1 Wednesday 6 July, 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Mr. Court Deputy.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case
7 number IT-01-48-T, the Prosecutor versus Sefer Halilovic.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. Good afternoon, ladies and
9 gentlemen. As I promised yesterday, that -- the Bench has an oral
10 decision on the admission of documents tendered by the Prosecution from
11 the bar table to deliver.
12 On the 1st of June 2005, the Prosecution tendered six documents
13 from the bar table. The Defence filed a motion on 6 June 2005 objecting
14 to the admission of three of those documents. The Prosecution filed its
15 response on the 20th June 2005. Document number 135 is the 1996 OTP
16 statement of Mr. Halilovic and the subject of a separate decision.
17 Documents number 36 and 56 are already admitted into the evidence as
18 exhibits D406 and D273. The Prosecution request is moot in this respect.
19 In its response, the Prosecution withdrew the document number 124
20 as a proposed exhibit. The Trial Chamber therefore, having considered
21 the arguments of both parties, will decide on the documents number 37 and
23 The Trial Chamber has the responsibility to ensure a fair and
24 expeditious trial, which is conducted in accordance with the Statute and
25 the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, with due respect for the rights of
1 the accused. The Trial Chamber found that in principle, the appropriate
2 way to introduce evidence is to tender document evidence through witness
3 testimony. However, in accordance with the jurisprudence of the Tribunal
4 and the guidelines, the Trial Chamber finds that there is no blanket
5 prohibition on admission of documents simply on the ground that the
6 purported author of the document has not been called to testify.
7 The Trial Chamber notes that the party tendering documents
8 without calling its author, or for that matter any witness who can
9 corroborate the content or comment on the reliability of the document, is
10 running a certain risk. In particular, in so doing, the probative value
11 of the document in question may be diminished, or in some instances, the
12 document may be excluded pursuant to Rule 89(D).
13 As for document number 85, the Trial Chamber notes that this
14 document is a private correspondence between Mr. Halilovic and
15 Izetbegovic which was discussed during the interview of Sefer Halilovic
16 with the Prosecution in 2001. The Trial Chamber has granted the Defence
17 request for certification of the decision to admit the 2001 interview and
18 defers its decision on admission of this document, document number 85,
19 until such time the Appeals Chamber has rendered its decision.
20 The admission of document number 37 is challenged on the basis
21 that it bears insufficient indicia of reliability and authenticity, as
22 the document is unsigned and only bears the name of a deceased
24 The Trial Chamber notes its guidelines in which it's held that
25 the fact that a document is unsigned or unstamped does not a priori
1 render it void of authenticity. The Trial Chamber is satisfied that the
2 document bears sufficient indicia of reliability and authenticity. The
3 Trial Chamber finds the document is of relevance and has probative value.
4 The admittance of the document does not infringe upon the right to a fair
5 trial, as the Trial Chamber has already heard evidence in court on the
6 alleged existence of an IKM in Jablanica and on preparations of operation
7 to lift the blockade of Mostar. This piece of evidence supplements the
8 evidence already presented in court.
9 The Trial Chamber reiterates: The admission of a document into
10 evidence is not indication of the weight that may be given to that
11 document and the principle of free evaluation of evidence. Thus, the
12 Trial Chamber admits the document number 37 into evidence. The Registrar
13 is requested to assign an exhibit number to this document. It's so
15 Well, having said that, could we have the witness, please.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE LIU: Good afternoon, Witness.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
19 JUDGE LIU: Would you please make the solemn declaration, please.
20 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
21 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
22 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much indeed. You may sit down,
24 Yes, Mr. Morrissey.
25 MR. MORRISSEY: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 WITNESS: WITNESS J
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 Examined by Mr. Morrissey:
4 Q. Thank you, Witness. Could I just ask you to look at a piece of
5 paper please and read carefully the details that are on that piece of
6 paper. Just read it quietly to yourself. Are the details of your name
7 and your date of birth correctly stated on that piece of paper?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, could that please be shown to the
11 Prosecutor? Thank you. Your Honours, I offer that document for tender.
12 JUDGE LIU: I don't think there is any objections from the part
13 of the Prosecution. So it's admitted into the evidence.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit D448, under
16 MR. MORRISSEY: Very well. Thank you. Your Honours, could we
17 please move to the -- I'm sorry.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will go into private session, please.
19 MR. MORRISSEY: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 [Private session]
11 Page 5 redacted. Private session.
13 [Open session]
14 MR. MORRISSEY: Thank you, Your Honours.
15 Q. Thank you very much, Witness. Now, in 1992, did you find
16 yourself imprisoned by forces of the HVO?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Can you explain how long you were kept imprisoned on this first
19 occasion in 1992.
20 A. For about two and a half months.
21 Q. Very well. And ultimately, did that period of imprisonment come
22 to an end?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And after that, were you imprisoned a second time by HVO forces?
25 A. If I may just clarify one thing, the first time I was imprisoned
1 was when a clash broke out between the HVO and the BH army, and all
2 Bosniak men of military age, all able-bodied men were detained in schools
3 and hangars in Prozor so this same applied to me, and so much about the
4 first time I was imprisoned.
5 The second time it happened occurred in June 1993. Much like the
6 first time. The entire population was detained and here I mean the male
7 persons aged between 18 and 60. Later on in August we were all expelled.
8 I was among the first to be detained in June and I was eventually
9 released about 20 days later.
10 Q. Very well. And after being released from that particular
11 custody, where did you go?
12 A. It was still dangerous to remain in town. Some of my colleagues
13 had been killed. I fled. The reason I'm using that term is Prozor was
14 surrounded so you couldn't just leave. I took a path through the woods
15 to flee. I joined another group and eventually reached an area
16 controlled by the BH army which we used to refer to as the free
17 territory. My only aim was to save my skin.
18 Q. When you reached the free territory, which particular army unit
19 did you encounter there?
20 A. The Prozor Independent Battalion was there. I knew most of the
21 people who were part of it. Most of them at the battalion command were
22 my former students and pupils. They asked me to remain with them and as
23 I had no other solution at the time, no other accommodation, I agreed to
24 stay. I didn't have any particular tasks that I was assigned at first.
25 Q. Very well. Now, could I just ask you before I come to the way
1 your tasks developed, did you have any military expertise or any military
2 background of your own?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Very well. Well, when you arrived at the Prozor Independent
5 Battalion, what tasks did you initially take up?
6 A. I had no specific tasks. It was by coincidence that I ended up
7 there. But many people knew me and they proposed that I liaise between
8 the civilian authorities, the War Presidency of Prozor, based in
9 Jablanica at the time, on the one hand, and the Prozor Battalion on the
10 other. These were no clear-cut assignments. I was merely to coordinate
11 issues as they came.
12 Q. Very well. Now, I just have some questions about some personnel
13 at the Independent Prozor Battalion at that time. Firstly, when you
14 arrived there, who was the commander of that battalion?
15 A. Enver Buza.
16 Q. Was Enver Buza a local person or did he come from somewhere else?
17 A. He came from somewhere else. This was the first time I saw him.
18 I didn't know him.
19 Q. And did you learn where it was that he came from?
20 A. Later on, yes, I did.
21 Q. And where was that?
22 A. From Visoko, which is a town near Sarajevo.
23 Q. Very well. And at the time when you arrived there, who was, to
24 the best of your recollection, who was the deputy commander to Enver Buza
25 in the battalion?
1 A. I believe Mustafa Hero. I knew him too because he had once been
2 a pupil of mine.
3 Q. All right. And do you recall who was officially the military
4 security officer of that battalion?
5 A. Mustafa Bektas. He was another person I knew, a former pupil of
7 Q. Very well. And who was the officer in charge of
8 counterintelligence and intelligence gathering?
9 A. I didn't understand much about the military hierarchy. As far as
10 I know, it was Erzimana Dzogic.
11 Q. Now, could you just explain to the Judges here how your role
12 developed and what role you came to play in the Independent Prozor
13 Battalion and its command.
14 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours perhaps before the witness answers
15 that I might ask that we move to the private session as those answers
16 might have a --
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go to the private session, please.
18 [Private session]
11 Page 10 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 11 redacted. Private session.
9 [Open session]
10 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Thank you, Witness.
12 Now, in which corps structure was the Prozor Independent
13 Battalion, in the time when you were there?
14 A. The 6th. The 6th Corps.
15 Q. And during the combat operations, including those at Uzdol, on
16 the 14th of September 1993, in which military structure was the Prozor
17 Independent Battalion?
18 A. The 6th Corps.
19 Q. Who was the commander of that corps at that time?
20 A. Salko Gusic.
21 Q. Do you recall who his deputy was at that time?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Do you recall any other officers from the command of the 6th
24 Corps who came to your area of operations in the time that you were
25 present and who you came to know by sight or otherwise?
1 A. Most frequently, person who was in touch with us was a man named
2 Fazlic. I'm not sure about his first name. We called him Braco. He was
3 from the 6th Corps. I'm not sure if he was a deputy of sorts. I'm not
4 sure about his precise position. I know he was an officer serving with
5 the 6th Corps.
6 Q. Before we come to the combat operations themselves, I just want
7 to ask you some questions about the information available to you about
8 the collection of hamlets and small villages known as Uzdol. Now, in
9 general terms, in late August and early September of 1993, what did you
10 and those you worked with at the Independent Prozor Battalion know about
11 the military situation in the hamlets in Uzdol?
12 A. We knew a good deal. Many of the Bosniaks it would had remained
13 in Prozor had been taken trench-digging in the Uzdol area. Some of them
14 managed to escape and as soon as they reached the independent Battalion
15 we would take statements from them which helped us to put together a
16 picture of what was going on, what sort of weapons were available and who
17 specifically was in the village. I think we had a pretty clear picture
18 of what was going on.
19 Q. And perhaps just in your own words, could you explain to the
20 Judges, what was that picture that you had of what was going on in Uzdol
21 at that time?
22 A. You mean during combat or --
23 Q. I will come to combat later on but at the moment, what
24 information you had about the setup effectively within Uzdol and its
25 small villages.
1 A. We knew that at the elementary school building there was a rather
2 large group of soldiers. Further, we knew that there were very few women
3 and children left there. For the most part, following the first clash in
4 October 1992, they left Prozor and moved into Bosniak flats. Those who
5 remained in Uzdol were for the most part men. Sometimes when the
6 situation appeared to be safe, some women and children would also come
7 over. We also knew that each house had at least one barrel, that is
8 weapon, and sometimes more. What we were positive about is that each
9 house in the village was armed.
10 Q. Very well. And -- pardon me -- did you have any information as
11 to whether the soldiers in the village were always wearing uniforms?
12 A. For the most part, but there were those who weren't. The reason
13 probably being they were short of uniforms. But they did is have a lot
14 of weapons. There were a lot of people in the village who did guard
15 duty, and once their shift was done, they would simply go back home.
16 Therefore, some were in uniform and some were in plain clothes.
17 Q. Very well. Were you aware of the existence -- you've mentioned
18 the school building there in evidence. Were you aware of whether that
19 school building was functioning as a school at that time or whether it
20 had some other function?
21 A. It was just for military purposes, and part of it was used for
22 soldiers, for Bosniaks, who were fortifying the positions.
23 Q. And by soldiers who were Bosniaks, do you mean -- I should ask
24 you are you talking about prisoners or are you talking about Bosniaks
25 fighting on the HVO side?
1 A. I mean the Bosniaks, the civilians, who remained in Prozor and
2 were detained in a number of different schools throughout Prozor, without
3 mentioning the specific hamlets, Uzdol being one of the latter. Those
4 were Bosniak civilians who had been brought over from Prozor to the
5 school at Uzdol and used as a labour force whilst detained there.
6 Q. Very well. And just finally -- perhaps I won't go to that
7 question. I now want to move to the leadup to the fighting which
8 happened in Uzdol on the 14th of September in 1993. Can you say how long
9 was it before that battle in time that you first learned of the
10 possibility of widespread offensive activities, offensive military
11 activities, in that area?
12 A. Perhaps about 10 days earlier.
13 Q. All right. And what was the first that you learned of the
14 possibility of such activities? Just explain to the Court what happened
15 in your unit or neighbouring units or generally speaking that alerted to
16 you the possibility that such a thing might happen.
17 A. First of all, a unit came. I think they were part of the 45th
18 Brigade, but I wasn't certain. Our conclusion was that something was in
19 the offing, given that they were there to give us a hand. That was my
20 first impression on seeing them arrive in the Dobro Polje area where our
21 command was based.
22 Q. Did you see Sefer Halilovic at some stage?
23 A. Roughly, at about the same time, we were shelled by multiple
24 rocket launchers. The shelling became more frequent, heavier than usual
25 and we were wondering about the reason, was this some sort of attack or
1 what? It was then that I found out that Sefer Halilovic had arrived and
2 that they were the ones being targeted, and that's why the shelling had
3 grown in intensity.
4 I think it was that same day or the next day that I saw him. He
5 came outside the headquarters to greet the soldiers. He was
6 exceptionally popular among the troops. He was greeted exuberantly, with
7 a huge applause. He greeted the soldiers. He spoke briefly and quite
8 formally. He said that he was hoping we would overcome these present
9 difficulties and that we would eventually make it and survive. It was
10 something along those lines but it was nothing really substantial that I
11 could remember verbatim right now.
12 Q. Okay. Can you remember whether on that first occasion there was
13 any discussion of specific combat activities or was it simply general
14 comments of the type you've described?
15 A. My impression was this was a group of officers who were there to
16 sort things. That's what I believed they were, an inspection team that
17 had arrived to bring more order to these military units and sort out a
18 number of things. A day or two later, however, Erzimana and myself, the
19 two of us were collecting intelligence, were invited to come to a meeting
20 and talk about whatever information we had gathered. Once questions
21 started being thrown at us, I realised that an operation was in the
22 offing but I still didn't know what specifically.
23 Q. Very well. That second meeting that you've referred to, can you
24 tell the Court where that was?
25 MR. RE: Before that's answered, I apologise for objecting -- for
1 rising at this point. I couldn't object during the last answer because
2 it would have involved interrupting the witness and the translation. The
3 Prosecution objects to the answer, that the witness has answered that his
4 impression was that it was a group of officers and that an inspection
5 team that had arrived to bring more order. The Prosecution objects to
6 that answer unless the witness can first lay the foundation, the basis of
7 his knowledge to give that answer. It wasn't in the question so it was
8 just hard to object while the answer was being given. So perhaps that
9 could be clarified before we go on.
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, it's very strange to object to the answer from
11 a witness rather than the question. If you have some doubts on that
12 issue, you may raise it during the cross-examination. Or if Mr.
13 Morrissey is kind enough to clarify that issue.
14 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, can I indicate that in due course
15 I'll ask some questions about what was the basis for the witness's belief
16 and impression.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes. You may proceed.
18 MR. MORRISSEY: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Thank you, Witness. Just excuse me while I locate the question.
20 Okay. You indicated a second meeting where you yourself and Erzimana
21 attended and I wanted to ask you where did that meeting take place?
22 A. In Dobro Polje in the building of the command.
23 Q. And on that occasion, can you recall how long yourself and
24 Erzimana were present answering questions?
25 A. A maximum of ten minutes.
1 Q. Very well. And can you recall what was the focus of the
2 questions that you were being asked?
3 A. As far as I can remember, they were mostly interested in the
4 positions of artillery pieces, tanks, in the area of Makljen, Crni Vrh,
5 number of troops and along those lines.
6 Q. Very well. Now I just want to ask you about the personnel who
7 were present to the best of your recollection at that meeting, whether it
8 be from the inspection team or from a corps commands or anywhere in fact.
9 What is the best you can recall about the people who were present at that
11 A. I can't enumerate with any certainty who was present at the
12 meeting. I remember some people, though. I remember that Fazlic was
13 there, as was Gusic, Buza. I don't remember seeing Sefer at the meeting.
14 It was possible that he was there. Perhaps someone may correct me if I'm
15 wrong. Cikotic was there. I don't remember his first name. I think
16 that Karic was there. However, I saw those people for the first time
17 there. Therefore, I'm not entirely sure whether what I'm telling you is
18 completely accurate.
19 Q. Thank you. Could I just ask you this? You mentioned that Sefer
20 Halilovic came with some other officers and now you've mentioned Karic.
21 Can you remember the names of any other officers who were associated with
22 Sefer Halilovic in that time?
23 A. No. I don't remember. I know that they arrived in a jeep. I
24 think that there were four of them. It could have been his brother who
25 was there. I know that his son was with him and I think that Karic was
1 there as well, and as for the others, I can't be sure.
2 Q. Very well. Just to jump forward -- no, I won't jump forward. We
3 will go chronologically through. Okay, thank you for that. This meeting
4 at Dobro Polje that you've mentioned, can you say approximately how long
5 before the combat operations on the 14th of September did the Dobro Polje
6 meeting take place?
7 A. Perhaps seven to eight days prior to that.
8 Q. Very well.
9 A. I'm not sure. I must reiterate that I'm not sure.
10 Q. Okay. Well, I'll ask you the questions and see what happens. Do
11 you recall whether or not any journalists were present in the company of
12 Sefer Halilovic on the occasions when you saw him?
13 A. There was a journalist there. I don't know whether he was in the
14 company of Sefer Halilovic, however. He was there talking to people,
15 interviewing them. I talked to him myself. I'm not sure what it was
16 about but I know that he interviewed some soldiers, took some photographs
17 and so on.
18 Q. Do you recall that person's name?
19 A. I think that his name was Semso or something similar to that.
20 Q. And do you recall his second name or his family name?
21 A. If someone were to remind me. I used to know that last name.
22 Q. Well, I'm not allowed to remind you so I won't. We will just
23 move on to another topic. Very well. Pardon me.
24 A. Could it have been Omerovic or something similar to that?
25 Q. I'll just move on to another topic. The -- did you observe Sefer
1 Halilovic on any occasion to meet with the commander of the Independent
2 Prozor Battalion, Enver Buza?
3 A. I saw him once. It could have been the 13th. Actually, our
4 battalion had a task which it did not accomplish. I am not sure what
5 task it was exactly, but I remember Sefer coming and asking Buza how come
6 he didn't do what he had been ordered to do, and then Buza explained the
7 reasons for not accomplishing the task. So it was then that I saw him
8 talking to Buza.
9 Q. Very well. And could you just briefly explain to the Judges
10 here, now that we've raised this meeting, how did that meeting proceed
11 and what happened after it?
12 A. I'm not sure I understood your question. You mean the meeting
13 between Sefer and Buza or the meeting of the command?
14 Q. I mean the meeting between Sefer and Buza. We will go back to
15 the meeting of the command but right now since we've raised it, could you
16 just explain how the meeting between Sefer and Buza developed and what
17 happened afterwards.
18 A. Yes. Sefer demanded that Buza act in accordance with the order.
19 Buza went into justifying all that and their discussion was quite stern.
20 I remember Sefer saying that Buza would be held accountable for failing
21 to accomplish the task. However, that he would postpone dealing with
22 that until everything was over.
23 Q. Which order did -- was Buza supposed to have obeyed?
24 A. I don't know whose order it was. We mostly received orders from
25 the 6th Corps.
1 Q. Were you familiar with any order that you received from any other
3 A. I don't remember.
4 Q. Very well. All right. Now, I just want to ask you, you
5 mentioned earlier on that you had an impression of what the role of Sefer
6 Halilovic was and I just want to ask you, based on your observations of
7 the days leading up to combat, what did you base that impression on?
8 What did you see that gave you that impression?
9 A. Would you please repeat your question? I'm not sure what you
10 have in mind.
11 Q. Okay. Earlier on, you indicated that you had the impression that
12 Sefer and the inspection team had come to sort things out in the area.
13 Can you indicate what it was that you based that impression on?
14 A. I was not quite focused there for a while. That's why I asked
15 you to repeat the question. Now, as for that impression of mine, I
16 remember exactly how I came to have that impression. When I came to the
17 area where the battalion was, I had a completely different impression
18 before reaching the area. I thought that this was the real army.
19 However, once I got there, I saw that half of them were civilians and
20 half of them were soldiers who practically did not carry out their
21 duties. It looked very unorganised to me. The others kept repeating the
22 same and saying that military experts were needed to come in and take
23 care of that because practically none of the soldiers were professional
24 soldiers. They all acted on their own, and it was just that the
25 circumstances dictated that. We had no other way of defending ourselves,
1 of saving our lives. Therefore it was my impression that somebody else
2 would arrive, who had military knowledge and expertise and who help us
3 bring things into order. This is why I thought that this team was
4 precisely the team which was supposed to come in and put everything in
6 Q. Yes. Now, just to pursue that a little bit further. When you
7 escaped from Prozor or fled from Prozor, at that time, what was your
8 understanding of the position in -- of Sefer Halilovic within the Bosnian
10 A. The entire time I believed him to be the commander. When I saw
11 him in Dobro Polje I was still under the impression he was commander. I
12 did not have information to the contrary. Later on I learned that it was
13 otherwise. I knew him from television. In the beginning of the war I
14 saw him appear on television several times.
15 Q. You've indicated that he seemed very popular with the soldiers.
16 Can you say how his relations appeared to be with the officers, and after
17 -- and then after that I'll ask you how his relations seemed to be with
18 Buza in particular. But can you say how his relations seemed to be with
19 the officers generally?
20 A. I did not have occasion to witness his meeting with other
21 officers. I could have only seen something in passing. Therefore I had
22 nothing to establish solid judgement. However, just before the operation
23 began, it was my impression that he did not enjoy a great deal of
24 authority among the officers. That was my impression and it was
25 something that surprised me.
1 Q. And what do you say about his relations with Enver Buza at that
2 time, in terms of what you observed yourself?
3 A. It was my impression that the animosity that existed between them
4 had its roots in the past. Perhaps there was something between them that
5 had happened earlier. However, I did not have any more detailed
6 information about what it was. If there was anything.
7 Q. Very well. All right. Thank you. Now, we will just move on to
8 the preparations for combat now and the launching of the combat
9 activities. On the 13th of September, that is, the day before the
10 Independent Prozor Battalion ultimately went into battle, were you aware
11 of any combat on your right flank in the region of Crni Vrh and Makljen?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Very well. And at that time, what was your understanding of the
14 role that the Prozor Independent Battalion was supposed to play?
15 A. I did not know the exact role of the battalion. However, I spoke
16 to Buza, to Erzimana. Buza said to me that our task was set in detail in
17 the order. That night, when our battalion was supposed to set out, Buza
18 was awaiting something. He explained to us that he didn't have fuel.
19 Erzimana and I were waiting for the fuel the entire night, in order for
20 the battalion to set out, as ordered. However, he did not explain to me
21 in detail what the task of the battalion was.
22 In the morning, on the 13th, I learned that the 4th company of
23 the battalion was supposed to go into action with the troops on the right
24 side. I think it was the Vakuf brigade. They were supposed to go to
25 Crni Vrh where the main HVO artillery was positioned and their task was
1 to destroy it, to neutralise it. This is how I know that there was
2 combat there and that we were dissatisfied with how it all progressed,
3 because the guides who were supposed to lead the troops were people who
4 were not from the area. They didn't know the terrain, and this is why
5 this company came upon a minefield and there were a lot of casualties.
6 That was quite a great disappointment for us.
7 Q. Yes. Now, you've indicated that at some stage on the 13th, Sefer
8 Halilovic arrived and had a talk with Buza and I'd just like to ask you
9 what's the approximate time that Halilovic arrived on that day, the 13th,
10 and spoke to Buza?
11 A. I think it was in the afternoon or in the evening. It could have
12 been at around 6 p.m.
13 Q. Very well. After the meeting or the -- after the meeting between
14 Sefer Halilovic and Buza, did anyone remain behind with Buza after Sefer
16 A. I don't understand. What do you mean did anyone remain with
17 Buza? I was there in the vicinity. I talked to him. But not about the
18 topic of his conversation with Sefer.
19 Q. Yes. The question was a little bit of an awkward one, Witness,
20 so I'll try it another way. Did Sefer leave anyone behind from his own
21 group, from the inspection team, with Buza?
22 A. I don't remember that there was anyone there at the time.
23 Q. Very well.
24 MR. RE: Just before we go on, could we clarify where that
25 occurred? I'm confused as to whether it's the meeting at Dobro Polje or
1 a different meeting, and if so where they had the meeting. My submission
2 if would certainly assist the Trial Chamber's understanding of this
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
5 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, of course I'm going to ask the
6 question of where it took place. As to whether it's the Dobro Polje
7 meeting, it clearly isn't because the witness has said when the other one
8 was. Just let me proceed with those questions for a moment, please.
9 Q. Okay. And can you just indicate to clarify that matter, where
10 was this meeting where Sefer met with Buza on the 13th at around 6.00?
11 A. In Dobro Polje, at the battalion command.
12 Q. All right. Well, now, after that, did the troops in fact go into
13 battle on the following day? Or the following morning, I should say.
14 A. The troops set out in the evening. I'm not sure exactly what
15 time it was but it was quite late in the evening. They were supposed to
16 assemble in a place near the Here village at around 2.00 or perhaps 2.30
17 in the morning on the 14th.
18 Q. Very well. Now, did you accompany those troops into battle or
19 did you stay somewhere else?
20 A. I remained in the building of the command headquarters in Dobro
21 Polje. However, in the meantime, I took in a car a nurse and another
22 lady who might have been a doctor or a nurse as well, to the place where
23 the troops had assembled and then I went back to the command headquarters
24 in Dobro Polje. I saw the troops assembled there. This is how I know
25 what time it was, around 2 or 2.30 a.m.
1 Q. Very well. I understand. Before we go to what happened the next
2 day, can I just ask you this: Did you see Sefer Halilovic again after
3 that meeting with Buza on that part of the front?
4 A. I think that after that, I did not see Sefer again.
5 Q. All right. And did you see Vehbija Karic or any other people
6 from the inspection team in that section of the front after the battle at
8 A. I saw only Suljevic. I might have seen someone else too.
9 However, since I didn't know these people very well, I really can't claim
10 with certainty whether any of them was there.
11 Q. And did you see Suljevic before or during or after the battle at
13 A. Afterwards, upon his return. He was at a command post. I know
14 that based on a conversation with Erzimana, because she had been together
15 with him. She, Suljevic and he were together at that command post. I
16 don't know which one.
17 Q. And can you say which day it was that you saw Suljevic?
18 A. That could have been on the 14th, because this is when I saw Buza
19 and Erzimana and other soldiers who had returned from combat.
20 Q. Very well. Okay. Now I want to turn now to the 14th and the
21 events of that day. You've indicated you didn't go into battle. Who was
22 the -- who was the first soldier that you saw? Or first of all I should
23 ask you generally. Did you see soldiers after the battle?
24 A. I saw a lot of soldiers. The first one I saw was Osman Hero. He
25 used to help me with some things. He worked quite a lot with me. And he
1 was the first one to tell me about his impressions, because he had
2 participated. I think that he was a company commander or something
3 similar to that. However, it wasn't only him. I talked to many others,
4 and I reiterate that most of them were my former students who had a great
5 deal of respect for me, and would gladly talk to me if I approached them.
6 Q. Very well. Now, did you ultimately come to take any statements
7 from any of the soldiers of the Prozor Independent Battalion?
8 MR. RE: I object to this. This is leading. There is a way of
9 getting to this, lay the foundation. This is putting words in the
10 witness's mouth.
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes. You may establish that step by step.
12 MR. MORRISSEY: Very well. Very well, Your Honours we will
13 establish it step by step.
18 A. The first contact was initiated by my curiosity to learn about
19 what had happened. This is how I came to speak to Osman. And Osman also
20 had a need to tell me about what had happened. And I simply noted that
21 down. I would typically note things down, not in a very formal way. But
22 I would note that down.
23 However, after about an hour or two, I entered the office where
24 Erzimana typically worked, and I found her there taking statements from
25 Hero and another man whose name I can't remember. I think it was Jusuf.
1 Then I asked her what's going on? And she said, well, we have to take
2 statements. We have been asked to draft a report. And then she said now
3 that you're here, let's do this together. Therefore, I stayed there,
4 taking the statements. I also noted things down. I never inquired who
5 it was who asked -- who had asked us to do that, but I reasoned with
6 myself that that if it was somebody, it ought to have been the 6th Corps.
7 Therefore, we continued taking statements which we believed to be
9 At the same time, Buza asked me to take part in that as well,
10 together with Erzimana and Bektas saying that he had been asked to write
11 a report about what had happened and that we ought to do it as fast as
12 possible. Therefore, I saw this as a task that we had been given to
13 draft a report about what had happened, and we did it. We wrote up a
14 report and forwarded it to the 6th Corps.
15 Q. Very well.
16 MR. MORRISSEY: Now, could I just ask, please, that the witness
17 be shown a document, it's Exhibit 149.
18 Q. Now, Witness J, the computer screen is about to show you a
19 document and when it's up on the screen I'll ask you some questions about
21 A. This is document 2185, the one that's on the screen.
22 Q. Yes. That's okay. We've got a number of different numbering
23 systems here so...
24 Do you see that -- do you have on the screen in front of you now
25 a document with, in the top right-hand corner, the handwritten figures,
1 D476? I'm sorry, perhaps I've got the English copy. Just excuse me a
3 Could I just confirm what the numbers are that you have at the
4 top of your document. Is it DD002185? I'm sorry, Witness, I just need
5 to confirm what document you have in front of you. Do you have in front
6 of you now a document with the numbers at the top, DD002185?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Very well. Can I just ask whether that appears to you to be a
9 combat report, a commander's report, which is under the hand of Enver
10 Buza, the commander of the Independent Prozor Battalion?
11 A. I don't remember the entire document but I know there was a
12 report like this because I was one of the people who compiled it. It's
13 not that I necessarily recognise my own style, but I probably did have a
14 hand in this.
15 Q. Very well. Thank you. If you just excuse me, I'm just going to
16 take you to a couple of aspects of that document and ask you some
17 questions about it.
18 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Morrissey, maybe we could have a break before you
19 go into details of this document.
20 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, I'm sorry, Your Honours, I didn't notice the
21 time. We can take a break now.
22 JUDGE LIU: We will take a break and we will resume at 4.00.
23 --- Recess taken at 3.31 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 4.00 p.m.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Morrissey, please continue.
1 MR. MORRISSEY: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. Thank you, Witness.
3 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours could I just point out one matter
4 before we start with the questioning? It was brought to my attention
5 that during the course of questions, that I made a slip in -- concerning
6 the protective measures here and I think I should just mention this in
7 open court, that there is the ability for any slip like that to be
8 redacted and edited out so that a slip by a silly barrister does not
9 cause trouble because it's edited at a later time.
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes. I believe that we already have it redacted
12 MR. MORRISSEY: Thank you, Your Honours. I acknowledge my prior
13 history in this regard.
14 Your Honours, could I just ask that the Court deputy provide a
15 paper copy of the order currently being analysed to the witness? It may
16 be a little easier for him to refer to in hard copy. Very well.
17 Q. Thank you, Witness. Just before the break, we looked at this
18 document and you indicated that you may have or that you probably did
19 have a hand in drafting this but that you couldn't remember it precisely.
20 I bear that in mind but I'm just going to ask you to clarify some of the
21 information in it, if I can.
22 First of all, do you see in the first line of the text that the
23 document says, "Pursuant to attack order operative number 01/1500-27 of
24 11 September 1993"? Do you see that passage?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Very well. Can you remember now that order, 01/1500-27 of 11
2 September 1993?
3 A. No. Not by just looking at the number.
4 Q. All right. Very well. I'll come back to that and show you
5 another document a bit later on. Could you just notice here that the
6 text says, "The Prozor Independent Battalion units infiltrated deep into
7 the enemy territory as planned in the night between 13 and 14 September
8 1993." Do you see that passage?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Very well. Does that accord with your memory of events, in
11 particular those dates?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Very well. Now, I now have a question about the geography of the
14 area. In the next -- in the next passage, it says, "In another
15 direction, two platoons were infiltrated into the Klupa section and the
16 Blace village sector." I just want to ask you about where Blace and
17 Klupa are located. Can you remember where those places are located?
18 Klupa are located. Can you remember where those places are located?
19 A. I do remember, none too accurately though. I have a vague idea
20 where these places are.
21 Q. Could I ask you this? Are they on the main part of the front of
22 the Uzdol -- sorry of the Prozor Independent Battalion, or were they to
23 the right-hand side in the Crni Vrh area?
24 A. I think more to the right.
25 Q. Very well. Thanks. In the next paragraph, the report sets out
1 which units participated in the attack. And you'll see that among the
2 units that are specified there, it says that part of the Prozor MUP
3 forces took part. Do you see that passage?
4 A. I can't find that. Which one is that?
5 Q. You'll see there is a sentence beginning, like this, "The
6 following units participated in the attack."
7 A. Yes, yes, I see it. I see it now.
8 Q. Very well. Could you explain to the Judges in general terms how
9 it was that police units, and by which I mean MUP police units, would
10 fight in actions alongside the Prozor Independent Battalion? How would
11 it be arranged and what would happen?
12 A. Well, near the battalion command there was a unit of civilian
13 police made up of about seven or eight persons. They would be called in
14 in critical situations. According to what I remember they would always
15 find some excuse to not go because they were obeying a different chain of
16 command and I can't specifically remember that they were involved in this
17 action as a MUP unit. Maybe some of them volunteered, individuals. But
18 my memory is not particularly accurate in relation to these events,
19 whether any of them took part or not. I'm talking about their general
20 position, the position they would take whenever it would boil down to
21 joining the battalion in a number of critical situations.
22 Q. Yes. Okay. Well, it was the general question I was asking you
23 and thank you for that.
24 Now, could we look further down the page to a passage that begins
25 like this: "The armed soldiers and civilians in the surrounded villages
1 even held armed women in front of themselves and started to put up
2 resistance. Fire was returned. The entire Uzdol, Here, Klupa and Scipe
3 sector was under heavy artillery fire." Do you see that paragraph there?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, I just want to ask you whether that is consistent or not
6 consistent with the information that you were given when you spoke to the
8 A. Roughly speaking, yes.
9 Q. Okay. Thank you. I think that's the questions about that
10 particular document that I have. No, there is one other question that I
11 have. You've seen the conclusion part of that. You'll see at the
12 conclusion it says that -- perhaps this might be six lines from the
13 bottom. It says, "By my estimate about 65 Croatian soldiers and about 30
14 civilians mostly armed, were liquidated during the operation. One should
15 bear in mind that the Ustasha artillery was literally destroying the
16 entire Uzdol sector the whole time." Now, do you see that passage there?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Very well. Could I just ask you whether that is consistent or
19 not consistent with the information that you received from the soldiers
20 that you spoke to?
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes?
22 MR. RE: I object to this. There is no information before the
23 Trial Chamber at all about him receiving any information from any
24 soldiers at any point about anything. He said he took some statements on
25 all -- or participated in taking statements an hour or two after the
1 soldiers arrived back on the 14th. Now, what anyone told him and when is
2 not in evidence at the moment. My friend is leading.
3 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think before that the witness talked to
4 somebody, maybe Mr. Morrissey could give us some guidance.
5 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, Your Honours, I think -- I won't make any
6 comments about these objections. I'll just deal with the question
7 another way. Perhaps I could finish with this document which is what I
8 wish to do now and then -- but --
9 Q. Very well. Well, could I -- I'll persist with that question, if
10 I might, Your Honour. I'm going to of course ask him, and I make it
11 quite clear that the reason he's being called, I'm going to ask him about
12 what he knew about alleged atrocities of various sorts and what was done
13 about those. And I'm going to ask him in detail about what actions he
14 took, who took an interest in those. I can assure the Prosecutors I will
15 go through it very thoroughly. At the moment I'm in this document here.
16 If the Prosecutor wishes to object to me putting that before I've laid
17 those, I'll put this document aside and I'll come back to that document
18 later on. It's as simple as that.
19 MR. RE: This is precisely my objection. He's putting the end
20 proposition before my learned friend asks the leadup questions.
21 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honour, we'll accommodate the Prosecution in
22 that regard. We will deal with the matter differently.
23 Q. I'll put it very generally and we will start from there. We'll
24 set this document aside now for a moment, Mr. Witness J, and we will come
25 to the general propositions.
1 Did you become aware that there were allegations of atrocities
2 of --
3 MR. RE: No, no. I object. I object to this. The witness is
4 here to give evidence. He's not hear for Mr. Morrissey to put words in
5 the witness's mouth. What we have so far is the witness taking
6 statements or participating in statements being taken an hour or two
7 after the soldiers arrived back. The appropriate question is why did you
8 take the statements? Not to put suggestions to the witness about why he
9 was doing it.
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, maybe we could start with the conversation of
11 this witness with other soldiers, as well as the statement they were
13 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, that objection in my submission is
14 absolutely meritless and is an attempt to derail the proceedings. I'm
15 entitled to lead evidence in the appropriate way and I submit I'm
16 entitled to ask him the general question first and then ask him what he
17 did about these things. That's completely the right way to deal with it.
18 JUDGE LIU: Let's start with the statement and the conversations.
19 MR. MORRISSEY: Very well.
20 Q. You've indicated you had some conversations with soldiers
21 immediately after the battle for your own purposes. Could I ask you now:
22 Did you also come to take some statements from those soldiers?
23 A. My apologies. I wasn't focused there for a moment and I didn't
24 really follow your question.
25 Q. It's okay. We'll start it again.
1 Did you ever take statements from soldiers of the Independent
2 Prozor Battalion concerning with their actions in the village and any
3 potential atrocities committed there?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Very well. How many such statements, approximately, did you take
6 from these soldiers?
7 A. It's difficult to remember. Maybe about 15 statements in writing
8 but I must have talked to at least 50 different persons. Perhaps more,
9 perhaps about a hundred.
10 Q. Very well. And over what time period did you take those
11 statements and talk to those people? Was it a matter of minutes, hours,
12 days? Approximately how long did it take to speak to the hundred or so
13 and take the 15 or so written statements?
14 A. This may have gone on for ten, 15 days, perhaps even longer. I
15 talked to people whenever I could. Sometimes I met people by accident,
16 through no design of my own. Sometimes I met people in passing. It
17 wasn't a statement-taking process in the strict sense of the word, of
18 someone being called to an office to give a statement. It was a matter
19 of different people's accounts, who was where and who did what, partly
20 out of curiosity and partly because I needed to put together a coherent
21 picture of what exactly had taken place.
22 Q. You mentioned that yourself and Erzimana took part in this
23 process and I want to ask you, which, if any, persons from other
24 organisations appeared to take an interest in this investigation, from
25 the battalion level, from the corps level, from any other level that you
2 A. Well, the main thing is Buza, the commander, gave us assignments.
3 He was the one who relayed assignments to us. I can't remember whether
4 we had received a request directly from the 6th Corps security, but while
5 talking to people from the 6th Corps, they would always tell us, "Come
6 on, please, get this done. We are getting a lot of heat from Sarajevo to
7 compiling this report and have it delivered." In practical terms this
8 was an assignment for us and also we had to deal with it as swiftly as
10 Q. Very well. Now, just to deal with some aspects of that answer,
11 who were the people from the 6th Corps that you're referring to who said,
12 "Come on, please get this done, we are getting a lot of heat from
14 A. For the most part, this was Nermin Eminovic and there were people
15 who came with him, Barba most usually.
16 Q. Can you say how frequently Nermin Eminovic made those inquiries
17 -- or perhaps before I ask you the question of how frequently, did he
18 make those inquiries in person, or via the Paket system or radio or a
19 combination of those?
20 A. It was a combination of all these. I myself was in the 6th Corps
21 command building in Konjic once or twice. I saw him then. He would also
22 come to the battalion area, so that was when I saw him. But I believe
23 most frequently contact was established through radio communications and
24 packet Paket communications.
25 Q. Can you remember when was the first contact you had with Nermin
1 after the Uzdol battle itself took place?
2 A. I can't remember specifically, but it may have been within days.
3 Q. Very well. Can you remember what it was that Nermin said to you
4 on the first occasion when you spoke to him concerning this matter?
5 A. I can remember specifically, but the general meaning was that
6 this report had to be drafted as soon as possible because he himself was
7 duty bound to pass it on. The report was also to be as thorough and as
8 extensive and as accurate as possible.
9 Q. Did he mention by name who it was in Sarajevo that he was obliged
10 to pass this report on to?
11 A. Even if he'd mentioned a name, I'm not sure I'd recall the name.
12 In Sarajevo, when we spoke about the main command, the main headquarters
13 and the security, we used these terms to refer to the overall
14 organisation of both the civilian and military authorities.
15 Q. Since you've mentioned the civilian authorities, did the civilian
16 authorities appear to you to have any involvement or interest in this
18 A. Well, I think this is an illustration of them actually being
19 familiar with the details. I was a delegate to the Bosnian congress in
20 Sarajevo. I was a member of a delegation that was received by the then
21 president, Alija Izetbegovic, and his deputy, Ejup Ganic. They received
22 us. We were there on another business. We were there to get some
23 information, well not that it matters now what our reasons were being
24 there was but what Izetbegovic told us was before you start saying
25 anything else, please give us a firsthand account of what exactly
1 happened in Uzdol. I gave them my story, the story that I had pieced
2 together thanks to my own investigations. He then asked me a series of
3 questions based on which I concluded that he was well familiar with
4 details and that he had been previously informed.
5 Q. Very well. Now, I'm just want to go back to the story that you
6 did piece together about this and then I'll ask you what your sources
7 were and how you pieced it together. Could you just explain to the
8 Tribunal and the Judges here what is the story that you pieced together,
9 having performed the functions that you did perform, about what happened
10 in Uzdol?
11 A. After all the interviews that I conducted, I felt almost as if
12 I'd been there myself. Everyone told me about their own experiences,
13 about where specifically they were. I used to know the village from
14 earlier on. I knew what the physical layout of the village was. So I
15 pieced together a picture which I believe faithfully reflects what
16 actually happened. Also based on what people told me.
17 Roughly speaking, this would be as follows. Their intention was
18 to surround the school building where the intervention unit was billeted.
19 They called on them to surrender. They even arrested one person who
20 walked ahead of everyone else, in order to call on the remaining persons
21 there to surrender. This person was killed and then panic ensued. There
22 was random shooting at once and everyone started running in order to take
23 cover. They would run straight through the houses because that was the
24 shortest route out of the village. They were being shot at and they
25 themselves were shooting at others. There was a lot of random shooting.
1 They weren't sure if they had actually hit anyone but they even threw
2 hand grenades. Well, they did whatever they could in order to get away.
3 So the image that I was left with is a chaotic scene of people
4 running for their lives all through the village. That was my conclusion.
5 People were adamant that it should be established whether a crime
6 had occurred or not, and it was much discussed throughout the country by
7 the public. It was difficult to say whether there was a crime or not. I
8 knew for a fact that some people were killed but there was no way I could
9 have concluded specifically about the number of the respective groups
10 that were killed, military officers or civilians. I knew that civilians
11 had been killed too because they said it too, someone had launched a
12 hand grenade and well, someone got killed.
13 So my general idea what occurred was people were just running for
14 their lives and I don't think it would have been possible to actually
15 commit a crime against the civilian population, which is the possibility
16 that was bandied about later on. I don't think that would have been
17 possible. That's all I can say.
18 Q. I just want to ask you some specific matters of the -- concerning
19 the information that you got from the soldiers. Was the topic of any
20 small children being killed raised with you by any of those soldiers -- I
21 shouldn't say the topic. I should ask you a more direct question. Did
22 any soldiers indicate whether or not they knew of small children being
24 A. We didn't know. I can say that much. We didn't know that any
25 children had been killed. (redacted) told me that he had thrown a hand
1 grenade into a house because they had been shooting at him from that
2 house. He was very downcast the day he came to see me and this was the
3 first information I got on any children actually being around. He
4 thought there were children in the house, but he didn't have any idea
5 what the result was of that hand grenade being thrown.
6 Why was I under the impression that no such crime was committed,
7 as was widely believed? We intercepted their radio communication, this
8 radio officer of ours, and we had a rough idea of what was going on on
9 their side. They were seized by panic as soon as the shooting started.
10 This was something that I could notice. Based on what was going on at
11 the communications centre and the sort of conversation that they were
12 having, the skirmish probably took a brief while and then the soldiers
13 from our battalion started to run for it. However, the soldiers from the
14 village were thinking throughout that the whole thing was already over
15 and probably they had already informed the neighbouring villages where
16 the artillery positions were. I remember us listening to this closely
17 and there was an officer from the communications centre in the village of
18 Uzdol who used the communications equipment to call a mate who was at a
19 different position. He was swearing at him, he said stop the bloody
20 shelling. You've killed more than ten of our men. I'm not sure if he
21 said ten but he did give a figure. He said, you've already killed more
22 than ten of our men. Stop this thing. And this went on for over half an
23 hour. So that any civilians or soldiers who were killed in this shelling
24 were probably part of the total that was calculated.
25 Q. Very well. Let me just ask you a question now. First of all,
1 are you able to --
2 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honour, perhaps could we just move to the
3 private session for this, please.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will go into private session, please.
5 [Private session]
2 [Open session]
3 MR. MORRISSEY:
4 Q. Now, apart from the talking with soldiers and the statements that
5 have been mentioned in evidence here, was it possible for you or anyone
6 else for that matter, to go to Uzdol and see for yourself anything that
7 might be available to look at?
8 A. No. Impossible.
9 Q. And were you in a position, or did you feel yourself to be in a
10 position at the time, to ask local HVO commanders for permission to go
12 A. Had we asked for that, permission probably would not have been
13 granted because any type of contact was dangerous.
14 Q. Were you familiar with the radio station called Radio Rama?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And where was Radio Rama based in those days? By which I mean
17 September of 1993.
18 A. I don't know the exact location, but somewhere in Prozor.
19 Q. Were you familiar with any of the persons who provided news and
20 information over the airwaves from that radio station?
21 A. Mostly, yes.
22 MR. MORRISSEY: Just go into of the private session ones again,
23 please, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go back to the private session, please.
25 [Private session]
11 Page 44 redacted. Private session.
4 [Open session]
5 MR. MORRISSEY: Thanks very much.
6 Q. So in terms of the inquiries that you made, you've indicated what
7 they were. Can I ask you now, when you provided the account that you did
8 -- perhaps I'll take a step back from that.
9 You just indicated before that you spoke in fact to the
10 president, Alija Izetbegovic, about that. Can you say approximately when
11 that took place? Was it a matter of weeks after the event or months
12 after it? Which month did the assembly take place which you were in
13 Sarajevo to attend?
14 A. End of September.
15 Q. Very well. When you were in Sarajevo at the end of September and
16 you met with Izetbegovic and Ganic, what response did Izetbegovic give
17 when you explained the view that you had pieced together?
18 A. As I have explained to you, as I've explained to him, what my
19 impression was, he put some questions and then he made a comment to
20 Ganic, saying, "See what they did to us?" I'm not sure whether those
21 were verbatim his words but what he said was along the lines of, "See how
22 they set it up to make it look like a crime?"
23 Q. Very well. Now, did you ever -- did you ever report to or were
24 you ever instructed to report to, a man called Namik Dzankovic concerning
25 these matters?
1 A. No. I remember the name, but I don't know who the person is.
2 Nor did I have any contact, closer contact, with him.
3 Q. Was it ever suggested to you at the time that you should advise
4 Sefer Halilovic about the investigation that you were performing?
5 A. No. I never heard him mentioned in connection with that.
6 Q. Very well. Now, I just want you to remember as best you can how
7 it was that the -- that the written statements were compiled over the
8 days that you've indicated that they were. Was it a question of you
9 going into the field and speaking to soldiers or did you ask them to come
10 and meet you somewhere? How was that done? Or was it different in each
11 different case? Perhaps you just explain to the Judges how it unfolded,
12 how it happened.
13 A. Initially, the conversations took place either on an individual
14 basis or within a group, and whenever it was believed that one of the
15 persons could provide an interesting piece of information, that person
16 would be invited to come to the office and then that conversation was
17 taped. There were also such cases where somebody would come in and
18 recommend that we talk to such-and-such person because that person knew
19 some details, and in that case we would follow the advice, talk to that
20 person and note the conversation down.
21 Q. Very well. Apart from the ones -- I'm going to come to the
22 details of the tapes in a minute. But apart from the ones that were
23 taped, you indicated that you spoke to quite a large number of soldiers.
24 Did you take any notes of those conversations with the large number of
25 soldiers, I think you said up to 100 but I won't put figures in your
1 mouth. Were there written notes taken of those conversations in any
3 A. Mostly yes. Sometimes in entirety and sometimes I would simply
4 note down the most important bits.
5 Q. Now, after the -- perhaps I'll turn to the ones that were taped.
6 When they were taped, what would be done with the tapes?
7 A. There was a misunderstanding. I did not say that I taped the
8 conversations on tapes.
9 Q. Sorry, pardon me. You indicated -- sorry, that's how it was
10 translated through. But perhaps you could just explain what happened
11 with the 15 or so ones where you said a formal statement was taken. How
12 was that recorded?
13 A. I think that there was a misunderstanding in the term used. I
14 recorded it by hand, in a notebook. Based on all of those statements we
15 compiled a report that was typed up and then sent via Paket communication
16 to the 6th Corps.
17 Q. And to whom at the 6th Corps was that sent?
18 A. I can't remember exactly to whom in the 6th Corps these documents
19 were sent. However, based on what I was able to see later, everything
20 was sent to the security sector. That means that my documents were most
21 likely also sent to the security centre. Now, whether the commander did
22 the same, whether he used the same procedure with the documents he
23 received from us, I really couldn't say.
24 Q. Very well. And just in terms of those records, when did you
25 leave the Prozor Independent Battalion? Or approximately when did you
2 A. Approximately in March of 1994.
3 Q. Very well. And without going into detail about this, did you
4 leave -- did you go elsewhere within Bosnia or did you leave the country
6 A. In Bosnia. I went to Sarajevo.
7 Q. Very well. And who was your -- who was the person who came after
8 you in your position at the Prozor Independent Battalion -- well, perhaps
9 could we go to the private session for this answer, Your Honour?
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will go to the private session, please.
11 [Private session]
14 [Open session]
15 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, could the witness please just be
16 given a hard copy of this in the Bosnian language? We will continue to
17 use the E-court system.
18 Q. Thank you very much, Witness. Now, what's being shown to you is
19 an order dated the 11th of September which is a combat order from the 6th
20 Corps with a particular order number on it, that being 01/1500-27. I
21 would just like you to look at that document briefly. I want to ask:
22 Did you see that document in September of 1993?
23 A. This text looks familiar to me. I suppose that I saw this
24 somewhere. I don't know where. But possibly it was at the commander's
25 desk, because I was with him in the office very often, and he would leaf
1 through the documents in front of him. The text is familiar and I think
2 that I saw it before.
3 Q. Very well, thank you.
4 MR. MORRISSEY: Could I now ask that the witness be shown another
5 document. This one is Exhibit 158. I'll provide a copy again for --
6 Your Honours, what the witness is being shown here is an order dated 15th
7 of the 9th, with an identifying number on it, which is 21 -- you'll see
8 Your Honours it's at the top left-hand corner strictly confidential,
9 number 21-1 and it's dated 15 September.
10 Q. So now in front of you there is an order, it's an exhibit in this
11 trial, an order dated at Voljevac on the 15th of September 1993, so the
12 day after the combat operations in Uzdol. It has a number strictly
13 confidential number 21-1, and it's under the typewritten name of Sefer
14 Halilovic, but has the signature of Karic underneath it.
15 Now, my question to you first of all is this: Before you came to
16 The Hague for these proceedings, had you ever seen this document before?
17 A. I don't remember seeing this.
18 Q. And did your duties in fact require you to see any orders written
19 by Sefer Halilovic or Vehbija Karic for that matter?
20 A. No. This was not typical for some of the assistants to analyse
21 anything. The only way I could see something was if I happened to sit in
22 commander's office.
23 Q. Very well. Well, thank you.
24 MR. MORRISSEY: I'd like the witness now to be shown another
25 document, and this is document 124 -- Exhibit, sorry, 124 and we'll now
1 provide you with another document which I'll ask the same questions
3 Q. Do you have before you now a document like the other document,
4 dated the 15th of September 1993 at Voljevac and like the other document,
5 having the document number on the top left-hand corner, 21-1, this time
6 with a signature of Sefer Halilovic on it? Do you have that in front of
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. As with the last document, could I just ask you this question:
10 Before you came to The Hague for these proceedings, did you ever see that
11 document that's in front of you?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Very well. Thank you.
14 MR. MORRISSEY: Now finally, I'd ask that the witness be shown
15 document -- sorry, Exhibit 150, and again a hard copy will be provided to
16 the witness. Your Honours, the document to be shown on this occasion is
17 a document we have been referring to in this trial as the Zejnilagic
18 order which was the subject of analysis on a previous occasion with
19 another witness.
20 Q. Now, Witness, I'll just ask you to look at that document. Do you
21 have in front of you a document which is dated the 15th of September
22 1993, and is an order to attack, which is ultimately signed by Enver
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Okay. Now, I just want to take you to a couple of aspects -- I
1 should ask -- before I take you to aspects, I'll just ask you the
2 question. Before you came to The Hague for the purpose of these
3 proceedings, had you ever seen this document before?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Just going to ask -- well, before I ask you, I should ask you
6 this: With your -- the military background that you had, are you in a
7 position to offer professional comments about the structure of a military
8 order, if you were asked those questions?
9 A. No.
10 Q. That puts an end to that.
11 A. I would like to give a comment, though.
12 Q. If you have a comment, you feel free. Unless the Prosecution
13 objects to the comment, you can proceed.
14 A. I would like to make a comment regarding this order. I see that
15 it is dated the 15th of September, which is totally illogical because
16 after the 13th, which is when we were not successful in Crni Vrh, and
17 after the 14th, after Uzdol, there was such a disappointment among people
18 that nobody did anything. Therefore, I do not understand who wrote this
19 on the 15th, because it was my impression that there was no activity.
20 Q. Could I just ask you to have a look at paragraph number 4 of this
21 order. Do you have that paragraph there?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Could you just look at the last couple of sections and just read
24 those out? Obviously you're reading in the Bosnian language but do you
25 see it says -- sorry, I take that back. I'll read it to you. Do you see
1 the passage where it says, "Combat disposition, forces to create
2 conditions for the attack by the main forces, forces of the first echelon
3 support and reserve forces ready for attack at 0600 hours on the 16th of
4 September 1993. Command post to be in the Voljevac sector." Do you see
5 that section there?
6 A. Yes, I do.
7 Q. Very well, thanks. And could I just ask you also to look at one
8 other part I would just like to show you about this. Could you look at
9 paragraph 9, please which has got the heading, "Intelligence support."
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Okay. So do you see there where it says, "In the course of 15
12 September 1993, all units shall send IP, reconnaissance patrols, and IG,
13 reconnaissance groups, to reconnoitre the axis of attack against the
14 enemy." Do you see those passages there?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, I fully understand what you said earlier on. Were you aware
17 yourself of any such combat activity taking place early on the 16th in
18 the Blace area and in particular on the axis described in paragraph 2
19 here, the Zgon-Sljeme-Makljen axis. I'm talking now about your personal
20 recollection. Do you remember any such action taking place there on the
21 16th of September?
22 A. All I remember is -- on the 16th most likely, is that a small
23 group tried to reach Crni Vrh. They were not successful. They came back
24 quite soon thereafter. And all of that had no impact basically.
25 Therefore, I do not remember any significant military activity after the
2 Q. And even including this small and unsuccessful one that you've
3 just referred to, after that, was there any offensive combat activity
4 whatsoever in that area, to your recollection, for the next two months?
5 A. No. As far as I can remember.
6 Q. Very well. Thank you. Perhaps those documents could be returned
7 now and I'm going to move on to another sequence of documents.
8 MR. MORRISSEY: Now, could the witness please be shown Exhibit
9 159. I'll provide a hard copy of this. Your Honours, just while the
10 witness is looking at that, could I just ask when it would be
11 appropriate, when Your Honours would --
12 JUDGE LIU: I believe that in 15 minutes.
13 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, Your Honour, thank you.
14 Q. Very well. Now, do you have in front of you there a document
15 dated the 16th of the 9th, which is an inquiry by Stjepan Siber, deputy
16 commander of the Bosnian army, directed to the 6th Corps, concerning the
17 events in Uzdol?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Very well. Now, firstly, as a matter of specifics, did you
20 yourself ever see that document before you came to The Hague?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Were you yourself aware that Stjepan Siber was making that
23 inquiry on the 16th of the 9th, 1993?
24 A. No. I wasn't. I did know that there was someone asking
25 questions but I didn't know who precisely.
1 Q. And you've indicated that your own direct commander, Enver Buza,
2 made inquiries of you. Did he tell you who was asking him questions from
3 higher up the chain?
4 A. I don't remember him telling me the specific name. That was
5 certainly not customary. He would usually say, I want to speak to the
6 corps, or I want to speak to Sarajevo, but you would usually not specify
7 the name.
8 Q. Very well.
9 MR. MORRISSEY: Could the witness please be shown another
10 document now. This one is Exhibit 227, and we'll provide a hard copy of
11 it to the witness. Your Honours, the document to be shown now is a
12 document dated 16th of September, 1993, and it's an inquiry directed by
13 Jusuf Jasarevic, who was the head of the military security in Sarajevo at
14 that time down the line.
15 Q. So do you have in front of you now a document dated the 16th of
16 the 9th from Jusuf Jasarevic directed to the military security service of
17 the 6th Corps concerning the reports of a massacre of Croatian people?
18 A. I've never seen this document before, but I assume this must have
19 been the reason why we were getting calls from the corps all the time
20 urging us on to compile the report as soon as possible.
21 Q. Very well. Can you recall now whether or not you personally were
22 told that Jusuf Jasarevic was making these inquiries?
23 A. No. I didn't even know who he was.
24 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, can I just indicate that on list of
25 documents that was circulated there were two other similar documents from
1 that person but in light of the witness's answer, that's 228 and 229, I'm
2 not going to put those to him. Very well.
3 There is an another document I would seek to be shown now and
4 that is document number 232, and I would ask that a hard copy of that be
5 shown to the witness, please. We have it.
6 Your Honours, the first page is just a title page and so it needs
7 to be turned over to the second page in both the English and the Bosnian.
8 Actually in the English page -- I apologise for that. That's the case in
9 Bosnian. In the English translation there is some text in the first page
10 and then --
11 Q. I would just ask you to read that text, please. And then I'll
12 ask you some questions. Very well, sorry. Have you had the chance to
13 read that now?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Before you came to The Hague, had you ever seen this document
17 A. No.
18 Q. Having regard to the contends of the information in that
19 document, do you say that that information there is consistent or
20 inconsistent with the results of your investigation?
21 A. I see that this report was based on Buza's report. After Buza's
22 report was compiled, I helped, based on such information as I had. But I
23 don't remember some of these things being part of my original
24 investigation or findings, such as the number of casualties or the
25 emphasis that is placed on women with weapons. I don't remember having
1 come across these things myself during my investigation. However, as to
2 the fact that everyone was armed and the fact that their artillery had
3 caused the best part of the devastation, that certainly holds true.
4 Q. Yes. Thank you.
5 MR. MORRISSEY: And finally, could the witness be shown Exhibit
6 236. And a hard copy will be provided to the witness.
7 Q. Now, I just ask you to take a moment to read the text of 236 and
8 just -- just tell us when you've finished reading it and then I'll ask
9 you some brief questions about it.
10 A. I've finished.
11 Q. Thank you. Now, before you came to The Hague for these
12 proceedings, had you ever seen that document before?
13 A. Don't remember having seen this before, but I am familiar with
14 its substance and it reflects my own feelings when I carried out an
15 investigation. What I felt and found at the time was quite similar.
16 This is perhaps a slightly more detailed.
17 Q. There is only one detail I would ask you about. It mentions the
18 name there of Slavko Mendes and you mentioned earlier on in your --
19 A. Mendes.
20 Q. Mendes. Please forgive my pronunciation. But you mentioned the
21 a soldier who had been captured and taken up towards the school but who
22 had then been shot. Is that the person that you were referring to at
23 that time or is it somebody different?
24 A. I think it's Slavko Mendes. However, my information on how he
25 was killed was different. They walked into a school and they made him
1 walk in front so he could call on the others to surrender. Once he
2 opened the door to the classroom in which the soldiers were billeted,
3 they shot at him and killed him.
4 So that is the one detail that constitutes the discrepancy
5 between the two accounts. But I don't have a particularly fresh
6 recollection. I did know this person well, however, Slavko Mendes, so
7 that's why I remember the story.
8 Q. Very well.
9 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I don't have much to go but it
10 might be appropriate to take the break now and it will allow me to as the
11 remaining questions in a very short order when we finish.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will take the break now and we will resume
13 at quarter to 6.
14 --- Recess taken at 5.15 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 5.45 p.m.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Morrissey.
17 MR. MORRISSEY: Thank you, Your Honours.
18 Q. Thank you, Witness. Just there is now a final few questions.
19 There is some that just concern the beginnings of this investigation.
20 Sorry, pardon me, I've lost the text. You indicated that at first, you
21 simply asked some questions for your own information from Osman Hero. At
22 the time when you asked those questions for information, at that stage,
23 were you aware of any allegation of the massacre of civilians in Uzdol?
24 A. No.
25 Q. No. However, after that, there came a time when formal
1 statements came to be taken. And I just want to ask you, what was the
2 need to take formal statements? Or what triggered -- perhaps I'll put
3 the question another way. What triggered the need to take formal
5 A. My first interview with Osman Hero was initiated by Hero himself.
6 I think he had a need to tell his story. He was having a hard time. It
7 wasn't really a need to draw up a formal statement. I just wanted to
8 take down what he was telling me. I could see that he was having a hard
9 time and that he had the need to tell someone about this. Probably he
10 had done something that was not in keeping with his own moral standards.
11 I realised that those were actually statements being taken when I went
12 into Erzimana's office and I saw Jusuf Hero right there but I can't
13 remember specifically whether it was the same day or the next day. At
14 any rate, Erzimana told me to stay and to listen to the interview. She
15 said there was a report to compile. I still didn't realise what it was
16 about but I just sat there and I listened to what he was saying. I was
17 taking notes. It was only a day or two later that there were public
18 announcements of a massacre. It was only then that it dawned on me that
19 statements should be drawn up about that.
20 Q. And -- yes, thank you for that. Now, I just have a series of
21 concluding questions. You made reference in your evidence to an
22 institution called the Vakuf Brigade and I wanted to ask you, do you
23 remember the number of that brigade, what its brigade number was?
24 A. I'm not sure. I think the 305th, possibly the 317th, something
25 like that. I know that there was a 305th. I'm not sure if that was the
1 one, though.
2 Q. When you're talking about the Vakuf Brigade, can you remember the
3 name of the commander of that brigade?
4 A. I think it was Zejnilagic.
5 Q. When you saw President Izetbegovic on that occasion at the end of
6 September, did he make any suggestion to you that further investigation
7 was warranted or required?
8 A. Well, in a way. He scolded us for creating a problem, saying
9 that it would take a lot of time to clear things up, to show that things
10 were not like that. I understood from the -- his general points that he
11 would remain adamant that further reports, more precise reports, be made,
12 although it had been my opinion all along that it wasn't like that.
13 Q. Were any -- to your knowledge, were any further such reports
15 A. We did compile a number of reports. I can't remember how many.
16 As for the corps level, or other high level bodies, I really have no
17 information on that.
18 Q. Very well. And with respect to those reports, can you indicate
19 if not the precise date, approximately the range of months over when --
20 weeks or months over when those reports were made and who they were made
22 A. I think it wasn't until three or four or five days had gone by
23 that we sent the first report via Paket communications to the 6th Corps.
24 Clarifications were requested later on so we sent further reports. It's
25 just I can't remember exactly how much time had gone by.
1 Q. Very well. Can you indicate whether or not the subsequent
2 reports and subsequent clarifications went on through the month of
3 October and into November or whether it was all wrapped up within a few
5 A. I really can't be very specific but I think it may have been by
6 the beginning of October. But I can't really be specific about this.
7 I'm just unsure as to how long it took altogether.
8 Q. Very well. And finally, at around the time of the 16th, you
9 indicated a small action which took place on the 16th of September, after
10 which there was no -- I think you've answered that question already.
11 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, that's the end of the
12 examination-in-chief. Thank you.
13 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Any cross-examination?
14 MR. RE: There is, Your Honours. Could I ask for a brief break
15 for a few moments? There are several matters which have been raised as
16 recently as a few moments ago but have greatly taken the Prosecution by
17 surprise. I just need to check several matters which I need to put to
18 the witness. I don't necessarily need Your Honours to leave court. It
19 will take me three, four, five minutes to find the information I need.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes, yes, you may.
21 MR. RE: Thank you.
22 [Prosecution counsel confer]
23 MR. RE: Thank you, Your Honours, for that.
24 Cross-examined by Mr. Re:
25 Q. Good afternoon, Witness J. My name is David Re. I'm
1 representing the Prosecution here and I'm going to ask you some questions
2 about your testimony. You understand that?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, please if you don't understand anything I say or you need
5 clarification, don't hesitate to ask. I want to make sure we understand
6 each other very clearly and correctly in this questioning, okay?
7 In your evidence earlier, you said that --
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You said --
10 A. That's fine.
11 Q. Okay. In your evidence earlier this afternoon, you said that
12 your information told you that the artillery, the HVO artillery, caused
13 most of the devastation, including the deaths of anyone who was in Uzdol.
14 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, could I just make sure. If my
15 learned friend is going to put a conclusion like that it will have to
16 come directly from the transcript because I don't think that was the
17 import of the witness's evidence.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
19 MR. RE: I will correct that.
20 Q. Earlier you said that the HVO artillery caused most of the
21 devastation in Uzdol.
22 A. No. I didn't say that they produced the most of devastation. I
23 said that among other causes of devastation was their action as well.
24 Q. You of course didn't visit the scene, did you, afterwards?
25 A. No. That was impossible.
1 Q. You didn't perform any crime-scene analysis, did you?
2 A. Of course not.
3 Q. You didn't perform any crater analysis, did you?
4 A. We had no access to the area. Therefore, your questions are not
6 Q. You didn't actually see any Croatian artillery or HVO artillery
7 yourself in Uzdol, did you?
8 A. No. However, over the radio, when our radio officer managed to
9 intercept their radio communications, we heard them talking among
10 themselves and cursing at each other for the friendly fire that had
11 killed some of their persons, and that was the basis for our conclusion
12 about what had happened.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Please turn on the other microphone as well,
14 thank you.
15 MR. RE: Me?
16 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, the Prosecution. Thanks.
17 MR. RE: I'll move it. Does that assist?
18 THE INTERPRETER: Thank you.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Was the question directed to me?
20 MR. RE:
21 Q. When did you first talk to Defence investigators about this
22 matter, Witness J?
23 A. Perhaps some 10 days ago.
24 Q. When did you tell the Defence about this, that you overheard
25 something on HVO radio communications? The reason I ask this, Witness J,
1 is that learned Defence counsel --
2 MR. MORRISSEY: We don't mind what the reason is and we don't
3 want speeches to be made. If he's got a question that can be asked and
5 MR. RE: I'll withdraw the question and put it in another form.
6 Q. Over the last two days, Defence counsel, that is Mr. Morrissey
7 and Mr. Mettraux, Witness J, have provided us with what are called
8 proofing notes or a witness statement of what you were going to say in
9 court today. The information you provided just then and earlier about
10 your overhearing HVO communications about friendly fire is not in those
11 proofing notes. It's not in the information the Defence provided to the
12 Prosecution yesterday or last week. When did you tell Defence about
14 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, Your Honours, I object to the form of that
15 question. The speech that was contained before the question is highly
16 misleading, as my learned friend well knows. I don't want to make a
17 speech about whether it was communicated to the Prosecutors. But my
18 learned friend knows very well that -- well, I think I have to say it
19 now, actually. It's up to the Court whether I say it in front of the
20 witness or not. But this was communicated and if you need me to go on,
21 I'll go on.
22 JUDGE LIU: Well, since this was communicated, I don't think
23 there is any objections on your side. Because the Prosecution is
24 entitled to ask about this question.
25 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I absolutely agree that the
1 question at line 15 and 16 is unobjectionable and can be asked. But the
2 speech that came before it I object to, and I've got my reasons for
3 objecting to it. I don't object to the question. I'm objecting to the
4 speech. And perhaps just the question on its own could be asked.
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Well, Mr. Re, you may rephrase your question.
6 MR. RE: I'm sorry, I don't understand which part I have to
8 JUDGE LIU: Just leave out the first part and I believe that
9 question is permissible. You may directly ask that question.
10 MR. RE: Thank you.
11 Q. The information you provided is not in the proofing notes which
12 were provided yesterday.
13 MR. MORRISSEY: I object to this. It doesn't matter for Mr. Re
14 to make speeches to the witness. He's allowed to ask him the question.
15 The witness can give an answer. That's what has to happen in my
17 MR. RE: It's no different, Your Honour with respect, by saying
18 you provided a statement on such-and-such a day, on the 1st of June, then
19 on the 3rd of June, and the information you gave is not --
20 JUDGE LIU: I see there is no difference. You may proceed,
21 Mr. Re.
22 MR. RE:
23 Q. Understand the question, Witness J. The information you have
24 just given the Court wasn't in proofing notes provided yesterday or in a
25 statement provided by the Defence to us last week. When did you tell the
1 Defence about this?
2 A. I think that I remembered that yesterday and I did so
3 subsequently, after our conversation. This was the detail that I
4 remembered after we concluded our conversation, and it seemed important
5 to me.
6 Q. Back in 1992, you I think you said you were imprisoned firstly by
7 the Croatian authorities for a lengthy period and then you were
8 re-imprisoned; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. The situation was that you and your family had suffered at HVO
11 hands, hadn't you?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You'd suffered very badly, hadn't you?
14 A. We suffered to an average extent. Some people suffered more than
15 us, some suffered less.
16 Q. Well, you lost your house, didn't you?
17 A. Partially. Not my house but, rather, my father's.
18 MR. RE: I'm sorry, I'm having difficulty getting sound. Could
19 you just bear with me for one moment?
20 Q. Well, the situation was that three members of your family lost
21 houses in a row, didn't they? That was you and your two brothers. And
22 as a result, you were homeless.
23 A. No. That's not true.
24 MR. RE: I apologise for this.
25 Q. Your evidence earlier was that you had nowhere to live when you
1 joined the Prozor Independent Battalion.
2 A. I had no funds because part of my house that had burned down was
3 the part where I had money and food.
4 I need to clarify something here. It was only my brother's
5 apartment that was destroyed in fire. However, my apartment within that
6 house was fine, was inhabitable. The danger that threatened us did not
7 come from ordinary people but, rather, from the criminals who were there.
8 Q. When you were --
9 A. And thugs.
10 Q. And when you were captured by the Croatian or Herceg-Bosna
11 authorities, they in fact put you on trial. They took you to a court,
12 didn't they?
13 A. An attempt was made to put me on trial. However, the trial was
14 concluded after it was established that there were no witnesses and no
15 evidence to substantiate their charges against me.
16 Q. They charged you with what could loosely be termed a rebellion,
17 joining a rebellion against the Croatian or the Croat Herceg-Bosna
18 authorities, didn't they?
19 A. I have to clarify that. The HVO as a military formation and the
20 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina fought together up until October of 1992.
21 When the agreement was reached, and I don't know details about this, but
22 later on it was written in various sources of information that an
23 agreement was made between the Croatian side and the Serbian side, Prozor
24 became Croatian territory. So the inhabitants who did not want to live
25 under the Croatian rule carried out an attack and defeated the part of
1 the Bosnian army and all residents fit for military service were
2 incarcerated in camps. This is how I ended up in a camp. There were
3 about 5.000 to 6.000 inmates in the camp.
4 Later on, they had to explain how that came about, because the
5 Bosniaks and the Croats in the Prozor area used to get along extremely
6 well. I myself had a lot of friends among Croats. Therefore, they had
7 to find a justification for all of this, and they came up with a group of
8 extremists, as they called them, who allegedly urged people to rebel.
9 This is how they identified a group of about 20 people comprising the
10 most intelligent and the most educated people who allegedly led the
11 rebellion. I was among them. And we were tried as the leaders of an
12 alleged rebellion. And that was a total nonsense. There was no
13 rebellion and there was nothing to rebel against.
14 Q. Were you and the others mistreated while you were in HVO custody?
15 A. No. I was fortunate enough to encounter once again my students
16 who had a lot of respect for me, brought me cigarettes and treated me
17 decently. I had no unpleasant experiences.
18 Q. Were other detainees taken from that camp and used by the HVO as
19 human shields?
20 A. Not at the time. That was the first camp that was established in
21 October of 1992.
22 Q. What about the second one you were in? Was that the same camp or
23 a different one?
24 A. After the conflict between the BH army and the HVO, which was in
25 fact the first conflict in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, for
1 another year or so the BH army and the HVO were together in almost all
2 areas. That means that that conflict was ironed out and that was done by
3 the new year. Nothing really changed except that the power in town was
4 taken over by the HVO.
5 After June of 1993, when the conflicts between the BH army and
6 the HVO escalated in other areas, as a preventive measure they started
7 arresting Bosniak civilians. First only small numbers of them, so that
8 I, together with another 20 or 30 people, was incarcerated in a facility
9 near police station. Later on, we were taken to the nuclear shelter near
10 a factory. That happened in June of 1993. However, already in July of
11 1993, mass arrests started and were concluded sometime in August, when
12 the entire male population was arrested and sent to the camps in
13 Herzegovina and elsewhere. Some of them were kept in Prozor, whereas
14 those who were not fit for military service were deported. The ones who
15 remained in Prozor at the time were housed in several camps. One was at
16 the school centre, the other one was at the TO warehouse, the military
17 police facilities and so on. There were five or six such locations. The
18 inmates were used as labour force; on one occasion they were used as
19 human shields.
20 However, I myself did not experience this because in late June I
21 was released from prison and as I was aware of the looming danger - there
22 had already been murders committed by criminals with a criminal record
23 and thugs - I, as a result of that, fled to the territory under the
24 command -- under the control of the BH army. That's my story.
25 Q. Look, as a result of your imprisonment by the HVO twice and the
1 loss of your house, is it fair to say that you were not well-disposed to
2 the HVO and those forces in 1993?
3 A. You are not right. I gave an interview to a journalist upon
4 reaching the free territory, and everything I said there is contrary to
5 what you are alleging. I said that everything that was going on had not
6 been planned by local Croats. The orders had come from outside and local
7 Croats simply had to implement it. I did not change my opinion about the
8 local Croats. I continue to see these people to this day. However, as
9 for those who had committed crimes, the situation is different there. I
10 see what you're trying to do. You're trying to show that everything I'm
11 doing now is a result of the hatred I feel. That's not true. To this
12 day, one of my best friends is an HVO commander from Sarajevo.
13 Q. Were there members of the Prozor Independent Battalion, in which
14 you served, who had also been imprisoned by the HVO and Herceg-Bosna
15 authorities, merely because they were a male of military service --
16 sorry, military age?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. What percentage of those in the Prozor Independent Battalion had
19 been imprisoned by the HVO or Herceg-Bosna authorities?
20 A. I couldn't say, but quite a large number, because many of those
21 who were forced to work, upon fleeing had no choice but join the
23 Q. Were some of those members of the Prozor Independent Battalion
24 who had been imprisoned, had they been used as human shields by the HVO?
25 A. Perhaps that was the case. However, I don't have such
2 Q. What about their being used for forced labour?
3 A. By whom?
4 Q. By the HVO. Like, for example, had any of them been taken for
5 trench-digging on the front lines or that type of forced labour?
6 A. Yes. Those civilians who were imprisoned in Prozor were used as
7 a labour force, working on fortifications.
8 Q. I'm not challenging what you said about your having no ill
9 feelings towards the local Croats, but in the group amongst the Prozor
10 Independent Battalion, it would be fair to say, wouldn't it, there were
11 some soldiers there who weren't as well-disposed towards the local Croats
12 as you were? Some of them, I'm suggesting, bore real antipathy towards
13 the Croats because of what had happened to them.
14 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, that question has to be clarified
15 because the question is was the antipathy towards the local Croats or
16 towards the Croats generally, which my learned friend put in the second
17 part of the question.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, if you could, Mr. Re.
19 MR. RE:
20 Q. I mean local Croats.
21 A. It is understandable that some of the people were bitter, but
22 those were individual cases. People who had suffered certain
23 mistreatment and had animosity towards them. However, in general terms,
24 it is hard to draw such a conclusion. Once again, I will repeat that the
25 relations between Croats and Bosniaks were excellent. They were on a
1 very high level. Therefore, I was surprised that something like that
2 happened, regardless of the orders coming from above. Let me just add to
3 something I have already stated. When I was in camp, I went to dig. I
4 dug in front line, at the front line, which was very dangerous. The HVO
5 policemen escorting me started crying and said, "I can do nothing to help
6 you but give you cigarettes and beer." Similarly, the president of the
7 municipality, who was representing the HVO, was a colleague of mine, who
8 said to me, "I'm sorry, I can't help you at all. This has to do with
9 higher politics, and we have no influence over that." I'm saying this
10 just to explain to you what was the interethnic relationship like, and
11 this was completely outside of the higher political forces who produced
12 all this.
13 Q. All right. Just confining ourselves at the moment to those in
14 the Prozor Independent Battalion, you said that some people had suffered
15 certain mistreatment and had animosity towards the local Croats. Some of
16 those people were those who took part in the attack on Uzdol, weren't
18 A. It's a possibility. I have no information to show that, though.
19 Nor did anyone look into that.
20 Q. From your position within the Prozor Independent Battalion, were
21 you involved in the planning, the preplanning, of the attack on Uzdol?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Were you in the communications centre while the attack was taking
24 place on the 14th of September?
25 A. I'm not sure where you get this at all, that I was at the
1 communications centre. It's a small hut, the command. Everything was
2 there, virtually everything. So being there, you're in all of these
3 places at the same time, in a manner of speaking. At that point in time,
4 I had no specific duty. Therefore, I could not have been officially
5 party to any preparations, nor was I aware of any plans or what would be
6 happening. I can only draw conclusions based on conversations that I
8 Q. I'm actually asking you where you were on the 14th. Could you
9 describe this hut? Where was this hut?
10 A. It was at Dobro Polje. It's a wooden hut, a cottage, that was
11 used in peace time by people who worked in the forest, who chopped the
13 Q. What was in this hut? What was it equipped with during this
14 period of the war?
15 A. There was virtually nothing. There were two or three rooms. We
16 made our own beds to lie on. There was the occasional table and chair.
17 The only thing we had, aside from that building, was a small shed where
18 the radio equipment was kept. So we decided to call this communication
20 Q. You had a radio equipment. What about weaponry? Was weaponry
21 kept there?
22 A. No. We had no weapons to begin with. We had no weapons to keep
23 in a storage.
24 Q. What other equipment did you have besides radio equipment? I
25 mean, what other material or what things were in this headquarters or
1 communication centre?
2 A. Next to nothing. There was a cabinet containing some files. It
3 was a metal cabinet. There was some radio equipment at the
4 communications centre and later on, we got a computer which we used to
5 work Paket communications. And that was all that we had.
6 Q. When did you get the computer, relative to the attack on Uzdol?
7 Was it before or afterwards?
8 A. I can't remember, really. I think it was later. It was
9 afterwards. But I'm not sure.
10 Q. Did you have a telephone in this hut?
11 A. A field telephone.
12 Q. What about electricity?
13 A. None.
14 Q. Generator?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Who operated from that hut? Or who was based there?
17 A. Members of the battalion for the most part who weren't locals.
18 That was the only place they could sleep. The remaining soldiers would
19 go back home to spend the night.
20 Q. That's in their villages?
21 A. Yes. Those who were locals from those villages, or those who
22 came from outside but had relatives around the area would sleep there.
23 Those of us who had no one in the area would sleep in the cottage.
24 Q. What about Enver Buza?
25 A. He slept there too.
1 Q. Was he based there? Is that where he spent his day?
2 A. That was the only place.
3 Q. Is that where Mr. Halilovic came for the meeting? Was that the
4 place in Dobro Polje?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. What's the distance between Dobro Polje and Uzdol?
7 A. About ten kilometres.
8 Q. Could you see Uzdol from Dobro Polje?
9 A. No.
10 Q. There were three units which participated in the attack on Uzdol
11 from the Prozor Independent Battalion, weren't there?
12 A. I can't remember how many or which specific units.
13 Q. Just going back to the hut for a moment, did the hut have
14 military maps in it?
15 A. We had next to nothing, not that I saw any equipment lying
17 Q. I'm asking about maps.
18 A. Not that I can remember seeing any. Perhaps there were maps.
19 It's just that I don't remember.
20 Q. I'm just going to show you a large map which is on a board which
21 my colleague has. It's called Operation Neretva. It's a copy of it.
22 Was this map -- I think it's D231 -- was that map in the hut in Dobro
24 A. Never seen this one before.
25 MR. MORRISSEY: I just want to the transcript to reveal that
1 that's just a copy of the exhibit. The real map has been tendered. If
2 the Prosecutor wants to go down this path, he should show the real map
3 and not that document.
4 MR. RE: The record actually does reflect it's a copy.
5 JUDGE LIU: I think up to now there is no dispute over this map,
6 whether it's original or it's a copy. To me there is no difference.
7 MR. RE: Sorry, I said 231. I meant actually 131 for the record.
8 Thank you, Madam Usher.
9 Q. Witness J, there were three units within the Prozor Independent
10 Battalion which led the attack, and they were firstly led by Sefik
11 Corbadzic [phoen], secondly by Osman Hero and thirdly by Eniz Hujdur.
12 Does that accord with your recollection?
13 MR. MORRISSEY: I object to that. It's got two parts to it. The
14 witness has not agreed there were three units involved in the attack. He
15 was specifically asked and he specifically said he doesn't know. So the
16 Prosecutor can't build into the question. He can ask whether those
17 individuals led companies, or break up the question in any way he wishes
18 but he can't have the first part as a given because the witness said
19 specifically he doesn't know.
20 MR. RE: It's cross-examination. I'm suggesting to the witness
21 that's what happened. He can agree or disagree or say he doesn't know.
22 He can answer in whatever way he likes. It's my proposition I'm putting
23 to him.
24 MR. MORRISSEY: I'm sorry --
25 MR. RE: It's perfectly permissible. There were three units and
1 they were led by these three people. What do you say to that.
2 JUDGE LIU: The witness may not be a military person, so maybe he
3 doesn't know about how many units are there. You could ask the question
4 one by one, first to establish whether the witness knows there are three
5 units in that battalion.
6 MR. RE:
7 Q. Witness J, I'm suggesting there were three units which -- from
8 the Prozor Independent Battalion which participated in the attack on
9 Uzdol. What can you say to that?
10 A. I don't know. Nor did I ever have a chance to find out who was
11 involved. Nor was I interested. I know that it was decided who would be
12 going. How exactly the decision was taken is something that I can't
13 speak about. I know the battalion only had four companies. Now, what
14 the subdivision of that was is something I have no idea about.
15 Q. Are you saying that in your speaking to up to a hundred people in
16 the days or weeks after the attack on Uzdol, you never found out how many
17 units were participating in the attack? Is that what you're telling us?
18 A. That was completely irrelevant. Those were small units. These
19 units probably had names but I didn't understand much about that. Where
20 necessary, people simply shifted from one unit to a different unit,
21 depending on what was the closest place to spend the night. So those
22 were no fixed units set in stone. I considered all those persons to be
23 battalion members and I asked no further questions.
24 Q. A moment ago you said you weren't interested. You mean you
25 weren't interested when you spoke to the hundred or so people, up to a
1 hundred people in the days and weeks after the attack on Uzdol, as to who
2 had led specific units of men? Is that what you're saying?
3 MR. MORRISSEY: He didn't say that and that's a misleading way of
4 putting the question, Your Honour. If you look back to the situation
5 where he said "nor was I interested," he was asked the question at line
6 6, Your Honours, page 76:
7 "Q. I'm suggesting to you that there were three units which --
8 from the Prozor Independent Battalion which participated in the an attack
9 on Uzdol. What can you say to that?"
10 And the witness said,
11 "A. I don't know. Nor did I ever have a chance to find out who
12 was involved. Nor was I interested."
13 In other words, he said "nor was I interested" in respect of a
14 specific question and my friend is now in my respectful submission
15 distorting that answer in cross-examination in an impermissible way, as
16 you can see from the transcript.
17 MR. RE: The objection is impermissible. The objection is
18 improper. I'm entitled to put to the witness a reason, based on what he
19 said, for why he was not interested -- why he didn't explore it with
20 these people. He said he wasn't interested. I'm asking him is the
21 reason why you didn't try to find out who were the leaders of the units
22 is that you were not interested? Is that what you're saying.
23 JUDGE LIU: Maybe just put a very simple question. Ask him what
24 he was not interested.
25 MR. RE: Your Honour, first I need to establish whether he was
1 interested. If I can be permitted --
2 JUDGE LIU: You have to establish what he's not interested.
3 MR. RE: He said that.
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, we have to make sure, you know.
5 MR. RE: Excuse me.
6 Q. A moment ago, you said that you don't know how many units
7 participated in the attack on Uzdol, you didn't have a chance to find out
8 who was involved, and "nor was I interested." I'm asking you, during the
9 period in which you took statements from people or spoke to a hundred
10 people, up to a hundred people, after the attack, were you not interested
11 in finding out who the commanders of the units participating in the
12 attack were?
13 A. Those were no commanders at all. Nor did I know that anyone had
14 a duty to lead a group. All I knew was there were four companies that
15 were part of that battalion. It struck me as logical at the time that
16 company commanders would lead their own men but this is not something
17 that I pondered at the time. Nor would I be inclined to assume now that
18 some people had special assignments and were in charge of a special group
19 of men. When I talked to these people, I didn't notice that to be a
20 substantial factor. There was a group of people who left. Their
21 commander was Buza. I spared no thought to their inferiors or
22 subordinate commanders. Could have been platoon commanders, whatever.
23 There should have been about ten squads, I think. So this is a detail
24 easily overlooked. I am not familiar with this sort of background. Nor
25 would it have meant anything to me.
1 Q. Is it a situation of don't ask, don't tell? I mean, when you
2 were talking to these up to a hundred people afterwards, you didn't ask,
3 and they didn't tell you, whether there were company commanders involved
4 in the attack on Uzdol or who -- if there were, who they were.
5 A. For me, there was only one group. This group was given the
6 assignment of taking part.
7 Q. And of these, as you said, up to 100 people, did they all
8 participate in the attack on Uzdol? That's why you were talking to them,
9 wasn't it?
10 A. Well, yes. I wanted to find out what exactly had happened, and
11 that was the reason I talked to them.
12 Q. Well, did all 100 or up to 100 participate in the attack on
14 A. I am really not positive about the number of people who
15 participated but I never said that I talked to a hundred different
16 people. May have been the case but I don't remember the specific figure.
17 That's all I'm telling you.
18 Q. The people you spoke to, or decided to speak to, you decided to
19 speak to because they had participated in the attack on Uzdol; is that
20 correct? However many it was.
21 A. At first, I talked to people out of sheer curiosity, my
22 curiosity. Later on, I was given an assignment. I was told that I
23 should help compile a report, and this report was to be compiled by
24 interviewing individuals who were involved in the attack. That was the
25 reason --
1 Q. Well --
2 A. -- I interviewed people.
3 Q. How did you find or select these people? Were there names on a
4 list of those who had gone into battle on the 14th of September or was it
5 just known who was there?
6 A. People recounted what happened to someone else. Everybody had a
7 story to tell, something that they saw or experienced. I would stick
8 around, as they were talking I was on the lookout for elements for my own
9 story, and when a story struck me as particularly interesting, I would
10 call the person and ask them a number of questions in order to create a
11 fuller picture of what happened.
12 Q. What do you mean for your own story? Was it for your own diary
13 or record you were keeping for your own purposes or what? I just want to
14 know what you mean by your own story.
15 A. No. No. There has been a misunderstanding. I meant what I was
16 tasked to do.
17 Q. What you just said, you would "stick around" as people were
18 talking and "I was on the lookout for elements for my own story, and when
19 a story struck me as particularly interesting, I would call the person
20 and ask them a number of questions", is that what you were tasked to do?
21 Stick around listening to people talking and then follow up stories?
22 A. No one specified how I should do it. Alongside with everyone
23 else I was merely requested to compile a report on what had happened.
24 Each had their own method. Mine was to listen to people's conversations
25 and glean what I believed was important, and thus help compile this
2 Q. Who else was -- I said -- I withdraw that. You said "alongside
3 with everyone else." Who was the "everyone else" you were referring to?
4 A. Well, Erzimana, who was officially assistant commander for
5 intelligence, and Mustafa Bektas, who was assistant commander for
6 security. I helped these people out. That was my duty. But they were
7 in charge.
8 Q. Erzimana Dzogic, is that the person we are talking about, or
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. She gave a statement to the Office of the Prosecutor on the 22nd
12 of May 2003.
13 MR. MORRISSEY: I object to this. Your Honours, it's not proper
14 for the Prosecutor to go putting slabs of a statement from somebody who
15 was never called by the Prosecution to give evidence at this Tribunal to
16 this witness. That would be highly improper.
17 There is another reason why it would be highly improper and it --
18 there is a number of reasons why. I'll go into them in detail if needs
19 be. But at the moment I'll contend myself with this: She exists; they
20 didn't call her. This statement should not be allowed to be put on to
21 the record in any way, nor should it be allowed to be put to this
22 witness. If the Prosecution wanted to call her, they had their chance,
23 and this is now an attempt, in my submission, to put something on the
24 record which is highly unreliable and ought not to be used.
25 Could I just make the comment that the Defence, of course,
1 themselves -- I don't want to go on now the witness is here. Could this
2 matter perhaps be put on hold briefly until there is a break and then I
3 can raise it and discuss it properly with the Chamber?
4 JUDGE LIU: Maybe that's a good suggestion. We will stop here
5 for today and we'll resume tomorrow morning, and in the morning, Mr.
6 Morrissey should furnish us with more reasons on this aspect. We might
7 have a small debate on that before we continue with the cross-examination
8 of this witness. Yes?
9 MR. RE: Could I just indicate for the record now that the
10 Prosecution's present intention from this witness's evidence would be to
11 call rebuttal evidence.
12 JUDGE LIU: We are not going to deal with it until we finished
13 this witness.
14 Well, Witness, I have to give you some advice that I did with
15 other witnesses. That is, since you came to The Hague, you are still
16 under the oath. So do not talk to anybody and do not let anybody talk to
17 you about your evidence. You understand that? We have to stop today and
18 we'll continue tomorrow. Yes?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
20 JUDGE LIU: And since we don't have another witness for tomorrow,
21 we will start at 10.00 in the morning. So, Witness, see you at 10.00
22 tomorrow morning in the same courtroom. The hearing for today is
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.56 p.m.,
25 to be reconvened on Thursday, 7 July, 2005,
1 at 10.00 a.m.