1 Thursday, 14 April 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.22 p.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Mr. Court Deputy.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours, this is the case
7 number IT-01-48-T, the Prosecutor versus Sefer Halilovic.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Before we hear the witness, are there any
9 matters that the parties would like to bring to the attention of this
11 I see none, so we could have the witness.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 WITNESS: WITNESS H [Resumed]
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 JUDGE LIU: Good afternoon, Witness.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
17 JUDGE LIU: Are you ready to start?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
19 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
20 Mr. Sachdeva, we have some problem with the pictures the witness
21 drew yesterday, so will you please do it again?
22 MR. SACHDEVA: Certainly, Your Honour.
23 Examined by Mr. Sachdeva:
24 Q. Good afternoon, Witness H.
25 A. Good afternoon.
1 Q. I'm going to have to trouble you again with the photograph that
2 you marked yesterday, it wasn't -- your markings weren't recorded.
3 MR. SACHDEVA: So could photograph P360 be shown to the witness,
5 Q. Do you have that on your screen?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Can you please circle the building where the command -- battalion
8 command was.
9 A. [Marks]
10 Q. And can you write the letter C there, please?
11 A. [Marks]
12 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, I'm going to ask the witness to mark
13 on this photograph again. I can do it on a different one or I can keep
14 that photograph there.
15 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, to save the space for more evidence in the
17 future, I think you could do it on this one.
18 MR. SACHDEVA: Okay. Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Now, Witness H, yesterday before we broke, I asked you about the
20 village of Uzdol.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. I want you to tell the Court, were you involved in any military
23 action at Uzdol in September 1993?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. On what date did that occur?
1 A. The 14th of September, 1993.
2 Q. What was the purpose of your military action at Uzdol?
3 A. To destroy a tank that was positioned next to the school building,
4 the adjacent artillery, and to free up prisoners who had fallen into the
5 hands of the HVO and were being kept inside the school.
6 Q. Well you've almost answered my next question, but under whose
7 control was Uzdol and the school?
8 A. It was under the HVO's control.
9 Q. Apart from the tank which you said was near the school, what other
10 HVO military installations were by the school?
11 A. I'm not sure about the military installations, what else was
13 Q. Were there soldiers in the school?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Were you aware as to how many soldiers there might have been in
16 that school?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Did your military operation involve solely the school or anywhere
20 A. Solely the school.
21 Q. Now, who told you to go and attack the school?
22 A. Specifically, I received an assignment from Pero Mustafa [as
24 Q. And who was Pero, Mustafa?
25 A. I think he was Enver Buza's deputy, and Enver Buza was the
2 Q. Did Enver Buza talk to you about this operation at the school?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Where did you speak to Mustafa Hero about your operation?
5 A. I spoke to him near the village of Here the night before we
6 started out.
7 Q. Now the day before the 14th September, 13th, were you in Dobro
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did anybody outside of the Prozor Independent Battalion come and
11 visit the command centre in Dobro Polje?
12 A. I'm not sure I understand your question.
13 Q. Did anybody who was not from the Prozor Independent Battalion come
14 to the command centre in Dobro Polje on the 13th September 1993?
15 A. I saw Mr. Halilovic outside the building on that day.
16 Q. When did you see Mr. Halilovic?
17 A. I think it was around noon on the 13th of September.
18 Q. How did you know it was Mr. Sefer Halilovic?
19 A. I was familiar with this gentleman from the printed media and from
20 various photographs. Then after he'd left, some soldiers came up and told
21 me that Mr. Halilovic had been there.
22 Q. Did you speak to Mr. Halilovic?
23 A. No.
24 Q. What was Mr. Halilovic doing in Dobro Polje that day?
25 A. When I arrived, there were soldiers there lined up outside the
1 command, and Mr. Halilovic spoke to them.
2 Q. Were you lined up with the soldiers as well?
3 A. I arrived later. I wasn't there at the beginning.
4 Q. Are you able to tell the Court after how long did you join the
5 line-up from when it started?
6 A. It was 20 or 25 minutes later, but I can't be very specific.
7 Q. When you joined the line-up, what was Mr. Halilovic doing?
8 A. He was addressing the troops. He was giving a speech.
9 Q. Was he there by himself or was he with anybody else?
10 A. Commander Buza was standing near him, too.
11 Q. Now, from the time you joined the line-up, did Mr. Buza say
12 anything to the troops?
13 A. No.
14 Q. You said that Mr. Halilovic was giving a speech. What do you
15 recall he said to the soldiers when you were in the line-up?
16 A. While I was there, I remember that Mr. Halilovic asked us whether
17 we had enough to eat, whether we had sufficient equipment, whether it was
18 all in good order, whether we had enough footwear, clothes, that sort of
20 Q. Do you recall him talking about anything else to the troops?
21 A. I don't remember him saying anything else.
22 Q. Do you recall any of the soldiers in the line-up asking any
24 A. I don't.
25 Q. What was your understanding as to Mr. Halilovic's rank at that
2 A. I didn't really know exactly what his rank was, but I was aware of
3 the fact that he was a highly-positioned BH army officer. Specifically, I
4 was not aware of his duty or rank.
5 Q. Now, during your time at the Prozor Independent Battalion, did
6 Commander Buza ever line up the soldiers and address you that you recall?
7 A. I don't recall that.
8 Q. Do you know who Salko Gusic is?
9 A. No, but the name rings a bell.
10 Q. You say "the name rings a bell"; what does it tell you?
11 A. The name is familiar, but I never saw the person. I've no idea
12 who he is.
13 Q. During your time at the Prozor Independent Battalion, do you
14 recall any other high-ranking military officer addressing the troops?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Now, after the line-up with Mr. Halilovic, what did you do?
17 A. When he finished speaking, I went to see an officer; he was
18 manning the checkpoint at this time.
19 Q. What did this officer say to you if he spoke to you?
20 A. Which officer do you mean?
21 Q. The officer who was managing the checkpoint.
22 A. He told me that some high-ranking officers had arrived. That was
23 all he said. That was all he told me about these high-ranking officers
24 having arrived, but that was before I joined the line-up.
25 Q. All right. On the day of the line-up, after that, did you leave
1 Dobro Polje?
2 A. Yes, towards the evening.
3 Q. Where did you go to?
4 A. I went near the village of Here.
5 Q. Who told you to go to Here?
6 A. Commander Buza did.
7 Q. What did he say to you?
8 A. He said to join my group, go to Here, and that we would be
9 receiving further instructions once there.
10 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, just to be cautious, I'd like to ask a
11 question of the witness but in private session.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go to private session, please.
13 [Private session]
23 [Open session]
24 JUDGE LIU: Now we are in open session.
25 MR. SACHDEVA:
1 Q. How long did it take you to go from Dobro Polje to Here?
2 A. About an hour, an hour and a half; we walked.
3 Q. When you arrived in Here, can you tell the Court roughly what time
4 it was.
5 A. I can't say exactly. I don't remember.
6 Q. Was it dark or light outside when you arrived in Here?
7 A. It was dark. It was night-time.
8 Q. Now, you told the Court that when you -- you were told by Buza
9 that when you got to Here you would received further instructions. Did
10 you receive further instructions when you arrived in Here?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Who gave you those instructions?
13 A. Mustafa Hero.
14 Q. What did he tell you?
15 A. He told me my task was to join the remaining groups and to attack
16 the school.
17 Q. Did he tell you how you were supposed to advance on the school?
18 A. No. No, he didn't.
19 Q. How many soldiers in your group were going to attack the school?
20 A. The three of us.
21 Q. Do you recall the route you took from Here to the school?
22 A. Yes.
23 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, might I show the witness photograph
25 JUDGE LIU: Well, as for the previous evidence, are you going to
1 use it again or could we give a number now to that document?
2 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
3 JUDGE LIU: If you are not going to use it again, maybe we could
4 have it admitted into evidence at this stage.
5 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, actually if the photograph is on the
6 screen, I will ask that particular question and then we can end with that
7 in one go.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I think that picture is still there.
9 MR. SACHDEVA:
10 Q. I apologise Witness H. I'm just going to take you back briefly.
11 Do you have the same photograph on your screen with the battalion
12 command building in Dobro Polje?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you see on that photograph where you were in the line-up when
15 Mr. Halilovic addressed the soldiers?
16 A. Do you mean before I joined the line-up or while I was in the
18 Q. While you were in the line-up -- well, first of all, do you see
19 that place?
20 A. Yes, yes, I do.
21 Q. Can you then mark it with the letter L, please.
22 A. [Marks].
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, may that be received into evidence?
25 JUDGE LIU: Any objections?
1 MR. METTRAUX: None, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, it's admitted into evidence.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit P360.
4 MR. SACHDEVA:
5 Q. Witness H, just last question about that line-up. To your
6 knowledge, how long did Mr. Halilovic address the troops for?
7 A. For about half an hour, as far as I can recall.
8 MR. SACHDEVA: All right. May the photograph 0402-0910 be shown
9 to the witness, please.
10 THE REGISTRAR: That will be MFI 361.
11 MR. SACHDEVA:
12 Q. Witness H, do you see a new photograph on your screen?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Do you see the village of Here there?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you mark that, please, or if you can, place a circle around
17 the village.
18 A. The village of Here you mean?
19 Q. Yes, or perhaps just put the letter H on the side of where the
20 village is.
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. Do you also see in that photograph the school where your group
23 was -- were going to attack?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Can you please circle that and put the letter S by the side.
1 A. [Marks]
2 Q. Now, if you can, I'd like you to use the pen, and using a dotted
3 line draw on the photograph the route your group took to advance on the
5 A. [Marks]
6 Q. Thank you for that. Now, in taking that route, did you go through
7 any villages?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Did you see any soldiers en route to the school?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Did you see any civilians en route to the school?
12 A. No, I didn't.
13 Q. Are you able to say roughly what time you set off for the school?
14 A. Well -- not that, but I remember more or less of when it was that
15 we arrived at the school.
16 Q. And when was that?
17 A. It was at dawn, at the crack of dawn.
18 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, might that be received into evidence?
19 MR. METTRAUX: No objection, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE LIU: That's admitted into the evidence.
21 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit 361, and the
22 original Prosecution Exhibit 360 -- 361.
23 MR. SACHDEVA:
24 Q. Now, you told the Court that you -- well, the purpose of your
25 attack on the school was to destroy a tank there.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Why were you told to destroy the tank?
3 A. Well, simply that tank was harassing our units and it shelled them
4 daily; it shelled the village of Here every day.
5 Q. How far, as the crow flies, was Here from the school?
6 A. I can't say for sure, but perhaps it was between 800 or 900 metres
7 as the crow flies.
8 Q. When you got to the school just before dawn, tell the Court what
9 happened then.
10 A. We set out to attack the school, and at that moment the HVO tank
11 also set out towards the village of Here. We destroyed the tank, and
12 naturally we then engaged in a fight with the HVO soldiers.
13 Q. Where were the HVO soldiers?
14 A. Some of the soldiers were at the school, in the school. And when
15 we attacked the school, another group of the soldiers immediately appeared
16 from the direction of this village, which is below the school.
17 Q. Do you know the name of that village?
18 A. I think that its name is Donja Vast.
19 Q. Perhaps I'm going to ask you to point out on the same photograph
20 the direction from where the soldiers came.
21 MR. SACHDEVA: Might that photograph 0402-0910 -- excuse me, Your
23 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 362.
24 MR. SACHDEVA: My mistake. Might Exhibit 298 be shown to the
25 witness. Excuse me.
1 Q. Witness H, do you see the school there in the photograph?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Can you please place an S on top of that building.
4 A. [Marks]
5 Q. Can you see in that photograph where the HVO tank was?
6 A. I can.
7 Q. Can you mark that position with a T, please.
8 A. I cannot mark it with precision, but within a couple of metres I
9 can mark it.
10 Q. That's fine. Please go ahead.
11 A. [Marks]
12 Q. Now, you said that reinforcements came --
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. -- HVO reinforcements came?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Using an arrow, can you indicate their direction, please.
17 A. [Marks]
18 Q. Are you able to say roughly how many soldiers came from that
19 direction as reinforcements?
20 A. I'm not really able to say that. Roughly speaking, I think they
21 were the strength of a squad or a platoon.
22 Q. Which is roughly how many?
23 A. 10 to 15 soldiers, possibly 20.
24 Q. Can you see on that photograph the village of Here?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Can you please mark that with the letter H.
2 A. [Marks]
3 Q. Thank you.
4 How long were you -- if you can say, were you involved in combat
5 at the school?
6 A. I cannot tell you the exact time, the exact duration. I do not
7 remember how long it was that we stayed there.
8 Q. Well, can you give a rough estimate? Was it half a day? Was it a
9 day? Was it a couple of hours?
10 A. Well, my rough estimate will be that we stayed there between 40
11 and 50 minutes.
12 Q. After the combat, where did you go?
13 A. Well, then we continued to retreat.
14 Q. In which direction did you retreat?
15 A. I, myself, was retreating in the direction of the village of Here.
16 Q. Are you able, on the photograph in front of you, to mark the route
17 you took while you were retreating?
18 A. Well, just some of it because we retreated in fear and in panic so
19 that I cannot really exactly recall the route.
20 Q. That's fine. Please do what you can on the photograph.
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. While you were retreating, did you come across any soldiers?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Did you come across any civilians --
25 A. No.
1 Q. -- Croat civilians?
2 A. No.
3 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, might that be received into evidence?
4 MR. METTRAUX: No objection, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
6 It's admitted into the evidence.
7 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P363.
8 MR. SACHDEVA:
9 Q. Now, you told the Court that your group took this route that you
10 indicated on the photograph to the school. Were other members of the
11 Prozor Independent Battalion involved in this operation in Uzdol?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Did they take a different route to you?
14 A. No, they didn't.
15 Q. How many of these -- how many members of the Prozor Independent
16 Battalion were involved in this operation in Uzdol, if you know?
17 A. In this direction, the axis which was the one towards the school,
18 there was about 15 or 20 soldiers as far as I can remember.
19 Q. You say "in this direction." Do you know of another direction
20 which soldiers would have advanced on the village?
21 A. No.
22 Q. After the 14th of September, 1993, were you involved in another
23 attack in Uzdol?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Was the attack in Uzdol that you were involved in on the 14th the
1 only attack on Uzdol that you were involved in?
2 A. Yes, it was.
3 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, I'd like to show the witness
4 Prosecution Exhibit 124.
5 MR. METTRAUX: And we object, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE LIU: Why? What's the reasons for that?
7 MR. METTRAUX: Well, the order -- or rather, the documents which
8 my learned colleague from the Prosecution intends to show to this witness
9 has already been shown to him during proofing, and this witness has made
10 it very clear that he had never seen the document, didn't know about it,
11 and he was invited by the Prosecution to make assumptions in relation to
12 that document.
13 There's no suggestion on the part of the Prosecutor that this
14 person is an expert in those matters, and as a matter of fact, he is not.
15 So we believe and we submit that this witness should not be shown that
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think the best way is to have what you said in
18 the record. By doing so, we could show this document to this witness so
19 everything will be clear in the record.
20 Yes, you may proceed.
21 MR. SACHDEVA: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 And for the benefit of my colleague, my questions should reveal
23 the reasons why I want to show this document to Witness H.
24 JUDGE LIU: Well -- yes. You mean your question to this witness?
25 MR. SACHDEVA: Right.
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes, please.
2 MR. SACHDEVA: Does the witness have the B/C/S version?
3 Q. Witness, do you see a document on your screen?
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. Can you see in the middle of that screen, the middle of the
6 document where it says --
7 MR. METTRAUX: Well, Your Honour, we object again. We think that
8 the Prosecution should start with asking the very question as to whether
9 he had seen that document before or not.
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we need some foundation questions.
11 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, I'm not contesting the fact that the
12 witness has not seen the document; I'm simply referring the witness to a
13 portion of that document.
14 JUDGE LIU: Let's have it in the record.
15 MR. SACHDEVA:
16 Q. Witness H, other than witness preparation, have you seen this
17 document before?
18 A. No, I haven't.
19 Q. I'd again like to take you to the paragraph in the middle of the
20 document where it says --
21 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, we would object again for the reason
22 given previously.
23 JUDGE LIU: Well, we haven't heard a question yet. I believe that
24 since this document is used and we should allow the Prosecution to put
25 their question clearly in the record.
1 The witness may not have seen this document before but the
2 contents may be something that he's familiar. I don't know myself because
3 I haven't seen -- I don't know whether the document has seen -- this
4 witness has seen this document or not, but anyway we'll see how the
5 witness could answer the questions put by the Prosecution.
6 MR. SACHDEVA: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Witness, in that paragraph, do you see where it reads, "In a
8 comprehensive operation, break the HVO," Croatian Defence Council, "and HV
9 Croatian army forces in the area of Crni Vrh, Uzdol village, Jurici
10 village, and so on."
11 Do you see that sentence there?
12 A. No, could you please repeat that?
13 Q. There is a paragraph which has the word "task" at the side. Do
14 you see that paragraph?
15 A. Yes, I see it.
16 Q. Right. Now in that paragraph, there is a sentence - and I'm not
17 going to start from the beginning - but it reads, "In a comprehensive
18 operation, breakup the HVO, HV forces in the area of Crni Vrh, Uzdol
19 village, Jurici village, Diva [phoen] village and so on."
20 Do you see that sentence there?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you see where it's written "Uzdol village"?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. I want to ask you, the operation that you were involved in at the
25 school in Uzdol, in your view, is that consistent with a comprehensive
1 operation to breakup the HVO forces in Uzdol village?
2 MR. METTRAUX: Well, Your Honour, we object to this question. It
3 requires some assumptions to be made by the witness, as was done in
5 JUDGE LIU: Well, we could judge from the answer of this witness
6 to see whether it's an assumption or not.
7 You may proceed, Mr. Sachdeva.
8 MR. SACHDEVA: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. Witness H, do you want me to ask the question again or ...
10 A. No. As regards this order and the task which I was executing, I
11 fail to see. This is not quite clear to me.
12 Q. Let me put it another way. As a soldier that participated in the
13 military operation at the school in Uzdol, could the ABiH -- or could the
14 Prozor Independent Battalion have taken the village without taking the
16 A. Well, the school is also in the village of Uzdol, so I don't see
17 how that could have been one without the other.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, that completes the
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Well, we may have our break.
22 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, perhaps before we do, we have
23 identified what we believe to be a slight mistake in the transcript in
24 relation to the name of one individual which was referred at page 3, line
25 21, that's the man believed to be the deputy commander of Mr. Buza and the
1 transcript refers to this person as "Mustafa Pero." And my colleague I
2 think corrected it himself as being Mustafa Hero, and perhaps the matter
3 could be clarified by the Prosecution.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
5 MR. SACHDEVA: As you wish, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Well, do you agree on that or not?
7 MR. SACHDEVA: I agree.
8 JUDGE LIU: Okay. Thank you. So I believe that during the break,
9 the transcript could be corrected.
10 Well, we will take our break, and we will resume at quarter to
12 --- Recess taken at 3.15 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 3.46 p.m.
14 JUDGE LIU: I understand that there is something to submit from
15 the Prosecution side.
16 Yes, Mr. Weiner.
17 MR. WEINER: Yes, good afternoon, Your Honour. Your honour, we
18 have two motions. The first is a motion for protective measures for the
19 next witness. May we go into private session, please?
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we'll go into private session.
21 [Private session]
11 Page 21 redacted. Private session.
25 [Open session]
1 JUDGE LIU: Now we are in open session. You may proceed.
2 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour. The Prosecution here makes their
3 application to drop witness Bahrudin Comor. The Prosecution no longer
4 intends to call him to testify before this Court, and this is a witness
5 which was going to testify this week. Your Honour, depending on what the
6 reaction of the Defence counsel is, I would be very happy to assist the
7 Court with any reasons, but unless I'm invited to do so I will say this
8 for the time being.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Morrissey.
10 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, my friend should treat it as one
11 that's strongly opposed, an order put before the Tribunal, the reasons for
12 what is being proposed. And we've got a fairly substantial response that
13 we want to make to this one, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Ms. Chana.
15 MS. CHANA: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour. The reasons -- this
16 witness was proofed in the last couple of days, and after this witness had
17 been proofed it was the position of the Prosecution that it cannot assist
18 the Prosecution case or indeed assist the Trial Chamber in respect of this
19 case. The reason is, Your Honour, this was a military prosecutor, but
20 during the relevant time that this indictment refers to, he was not a
21 military prosecutor at that time. He started in November of 1993.
22 Your Honour, trials at the ICTY are essentially adversarial, each
23 party may whichever witnesses they wish to prove their case. It is the
24 case that before the trial starts we have to give witness lists, and that
25 is more for the trial management of this case. If we want to add a
1 witness, Your Honour, no doubt the Prosecutor would have to advance cogent
2 reasons as to why we want to add witnesses. But it is our position that
3 if we want to drop a witness from our witness list, we do not have to
4 advance reasons as to why we want to drop a particular witness other than
5 to say it's not going to assist us and there is no reason to call him and
6 waste this Court's time.
7 Time is being of the essence, Your Honour, and there are times
8 that we have witnesses on our list, and at the time we have them we feel
9 there may be something that they can assist, and mostly it is the
10 investigators in the field who have seen these witnesses. It's only when
11 they come here there are times that when a witness is proofed, we see his
12 evidence and feel that he is not somebody who is -- who can talk about the
13 events and about the circumstances of this case.
14 So, Your Honour, for these reasons, I'm not even sure that the
15 Defence counsel should have -- should have a right to challenge the
16 Prosecution's decision. Each party is entitled to call the witnesses they
17 want to prove their case. I cannot see under what rule that a particular
18 party can be forced to call a witness that it does not wish to.
19 Your Honour, this witness -- the proofing notes have been handed
20 to the Defence. The Defence is entitled to call the witness themselves if
21 they feel that this witness can be of some assistance to them. The
22 proofing notes are fair and transparent. We've said -- we put into the
23 proofing notes everything that the witness added to his statement.
24 Your Honour, for these reasons, we -- that we submit that we
25 should be allowed not to call this witness and remove him from our
1 Prosecution list.
2 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
3 Mr. Morrissey.
4 MR. MORRISSEY: Thanks.
5 Your Honours, the witness will not assist the Prosecution's case;
6 there is absolutely no doubt about that. But my learned friend mentioned
7 that the witness would not assist the Tribunal; that's completely wrong.
8 The Prosecutors have got a duty here: They are ministers of justice and
9 they have a duty to assist the Tribunal to find the truth. True it is
10 that it's an adversarial system here, but in the common law system, which
11 is even more adversarial in nature, the Prosecutor's duty of fairness
12 extends to making available, during the Prosecution's own case, all
13 relevant witnesses.
14 Now, in the case of this particular witness, the chronology is
15 very important. Last year, on the 18th -- I'm going to provide a
16 chronology now because it -- I'm not going to make the allegations or the
17 claims that I propose to make without fully putting this on record and so
18 that the Prosecution has an ample opportunity to respond.
19 Bahrudin Comor was interviewed by Investigator Bernard Brun on the
20 18th of June, 2004, middle of last year is when this statement was taken
21 of this witness. And at the time that that witness gave his statement it
22 was apparent that he was a military prosecutor, and you can see how that's
23 relevant to the Prosecution case because they want to say that Halilovic
24 should have -- Mr. Halilovic should have taken certain steps and they want
25 to say what steps were open to him to take. So this statement was taken
1 by the Prosecutors at that time.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Could you please slow down for the translation.
3 Thank you very much.
4 MR. MORRISSEY: I will slow down, I've been asked to.
5 That was on the 18th of June 2004. For completeness, one week
6 later, on the 25th of June, 2004, a more senior Prosecutor named Ibro
7 Bulic, was also interviewed by the same interviewer, Bernard Brun, and he
8 indicated that he was the deputy prosecutor in Mostar and that he'd heard
9 nothing about this until 1994. So he obviously didn't have anything to
10 say about it at all. But Bahrudin Comor was able to say where he was at
11 the time that he offences took place, and he was able to say what the
12 state of the military justice system was at that time. He was able to say
13 that he was appointed in August or early September, and he was able to say
14 what the state of the court building was like, namely that it was blown up
15 and damaged. He was able to say is that the military prosecutors didn't
16 actually start operating until a later time.
17 Do Your Honours have his statement? Because I can indicate that
18 when you look at the statement, it will be absolutely evident that the
19 Prosecutor's claim that this witness can't assist the Tribunal is a hollow
20 one; of course he can assist the Tribunal.
21 Then, Your Honours, what happened next was the Prosecutors decided
22 that they would wish to add this witness to their witness list, and I make
23 this comment. Times change, don't they, because back in January and
24 December of this -- the Prosecution moved a motion to this Court and asked
25 that he be added to their witness list. And they said, "Bahrudun Comor."
1 And in justification of calling him they said this and asked you to rule
2 in their favour on this basis, which I hasten to say has not changed in
3 the least. Bahrudin Comor was appointed military Prosecutor in Konjic in
4 August, September 1993. He will explain the work of the district military
5 court and its jurisdiction.
6 Your Honours, I pause to say that that's clearly a matter of
7 relevance here. He will state that during his time there, he never saw
8 and dealt with a file or report concerning the crimes in Grabovica and
9 Uzdol, although he did receive an instructions from the president and
10 Delic to clear up all crimes committed in the territory, but not on
11 Grabovica or Uzdol. It was said that it was relevant to paragraphs 23,
12 33, and 34 of the indictment, and it was said that he'd take two hours in
13 viva voce evidence. Based upon those -- those assurances and those
14 submissions by the Prosecutor, you, the Tribunal, agreed to allow him to
15 be added to the list.
16 Now, at that time, it was quite obvious what his expertise was,
17 what his experience was, and what material -- in what ways he was able to
18 assist the Court. Of course it wasn't known -- or perhaps it wasn't known
19 to the Prosecutor. I don't know what was known to the Prosecutors at that
20 time, but whatever may or may not have been known to them, things changed
21 when the proofing notes happened. And I would hand up copies of the
22 proofing notes, three of them, to the Trial Chamber to assist you in
23 knowing exactly what is happening here and why it is that we suggest the
24 Prosecutor is withdrawing this witness.
25 Could these please be handed up, Mr. Court Deputy, to the
1 Tribunal members.
2 MS. CHANA: Your Honour, may I interject here?
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes, please.
4 MS. CHANA: We have already supplied the proofing notes to the
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Yes, of course.
7 Yes, you may proceed.
8 MR. MORRISSEY: I'm grateful to the Prosecutor for indicating that
9 they've been supplied to the Court.
10 Now, in having regard to these proofing notes, you'll see that
11 there's a paragraph here saying that "In my time as Prosecutor" -- sorry
12 perhaps first of all. "In September, October 1993 the court in Konjic was
13 not functioning, military Prosecutor's office did not function at that
14 time. We had a room in an apartment. There was no investigative judge
15 appointed at that time."
16 Now, these things are directly relevant to what it was open to
17 Halilovic or his agent or whoever it was that he assigned the task to, in
18 this case as we know who it is, it's Nomin Jankovic [phoen]. But what was
19 actually open to those people, what steps were open? Now that's clearly
20 centrally, directly relevant to material called by the Prosecutor against
22 To press on he says: "In my time as Prosecutor, I never saw a
23 case signed by a military commander, always by the assistant command
24 commander for military security."
25 Now again it's the Defence case of course that what Sefer
1 Halilovic did was to assign the investigation to military security, the
2 SVB as it's been called in this case. And then a sensible qualification
3 is added that except in cases of desertion, the 6th Corp. commander signed
5 Now these are matters that are centrally relevant to the case.
6 They don't help the Prosecution; they're very damaging for the
7 Prosecution, so I agree with my learned friend in that regard. But
8 they're pretty helpful to the Tribunal in my submission, directly helpful.
9 It then goes on to say if -- I just invite you to turn over the
10 page. "With respect to the killings such as Grabovica, my opinion is that
11 Sefer Halilovic had the duty to ask his military security officer to
13 Now, I just interpose this before I go on. That obviously assumes
14 that Halilovic was in command, and we're not -- for these purposes I'm not
15 going to seek to attack the witness's comments about that. But let it be
16 assumed that he was in command and that the Tribunal made such a finding
17 in a relevant way, of course, not adapted to local laws entirely but to
18 the law that you have to apply, which is -- comes from a different
19 source. But he says: "My opinion is Sefer Halilovic had the duty to ask
20 his military security officer to investigate. Once that's done, that is,
21 asking the military security officer to investigate, then in my view then
22 he would have discharged his responsibility."
23 Now, that opinion is not binding on you, the Tribunal; you will
24 have to assess that for yourselves, of course. But coming from a military
25 prosecutor, that's crucial evidence.
1 Now, in my submission, this situation is totally different to the
2 one that occurred yesterday when the learned Prosecutor sought to withdraw
3 a witness. Yesterday -- I can't recall, Your Honours, if we were in
4 private session yesterday or not when that issue arose as to withdrawing
5 that previous witness, so I'll just speak of it -- I'll keep it in very
6 general terms in any event so hopefully it won't be necessary.
7 When the Prosecutor sought to withdraw the witness yesterday, the
8 Prosecutor didn't at that time assert that there was no need to seek leave
9 of the Tribunal nor seek to say that the Defence shouldn't make any
10 submissions about it. At that time, things proceeded normally and
11 properly. The Prosecutor was placed in a difficult position by that
12 witness, responded entirely appropriately, and met with no quarrels by the
13 Defence, and indeed I think we expressed our gratitude for the way it was
14 handled and it was handled quite properly.
15 It stands in stark contrast to the situation today. There is --
16 on that occasion -- whatever else may be said of the witness who was
17 withdrawn then, that witness was at the very least conniving in crime, I
18 mean effectively in making the suggestions that were made, and the
19 Prosecutor was actually within her rights to do what she did. But here,
20 there is no suggestion of impropriety, dishonesty, sneakiness, or
21 unreliability, nor is there a suggestion of change in evidence. The
22 evidence is just what it always was. It's just that now that the question
23 comes to be asked: How does it apply to the accused here? The answer is
24 rather a disaster for the Prosecutor.
25 In those circumstances, Your Honour, the Prosecution's application
1 here is, in my submission, not consistent with the Prosecutor's high
2 duties to preserve the fair trial in this Court. A fair trial in this
3 Court is the product not just of a fair bench of Judges but of a
4 Prosecution that runs its case in a fair way, even when evidence does not
5 assist it.
6 Now, that brings to a point the issue of what the Tribunal can do
7 in such a situation. On the one hand, a Tribunal finds itself in an
8 awkward position because although I submit you clearly do have the power
9 to order the Prosecutor to call a witness, how that evolves in reality is
10 very difficult. It cannot be the case in an adversarial system that you
11 can compel the Prosecutors to ask particular questions, nor can you direct
12 the Prosecutor to deal with particular topics. And I do not ask you to do
13 that, and I think in -- a moment's analysis makes it clear that that would
14 be dragging the Tribunal into the arena in a way that you shouldn't be
15 asked to do by the Defence and so I'm not going to ask you to do so. But
16 however, there are two ways in which the Tribunal can assist in this case
17 and, in my submission, do justice in this case.
18 The first is that you can decline to permit the Prosecutor to
19 withdraw this witness. You can't force them to ask questions, but you can
20 decline to let them withdraw the witness. The witness is here. He is not
21 said to be unreliable and plainly has relevant, admissible, and
22 significant evidence to give. In that situation, in common law
23 jurisdictions, it is very frequently done by Prosecutors who have a
24 witness this their hands that they don't like and don't propose to elicit
25 evidence from, to nevertheless call that witness purely to permit the
1 Defence to cross-examine that witness and, in an appropriate case, to let
2 the Court ask whatever questions the Court may chance to have. That's an
3 option that's well and truly open here, and it's the option that the
4 Prosecutor should follow.
5 So my first submission is that the Court decline to allow the
6 Prosecutor to withdraw this witness from the list; that witness should be
7 called. If the Prosecutor declines to ask any questions, that is a matter
8 for the Prosecutor, but I have questions to ask and they are pretty short
10 A second option that's open is that this material go in under
11 89(F); that would save the time problems that my learned friend has
12 referred to as being of the essence. Of course this statement plus the
13 proofing notes could be tendered; if that was done, I wouldn't
14 cross-examine. And frankly, that is the evidence that we think assists --
15 those are the questions that -- in the proofing notes that I plainly would
16 have been seeking to elicit from the witness.
17 Now, I should pause to say, again, as I've said before, that we've
18 been critical from time to time about Prosecutors' proofing practices, and
19 the notes provided here under the hand of Mr. Sachdeva are an example of
20 how exactly it should be done. It's quite proper proofing notes, and we
21 are happy with what their contents is. But they're here now. Now this
22 material is capable of bearing on the guilt or otherwise of Mr. Halilovic;
23 it's relevant. Regulation 2 of the Prosecution's own guidelines give --
24 wish upon them -- or require of them to act as ministers justice and to
25 be, if you like, fair.
1 So my first submission is that you can decline to allow them to
2 withdraw this witness. It's up to them whether they want to ask any
3 questions or not. Secondly, it could be suggested to the Prosecutor by
4 the Bench - if you are persuaded by what I say, of course, after you've
5 looked at the statements the proofing notes - that they might want to
6 reconsider their decision not to call this witness, and that is a matter
7 that would be, in my submission, highly appropriate. The Prosecution
8 should have a think about this. Clearly it is a bad development for them
9 and clearly it would be best for their case if the issue went away, but it
10 may be that some time taken to think about it might bear fruit.
11 If neither of those -- if none of those courses recommended
12 themselves to the Court, then in my submission - and this is something I
13 do very reluctantly because I don't favour the indiscriminate calling of
14 witnesses at all by the Tribunal and I'm sure that the Tribunal would have
15 its own thoughts as to in what circumstances you would want to call a
16 witness, if ever, but this may then turn out to be such a situation. If
17 the Prosecutor persists in refusing to call a witness, this may be one of
18 those rare occasions when the Tribunal, having regard to all of the
19 circumstances, might take the unusual step. It's not a step that I --
20 well, I've said that already, frankly, Your Honours.
21 So for those reasons, I ask Your Honours to consider those options
22 and the Prosecutor may choose to respond to any of them as they see fit.
23 But frankly, we're nearly at the end of the Prosecution case here. This
24 is evidence that we have been expecting for a long time. We have set up
25 this evidence for a long time. We've tendered the military security rules
1 to indicate, among other things -- and obviously at the end of the case
2 we'll go to those military security rules to indicate the legal source of
3 the undoubted competence of the military security to deal with crimes like
4 this. That's part of that -- that's obviously we've put that to
5 Mr. Eminovic and indeed to all of the military security people who have
6 been in this court.
7 But, Your Honours, it's just a matter of too much fundamental
8 importance for the Prosecutor to now say they're withdrawing the witness
9 and they don't have to tell you why. It's pretty obvious why, and now I
10 invite Your Honours to consider the submissions I've made.
11 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
12 Ms. Chana, I give you three minutes for a very concise response,
13 mainly concentrated on the three propositions put forward by the Defence.
14 MS. CHANA: Your Honour, the Defence have put forward three
15 propositions. The first one is that they be -- essentially be allowed to
16 cross-examine, and the Prosecution -- that position is not acceptable to
17 the Prosecution that this witness is called. We do not lead evidence from
18 this witness, thus allowing the Defence to cross-examine.
19 Your Honour, I do not see the basis for such a proposal. If they
20 want to lead evidence from this witness, they are entitled to call this
21 witness as a Defence witness. So that is certainly not acceptable to the
22 Prosecution in any manner or form.
23 Equally, Your Honour, the option that we introduce the witness
24 statement and the proofing notes 89(F) is equally not acceptable to the
25 proposition -- acceptable to the Prosecution. We cannot be dictated by
1 the Defence as to how we must conduct our case. It is our case, and when
2 learned counsel makes a submission that we as the custodians of justice
3 must make available all witnesses for the Defence, I find that a curious
4 assertion because that is not the way trials at the Tribunal are run. It
5 is an adversarial system. Each party may bring whichever witnesses they
6 want, and if they feel that some witness is not going to assist them, then
7 they are free not to call that witness, allowing the Defence to call that
9 Your Honour, in respect of the third proposal, is that this
10 becomes a court witness. Now, Your Honour, I cannot say too much about
11 that other than to -- this would be a matter for Your Honours to decide
12 whether you would wish to call this witness, and Your Honours will then
13 have to decide what would be the procedures to be put into place if Your
14 Honours were so inclined to call this witness as a Court witness.
15 From what I understand, the procedure would be that this witness
16 is called, neither the Defence nor the Prosecution would be allowed to
17 cross-examine but would only be allowed to ask leading questions --
18 non-leading questions from this witness. And of course Your Honours will
19 question the witness to the extent Your Honours think it's desirable.
20 Your Honours, while he was a military prosecutor, this man had
21 absolutely no legal training whatsoever. He was not a Prosecutor in
22 November 1993 he gives opinions, and those we -- the Prosecution feels are
23 not relevant for the Prosecution case. We are not hiding anything here,
24 Your Honour. The proofing notes have been -- and my learned counsel has
25 accepted them to be extremely fair and transparent, but we do not wish to
1 call that -- this witness. And we will not agree to any of the two
2 proposals, Your Honour. And if Your Honours are so inclined to call this
3 witness yourselves, of course the Prosecution in that event will leave the
4 matter entirely in Your Honours' hands.
5 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
6 Well, I believe that at this moment, the Bench has to digest the
7 submissions from the parties. We believe there is merits in the
8 submissions from both parties, and we have to elaborate on that issue
9 during the break. So we'll postpone our rulings on this very matter, and
10 we'll continue the cross-examination of the present witness.
11 Yes, Mr. Sachdeva.
12 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, I apologise.
13 JUDGE LIU: You still have some questions to ask, right?
14 MR. SACHDEVA: Exactly. In my interest to speed up the
15 proceedings, I feel that there are some questions I need to ask the
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, any objections?
18 MR. METTRAUX: No, we won't object to leave being granted.
19 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much for your cooperation.
20 I hope you do not open a new area and have another hour for this
21 direct examination.
22 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, at most, four to five minutes.
23 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
24 [The witness entered court]
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Sachdeva.
1 MR. SACHDEVA: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. Witness H, I'm sure you were expecting to see Defence counsel. I
3 just have one or two questions to ask you before I hand over. After the
4 operation on the 14th of September, 1993, did you come to know about any
5 killings of civilians during that operation, killings of Croat civilians
6 during that operation?
7 A. I did find out about that a month later.
8 Q. How did you find out about that?
9 A. I heard it on Radio Rama, and this was something that soldiers
10 were talking about. They also said they'd heard about it over Radio Rama,
11 which is a local radio station.
12 Q. Are you able to tell the Court what you heard or what the other
13 soldiers heard?
14 A. I heard that there had been an operation and that some civilians
15 had been killed in the village of Uzdol.
16 Q. When you say "civilians," are you referring to Croat civilians?
17 A. Yes.
18 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, for my last question, I'd like to go
19 into private session, with your leave.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we'll go to the private session, please.
21 [Private session]
7 [Open session]
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Any cross-examination? Yes.
9 MR. METTRAUX: Yes, Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Cross-examined by Mr. Mettraux:
11 Q. Good afternoon, sir. My name is Guenael Mettraux and I appear as
12 co-counsel for Mr. Sefer Halilovic.
13 A. Good afternoon to you.
14 Q. You have indicated in your evidence in-chief that in the relevant
15 time, September 1993, you were a member of the Independent Prozor
16 Battalion; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I would like to ask you a few questions about the make-up of that
19 battalion, its composition if you want. Is it correct that for a limited
20 number of individuals, most members of the Independent Prozor Battalion
21 came from the village of Here or surrounding hamlets. Is that correct,
23 A. Most members of the battalion were from the village of Here, the
24 village of Kute, and the village of Scipe.
25 Q. And those villages, sir, before the war were primarily inhabited
1 by Bosnian Muslims; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And those three villages which you've mentioned remain at all time
4 under the control of the Bosnian government army; is that correct?
5 A. No. Here fell on the 24th of January, 1994.
6 Q. My question was imprecise, sir. I meant to say that until or
7 until September 1993, those three villages had been or had remained under
8 the control of the ABiH army; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And in the summer of 1993, the Independent Prozor Battalion
11 consisted mostly, if not exclusively, of non-professional soldiers; is
12 that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. In fact, sir, to your knowledge, was there any professional
15 officer within the Independent Prozor Battalion at that time?
16 A. To my knowledge, there were none.
17 Q. Members of the Prozor Battalion were just like you, villagers who
18 spontaneously took up arms at the beginning of the conflict; is that
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And at that time, sir, you didn't wear any particular uniforms,
22 and I mean members of the Independent Prozor Battalion, you would wear
23 different outfits, pieces of clothing; is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And you didn't wear any particular badges which would have
1 identified you as members of the Independent Prozor Battalion; is that
3 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
5 MR. SACHDEVA: I'm sorry for the objection, but perhaps my learned
6 friend can be precise about the time period when he's asking about the
7 uniforms, because one of questions was: "Members of the Prozor
8 Independent Battalion were just like you, villagers who spontaneously took
9 up arms at the beginning of the conflict."
10 Now beginning of the conflict is different.
11 MR. METTRAUX: I can make that clear, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
13 MR. METTRAUX:
14 Q. Sir, at -- in September of 1993, you didn't have any particular
15 sort of uniform in the battalion; everyone was wearing different pieces of
16 clothing. Is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You essentially wore what you could find in terms of camouflage
19 uniforms or sometimes had to wear your own civilian clothes; is that
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And at that time, again in September 1993, you did not wear -- you
23 personally and other members of the Independent Prozor Battalion as far as
24 you could tell did not wear any particular badge or insignia; is that
1 A. Yes, that's correct.
2 MR. METTRAUX: I ask that we go into private session for a minute.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we'll go into private session, please.
4 [Private session]
11 Page 42 redacted. Private session.
15 [Open session]
16 JUDGE LIU: Now we are in the open session. You may proceed.
17 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you.
18 Q. Sir, are you also aware that at times, the civilian police would
19 come to assist the army in the context of military operations, is that
20 something you are aware of?
21 A. No.
22 Q. And are you aware of any civilian policemen taking part in the
23 operation on Uzdol on the 14th of September, 1993, or is it something
24 which is beyond your knowledge?
25 A. I know nothing about that. I didn't see those civilian policemen.
1 Q. Very well. I'd like now, sir, to ask you a few questions about
2 the situation on the ground as you saw it. Would it be correct to suggest
3 that the Prozor area, which you were shown on various pictures earlier
4 today, is a rather hilly environment; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And that on the hills of those -- on those -- on the slope of
7 those hills are a number of villages, I mean villages would be dotting, if
8 you want, the hills; is that correct?
9 A. For the most part.
10 Q. Well, don't hesitate to correct me, sir. If there's anything left
11 unsaid in that regard.
12 A. I'm not sure what specifically you have in mind.
13 Q. I'll ask you this, then: In September of 1993, would it be
14 correct to say that the ABiH, the Bosnian government army, controlled Here
15 and the village -- and the villages around Here, that would be in
16 September 1993, sir; is that correct?
17 A. The BH army controlled the village of Here, the village of Kute,
18 and the village of Scipe.
19 Q. And on the other side the HVO would control, in September 1993
20 again, the village of Uzdol and the surrounding hamlets; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Would it also be correct to suggest that in between those two
23 points, that is, between let's say Here and the school in Uzdol, there
24 wasn't any clear front line like, for instance, the one that existed in
25 Mostar at the time. Would it be a correct suggestion?
1 A. For the most part, the front line was pretty clear cut, I'd say.
2 Q. And that front line was marked by a number of military outposts,
3 wasn't it, HVO, ABiH outposts; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. But there were other places on that front line where villages
6 would be sitting or where they would be directly exposed to the front
7 line; is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And that would be the case with several of the villages which
10 surrounded Uzdol; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Sir, would you know approximately how many HVO soldiers lived or
13 operated in the area of Uzdol, a general number, if you can tell; if you
14 can't, just tell us.
15 A. My information was that there was a battalion. I'm not sure how
16 they referred to the unit, but it should have been battalion strength.
17 Q. And how many soldiers, sir, would make up a battalion,
18 approximately again?
19 A. I really can't say.
20 Q. Would it be in the hundreds? In the dozens?
21 A. I think hundreds.
22 Q. Very well, sir. You also knew that civilians lived in the
23 villages around Uzdol in September 1993; is that correct?
24 A. I didn't know that.
25 Q. Were you aware of the fact that a number of HVO soldiers - and I
1 ask you from your personal information - whether a number of HVO soldiers
2 would go back to their homes at the end of their shift. Were you ware of
3 that fact?
4 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, that really is a speculative
5 question. How is the witness supposed to answer that?
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes, yes, because -- well, I'm not going into the
7 details, but how could this witness know something on the other side?
8 MR. METTRAUX:
9 Q. Well, sir, was there any reconnaissance done of the area at the
10 time which would have revealed the presence of HVO soldiers in houses? Is
11 that something that you are aware of, sir?
12 A. I took part in no reconnaissance operations myself, but the
13 assumption was there were soldiers staying there for the simple reason
14 that most of the soldiers were natives of those villages.
15 Q. Very well. You've already indicated that on your way to the
16 school in Cer, you didn't come across any civilians or, for that matters,
17 any HVO soldiers; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Prior to going towards the school in Cer, you were aware at least
20 of the possibility of coming across civilians, weren't you?
21 A. No, not really. We just used the road where we were least likely
22 to reveal our movements and our positions.
23 Q. I see. But you were aware, sir, that in case you came across
24 civilians, you were not allowed to shoot at those civilians; is that
1 A. I don't think we would have shot at them. We knew that civilians
2 had nothing to do with it. We wouldn't have shot at them.
3 Q. And you also knew, sir, that you had an obligation, a legal
4 obligation as a matter of fact, to distinguish between civilians and those
5 involved in combat; is that correct?
6 A. There was a rough idea, but there was no official order to that
7 effect. It was a matter of personal moral responsibility, and it was
8 based on that that I would never, under any conditions, have shot at a
10 Q. And, sir, those personal moral responsibility that you've just
11 been mentioning, they are basics; you didn't need a reminder of that fact,
12 did you?
13 A. No.
14 Q. You've indicated in your evidence in-chief that one of the tasks
15 which you had been assigned as you went was to liberate Bosnian prisoners;
16 is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Was it your understanding at the time that the HVO kept Bosnian
19 prisoners of war in or around the school in Cer; is that correct or
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. Was that your understanding at the time, sir, that Bosnian
23 prisoners of war had been used by the HVO as human shield on previous
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. I'd now like to turn, sir, to an aspect that you've discussed in
2 your evidence in-chief, which was the amount of weaponry at the disposal
3 of the HVO. You've discussed a tank close to the school in Cer and the
4 fact that that tank was shelling the area of Here on the a daily basis.
5 Was there also another tank, sir, at the time within the shooting
6 range of Uzdol and Here, and I'm thinking of one, perhaps to help you,
7 which was on the hill near the villages of Kranjcici and Osljani?
8 A. Yes. When the attack commenced, we realised there was tank fire
9 being opened, we weren't sure from where. I think it was from the
10 villages of Blace and Kranjcici.
11 Q. Was it a single tank, sir, shelling your positions or was it two
13 A. Several tanks were firing at our positions. Throughout the
14 operation on that day we only saw one, namely the one that was positioned
15 in Uzdol.
16 Q. And when you talk about shelling your positions, sir, you are
17 talking about your positions as the attack went on; is that correct?
18 A. Can you please repeat the question.
19 Q. Perhaps the question is not very clear, sir. When you're talking
20 about the tanks shelling your positions, you are talking about the
21 positions in which you were at the time of the operation, in your case,
22 Cer -- Uzdol; is that correct?
23 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
25 MR. SACHDEVA: The witness has answered clearly and said that he
1 only saw one tank on that day of the operation.
2 MR. METTRAUX: Well, Your Honour, I'm not asking about the
3 sighting of any tank at this point, I'm asking about the shelling. The
4 witness has indeed said he's seen only one tank, but he has said that
5 another one was shelling the position.
6 JUDGE LIU: You mean on the same day or on the previous day?
7 MR. METTRAUX: On the same day, Your Honour. I can clarify this
8 matter with the witness quite simply.
9 Q. Sir, you've indicated that you saw only one tank on the 14th of
10 September, 1993; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And that tank was the tank which you've indicated earlier on the
13 photograph which was shown to you, that is the tank that was near to the
14 school; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. It is also correct, sir, that there was another tank on the hill
17 near the village of Kranjcici which was shelling the village of Uzdol on
18 the 14th of September, 1993; is that correct, sir?
19 A. Yes, yes.
20 Q. Were you also aware of the HVO shelling the village of Uzdol or
21 the general area around Uzdol with mortar fire, sir? Is that something
22 you were aware of at the time?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. What about the howitzer gun, sir, did the HVO make use of that
25 howitzer to try to repel your attack on the 14th of September?
1 A. Yes, they used both Howitzers and multiple rocket launchers as
2 well as tank fire and mortars. I think they used all of these.
3 Q. And was the shelling on that day, sir, on the 14th of September,
4 was it constant or was it sporadic?
5 A. It was more constant than sporadic, especially as our units were
6 pulling out of the village. While the units were pulling out, they kept
7 pounding away.
8 Q. And in addition to heavy weapons, were you aware of being shot at
9 from small arm weapons? Is that something you became aware of while you
10 were in the village of Uzdol?
11 A. Yes, yes.
12 Q. Sir, being a military man, or being in the army, let's say, at the
13 time, had you how precisely could a mortar or tank -- let me put it the
14 other way, perhaps. How effective, sir, according to you, would, let's
15 say, a tank or a mortar be to target a running soldier? Would a tank or a
16 mortar be an effective weapon?
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
18 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, I would object. I -- this witness is
19 indeed -- was a part of the military, but that question is a very specific
20 question which requires specific expertise.
21 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, we --
22 JUDGE LIU: Well, this witness is a soldier. He may answer this
23 question so far as he knew.
24 MR. METTRAUX:
25 Q. Sir, I will ask the question again. In your experience, and
1 having been a soldier for a number of years, how effective would be --
2 would a tank or mortar fire be in targeting, let's say, a running
3 soldier? How effective would that be?
4 A. I think the chances of hitting the soldier would be extremely
6 Q. What about 100 soldiers?
7 A. That would be much easier to target.
8 Q. What about 100 soldiers in inhabited areas, in villages? How easy
9 would that be?
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
11 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, I raise the same objection. We're now
12 getting into a specific knowledge of artillery and mortars, and there are
13 many types of mortars. I can't see how the witness can answer this
15 JUDGE LIU: It's kind of speculation.
16 MR. METTRAUX: Well, Your Honour, this witness was on the fire at
17 the time, and if my learned friend wants me to ask the question
18 specifically in relation to the village of Uzdol, I'm more than happy to
19 do so. And indeed I can do so if Your Honour requires.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
21 MR. METTRAUX:
22 Q. Sir, on the 14th of September, 1993, you've indicated that you
23 were under constant heavy fighting -- heavy shelling, I'm sorry, and heavy
24 shooting from the HVO side --
25 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, I'm sorry I object. The question
1 should be -- the witness actually indicated he was under constant shelling
2 when he started to withdraw from the school.
3 JUDGE LIU: Well, maybe you could establish this first.
4 MR. METTRAUX: Yes, Your Honour, I certainly will.
5 Q. Sir, at what point during the operation did the HVO start shelling
6 the village, was it immediately upon the start of the attack or at a later
7 stage during the attack?
8 A. A bit later after the attack had started.
9 Q. Are you able to say how long after the attack had start? Was it
10 half an hour? Was it an hour?
11 A. Well, about half an hour or 45 minutes after that.
12 Q. And from that time onwards, sir, and until after the time you had
13 pulled out of Uzdol, you were under constant heavy fire from the HVO; is
14 that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And considering the fact that you were in the village of Uzdol on
17 the 14th of September under constant heavy shelling from the HVO side, and
18 again considering that you are -- or were a military man who spent a
19 number of years in the Bosnian army, how accurately in your view was the
20 HVO able to target you, Bosnian government soldier, in the village or
21 villages in and around Uzdol?
22 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, I object.
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
24 MR. SACHDEVA: When -- when -- it's -- when someone speaks about
25 accuracy of a mortar or tank fire, there are different levels of
1 accuracy. You can argue that a mortar is accurate if it is within 500
2 metres of the target. So I can't see how the witness can answer this
3 question that could benefit the Trial Chamber.
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Mettraux, you could bring about a specific
5 situation which the witness has a personal experience.
6 MR. METTRAUX:
7 Q. Sir, as a responsible army man, would it be reasonable, in your
8 view and in your experience, to target a village where civilian could be
9 living with the enemy army in the middle of that village, or would you say
10 there is a fair risk that the target may be missed, be it mortar or tank
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
13 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, again I object. That goes into the
14 issue of proportionality, and it might be an issue that Your Honours would
15 have to deal with. I can't see -- I think the witness would require
16 specific legal knowledge to answer that question.
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, well, well I don't think so. We haven't come to
18 that stage yet, but I still believe there are there is some room for
19 improvement in your question because you have to establish that that kind
20 of situation really happened in Uzdol through your question and answer of
21 this witness, and later on you could ask this question.
22 MR. METTRAUX: Very well, I will attempt to do so, Your Honour.
23 Q. Sir, could you describe in your own words to the Trial Chamber the
24 situation you were in at the time from the moment when the HVO started
25 shelling the village? Can you do that, sir?
1 A. It was a difficult situation. We came under heavy artillery fire
2 so that while we were pulling out, there was hardly any moment that we
3 weren't under fire. It was very difficult and the shelling was heavy,
4 both during the pullout and after we had arrived at the village of Here.
5 Q. And at that time, sir, were you also fired upon from small
6 weapons, automatic weapons or rifles?
7 A. Yes, we were. Yes.
8 Q. And were you able to tell, sir, from what you observed whether the
9 shells or mortars which were fired at the village at that time hit their
10 targets, namely you, ABiH soldiers? Were you able to assess that?
11 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, once again, I'm sorry, the witness has
12 said "artillery fire." Now, learned counsel needs to be specific about
13 using the terms "artillery" and "mortar" intermittently; they are quite
14 different weapons.
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
16 MR. METTRAUX: I apologise for my lack of technical ability, but I
17 understand that mortars were a form of artillery. But I'm happy to
18 reformulate the question in different terms.
19 Q. Sir, while you were being -- while the HVO was targeting the area
20 of Uzdol with heavy weapons, including tank shells or mortar artillery or
21 howitzer guns, were you able to say whether this fire which was directed
22 at you or must have been directed at you actually hit its target, the
23 members of the Bosnian Muslim army?
24 A. Not a single one of our soldiers was killed by this shelling, by
25 the artillery fire, while we were pulling out.
1 Q. And, sir, you have no doubt that the fire, the heavy fire which we
2 have been discussing, came from the HVO side? You have no doubt about
4 MR. SACHDEVA: I object, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE LIU: What's the reason?
6 MR. SACHDEVA: The witness can't say with any accuracy who fired
7 the shots.
8 MR. METTRAUX: I can reformulate, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yeah. Maybe you could just ask who fired the shots.
10 MR. METTRAUX:
11 Q. Sir, can you answer His Honour's questions. Who fired the
12 shells? I will take a step back. Whose tank was it that was shelling at
13 Uzdol, sir, on that day, was it an ABiH tank or was it an HVO tank?
14 A. It was an HVO tank.
15 Q. And as a matter of fact, sir, the ABiH didn't have a single tank
16 in that area at the time; is that correct?
17 A. That's correct, no.
18 Q. Sir, as for the mortars which were fired at you while you were in
19 the village of Uzdol, were you able from your own observations, from what
20 you saw with your eyes or from what you heard from your ears, to say where
21 those were coming from? Were you able to do that, sir?
22 A. They were coming from the direction of the village of Kranjcici,
23 from the direction of Crni Vrh, the village of Blace, and I also believe
24 that some heavy artillery fire was coming from the direction of the city
25 of Prozor.
1 Q. Is that a fact, sir, that all those villages and direction which
2 you've just mentioned were under HVO control in September 1993?
3 A. All the places that I refer to for which artillery fire came were
4 under HVO control.
5 Q. Sir, you've indicated an approximate time at which the operation
6 started, and I think you mentioned the break of dawn. I would like to ask
7 you now to try as best you can to say at what time you and the individuals
8 you were with pulled out of Uzdol. Are you able to do that, sir?
9 A. I believe that it was about 10.00, 10.30 when I arrived at the
10 village of Here. It was a rather disorganised pullout. I was on my own,
11 so it was every man to himself, rather.
12 Q. Is that correct, sir, that after the end of the pullout, that is
13 after all members of the Bosnian government army were out of the village
14 or managed to get out of the village, the HVO continued for a while to
15 fire shells at the Bosnian government position; is that correct, sir?
16 A. Yes, it is.
17 Q. And are you able to tell for how long that continued,
19 A. Well, after the pullout, I stayed for another two hours. I stayed
20 on at Here because I was unable to leave the village on account of the
21 heavy artillery fire that was still going on. And I also heard from other
22 people that this actually continued well into the night.
23 Q. Very well, sir. Are you able to tell this Trial Chamber
24 approximately how many Bosnian government soldiers were killed during that
25 operation? Are you able to give that information, sir?
1 A. To my knowledge, three of them.
2 Q. Did you later hear that the number was higher than that?
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 Q. And what was that number, sir, that you heard later?
5 A. I heard that five of our soldiers had been killed.
6 Q. Do you know, sir, how many HVO soldiers were killed on that day?
7 A. No, I do not.
8 Q. Did you hear that at a later stage or is that something that you
9 don't know today, as of today?
10 A. I just don't know the exact number. I know that some of their
11 soldiers were killed, but I do not know the number.
12 Q. Sir, were you able to bring back to your side of the front line
13 all of those members of the Bosnian government army which had been killed
14 during that operation or were some left behind?
15 A. They were all left behind.
16 Q. And is that because the intensity of the HVO fire made it
17 impossible for you to look for those bodies and carry them back?
18 A. Yes, because of the heavy artillery fire and small arms shooting
19 we were unable to pull out the dead.
20 Q. And are the bodies of some of those men still missing to this day,
22 A. Well, I don't know about that.
23 Q. You've been asked, sir, about stories that you heard on I believe
24 Rama Radio about the killing of civilians in Uzdol. And I believe you
25 said that you heard those stories or reports about a month or so after the
1 event; is that correct?
2 A. Yes. That is what I -- the kind of information that I had
4 Q. And Rama Radio, sir, is a Croatian radio; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And you, sir, were a bit wary, to say the least, about the sort of
7 reports which I heard on Rama Radio; is that correct?
8 A. Could you please repeat the question.
9 Q. Yes. I will put it slightly differently, perhaps. You were
10 careful in hearing those reports to consider the truth of those reports,
11 is that correct, sir, because on prior occasions you knew Rama Radio to
12 have spread false rumours; is that correct?
13 A. Yeah, I was not convinced. There were -- there had been other
14 bits of false information before, so I didn't really believe them.
15 Q. Is that a fact, sir, that Rama Radio was sometimes used as a
16 propaganda tool from the Croatian side?
17 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, I object.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
19 I hope you could skip this question.
20 MR. METTRAUX: I will skip it, Your Honour, and I think if you
21 give me just a minute to consult.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
23 MR. METTRAUX: That will be all for this witness, sir.
24 Q. Thank you, very much, sir.
25 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
1 Any redirect?
2 MR. SACHDEVA: Yes, Your Honour.
3 Re-examined by Mr. Sachdeva:
4 Q. Witness H, counsel for the Defence asked you and I'll quote the
5 question --
6 MR. SACHDEVA: Excuse me, Your Honour.
7 Q. "On the 14th of September, 1993, when you were engaged in the
8 operation which you've described earlier today, as far as you could tell
9 you hadn't been given tasks or missions which were in substance any
10 different from other members of the Prozor Battalion; is that correct?"
11 And you answered, "Yes."
12 Do you remember that question?
13 A. Yes. Yes, I remember the question and yes, the answer is yes.
14 Q. How many members -- well, how many soldiers comprised the Prozor
15 Independent Battalion?
16 A. I cannot tell you the exact number. I don't know how many
18 Q. Well, the exact number is not necessary, roughly. Was it over
19 100? Was it over 200? Was it under 100?
20 A. I think it was about 100 soldiers.
21 Q. On the 14th September, 1993, did you personally know what each
22 member of the Prozor Independent Battalion was ordered to do on that day?
23 A. No, I didn't. No.
24 Q. Counsel for the Defence also asked you about the uniforms the
25 Prozor Independent Battalion -- members of the Prozor Independent
1 Battalion wore. Do you remember those questions?
2 A. Yes, I do.
3 Q. During your time with the -- at the battalion, did you see any of
4 your fellow soldiers wearing berets?
5 A. No.
6 MR. SACHDEVA: One moment, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
8 MR. SACHDEVA: Sorry, it's not complete yet.
9 JUDGE LIU: I know, I know.
10 MR. SACHDEVA:
11 Q. Witness H, if you were asked by your commander to investigate --
12 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, perhaps we can go into private
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go into the private session.
15 [Private session]
11 Page 61 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 62 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 63 redacted. Private session.
23 [Open session]
24 MR. SACHDEVA: That's the end of re-examination.
25 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
1 Judge El Mahdi.
2 Questioned by the Court:
3 JUDGE EL MAHDI: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 [Interpretation] Witness, I would like to seek some clarifications
5 from you. The first question has to do with your presence when
6 Mr. Halilovic spoke to the troops on the 13th of September. You stated
7 that you were there and that Mr. Halilovic spoke about the materiel or
8 equipment the soldiers had, so you stated that he didn't speak about any
9 military operation whatsoever?
10 A. Yes. Yes, that is precisely what I said.
11 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] And you were there, you were
12 present throughout the duration of his speech to the soldiers?
13 A. No, not throughout. I came towards the end.
14 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] I see. Thank you.
15 Did anybody tell you what Mr. Halilovic had spoken about?
16 A. No.
17 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] So let me move to another topic
18 regarding your testimony when you said that after destroying the tank,
19 some individuals, 15 to 20 individuals coming from neighbouring villages
20 had attacked you. Did these individuals wear uniforms or not?
21 A. Yes, they did wear uniforms. They were soldiers wearing uniforms,
22 HVO soldiers.
23 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes. But why did you say
24 that they were from neighbouring villages? Is this a piece of information
25 or is this your personal impression or did you rely on any kind of indicia
1 or signs?
2 A. I don't remember having said that. They were soldiers from that
3 village. I indicated clearly on the photographs in which direction these
4 soldiers were moving. It was an HVO-controlled hamlet that was part of
5 the village of Uzdol.
6 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] I see.
7 Now, in terms of visibility during the attack, how was it?
8 A. The visibility was good.
9 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Did you personally see shells
10 hitting buildings?
11 A. Yes.
12 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Could you tell us where you did
13 see that? Was it near the school?
14 A. Near the school, yes.
15 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Approximately could you tell us
16 how many buildings were hit?
17 A. I don't know how many but what I saw --
18 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] All right. Yes, yes, I can --
19 I'm listening to you.
20 A. I saw that one building that -- near the school, but I didn't see
21 what happened later during the shelling because I was pulling out and away
22 from the village.
23 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes, but did the building catch
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] After you destroyed the tank,
2 were you able to release the prisoners who were inside the school?
3 A. No.
4 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Why couldn't you? Didn't you try
5 to? If I understood properly, your mission was both to destroy the tank
6 and to release the prisoners.
7 A. We tried but we failed.
8 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Was there any resistance, is that
9 the reason?
10 A. The chief reason was that the HVO put up resistance.
11 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Did it do so from the school or
12 was it because of some intervention from other directions?
13 A. There was an intervention from other directions, too, and
14 resistance from inside the school itself.
15 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] And this is my last question.
16 During your withdrawal, was there any artillery engagement? Was there
17 artillery exchange or gunfire or small arm -- infantry, sorry, was there
18 any kind of exchange of that kind?
19 A. We were pulling out as quickly as we could. There was pressure
20 from heavy artillery fire and small arms fire by the HVO.
21 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] But you were being pursued,
22 followed, right?
23 A. [No interpretation]
24 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 JUDGE LIU: Any questions as a result of the Judge's questions?
1 MR. METTRAUX: None, Your Honour. Thank you.
2 MR. SACHDEVA: None, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE LIU: At this stage, are there any documents to tender?
4 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, sorry, the answer, the last answer
5 from the witness is not recorded to His Honour Judge El Mahdi's question.
6 MR. METTRAUX: We also heard the answer Your Honour.
7 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Very well. There seems to be a
8 problem, Witness. I'm going to put my question again to you. I'm going
9 to read it to you in French [as interpreted].
10 [In English] ...being pursued, followed, right? So what did you
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, we were trying to move as
13 quickly as possible. I'm speaking for myself obviously.
14 JUDGE EL MAHDI: Thank you.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too.
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, witness, thank you very much indeed for coming
17 to The Hague to give your evidence. When we are in break, Madam Usher
18 will show you out of the courtroom. We wish you a very pleasant journey.
19 I think it is time for us to take a break, and we will resume at
20 five minutes to 6.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 5.26 p.m.
22 [The witness withdrew]
23 --- On resuming at 5.58 p.m.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Mr. Morrissey, you have a submission?
25 MR. MORRISSEY: I'm sorry, Your Honour, there was a matter I
1 wanted to mention, and that was that there's a witness coming tomorrow I
2 believe Vahid Karavelic.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
4 MR. MORRISSEY: Now, that's a witness in respect of whom we
5 haven't received any proofing notes yet. I'm not sure why that is. My
6 learned friend Mr. Weiner was good enough to indicate that to me that we
7 may not get them -- in fact that we won't get them today. I don't know
8 what implications that has, but I think it's very unlikely we would be
9 ready to cross-examine tomorrow or that we would be ready to proceed with
10 that witness tomorrow. I'm just not sure what's in the proofing notes but
11 this proofing seems to have been going on for quite a long time so ...
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Any response?
13 MR. WEINER: Yes, Your Honour. As a matter of background, we've
14 had trouble trying to get this witness into the court because he was a
15 witness in the Hadzihasanovic case, an expert witness for the Defence, and
16 he was on the witness stand for two weeks, as the Court recalls. He
17 wasn't able to arrive until this past Monday evening. We haven't had a
18 chance to meet with him until Tuesday. They are just finishing the
19 proofing. I just called during the break. They are finishing the
20 proofing today or in an hour or so. Proofing notes probably won't be done
21 until late tonight, and they'll be shown to the witness in the morning.
22 It's a -- it's just a situation of we have not been able to get to
23 the witness. We've attempted -- we tried to meet with the witness or talk
24 to the witness or get him in prior to his testimony in the Hadzihasanovic
25 case, but the Defence in that case complained -- complained extensively
1 because he was filing a very long expert opinion and he was going to be in
2 examination-in-chief for at least one week in the Hadzihasanovic case. So
3 we had to assist in that manner as best we could. As a result, we're a
4 bit behind.
5 He did come -- the earliest we could get him in was Monday night
6 at his request because he needed a week or so off after his testimony. It
7 was also his birthday, I believe, last week. We finally got to see him on
8 Tuesday, and there's a large number of documents that he's looking at and
9 commenting on. So as I explained, the earliest we can get them is
10 tomorrow morning, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE LIU: Could we hear this witness tomorrow?
12 MR. WEINER: I think --
13 JUDGE LIU: I mean, my question is addressed to both parties.
15 MR. WEINER: I think we could do the examination-in-chief
16 tomorrow. I think it would be best for all parties involved to probably
17 start the examination-in-chief at the normal time or at some delayed hour.
18 JUDGE LIU: How long do you think your direct examination will
20 MR. WEINER: I could get the -- we could e-mail one of the
21 investigators and get that information while we do the examinations of
22 this witness that's waiting right now. I could have the trial manager,
23 Ana Vrljic, send an e-mail right now, and I can have a better estimate. I
24 would just be guessing or speculating, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE LIU: Any --
1 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, I'm reluctant to have the evidence in-chief
2 of the witness commence when we're unprepared for it. I'd like to have
3 the proofing notes. I'd like to have them as early as I can, and frankly
4 I'd like to know what documents are being shown to the witness as well in
5 advance of that and, Your Honour, we need to get instructions on proofing
6 notes. We need to take them to -- when we get the proofing notes if they
7 say nothing, well we don't need to get instructions. But we do need to go
8 and get instructions, and it seems as if two days' worth of proofing might
9 yield some notes.
10 So the Prosecution can do what they want, I'm not here to
11 interfere with that, but I think it would be unlikely that we would be
12 able to go, although it's possible we would. If we had the notes, I would
13 tell you. I don't want to start the witness's evidence in-chief when I'm
14 still in a state of ignorance, Your Honour. So for that reason, I'm
15 reluctant to say that we could deal with that witness tomorrow, although I
16 can't rule it that out either.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
18 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, I don't see any reason why we can't do
19 the examination-in-chief of this witness tomorrow. The Defence will have
20 the proofing notes in the morning, and they use those for their
21 cross-examination. They can do the cross-examination --
22 JUDGE LIU: How about the list of documents you are going to use
23 for this witness? Are you going to furnish them to the Defence?
24 MR. WEINER: Yes, like we do with every witness.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes. I mean tonight.
1 MR. WEINER: Once again, I am not putting the witness on the
2 stand, Your Honour, I apologise. I can, once again, send out an e-mail
3 and found out what the status is, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
5 Well, you know, this Bench is also facing a problem, that is we
6 are approaching for the two weeks' break and we have several witnesses on
7 our list. It is our intention to finish all those witnesses before the
8 recess. Otherwise, if our witness is half done, we have to wait for
9 another two weeks and a half, you know. So it is our desire to finish all
10 those witnesses before the recess, so we don't have the time to lose.
11 My suggestion is that taking into consideration that tomorrow is
12 the Friday, and I think it's a little bit hard for everybody to sit until
13 7.00 tomorrow, and we'll start the direct examination whenever we finish
14 the present witness, that might be tomorrow morning and it might be
15 tomorrow afternoon. And I hope the Prosecution could finish its direct
16 examination in one day's time, so during the whole weekend the Defence
17 could prepare their cross-examination and we might come back next Monday
18 or Tuesday.
19 Is that agreeable to the parties?
20 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, we should try as hard as we can.
21 I -- as I say, if the Tribunal wishes to press ahead, that's what we're
22 going to do. I just need the list of documents as quick as possible. I
23 need the proofing notes as quickly as possible. If I'm compromised, I
24 will ask that we don't go ahead tomorrow; if I'm not compromised, I
25 won't. And so with goodwill we should do as Your Honour indicates, but I
1 should say that although I'm talking up time with talking now, the next
2 witness is actually I think going to be reasonably short. So we are
3 likely to have a fair amount of tomorrow to deal with.
4 There is one other matter that's relevant to what Your Honour's
5 just raised, and that is that we understand that despite what the
6 Prosecution says in the indictment, that Ramiz Delalic is going to be
7 called next week we are told, and he might not be a short witness.
8 There's also the pathologist on whom the Prosecution would be placing some
9 weight in relation to at least a number of the deceased, because although
10 we've asked questions about the shells falling and so on, there's plainly
11 some people who have been shot, and the evidence is at the moment, at
12 close range. That's relevant and the Prosecution are entitled to that. I
13 have no doubt they are not withdrawing that witness. So we will be
14 hearing from that witness as well.
15 There is also the Witness K80 who -- through whom I understand
16 there is an exhibit on the exhibit list that's going to be played or parts
17 of it are going to be played, so that she may take some time, too. So
18 we've got a time management issue that will have to be carefully addressed
19 about that, and perhaps in the break -- I'm not sure what the
20 Prosecution's position about all that is, but whether we can finish all of
21 those before the break is a -- seems to me to be a doubtful proposition at
22 the moment, even with goodwill.
23 So Your Honour might have to make inquiries of both my friend and
24 I as to what we're going to do about those soon.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
1 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, can I just add one thing?
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
3 MR. WEINER: I've learned that Kate Adie, who is world-famous
4 journalist, has only a limited number of days that she can be present. I
5 believe next Monday and I believe Friday. She was planning to fly in on
6 Sunday an testify on Monday. We might have to interrupt the testimony of
7 Mr. Karavelic, because other than that I don't know if we can get her back
8 until May or June.
9 JUDGE LIU: Well -- so that's why I asked you to finish the direct
10 examination of that witness in one day so that on Monday we'll hear this
11 journalist. And on Tuesday maybe the Defence will have the time to
12 cross-examine that witness.
13 MR. WEINER: I just have a note from -- can I just speak with the
14 trial manager?
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes, of course.
16 MR. WEINER: Mr. Re has just e-mailed that the Defence will get
17 the list of exhibits by the end of today, and he's indicating that based
18 on -- I'm assuming based on the large number of documents that they plan
19 to put in through this witness, examination-in-chief will last two days.
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, tomorrow we will have an extra sitting and we
21 are seeking the possibility to have more sittings next week. We will
22 try. We will do our best. Yes. Thank you.
23 And during the break, the Judges had a short meeting, taking into
24 consideration the request from the Prosecution. The Trial Chamber has
25 considered the submission of both parties concerning the Prosecution's
1 request to withdraw Bahrudin Comor from its witness list.
2 As a general rule, it is in the discretion of each party which
3 witness they consider helpful to their case, and therefore decide which
4 witness to be called to present their case. The Defence proposal not to
5 allow the Prosecution to withdraw the witness from its witness list is
6 therefore not acceptable.
7 The Defence proposal for the Prosecution to present the witness
8 statement and the proofing notes under Rule 89(F) is not acceptable
9 either, because of the reason stated above.
10 So there are two options still remaining. The first: Defence can
11 call the witness as Defence witness. In case he refuses to testify as a
12 Defence witness, the Defence might ask the Trial Chamber for any
14 The second option is the Trial Chamber can call him proprio motu
15 at a later stage if it deems it appropriate. The Trial Chamber grants the
16 Prosecution's application, however it would like to express its concern
17 that the Prosecution asks to withdraw a witness at this late stage based
18 on the fact that the witness is not a help to their case, especially as
19 this same witness has been added to the Prosecution's witness list at a
20 very late stage of the proceedings. This kind of practice will not be
21 allowed in the future proceedings.
22 It is so decided.
23 Yes, Ms. Chana.
24 MS. CHANA: No, Your Honour, I'm just saying thank you.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Could we have the witness, please.
1 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, while that's being done, could we
2 ask that the Prosecutor not release that witness? The Defence would seek
3 to now proceed to seek to take a statement from that witness straight
4 away, and we indicate that so that the Prosecutors don't have him
5 released. Because now that he's here and now that he's said what he's
6 said, we want to take that statement from him immediately.
7 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Yes, Mr. Weiner.
8 MR. WEINER: That's a matter for the witness, the Victim and
9 Witnesses Unit when he's released, but with regard to their wishing to
10 interview that witness, that's fine with us. We have no objection.
11 [The witness entered court]
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
13 JUDGE LIU: Good evening, Witness.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good evening.
15 JUDGE LIU: Will you please make the solemn declaration in
16 accordance with the paper that Madam Usher is showing to you.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly swear that I will speak
18 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
19 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
20 First of all, I have to apologise to you for having kept you
21 waiting for so long. You may sit down, please.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
24 WITNESS: WITNESS I
25 [Witness answered through interpreter]
1 Examined by Mr. Weiner:
2 MR. WEINER:
3 Q. Witness I, do you have a document in front of you?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Is that your name on the first line?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Is that your date of birth on the second line?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And is that your place of birth on the third line?
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. WEINER: May we offer that under seal?
12 MR. METTRAUX: No objection.
13 JUDGE LIU: Yes. It is admitted into evidence under seal.
14 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P364 under seal.
15 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, may we go into private session so we can
16 get some background information and then go into open session?
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will go to the private session, please.
18 [Private session]
11 Page 78 redacted. Private session.
11 [Open session]
12 MR. WEINER:
13 Q. Now, in the morning of September 14th, 1993, what time did you get
15 A. Between half past 5.00 and 6.00.
16 Q. Did something wake you up?
17 A. Bullets that came in through the window of my room.
18 Q. What did you do?
19 A. I went outside to see what was going on.
20 Q. And through which door did you go outside?
21 A. The front door.
22 Q. And did you see anything as you walked out the door?
23 A. I saw a hole in the concrete slab outside the house and five
24 soldiers standing there.
25 Q. Did you see what had caused the hole in the concrete slab?
1 A. I'm not sure. I didn't see it myself, but I assume it must have
2 been a hand grenade.
3 Q. Why do you believe it was a hand grenade?
4 A. There was no way bullets alone could have caused such a hole to
5 come about.
6 Q. You said you saw five soldiers. Where did you see the five
7 soldiers standing?
8 A. Outside the house.
9 Q. Where outside the house?
10 A. On the road outside the house.
11 Q. How far were they from the house?
12 A. About 5 metres.
13 Q. And what were they -- first, were they armed?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And what were they doing?
16 A. When I came out of the house, they started shooting at me. I went
17 back in and took cover behind a wall.
18 Q. What type of arms did they have that they shot at you?
19 A. Automatic rifles.
20 Q. Could you tell how many of those soldiers were shooting at you?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. How many? Please tell the Court.
23 A. Five.
24 Q. Now, you said you went back inside the house. Where did you go
25 inside of the house?
1 A. The back door.
2 Q. And tell us what happened when you went in the back door.
3 A. I reached for the door handle, and I felt my hand getting burned.
4 I realised that I was wounded and I went back to my room. My granny had
5 locked the door, so I had to push my way into the room. I went into the
6 room to get a bandage for my finger. I asked her whether she'd seen
7 mother, and she said that she had seen her leave earlier.
8 Q. Was your brother home at that time?
9 A. I don't believe that he was. I didn't see him.
10 Q. Now, after you got the Band-Aid for your finger, what did you do
12 A. I went outside again.
13 Q. And what did you see when you went out?
14 A. Once I came out, they were setting fire to the barn. They were
15 dragging something behind them. They set fire to the barn and suddenly
16 there was this huge flame rising from just underneath the roof. And my
17 first thought was to go and try to put the fire out but they started
18 shooting at me again. I told them that I was already wounded and not to
19 shoot, and they said that they would be back for me. Then I heard someone
20 yelling, Allah Akbar somewhere behind the house. I realised that those
21 were not our soldiers. I grabbed my shoes and started running towards the
22 back door.
23 Q. Let's take it slowly. You saw -- you said you saw -- you saw that
24 they were setting fire to the barn. Who was setting fire to the barn?
25 Let's take it slow.
1 A. The soldiers.
2 Q. Were those the same soldiers that you had seen earlier?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And when you first saw them, what were they doing? Before they
5 set fire to the barn, what were they doing?
6 A. They were shooting at me when I was standing at the door.
7 Q. And then when you next saw them, what were they doing, those same
8 five soldiers?
9 A. They were setting fire to the barn.
10 Q. Now, where was the barn located in relation to the house?
11 A. 20 or 30 metres away from the house.
12 Q. And you said that you spoke to them?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What did you say?
15 A. I told them not to shoot at me because I was wounded, as I was.
16 Q. And how did they reply or did one of them reply?
17 A. They replied that I should wait a minute, that they'd be back for
19 Q. You said that you also heard someone shout, "Allah Akbar," was
20 that one of those five soldiers?
21 A. Yes. Not one of those. Those were other soldiers on the main
22 road behind the house.
23 MR. WEINER: Now, if we can go into private session for a moment,
24 Your Honour.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go into private session, please.
1 [Private session]
24 [Open session]
25 MR. WEINER:
1 Q. Now, after they started shooting again, what did you do?
2 A. I told them not to shoot because I was wounded.
3 Q. And then what happened?
4 A. Then behind the house, on the main road, I heard someone yell,
5 Allah Akbar.
6 Q. Were you scared or frightened?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Where did you go?
9 A. I grabbed my shoes, ran back into the house, and towards the back
11 Q. What did you do then?
12 A. I started running.
13 Q. Okay.
14 MR. WEINER: Again private session, Your Honour, and could we see
15 photograph 0149-4717.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we'll go to the private session, please.
17 [Private session]
11 Page 85 redacted. Private session.
16 [Open session]
17 JUDGE LIU: Now we are in open session.
18 MR. WEINER: You can return to your seat, Madam Usher, if you
19 like. Thank you.
20 Q. Now, you said you ran back into the house. After you were shot
21 at, you ran back into the house. You got your shoes and ran back into the
23 A. Yes, that's what I did.
24 Q. And then what did you do? Tell the Court.
25 A. I started running.
1 Q. Through which door?
2 A. Through the back door.
3 Q. And where did you go, in what direction, after you ran out the
4 back door?
5 A. I ran towards Rajici.
6 Q. Where were you running to? Did you have a plan as to where you
7 were going to go?
8 A. No, I didn't have any plan until I met our people on the way.
9 Q. Okay. So where did you run? Tell us about the direction that you
10 ran and the places that you ran through.
2 Q. Please, if you can, Witness I, try not to say anything that will
3 indicate your identification, and then we'll go into private session if
4 we're going to mention the name of a relative or any sort of
5 identification. Okay?
6 A. Okay.
7 Q. Thank you. All right.
8 What observations did you make with regard to the houses and the
9 barns in Zelenike?
10 A. I saw two houses on fire and all the stables were on fire.
11 Q. Did you make any observations of the hamlet of Rajici?
12 A. The doors of all houses there were open.
13 Q. Now, you said at some point you grabbed on to a person who you
14 realised was a relative of yours. That person said, "Get away." What
15 else did that person say to you, without mentioning that person's name?
16 What else did that soldier say to you?
17 A. He told me to flee, to escape, that the other civilians were down
18 there and that I should go and reach them.
19 Q. Did you see any other civilians?
20 A. No, no, not until I had passed the spot where he was; after that,
21 I did.
22 Q. And where were the civilians in relation to where you were
23 speaking with that soldier who told you to run?
24 A. They were about 100 metres away from that place, from him.
25 Q. Now, did you catch up with that group of civilians that were
2 A. Yes, I did.
3 Q. And where did all of you go?
4 A. We all went in the direction of Kranjcici.
5 Q. And then where did you go from there?
6 A. To Perici, and then from Perici on a truck to Prozor.
7 Q. And did they bring you to a hospital?
8 A. First they brought me into the -- took me into the health centre
9 in Prozor where they dressed my finger. Then they referred me to the war
10 hospital in Rumboci.
11 Q. And was your finger or hand treated there?
12 A. Yes, they treated my finger there.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. WEINER: May the witness be shown photograph 0299-3208, and
15 may we go into private session for two photographs, Your Honour?
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we'll go into private session, please.
17 [Private session]
11 Page 90 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 91 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 92 redacted. Private session.
8 [Open session]
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes, you may proceed.
10 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
11 Q. Did you receive any order to go to the school?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Why did you go to the school?
14 A. Well, we went of our own accord, in order to clean it.
15 Q. When you say "we," who went?
16 A. Well, the neighbours.
17 Q. And what period did you go to the school once a week?
18 A. I went from October 1992 to October 1993, in fact, no ...
19 Q. You said you went "from October 1992 to October 1993" and then you
20 said, "in fact, no." What do you mean by "in fact, no"?
21 A. Because I didn't go to the school after the massacre.
22 Q. Are you talking about September 14th, 1993?
23 A. Yes, I am.
24 Q. Did you ever receive any paper telling you to come to the school
25 once a week?
1 A. No, never.
2 Q. Did you ever receive any pay for working at the school, cleaning
3 and washing at the school, for that one-year period or just less than that
4 one-year period?
5 A. Yes, only once.
6 Q. Could you tell us how that happened.
7 A. We were simply given this money. The soldiers brought us this
8 money and gave it to me.
9 Q. Was it a large amount of money?
10 A. No. I could buy a pair of trousers for it, slacks.
11 Q. Now, did you ever put in a claim for your injury to your hand?
12 A. I tried to but I failed.
13 Q. Why did you put a claim in?
14 A. They told me that I was entitled to a recompensation of 100 marks.
15 Q. And why was your claim denied?
16 A. Because I was attached to the HVO until the month of October, and
17 after that, I wasn't.
18 Q. But why was your claim -- why did they tell you your claim was
20 A. They did not tell me that they wouldn't give me the entitlement;
21 they said that I was not attached to the HVO.
22 Q. Well, while you worked in the kitchen at the school, did you wear
23 a military uniform?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Did anyone ever provide you with a uniform?
1 A. No, never.
2 Q. Were you given a weapon of any kind or a rifle?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Were there other women working in the kitchen at that school?
5 A. Yes, there were.
6 Q. And did they wear uniforms?
7 A. No, they didn't.
8 Q. And when I say "uniforms" I mean military uniforms.
9 A. Yes, I know what you mean.
10 Q. And were they carrying any weapons or rifles or handguns, these
11 other women that were working in the kitchen?
12 A. No, no. No weapons ever were brought into the kitchen.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. WEINER: May we go into private session for one last time?
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will go to the private session, please.
16 [Private session]
11 Page 96 redacted. Private session.
12 [Open session]
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, I believe that the Defence will conduct its
14 cross-examination tomorrow because we only have a few minutes left.
15 MR. METTRAUX: The Defence is very grateful, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE LIU: Now, Witness, I'm afraid that you have to stay in The
17 Hague for another night, and during which you have to remember that you
18 are under the oath. So do not talk to anybody and do not let anybody talk
19 to you about your testimony. You understand that?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.
21 JUDGE LIU: When we break, Madam Usher will pull down the blinds
22 and she will show you out of this courtroom, and we hope you have good
23 rest in The Hague.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 JUDGE LIU: And we'll see you tomorrow morning at 10.30 in the
1 same courtroom.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All right.
3 JUDGE LIU: The hearing is adjourned.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.59 p.m.,
5 to be reconvened on Friday, the 15th day of April,
6 2005, at 10.30 a.m.