1 Thursday, 31 March 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.23 p.m.
6 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Mr. Court deputy.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-01-48-T, the Prosecutor versus Sefer Halilovic.
9 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
10 Good afternoon, Witness.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
12 JUDGE LIU: You've had a good rest yesterday?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Everything was all right.
14 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. And are you ready to start?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Morrissey.
18 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
19 WITNESS: DZEVAD TIRAK [Resumed]
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 Examined by Mr. Morrissey: [Continued]
22 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Tirak. Mr. Tirak, yesterday I commenced
23 to ask you some questions about orders that you got from Rasim Delic at a
24 senior level to conduct particular operations. I'm going to come back to
25 a list of those documents in minute, but I just wanted to ask you one
1 thing before I go to that. In late August and early September of 1993,
2 you became aware that an inspection team had been appointed to come down
3 to Herzegovina and help the 6th Corps coordinate combat action that it had
4 to undertake; is that correct?
5 A. As far as I was aware, the inspection team visited the 6th Corps,
6 but that was a lot earlier. I wasn't there myself. I'm not sure whether
7 another visit was announced for late October or early September. As I
8 wasn't there, I simply don't know. I believe I've stated this on a number
9 of occasions already.
10 Q. Yes. Well, let me ask you, then. In the month of July, do you
11 recall meeting any of Mr. Suljevic, Karic, or Bilajac, coming to
12 Herzegovina to assist the 6th Corps in coordinating its -- its activities
13 with the 4th Corps on the one flank and the 3rd Corps on the other flank?
14 A. Yes, I do recall that. It was sometime around mid-summer, but I
15 can't be very specific. Those three gentlemen came to the 6th Corps. I
16 met them, and we familiarised them with our situation. Then proceeded to
17 tell us about the situation in the adjacent course so that we would keep
18 ourselves mutually informed.
19 Q. Yes. All right. Now, yesterday I showed you a document, D105,
20 which was an order from Commander Delic early in July. When I say to you,
21 I mean to the command of the 6th Corps. Now I want to look at another
22 document, please?
23 MR. MORRISSEY: And if the witness could be shown another exhibit,
24 please, which has already been tendered, D138.
25 Q. What's about to be shown to you on the television screen is an
1 order by Sefer Halilovic in his capacity as Chief of Staff dated the 24th
2 of August and directed to the 6th Corps. Now, that should appear on the
3 screen in front of you in just a moment.
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, we have some difficulties with the English
5 version, but B/C/S is on there. So could we proceed?
6 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes. Your Honour. I'll just see if I have a hard
7 copy myself to proceed from.
8 Q. Could I ask, Mr. Tirak, do you have in front of you a B/C/S
9 version of that document? That is, an order of the 24th of August, 1993,
10 under the hand of Sefer Halilovic?
11 A. Yes. I see part of the document. I can't see the entire
13 Q. Okay, we think there is a technical hitch. Pardon me again, Mr.
14 Tirak, please?
15 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, we think the Bosnian that's on the
16 screen is Mr. Delic's order of the 26th, not Mr. Halilovic's order of the
17 24th. I'm going to come to that order of the 26th soon, but I think we'd
18 better show the witness the right one.
19 Sorry. Just excuse me, Your Honour. I'll see if I've -- if we've
20 caused the problem or --
21 THE REGISTRAR: It's rectified now, Mr. Morrissey.
22 MR. MORRISSEY: Thank you. It's been indicated that it's now
24 Q. Now, I'm sorry. Do you have the Bosnian version of an order from
25 Sefer Halilovic in front of you which is dated the 24th of August, 1993,
1 and directed to the command of the 6th Corps and also to the command of
2 the 4th Corps for information? Do you have that?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Very well. Now, do you see at the end of that document that
5 Halilovic has issued this order in his capacity as the Chief of Staff?
6 A. I can't see the bottom of the document, but I assume that's
8 Q. That's okay. I just want to show that to you because --
9 Mr. Tirak, I'm going to show you a number of documents. If there's a part
10 that you need to see, you don't wait for me to give you permission. You
11 just say so, and the court staff will assist you by scrolling to that
13 MR. MORRISSEY: So could the witness just be shown the end of that
14 order, please.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I see it now.
16 MR. MORRISSEY:
17 Q. So now that appears to be to be an order by Sefer Halilovic in his
18 capacity as Chief of Staff.
19 And I take it since you were a Chief of Staff yourself, you're
20 able to say this that a Chief of Staff can issue a combat order so long as
21 his commander gives them the authority to do so; is that correct?
22 A. Quite correct. This was the rule, that the Chief of Staff could
23 only issue an order that has previously about authorised by the commander.
24 Q. And in your experience, it did happen to you from -- not in this
25 particular concrete case, but in other cases when you were Chief of Staff
1 that sometimes you were given authority to issue a particular combat order
2 on a case-by-case basis. Is that true?
3 A. That's true. Throughout my time as Chief of Staff, it only
4 happened once that there was an emergency. Igman was attacked, and I was
5 the only one around who had the powers to issue an order, but normally I
6 didn't do this sort of thing. This was an exceptional situation.
7 Q. Yes. All right. Thank you. Well, as to the substance of that
8 order, you can see now, and perhaps if we go back to the first page as
9 well, you can see there that the Chief of Staff, Sefer Halilovic, issued a
10 number of pretty detailed instructions to the 6th Corps as to what they
11 should do to deal with the particular crisis at that time. Do you agree
12 with that?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Okay. Now, as a matter of -- of reaction by the 6th Corps, did
15 the 6th Corps form any plans to obey that order?
16 A. Unfortunately, I don't think I can answer that question. We're
17 obviously talking about a point in time when I'd left already, and I'm not
18 familiar with any details.
19 Q. I think I'd better just clarify that. This document's dated the
20 24th of August, 1993. When you say you'd left already, do you mean that
21 you had gone to some other part of the front line or some other part of
22 the area of responsibility?
23 A. At this point in time, in late summer, we were facing a great deal
24 of difficulty in the Fojnica area. I spent the best part of my time on
25 that patch because we were facing a great deal of difficulty. The HVO
1 forces were attempting to cut our only line of communication over to
2 Zenica and the 3rd Corps, which was the reason I spent the best part of my
3 time in the area. Whenever I returned to the corps, it would be openly
4 for a brief while, and I didn't have any time to do anything else with the
6 Q. Very well. Would you just look at the map that's positioned
7 behind you above your right shoulder.
8 MR. MORRISSEY: I wonder if the witness could please be given a
9 pointer to assist him.
10 Q. Now, does that map include Fojnica or not?
11 A. I would need to stand up, if I may, to have a look.
12 Q. Yes, feel free. Mr. Tirak, if it doesn't appear there, I won't
13 trouble you any further. I'm sorry, I should have checked it myself to
14 see whether it did.
15 Can you just indicate -- perhaps I'll ask you another question
16 about it. We might deal with it in another way.
17 Where is Fojnica in relation to the city of Konjic?
18 A. In relation to the city of Konjic, Fojnica would be to the east --
19 the north-east rather.
20 Q. North-east. Okay. And about how many kilometres north-east was
22 A. If you take the usual road, maybe 30 or 40 kilometres. At the
23 time, however, you had to take the long way round, through the woods,
24 which made it a lot longer.
25 Q. Okay. And what was the normal travel time between Fojnica and
2 A. If you're lucky, 14 or 15 hours, but it could take a long longer
3 than that.
4 Q. Okay. Okay. Well, now, I was going to ask you, and in fact I
5 started to ask you what it was that the 6th Corps did in response to this
6 order, but your answer to me seems to be this: That you had gone to
7 Fojnica and you don't know what they did in response to that order; is
8 that correct?
9 A. I spent the best part of the time in that sector of our corps'
10 area of responsibility, so I'm not familiar with details, but I suppose
11 you would need to go ask those who were at the staff at the time.
12 Q. Yes. Very well. I want to show you another -- another order, and
13 this is one two days later from Commander Delic.
14 MR. MORRISSEY: Could the witness please be shown D139 now.
15 Q. What's going to be put on the screen is another order somewhat
16 similar in nature but emanating from a different person, from Rasim Delic.
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, we have some technical problem that we cannot
18 have the English version of that document. Maybe you could proceed and
19 later on this problem will be solved.
20 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, Your Honours, we can, but it's -- I was just
21 trying -- Your Honours, I'll explain what my dilemma is.
22 Just excuse me, sorry, Mr. Tirak.
23 Your Honours, putting these orders in is not very entertaining, if
24 I can use that term, for anyone, not the witness, not the Bench, not me, I
25 dare say not the Prosecution either. It has to be done, Your Honour, in a
1 way which preserves some chronology, otherwise we're going to be lost in a
2 whole load of orders, and I can indicate quite plainly -- what I'm meaning
3 to do is to put such documents as I have in -- essentially in
4 chronological order so that the Tribunal gets some use from it, frankly.
5 And it's also unfair to the witness in some ways to jump from one to
6 another because they forget -- well, sometimes witnesses forget what
7 they're being asked and that's why I wanted to do it in the order that I
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
10 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, could I just consult briefly with
11 Mr. -- with my helpers here and see if I can find a way of doing it from
13 JUDGE LIU: What I mean is maybe we could proceed based on the
14 B/C/S version.
15 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes. Well, I'm happy to do that but I'm not sure
16 if the Prosecutors' have got a copy of the document. I think I have. I
17 was come up on the screen. But I'm -- I'm happy to proceed that way,
18 Your Honour, if the Prosecutors are.
19 Your Honour, we could put the English versions on the ELMO, which
20 might assist everyone.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
22 MR. MORRISSEY: Our legal assistant is just going to get unmarked
23 ones. The ones that are marked at the moment might not be proper to put
24 on the ELMO, I'm sorry to say.
25 Q. Mr. Tirak, just excuse us, please, while we attempt to bring
1 technology under control.
2 Just while we're waiting for the English version to be collected,
3 would you take the opportunity, please, just to read the Bosnian version
4 of the order that appears on the screen there, and just note who it's sent
5 by and also the date on which it's sent, and then I'll ask you some
6 questions about it when the English version arrives.
7 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I find the Defence has become very
8 dependent on the E-court.
9 Q. Perhaps while we're waiting Mr. Tirak, I'll get you -- okay.
10 A. Perhaps you can ask me some other questions. I don't think it
11 will cause any confusion if we go back to this at a later stage.
12 Q. Well, thanks for the suggestion, but I think just to preserve some
13 coherence for the rest of us in Court --
14 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, we have an English version of this,
15 and perhaps that could be placed on the ELMO now. Thank you.
16 Q. Okay. Now, just having regard to that document on the ELMO, could
17 I just ask that -- do you confirm that that appears to be a document dated
18 the 26th of August, 1993, addressed to the 6th Corps commander in person
19 and emanating from the commander of the army, Rasim Delic?
20 A. The document states precisely that in no uncertain terms.
21 Q. Okay. Could I just ask the document be moved down so the
22 instructions under the heading "Order" can be shown. So I'm grateful for
24 Okay. Now, do you observe here that Commander Delic asked your
25 commend E, that is to say commander Gusic, to engage in an attack. Look
1 at paragraph number 1. "To engage in an attack on the Vrdi village."
2 Domazet village access. Do you see that? It's under paragraph 1 of that
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Do you also see that in paragraph number 4 there's an order to ask
6 the 44th and 45th Mountain Brigades to engage the HVO as closely as
7 possible with the objective of tying down those forces and, if possible,
8 to achieve success there. Do you see that part?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. All right. Now I'll just ask you to have another look at that
11 map, if you wouldn't mind. Do you see at the -- and I'm -- ask you to
12 look particularly down towards the bottom of the -- of the combat line
13 there. Are you able to see Vrdi, the village of Vrdi?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Okay. And does it appear to you that on that map it seems to
16 indicate that there should be an attack towards Vrdi?
17 A. Yes, based on what I can see on the map.
18 Q. Okay. And looking on that map a little bit higher up, a little
19 bit further to the north, does it also appear to you that that map
20 indicates that there should be attacks in the areas of the 44th and 45th
21 Mountain Brigades, according to that map?
22 A. Yes, according to the map.
23 Q. I'm going to come back to that map a little later on, but in
24 short, do you agree that the attacks which Commander Delic has asked
25 for -- to happen on the 26th of August do appear to have taken place or at
1 least -- sorry, I take that back.
2 The attacks requested by Commander Delic in this order of the 26th
3 do appear to have formed part of the attacks depicted on that map that
4 you've just looked at; is that correct?
5 A. By all means. That's what the map shows, offensive operations
6 being carried out in an area that is a lot larger than that pertaining to
7 those two brigades only.
8 Q. Yes, that's certainly correct. Very well. Thank you for that.
9 Now, because there was an order from Commander Delic to the 6th
10 Corps command, I want to ask you questions about what the 6th Corps
11 command did to put that order into practice, and my first question is:
12 Were you present at the 6th Corps command at that time or were you engaged
13 in other duties in the Fojnica area?
14 A. As I said before, I spent most of my time in the area, but being
15 familiar with the situation as it was in the 6th Corps, I believe these
16 orders were a little unrealistic. If anything, the corps situation did
17 not allow for this.
18 What Commander Gusic did about it, or did anything, I can't say.
19 What I can say is we weren't able to do much. The corps simply wasn't
20 able to at the time.
21 Q. Yes, but as to the specific response to that order, you were not
22 in a position to make any comment one way or the other. Is that accurate?
24 A. Yes, that's accurate.
25 Q. And -- all right, well, I'll just move on to another document
1 straight away.
2 MR. MORRISSEY: Could the witness please be shown another
3 document, and this is D140, already tendered into evidence.
4 Q. Mr. Tirak, I'm now going to show you another document. Actually,
5 while I'm waiting for that to come up, I'm going to ask you another
7 The two orders I've just shown you, the one from Sefer Halilovic
8 as Chief of Staff on the 24th and the other one from Delic on the 26th,
9 have you ever seen those orders before today?
10 A. No.
11 Q. And I take it when you were at Fojnica there was no requirement
12 for Commander Gusic or his deputy, Bahrudin Fazlic, to forward such orders
13 on to you; is that correct?
14 A. No, no such orders were conveyed to me. They probably believed
15 the difficulty I was facing in my area was quite sufficient and that I
16 should not be dealing with anything else.
17 Q. Yes. And to the best of your memory, they didn't -- neither --
18 neither Gusic nor Fazlic told us about these orders at the time as far as
19 you can recall?
20 A. Certainly.
21 Q. Okay. All right. Thank you. Now, do you have now in front of
22 you -- I'm just not sure what the technical situation is -- pardon me.
23 All right. In front of you now there should be a document which
24 is a proposal. Do you see that document, the proposal?
25 A. I still have the old document on my screen. Well, yes, I can see
1 it now.
2 Q. Okay. I'm just going to have to ask the court staff for some
3 acrobatic assistance with this document. I just want -- what I want to do
4 is show you the front -- the front page and ask you some questions. Then
5 I want to show you the last page to get signature, and then I'll ask you
6 about the substance of it.
7 So, first of all, does this appear to be a proposal directed to
8 the 6th Corps command, personally to the commander, dated at Jablanica
9 29th of August, 1993, and it is a proposal for planning and carrying out
10 combat operations. Do you see that?
11 A. I see the beginning of the document but not the end.
12 Q. Okay. I'm going to give you a chance to -- to look at the
13 document properly so -- and if you need more time you just don't -- don't
14 wait for me to offer you say that you need more time. However, I just
15 want to get some formalities first?
16 MR. MORRISSEY: Could the witness be shown the very end of the
17 document, please.
18 Q. What I'm seeking to show you now is the -- the name of the author
19 of that document, which we think is a person called Mr. Zukanovic, and
20 I'll just ask you to look at that. Okay. Do you have that now?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And do you recall Mr. Zukanovic?
23 A. It is unclear. I -- I mean, I do remember the name, but I don't
24 have a clear memory.
25 Q. That's okay. In any event, seeing that, that signature there, a
1 member of the ON OG operations and training, main command, Enes Zukanovic.
2 Do you agree that he was a person who was located in that particular
3 branch of the 6th Corps?
4 A. For a while he was a member of the 6th Corps.
5 Q. Okay. Now, if -- perhaps if we could just go back to the first
6 page. Mr. Tirak, I'm going to take you through this proposal by Zukanovic
7 to the commander of the 6th Corps.
8 Okay. Could we just start by noticing the introductory paragraph,
9 and could I just ask you to -- to note there that this proposal appears to
10 be based on information gathered by and in the zone of the 44th, the 45th
11 Mountain Brigades, and also the Prozor Independent Battalion, and
12 contemplates a coordinated action by those groups? Do you agree that
13 that's what the -- what the proposal appears to be based on?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. All right. Now, having regard to the specific of the proposal, I
16 just want to take you through those. Do you see that paragraph 1 provides
17 for particular axes of attacks by those units, the Prozor Independent
18 Battalion and the 45th and 44th brigades?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Okay. And in particular, would you just have regard to the
21 heading under the Prozor Independent Battalion, that one of the axes of
22 attack there appears to be the village of Scip -- I'm sorry, I can't
23 pronounce that one. But Scipe, Uzdol, and another village?
24 A. Kranjcici, yes.
25 Q. All right. Thank you. And does the proposal go on, and do you
1 have paragraph 2 in front of you there which is headed "Time of carrying
2 out operations?"
3 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, in the English version that's on the
4 second page.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 MR. MORRISSEY:
7 Q. And so far as you're aware, in early September there was some
8 combat in the Konjic area which essentially involved a battle on the 2nd
9 of September, 1992; is that correct?
10 A. I know that much earlier a smaller operation had been planned in
11 order to try and, so to say, do away with a pocket of resistance of the
12 HVO members who after having been defeated in that particular theatre of
13 war had joined the units of the Republika Srpska and engaged in
14 coordinated activity around Konjic. So we had planned a relatively small
15 action in order to remove them from that area in order to make for a safer
16 communication between Konjic and Jablanica. And that plan had been
17 devised a lot earlier but, because of ongoing problems within the corps,
18 probably it had only been possible to start working on it at that stage.
19 Q. I understand. Very well. Now, just having regard to the map
20 that's next to you there, this is a map that was drafted at a later time,
21 but I just want to -- I want to -- want to clarify a couple of things
22 about this proposal by Zukanovic and the map that appears there.
23 As you see that Zukanovic proposed certain attacks for the Prozor
24 Independent Battalion in the area of Uzdol, do you know there that the
25 Prozor independent -- you notice there that the -- that the Prozor
1 Independent -- sorry, do you notice there -- I'll withdraw that. I'll
2 deal with -- I'll deal with that when I come to the map. Pardon me. I
3 don't want -- I don't want to overdo that.
4 Very well. Just to press on with the Zukanovic document, would
5 you look at number 4, paragraph 4, please, under the heading "Engagement
6 of forces." Do you have that in front of you? And if not, tell us and
7 we'll have it scrolled down for you.
8 All right. Now, having had the opportunity to look at that and
9 the particular axis of engagement of those units, I understand that map
10 there is on a very large scale and includes more units than just the
11 Prozor Battalion and the 44th and the 45th, but do you agree with this,
12 that the proposals of Mr. Zukanovic, on -- in this document here that
13 you're looking, at appear to be similar in nature to the attacks that are
14 proposed on that map that's in front of you there?
15 A. At any rate, very similar.
16 Q. Yes. Now I must ask you a question about the Zukanovic document.
17 Before I showed it to you here in court today, have you ever seen it
19 A. No.
20 Q. It's in evidence in this case. I just want you to think back.
21 Did the Prosecutors show you that document in their proofing session
22 before you gave evidence here?
23 A. No.
24 Q. How many documents did they show you in those proofing sessions?
25 A. Very little about those preparations, because I have explicitly
1 stated that at the time I was not there, and so all I can say is what I
2 heard from Fazlic's -- Fazlic, the deputy commander. So I was not shown
3 any actual documents myself.
4 Q. Very well. All right. Well, with respect to this plan of
5 Zukanovic, did you hear about it at the time when -- when he made this
7 A. No.
8 Q. Yesterday, when the learned Prosecutor Mr. Sachdeva asked you
9 questions about whether the 6th Corps had engaged in any planning
10 activities concerning combat operations in the area, you indicated the 6th
11 Corps hand engage in any such planning. But let me ask you this question:
12 Is the real truth about that, that you weren't aware of any such planning
13 but, in fact, you were over at Fojnica and you don't really know?
14 A. I certainly couldn't have known, but normally within the corps
15 even when much smaller actions were about to be carried out, the first
16 programming stage, the entire staff would be present. So that was the
17 custom. And when I said yesterday the command of the 6th Corps did not
18 actually device a plan for such an action, this is something that I can
19 still say, as to whether an individual had ever made a proposal in
20 relation to such an action and in what way. But the established custom
21 was that at the start of the planning for any action, everybody would
22 participate. Well, that was not adhered to this time round, and if anyone
23 within the 6th Corps had been planning it, I was not aware of it, and
24 that's why I stated explicitly yesterday that the 6th Corps Staff that --
25 was not aware of that.
1 Q. Well, is your position really this: You weren't told the 6th
2 Corps command was involved. In the normal course of events, if things
3 were normal, you should have been told if they were, but at the time,
4 things weren't normal and you were stuck over in Fojnica. Do you agree
5 with that?
6 A. So your suggestion would be along the lines of my answer, had you
7 asked me a direct question, that is.
8 Q. I'll always try to ask you a better question, but I'm putting to
9 you that you over at Fojnica did not know whether or not the 6th Corps was
10 participating. Do you agree with that?
11 A. That's quite correct.
12 Q. Okay. Now, I'm going to ask you about some particular dates, and
13 you just do the best you can to answer. You think you were over at
14 Fojnica before those orders that I showed you earlier on, the Sefer
15 Halilovic order of the 24th of August and the Delic order of the 26th of
16 August. Can you remember what date it was that you first went over to
17 Fojnica during this particular stay at Fojnica that you've referred to?
18 Was it mid-August or was it about the 20th of August? Give us your best
19 estimate, please.
20 A. I think that was the case even before, because throughout the
21 month of August quite often different types of operations were conducted
22 around Fojnica, because the HVO was trying very hard to cut of the
23 communication line, the only one that we still had. So I think it might
24 have happened before. I think it did, but I can't remember exactly.
25 Whatever date I gave you would be approximate, because I just don't have
1 such a specific and precise memory after 12 years.
2 Q. No, and, Mr. Tirak, we're not going to quarrel with you over that.
3 That's quite reasonable.
4 Bearing in mind the concerns that you've just expressed, do you
5 think it was early in August that you went over there?
6 A. It is very difficult to give a precise answer, but I think yes.
7 Q. All right. Well, now, I'm going to really ask you about some
8 dates towards the end of August, and you understand I have to put these to
9 you formally and in an organised way.
10 On the 30th of August of 1993, the likelihood is that you were
11 over in Fojnica; is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. All right. Do you know -- I'm going to ask you about the 1st of
14 September. On the 1st of September, were you in Konjic when Sefer
15 Halilovic and Sefko Hodzic -- sorry, in Jablanica when Sefko Hodzic and
16 Sefer Halilovic arrived, or were you over in Fojnica?
17 A. I was either at Fojnica or Vakuf or travelling between the two.
18 Q. Yes. Were you present -- so I take it you weren't present at any
19 meeting between Sefer Halilovic, Zuka, being Zulfikar Alispago, Selmo
20 Cikotic, and Salko Gusic on the 1st of September? You weren't present at
21 any such meeting, is that true?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Do you remember whether you were told of any such meeting or given
24 any notes of any such meeting on 1st of September, at the time?
25 A. I was told about that meeting by Mr. Fazlic without any notes
1 being taken. Just a couple of things in relation to that meeting were
2 mentioned in a conversation. That happened when I came back from Vakuf
3 that night, as I mentioned before.
4 Q. That's the night when you came back and learned that some crimes
5 had been committed; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. All right. I'm going to come to that night in some detail later
8 on, but I want to go through the days before that just to make sure we're
9 clear where you were and what you heard or what you didn't hear.
10 I've asked you about the 1st of September. I want to come to the
11 2nd of September.
12 On the 2nd of September, were you at or near to Konjic when combat
13 activity was going on, and Sefer Halilovic, Zulfikar Alispago, and another
14 individual named Haso Hakalovic were present and had a discussion? Were
15 you present on that occasion at Konjic or were you over at Fojnica again?
16 A. I wasn't at Fojnica at that time.
17 Q. Okay. Where were you on that occasion, this being the 2nd of
19 A. It is very difficult to tell with any degree of precision. I've
20 told you before, if you keep insisting on specific dates, I'm unable to
22 What I mentioned several times before, and I'm going to mention it
23 again, is I don't really remember the date, but at the time of that
24 operation I was either at Fojnica or at Vakuf, and you can ask me as many
25 times as you like about the exact date, but my answer is always going to
1 stay the same because I just simply cannot recollect the exact date.
2 Q. Mr. Tirak, I hear your answer. I understand what you say, but at
3 the same time we've got a chronology to deal with in this case, and I have
4 to persist with these questions. You just bear with me, please, and I'll
5 come to the 3rd of September now.
6 Were you aware on that day that Sefer Halilovic -- were you
7 present on that day when Sefer Halilovic and the journalist Sefko Hodzic
8 came to Kostanic -- Kostajnica and interviewed on tape some refugees who
9 were -- and camp inmates who were placed there, or were you elsewhere at
10 Fojnica, Vakuf, or halfway between?
11 A. I wasn't at Kostajnica at that time.
12 Q. Okay. And where you were is in one of the three positions that
13 you've indicated, either Vakuf, Fojnica, or on the road in between; is
14 that correct?
15 A. At that time, I was in that particular area. And as to when, on
16 what day I was in any specific place, I can't tell.
17 Q. That's okay. It may be that some. Indents I mention help your
18 memory. It may be they don't. But I'm going to mention them and give you
19 the chance.
20 I take you to the 4th of September, were you present on the 4th of
21 September when Commander Delic came down to Herzegovina and held a meeting
22 at Jablanica with Sefer Halilovic and a variety of other persons including
23 certain local commanders?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Okay. I just want you to have a look at that map there next to
1 you. Do you see that -- just -- yes. Take your time to position yourself
2 so you can see it.
3 Does that map appear to you to be, as a matter of form, a map
4 depicting a particular operation with the name of Neretva?
5 A. Undoubtedly that's what it says on the map.
6 Q. All right. And now as a matter of military form, do you see in
7 the top left-hand corner that that document has been approved with the
8 word "Odobravan" by the commander, Commander Delic?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And do you see in the bottom right-hand corner it's been
11 countersigned by the Chief of Staff, Sefer Halilovic?
12 A. Yes, and one can see that clearly as well.
13 Q. And just as a matter of form, based on that map, that would lead
14 you to the conclusion that Commander Delic was the commander of the
15 operation, and Sefer Halilovic was the Chief of Staff; is that correct?
16 A. At any rate, Delic signed that operation, so he must have been
17 formally a commander.
18 Q. Yes. Commander Delic didn't tell you anything about that map when
19 you saw him a week later at Visoko, did he?
20 A. No.
21 Q. In fact, when you saw him up at Visoko, he was pretending that he
22 knew nothing about it; correct?
23 A. Actually, yes, that he knew roughly, but he didn't know any
25 Q. Yes. Okay. And -- yes, very well. Thanks.
1 Had you ever been shown -- have you ever been shown that map
2 before this courtroom today?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Okay. And on the 4th of September, you were not present. I think
5 you've already indicated this. You were not present at this meeting at
6 Jablanica when the map was signed. Were you told about that map at the
7 time it was signed, namely on or around the 4th of September?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Okay. Could you just explain what the communications were like
10 between the 6th Corps headquarters at Konjic and your base of operations
11 out at Fojnica when you were there?
12 A. Those communications were pretty bad. And when there was
13 something urgent or something special had to be done, I used to go from
14 Fojnica to Visoko, and from there we could have a securer communication
15 with Fojnica.
16 Q. So I understand. Was -- well, I'll come to the communications in
17 a general way later on, so I wasn't ask you bits and pieces of questions
18 about it. Thank you for your answers about that.
19 I want to move on to the 5th of September. I asked you yesterday
20 this question, but I have to just put it again because it -- to -- in
21 order to preserve the chronology.
22 On the 5th of September, you were not at Dobro Polje; is that
24 A. No.
25 Q. Did you learn that there was a meeting at Dobro Polje at which
1 Sefer Halilovic explained how the specific axes of the operation were to
2 be carried out to the junior commanders?
3 A. I was not present at that meeting, so I don't know exactly what
5 Q. That's okay. Was the first -- sorry. So in terms of what
6 contribution was made by -- by Fazlic or by Gusic at that meeting, you
7 just can't comment because you weren't there; is that correct?
8 A. Precisely.
9 Q. Okay. And when you spoke later on to Braco Fazlic, did he even
10 mention that there'd been a meeting at Dobro Polje? I mean this -- the
11 meeting with Fazlic before you went off to see Commander Delic.
12 A. In that conversation, he mentioned the meeting at Jablanica. And
13 as to a meeting at Dobro Polje, he never mentioned it. For what reason, I
14 don't know. Perhaps he thought it was enough for him to tell me about
15 Jablanica. Perhaps it was about similar things or exactly the same, I
16 don't know, but he never mentioned it to me.
17 Q. That's okay. Well, I'm not asking you really the question as to
18 why he might have mentioned it or not mentioned it, but you've confirmed
19 that in fact he didn't mention it and that's what my question was.
20 Now, on the 5th of September, did you become aware as to whether
21 or not the 6th Corps had undertaken to collect troops from Sarajevo who
22 were going to pass through the tunnel and come down to Herzegovina for
23 combat operations? Did you receive any news about that where you were?
24 A. I did not.
25 Q. Very well. I'll move quickly through the dates of the 6th -- 6th
1 and 7th of September, and I come to those two dates now. On those two
2 dates, 6 and 7th of September, I take it that you were performing the same
3 function that you've indicated all along. Namely, you were either at
4 Fojnica, or Vakuf, or travelling between the two. Is that accurate?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. I come to the 8th of September. Were you aware that Bakir
7 Alispahic, the minister of the interior of the Bosnian Republic, was
8 present at Jablanica on that date?
9 A. I heard that later, but I was not aware of it at the time, simply
10 because I wasn't there.
11 Q. All right. How much later did you hear that? Was that in October
12 or was that during your conversation with Mr. Fazlic later on?
13 A. No, not during my conversation with Mr. Fazlic. It was a little
14 later. Fazlic did not refer to that particular detail.
15 Q. Was it sometime after you came back from Visoko to visit
16 Commander Delic that you heard this information about -- about Bakir
18 A. Some days after my return from Visoko, I can't say how many
19 exactly; that's when I found out.
20 Q. And when you found out, who was it who told you?
21 A. I can't remember specifically who was the first to tell me. I
22 know that I asked Commander Gusic what Mr. Alispahic had been looking for,
23 but I received no answer.
24 Q. All right. Well, on the 8th of September, positioned where you
25 were, did you become aware, did you learn that units from Sarajevo were
1 coming to Herzegovina, and in particular I'm referring to elements of the
2 2nd Independent Battalion, also elements of the 9th Brigade, and also
3 elements of the 10th Brigade. Did you become aware on the 8th that such
4 units were coming down, in fact were en route from Hrasnica and the tunnel
5 down to Herzegovina?
6 A. No.
7 Q. On the 9th of September -- now, we've heard in evidence this case
8 that the killings took place on the 8th, the night of the 8th of
9 September, and the morning of the 9th of September, and I now turn to ask
10 you questions about the 9th of September.
11 On the 9th of September, did you speak a man called Zajko Sihirlic
12 who was a security officer in the 44th Jablanica Brigade, part of the 6th
14 A. No.
15 Q. Did you speak to an individual called Sead Kurt who was chief the
16 Military Police Battalion -- sorry, I've glorified it there, the Military
17 Police Company in Jablanica?
18 A. No.
19 Q. There's -- there's a document I want to show you and ask you
20 whether you saw it at the time and indeed whether you've ever seen it now.
21 MR. MORRISSEY: And could the witness please be shown Exhibit
23 Q. What's being brought up on the screen now, Mr. Tirak, is a
24 document signed by Mr. Sihirlic reporting certain operative information
25 that he had. I just want to give you the chance to look at it.
1 Do you have in front of you a document dated the 9th of September,
2 1993, emanating from Zajko Sihirlic and also signed by Fadil Kevric? Do
3 you have that?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Okay.
6 Q. Now, I just want you to read that -- that -- just -- just if you
7 would quickly.
8 A. Can you scroll on, please. Can you scroll down, please. Further
9 down, please. I've finished.
10 Q. Thanks. Do you know, or did you know at the time
11 Mr. Zajko Sihirlic?
12 A. I believe I met him, but I think I only met him once or twice,
13 tops. I would be hard put to recognise him now, I think.
14 Q. Yes. That's okay. I won't -- you won't be asked to, Mr. Tirak.
15 But as far as you know, he was -- he was in the SVB, and he had to report
16 up the professional line of reporting to Mr. Nermin Eminovic rather than
17 the Command Staff generally. Is that true?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Okay. Turning to that report then, can I ask you when this report
20 was send to the 6th Corps command military security sector, did that
21 report ever get shown to you at that time?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Okay.
24 A. [Inaudible]
25 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
1 A. But I suppose that Mr. Fazlic saw this document. When I saw him
2 that evening, I told me that there were indications that someone had been
3 mistreated there, but he couldn't see anything more specific. I left
4 straight away, but I assume that was the only document that Mr. Fazlic had
5 seen by that time, and I believe he based his statement to me on that
7 Q. Okay. Have you seen that document in subsequent times?
8 A. No. I saw the report drafted by the assistant commander for
9 security of the 6th Corps, and that was a little later. But he probably
10 had that document, too, in his possession. I believe he based his report
11 on that.
12 Q. All right. I'm going to come to the substance of these
13 discussions in just a moment. What I want to do before I go any further
14 is just to fix a general chronology of what you did in the next few days
15 after this.
16 A. First of all, did you come back to Konjic after being in the field
17 at Fojnica, Vakuf, and in between on the 9th or the 10th or the 11th of
18 September, 1993? Can you recall which of those days or, if it's another
19 day, which other day, you returned to Konjic and spoke to Braco Fazlic?
20 A. I'm really sorry, but I really can't be very specific about the
22 Q. That's okay. Well, I rather suspected that that would be the
23 case. And what I want to do is take you to some incidents and see if we
24 can build up a chronology that's reliable just based on your memory.
25 Can you say what time of day you got back to Konjic,
1 approximately? Was it evening? Or was it morning? Was it lunchtime?
2 When was it?
3 A. Well, late in the evening. I can't be more specific. It was
5 Q. That's okay. All right. You arrived at Konjic at night-time.
6 How long did you stay at Konjic speaking to your deputy and then to
7 Mr. Fazlic before you set off to go to Visoko? Again, giving your best
9 A. It's really difficult to be accurate. I spoke to my deputy
10 briefly. He informed me about what was going on. I wanted to learn as
11 much as possible in as short a time as possible, so I went to see my
12 deputy immediately. I spoke to him for some time. It's difficult to say
13 how long. I know that I only had several hours' time left to sleep and
14 that I had to head back immediately. It was probably late at night
16 Q. Okay. Now, when you set off, did you go to Visoko early the next
17 morning? In other words, did you stop and have some sleep or did you
18 leave straight away?
19 A. I slept for several hours and then I set out. I remember this
20 clearly, and the reason is we had some problems. I tried to rush it, but
21 it took almost one day and one night to reach Visoko.
22 Q. Yes. Okay. So is this accurate then: You came back to Konjic at
23 night. You had a sleep -- sorry, you had your meetings, then you had a
24 sleep, and then you set off again the next morning, and you came to Konjic
25 after -- you came to Visoko after about 24 hours? Is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And did you arrive at Visoko in the morning?
3 A. Properly speaking.
4 Q. And did you have booked in a meeting with Commander Delic already?
5 In other words, were you expected?
6 A. No.
7 Q. All right. And how long did you have to wait before you got an
8 audience with Commander Delic?
9 A. Not very long. At the time I arrived, I didn't have the
10 impression that there were too many people around at the command. That's
11 as far as you could actually term that school building a command. I knew
12 that that was the place to find him.
13 Q. Okay. And did you go directly there and speak to Commander Delic?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And you've indicated that you spoke to him for a number of hours.
16 Did that conversation start straight away?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Okay. And when that conversation finished, approximately what
19 time of the day was it? I don't expect an exact hour, but was it
20 afternoon, evening, lunchtime?
21 A. It's really hard to say exactly, but I do know that the whole
22 thing went on for several hours. It must have been around lunchtime, I
23 guess. But this is not something that is lodged in my memory. Therefore,
24 I can't say.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters' note, would the witness please be
1 asked not to cover his mouth when speaking.
2 MR. MORRISSEY:
3 Q. Mr. Tirak, the interpreters have asked that you not cover your
4 mouth with your hand when you're answering questions. I'm just passing
5 that message on. In fact, what I do is cover the microphone with a piece
6 of paper, so we all have our faults in that regard.
7 Meanwhile, did you stay at Visoko that night or did you leave
8 straight away and make your way back to the zone of the 6th Corps?
9 A. Since I was in the area, I decided to go to Zenica to see if it
10 was possible to get some fuel for Fojnica from the ironworks in Zenica.
11 We had run out of fuel entirely, and we needed some very badly.
12 Therefore, I went straight to Zenica.
13 Q. Very well. And was that on the same day that you had seen
14 Commander Delic? In other words, did you finish with Commander Delic and
15 then go over to Zenica, or was that the following day?
16 A. It was the same day. The road between Visoko and Zenica could be
17 travelled at the time, and it took up to half an hour perhaps.
18 Q. Okay. Did you stay that night in Zenica or did you go back to
20 A. I was very exhausted, so I spent the night in Zenica, and it
21 wasn't until the next day that I actually got to speak to the people at
22 the ironworks.
23 Q. Okay. So that -- the day following your interview with Commander
24 Delic you were in Zenica with the ironworks people. During that day, did
25 you finish your business in Zenica and go back to Fojnica, or did you stay
1 in Zenica for longer?
2 A. We were given a full tanker of fuel at Zenica. I joined the
3 driver on the way back to Fojnica. That was the fastest way to go back.
4 Q. And when you got back to Fojnica did you resume your duties in
5 Fojnica and stay there for a number of days?
6 A. I can't remember specifically. I stayed for a day or two but not
7 longer. I had had this conversation with Mr. Delic that had nothing
8 whatsoever to do with this operation, but it was on account of that that I
9 was in a hurry to go back in order to get a headstart with some other
10 things that needed doing.
11 Q. Yes. Okay. Well, we'll come to -- perhaps I should ask you
12 this: When you're referring to these other things, are they things of a
13 military nature that you're talking about, other military tasks that you
15 A. All tasks were military tasks at the time, weren't they.
16 Q. Okay. Well, we'll come to those in a minute. But, however, you
17 weren't present in Dobro Polje or in Voljevac or in any of the northern
18 villages of the 6th Corps zone when combat operations began on the 13th of
19 September; is that correct?
20 A. No.
21 Q. And I think you made it quite clear you had nothing to do with
22 those combat operations yourself; is that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Okay. All right. Now, I have to come back now to the Delic
25 conversation. I think -- thank you for persisting with getting that
1 chronology sorted out, but I think from what you say you were away from --
2 away from -- or -- sorry. Perhaps I've gotten into a tangle there.
3 It took you a day to get to Visoko. Then you spent another day --
4 it took you a day and night to get to Visoko, another day and night to
5 spend time with Delic and go to Zenica, and then on the third day you got
6 some petrol and you got the tanker back to Fojnica. Is that an accurate,
7 general summary of what you did?
8 A. Yes, roughly speaking.
9 Q. Yes. I understand it's rough, and thank you for indicating that.
10 Now I want to turn to the conversation that you had with
11 Mr. Fazlic when you first came to Konjic after your time in the field,
12 Fojnica, Vakuf, and elsewhere.
13 In relation to the conversation you had with Mr. Fazlic, you
14 indicated that Mr. Fazlic was saying that he'd played no part in the
15 planning of this -- of this operation. Is that accurate? Is that what he
16 was telling you?
17 A. No. He told me he attended the meeting at Jablanica and that
18 later on based on what he'd heard at the meeting, he had issued
19 appropriate orders to three units from the 6th Corps that had actually
20 been involved with the operation.
21 Q. When you say so -- and did he say which meeting that was? That
22 was the meeting at -- at Jablanica; is that correct?
23 A. He told me that the commander and he had arrived in Jablanica,
24 that a forward command post had been set up there with some members from
25 the Supreme Command Staff and Mr. Sefer Halilovic. A meeting was held
1 there, he said, where a plan was tabled to lift the blockade of Mostar.
2 There was a request for these three units from the 6th Corps to take part
3 in that.
4 Q. And what Mr. Fazlic was telling you at this time, according to
5 you, was that he had already issued appropriate orders to those units
6 resubordinating them. Is that what you're saying?
7 A. He said he had issued the relevant orders. I'm not sure what
8 specific terms he used.
9 Q. But these orders had been issued, according to what he told you,
10 already; in other words, he'd already done that by the time he was talking
11 to you; is that correct?
12 A. That's what he told me.
13 Q. Okay. And he then told you about certain -- well, perhaps I've
14 just go -- to step outside the conversation you had with Mr. Fazlic and
15 ask you some questions.
16 Did you know that the -- a battalion called the Sutjeska Battalion
17 took part in these combat operations that began on the 13th of September?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Did you know that the Prozor Independent Battalion took part in
20 those operations?
21 A. Mr. Fazlic told me.
22 Q. Did he -- and did you know that will elements of the 44th brigade
23 took part in that operation -- sorry in those combat actions?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And did you know that parts of the 45th brigade took part in that
1 combat action?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did you know that the 317th Brigade took part in that action?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Did no one advise you in the days before you came to Konjic after
6 the -- after the -- well, when you did come there, did no one advise you
7 as Chief of Staff of the 6th Corps that these units were going to take
8 part in combat operations prior to speaking to Mr. Fazlic?
9 A. No.
10 Q. And are you certain that Mr. Fazlic mentioned the Prozor
11 Independent Battalion in that conversation?
12 A. He said that the Independent Battalion would certainly be part of
14 Q. Just excuse me a moment, please.
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Morrissey.
16 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, Your Honours. Could I just deal with one
17 question because it connects with this matter and then we'll move on.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
19 MR. MORRISSEY:
20 Q. Did you make a statement to the ICTY investigators in this case,
21 in particular an individual named Mr. Bernard Brun, and did you say in
22 that statement, which has been given to us by the Prosecutors, at
23 paragraph 13, I'll just read it to you and get you to comment: "Only
24 after the war I heard about the crime allegedly committed by Prozor
25 Independent Battalion. At the time of operation I did not even know that
1 this battalion was taking part in it."
2 Now, did you tell that to the investigators, and if so, why?
3 A. I did not know at the time of the operation. I told you when I
4 found out, but the operation had already finished by this time.
5 Q. Yes. So you could be wrong, then, in saying that Mr. Fazlic
6 mentioned that the Prozor Independent Battalion was going to take part in
7 the combat actions; is that correct?
8 A. Mr. Fazlic mentioned this to me. I'm not sure how exactly I put
9 it to the investigators, but what I meant to say and what really is
10 relevant is that I didn't know at the time of the operation. By the time
11 Fazlic actually told me, I believe the operation had already been over.
12 Q. By the time you spoke to Mr. Fazlic, in other words, as far as you
13 understood it, there had already been combat activities take place, and in
14 particular, the fighting at Uzdol had already taken place. Is that what
15 you say?
16 A. No. My understanding of what Mr. Fazlic said, which is not
17 necessarily accurate, it's very difficult for me to recall every single
18 detail, so this at least was my understanding. Maybe these were not the
19 precise words he used, but that was my understanding of the words he used.
20 He said the operations surrounding the blocking of Mostar had
21 already reached an end, had been brought to a conclusion. That was my
22 understanding. I'm not sure if he was referring to some of the operations
23 or the whole thing, the entire operation, so I can't be specific about
25 One thing you must know, I kept no notes there for now. It's 12
1 years now. It's difficult to think back and remember every single detail.
2 Q. But the final question is your impression was that some of the
3 combat had already commenced and in fact had already finished based on
4 what Fazlic was telling you; is that correct?
5 A. Based on my understanding, and I may have been wrong. But my
6 impression was that the operation was nearing an end. I may have been
7 wrong about it, though.
8 MR. MORRISSEY: That might be the appropriate time, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes we will take a longer break, and we will resume at
10 quarter to five.
11 --- Recess taken at 3.48 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 4.47 p.m.
13 JUDGE LIU: Yes. I believe that the initial appearance went
15 MR. MORRISSEY: I hope so, Your Honour, but it's completed.
16 JUDGE LIU: That's what I mean. And how long do you think you
17 could use for the cross-examination?
18 MR. MORRISSEY: I find it difficult to say at the moment,
19 Your Honour, because there are documents being put to the witness, but I
20 can indicate that I will finish him today.
21 JUDGE LIU: Of course. I hope we could have some time to discuss,
22 you know, the issue we discussed yesterday.
23 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes. I think --
24 JUDGE LIU: Maybe at least an hour? Because we have two hours to
25 go, and in between we will have a short break.
1 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I'll do everything I can. But
2 however, Your Honours, you will have observed on occasion I'm told to slow
3 down, as well, by the interpreters. Anyway, I shall do my best.
4 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
5 MR. MORRISSEY: As the Court pleases.
6 Q. Yes. Thank you very much, Mr. Tirak. Now, I was asking you
7 questions about the conversation that you've narrated with Mr. Fazlic and
8 I now want to turn to the information he was able to give to you about
9 crimes. At the time that he spoke to you, it appeared to you -- he was
10 able to say simply that there had been mistreatment of civilians in
11 Grabovica, but he was unable to give you any information beyond that. Is
12 that true or not?
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. And perhaps to come to the point, was he actually able to tell you
15 whether there had even been any murders at that stage? Did he have that
16 specific information to give you or was he limited simply to mistreatment?
17 A. Nothing specific. He mentioned nothing specific. When I asked
18 him whether he had any specific details, he said, "Well, all I know at the
19 moment is that there was some ill-treatment and problems there," but he
20 couldn't say anything else.
21 Q. Okay. So at that time, your information came really from
22 Mr. Fazlic; is that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Okay. And therefore at that time you didn't have any information
25 about who the perpetrators of these -- of this mistreatment might have
1 been; is that correct?
2 A. That's quite correct.
3 Q. And in fact, you didn't have any information as to whether the
4 perpetrators were, all of them, military people or whether some of them
5 might have been refugees. Is that also correct?
6 A. At that moment, I only had that piece of information and nothing
8 Q. Yes. I understand. Okay. And so were you -- before you met with
9 Mr. Fazlic, were you planning to go to Visoko to see Rasim Delic?
10 A. At that point, certainly not.
11 Q. It was according to an order given to you by Mr. Fazlic as acting
12 commander that you went to Visoko; is that correct?
13 A. After that conversation and after his order, of course I decided
14 to go to Visoko.
15 Q. Yes. I understand. But the -- the trigger, if you like, for you
16 going to Visoko was to tell Delic news of this mistreatment of civilians.
17 Is that correct or not?
18 A. Not just that but many other things as well, and especially
19 Fazlic's order was aimed at units from Sarajevo, and more specifically the
20 9th and the 10th to be withdrawn immediately from that territory, because
21 his assessment was that they could only cause problems and that in terms
22 of an offensive they would not be of any great use. That was his order
23 that I was asked to relay to Mr. Delic to withdraw these units immediately
24 back to Sarajevo. And as to crimes, he said to mention what he knew --
25 that is to say what I knew as well. So I only said that we received
1 information about some ill-treatment having taken place there, but I had
2 no clear indication of what sort of ill-treatment and who the perpetrators
4 Q. Okay. All right. I understand that. Now, apart from those
5 instructions that Mr. Fazlic gave you as to what you should tell
6 Mr. Delic, did he tell you anything else that you should relay to
7 Mr. Delic or was that the extent of his instructions to you?
8 A. There were some other matters in conjunction with a somewhat
9 unclear situation as to who was in command of the 317th Brigade. Some
10 were claiming that it was up to the 3rd Corps and then the 6th Corps and
11 then the 3rd once again. And then I put a question to Mr. Delic, and I
12 asked him to give me a clear definition and to issue clear orders as to
13 who would be in command there.
14 Q. Yes. But can I ask you, was that one of the things that Bahrudin
15 Fazlic asked you to raise or is that something you raised on your own
16 motion later?
17 A. That was what Bahrudin Fazlic said. And apart from that, I also
18 brought up a whole range of issues and made comments which have nothing to
19 do with this operation.
20 Q. That's okay. I won't -- once you saw Mr. Delic, obviously you had
21 other things to talk about with him; is that correct?
22 A. Precisely.
23 Q. Okay. Well -- but nevertheless, we'll just stick with the ones
24 that concern this case.
25 Now, given the limited information that you had about the
1 mistreatment of civilians, did you make any contact with Nermin Eminovic
2 who was head of the 6th Corps security to find out more? Before you went
3 to Visoko, I mean.
4 A. No, certainly not.
5 Q. Did you make any contact with Vehbija Karic to find out about this
7 A. That evening, I only talked to the deputy Andric and the one from
8 Visoko. If we think of contacts with usual people at the staff, I mean
9 asking them to bring me coffee or something else. But in military terms,
10 I only talked to those two.
11 Q. That's okay. I understand you say you didn't contact any else. I
12 just have to put these names to you to be sure that you didn't contact
13 these people. You didn't contact Sefer Halilovic that evening, did you?
14 A. Certainly not.
15 Q. Did you attempt -- did you contact or attempt to contact Zulfikar
17 A. No.
18 Q. Did you attempt to contact the local police in Jablanica, Ermin
19 Zubic, or his or his deputy Ahmed Salihamidzic?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Did you speak to Sead Kurt of the military police in Jablanica?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Did you speak to Zajko Sihirlic of the SVB in Jablanica?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Did Bahrudin Fazlic tell you that he'd spoken to any of these
2 A. What he said, of course, I can't remember exactly, but he said he
3 had just received the report from Jablanica to the fact that in the area
4 of Grabovica some mistreatment had taken place and I didn't ask anything
5 else and he didn't tell me who he heard it from. Probably he got some
6 reports from the field.
7 Q. Yes. My final question about that is did he tell you whether it
8 came from the -- from the military or that it came from the civilian
9 police or the MUP, that information?
10 A. He just said that he got those reports from Jablanica. He didn't
11 specify who he heard it from. Perhaps he did, but I can't remember.
12 Q. Okay. I'm now going to turn to the meeting with Mr. -- with
13 Commander Delic. Just excuse me one moment.
14 Okay. Could the witness please be shown D157 again. This is the
15 order that purports to be from Commander Delic.
16 I'm just going to show you that order that you were shown
17 yesterday, which is dated the 12th of the 9th apparently, and under the
18 hand of Commander Rasim Delic. Do you have that in front of you now?
19 A. Yes. The 12th of September according to the terminology of
21 Q. Yes, I'm sorry. Did I say the 12th of August? I apologise. Yes,
22 the 12th of September. Very well. Now, just looking at that order there,
23 I just want you to notice the preamble in the paragraph commencing: "The
24 6th Corps Chief of Staff has informed me about the decision of the chief
25 of the Supreme Command Staff regarding planned combat operations towards
1 Prozor and Mostar."
2 Now, you see -- you see that section there?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Okay. And in respect of that, was there a specific decision of
5 the chief of the Supreme Command to which you referred Commander Delic in
7 A. As to whether such a decision existed, I don't know, but I did not
8 comment the decision of the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command. I
9 simply relayed to him what commander Fazlic told me, but I never commented
10 on that decision. As to whether Mr. Delic was aware of that decision and
11 as to whether he made a comment, I don't know.
12 Q. Yes. And as far as any decision of the supreme -- of the chief of
13 the Supreme Command Staff, you gave Delic no information about any such
14 decision; is that correct?
15 A. I simply told him, as I've mentioned over and over again, what I
16 heard from Mr. Fazlic, no more, no less, for as long as we're talking
17 about this situation. As for other topics we had much broader
19 Q. That's okay. I understand that. Just given your experience as
20 Chief of Staff, what's the difference in military terminology between a
21 decision and an order?
22 A. There's no big difference, no essential difference, but an order
23 is something you don't question, and you have to carry it out.
24 Q. What's a decision?
25 A. Basically the same in military terms. That's the way I interpret
1 it. That's it's a somewhat softer version but consequences are the same.
2 Q. Yes. All right. Well, a decision is the sort of instruction
3 that -- that the head of an inspection team -- sorry, the decisions are
4 the sort of instruction that a Chief of Staff might give when explaining
5 and emphasising the commands of a commander; is that correct?
6 A. That's correct, but in the sense of the duty or the obligation to
7 carry out, it's the same. That's what I had in mind when I said earlier
8 on that they both had similar consequences.
9 Q. Yes, I understand that, but in -- take a situation -- I'll put a
10 hypothetical to you. Take a situation where you as Chief of Staff had to
11 explain an order that had been issued by your commander to some junior
12 troops. In that situation, you would be entitled to issue a decision
13 explaining and clarifying what the commander meant; is that correct?
14 A. Quite correct.
15 Q. Whereas if you were the commander as such, you would just issue a
16 straight-out order; is that correct?
17 A. Precisely.
18 Q. Yes. Okay. Thanks. Very well. Now, there's a reference in the
19 second paragraph of this order here, on this document, I should call it,
20 which refers to genocide by members of the 1st Corps, 9th Mountain
22 Now, you didn't give Delic any such information, did you?
23 A. No. I've already said it before. I've already told you what I've
24 told him, nothing more than that.
25 Q. Yes. Mr. Tirak, I apologise, but just because of the nature of
1 this case there are some times I have to put something to you in a
2 particular order even though you have answered it in many respects before.
3 Now, you indicated that Fazlic asked you to request of
4 Commander Delic that he withdraw those units from Sarajevo, but when you
5 look at that order and in particular in paragraph number 2, you will see
6 there what purports to be an order, the 9th corps 1st brigade deputy
7 commander to return to Sarajevo immediately in order to solve problems in
8 the unit.
9 Now, first of all you didn't ask Delic -- Commander Delic to order
10 Ramiz Delalic to go back in person to Sarajevo, did you?
11 A. No.
12 Q. And you certainly didn't have any information of problems in the
13 unit, the 9th Brigade?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Yes. All right. Thank you. Those are the questions about that
17 Now, finally, I think you indicated this before the break as to --
18 as to Commander Delic, but when you were present with Commander Delic, he
19 acknowledged no connection whatsoever with this operation; is that
21 A. What he said -- rather, what I remember in relation to that
22 operation, he told me that he was familiar with the operation, but he was
23 not familiar with all that many details, and that he would check it out
24 and make the relevant decisions according to my requests. That more or
25 less sums it up. He never mentioned issuing any orders and especially
1 what would be the content of such an order.
2 Q. Yes. And I just want to remind you of something that you said in
3 your statement to the investigators here and ask you to comment on it.
4 This is a statement relatively recently of the 4th of March, 2004, and
5 I've quoted one part of it to you already.
6 At paragraph 24, you said this to the investigators: "Rasim
7 Delic" -- I'm quoting now, so I'll go slowly. "Rasim Delic said that he
8 knew very little or almost nothing about the operation, and I have the
9 feeling that he did not know that Halilovic was down there."
10 A. He tried to put it to me in that way.
11 Q. Yes. You didn't believe a word of it, did you?
12 A. I think I've already mentioned that it would be illogical for him
13 not to know.
14 Q. And that was your reaction even before you'd seen that map which
15 you've looked at today; is that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. All right. Yes, those are the questions on that topic. Now I
18 want to return to some other documents.
19 MR. MORRISSEY: And I'd ask, please, that the witness be shown --
20 Q. You will just have to forgive me here, Mr. Tirak.
21 MR. MORRISSEY: I just want everyone to remember that this is a
22 paper-free court, and I would ask that the witness please be shown D270 --
23 sorry, D151. D151 is the exhibit number. This is a document that's
24 already been tendered.
25 Q. What I'm going to show you now is a document that you may or may
1 not have seen, but I'll ask you to comment upon it regardless. It's in
2 evidence now.
3 This is a letter from Enes Kovacevic addressed to -- personally to
4 the commander of the 6th Corps and it's dated the 13th of September, 1993,
5 in Jablanica. Do you have that document on the screen in front of you
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Okay. Now, first of all, Enes Kovacevic was the commander of the
9 44th brigade, sometimes referred to as the Jablanica Brigade; is that
10 correct. 44th mountain brigade I should say?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And in this document here, this appears to you to be a
13 communication requesting information from the commander; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. All right. Now, you see in this letter Kovacevic refers to him
16 briefing the chief of the SVK, Supreme Command Staff, about the
17 possibilities of certain combat operations and that thereafter a request
18 was sent to the command of the 6th Corps for the reply -- for the supply
19 of necessary material and technical equipment; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Now, you've indicated that your role as Chief of Staff -- I'm
22 stepping outside of this document for a moment. I just want to ask you
23 this. Your role as Chief of Staff concerned, among other things, the
24 provision of logistics. Can I ask you whether -- look, I won't ask you
25 that yet. I'll ask you a question about logistics in a minute. I'll take
1 you through the rest of the -- of the letter and then I'll ask you.
2 Okay. Now, does it appear here that Kovacevic is saying that on
3 the evening of the 11th of September, the corps commander, which is
4 presumably Salko Gusic, informed me in person about -- in a telephone
5 conversation about the activities of the 44th Mountain Brigade and
6 promised the equipment that we requested. Do you observe that?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. In the next paragraph does Kovacevic say this: "We were
9 expecting -- during 12th of September we were expecting the corps
10 commander to come in order to work out the details for the next combat
11 operations, but as we have so far not received anything concrete regarding
12 the planned operation -- the planned combat operations nor the materiel
13 support, we are asking you to inform us about the following."
14 Do you see that section?
15 A. Yes, of course.
16 Q. And then do you see that Kovacevic then makes two further requests
17 of -- of Salko Gusic, of the commander, concerning firstly the provision
18 of equipment under number 1, but secondly, the question is asked "Is the
19 45th brigade going to conduct combat operations?" Do you see those two
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, Mr. Tirak, obviously your evidence here has clarified a
23 number a things, and I think the main thing it's clarified is that you
24 were -- you were not present obviously when this letter was received; is
25 that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Okay. I understand you indicated in the past that you weren't
3 aware of the involvement of the 6th Corps command in these combat
4 operations. Would you agree with me -- with this, you have -- in fact,
5 you have never seen this letter before today, have you?
6 A. A few days earlier, the -- a few days ago, the Prosecution showed
7 it to me by way of preparation.
8 Q. Okay. At the time when the combat operations were taking place,
9 though, you didn't know about this letter; is that correct?
10 A. That's correct. I didn't know.
11 Q. Did the Prosecutor show you any other documents concerning --
12 well, I'll ask you that in a minute. We'll come back to that.
13 Now, turning to the substance of this -- of this document here,
14 what you say is didn't know anything about these conversations between the
15 commander of the 6th Corps and Enes Kovacevic, the commander of the 44th
16 brigade; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And I suppose the reason you didn't know anything about it is you
19 were doing the best you could to fulfil your obligations in other parts of
20 the 6th Corps zone of responsibility. Is that true?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. In fact, the -- it's entirely possible that on the 11th of
23 September, you were either on your way to or already in the city of Visoko
24 in order to speak to Commander Delic. Is that true?
25 A. It strikes me as possible based on the documents that you've shown
1 me, but I must say this again, I can't remember the specific date.
2 Q. That's okay. It's -- no -- it's -- we understand it's many years
4 All right. Well, I understand that.
5 MR. MORRISSEY: Could the witness be shown another document. This
6 one is D150. It's already in evidence.
7 Q. Now, what's going to be shown to you is an order written by Mr.
8 Zejnilagic who was the commander -- well, perhaps I could ask you this
9 while we're waiting for that order to come up. Was the commander of the
10 317th Brigade, a man named Zejnilagic.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. All right. Now, what we have -- what I'm putting to you here is a
13 document that was tendered through another witness, but it's an order by
14 Zejnilagic. What I want you to do is to focus on the preamble of that
16 Do you see that this order by Zejnilagic is headed "Order to
17 attack"? Do you see that heading?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Okay. And orders to attack are sometimes described as combat
20 orders in your experience; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Okay. Now, it's part of -- it's customary for commanders, when
23 writing -- when issuing an order to attack to place -- I'll start that
24 question again.
25 It's customary for intermediate commanders when issuing an attack
1 order to put in the preamble to the order the basis of their authority, in
2 other words, how they come to be allowed to issue attack orders; is that
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, here Mr. Zejnilagic relies on two orders. One is an order of
6 the NGS, Chief of General Staff, which doesn't have a number or date
7 attached to it, and also to a command of the commander of the 6th Corps
8 which does have a number attached to it. Do you see that?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And the reason for putting that number on it -- on a document like
11 this is to allow anyone who looks at -- at the document to find in the
12 archives the other order by reference to the number; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. All right. So that the order of the 6th Corps -- sorry, the
15 commander of the commander of the 6th Corps is given the number 01/1500/27
16 dated 11 September 1993. Does that appear to be the case in your Bosnian
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, at the time of the 11th of September, 1993, I understand you
20 can't recall precisely where you were on a precise date, but you did not
21 know about this order of the command -- this command of the commander of
22 the 6th Corps back in September of 1993. That was not something you knew
23 about; is that correct?
24 A. No. No.
25 Q. Okay. And in any event, it was within your knowledge that the
1 317th Brigade was at least in theory supposed to be under the role of the
2 6th Corps; is that correct?
3 A. This was one of the moments that were much debated and also one of
4 the reasons I went to Visoko to see Mr. Delic and speak to him. If you
5 look at the number 3, formally speaking, you can see that this is within
6 the composition of the 3rd Corps.
7 Q. Yes. Well, looking at that third paragraph, I don't want to
8 deceive you about this but just so you understand what the situation is,
9 Operations Group West was in the 3rd Corps; is that correct?
10 A. Yes, but there's one thing you must understand. We are talking
11 about the circumstances that were there at the time. It happened a number
12 of times, also before and after that the respective competencies or
13 authorities were not really that clear. The situation on the ground was a
14 lot more complicated than it seems when you look at the documents.
15 Q. Yes. Yes. Well, I think you would make the comment that the war
16 looks nice and clean when you look at the documents, but the reality on
17 the ground was a lot more confusing; is that correct?
18 A. Precisely.
19 Q. Okay. But -- although -- acknowledging what you say to be right
20 there, nevertheless it appears in -- on the face of this order here that
21 Zejnilagic, the commander of the 317th Brigade, is acknowledging that he
22 derives his authority to issue combat orders in part from a combat order
23 of the 6th Corps commander; is that correct? Having regard to the
24 introductory paragraph.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And once again -- I'll withdraw that. All right. Thank you.
2 MR. MORRISSEY: Would the witness be shown another order. Now,
3 this one is --
4 Q. I'm going to show you another order which is relevant to these
6 A. Excuse me. There is a remark I'd like to make in relation to this
8 Q. Yes. Feel free.
9 A. It is highly unusual for a brigade commander to issue an order
10 with two units involved that are actually not within his brigade. So,
11 obviously, if we look at it today the way it looks this might be another
12 one of those orders that were issued as an alibi throughout the war. It's
13 just a remark, an observation that I'd like to make to show you that the
14 documents don't always reflect the situation on the ground in a faithful
16 Q. Yes. Well, you have picked no fight with me on that topic, but
17 I'll make comments about it in -- in the closing address. I'll just leave
18 that for now. Thank you for that comment, however.
19 Could I just ask now you have the chance to look at -- just --
20 sorry. Before that -- before that goes off, and in light of the comment
21 you just made there, were you personally aware that any combat that took
22 place in the Uzdol area or the areas described in that order after the
23 15th of September? In other words, are you personally able to say that
24 this order was ever acted on by anyone?
25 A. I must say I simply don't know, but based on my experience, it
1 might easily have been the case, that the order was indeed not acted on.
2 But I have to say this again, I simply don't know. I know at the time the
3 317th faced a great deal of difficulty in terms of their interhuman
4 relations between the battalion -- the relations between the battalion and
5 the brigade commander. And I have no idea whether they took any steps at
6 all in that respect. I simply can't say one way or the other.
7 Q. Yes. Thank you for that clarification.
8 MR. MORRISSEY: Now, could the witness please be shown -- it's --
9 Pardon me, I've got the Defence document numbers. Just excuse me, please.
10 It's D149. That's the exhibit number, D149.
11 Q. What you're going to be shown now is a combat report coming out of
12 the Independent Prozor Battalion, and in particular from Mr. Enver Buza.
13 And it's a relatively thorough and complete document, so I'll ask you to
14 just -- to scan it quickly.
15 Now, does this appear to be an undated combat report from the
16 Independent Prozor Battalion? In fact, it's got a date when it was
17 received at military security but the document itself may not have a date.
18 But in any event, an undated report by -- from -- combat report to the 6th
19 Corps command signed by or under the hand of Commander Enver Buza. Is
20 that what it appears to be to you?
21 A. Commander Enver Buza was indeed the commander at the time. I
22 don't know whether this signature belongs to him and whether he was the
23 one who actually produced this document. Probably so.
24 Q. That's okay. I won't -- I won't ask you to look at Mr. Buza's
25 signature at this stage, but do you know notice that that report, that
1 combat report to the commander -- to the command of the 6th Corps refers
2 to an order number in the first line of the substantive text refers to an
3 order number 01/1500-27 of 11 September 1993? Do you see that?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Do you recall when I showed you the Zejnilagic order a minute ago
6 that that also referred to that same combat order number which I read out
7 at the time? Do you recall that?
8 A. I don't recall that. It may be so. I didn't really pay close
9 attention to that number. I suppose it's true, though.
10 Q. Yes. Okay. Well, look, if I've misled you about that number the
11 Prosecutor will be able to jump up and tell -- and tell us. I hope I've
12 read it out to you accurately. In any event, it appears, doesn't it, that
13 both Buza and Zejnilagic have conducted combat operations pursuant to that
14 order with that number coming from the 6th Corps command of the 11th of
15 September 1993? Does that appear accurate to you?
16 A. That's how it looks.
17 Q. Okay.
18 A. That much is certain.
19 Q. Now, if you had the opportunity just to -- to look through that
20 particular document, and in particular I'm interested in the last
21 paragraph or so where -- where Enver Buza makes the comment: "By my
22 estimate, about 65 Croatian soldiers and about 30 civilians, mostly armed,
23 were liquidated during the operation. One should bear in mind that the
24 Ustasha artillery was literally destroying the entire Uzdol sector the
25 whole time." Could I just now -- I mean, you're entitled to read the
1 whole thing because I don't want to surprise you with anything here. But
2 that's the passage want to ask you about in a minute. Have you found that
4 A. Can you please go on?
5 Q. Yes. I'm sorry. Do you need -- well -- okay. Have you read that
6 passage where it says "by my estimate about 65 Croatian soldiers and about
7 30" -- okay.
8 Well, my question is: As Chief of Staff of the -- of the 6th
9 Corps didn't somebody tell you about that pretty quickly when that
10 information became available, or were you tied up somewhere else in the
11 area of responsibility?
12 A. Much later when I heard what occurred over there, although not
13 much time had gone by, I went there soon after, but I was familiar with
14 the unit, and I asked them to give me whatever information the corps was
15 in possession of at the time. Among other things, I remember this
16 document very clearly. I read through it back then and, to put it mildly,
17 I found it unbelievable that this unit could have eliminated so many
18 soldiers, given the fact that I knew how poorly equipped the unit is, with
19 no military experience whatsoever and made up entirely by local farmers.
20 So, to sum it up, this report struck me as -- I'm not sure about
21 the expression I should use. I think it exaggerated. I think Mr. Buza
22 was being boastful, and he was trying to represent his military successes
23 as much greater than they had been in actual fact. It was only much
24 later --
25 Q. Yes.
1 A. -- that I found out that a crime had been committed over there.
2 But if I may be allowed to say what I feel personally, I still find it
3 difficult to believe that those peace-loving farmers could have done
4 anything like that. To this day I have not been able to establish with
5 certainty who it was. I suppose it's down to this Tribunal to determine
7 My position remains what it used to be. It strikes me as
8 unbelievable, which does not necessarily make it impossible, needless to
10 Q. Right. But you certainly would never have foreseen the Prozor
11 Battalion doing anything terrible like this, would you?
12 A. When I saw those people, I'm talking about my experience, I just
13 couldn't believe it. That's just a very subjective perception, and of
14 course it could change.
15 Q. Yes. Okay. I just want a document to be put on the ELMO now.
16 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, what I'm proposing to do now is to
17 show the witness the front page, and it's really a signature matter now,
18 so I've -- it's -- it's not the substance of the witness statement, it's
19 just the signature on the first page of the witness statement of Bahrudin
20 Fazlic, so I ask that be placed on the ELMO, please, so the witness can
21 see it.
22 Q. What I'm going to do now is show you -- on the screen it will come
23 up at some point but you can probably look at it just as well from where
24 it is. In any event, this is a signature of Mr. Fazlic, and I just ask
25 you to look at that, please, and tell us, do you recognise that signature
1 yourself as being the signature of Mr. Fazlic?
2 A. It's difficult to say. Last time I saw his signature was many
3 years ago. I can't say with certain whether it is or not.
4 Q. Okay. Well, I won't ask you for certainty, but does that -- does
5 that signature appear familiar to you as the signature of -- of Bahrudin
6 Fazlic, a person with whom you worked quite closely in those months?
7 A. Looks like it, although as I've already said --
8 Q. Yes, I understand.
9 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I'm going to seek to tender that
10 front page just with that signature on it. What -- what we'll do is -- at
11 the moment it's attached to a statement but what we'll do is to -- to
12 detach it and offer it for tender. It's not currently upload. The
13 purpose of doing that will be apparent in 60 seconds, I hope, so I'll
14 offer it for tender now and I'll seek to justify it later, depending on
15 what happens with the next document, frankly.
16 THE REGISTRAR: That will be MFI 295.
17 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, at this stage I would object to that.
18 First of all, the within has been equivocal about the signature of the
19 person it says it is and secondly, I can't see at this point the
21 JUDGE LIU: Well, we'll make our ruling after we hear the other
22 evidence on this aspects.
23 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, Your Honour. Well, my learned friend's quite
24 right to raise the issue of relevance and its relevance or otherwise will
25 be proved by the next document. Yes, thanks.
1 Q. Now, what I want to show you now is another document. This one is
2 D152. Now, this document that's coming now is a combat order, and indeed
3 it's a"V" combat order with the number on it which has -- which appeared
4 in the Zejnilagic order and in the Buza combat reported. So I will just
5 ask you to have a look at that first of all.
6 Do you now have in front of you an order to attack dated at Dobro
7 Polje on the 11th of September, 1993, and bearing that same number
8 01/1500-27? Just take a moment to read over that, and if you need to turn
9 over the page, feel free.
10 You will notice at the end it's signed by a sort of a -- a scrawl
11 rather than anything that looks like a particular signature, and I'll ask
12 you to comment on that as well, if I can.
13 A. Go on, please.
14 Q. Okay. Now, the first question I have is that this document is in
15 form an attack order, a combat order emanating from the 6th Corps command
16 and directing the following units to go into battle in a particular way:
17 The Prozor Independent Battalion, a unit of the 45th Mountain Brigade,
18 battalions of the 317th Brigade, and platoons of the Sutjeska Battalion;
19 is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And this -- this order has been authorised by somebody who signed
22 in the top left-hand corner underneath the words Dobro Polje 11th of
23 September, 1993. And I want to ask you when you look at that there, that
24 appears to be the signature of Mr. Fazlic, doesn't it?
25 A. It's quite illegible. Could be. You'd have to ask him, not me.
1 Q. Well, you're the one the Prosecutors have called here, Mr. Tirak,
2 so I have to ask you. Is your position this: You can't say because it's
3 just not a good enough quality signature?
4 A. Well, you've observed yourself that it appears quite illegible.
5 If you look at the first letter, I'd be inclined to say, yes, it
6 is his signature. He had this distinctive way of combining V and the F.
7 Very particular, very peculiar. But I really can't confirm.
8 Q. Would it assist you to have that blown up?
9 MR. MORRISSEY: Could the witness have that section where the
10 signature is enlarged on the screen, if possible? And if I could ask the
11 Court Deputies to assist by showing everyone in the courtroom that section
12 of the Bosnian version rather than the English one, which is in nice,
13 typed words -- a signature. Your Honours, I make that demand very
14 high-handedly. I don't know if that technically can be done. I believe
15 it can, but I'm -- if it can be done. I'm sorry. Okay.
16 Q. Okay. Do you have an expanded version of that in front you now?
17 A. Yes. Yes. But it's difficult for me to say. I can't say yes and
18 I can't say no. I can't commit myself categorically. I can neither deny
19 it nor confirm. The first letters of the signature look very much like
20 his, but then the line that follows looks a bit inarticulate.
21 Q. Yes. So all -- so is this an accurate way to put it: You'd say
22 that the start -- that the start of that signature looks very similar to
23 his distinctive signature style but the rest of it is just not able to be
24 the subject of an opinion by you; is that correct?
25 A. Roughly speaking.
1 Q. All right. Well, thank you. Now, let me ask you a question about
2 this document generally. Those are the questions I've got about the
3 signature, and that's -- Your Honours, that's the reason -- to answer my
4 friend's objection. That's why -- that was the relevance of showing the
5 other document with that signature on it, so that's why it's being done.
6 Now, could I just ask you about the substance of this document.
7 First of all, were you told yourself that Mr. Fazlic or indeed any other
8 senior -- senior officer at the 6th Corps had issued this order on the
9 11th of September, 1993? And I mean, did you know that back at the time.
10 I don't mean subsequently.
11 A. Mr. Fazlic told me that based on the agreement reached at
12 Jablanica that I've already mentioned, he had issued certain orders. I'm
13 not sure if that particular remark was in relation to this order or
14 something else, but he did state unequivocally that he had issued orders
15 pursuant that agreement. Which specific orders, now this is something
16 that you need to go and ask him not me.
17 Q. Well, as I said, unfortunately the Prosecution have put you in the
18 witness box here so I have to ask you?
19 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, I'm sorry but I resisted last time.
20 There is no need for this kind of commentary. It's just not relevant to
21 the proceedings.
22 JUDGE LIU: You could save a lot of time.
23 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours it's just really byplay with the
24 witness when he makes a comment. My friend's right. It's not relevant.
25 I'm not seeking to rely on my own comments. I can promise the Court that.
1 Sometimes witnesses are treated in an uncivilised way and that sort of
2 commentary just was an attempt to be civilised, but I understand what my
3 friend says and I won't say anything like that in the future.
4 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. You may proceed.
5 MR. MORRISSEY: Thank you.
6 Q. Okay. Well, sorry about that Mr. Tirak. Very well.
7 But at all events were you shown that document by the Prosecutor
8 in proofing?
9 A. Not this one.
10 Q. Were you shown that other one that I -- you indicated that you
11 were showed the letter from Kovacevic in proofing. Were you shown the
12 Zejnilagic order in proofing with the Prosecutors?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Were you shown the Buza order in proofing?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Were you shown the Fazlic statement in proofing?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Apart from that Zejnilagic -- sorry pardon me. I withdraw that.
19 Apart from the Kovacevic that you were shown in proofing, what other
20 documents did the Prosecutor show you? You've indicated of course the
21 supposed order of Delic of the 12th. So that's two documents. What else
22 did they show you in this proofing session?
23 MR. SACHDEVA: I'm sorry, Your Honour. I have also resisted in
24 the past, but comments like supposed order of Delic when in fact that
25 document was a Defence exhibit and in fact sought to be tendered by the
1 Defence suggests to me that that kind of comment is inappropriate.
2 JUDGE LIU: I believe that Defence is entitled to ask what kind of
3 documents the witness was shown during the proofing session.
4 MR. SACHDEVA: That's not a problem, Your Honour. I'm just merely
5 commenting on the comment by learned counsel with respect to the Delic
6 order that it is a supposed order and in the past purported order, when in
7 fact it is an exhibit they themselves tendered. That's all.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes, yes. Well --
9 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, Your Honours could I --
10 JUDGE LIU: Just bear in mind the objections from the Prosecution.
11 MR. MORRISSEY: I bear them in mind but I don't want anybody to be
12 under any misapprehension about that. We did tender it, and it's always
13 been our position that it's a supposed or purported order, and we're
14 tendering it with the faults that we say it has. That's why, and I'm
15 going to continue to refer to it in that way unless there is some
16 substantive problem with doing so.
17 Your Honours, I will proceed with the question, however.
18 Q. And the question to you is did they show you - sorry - did they
19 show you any other documents apart from those two in the proofing
21 A. Do you mean whether the ones that you've shown me now had been
22 shown to me? I've already said no.
23 Q. Yes. No, I didn't -- yes -- no, you've already clarified that
24 very well. But the question was, have they shown you any other documents?
25 A. Yes. I was shown several documents but not these ones.
1 Q. Okay what other documents were you shown in proofing. Perhaps
2 I'll just stop you -- I'll stop you there for a moment. Perhaps I'll be a
3 little more circumspect about it. Were you shown any other documents in
4 proofing that related to the combat operations in Herzegovina? I don't
5 want to know about irrelevant ones, Mr. Tirak, but just ones relating to
6 the combat operations in Herzegovina late in August and through September
7 of 1993?
8 A. As to those documents, I was shown two documents, the document
9 from Mr. Kovacevic and the one from Mr. Delic and nothing else.
10 Q. Okay. Now, without saying what the other documents were, were
11 they documents that related to you or were they documents that related to
12 the case here?
13 A. I was shown documents relating to me, but I can, of course, answer
14 those questions if you're interested.
15 Q. Well, I mean I'm only going to ask them if they're relevant,
16 frankly, if they're relevant to the case. Do those documents have
17 anything to do with the 6th Corps' involvement in combat operations in
18 Herzegovina in the months of August and September of 1993?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Okay. Now, just excuse me one moment, please. I'm sorry. I just
21 want to consult with my learned colleague for a moment. Just hold on for
22 a moment, please.
23 [Defence counsel confer]
24 MR. MORRISSEY:
25 Q. Thank you very much. Just checking the time there. Your Honours,
1 when is the time for the break to be taken?
2 A. Well, it now is the appropriate time.
3 MR. MORRISSEY: Just bearing in mind look it would be appropriate
4 now I think as history shows it sometimes speeds up the final questions if
5 we have a short break. So yes I would seek that the break be taken now if
6 that's okay, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE LIU: We will take a 15 minutes' break, so we will resume at
8 five minutes past six.
9 --- Recess taken at 5.52 p.m. I
10 --- On resuming at 6.07 p.m.
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Morrissey.
12 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes. Thanks, Your Honour. Things will be quicker
13 as a result of all of that.
14 Q. Could I just ask you -- I was asking you about documents shown to
15 you in the proofing session before the break. Now I just wish to ask
16 you -- having considered the matter in the break, I ask you what are the
17 other documents that you were shown in proofing?
18 A. In conjunction with that operation, no.
19 Q. All right. You've indicated that these matters related to you --
20 I think you indicated that some of the documents related to you
22 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, could I ask that we go into private
23 session, please.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we'll go into the private session.
25 [Private session]
11 Page 66 redacted. Private session.
11 [Open session]
12 MR. MORRISSEY:
13 Q. Thanks I just have one other matter to raise with you now before I
14 finish. You've indicated that after you -- after you came back from
15 Zenica, you went back to Fojnica with a the petrol tanker and you were
16 there for a couple of days. Did you personally take part in -- in the
17 combat operations against the HVO on the axis between Gornji Vakuf and --
18 and Vrdi in the week after you came back from -- from Visoko?
19 A. I haven't quite understood.
20 Q. Yes. Sorry. I'll put the question better. When you came back
21 from Visoko and Zenica, did you essentially resume your duties in the
22 Fojnica-Vakuf area?
23 A. After I returned from Zenica -- rather, from Fojnica, I returned
24 to --
25 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear what place.
1 MR. MORRISSEY:
2 Q. The interpreter didn't get that place that you returned to, Mr.
3 Tirak. Could you repeat it, please?
4 A. If you mean after my meeting Mr. Delic, I went to Zenica,
5 afterwards to Fojnica, and from Fojnica I returned to Konjic.
6 Q. And approximately what date did you get to Konjic? Can you
7 remember that?
8 A. I can't tell you that.
9 Q. I just want you to have a look at one document here. This is
10 already admitted into evidence. It's D159. And this is a letter, I
11 think, emanating from the deputy commander of the Bosnian army standing in
12 for Rasim Delic at the time, Stjepan Siber. And it's an inquiry and I
13 just ask you to look --
14 A. Yes, Stjepan Siber.
15 Q. You have to forgive me bad pronunciation. I'm sorry about that.
16 And would you just have a brief look at that and just tell us did you ever
17 see that document -- or did you see that document in mid-September 1993?
18 A. I myself had not seen it, but I know that when I got to the corps
19 I was told that Mr. Siber had been asking for extra information. And not
20 just him; they said that any number of people were looking for
22 Q. Yes just -- this might help us to get -- to fix a date as to when
23 you came back to Konjic. You came to Konjic after this Siber letter had
24 arrived there, I take it. Even though you didn't see it, you heard about
25 it; is that correct?
1 A. I suppose, but let me stress once again don't ask me about the
2 dates and times too much because I really can't tell you with any degree
3 of precision.
4 Q. That's okay. It's just -- perhaps since the letter's dated the
5 16th, can you remember whether you arrived back at Konjic on the same day
6 as this letter arriving or was it a couple of days later? What's the best
7 memory you have of that? And I understand you can't be too precise, but
8 do the best you can.
9 A. I really can't remember. To be honest, as far as I remember --
10 well, all this is somehow confused, and I even tended to think that was
11 happening in the beginning of October. And it was only when I was shown
12 some papers that I realised that it actually took place in September. So
13 my memory seems to be failing me a little bit in this business. Perhaps
14 consciously and unconsciously I'm trying to forget it as soon as possible.
15 Q. Yes. Well, thank you for that. Could I just ask finally that the
16 witness be shown a document now. This is an unrelated matter now, but
17 this is an order and it's -- look, I apologise, Your Honours. That is a
18 recently decided upon document. It hasn't been uploaded yet, and I
19 apologise to all concerned. We'll just to do it with paper now, and could
20 we distribute copies to the Prosecutors and ...
21 I'm told that was only translated yesterday, Your Honour. I can
22 say from my own experience that a decision to use it was taken at about
24 What's going to be shown to you now in hard copy because it's not
25 on the computer system yet, Mr. Tirak, is an order which you may or may
1 not have seen. I just ask you to look at it and -- and read it and
2 consider it. What you're going to be shown is an order -- sorry, not an
3 order, a -- a piece of correspondence coming from Visoko from a IKM at
4 Visoko, and referring to a proposal by the 6th Corps to regulate the
5 status of a number of small units, and you'll see their name there, the
6 Handzar Division, the Akrepi, and the Silver Fox units.
7 As you read, I'll just point out the thing I'm interested in so
8 that you know what my questions are about. You'll look at this -- you'll
9 look there. You'll see that there's reference to an order of the SVK
10 commander, and it's given a number, that's an order of Delic, of Rasim
11 Delic, ordering some -- some of these small units to go and join the 4th
12 Corps. And then another order issued by the SVK chief. He's not named
13 there but it's obviously Sefer Halilovic, an order sent from the command
14 post to the 44th Brigade, which directed the Handzar Division and Silver
15 Fox to join Zuka's unit. And then at the bottom there's this
16 comment: "Since neither of these orders was implemented, the 6th Corps
17 command hereby requests on the basis of the said document that these units
18 be ordered to disband."
19 Now, I want to ask you firstly do you remember this order and have
20 you seen it -- do you remember this -- this communication? Have you seen
21 it before? And then whether you have or you haven't, I'll ask you to
22 comment on the subject matter of it and what it says.
23 So first of all, can I ask you were you familiar with that piece
24 of correspondence at the time in November of 1993?
25 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, while the witness is waiting I think
1 that's MFI296.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In November 1993, I was on my way
3 out of that corps, so I can't really say that I know of this letter, but I
4 did know, because from the very start, from the setting up of the corps
5 and afterwards, we've always had this problem and we kept referring to it
6 all the time. We kept bringing it up. That is to say that in the area of
7 responsibility of the 6th Corps, very often units cropped up that were not
8 under our command and control and we kept stressing that that issue had to
9 be resolved. And this is probably one in a series of letters that were
10 being sent all over the place in order to try and finally sort this
12 Q. Okay. Can you indicate just from the markings on that document,
13 did that pass through -- where did that originate, that document, and who
14 did it go to?
15 A. This is -- I mean, this document, the way it stands here, it comes
16 from one of the administration offices, and it was sent to IKM Visoko, and
17 basically it means to Mr. Delic. That's what I think at least, because
18 when you say Visoko IKM, you mean that it's Mr. Delic, but maybe it's not.
19 It's difficult to say.
20 Q. Okay. Well, I understand what you say is that you don't
21 specifically recall this document. Do you remember Mr. Avdula Lakic?
22 A. No.
23 Q. But you can say this is a document coming out of the 6th Corps,
24 and you can say that it relates to matters which were the subject of
25 ongoing correspondence by the 6th Corps in an attempt to clean up the
1 problems referred to in it; is that correct?
2 A. This document does not come from the 6th Corps. We can tell. But
3 it is a consequence of proposals coming from the 6th Corps.
4 Q. Yes. I understand. All right. Very well.
5 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I offer that document for tender
6 notwithstanding the witness hasn't seen it because of the way it's
7 exchanged between -- between army units. So, yes, I offer that document.
8 Now --
9 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour.
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
11 MR. SACHDEVA: I would object to that. The relevance primarily.
12 I can't see the relevance to the case at hand.
13 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, yes. I'm sorry. I'm happy to explain that
14 my friend's right to ask me to justify it. I notice the objections about
15 relevance and the issue of relevance really is, quite plain on the face of
16 it, when you look in the middle of it here. The Prosecutors tendered some
17 documents nearly the trial concerning the 4th Corps, and there was a chain
18 of resubordination of minor units that were supposed to send the Zulfikar
19 unit and other small units from the 6th Corps into the 4th Corps and then,
20 ultimately, according to these orders - none ever which have been proved -
21 into the -- to be subordinated to or -- sorry, to receive tasks from the
22 IKM. Now, what the Defence has said is, well, these orders were never put
23 into practice and this document here says and makes it quite clear neither
24 of these orders was implemented. And it's a recognition by the army
25 itself in November of 1993 that the orders by Delic on the 1st of
1 September and Sefer Halilovic on the 2nd of September concerning
2 resubordination of units were never implemented. It's directly relevant
3 in that respect. It speaks for itself, frankly, and -- so that's the
4 relevance of it and I seek to tender it.
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes --
6 MR. SACHDEVA: Well, Your Honour, not through this witness.
7 JUDGE LIU: Well, I believe that Defence asked some questions to
8 this witness concerning this document, and at the beginning of this
9 document it says opinion on proposal by the 6th Corps. So there is some
10 relevance to this witness. This document is admitted into the evidence.
11 Of course, as for the weight the Bench attaches to it, we will deal with
12 it at a later stage. You may proceed.
13 MR. MORRISSEY: As the Court pleases. But the final questions I
14 have really concerns the situation of choosing the troops from Sarajevo,
15 and that's my last questions for you, Mr. Tirak. First of all, I
16 understand what you've said about your opinions concerning the choosing of
17 troops for offensive operations. As for the situation in the first week
18 of September of 1993, I take it you were extremely busy trying to save the
19 situation in Fojnica and do your job properly in Fojnica; is that correct.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Okay. Now, as to the 1st and 2nd glorious brigades who were part
22 of the 1st Corps in Sarajevo, you can't comment, can you, as to whether
23 they had any troops available as in the first week of September 1993?
24 A. As to the situation at that particular moment in the 1st Corps, I
25 can't really say much.
1 Q. And then I'm limiting my questions to this particular time which
2 is the time when these troops were selected. As to the situation --
3 MR. MORRISSEY: I'll just indicate for the Court's comfort, I
4 think there's three minutes to go.
5 Q. Sorry, Mr. Tirak. My apologise. As to the situation in the 4th
6 Brigade which was based at Hrasnica, in the first week of September of
7 1993, you don't know whether they had any troops to spare either; is that
9 A. I've already said that as to the general state of affairs in the
10 1st Corps, and that brigade was a part of that corps, I couldn't give you
11 any specific information about that because I don't have it.
12 Q. Look, I was going to go through unit by unit, but what you're
13 telling me is that there's no point doing that, you just didn't really
14 know about the specific situation with any of those units in the 1st Corps
15 in that first week of September. Is that accurate?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. Well, in that event, that's the end of my questions. Thank you
18 for your patience in answering them.
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Any redirect examination in.
20 MR. SACHDEVA: Yes, Your Honour. Might the witness be shown
21 Defence D152. I think that is the document.
22 Re-examined by Mr. Sachdeva:
23 Q. Mr. Tirak, do you see that document on your screen?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Now, given your evidence about -- given your evidence that you
1 cannot confirm or deny that this document was signed by Mr. Fazlic, for
2 the purpose of this question, assuming that it was signed by Mr. Fazlic,
3 does this document change your view as to the involvement, the level of
4 involvement of the 6th Corps in the operations to liberate Mostar, in
5 terms of a command involvement?
6 A. I can't say whether this document alone confirms or fails to
7 confirm what I was told. It is a fact, though, that the 6th Corps command
8 issued the relevant orders to the units within the 6th Corps' composition.
9 However, based on this document alone, one can't really say whether they
10 took part in the operation in its entirety. No one has ever shown me a
11 document showing the 6th Corps issuing orders to units outside the 6th
12 Corps that were in the area at the time. It was only to be expected that
13 pursuant to any instructions that is they may or may not have received. I
14 don't know myself, but that's what Mr. Fazlic told me. It was only to be
15 expected, as I say, that based on the instructions they had received from
16 the forward command post, the Supreme Command Staff, they would be issuing
17 orders to units but units within the 6th Corps and not any other units.
18 Based on that, one might be led to conclude that they did not command the
19 entire operation but just a fragment of the operation and in as far as the
20 units of the 6th Corps were involved. That is my position. That is how I
21 see things, but it may be obvious that I know little about this operation
22 after all as what others have told me and what I have pointed out myself
23 on a number of occasions.
24 Q. Let me ask you this, then: Counsel for the Defence asked you when
25 you were over in Fojnica about the 6th Corps being involved in the
1 operation to liberate Mostar. Now, I want you to be absolutely clear if
2 you can. Irrespective of whether the situation was normal or abnormal,
3 irrespective of that, if the 6th Corps had been involved in the operation
4 to liberate Mostar, in other words, if it was running the operation to
5 liberate Mostar know star, would you have known about it?
6 A. What I can say --
7 MR. MORRISSEY: Sorry could I just intervene for a moment.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
9 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours that's asking for a speculative
10 answer there. He's -- it's just not based on the concrete case and it
11 doesn't arise directly out of the questions that I asked. It really was
12 the case in evidence in chief as it emerged, and frankly I'll make this
13 comment. As it changed in the witness's evidence that -- that the -- the
14 Prosecution is relying on the fact that this witness didn't know things to
15 establish that they weren't happening. That's really the way this
16 evidence evolved. And that's no criticism of the witness, but that was
17 what was said in evidence in chief. And my friend is entitled to identify
18 a specific problem and he can clarify it, if there is anything that needs
19 for clarified. But that there, it seems to me just to be an attempt to do
20 re-evidence in chief once again, and I object to it. And it doesn't arise
21 directly from a question of mine as Your Honours will see from the attempt
22 to quote it as a question by me.
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes. You may put your question another way.
24 MR. SACHDEVA: Might I just respond to that, if I may, briefly.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
1 MR. SACHDEVA: Counsel for the Defence has put -- firstly I
2 should -- should have risen at the time, but mischaracterised my questions
3 to the witness. My questions in evidence in chief were about the 6th
4 Corps' involvement in terms of its command relationship with the operation
5 to liberate Mostar. Counsel for the Defence alluded to my questions with
6 respect to its participation in the involvement, participation in the
7 operation to liberate Mostar, and, in fact, in answer to my question about
8 the command relationship with the operation to liberate Mostar, Mr. Tirak
9 said, "If the command of the 6th Corps had planned a large-scale operation
10 like this, I would have been involved without a shadow of a doubt." Now
11 I'm simply trying to get clarification from the witness as to whether, in
12 his answers to the Defence counsel in cross-examination, he is talking
13 about 6th Corps being involved running the operation, planning the
14 operation, or simply participating in the operation. And to me that's a
15 very essential distinction in my submission.
16 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honour, it is an essential distinction. And
17 why didn't they ask it in evidence in chief, if that's the case. I mean,
18 that distinction there is central, but, frankly, in my submission
19 that's -- look, in any event, frankly, I think it should be permitted to
20 ask the question so I'll --
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, but you may ask some questions to clarify that
23 MR. SACHDEVA: Very well, Your Honour.
24 Q. Mr. Tirak, you've told the Court that three units of the 6th Corps
25 were -- were involved in the operation to liberate Mostar. Do you recall
2 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, that's not accurate he's told the
3 Court that Mr. Fazlic has told him some things about it. He hasn't told
4 the Court anything like that. It's --
5 MR. SACHDEVA: I'm sorry, yes. I'm thankful to my friend.
6 Q. You told the court that Mr. Fazlic had told you that Mr. Halilovic
7 had asked for three units of the 6th Corps to be involved in the operation
8 to liberate Mostar. Do you recall that?
9 A. Yes. This is something that Mr. Fazlic told me. I believe I've
10 said that this a number of times already.
11 Q. Did Mr. Fazlic tell you or did you learn or do you have knowledge
12 of whether the 6th Corps ran the operation to liberate Mostar?
13 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I object to that question. This
14 witness has been called really to relay what Fazlic told him. I've made
15 my complaints about that and I'm not going to repeat them. But what he
16 thinks what the situation might have been is absolutely irrelevant. He
17 wasn't there he doesn't pretend he was there. So it's just -- it's not
18 just -- it's totally irrelevant to ask this question, what his view about
19 it is, and I object to that question and similar ones.
20 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, I respectfully disagree. I'm not
21 asking what the witness thinks. I'm asking what he knew and what he was
23 JUDGE LIU: Well, I believe this Bench has already allowed you to
24 make some clarification on that issue. The question is how do you put
25 your question in a proper way.
1 MR. SACHDEVA: Well, I'll ask the question another way.
2 Q. Mr. Tirak, as Chief of Staff of the 6th Corps and taking into
3 account your evidence that you were in Vakuf and Fojnica at the time, my
4 question is this: If the 6th Corps was running the operation to liberate
5 Mostar, would you as the Chief of Staff have known about it?
6 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, again I object. It's the same question
7 again. It's speculative. It's got all the other faults. I object to it
8 again, Your Honour.
9 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, maybe I'm not understanding something,
10 but I cannot see how this is speculative. Simply because -- well, I will
11 resist from making submissions that may prejudice an answer by the witness
12 at this point.
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, given it's a new question, at this stage we will
14 allow the witness to answer the question, and the Defence will have the
15 opportunity to cross on that issue if they believe it is necessary.
16 Witness, you may answer that question.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe I've answered this
18 question already, loud and clear. I said it loud and clear yesterday. I
19 said that the 6th Corps -- if the 6th Corps had planned this operation, I
20 would have known about it. I would have been part of it. That is why I
21 can say with certainty that the 6th Corps did not in fact plan this
23 As to whether it was involved to some extent in the implementation
24 itself or in any stage of the operation, I can't say based on what
25 Mr. Fazlic told me about it, whether the 6th Corps was involved to any
1 degree at any stage. But it certainly did not independently and totally
2 on its own plan this operation because this is definitely something I
3 would have known about without a shadow of a doubt.
4 MR. SACHDEVA:
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Tirak. Now, you were also asked in
6 cross-examination about the map that's just behind you there. Do you
7 remember that?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. I want to ask you this: Does the fact that Mr. Delic's name and
10 signature on the top left-hand corner of the map, which you then said
11 indicates he was a commander, does that fact in itself preclude another
12 commander giving orders on the ground in the theatre of operations?
13 A. Of course the signature on the map does not automatically preclude
14 the possibility that someone else actually ran the operation on the ground
15 pursuant to his orders or for some other reason.
16 Q. In your view as a military person, is an operation -- well, is a
17 combat operation better run by a command near the theatre of operation or
18 outside of the theatre of operation?
19 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, that's a very broad, hypothetical
20 question of no value to this Tribunal, and I object to it.
21 JUDGE LIU: I wonder this issue was raised during the
22 cross-examination or not.
23 MR. MORRISSEY: It wasn't, Your Honour. I sort of started with a
24 more general objection, but, yes, I agree it wasn't as well.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
1 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, I'm -- I would submit that it does out
2 of cross-examination simply because counsel has put questions to the
3 witness about the map, and from that -- from those questions has elicited
4 answers with respect to who was the commander of the operation. And In
5 doing that, counsel has also relied on the military experience of the
6 witness, which in a sense is what the Prosecution seeks to undertake at
7 this point.
8 JUDGE LIU: The principle of the redirect examination is to give
9 you an opportunity to question whatever is mentioned and used in the
10 cross-examination, but you cannot broaden the scope of that. Otherwise,
11 we'll sit until midnight. So would you please withdraw this question.
12 MR. SACHDEVA: Very well, Your Honour. I'll withdraw that
14 Q. Mr. Tirak, counsel for the Defence in cross-examination asked
15 questions about orders and implementation of those orders by commanders,
16 and your evidence, if I can sum up, was that even though orders are given,
17 that doesn't necessarily mean they are implemented or obeyed. Do you
18 recall that?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Now, as Chief of Staff, did you ever issue orders, whether
21 verbally or in written form, to your subordinates with respect to the
22 organisation or logistics, with respect to your function?
23 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honour, I object to that. This doesn't arise
24 outs of cross-examination. That is attempt to effectively bulk up the
25 responsibility of Chiefs of Staff and it clearly does not arise out of
1 cross-examination. So I object to it.
2 JUDGE LIU: But on this very issue, I believe that the Prosecution
3 has the right to make some clarifications on that issue.
4 MR. MORRISSEY: Well --
5 JUDGE LIU: We also have the same question. If the Prosecution
6 did not ask, maybe we could do that.
7 You may proceed, Mr. Sachdeva.
8 MR. SACHDEVA: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. Well, Mr. Tirak, I'll repeat the question. Did you ever issue
10 orders, whether verbally or in written form, to your subordinates?
11 A. I've said earlier on that I never issued any orders save for one
12 critical instance, for the simple reason that in my capacity as Chief of
13 Staff, I did not have the powers to issue orders unless under
14 exceptionally extraordinary circumstances having previously been
15 explicitly authorised by the commander. Once again, I only issued one
16 order in the four or five months I spent there in that capacity.
17 Q. Mr. Tirak, now I understand that. Maybe my question was not clear
18 enough. I'm not referring to combat orders or orders concerning issues
19 that are beyond your function, but simply orders that may have naturally
20 derived from your function to units under your -- within the 6th Corps.
21 It's those orders that I'm referring to.
22 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, Your Honours, that's got to be clarified
23 because there's evidence about what -- about Chiefs of Staff having a
24 power to issue orders within the staff where they have subordinates and my
25 learned friend really ought to distinguish between that order between
1 subordinates in the staff and the 6th Corps generally.
2 MR. SACHDEVA: Very well.
3 Q. Did you ever issue orders to subordinates within the staff of the
4 6th Corps?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Were those orders always obeyed?
7 A. No. It would happen sometimes that certain staff members failed
8 to obey orders. It didn't happen very often but it was known to happen.
9 Q. On the occasion that those orders were not obeyed, what did you do
10 to ensure that they were obeyed?
11 A. I said this, and I'll say it again. From our present perspective,
12 it may seem neat when you look at orders and various documents. It seems
13 to make perfect sense. The situation at the time, however, was different
14 because some orders could simply not be implemented, if I may put it that
16 On the other hand, there were units around that simply failed to
17 sufficiently comply with any orders that were given. It may sound simple
18 now, but back then it was very difficult to prove that certain units had
19 in fact failed to carry out certain orders. It did sometimes happen that
20 I issued certain orders based on whatever information I had, and it turned
21 out later that it could just not be carried out because the situation on
22 the ground did not allow it.
23 You must know that at the time, it was very often the case that
24 certain orders were simply not carried out. It was even more often the
25 case that orders could not be carried out. That's why you should
1 distinguish between these neat documents which seem to create a picture of
2 a reality that was very different from what was the case on the ground
3 back at the time.
4 Q. Well, from those orders that could be carried out -- when you
5 issued orders, did you see it as your responsibility to follow up that
6 those orders were implemented, as the Chief of Staff?
7 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honour, that does not arise out of
8 cross-examination under any view of it, and I object to it.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes. That will be out of scope of the
11 MR. SACHDEVA: Very well, Your Honour.
12 Q. Mr. Tirak, I just want to ask you, well, hopefully one or two
13 questions about the Igman -- the battle of Igman -- at Igman. Do you
14 remember speaking about that to counsel for the Defence?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you recall counsel for the Defence putting to you that the 9th
17 and 10th Brigades were involved in the battle for Igman?
18 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I think what I put was that elements
19 of those brigades were used, not that those brigades were used.
20 JUDGE LIU: If there's any difference.
21 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, it matters to me, so I make the objection,
22 Your Honour.
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
24 MR. SACHDEVA: Very well.
25 Q. Do you recall counsel for the Defence putting to you that elements
1 of the 9th and 10th Brigades were involved in the battle for Igman?
2 A. Yes, he did say that.
3 Q. Do you know at the conclusion of the battle whether the VRS, the
4 army of Republika Srpska, or the ABiH -- well, let me ask it a different
5 way. Excuse me.
6 Which army, either the VRS or the ABiH, eventually controlled most
7 of Igman?
8 A. At the end of that battle, most of Bjelasnica, Igman, and
9 Treskavica was under the control of the Army of the Republika Srpska.
10 MR. SACHDEVA: That's the re-examination, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Any questions from the Judges? Yes,
12 Judge El Mahdi.
13 JUDGE EL MAHDI: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Questioned by the Court:
15 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Witness, I would like to seek
16 some clarifications. The first clarification has to do with what you
17 said. You said that if ever the 6th Corps --
18 THE WITNESS: [In English] Excuse me. No translation.
19 JUDGE LIU: Maybe the French channel is not in place.
20 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Can you hear me now, Witness?
21 A. Yes.
22 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you. So this has to do
23 with a couple of clarifications would like to obtain from you. So I have
24 a few questions.
25 First question is you did confirm that if ever the 6th Corps had
1 itself carried out combat operations or had combat plans, you would have
2 known about them, about it. Can you confirm this? Is this your position?
3 A. I will confirm this again just to make it crystal clear. If the
4 6th Corps --
5 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Fine. If you do confirm, I mean,
6 I understood you to say this. So my question does not relate to this. It
7 is based on something else. You also stated that your military training
8 was solely limited to compulsory military service.
9 A. Yes.
10 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] And you added that many orders
11 that were submitted to you during the hearing were not known to you. You
12 had not known about them before. So on what basis do you claim that if
13 ever there had been combat plans, you would have been informed. So much
14 so because you said that most of the time you were absent. You were not
15 in Konjic. Most of the time, you were either in Vakuf or in Fojnica, if I
16 understood properly.
17 Therefore, do you maintain what you said? Don't you think that it
18 would have been possible for some plans to be established without you
19 knowing about them?
20 A. Of course it would have been possible for plans to be made in my
21 absence. That is entirely possible. But when I said I believed that the
22 6th Corps did not independently and on its own plan this operation, I said
23 this based on my own experience. Both before and after, throughout my
24 time, in fact, with the 6th Corps, there was never an action organised
25 independently by the 6th Corps that I didn't know of.
1 Since I was away at the time, of course --
2 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes, but if you were absent. Do
3 you rule out the possibility of plans being established, set up whilst you
4 were not there?
5 A. Of course I can't rule out the possibility that these plans can be
6 made quickly.
7 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Fine. Because you also stated
8 that it was a very critical situation, especially so after the HVO attack
9 in the area.
10 A. Yes. If you're asking me whether I said the situation was
11 critical, the answer is yes.
12 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] I'll move on to another subject,
13 namely your meeting with Mr. Fazlic. Following the meeting, you went to
14 see Mr. Delic. Was the idea that -- was any mention made of you talking
15 to Mr. Halilovic or turning to him?
16 A. I didn't consider that, because Mr. Fazlic told me to go and see
17 Mr. Delic. Had he told me to go and see Mr. Halilovic, I would have done
19 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes, but then Mr. Fazlic was
20 convinced that Mr. Halilovic did not have any say.
21 A. It's very difficult for me to answer that question. I really have
22 no idea what he meant.
23 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] What about you? I'm asking for
24 your personal view.
25 A. If you want me to tell you what I think, my assumption is
1 Mr. Fazlic believed that Mr. Delic was in a position to issue a final
2 order, and that was probably why he sent me to Mr. Delic and not to
3 Mr. Halilovic. Mr. Delic was the commander, after all, not Mr. Halilovic.
4 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes. Therefore, the effective
5 power was vested with Mr. Delic.
6 A. He was a commander of the BH army. Of course the power lay with
7 him. To what extent he was in effective control of the situation is not
8 something that I can say. He was at the time the commander of the BH army
9 and the power was vested in him.
10 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Let me move on to my last
11 question. It is in relation to the 9th Brigade. You said that through a
12 friend living in Sarajevo, you'd heard that he once had to do some work,
13 some trench digging.
14 Apart from that one incident, did you ever hear other complaints
15 of the same kind or -- I believe your friend was a professor, a geography
16 professor, if I'm not mistaken. Apart from him, were there other cases?
17 A. That was the only complaint that was ever addressed to me
18 personally. Throughout my time in Sarajevo, I heard about others, but
19 this is the only case that concerned me personally.
20 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] So he was the only one to ever
21 speak to you about it, but you never heard anything else, you in person,
22 from anybody else?
23 A. If you mean whether any other people came to me to complain, the
24 answer is no, they didn't. I was in no position to -- to help them or do
25 anything about it. However, I heard people talk about such things
1 happening, but the only complaint that I received personally was the one
2 from that particular gentleman. And that should not strike anyone as
3 strange, because my position was such that anyone would come complaining
4 to me.
5 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Do you understand me?
6 A. Yes, yes. I've heard that people had been kidnapped from their
7 flats, that jewellery was stolen. I heard all kinds of stories, but this
8 is the kind of thing that people talked about on a daily basis on the
9 streets of Sarajevo.
10 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] So, regarding the 9th Brigade --
11 that was regarding the 9th Brigade; right?
12 A. Yes.
13 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] And you did not hear anything
14 about the 10th Brigade?
15 A. The only incident I was told about occurred before the brigades
16 were even set up. I'm talking about the incident at the Novo Sarajevo
18 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Did the 9th Brigade have any
19 special insignia, how to make the difference between a member of the 9th
20 Brigade, from them from other members of the army?
21 A. There were no official ranks in the BH army at that time, and --
22 JUDGE EL MAHDI: I'm talking about brigades. How could you see?
23 How could you identify a soldier as being a member of that particular
24 brigade rather than another brigade?
25 A. Most brigades had inscriptions, shoulder patches, badges, or some
1 marks of distinction above their shirt pockets. Commanders were doing
2 their best to make their -- make their own units distinctive.
3 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] During that time did other
4 brigade members wear insignias?
5 A. I can't talk about the specific period of time for the simple
6 reason that I don't know.
7 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you, Judge El Mahdi. Any questions out of the
9 Judge's questions? I see none.
10 At this stage, are there any documents to tender from the
12 MR. SACHDEVA: None, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
14 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE LIU: From the Defence.
16 MR. MORRISSEY: MFI 294 and MFI 295.
17 JUDGE LIU: Any objections.
18 MR. SACHDEVA: Possibly, Your Honour. I just want to make sure
19 which ones they are. You might identify this, too. I only know one, and
20 that is -- 295 is the signature on that document.
21 MR. MORRISSEY: 294 was the -- an order from Rasim Delic that was
22 the last document from last night which was went to the -- to the 6th
23 Corps on the 2nd of July 1993. The witness didn't remember that specific
24 order. He indicated that they were very busy at that time, and it may
25 well be there wasn't a plan drafted by them in response to Mr. Delic's
1 order that was sent to them. But it was an order from Delic to the 6th
2 Corps that you will recall. So that's why we wanted to submit it. The
3 witness said he -- he himself can't remember it. But obviously it was
4 received there so --
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
6 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, I would object to 295, the document
7 with the signature on the basis that the evidence of the witness has been
8 that he could not confirm that this was intact in Fazlic's signature. So
9 on that basis I can't see how the document can assist Your Honours.
10 JUDGE LIU: I believe that's the very reason we would like to have
11 it admitted into the evidence.
12 So the document 294 and 295 are admitted into the evidence. It is
13 so decided.
14 Well, Witness, thank you very much for coming to The Hague to give
15 your evidence. After we are adjourned, Madam Usher will show you out of
16 the room. We wish you a very pleasant journey back home.
17 Tomorrow morning, we could sit at 9.00.
18 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes --
19 JUDGE LIU: Are there any different opinions.
20 MR. MORRISSEY: No, no, Your Honour. There aren't any different
21 opinions. Could I just indicate that from the matters raised in Court by
22 my learned friend Mr. Re concerning the witness Okic, it may be that we're
23 going to have to ask for some slight delays depending on how things are
24 organised and how Your Honours want to proceed. I won't make submissions
25 now. I understood that there was the possibility of going into tomorrow
1 afternoon. I'm not suggesting that that should or should not be done, but
2 if it has to be done the Defence agrees that we will cooperate and do so.
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. And tomorrow morning, at the very
4 beginning I think the Bench would like to hear the parties on their
5 positions concerning the next witness and then we'll consider whether we
6 hear the witness himself or not.
7 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE LIU: And how far we could go with that witness. Generally
9 speaking, we would like to divide the testimony of the next witness into
10 two parts.
11 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes. Yes, Your Honours. We'll give some thought
12 to what our submissions are about that procedure and what safeguards can
13 be put in place and so on.
14 Your Honours, there's just one other matter, that the issue of the
15 deposition of Vehbija Karic will need to be the subject of submissions
16 tomorrow morning as well.
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, I'm afraid we -- well, you may resume tomorrow
18 morning and I believe that we have already looked into it since it was
19 already brought to our attention last time.
20 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes. I think that -- having said that, the hearing
22 for today is adjourned. I apologise to the interpreters and all the staff
23 working for these proceedings.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.09 p.m.,
25 to be reconvened on Friday, the 1st day of
1 April, 2005, at 9.00 a.m.