1 Monday, 20 April 2015
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.36 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone in and around this
7 Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case
9 IT-09-92-T, The Prosecutor versus Ratko Mladic.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
11 The Chamber was informed that the Prosecution had a preliminary
12 matter to be raised.
13 MR. JEREMY: Yes, Your Honours and good morning.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning.
15 MR. JEREMY: Just a small matters and it relates to the testimony
16 of Branko Basara, and a document that we intend to use with Mr. Basara.
17 On Friday, the Prosecution sent an e-mail regarding a revised translation
18 of a document that will be used with Basara. The document in question is
19 P2365 and the Prosecution advised that it had uploaded a revised draft of
20 that -- a revised translation of that document and the doc ID 00478672-ET
21 and the Prosecution requests that the Court Officer be instructed to
22 replace the existing translation with the revised translation.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Has the Defence looked at the new translation? Is
24 it just minor details or is it more. I mean, does it have any affect on
25 previous witness through which the document was introduced.
1 MR. JEREMY: It doesn't have an affect on the previous witness so
2 far as I understand it. There are some changes to the translation to the
3 previous draft translation.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I see that. But of minor importance but
6 Has the Defence had a look at the document?
7 MR. LUKIC: Good morning, Your Honours. I just saw it printed on
8 the table. I didn't even pick it up.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I suggest that we instruct the Registrar to
10 replace the present English translation by the new one and that you have
11 a possibility to revisit the matter, well, let's say within the next --
12 when is the witness scheduled to testify?
13 MR. LUKIC: Today.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Today, yes. Then have a look at it as quickly as
15 possible and if the -- have the changes been notified? Does the Defence
16 know where the changes are in the translation?
17 MR. JEREMY: I can certainly sit with Mr. Lukic in the next break
18 and draw his attention to it.
19 JUDGE ORIE: That would be good so you can work more focussed on
21 Madam Registrar, you are hereby instructed to replace the
22 existing English translation of P2365 by the new one, which has doc ID
24 Before we continue, I'd like to briefly move into private
1 [Private session]
21 [Open session]
22 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
24 Is the Defence ready to call its next witness.
25 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Could we
1 please call Witness Andja Obradovic.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be escorted in the videolink room.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE ORIE: Could the representative of the Registry at the
5 other side of the videolink inform the Chamber about the presence of --
6 who is present in the videolink room apart from you and the witness as we
7 can see on our screen.
8 THE REGISTRAR: [Via videolink] Yes, Your Honours. Apart from the
9 two of us, we have the IT representative from the Registry.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
11 Good morning, Ms. Obradovic. Before you give evidence in this
12 court, the Rules require that you make a solemn declaration of which the
13 text is now handed out to you. May I invite you to make that solemn
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
16 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 WITNESS: ANDJA OBRADOVIC
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 [Witness testified via videolink]
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Thank you, Witness. Please be seated.
21 Witness, before we start, has the Defence explained the procedure
22 we'll follow today, that is, that you'll be invited to attest to a
23 statement you have earlier given?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before court you mean?
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So are you aware, because most likely we'll
1 not hear any substance of your evidence but your evidence is in a written
2 statement and that you appear mainly to attest to the accuracy and the
3 truthfulness of that statement.
4 Is that clear, this procedure we'll follow?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Then Mr. Stojanovic, who is counsel for Mr. Mladic,
7 will now put a few questions to you. Carefully listen and please answer
8 the questions.
9 Mr. Stojanovic.
10 Examination by Mr. Stojanovic:
11 Q. [Interpretation]Once again, good morning.
12 Good morning, madam.
13 A. Good morning.
14 Q. I kindly ask you to speak slowly and give us your exact name and
16 A. Andja Obradovic, born on the 10th of June, 1956. 1956.
18 Q. Thank you. Madam, did you give a statement to the Defence of
19 General Mladic or specifically to me as one of his Defence attorneys?
20 Did you give a statement in writing?
21 A. Yes.
22 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, without having
23 this broadcast, could we please take a look at the mentioned statement,
24 namely the first page of that statement.
25 JUDGE ORIE: If you give Madam Registrar a number, then she'll be
1 able to have it on the screen.
2 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Just a second, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: If I can assist you, Mr. Stojanovic, it seems to
4 be 1D1661.
5 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. 1D1661.
6 Q. I hope, Madam, that now you see the statement before you, and
7 this is what I'm asking you: Can you recognise the signature on this
8 first page of the statement?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Is that your signature?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Thank you. And now I would like to ask that we look at the last
13 page of this document, which is 65 ter 1D1661.
14 Madam, the signature that you see on this page, is that your
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And the date that is written there, the 7th of August, 2014, is
18 that also written in your own hand?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you. This is what I'd like to ask you: Today, now that
21 you've taken this oath before this Court stating that you will tell the
22 truth, would you fully stand by what was written in this statement of
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And would this statement represent your entire knowledge and
1 experience concerning the events that you testified about?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Thank you, Madam.
4 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] With your leave, Your Honours, I
5 would like to read a brief summary of this witness's statement, and I
6 would kindly ask that this be done in private session.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic, the purpose of reading a summary is
8 to inform the public. So, therefore, if the statement will be
9 confidential, then it may make no much sense to -- to give the summary
10 because the Judges have read the statement.
11 And I take it you want to tender --
12 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Very well, Your Honour. Then
13 out of an abundance of caution for the reasons that we already mentioned
14 we would not read this summary, but this is a good opportunity for me to
15 tender this witness's statement into evidence in this case under seal.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Before we decide on that --
17 Witness, did you have an opportunity to review your statement
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
20 JUDGE ORIE: And it's on that basis that you attested to the
21 accuracy and the truthfulness of your statement?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
24 MR. CORLISS: No objections, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE ORIE: No objections.
1 Madam Registrar.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 1D1661 receives number D1029.
3 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence, under seal.
4 Witness, your appearance in court was very short. That doesn't
5 mean that your testimony is not important but we have read your statement
6 and that's what we'll consider. Therefore, even though being short --
7 being in court only for a very short period of time, I would like to
8 thank you very much for appearing, and ...
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE ORIE: The Prosecution earlier has indicated that there are
11 no questions for this witness. That's the reason why no further
12 questions will be put to you. I would, nevertheless, thank you very much
13 for coming to the videolink location, for having attested to your
14 statement which is now in evidence. I wish you a safe return home again.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, the witness can be escorted out of
17 the videolink room.
18 THE REGISTRAR: [Via videolink] Thank you.
19 [The witness withdrew]
20 JUDGE ORIE: For the next witness which was scheduled we do
21 understand that he is unable to appear today.
22 MR. LUKIC: That's right, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Therefore, my next question is: Would the witness
24 scheduled after that witness, is the Defence ready to call that witness?
25 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, we are calling
1 Mr. Vasiljevic, Borislav.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Who would also testified by videolink
3 and for whom the Prosecution has also indicated there are no further
4 questions apart from attestation that there is no need to cross-examine
5 that witness.
6 MR. CORLISS: That's correct, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
8 I see that the witness, the next witness has appeared in the
9 videolink room.
10 Good morning, Mr. Vasiljevic. Could you please stand. Before
11 you give evidence the Rules require that you make a solemn declaration
12 that you will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth
13 and from the fact that you are standing, I take it that can you hear
14 me -- you can see me and hear me in a language you understand?
15 I heard a soft "da," perhaps too soft for our interpreters.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE ORIE: The solemn declaration -- the text of the solemn
18 declaration will now be handed out to you, and I'd like to invite you to
19 make that solemn declaration.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
21 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
22 WITNESS: BORISLAV VASILJEVIC
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 [Witness testified via videolink]
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Vasiljevic. Please be seated.
1 Mr. Vasiljevic, has the procedure which we'll follow today, been
2 explained to you.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Which means that only questions will be put for the
5 purpose of an attestation of the statement you've given earlier and that
6 you'll not be cross-examined on it.
7 Mr. Lukic, are you ready to start your examination-in-chief,
8 which will be very short, as I understand.
9 MR. LUKIC: Yes. Yes, I am, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
11 Mr. Vasiljevic, you'll now be examined by Mr. Lukic. He'll put a
12 few questions to you. Mr. Lukic is counsel for Mr. Mladic.
13 Examination by Mr. Lukic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Vasiljevic.
15 A. Good day.
16 Q. For the record, could you please slowly state your name and
18 A. Borislav Vasiljevic.
19 Q. On the screen now could we please have 1D01740.
20 Mr. Vasiljevic, do you see this on the screen or do you have a
21 hard copy of your statement before you, on paper?
22 A. I have a statement before me.
23 Q. So have you opened the first page? I mean, the very first page.
24 And do you see a signature on it?
25 A. I do.
1 Q. Do you recognise the signature?
2 A. Yes, it is my signature.
3 Q. Whose is it?
4 A. Mine, mine.
5 Q. Thank you. Now could you please be so kind as to take a look at
6 the last page of your statement.
7 Can you see a signature on this document and do you recognise it?
8 A. I do recognise it. It is mine.
9 Q. Thank you. The statement before you, did you provide it to the
10 members of the Defence team of General Mladic?
11 A. Yes, I did.
12 Q. Does the statement accurately reflect what you told the Defence
13 team members on behalf of General Mladic?
14 A. Yes, it is accurate.
15 Q. The contents of the statement, have they been recorded to the
16 best of your recollection and accuracy?
17 A. Yes, it is 100 per cent accurate.
18 Q. Thank you. If I were to put the same questions to you today,
19 would you provide the same answers?
20 A. 100 per cent.
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vasiljevic.
22 At this point in time, we seek to tender Mr. Vasiljevic's
23 statement into evidence.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just before we do that, can we just confirm that
25 the date mentioned in paragraph 6 is correct on the statement.
1 MR. LUKIC: 6.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Says he returned to his parents' place on 13th of
3 July, 2013. The same statement --
4 MR. LUKIC: Mm-hm, mm-hm.
5 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Vasiljevic, can we go to paragraph 6 of your
6 statement, please.
7 A. It is in front of me.
8 Q. In paragraph 6, we find the following. The reason for my return
9 to Vasiljevici village was to make my wife and my child, who was less
10 than two years old, to Slovenia since the war in BiH had already started.
11 The next sentence is: "I returned to my parents' place on the
12 13th of July, 2013 and as early as the next day, the village was attacked
13 by the Muslim forces from Vecici. The attack started at dawn."
14 I apologise to you as well as to the Chamber. This detail seems
15 to have slipped my attention. Kindly tell us whether the date as
16 recorded is accurate, especially in terms of the year. What should be
17 the year?
18 A. 1992. That is when I returned from Slovenia.
19 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Vasiljevic. And thank you,
20 Judge Moloto.
21 JUDGE ORIE: May I take it that it's only the year that is wrong
22 but that the date, the 13th of July, is accurate?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Should I answer?
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well. I don't recall the date
1 exactly. I can't be 100 per cent sure, but I think it is the correct
2 date and the year was definitely 1992. It was a long time ago and I
3 don't recall the precise date, but I do think it is the 13th of July,
5 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. No objections to the admission.
6 MR. CORLISS: No objections with that corrected date,
7 Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
9 Madam Registrar, the number would be ...
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 1D1740 receives number D1030.
11 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
12 MR. LUKIC: I will, at this moment just read the short --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, the witness does not necessarily have to remain
14 in the videolink room for that purposes.
15 So if the witness would prefer to leave already he is free to do
17 Mr. Vasiljevic, a short summary of your evidence will be read.
18 Do you want to remain in the videolink room or would you already prefer
19 to be excused?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would prefer to stay.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then Mr. Lukic will now read a short summary
22 of your statement. Please be aware that it's not the summary that is in
23 evidence but it's your statement. It is just to inform the public about
24 the content of your statement. So there's no need to make any
25 corrections or to add anything to what Mr. Lukic will now read.
1 Mr. Lukic.
2 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Borislav Vasiljevic testifies about the events in the
4 municipality of Kotor Varos in early 1992.
5 When he heard that an armed incident happened in Kotor Varos on
6 11th June 1992, he returned home from Slovenia where he was temporarily
7 employed. He returned with the aim of taking care of his family. He was
8 not mobilised and had a civilian status.
9 He states that in late June 1992, the Muslim forces from Vecici
10 village attacked village Staza and hamlet Vasilijevici.
11 Jugoslav Mirjanic was killed in the attack and several villagers were
13 His village was attacked again on 13 July 1992. He and his
14 father were captured and taken to Vecici where they were tortured.
15 During his captivity in Vecici, he talks in detail about the
16 torture. He indicates names of the people who inflicted torture. He
17 also tells names of the people who were captured, brought in, taken away,
18 tortured and killed.
19 Mr. Vasiljevic talks about the historical context of the
20 suffering of the Serbs in Kotor Varos and their fear that the crimes from
21 the Second World War might repeat.
22 That was the short summary.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
24 Mr. Vasiljevic, no further questions will be put to you. That
25 doesn't mean that your testimony is not important for us but we received
1 it in writing and we'll consider it with all the other evidence this
2 Chamber receives.
3 I'd like to thank you very much for coming to the videolink
4 location, and I wish you a --
5 THE REGISTRAR: [Via videolink] Your Honour, we have some
6 difficulty with the audio. We are unable to hear you from The Hague.
7 JUDGE ORIE: I don't know whether it can be resolved quickly or
8 whether it would take more time.
9 Could I ask the representative of the Registry at the other side
10 of the videolink whether he can hear me in the English language?
11 THE REGISTRAR: [Via videolink] Yes, I can hear you now,
12 Your Honours.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Registrar, would you please pass on to the
14 witness our thanks for having come to the videolink location and convey
15 to him that we wish him a safe return home again.
16 THE REGISTRAR: [Via videolink] Yes, thank you, Your Honour. I
17 will do that.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I don't know what language you will do that,
19 but that's -- is there any way you can pass on that message?
20 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE ORIE: It looks as if at least the video is functioning
23 again. I'm not certain about the audio.
24 Could the representative of the Registry tell us whether the
25 audio in both languages on the other side of the videolink is functioning
2 THE REGISTRAR: [Via videolink] Yes, Your Honour, English channel
3 is functioning fine. The B/C/S channel is just being checked and I'm
4 told it's okay now.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, then we can continue.
6 Is the Defence ready to call its next witness?
7 MR. LUKIC: Yes, we are, Your Honour. We are calling
8 Mr. Branko Basara.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be escorted into the videolink
11 Mr. Jeremy.
12 MR. JEREMY: Your Honours, just while the witness is being
13 escorted in, just to draw to the Chamber's attention the fact that there
14 is an indictment has been issued by the Bosnian State Court against this
15 witness in 2014 and that indictment implicates a number of scheduled
16 incidents in the indictment before this Chamber and therefore the
17 Prosecution considers it appropriate to advise the witness of his rights
18 under Rule 90(E).
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, the incident in the indictment against the
20 accused in this case?
21 MR. JEREMY: That's correct, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
23 [The witness entered court]
24 Good morning, Witness. Can you hear me in a language you
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning. Yes, I can.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, before you give evidence, the Rules require
3 that you make a solemn declaration, the text of which is now handed out
4 to you. May I invite to you make that solemn declaration?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've read it.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please -- may I invite you to make that,
7 to read the text and pronounce the words?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
9 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
10 WITNESS: BRANKO BASARA
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 [Witness testified via videolink]
13 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Basara. Please be seated.
14 Mr. Basara, before I invite the Defence to examine you I'd like
15 to inform you about the content of Rule 90(E) of the Rules of Procedure
16 and Evidence of this Tribunal, and I'll read it to you.
17 It reads:
18 "A witness may object to making any statement which might tend to
19 incriminate the witness. The Chamber may, however, compel the witness to
20 answer the question. Testimony compelled in this way shall not be used
21 as evidence in a subsequent prosecution against the witness for any
22 offence other than false testimony."
23 Mr. Basara, this means that you can address me if you think that
24 a truthful answer to one of the questions might incriminate yourself. Is
25 that clear?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is clear.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
3 Mr. Basara, you'll first be examined by Mr. Lukic. Mr. Lukic is
4 counsel for Mr. Mladic.
5 Mr. Lukic, please proceed.
6 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Examination by Mr. Lukic:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Basara.
9 A. Good morning.
10 Q. Please be so kind to tell us your first and last name for the
12 A. My name is Branko Basara. I was born on the 3rd of October, 1939
13 in the village of Otis in Sanski Most.
14 Q. Thank you. Mr. Basara, did you at some point provide a statement
15 to the members of General Mladic's Defence team?
16 A. I did provide a statement.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we have 1D1720 on our screens.
18 Q. You do have the written statement in front of you, Mr. Basara, do
19 you not?
20 A. I do.
21 Q. Is the front -- the cover page of the statement in front of you?
22 A. Yes, it is.
23 Q. Do you see a signature there and do you recognise it?
24 A. Yes, yes.
25 Q. Whose signature is it?
1 A. Mine.
2 Q. Let us go to the last page of the statement.
3 A. Very well.
4 Q. Do you see a signature there and do you recognise it?
5 A. I do see it. It is mine.
6 Q. The contents of the statement, have they been recorded accurately
7 in terms of what you told the members of General Mladic's Defence team?
8 A. Yes, it was recorded correctly.
9 Q. Are the contents truthful to the best of your recollection in
10 terms of those past events?
11 A. In terms of the contents I stated, it is all truthful in the
12 sense of how I saw and experienced those events.
13 Q. If I were to put the same questions to you today, would you
14 answer the same way?
15 A. I think I would answer them in the same way. Perhaps not word
16 for word, but that would be the gist.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we seek to tender
19 Mr. Basara's statement into evidence.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 1D1720 receives number D1031.
22 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
23 MR. LUKIC: I think the number is too big.
24 THE REGISTRAR: The document receives number D1031.
25 JUDGE ORIE: D1031 is admitted into evidence.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 Q. Mr. Basara, with the Court's permission, I'd like to put some
3 additional questions to you.
4 First of all, --
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, there's no problem in putting additional
6 questions to the witness but the usual practice is to read the summary
8 MR. LUKIC:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Basara, I apologise. I skipped ahead a
10 little too much. I was first supposed to read out the summary of your
12 I distributed to everybody but I cannot find my copy.
13 JUDGE ORIE: If you'd like to do it after the break, there's no
14 problem, Mr. Lukic.
15 MR. LUKIC: I would appreciate.
16 JUDGE ORIE: That gives you time to retrieve it.
17 Please proceed, meanwhile.
18 MR. LUKIC: Then can I proceed with the questions first?
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's what I meant.
20 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Basara, did you testify previously before
22 this Tribunal?
23 A. I did testify - also via videolink - as a Prosecution witness
24 concerning two people from the security service.
25 Q. That was in the Stanisic/Zupljanin case?
1 A. Yes, Stanisic/Zupljanin.
2 Q. Thank you. Kindly go to paragraphs 9 and 10 in your statement.
3 MR. LUKIC: And if we can have them -- paragraph 9 on our screen,
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I found it.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. You mentioned the ethnic makeup in the municipality.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Now we need the next page in both
10 Q. The top of the page which is the last part of paragraph 9 where
11 you discuss the division of the town. And about which part was to go to
12 which part of the population.
13 In paragraph 10, you discuss the police and the division therein.
14 Did you play any part in those negotiations about the division or not?
15 A. I was present at a meeting which took place in the municipal
16 assembly building. Not all members were present, but there were people
17 on the Serb and the Muslim side. They were the more influential members
18 of the assembly who discussed how to divide the town. I was present but
19 was not involved in any decision-making. I was neutral in those talks of
21 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, could you seek clarification as to
23 members of what? It says: "Not all members were present."
24 Members of what?
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Basara, you heard Judge Orie's question.
2 A. I heard the question.
3 Q. Can you answer?
4 A. I had in mind all members of the assembly. So the inner part of
5 the Sanski Most Municipal Assembly was present with representatives of
6 Muslims, Serbs and Croats being in attendance.
7 Q. Thank you. Do you know whether any agreement was reached on the
8 division of other towns in the municipality?
9 A. I know something about Bihac. I know that a division was agreed
10 upon there as well. The right bank of the town was to be Serbian; and
11 the left bank of the town was to be Muslim. However, the Muslims managed
12 to take over the part that was supposed to go to the Serbs, and the Serbs
13 were, for the most part, pushed out of Bihac.
14 I also know something about Krupa, Bosanska Krupa. There was
15 also an agreement there that the part of town on the right bank of the
16 town be Serbian; the left bank, Muslim. However, the Muslims there
17 fooled the Serbs as well, taking part the side of town that was supposed
18 to go to the Serbs as well.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Previous translation continues] ... reading that
20 summary statement.
21 JUDGE ORIE: If you found it, it's -- it's approximately time for
22 the break. So perhaps you start with the summary after the break.
23 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Witness, we'll take a break of 20 minutes.
25 After the break, Mr. Lukic will first read that short summary of your
1 statement and then he'll continue and ask further questions, Mr. Lukic.
2 MR. LUKIC: Yes, I have further questions for this witness.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then we'll take the break first and we'll
4 resume at ten minutes to 11.00.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
7 JUDGE ORIE: I'd first like to check whether the videolink is
8 still operative.
9 THE REGISTRAR: [Via videolink] Yes, Your Honour, we can hear and
10 see you clearly.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Lukic, you may proceed.
12 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 I will proceed with reading statement summary of Mr. Basara. It
14 will be a bit longer than usually.
15 Branko Basara was the commander of the 6th Krajina Brigade in
16 1992. He was a retired JNA colonel until he reactivated in October 1991
17 to take command of the 6th Krajina Brigade.
18 Mr. Basara always endeavoured to prevent conflicts. Through
19 talks with Muslims, Croats and Serbs and their representatives from the
20 Municipal Assembly of Sanski Most, I tried to defuse the heated situation
21 and some conciliatory decisions were made in this direction. Agreement
22 was reached to divide Sanski Most into a Muslim and a Serb part.
23 The Muslim representatives took possession of the municipal
24 building in Sanski Most and after the Serb leadership decided to
25 recapture the municipal building. And after that the Serb leadership
1 decided to recapture the municipal building. Mr. Basara and his brigade
2 is not take part in the capturing of the municipal building. Mr. Basara
3 used to go to the Muslim villages with Nijaz Halilovic, a Muslim,
4 convincing the inhabitants not to cause conflicts with their Serb
5 neighbours or members of the 6th Brigade.
6 After the withdrawal of the JNA from the Republic of Croatia, JNA
7 was tasked with preventing interethnic conflicts. His unit implemented
8 the task successfully until the attack of the Muslim forces on the JNA in
9 Sarajevo, at Dobrovoljacka Street. After the attack at
10 Dobrovoljacka Street, an order arrived to disarm the Muslim paramilitary
12 In the course of weapons confiscation his unit did not arrest
13 those who possessed it but only took their weapons.
14 The disarming was conducted in two stages. The first stage
15 involved informing the Muslims and Croats in all the villages that they
16 should voluntarily turn in all the weapons in their possession. In the
17 second stage, the units were to go to the villages inhabited by Muslims
18 and Croats and seize the weapons from those who had not turned them in.
19 Armed fightings would occur where the Muslim forces offered armed
21 Before fighting, an announcement was made that all those who did
22 not want to fight should leave. For example, all of those who wished to
23 exit Mahala were given a three-hour deadline to pull out. A lot of
24 women, children and the elderly pulled out from Mahala, and even some of
25 the able-bodied men. These people were protected by the army.
1 According to Mr. Basara's own assessment of the situation, he
2 decided to engage parts of the 6th Brigade in order to ensure a peaceful
3 take-over of power in the municipality of Kljuc without conflicts and
4 unnecessary bloodshed.
5 Furthermore, he will testify on the nature and role of
6 Sanski Most Crisis Staff and that he was not a member of the municipal
7 Crisis Staff.
8 He will further testify about the existence of paramilitaries and
9 their relationship with the authorities and the VRS.
10 Mr. Basara will testify that the army had nothing to do with
11 prisons in Sanski Most, i.e., that he had no jurisdiction over those
12 prisons and that the army did not establish prisons.
13 Army did not play any part in the departures of the population.
14 Mr. Basara will testify that there were a number of employed
15 Muslims in the territory of Sanski Most who went to work regularly. He
16 knows that there were Muslims working at the Kamengrad coal-mine. He
17 knows this because the army was providing security for the coal-mine.
18 And that was the short summary.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
20 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Basara, now I would like to continue with my
22 questions, if you're ready.
23 A. I am.
24 Q. Now I'd like to ask you whether the members of the 6th
25 Sana Brigade were deployed in the town of Sanski Most?
1 A. Units of the 6th Brigade were not deployed in the broad area of
2 Sanski Most. I just had one unit consisting of about 40 to 50 men near
3 the TO storage area in Sanski Most to protect that facility in order to
4 prevent any clashes when that facility was being taken over as well as
5 the weaponry.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just a clarification: Is the 6th Sana Brigade the
7 same thing as the 6th Krajina Brigade?
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Basara, could you please tell us, what the exact name of your
10 unit is.
11 A. From the moment when this brigade was established, when I was
12 appointed commander, it bore the name of the 6th Krajina Brigade because
13 it inherited that brigade from the Second World War. However, later, the
14 leadership from Pale changed its name, and they called it the
15 Sana Brigade. So it's one and the same brigade.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could all microphones be
17 switched off when the witness is speaking. Thank you.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Thank you. Before this, you were speaking about a possible
20 conflict involving the TO storage area or warehouse. Do you -- can you
21 tell us what kind of information you had about that?
22 A. I received a lot of information about both Muslims and Serbs
23 getting ready to take over that warehouse and the weapons that were still
24 in that warehouse. They both wanted to get their hands on that. So
25 ultimately I decided to move it out, and I moved it to Lusci Palanka so
1 that it would not be a conflict involving that warehouse.
2 Q. Who helped you when these weapons were moved out?
3 A. Nijaz Halilovic helped me the most. Up until then, he was
4 commander of the TO Staff, and he's the one who co-operated with me the
5 most in preventing conflicts.
6 Q. Mr. Nijaz Halilovic, what is his ethnicity?
7 A. He's a Muslim, but it was my understanding that his orientation
8 was Yugoslav, just like my own.
9 Q. Thank you. Now I'd like to ask you something about the take-over
10 of power in Sanski Most.
11 The 6th Krajina Brigade, or, as it was later called, the
12 6th Sana Brigade, did it take part in the take-over of power?
13 A. I would not say take-over of power because there was a division
14 of power. That is to say, the municipality -- well, they divided power
15 into the Serb municipality and the Muslim municipality. However, when
16 the police was divided, then the police and the Muslim leadership took
17 the building of the municipality. So that was no take-over. That is to
18 say, it was the Muslims who violently took over the municipality, the 6th
19 brigade did not take part in that at all, and it didn't take part in any
20 of this later either, because there weren't any units that could help
21 either the Serbs or somebody else. On the contrary. I helped the
22 Muslims so they could get out of the municipality when I heard who was
23 attacking and then I made it possible for them to get out without
25 Q. Could you tell us just briefly how this happened and what your
1 role was in getting the Muslim policemen out of the municipality
3 A. That happened on that day when I was getting the weapons out of
4 the storage area. And I had just completed that and went to the command
5 post in Lusci Palanka. It may have been 9.00 p.m. Sabic would call me
6 and asked me, Colonel, sir, do you know that an attack is it being
7 prepared against the municipality building. I said that I had no idea
8 whatsoever, as was indeed the case. I asked him on the basis of what and
9 I certainly received information that they are getting ready to attack
10 the municipality and then I suggested to him that his people should get
11 out of the municipal building because it is not worth sacrificing a
12 single life for some building. Then in the hotel, there were some
13 military policemen. I called them and they helped these people get out
14 of the building without any jeopardy.
15 Q. Thank you. Now I'm going to ask you something about the
16 Crisis Staff. Did you attend, and do you remember how often you attended
17 sessions of the Crisis Staff of Sanski Most?
18 A. I attended sessions of the Crisis Staff whenever I was invited
19 and when I had the possibility to do that because I wished to be in a
20 position to follow the situation in the area of Sanski Most on the basis
21 of which I could make decisions of my own.
22 Q. Did you take part in the work of the Crisis Staff by voting for
23 decisions of the Crisis Staff?
24 A. I never voted and I never made decisions, but I tried to exercise
25 influence so that the decisions that they made would be as normal as
1 possible, if you will, so that the other side would not be affected, so
2 that the rules of warfare would be observed and everything else in that
4 Q. Did you ever issue any order to your units on the basis of any
5 decision made by the Crisis Staff?
6 A. There's not a single order of mine that invokes any decisions of
7 the Crisis Staff, and I never acted on the basis of these decisions
8 because I did not consider them to be my superiors because I had the
9 corps command and I only carried --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We could not hear the end
11 of the sentence.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic --
13 MR. LUKIC: Yes --
14 JUDGE ORIE: The interpreters are asking for a repetition of the
15 last part of the sentence -- the end of the sentence.
16 MR. LUKIC: Mm-hm.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could all microphones be
18 switched off when the witness is speaking. Thank you.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Basara, the very last part of your answer has not been
21 recorded. I'm going to read out the last sentence in the English so that
22 you could get the right interpretation so please just finish your
24 [In English} I quote:
25 "A. There was not a single order of mine that invokes any
1 decisions of the Crisis Staff, and I never acted on the basis of these
2 decisions because I did not consider them to be my superiors because I
3 had a corps command and I only carried --" end of quote.
4 [Interpretation] So what did you say at the very end of your
5 answer? Could you please repeat?
6 A. I said that not a single order was written and in the brigade
7 command there is no such order that invokes decisions of the Crisis Staff
8 because I did not consider them to be my superiors. Because there was
9 the corps command and also there was the military chain of command, and I
10 observed that and I carried out those orders.
11 Q. Thank you. You know while you were in Sanski Most as commander
12 of the 6th Krajina Brigade, did General Talic come to Sanski Most?
13 A. While I was commander of the brigade, General Talic did not come
14 to Sanski Most at all, and he didn't come to the brigade command either.
15 At one meeting -- actually, it was Lieutenant-Colonel Talic who came
16 several times. He had been in Banja Luka. I think that his first name
17 was Mustafa, he is a Muslim. And once he attended a session of the
18 Crisis Staff.
19 As for General Talic, I know for sure that he did not come at
21 Q. How can you be sure that he never came?
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: It is impossible to
23 interpret when this is the quality of the sound.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please again answer that question put to
25 you by Mr. Lukic where he asked you: How can you be sure that he -
1 meaning General Talic - never came.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I'm sure because when -- if
3 he would come to the area of Sanski Most, he would inform me, for sure,
4 and he would come to the brigade command to see what we were doing and
5 how we were doing it.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. According to the rules of service, would have you to be notified
8 if your commander came to the territory of your brigade?
9 A. I believe that that would have been his obligation to notify me
10 of his arrival.
11 Q. As commander of the brigade, what was your position vis-à-vis the
12 organs of municipal government?
13 A. As for the organs of municipal government, I believed that since
14 the municipality had power, a state of war had not been declared so they
15 had authority over the territory of the municipality of Sanski Most. At
16 that time I was a peace-time commander, and I did not have any right
17 whatsoever to issue any kind of orders to the municipality organs or to
18 interfere with their work or compel them to carry out some tasks that I
19 would give them. Rather, through conversations, I tried to influence
20 their work so that it would be as proper as possible.
21 Q. The municipal authorities, did they try to interfere with your
23 A. The municipal authorities always tried to interfere in the work
24 of the brigade, and they tried to subordinate the brigade to them so that
25 the brigade would be a municipal unit. However, I, as a professional,
1 knew that I should not allow that and I did not allow that, although they
2 tried to do that in every conceivable way.
3 Q. I have another question to ask you about the brigade.
4 Did your brigade have or play any part in the establishment and
5 running of prisons which existed at the time in Sanski Most, first and
6 foremost the Krings and Betonirka prisons?
7 A. As I said already, there was no state of war declared. I was a
8 peacetime commander in that sense and had no right to establish camps or
9 collection centres. In that regard, I did not take any part in such
10 activities. I never entered any collection camp or centre.
11 Q. Did your brigade or its members take part in the transport of
12 people to Manjaca from the Krings and Betonirka prisons?
13 A. The brigade did not take any part in the transport of people to
14 anywhere or in the process of moving people out.
15 Q. As the brigade commander, did you address the population on the
16 radio or did you go to -- in the field to meet with the members of the
18 A. I never addressed them by radio and I contacted with the
19 population - Muslims for the most part - with Nijaz Halilovic. We tried
20 to speak to them against engaging the military and against causing
22 Q. What happened with Nijaz Halilovic after the outbreak of the
23 conflict, if you can tell us briefly.
24 A. When the conflict occurred and when the Serbs regained possession
25 of the municipal building, although I don't know precisely because I
1 wasn't informed of it, but when they were arresting the Muslim leadership
2 they arrested Nijaz Halilovic as well, taking him to Manjaca. I was away
3 when it was done. I was in Belgrade to see my family since they had fled
4 to Belgrade. Upon my return, I heard of his arrest. I was very bitter
5 about the situation, and I promised myself to find a way to get Nijaz
6 out. I knew he was not an extremist and that he should not have been
8 Q. Just a moment. Did you go to Manjaca yourself?
9 A. First I went to see General Talic. I explained to him what Nijaz
10 was involved in together with me and how much assistance he provided. I
11 told him he was not a extremist and I asked him to try and come up with a
12 solution for Nijaz's release. He did so and together with Mirko Adamovic
13 who I think worked for the court at the time - I don't know whether he
14 was a judge though - we went to Manjaca together. On the basis of the
15 approval we received, we took Nijaz out of the camp, taking him to
16 Mirko's apartment. He was there until I left for Belgrade.
17 Q. You say you left for Belgrade. What happened with Nijaz
18 following your departure?
19 A. I kept Nijaz in the apartment since I did not want him to go to
20 the territory of Sanski Most in case somebody tried to liquidate him.
21 When I went to Belgrade, I dressed him in a uniform with a white belt to
22 act as my escort until we crossed the border into Serbia. His father
23 left a passport and 200 marks for him so that could further -- travel
24 further to Austria and rejoin his family.
25 When he crossed into Serbia, he took off the uniform, put on
1 civilian clothes and left together with a surgeon who was accompanied by
2 his family. They all went to Hungary.
3 Q. Thank you. Let me ask you something about mobilisation.
4 Please tell us what the difference is between a mobilisation
5 process in the brigade as opposed to battalion. What is the difference?
6 What was this armed force of yours like? Can you explain to us the
7 situation back then.
8 A. The difference was that there's mention of brigade mobilisation
9 in different documents. The brigade had been mobilised at the beginning
10 when the conflict broke out when it went to Titova Korenica and was
11 transferred to Jasenovac. In other words, it never disbanded and no need
12 for repeated mobilisation; there was always one part of the brigade in
13 existence. However, battalions were being mobilised in order to
14 implement certain tasks. During such mobilisation process of the
15 battalion, it becomes part of the brigade and it's under my competence.
16 Once the task is finished, it is disbanded and the soldiers are being
17 sent home, becoming civilians. In other words, the brigade no longer
18 held any sway over them while they were in their homes. Until they are
19 recalled, the brigade could not take any measures against them.
20 Q. In the brigade command, how many people were there in
21 Lusci Palanka?
22 A. For the most part, the brigade command had 50 per cent of
23 officers present, while the other half were at home, and then they
24 rotated. The ones who were in the brigade would go home and the ones who
25 were at home came to the brigade. The same principle was applied to
1 battalion commands.
2 As for the other units, they were engaged as I have already
4 Q. How are simple soldiers gathered? In other words, then, and how
5 long do they remain implementing their tasks as well as when their tasks
6 are finished, what is done with them?
7 A. At the beginning, say in May or April when we arrived, they were
8 mostly engaged for a single day when we wanted to put villages under
9 control to disarm them. Then they would be engaged by the day, and when
10 their tasks were completed, they were released to go home. Later on,
11 however, the corps command made use of those battalions at certain fronts
12 and then they would go there for ten days, following which they were
13 replaced by another unit and they returned home.
14 Q. Did you have any conditions in place to billet greater numbers of
16 A. There were no such conditions for the billeting of soldiers other
17 than those who were with the command. They were mostly billeted in the
18 houses nearby. In other words, I had no conditions in place to be able
19 to organise any kind of detention or prison. If any brigade member was
20 brought in, they were placed in a civilian prison which was in the MUP
22 Q. Thank you. We are nearing the end. I wanted to announce this
23 for the sake of the Prosecution so that they know that I would be
24 requiring less time than I initially asked for.
25 Let us go back to the Crisis Staff. Were Crisis Staff decisions
1 forwarded to your brigade and its command?
2 A. The decisions of the Crisis Staff were not forwarded whatsoever.
3 Those that I did manage to see as part of the indictment submitted
4 against me, I see that they frequently occurred without any signature and
5 it never says that they were forwarded to the brigade command. They
6 should cite distribution, but none of that exists. I think they never
7 even tried to forward them because they knew I wouldn't act upon them.
8 Q. Mr. Basara, thank you for responding to our questions. At this
9 point in time, I have no further questions for you. Thank you.
10 A. You're welcome.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
12 Mr. Jeremy, are you ready to cross-examine the witness?
13 MR. JEREMY: I am, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Basara, you'll now be cross-examined by
15 Mr. Jeremy. Mr. Jeremy is counsel for the Prosecution.
16 Cross-examination by Mr. Jeremy:
17 Q. Thank you, Your Honours. And good morning, Mr. Basara.
18 A. Good morning.
19 Q. I'd like to start by clarifying your previous interviews with the
20 Office of the Prosecutor and your previous prior testimony before this
21 Tribunal. So, first of all, you have mentioned it today but you
22 testified in the Stanisic and Zupljanin case on 12th and 13th of
23 October 2009; correct?
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. And you told the truth during that testimony; correct?
1 A. As far as I know, I told the truth.
2 Q. Thank you. And you were also interviewed as a suspect by the OTP
3 on the 31st of August, 2002; correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And you also told the truth during that interview; correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And lastly you were interviewed as a suspect again by the OTP on
8 the 31st of March, 2009; correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And, again, you told the truth during that interview; correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Thank you. I'd like to move on now and discuss the arrival of
13 the 6th Brigade in Sanski Most.
14 Now, this was on the 3rd of April, 1992; correct.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And the -- you brought the brigade to Sanski Most pursuant to an
17 order from General Talic; correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, this Chamber has received evidence - that's P3837 - that the
20 Serb Assembly of Sanski Most declared the municipality part of the
21 Autonomous Region of Krajina on this same day, the 3rd of April, 1992.
22 You were aware that the arrival of your brigade coincided with this
23 declaration. Yes?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Just -- it seems your answer came before --
1 A. No, I wasn't aware. I wasn't aware of that because I was not in
2 contact at all with the municipal organs. It was based on my orders that
3 I brought the brigade in with the task of preparing conflict in the
4 territory of the municipality of Sanski Most.
5 Q. And when your -- when your brigade arrived in Sanski Most, the
6 6th Brigade, in terms of the numbers of men that you had within this
7 brigade during 1992, I understand that the numbers reached up to around
8 4.000 men in July and August 1992; correct?
9 A. While the brigade was in Jasenovac it had perhaps 1.000 men at
10 the most. Very few Muslims and Croats responded to the brigade calls.
11 Thus it was manned through one battalion from Bosanski Novi, which was
12 later renamed into Novi Grad and there was a company from Kljuc as part
13 of the brigade.
14 When the brigade arrived in Sanski Most, I returned the Novi Grad
15 Battalion as well as the Kljuc Company to their original locations. I
16 manned the rest of the units as best I could so that the brigade could
17 have a greater number of fighters so that I could implement this task of
18 preventing conflicts in that area.
19 Q. And when you say you manned the brigade as best you could, I'll
20 remind that you in the Stanisic/Zupljanin case you said that the numbers
21 in the brigade were three and a half thousand to 4.000 in July and
22 August of 1992. Is that -- is that correct?
23 A. That was in August. I just explained to you the situation in
24 April, when it arrived, as well as in May.
25 In August, however, I do know that it was the number. It is
2 Q. Thank you. Now you mentioned that you didn't have a relationship
3 with the -- you didn't have contact with the municipal organs on your
4 arrival into Sanski Most but it's correct, is it not, that the order that
5 General Talic issued to you pursuant to which you brought the 6th Brigade
6 to Sanski Most asked you to begin to co-ordinate with the organs of
7 government in Sanski Most. That's correct; yes?
8 A. Well, co-ordination had to do with the manning of the brigade in
9 terms of co-operating with the Secretariat of National Defence.
10 As regards any political activities, the brigade was under no
11 obligation to engage in that.
12 Q. Okay. Let's exactly take a quick like at P2865, please, and this
13 is an order from the 5th Corps to the 6th Partisan Brigade and dated 1st
14 of April 1992.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Is the 6th Partisan brigade the same thing as the
16 6th Krajina Brigade or the Sana Brigade?
17 MR. JEREMY: My understanding is that it is and perhaps the
18 witness can confirm.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
21 MR. JEREMY:
22 Q. So, Mr. Basara, very quickly, I think the document is on the
23 screen before us now. We see the document is dated the 1st of April,
24 1992. And we see if we go to the -- page 3 of the English and page 2 of
25 the -- and page 3 of the B/C/S, we see that it's signed by
1 Commander Major-General Momir Talic. And if we can go back to --
2 Colonel Basara, you see Major-General Talic's signature there?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And if we can go back to -- the first page of this document,
6 I want to focus your attention on the paragraph that is two above
7 point number 2, which reads: "Establish full co-operation with the
8 organs of government in Sanski Most municipality and collaboration with
9 the TO and police units."
10 So, Colonel Basara, does that refresh your recollection that that
11 was what was required of you on arriving into Sanski Most?
12 A. We can see that in the order. However, that co-operation
13 included security organs and the police in terms of gathering information
14 and reports from the field.
15 As regards the TO, I did establish co-operation with its
16 commander, Nijaz Halilovic, for the most part.
17 As regards municipal organs, it involved the manning of units
18 rather than any other tasks.
19 Q. Well, we'll get to the nature of the co-operation between your
20 brigade and the organs of government in Sanski Most. However, you'll
21 agree with me that there is no reference here of restricting that
22 co-operation simply to the manning of units rather than other tasks?
23 A. You see, this is just a formulation when certain tasks are being
24 issued by a command. However, in the field, things look different.
25 Q. Thank you. And as I say, we'll get to how things looked in the
1 field. Let's move on.
2 Now, you left your position as commander of the 6th Brigade in
3 middle of December 1992; correct?
4 A. Upon my request, I wanted to leave the position of commander.
5 Q. Thank you. And following a brief period of time in Belgrade, you
6 were then appointed commander of an operations group in Prijedor between
7 March and August 1993; correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And in August 1993, you retired for the last time from the VRS
10 and you went to Belgrade; correct?
11 A. I did not retire. I had already retired as officer. I simply
12 left the corps and the brigade.
13 Q. And from that point onwards, you no longer had a position in the
14 VRS; is that correct?
15 A. Correct. I had no position. I was a simple retiree, living in
17 Q. So it's correct that after you retired on -- sorry, after you
18 left the VRS in August 1993, you went to Belgrade; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And --
21 A. That is where my family was.
22 Q. And did you return to Sanski Most before the end of the war in
24 A. I think I did twice to see my wife's parents who were over 80
25 years old. I would stay for a couple of days perhaps. In terms of any
1 kind of participation in the brigade, there was none.
2 Q. Okay. Thank you. I'd like to move on now and in the moments
3 that we have -- the few minutes we have before we'll break, I'd like to
4 discuss your relationship with General Talic, your corps commander.
5 Now, you knew General Talic well; yes?
6 A. I knew him well because I used to teach at the Military Academy.
7 I know him since his time as a cadet. He knew me and treated me with
8 respect during the period of my engagement.
9 Q. Now, in your 2002 interview with the OTP, you described
10 General Talic as a very active commander in the sense that he wanted to
11 know what was going on as far as knowledge of events was concerned.
12 That's -- that's correct; yes?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And you also said that in your view he was not an active
15 commander in the sense of actually commanding operations themselves and
16 you said in comparison with -- with, for example, General Mladic; is that
18 A. It is correct that I said that he was not active in directing
19 activities in terms of his participation. He was more the sort of
20 commander who commanded from his command post.
21 Q. And when you compared that style of command to the more active
22 style of command of General Mladic, were you basing this on any personal
23 observations that you had of General Mladic's active command style?
24 A. I did not know General Mladic at all. I had no occasion to meet
25 him, but based on what I could follow, I concluded that General Mladic
1 was an officer who wanted to know everything, follow everything, and
2 participate in things.
3 Q. And that conclusion was based on General Mladic's reputation
4 within the VRS. Do I understand that correctly?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 MR. JEREMY: Your Honours, I think we're at the time for a break.
7 JUDGE ORIE: We are, Mr. Jeremy.
8 Mr. Basara, we'll take a break of 20 minutes. We'd like to see
9 you back after that.
10 We'll resume at ten minutes past midday.
11 --- Recess taken at 11.50 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 12.13 p.m.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Could we establish that the videolink is still
14 working well?
15 THE REGISTRAR: [Via videolink] Yes, Your Honour, we can hear and
16 see you clearly.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
18 Mr. Jeremy, you may proceed.
19 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
20 Q. Colonel Basara, we left off talking about -- on the topic of
21 General Talic. I'd now like to move to the related topic of reports that
22 your brigade would send to General Talic in the corps command. And this
23 is something that you previously discussed.
24 Now, your brigade sent regular daily reports to the corps;
1 A. Well, I don't know, I did not sign all of them, so I don't know
2 whether they went every day. At any rate, this was sent through the duty
3 officer. That is to say the duty officer of the brigade command was the
4 one to compile that report, so I don't know whether these reports were
5 sent every day. Most often the duty officer would sign these reports and
6 send them.
7 Q. And would you say then that General Talic -- or you would say and
8 you previously said this, that General Talic was well-informed about
9 events that were occurring in the area of the 6th Brigade in Sanski Most;
11 A. Well, he received most of his information through personal
12 conversations with me.
13 Q. But I'm correct when I say that when reports were sent from the
14 command post in your brigade, then your experience and experience that
15 you've previously discussed is that there was always someone at the corps
16 command to receive those daily reports; correct?
17 A. Well, certainly duty service was organised and the duty officer
18 at the corps received these reports. Now, to what extent was
19 General Talic interested in reading and following all these reports, that
20 is something that I don't know.
21 Q. And when you say that General Talic received information through
22 personal conversations with you, those conversations were frequent;
24 A. Well, I didn't talk to him often but every time we met, I would
25 familiarize him with the situation in the territory and everything we did
1 and things like that.
2 Q. Okay. Well, maybe we'll return to this in a little more detail
4 Now, I'd like to move to the topic of military police. During
5 1992, your brigade had first a platoon and later a company of military
6 police; correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And there were approximately 90 men in this company of military
9 police; correct?
10 A. Well, I don't know exactly how many there were, but it could have
11 been over 80, over 80 men, to the best of my recollection.
12 Q. Okay. Thank you.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jeremy, could I seek clarification of one of the
14 previous answers.
15 Witness, isn't it true that in the control and command structure
16 reporting is very important?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Therefore, I wondered when you said, well,
19 what -- he got his information by incidental conversations with you, if
20 you would see him you would tell him something. That sounds very
21 unmilitary. Could you explain why a structured --
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We did not hear what the
23 witness said.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Could you repeat what you just said.
25 Witness, could you repeat what you said because the interpreters
1 couldn't catch your words.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we started speaking at the
3 same time, so then I stopped.
4 I wished to say that the superior command received information
5 mostly through the reports from the duty service. That is to say,
6 everything that happened during the course of the day was supposed to be
7 reported on. However, often it depended on the duty officer involved,
8 the one who was supposed to write that report. So the command --
9 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ...
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm saying that this information
11 that was necessary was information that General Talic received from
12 personal conversations with me.
13 JUDGE ORIE: It's -- that's still not entirely clear to me. You
14 say, on the one hand, it was the duty officer who did the reporting and
15 that the necessary information General Talic received in personal
16 conversations with you.
17 Could you clarify?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, necessary information, I'm
19 saying the information that he could not receive through reports of the
20 duty service. That is to say, the duty officers. Since I knew more than
21 the duty officer, then he could receive such information from me.
22 Furthermore, officers, according to their own lines of work, would
23 provide information. For example, for morale and training, such an
24 officer was -- would report to his superior. Then the chief of
25 engineering, the chief of security, also sent certain information to the
1 security organs of the corps. So, in that way, the system of information
2 was organised. And --
3 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We didn't hear the end.
4 JUDGE ORIE: The last portion of your answer was not understood
5 by the interpreters. Could you please repeat that.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that the organs at the
7 brigade command, the organ for morale and training, this person would
8 sometimes send reports when necessary to his organ at the corps command.
9 Then the chief of engineering would send a report to the chief of
10 engineering in the command. The security organ would send some
11 information to the security organ in the corps. So there was that chain
12 of command too. Then the duty officer's reports and then through
13 personal contacts with me and all of that is how the corps commander
14 received all his information and was supposed to be made aware of things.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you give us an example of what kind of
16 information was conveyed to General Talic in personal conversations which
17 could not be, as you said, could not be given to him in the normal
18 reporting structure?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As for information, and that is the
20 overall situation in the territory where I often went and I worked in
21 order to prevent a conflict and things like that, as far as disarmament
22 was concerned and so on, the duty officer was not aware of all of this,
23 and he could not provide information about that and the organs couldn't
24 either. So when we meet up he would often ask me about certain
25 information, he would express his interest and then I would provide that
1 information to him, what I thought he had not received through the other
3 JUDGE ORIE: Than happened just, if you happened to meet without
4 any plan or any structure?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, no, it didn't just happen
6 accidentally. He would ask me to come to the corps command. He would
7 invite me. It didn't just happen that way. It was done when necessary.
8 And when I would ask for something for the brigade, we would meet up. So
9 we met up pretty often.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Jeremy.
11 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
12 Q. Just to follow up on these personal conversations, Mr. Basara,
13 that you were having with General Talic. You previously indicated in
14 reference to the crimes in Sanski Most that you were aware of, some of
15 which you discuss in your statement, you've indicated that the crimes
16 that you were aware of General Talic was also aware of. That's correct,
17 isn't it?
18 A. Well, I think he did know. I cannot assert whether he did know
19 or not but I know that he was being informed.
20 Q. And you know that he was being informed because your reporting on
21 these crimes were included in your personal conversations; is that
23 A. I cannot confirm that for you, when that was I talked to him but
24 I know that on the basis of all these reports, he believed that I, in
25 relation to all other commanders in the territory, was the one who had
1 carried out all the activities concerned in the most normal and regular
2 way so in his understanding, there weren't many problems, crime, et
4 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could all other
5 microphones please be switched off when the witness is speaking. Thank
7 MR. JEREMY:
8 Q. Mr. Basara, I'm not focussing on your own conduct right now.
9 What I'm asking you about is the crimes that you say that you knew of,
10 you say General Talic also knew about those crimes and I'm asking you how
11 he knew about them and I think your answer is: He did know about them
12 but you're not sure how. You're not sure whether they were conveyed in
13 reports or in personal conversation, but he was nevertheless aware of the
14 crimes in Sanski Most that you were aware of. Is that correct?
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Jeremy, you are asked to switch off your
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The main line was the duty
18 officers -- well, whether he registered these crimes and whether he found
19 out about them totally, that is something I cannot say. But information
20 was sent through the duty officers' reports and other reports but I
21 cannot remember now - it's been a very long time - I cannot remember
22 whether in one of the conversation I said something to him about any one
23 of these crimes. I cannot say that for sure now.
24 MR. JEREMY:
25 Q. But you previously indicated that you knew that General Talic was
1 aware of crimes that were aware of, but you're now simply saying but your
2 not sure how he became aware of those crimes. Is that -- do I understand
3 your answer correctly?
4 A. I am telling you that he was supposed to find out about that
5 through the duty service reports and it depends whether they reported to
6 him about that, and I thought that he knew about it because he was
7 supposed to have received these reports.
8 Q. So if the -- if the reports on the crimes were not included in
9 the duty officer reports, then he obviously found out some other way;
11 A. Well, I don't know any other way. I mean, I don't know what you
13 Q. Okay. You were previously asked in the 2002 interview whether
14 the crimes that were aware of, whether General Talic was also aware of
15 those crimes. And you indicated that the crimes that you knew were
16 committed General Talic was also aware of. So what was the basis for
17 that observation, for that comment?
18 A. Well, I believed because of the reports on the system on the
19 basis of which we worked I believe that he knew about all of that. I did
20 not double-check. I did not ask him whether he knew about this.
21 Q. So you're saying it -- it was an assumption that you -- that you
22 made; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, the assumption is that he knew, just like I found out about
24 many things although I did not receive reports.
25 Q. And we'll get to the detail of these crimes. But the crimes that
1 were aware of it was your obligation to report those to your superior
2 officer; correct?
3 A. I told you that I personally didn't have to do that. So there's
4 the command, everybody had their own duties. There was the security
5 organ that reported in great detail to their superior in the corps
6 command. So all of that, all this information, had to arrive in the
7 corps command. I could not manage everything as the commander. In
8 addition to all of my duties and obligations, I could not think of each
9 and every detail. I could not worry about whether someone had found out
10 about everything or not.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Jeremy, I would like to ask for one
13 Mr. Basara, you said you could not manage everything as the
14 commander. But as the commander, did you have a responsibility for a
15 proper reporting system by your duty officers and by the assistant
16 commanders of your brigade?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's what we did. That is
18 to say, all the organs of command reported along their own lines and
19 chains, and the duty officer did that too. At first, I was the only
20 professional soldier in my brigade. I had so many obligations. I had
21 such a lot of work that I could not follow all of this in great detail
22 and I could not stand behind every report, read and sign each and every
23 report, because I had to feed the troops, provide them with clothing,
24 ammunition, everything else, and I --
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Basara, I would like to stop you here. I'm
1 not talking about feeding the troops or everything else.
2 Was it your responsibility as a superior -- as the commander of
3 the brigade, to supervise your subordinates, including the desk officer
4 and the duty officer, that they fulfilled their obligations properly,
5 according to the rules and the law?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did that. That's my duty as
7 commander and I'm not denying that. I did that to the best of my
8 ability, as much as I could.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
10 Mr. Jeremy.
11 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. And following up on Judge Fluegge's question, you've previously
13 indicated that while you were not aware of the content of every daily
14 report, the reports did, nevertheless, go to the corps command every day.
15 And that's true, isn't it?
16 A. I cannot claim anything because I did not have insight, and I was
17 not always at the corps command, and I cannot claim that every day they
18 went so I cannot assert that.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, could I ask you the following: On a
20 regular basis, were daily reports sent? I'm not asking whether you may
21 have missed one or two, but was it a routine that daily reports were
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was a routine to have daily
24 reports sent that way.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
1 Please proceed, Mr. Jeremy.
2 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
3 Q. Mr. Basara, let's -- Colonel Basara, let's move to a different
4 topic which you discuss in your statement and that is the relationship
5 that you cultivated with the Muslims and Croats in Sanski Most.
6 Now, in paragraph 9 of your statement, your position seems to be
7 broadly that you endeavoured to prevent conflicts between the ethnic
8 groups in Sanski Most and that you had talks with representatives of the
9 Muslims and the Croats and the Serbs in Sanski Most and you did what you
10 referred to as trying to defuse the heated situation. That's correct;
12 A. It is correct. Together with Nijaz Halilovic, I visited all the
13 villages, all the Muslim villages in the broader area of the road from
14 Sanski Most to Lusci Palanka in the villages or in the parts of town --
15 the town of Sanski Most, I'm not sure where we were, actually. It's been
16 a very long time. However, on the basis of the conclusion and opinion of
17 Nijaz Halilovic, we visited these villages. We assembled people, talked
18 to them, asked them not to have any conflicts taking place so that no one
19 would use weapons, especially not against members of the brigade. This
20 would lead to revenge from the Serb people and I tried to explain that we
21 should go on living in that territory as we had been living until then,
22 living a normal life.
23 Q. And --
24 A. But --
25 Q. Sir --
1 A. -- on a higher level, like the leadership of the Muslims in
2 Sarajevo when the JNA was attacked and when they started conflicts, then
3 these plans of mine and all of that was simply buried.
4 Q. Now, at the same time that you were going from village to village
5 holding these discussions with Muslims and Croats in Sanski Most, you
6 were also organising and arming Serbs in Sanski Most; correct?
7 A. I did not organise this and I did not arm them. Most Serbs were
8 already armed by then. I had nowhere to get these weapons. Most of them
9 were armed already. Most Serbs already had weapons at that time, and I
10 just made an effort to bring them all under a command, to involve them in
11 certain units so that I could exercise more control over them.
12 Q. Let's take a look at a document in connection with your previous
14 MR. JEREMY: Could we please see P2365. And, Your Honours, this
15 is the document I mentioned as part of the preliminary that we have the
16 revised translation for.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, you had an opportunity to look at the new
19 MR. LUKIC: I did not from the opportunity to check the whole
20 translation, no.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. No, that's --
22 MR. LUKIC: Although I left it with my Case Manager. It should
23 be done over this session.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
25 MR. JEREMY: We've provided a short document highlighting the
1 changes between the two versions so I hope that will be a quick process.
2 Q. Now, Mr. Basara, you recognised the document on the screen before
3 you; yes? It's written in your handwriting?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And --
6 A. Yes, it's my handwriting. And these people from the brigade, I
7 mean, some officers, they had the intention of writing the history of the
8 brigade and they asked me to write something is and I wrote something
9 sort of shorter, and I gave them this document.
10 Q. Thank you. So you previously said that you wrote this at the end
11 of 1992 or early 1993; is that correct?
12 A. I don't know when exactly I wrote it. I just know that they
13 asked me to do it and that I did. It was such a long time ago that I no
14 longer remember when I wrote it.
15 Q. I understand that. Do you recall whether you wrote it after you
16 were no longer commander of the 6th Brigade?
17 A. I think -- I don't know. I don't know if I wrote it when I was
18 no longer commander of the 6th Brigade. It could also be just before my
19 departure or when I commanded the operational group, but I can't say that
20 with any certainty.
21 Q. Okay. Let's take a look at the contents of this document, and
22 I'd like to go please to page 2 in the English and page 3 in the B/C/S.
23 And directing your attention to number 4, towards the top of the
24 page, we read that: "Interethnic conflicts intensified in the
25 municipalities of Sanski Most, Prijedor and Kljuc in March 1991."
1 Now I'm correct in saying that that should be March 1992; yes?
2 A. No. It refers to the period before my arrival in the brigade. I
3 received reports from my relatives in Lusci Palanka about the situation
4 in that part of the territory and this is what it pertains to.
5 Q. Then in the next paragraph when we see the reference to the
6 1st Krajina Corps withdrawing the 6th from Jasenovac and Sanski Most, and
7 we see the reference to 3rd of April 1991, the 6th being transferred to
8 Sanski Most, that -- at least that paragraph should be a reference to the
9 3rd of April 1992; correct?
10 A. Yes. That the brigade arrived from Jasenovac to Sanski Most.
11 Q. On the 3rd of April, 1992.
12 A. Yes.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Jeremy, this is not the next paragraph, but
14 the next sentence just to make it clear for the record. You said in the
15 next paragraph.
16 MR. JEREMY: Okay. Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Now, in the next -- in the next sentence down, we read as
18 follows, Colonel Basara: "After the brigade came to this area, the
19 Muslims and Croats became afraid while the Serbs heaved a sigh of relief.
20 However, the brigade was not fully replenished and since the
21 1st Battalion was almost entirely from Novi Grad, they requested to go to
22 their own area. We had to arm the Serbs quickly and quickly replenish
23 our units. Since we, as JNA units, were tasked with preventing
24 interethnic conflicts, i.e., the slaughter of the Serbian people, we
25 could not be seen to be arming the Serbs in public. We worked along two
1 lines: The first was to organise and arm the Serbian people; and the
2 second to negotiate and convince the Muslims and Croats to remain loyal
3 and live together with the Serbs. The negotiations were about the
4 division of power. We had to resort to trickery to make it possible for
5 us to arm Serbs publicly and legally."
6 Colonel Basara, my question is this: According to your own
7 words, while you were negotiating with the non-Serbs in Sanski Most, you
8 were also organising and arming the Serbs, the Serbs in Sanski Most.
9 That's correct, isn't it?
10 A. Listen, if I may, I'd like to give a more extensive explanation
11 and then you will understand why I wrote it the way I did, if I may.
12 Q. Well, I'd ask you to be as focussed as you can be in any short
13 explanation that you provide.
14 A. As regards the explanation, it is as follows. At a session of
15 the Sanski Most Municipal Assembly where all three peoples were
16 represented, I proposed the following, wishing to stay true to what I was
17 trying to explain the Muslims in those villages. I wanted to ask them to
18 establish a brigade reflecting the ethnic makeup in the territory which
19 was 50 per cent Serbs and 50 Muslims and Croats --
20 Q. Colonel Basara, I'm sorry to interrupt you. This, I think is
21 dealt with in your statement and I'll also deal with this in my next
22 question, so once I've asked that question and you've provided your
23 answer, then you'll have another opportunity to provide any additional
24 answer, if you think that that's necessary.
25 A. What I said, that we were arming them, it has to do with the
1 following. I am an ethnic Serb, and I was being accused by Serbs of
2 assisting Muslims and acting as a pro-Muslim element, that I married a
3 Muslim woman and was helping the Muslims. That is why in this text I
4 wrote, I had to wiggle my way out of being accused as a traitor of the
5 Serb people who worked solely for the benefit of Muslims. I had to
6 explain one thing to one side and another thing to the other side.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Basara, let's stick to the facts. Did you arm
8 Serbs or not? Apart from what reasons you had. Or were you involved in
9 arming Serbs?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was in no position to arm them
11 because I had no arms. As I said, the Serbs, most of them had already
12 had weapons, and I only placed them in units.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Although --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Muslims did not wish to respond
15 and --
16 JUDGE ORIE: But in your own handwriting, we read that you had to
17 arm the Serbs quickly and quickly replenish your orders. You did not
18 write, We didn't have to arm the Serbs because they had weapons already.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I couldn't write it. You now
20 insist on that, but I couldn't put it in those words. I couldn't say
21 they had weapons. This formulation needn't necessarily have been true.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Are you saying that what you wrote down is not what
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It isn't as it happened because
25 most of them had already had weapons. However, I don't see any crime in
1 arming one's own people, when the other side, Muslims and Croats, were
2 also arming themselves.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Do I understand your answer, that there was nothing
4 wrong in arming them?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If one side is arming themselves,
6 the Muslims, and if they are attacking the units of the JNA, then
7 normally the Serbs had the right to arm themselves as well.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Does that mean that you thought that it was
9 justified to arm them for this reason and that's why it happened?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I said I wrote it this way
11 because --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, I didn't ask you why you wrote it the way
13 you did. I asked you a question whether the fact that the other ethnic
14 groups had armed themselves was, for you, the justification to be
15 involved in arming the Serbs.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believed that the Serbs, too, had
17 the right to do that if the Muslims were arming themselves and initiating
18 aggression. I thought, under those circumstances, the Serbs were
19 entitled to arms as well.
20 JUDGE ORIE: And that was, for you, the reason to be involved in
21 arming the Serbs?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not go to collect any weapons
23 and I did not distribute them. I simply ordered that those people be
24 included in the units.
25 JUDGE ORIE: That --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- people gained possession of
2 weapons in many, many different ways. I don't even know which ways
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's not the language you used in your own
5 handwriting, isn't it?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I said so already why I wrote
7 it the way I did. There was already a witch hunt against me saying that
8 as the commander, I was a pro-Muslim element so I had to put a stop to
9 such rumours so that I wouldn't be recorded in history as ...
10 JUDGE ORIE: So, but then what you say, I wrote it just to
11 re-write history and to avoid being blamed, but it didn't happen as I
12 wrote it?
13 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness kindly repeat.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please repeat your answer, Witness?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that it didn't. It didn't
16 happen as I wrote it because I wrote it this way with a particular goal
17 in mind.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you're telling us that you're giving us
19 the reason why you wrote it. And, at the same time, you give us a
20 justification for arming Serbs. If it didn't happen, why would be bother
21 about whether it would be justified or not?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't deal with that much. My
23 understanding was simply that if one side was being armed, the other side
24 was entitled to it as well. I did not give any such right to anyone.
25 That was my understanding. That was the general understanding in
1 existence at the time.
2 JUDGE ORIE: So what you're telling us now is that although it
3 would have been justified to arm the Serbs and although you did write
4 down that Serbs were armed, that it, nevertheless, did not happen?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not saying they were not being
6 armed at all. I'm just saying that most of them had already had weapons.
7 If somebody received weapons at that time, there were far fewer of them
8 than there were of those who already had weapons.
9 JUDGE ORIE: So you said Serbs were armed but the quantity was
10 relatively low?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Those who were armed later on,
12 their numbers were smaller compared to the ones who already had weapons.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Jeremy.
14 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
15 Q. And, Colonel Basara, you actually were also involved in arming of
16 Serbs in Sanski Most in 1991. That's correct, isn't it?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Now, this Chamber has received evidence that Serbs were being
19 armed in Sanski Most in 1991 and that they were being organised and armed
20 by a man called Rajko Stojanovic. And that's P2362. You knew
21 Rajko Stojanovic, didn't you, Colonel Basara?
22 A. I met Rajko Stojanovic later on when I arrived in the area of
23 Sanski Most. In his house on the ground floor, he had a cafe and that is
24 where weapons were being deposited, the same weapons that had been taken
25 from the Sanski Most warehouse. Somebody probably made this connection,
1 saying that he was arming people. However, I am not aware of that fact.
2 I only know, as I said already, that the TO weapons when they were pulled
3 out of Sanski Most were stored with him to a great extent.
4 Q. And, sir, when you say, "I met Rajko Stojanovic later on when I
5 arrived in the area of Sanski Most," was that in 1992?
6 A. In April 1992.
7 Q. Thank you. So your evidence is that you didn't know this man
8 before that time; is that correct?
9 A. Correct. I don't know if I met him anywhere but we were
10 officially introduced in April.
11 Q. And --
12 A. -- 1992.
13 Q. And when you say in your previous answers that someone probably
14 made this connection saying that Rajko Stojanovic was arming people,
15 that's actually a connection that you make in your handwritten history in
16 the document before us.
17 Could we take a look at the first page of this please, page 1,
18 I'd like to focus on paragraph 2. There, Colonel Basara, we read: "I
19 was in Lusci Palanka in late September and early October 1991. The
20 reason I went there was to help the Serbian people organise for defence
21 against the attack of Muslims and Croats. Rajko Stojanovic knows the
22 most about it so he can say more about it if necessary, because I do not
23 have much time."
24 So, Colonel Basara, in fact, you met Rajko Stojanovic not in 1992
25 but in 1991 and you were then aware of this arming during this period;
2 A. Given the fact that I wrote this subsequently, it is probable
3 that this does not tally. I don't recall having met him in 1991. We may
4 have met each other somewhere along the way, but I can't state that it is
5 actually true.
6 Q. Well, your information about this man seems to be rather
7 specific. You don't say that you simply met him in passing on the road.
8 You actually talk about what he was actually involved in, and you
9 suggested you have more information than you're able to include in this
10 war history. That's correct, isn't it?
11 A. Well, I didn't say that later on I did not learn of this Rajko.
12 He later on became company commander in one of the battalions. Hence, I
13 met Rajko later on. Probably we conversed and later on, as I was writing
14 this, I made that link.
15 Q. So if I understand your position correctly, you were in
16 Lusci Palanka in late September, October 1991 you were there to help the
17 Serbian people organise for their defence against the Muslims and Croats.
18 At that point, you weren't aware of Rajko Stojanovic but you subsequently
19 became aware of it and in writing this history, you retrospectively say
20 he'll also know a bit about that, a bit about what I was doing in
21 September and October 1991?
22 A. Probably that is the source it comes from.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We are losing the witness.
24 We can't hear it.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I spoke to some of the neighbours,
1 and then I told them how to position themselves in order not to have 1941
2 repeated, that the Serbs would not be exterminated from the senior.
3 MR. JEREMY:
4 Q. I'm not talking about 1941. I'm focussing on what you were doing
5 in September and early October 1991.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jeremy, in all fairness to the witness, that is
7 what he -- what was the -- the -- the core of his answer. He -- he spoke
8 to some of the neighbours and told them how to position themselves in
9 order not to have a repetition of 1941. So he focussed his answer
10 primarily what did he in 1991, although a reference was made as part of
11 his activities that he referred -- that he did it for the purposes of a
12 non-repetition of what happened in 1941.
13 So I think it's not fair to the witness that he was not asked
14 about 1941. He focussed his answer relatively well to your question.
15 Mr. Lukic.
16 MR. LUKIC: I apologise. And we can see that the translators
17 could not hear actually the beginning of the answer of this witness and
18 he was explaining his whereabouts at that time and how much time he spent
19 in Lusci Palanka. So I think [Overlapping speakers] ...
20 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ... could we invite the
21 witness --
22 Witness, not all of your answer was caught by the interpreters.
23 Could you tell us what you said just before you told us that you spoke to
24 some of the neighbours. What did you tell us before that?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before that, I said that in that
1 period, I did not spend any significant amounts of time in the area. I
2 only came to visit my wife's parents. I spent only a few days there,
3 talking to the neighbours. They were very afraid of seeing 1941 repeated
4 because the Muslims were better armed and still arming. I talked to them
5 about it and went back to Sarajevo.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And Mr. Rajko Stojanovic could tell us more
7 about that?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Are you asking me?
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I am. Because in the text which is before us,
10 after you said that the reason was to help the Serbian --
11 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters did not catch the first part
12 of the answer.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Could you repeat the first part of your answer. And
14 I think it's better to wait until I've finished my question usually
15 before you start your answer because then your words are easily lost.
16 Could you repeat the beginning of your answer.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that I did not spend any
18 significant time in the area of Lusci Palanka at the time. I was there
19 for only two to three days, visiting my wife's parents and my relatives.
20 At the time, I talked to the neighbours I met. They were very
21 afraid. They were afraid of seeing 1941 happen again. They were telling
22 me how the Muslims were arming themselves. We talked about it, and I
23 suggested some ways for them to organise themselves.
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE ORIE: Again, Mr. -- it's not what you write down that you
1 went there to see your family and then in the margin of that spoke to
2 some neighbours. What you have written down is that you -- the reason
3 why you went there is to help the Serbian people organise the defence.
4 It being the reason why you went there. But I leave it to that at this
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You hold on tight to my words, but
7 I'm telling you what is true.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Jeremy.
9 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
10 Q. We'll shortly move away from this document, Colonel Basara, but
11 I'd like to hold on tight to some other words that you include here.
12 MR. JEREMY: Could we go to page 2 of the English, please, and
13 page 3 of the B/C/S.
14 Q. Now referring first to your statement in paragraph 17 and 18, you
15 refer to -- you state that before the split of the MUP and the division
16 of power in Sanski Most you propose that Muslims and Croats should be --
17 should assist you in establishing a brigade that would be comprised of 50
18 per cent Serb population and 50 per cent Muslim and Croat population.
19 And in the next paragraph, you talk about how the president of the
20 Executive Board of the Sanski Most municipality Mirzet Karabeg asked you
21 if battalions of the mixed brigade would go to Kupres to fight and you
22 say that you told him that you had two battalions in the brigade that
23 were mostly comprised of Serbs and that these battalions would go to
24 Kupres if need be.
25 Now, with those two paragraphs in mind I'd like to refer you back
1 to paragraph 4 of this handwritten history and I'd like to take to you
2 where I left off reading when we last looked at this paragraph and we
3 read halfway through paragraph 4: "A story was invented that the
4 commander of the 1 KK ordered that the 6th be promoted from a light to an
5 infantry brigade so that it could have up to 15 battalions and could be
6 additionally mobilised as soon as possible to prevent Muslims" --
7 MR. JEREMY: I think we need to go to the next page in the B/C/S.
8 "To prevent Muslims and Croats from joining the brigade it was
9 said that the brigade would be going to Kupres as soon as mobilisation
10 was completed?"
11 Q. So, Colonel Basara, in fact, you did the exact opposite to what
12 you say you did in the statement. You told the Muslims and the Croats
13 that the brigade would be going to Kupres for the express purpose of
14 ensuring that they did not enlist. That's correct, isn't it?
15 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We did not hear the
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's not correct. And I cannot
18 see it here now. But I doubt that. I doubt that that's what I wrote.
19 Because my intention was to establish such a brigade and to secure the
20 territory of the municipality of Sanski Most in a circular fashion and
21 had the Muslims and Croats responded, that's exactly what I would have
22 done. However --
23 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, let me stop you there.
24 You started by doubting whether that's what you wrote, and
25 Mr. Jeremy will now take you to the passage and to see whether you did
1 write what he said or not.
2 Mr. Jeremy.
3 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. So if we can look at page 3 and we're looking at halfway down --
5 page 3 in the B/C/S, please, halfway down, paragraph 4, and
6 Colonel Basara, can you see the sentence that begins with: "A story was
7 invented ..."
8 JUDGE ORIE: It is almost at the bottom of the page, I think.
9 MR. JEREMY:
10 Q. It should be one, two, three, four, five, six -- six or seven
11 lines or so up from the bottom of the page.
12 JUDGE ORIE: I got the impression in B/C/S it is four lines from
13 the bottom where command of the 1st Krajina Corps is specifically
14 referred to.
15 Could you reed that, Mr. Basara? Have you found --
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 1st commander of the
17 1st Krajina Corps ordered that the 6th be re-established from a light
18 brigade to an infantry brigade. And that it could have 15 battalions and
19 the brigade would have to be additionally mobilised as soon as possible.
20 I've just read that and that is what I wrote and that is what
21 happened. Namely --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Witness -- witness I'll stop you. Could you please
23 continue to read. We'll change the page, and you start with "da
24 Muslimani." Could you read that portion as well? The last two words
25 being, "da Muslimani," and we move now to the next page in B/C/S.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that the brigade after the
2 mobilisation is over should go to Kupres and then conditions were created
3 for a legal mobilisation. That's what's written there. However, my idea
4 was that the Serbs --
5 JUDGE ORIE: One second. We're just still establishing what you
7 Mr. -- I think we started with the commander of the 1st Krajina
8 Brigade and then there's a portion in English --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Corps.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
11 Mr. Lukic, could you please assist. You have the -- Mr. Jeremy
12 is focussing specifically on the lines that to prevent Muslims and Croats
13 from joining the brigade.
14 From what I hear from the witness, he doesn't -- he has not read
15 that, which either it isn't there or he left it out.
16 MR. JEREMY: I didn't -- didn't hear that particular part either,
17 Your Honours, I wonder if we could ask the witness to again slowly read
18 that final sentence just to see if it's an oversight --
19 JUDGE ORIE: So we move to the previous page in B/C/S.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE ORIE: Could you read -- Witness, could you read -- first
22 of all, do you find a line where it says: "A story was invented that the
23 commander of the 1st Krajina Corps ordered that the 6th be promoted from
24 a light to an infantry brigade ..."
25 Do you see that line?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Could you read the text from -- starting with that
3 sentence. And continue to read -- and continue to read until I ask you
4 to stop.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could all other
6 microphones please be switched off. Thank you.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A story was invented that the
8 commander of the 1st Krajina Corps had ordered that the 6th be renamed
9 from a light into an infantry brigade and that it could have even up to
10 15 battalions and that the brigade would have to be additionally
11 mobilised as soon as possible. In order not to have Muslims and Croats
12 come to the brigade, it was said that the brigade as soon as mobilisation
13 would be completed should go to Kupres. Then conditions were created to
14 legally" --
15 JUDGE ORIE: That's -- that's sufficient for the time being,
16 Mr. Jeremy, I take it.
17 MR. JEREMY: Yes, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
19 Witness, we did this -- witness, would you please wait for a
20 second. Witness, would you -- Witness, would you wait for a second.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have a question.
22 JUDGE ORIE: No, it's not for you to put questions.
23 You earlier doubted whether the portion you now just read,
24 whether you had written that. I think we have established now that you
25 did write the text as you just read it to us.
1 Mr. Jeremy, please proceed.
2 MR. JEREMY: Thank you.
3 Q. Sir, contrary to what you say in your statements, the truth is
4 that you took steps, steps that we've looked at here, to actively
5 discourage Muslims and Croats from enlisting in the 6th Brigade; correct?
6 A. That is not correct. Because, in this sentence, where it says
7 "it was said," it's not that I said that they would go to Kupres.
8 Rather, these were news that were being spread by the Serbs who attended
9 the session of the assembly when I suggested that such a brigade be
11 Q. So in your war time record of the 6th Brigade you're simply
12 recounting what others said rather than what you yourself said. Is
13 that -- that's your position on this paragraph or on this document or on
14 this paragraph?
15 A. What is written in this paragraph, well, I already explained that
16 to you why I wrote it that way. Because I could not allow people to
17 think that I was against arming the Serbs and that I'm arming Muslims and
18 Croats with the proposal that I had made and that I wished to man the
19 brigade in that way.
20 Q. And just before we reach our break time, you seem to be
21 suggesting that you would write some things in this document to appease
22 somebody in the municipality. And who -- who was it that you were trying
23 to appease?
24 A. I did not have the intention to relent in any way. I just didn't
25 want any slander. I didn't want them to say that I was pro-Muslim and
1 that I was a traitor of the Serb people. That's why I wrote it that way.
2 Q. And when you're referring --
3 A. After --
4 Q. When you're referring -- sir, when you're referring to "them," do
5 I understand you to be referring to the Serbian political authorities in
6 Sanski Most or are you referring to the -- to the military authorities in
7 Sanski Most? Who are you referring to?
8 A. The political authorities. Because immediately at that meeting
9 Rasula said to me, Colonel, yet again, you want to create brotherhood and
11 Q. And when you wrote this, you were a colonel in the VRS in charge
12 of many thousands of soldiers, but you felt you needed to write this to
13 appease Rasula; is that correct?
14 A. Not only Rasula but also around the brigade. People were
15 spreading this like news, that in battalions they were taking in all the
16 Muslims and Croats who would report there. And then from the political
17 leadership from the Serbs that is to say, Rasula, Vrkes and I don't know
18 what was being bandied about was I was a pro-Muslim element they went to
19 see Talic asking him to dismiss me and so on. Do understand the
20 conditions under which I was working?
21 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, I have two very short questions of fact for
22 you. Was it said that the brigade would be going to Kupres as soon as
23 mobilisation was completed? Was that said or was that not said?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not say that. I did not
25 convey that because I did --
1 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... witness, I
2 didn't ask you whether you said that. My question was whether it was
3 said that the brigade would be going to Kupres --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Probably it was said. Since I
5 heard people saying in Sanski Most that the brigade, once it is formed,
6 it is going against Kupres, and I was saying to the Muslim leadership
7 that the brigade would not go there but rather it would go to --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, please stick to my questions.
9 So you said most probably that was said. Was that said to
10 prevent Muslims and Croats from joining the brigade?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, probably somebody who was
12 trying to spread such a rumour, and misinformation spreads quickly most
13 often. Such people tried to achieve that. Rather, they didn't want to
14 have Muslims and Croats join the brigade. However, I did not do that
15 because I suggested that that kind of brigade be established.
16 JUDGE ORIE: You're not writing about rumours but you presented
17 for a fact that it was said, "to prevent Muslims and Croats from joining
18 the brigade."
19 Do I understand that that's not what you know happened or that it
20 was just rumours?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These were rumours that were heard
22 on the ground. Now whether they came from Serbs or Muslims or ...
23 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... thank you,
24 Witness, you have answered my question.
25 We'll take a break. We'll resume at a quarter to 2.00. We take
1 the break.
2 --- Recess taken at 1.26 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 1.49 p.m.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Could we check whether the videolink is functioning
6 THE REGISTRAR: [Via videolink] Yes, Your Honour, we can see --
7 see and hear you clearly.
8 JUDGE ORIE: The same is true from this side.
9 Please proceed, Mr. Jeremy.
10 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
11 Q. Colonel Basara, during your discussions -- your questions from
12 Mr. Lukic this morning, you indicated that General Talic did not come to
13 Sanski Most during the time that you were commander of the 6th Brigade;
14 is that correct?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. And during your testimony this morning, you also mentioned that
17 you were present at a meeting of various representatives of the ethnic
18 groups in Sanski Most at the municipal assembly building. Now, this
19 meeting was on the 20th of May, 1992; correct?
20 A. I don't know the exact date, but I often attended -- I mean, I
21 don't know which assembly meeting you mean. Whenever they invited me and
22 when I knew about the session, then I would always attend sessions that
23 were attended by Muslim, Croat and Serbs.
24 Q. And when you attended at least one of those sessions, do you
25 recall that General Talic was actually present there with you?
1 A. No, I do not recall.
2 Q. Okay. We'll take a look at a document in connection with this.
3 MR. JEREMY: Could we please see P3294, and that's the diary of
4 Nedjeljko Rasula. We've discussed Rasula this morning.
5 Q. You knew who he was, Mr. Basara; correct?
6 A. I do.
7 Q. And he was the president of the municipality of Sanski Most;
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. JEREMY: And could we please go to page 22 in the English,
11 please, and 20 in the B/C/S.
12 Q. Just at the bottom, in the English, we see "meeting 20th of
13 April 1992." And if we could go to the next page in the English, please.
14 Now, Colonel Basara, focussing your attention on the left side of
15 the page in the original language, we see the date the 20th of April,
16 1992, and we see a list of those persons present at this particular
18 Do you see General Talic's name listed there?
19 A. Well, it's written there, General Talic.
20 Q. And do you see your own name listed there?
21 A. General Talic ... Colonel Basara.
22 Q. And seeing your own name there together with General Talic's
23 name, does that refresh your recollection that General Talic did, in
24 fact, visit the municipality of Sanski Most and also attend at least one
25 meeting in the municipality building with you?
1 A. I don't remember any of that. I tried to remember because I read
2 certain things, but I simply could not remember. It would be natural if
3 he was in Sanski Most for him to come to the brigade command as well.
4 But, again, as I've said, I don't remember that at all. I remember this
5 one meeting that was attended by Lieutenant-Colonel Talic, his first name
6 is Mustafa or something like that. And somehow I seem to think that
7 they've confused him with General Talic.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jeremy, earlier, page 75, you referred to the
9 20th of May, whereas now, was that a slip of the tongue?
10 MR. JEREMY: That was a slip of the tongue. Thank you for
11 correcting me, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE ORIE: That is hereby then corrected.
13 Please proceed.
14 MR. JEREMY:
15 Q. Mr. Basara, Colonel Basara, just to understand your last answer,
16 is it your understanding that this -- this record of the -- of this
17 meeting is incorrect in so far as it refers to General Talic and you
18 think it should be referring to a different Talic. Is that your
19 recollection of the meeting?
20 A. I don't recall that meeting at all, and I cannot remember
21 General Talic being there at all. As for this other one, I eventually
22 did remember him, but I don't remember about General Talic.
23 Q. Now, you were actually asked about this meeting during your
24 testimony in the Stanisic and Zupljanin case, and you indicated that
25 General Talic was present at this meeting because it was part of his work
1 as commander to inspect units and to maintain contact with the leadership
2 of Sanski Most. Would you provide that same answer today?
3 A. I don't remember that at all. That statement of mine. That
4 testimony of mine. That I claimed anything like that.
5 Q. Let's take a quick look at that. Just -- it might refresh your
7 MR. JEREMY: Could we please see 65 ter 31875. That's
8 Colonel Basara's testimony in the Stanisic and Zupljanin case. If we
9 could please go to page 24. And, sorry, if we could go back one page
10 just to establish the meeting, it's the same meeting we're now talking
12 Q. So we see at -- and Colonel Basara, there isn't a translation of
13 this document for you so I'd ask you to listen closely to my words.
14 We see at line 15 that the questioning lawyer is asking you to
15 look at a record of a meeting that was apparently held on the 20th of
16 April with yourself and General Talic and members of the civilian
18 MR. JEREMY: If we go to the next page, please.
19 Q. And you were asked about members present. You -- you actually
20 indicated that whereas there's a reference to a Major Zekaj, it should be
21 a reference to Zeljaja.
22 Now it says representatives of the SDS, SDA and HDZ.
23 MR. JEREMY: If we could just scroll up a little bit, please.
24 Q. Now, "Was this the only meeting before the take-over that took
25 place where General Talic attended?"
1 Your answer was as follows: "I think it was the only one
2 attended by General Talic but I can hardly remember what was discussed
3 and how the meeting ran.
4 "Q. I'm just going to ask you about two matters. But that was
5 only one attended by General Talic, can you remember why General Talic
6 had come to Sanski Most that day?
7 "A. Well, it was part of his work as commander to inspect units
8 and to maintain contact with the leadership of the municipality in
9 Sanski Most."
10 My question to you now, Colonel Basara, is: Having listened to
11 me reading your testimony in the Stanisic/Zupljanin case does that
12 refresh your recollection about this meeting and your knowledge about
13 General Talic's presence at this particular meeting.
14 A. I hope you can believe me that I don't remember anything from
15 that meeting. I even gave this some thought and I cannot link all of
16 that up, that he was at this meeting, that I was at that meeting. So
17 that meeting probably did not remain in my memory.
18 Q. Okay. That's fine. Would you agree with me that when you
19 testified in the Stanisic and Zupljanin case six years ago, your memory
20 would have been fresher?
21 A. I was six years younger, and it is likely that I could remember
22 some things then that I couldn't remember now, so that would be my answer
23 more or less.
24 Q. Now, do you also remember and I'm asking you to reach further
25 back to 2002 but on the topic of the municipality building that -- that
1 was attacked in -- on the 19th of April, 1992, you were asked about
2 whether you considered that attack to be illegal, and you indicated that
3 you did, indeed, consider the attack on the municipality building to be
5 Would you give the same answer today?
6 A. I don't know. I'd like to see where it says that I said so.
7 That it was an illegal attack.
8 Speaking from this position today, I think it was the Serbs'
9 right to regain possession of the municipal building. It had been agreed
10 they remain in the municipal building and that the Muslims go to the
11 premises of a company. The same goes for their MUP. Instead, they took
12 over the municipal building. So perhaps there was some kind of
13 misinterpretation on somebody's part, in terms of me saying that.
14 JUDGE ORIE: We have an opportunity to check that, Witness. If
15 there's any doubt about it, then it will be done.
16 Mr. Jeremy, the Chamber would appreciate if it would be verified
17 whether that's really what the witness had said during that interview.
18 That's one.
19 Second, let's not spend too much time on it because it's not
20 testimony of fact but, rather, opinion.
21 Please proceed.
22 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
23 And actually I will move on but I would like to tender the
24 transcript page from the Stanisic and Zupljanin testimony that we just
25 saw while the witness didn't dispute what was -- his answers, he didn't
1 actually confirm them so I would like to tender this particular page.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar, the number would be.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, the number would be P7320.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Admitted into evidence.
5 And about his interview, Mr. Jeremy, what would you like to do
6 with that. You read it to him and, of course, in all fairness to the
7 Defence and to the witness, it should be verified whether -- really,
8 perhaps the parties could stipulate on whether that was said.
9 May I take it has been audio recorded as at least.
10 MR. JEREMY: Yes, my understanding that there is an audio record.
11 JUDGE ORIE: No video record.
12 MR. JEREMY: No, I don't think there's a video record.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Could I invite the parties to sit together and see
14 whether they can verify whether the written text corresponds with the
16 Witness, it will be verified whether what was read to you as part
17 of your statement, whether those were words you really uttered at the
19 Please proceed.
20 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
21 Q. Mr. Basara, I'd look to move on now to a different topic and
22 that's the topic of the strategic objectives which you make mention of in
23 your statement.
24 Now, you say in paragraph 19 of your statement that you were not
25 at the meeting which formulated the six strategic objectives for the Serb
1 people on the 12th of May, 1992. You were instead at a meeting after the
2 liberation of Jajce.
3 Now, the meeting regarding the six strategic objectives that you
4 refer to here is the -- the 16th Assembly Session that was held in
5 Banja Luka on the 12th of May, 1992; correct?
6 A. I don't recall at all when it was held, and I don't know in which
7 statement I referred to it.
8 Q. It's all right, sir. Paragraph 19 of the statement that you've
9 provided to this Chamber that you have sworn to the truth of today, you
10 state as follows: "I was not at the meeting which formulated the six
11 strategic objectives for the Serb people. On 12 May 1992, I was at a
12 meeting after the liberation of Jajce."
13 Just so you understand that's what prompted me to mention that
14 you mentioned the six strategic objectives in your statement.
15 Now, while you were not at that meeting, you were, nevertheless,
16 at another meeting two days after the 16th Assembly Session, namely, on
17 the 14th of May, where the strategic objectives were discussed. That's
18 correct, isn't it?
19 A. Where did the assembly session take place?
20 Q. The assembly session was discussed the strategic objectives was
21 in Banja Luka on 12th of May. I understand that you have said that you
22 weren't there, and I don't disputes that. What I'm asking you is: Were
23 you present at a meeting in Kljuc on the 14th of May where you discussed,
24 among other things, the six strategic objectives?
25 A. I came to Kljuc to attend a meeting, but when we started it, a
1 battalion was being sent from Kljuc to a theatre of war and they were
2 firing in the street. So much so that we couldn't keep working. Then
3 the municipal assembly president, Mr. Banjac turned to General Galic who,
4 at the time was colonel and commanded a division, asking him to go out
5 and tell the people to stop shooting so that we could go on with our
6 work? He didn't want to go out.
7 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
8 A. Can I explain? And I went out to put a stop to that shooting.
9 Q. Now --
10 A. Therefore, I missed most of that meeting.
11 Q. And that was a meeting you say that was attended by Banjac of --
12 president of the Kljuc municipality and also Colonel Galic. You do
13 remember the meeting; yes?
14 A. I do remember coming there and attending it at the beginning, but
15 I had to leave to stop the battalion from shooting further because we
16 could not conduct our work. I spoke to the soldiers and only returned at
17 the end. I heard a couple of things, but other than that I had no idea
18 that they were discussing any strategic goals.
19 Q. Let's take a look at that meeting and see if it refreshes your
21 MR. JEREMY: Could we please see P2867.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: P2 ...
23 MR. JEREMY: 867.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
25 MR. JEREMY:
1 Q. So, Colonel Basara we see there's stamp on right side, top right
2 side of the document dated the 14th of May. We see that it's a meeting
3 with presidents of municipalities in the zone of responsibility of the
4 division. We see that the meeting lasted for two hours, 45 minutes, and
5 we see the agenda. Agenda item 3 is: "Messages from the meeting on the
6 armed services [sic] of Serbian Krajina and the Army of the Serbian
7 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Banja Luka on the 12th of
8 May 1992."
9 And we see those attendees of the meeting, the first one is
10 Colonel Galic, who you've mentioned already and the second one is
11 yourself, Colonel Basara, and we see at number 5, there's a reference to
12 a Jovo Banjac. So that's the same meeting that you've already mentioned;
14 A. What I do remember is only what was discussed. As I said, it was
15 a long time ago. I can't remember everything, but I do remember that I
16 had to leave the meeting to stop the battalion from shooting and that I
17 stayed outside for a while because the fighters were interested in many
18 issues --
19 Q. Sir --
20 A. So I spoke to them --
21 Q. Sir, you say you remember what was discussed and I'd like to show
22 you a part of the minutes of the that meeting to see if you remember
23 discussion of that particular part.
24 Could we go to page 3 in this document.
25 A. I don't remember.
1 MR. LUKIC: I'm sorry --
2 JUDGE ORIE: There may be an issue there.
3 MR. LUKIC: There is an issue from the translation.
4 JUDGE ORIE: From the logic of the sentence the witness spoke -
5 let me just - one second, please.
6 The witness said, "What I do remember is what was discussed. As
7 I said, it was a long time ago. I can't remember everything but I do
8 remember that I had to leave."
9 Now that may at least hint at a possible error. It's not very
10 logic. Could you please seek verification of that answer before you move
12 MR. JEREMY:
13 Q. Well, sir, simply I'll ask you the question, the document
14 indicates that there was a discussion of the strategic goals that were
15 articulated at the municipal assembly meeting in Banja Luka on the 12th
16 of May, 1992.
17 My question is: Do you recall the discussion of those six
18 strategic goals at this meeting.
19 A. I don't. I have no recollection --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We couldn't hear the
22 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please repeat what you said after: I have
23 no recollection.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do not remember at all what was
25 discussed at the meeting. I can't make any connection between the
1 strategic goals and the meeting itself.
2 MR. JEREMY:
3 Q. Sir, two very short questions. You were, however, aware of the
4 six strategic goals; correct?
5 A. Pardon? No, I don't recall the strategic goals at all.
6 Q. So --
7 A. Although I may have mentioned them somewhere, but I don't
8 remember anything in terms of content.
9 Q. So is it your position that while you were brigade commander in
10 Sanski Most, you were not aware of the six strategic goals? Is that your
12 A. I was not aware of it. At least to the best of my recollection.
13 Q. And is it therefore also your position that these were not
14 disseminated to units within your brigade?
15 A. I wasn't aware of their being forwarded to the units. It would
16 have been very difficult to distribute it to the units which were not in
17 one place. Many people were there their homes. If anyone was informed
18 of anything, it could only have been partial and could take -- have taken
19 place in battalion commands and brigade commands.
20 Q. Thank you, sir. Let's leave it there for today.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Before we adjourn, I have one question,
22 because it's not entirely clear to me, are you saying that today you have
23 no recollection of the six strategic goals, or that you never had any
24 knowledge of the six strategic goals and their contents.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Since I can't remember right now, I
1 can't tell you whether I knew anything about the strategic objectives at
2 the time.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, we'll adjourn for the day. We'd like to
4 see you back tomorrow morning, and I take it local time is the same as it
5 is here, that is, at 9.30. But before you leave the videolink room, I'd
6 like to instruct you that you should not speak with anyone or communicate
7 in whatever way about your testimony, whether that is testimony you have
8 already given or whether that is testimony still to be given tomorrow.
9 Is that clear to you?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Clear.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Then we'd like to see you back tomorrow morning.
12 MR. LUKIC: Just before the witness leaves. I would kindly ask
14 JUDGE ORIE: One second.
15 MR. LUKIC: It's too late, obviously. I wanted Mr. Ram to be
16 notified that somebody should organise transportation for Mr. Basara
17 tomorrow, at least, since we cannot see him. We organized his
18 transportation this morning. My people from Belgrade, from my office
19 cannot do it anymore.
20 JUDGE ORIE: No, I take it telephone conversation with the ...
21 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
22 JUDGE ORIE: VWS will also look into the matter. That's what
23 Madam Registrar tells me.
24 We adjourn for the day, and we'll resume tomorrow -- oh.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I see that the videolink is still functioning
2 so if there's anything about transportation which you would like to
3 convey to the witness, Mr. Lukic, then we have an opportunity to do so
4 right away.
5 MR. LUKIC: Yes, I would just like to inform Mr. Basara that
6 Sasa Lukic is not able to transport him tomorrow to the same location, so
7 we will try to find a solution through VWS.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Witness -- everyone will work hard in order to
9 make sure that you will be transported to the videolink location tomorrow
11 Then we adjourn for the day, and we'll resume tomorrow, the 21st
12 of April, 9.30 in the morning, in this same Courtroom I, and we'll then
13 continue the videolink.
14 We stand adjourned.
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.20 p.m.,
16 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 21st day of April,
17 2015, at 9.30 a.m.