. NEUNER: Am I allowed to ask a last question, Your Honour?
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Your last question.
15 MR. NEUNER: Thank you very much.
16 Q. You mentioned earlier in discussion with the Presiding Judge the
17 religious -- or the different religions who met through the foreigners
18 coming to Bosnia and the local religion practiced there. And you have
19 also mentioned Sufism. Is Sufism part of the Sunni faith or of the Shiite
21 A. The Sunni faith.
22 MR. NEUNER: Thank you. The Prosecution has no further questions.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Defence counsel.
24 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] We have no questions,
25 Mr. President.
1 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, just one question
2 to make everything clear.
3 Q. In response to a question put to the witness by the
4 Presiding Judge, page 49, line 24, you said that these foreign combatants
5 weren't members of the brigade.
6 A. That's correct.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, this completes your
8 testimony. On behalf of the judges, I thank you for having you come to
9 testify at The Hague at the request of the Defence counsel for Mr. Kubura.
10 I wish you a safe trip home and I will now ask the usher to escort you out
11 of the courtroom.
12 [The witness withdrew]
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before we adjourn, since I think
14 that we're almost at the end of the tape, does the Defence counsel have a
15 witness available for tomorrow?
16 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. The
17 witness scheduled for tomorrow is ready and, if everything runs smoothly,
18 I think we will be able to finish with the witness tomorrow and it won't
19 be necessary to have a hearing on Friday.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But in any event, we can't have
21 a hearing on Friday, since we've taken note of your wish not to have a
22 hearing -- or not to have hearings scheduled for Friday. We have a few
23 more minutes. Would either of the parties like to raise any issues?
24 Mr. Mundis. No problems? No questions?
25 MR. MUNDIS: No problems. No questions. No issues.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Very well. As far
2 as the Defence is concerned the situation must be identical?
3 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] That's correct, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I thank you in that case and
5 invite you all to attend the hearing that will commence tomorrow at 9.00.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.35 p.m., to
7 be reconvened on Thursday, the 14th day of April,
8 2005, at 9.00 a.m.