1 Tuesday, 21 April 2015
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.37 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 No preliminaries were announced. Therefore, let's verify whether
12 the videolink is functioning well.
13 Could the representative of the Registry at the other side of the
14 videolink confirm that he can see us and that he can hear us.
15 THE REGISTRAR: [Via videolink] Thank you and good morning,
16 Your Honours. Yes, I can see and hear you clearly. And so can the
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then, Mr. Jeremy, if you're ready to continue
19 your ...
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE ORIE: If you're ready, you it start, but I'll first remind
22 the witness.
23 Mr. Basara, I'd like to remind you that you're still bound by the
24 solemn declaration you've given at the beginning of your testimony that
25 you'll speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
1 Mr. Jeremy.
2 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours, and good morning.
3 WITNESS: BRANKO BASARA [Resumed]
4 [Witness answered through interpreter]
5 [Witness testified via videolink]
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Jeremy: [Continued]
7 Q. Good morning, Colonel Basara.
8 A. Good morning.
9 Q. Now we finished our discussion yesterday discussing your
10 attendance at a meeting in Kljuc on the 14th of May, 1992 at which the
11 strategic goals were discussed.
12 Now, you said that you missed various parts of this meeting
13 because were -- you happened to be outside trying to stop some soldiers
14 firing into the air.
15 You also said that now you -- you can't remember whether you may
16 or may not have known about the strategic goals at the time of the war.
17 That's correct, isn't it?
18 A. Yes, it is.
19 Q. Now, the first strategic goal that was outlined at this meeting
20 in Kljuc on the 14th of May, 1992 was that there must be state separation
21 of the three national communities.
22 Now, in paragraph 19 of your statement, D1031, you -- you say
23 that you -- you know that the attitude of the SDS people was to have the
24 three national communities separated, you say, so each could live in
1 So we can agree that you -- that you knew about this particular
2 strategic goal; correct?
3 A. Yes. But I wasn't aware that it was called strategic objectives.
4 I just thought it was the situation in the field.
5 Q. So you simply understood it as a war goal; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, in your 2009 interview with the Office of the Prosecutor,
8 you discussed the attitude of the municipal staffs, such as deputies in
9 the assembly, towards resettlement of the non-Serb population in
10 Sanski Most.
11 Now, you would agree with me that many of the SDS in Sanski Most
12 were in favour of resettling non-Serb villagers there; correct?
13 A. Well, it is partially correct, but they were the minority. There
14 was a small group of deputies in the assembly who were advocating that
15 idea, for the others to move out.
16 Q. And that minority, they were the persons who found themselves in
17 the Crisis Staff of Sanski Most; yes? Persons such as Rasula, such as
18 Vlado Vrkes?
19 A. Well, Rasula was one of them who were in favour of it. Vrkes was
20 a bit more diplomatic about all of that, and he wasn't quite as
21 outspoken, although he, too, was probably in favour of it.
22 Q. Now, this Chamber has received evidence that this -- this notion
23 of separation of Serbs from the Muslim and Croat people was something
24 that the 1st Krajina Corps communicated to all the units within the corps
25 and that's P2874 in this case.
1 Now, as regards the dissemination to the units of this -- this
2 particular war goal and, indeed, the six strategic objectives, you said
3 yesterday that this could have taken place in the battalion commands or
4 the brigade commands. That's correct, yes?
5 A. Well, if you found that order in the brigade command, then in all
6 likelihood it was the brigade command that received it, and parts of
7 their commands and battalions may have been made aware, whereas there was
8 only one brigade, my brigade. In other words, as regards any
9 dissemination among the fighters themselves, at that point in time, it
10 was an impossible thing to do.
11 Q. Well, would you agree that it was possible that dissemination
12 could have occurred in the command of the battalions, would you agree
13 with that?
14 A. Probably so. As I said, I can't assert that, but all received
15 orders, all orders received by battalion commands are forwarded to the
16 battalion commanders. They are made aware of them.
17 Q. Now there's evidence in this case that's exactly what happened in
18 your brigade; for example, P7070, which is a military notebook of a
19 former Intel officer in your brigade. Now I'd like to show you another
20 military notebook that --
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: P what?
22 MR. JEREMY: P7070.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can we get it corrected.
24 MR. JEREMY:
25 Q. Now, Colonel Basara, I'd like to show you another military
1 notebook that is in the possession of the Prosecution that we believe
2 belongs to someone at the command level in the brigade.
3 MR. JEREMY: Could we please see 65 ter 31873.
4 Q. Now, Colonel Basara, while we are not clear of who the exact
5 individual author of this particular military notebook is, it's clear
6 from our review that this is a contemporaneous record of events during
7 1992. It includes a number of diary entries which I would like to take
8 you to now or -- a couple of which I'd like to take you to now.
9 MR. JEREMY: Could we please go to page 12 in the English? Page
10 10 in the B/C/S.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic.
12 MR. LUKIC: Just for the record it mays May 1997, so I don't know
13 if it's a proper representation of the document.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 MR. JEREMY: Your Honours, it says on the front of -- Mr. Lukic
16 is absolutely right, it says on the front page May 1997. As I understand
17 it that page was provided by the persons who had handed the document to
18 the Office of the Prosecutor. It came from AID in -- from Bosnia.
19 The -- as I mentioned, we don't know the exact person who authored this
20 particular war diary but what is clear is it's a contemporaneous record
21 of events. The entries are corroborated by various other diaries that we
22 do have in evidence, such as P7070, and there's -- clearly indications of
23 meetings of battalion commanders in the brigades. So --
24 JUDGE ORIE: It's the Prosecution position is that it is
25 contemporaneous, although 1997 appears on the cover page.
1 MR. JEREMY: That's right, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Let's move on.
3 MR. JEREMY: Could we please go to page -- yes, with -- and page
4 10 in the B/C/S. I'd like to focus on the right side, please.
5 Q. So, Colonel Basara, we see in this military notebook on the
6 screen before you that there is a reference to a meeting in Kljuc on the
7 13th of May, 1992. Various items are detailed.
8 If we go to the next entry, the 14th of May, 1992, we see a
9 reference to strategic goals and the first one being state separation
10 from other two communities. And seven goals here are listed.
11 If we can to the next page, please, in both the B/C/S and the
12 English. And if we can focus on the left side in the B/C/S, please.
13 Now, here we see a reference to a meeting on the 14th of May,
14 1992. There's a reference to General Mladic. Now it's -- it's my
15 understanding from other evidence, Colonel Basara, that General Mladic
16 was not actually at this meeting. But my question for you is that this,
17 nevertheless, is information originating from General Mladic that's being
18 relayed down the chain of command to units in your brigades; correct?
19 A. The tasks the document refers to cannot have anything to do with
20 my brigade because my brigade was not in Kljuc. It has do with the Kljuc
22 Q. Sir --
23 A. The person writing this, writing this document, most likely came
24 from the Kljuc Brigade.
25 Q. Sir, just to be clear, my -- I'll focus my question. Where we
1 see this reference to General Mladic and we read below it: "The new
2 territory should have geography latitude that can be successfully
4 "Displacement according to the ethnic principle is also planned."
5 That's an example of information from General Mladic being
6 relayed to a person in -- to persons within your units. And we can go to
7 other entries of this diary if necessary that will show you that this is,
8 indeed, a unit in the 6th Brigade.
9 MR. LUKIC: Your Honours.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes Mr. Lukic.
11 MR. LUKIC: I'm really puzzled with this document. It says we
12 don't know who composed the document. Then it is said General Mladic was
13 not there but this is what he said. So I really cannot comprehend
14 properly what is going on here.
15 JUDGE ORIE: One second. I don't know whether I did hear you say
16 that this is what General Mladic said but that it's -- comes from him.
17 MR. JEREMY: Yes --
18 JUDGE ORIE: If I understood it, your representation.
19 MR. LUKIC: Then who said that General Mladic said this? There
20 is no data we can verify in any way.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, if you have any such questions, I agree
22 with you that you may be very precise in the way in which Mr. Jeremy
23 presents a document what it is, but any questions as to the content of it
24 and how to understand it you can deal with that matter in re-examination.
25 MR. LUKIC: But it's also suggested to this witness that this is
1 something that is ordered for his unit.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, that's the difference between
3 examination-in-chief and cross-examination. You can lead the witness in
4 the understanding of a document and it's improper to intervene at this --
5 in this way. And, of course, you can revisit the matter in
7 Please proceed, Mr. Jeremy. But you may be very precise in what
8 it is. That's a different matter that -- as to how to understand it.
9 Please proceed.
10 MR. JEREMY:
11 Q. Colonel Basara, assuming that this notebook does belong to a unit
12 in the 6th Brigade, then what we see before us at this meeting on the
13 14th of May, 1992 is an example of a comment here which is "displacement
14 according to the ethnic principle is also planned," a comment that
15 appears to be attributed to General Mladic being relayed to members of a
16 unit in the 6th Brigade; correct?
17 A. This does not refer to the 6th Brigade because at the top of the
18 document we find Kljuc and the date. In other words, it is an officer
19 who in all likelihood was a SDS member in Kljuc who wrote this.
20 Therefore, this does not pertain to my brigade, and I cannot offer any
22 Q. Well, so the reference to Kljuc is a reference to the meeting
23 on -- as I understand it and the Prosecution understand it, is a
24 reference to the meeting in Kljuc on the 14th of May, 1992 that we have
25 discussed and that you were present at.
1 A. When I see the heading where it says "Kljuc," it was my
2 understanding that it had nothing to do with the 6th Brigade but that it
3 belonged probably to a SDS member who was part of the 6th Brigade. In
4 other words, as I said already, I cannot accept this document or offer
5 any comment.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, you don't have to accept any document. It
7 is put before you. Apparently you are not familiar with the document.
8 Whether it's an example of one thing or another and how you interpreted
9 it at this moment is not a matter of fact within your knowledge.
10 Mr. Jeremy, you more or less asking for an exegesis of this
11 document at this moment and perhaps you better move on.
12 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours. And it may be that I
13 return to this particular document so I'd like to MFI it for now and I
14 would also like to -- to put on the record that this particular entry is
15 closely corroborated by evidence that we have from -- from another diary,
16 Dragan Karic's diary, which is P7070.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
18 THE REGISTRAR: 31873 receives number P7321.
19 MR. LUKIC: I'm sorry, I was involved -- we would object to
20 introducing this document through this witness based on the facts we just
22 JUDGE ORIE: I think at this moment Mr. Jeremy asked for it to be
23 MFI'd so whether admission is appropriate for this document through this
24 witnesses is --
25 MR. LUKIC: What's the -- what would be cured after it being
1 MFI'd. It's offered through this witness.
2 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ...
3 MR. LUKIC: Can we hear from Mr. Jeremy.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, this witness [sic] has been put to the
5 witness at this moment and for that reason it is important that we know
6 what document was put before him. Now, whether it is a document which is
7 admissible in evidence is a different question. We limit ourselves at
8 this moment to the request to have it marked for identification and for a
9 full record it's important to know at least what was put to the witness.
10 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, I don't remember that we MFI'd
11 everything that was put in front of the witness, every single witness in
12 this case. And I think that was not the procedure we had before.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Well, Mr. Jeremy apparently wants to give it a
14 follow-up and during the follow-up you are free to argue whatever you
15 want as to admissibility, or even whether it was appropriate at all to
16 put to the witness. For this moment, it is just an administrative step.
17 It will be marked for identification.
18 Madam Registrar.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the document receives number P7321.
20 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence -- no. That's the
21 last thing I should have said.
22 It's marked for identification.
23 MR. JEREMY:
24 Q. Now, Colonel Basara --
25 MR. LUKIC: Sorry. P7070 is not on the list so we cannot work
1 with that one.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: If it's a P number, it's already in evidence.
3 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] We have to be prepared for this,
4 Your Honour. We don't have that document. The practice is that the
5 documents that will be used in cross-examination have to be on the list
6 offered as list with the witness.
7 MR. JEREMY: That's absolutely right, Your Honours and that's why
8 I haven't used P7070 with this particular witness. Prosecution can't
9 possibly put every document that it has in evidence on its witness list.
10 MR. LUKIC: So now we can use the document that are not on the
11 list. That was not the rule that applied to the --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic.
13 MR. LUKIC: Defence --
14 JUDGE ORIE: You're not telling us that you never used a document
15 which was not on your list, are you? It happened now and then, isn't it.
16 MR. LUKIC: It happened.
17 JUDGE ORIE: And it happens now with the Prosecution. Again,
18 it's marked for identification, nothing more, nothing less.
19 MR. LUKIC: It's not that one. It's the other one.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, I'm sorry. Then I am confusing matters.
21 MR. JEREMY: Your Honours, I have simply made a reference to a
22 document that's already in evidence. It's not the document that I've
23 shown to the witness.
24 MR. LUKIC: That's different then.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It's just a reference. It's clear from the
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Therefore, that is a -- that item is moot.
3 Please proceed.
4 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
5 Q. Now, Colonel Basara, yesterday you told us that you attended
6 meetings of the Crisis Staff of Sanski Most during 1992; correct?
7 A. It is. But I did not attend all of them. Only a few.
8 Q. Now, you were actually a member of the Crisis Staff, were you
9 not, Colonel Basara?
10 A. I've already told you ten times that I was not a member of the
11 Crisis Staff, and I think that this is unnecessary. It's unnecessary for
12 you to ask me yet again whether I was a member of the Crisis Staff when I
13 was not a member of the Crisis Staff and when I could not have been
14 subordinated to the civilian authorities.
15 Q. Well, Colonel, that's the first time I've asked you that
16 question, but I'd like to show you a few documents in connection with
17 this that I hope with provide some clarity.
18 MR. JEREMY: Could we please see P3294. And this the diary of
19 Nedjeljko Rasula. And if we can go to page 40 in the English, please,
20 and 30 in the B/C/S.
21 And if we can focus on the right-hand side of the page in the
22 B/C/S, please.
23 Q. So, Colonel, I don't want to spend too much time on this, but we
24 see a reference to a Crisis Staff meeting on the 11th of May, 1992. We
25 see the heading, Execution of tasks assigned in previous meetings. And
1 we see that the first point here is "Basara awaiting orders from above to
2 become a member of the War Staff as the Crisis Staff is to be referred to
3 until further notice."
4 Now, Colonel Basara, seeing this entry in Rasula's diary, this
5 entry to this Crisis Staff meeting, do you recall requesting
6 authorisation to become a member of the Crisis Staff or of the -- of the
7 War Staff?
8 MR. LUKIC: Objection.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We could --
10 MR. LUKIC: [Previous translation continues] ... just a moment,
11 please. Could you stop.
12 [In English] It's not what it says in the document.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Is it a translation issue or is that you -- let's
14 first establish. Is there anything wrong with the translation?
15 MR. LUKIC: Yes, obviously there is a translation issue.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Okay.
17 MR. LUKIC: Maybe the translators could read the first sentence
18 under one.
19 JUDGE ORIE: You know this is usually not the place where we
20 verify translations but under these present circumstances, in order to
21 avoid that we choose a path which is based on a wrong translation, could
22 you please slowly read that first entry in your language, Mr. Lukic.
23 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour.
24 I quote: "[Interpretation] Basara expects orders from above in
25 order to enter the War Staff."
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's not the Crisis Staff.
2 MR. LUKIC: And it's not "become a member" but "enter."
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
4 MR. LUKIC: In which way he would enter, it's debatable.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Okay.
6 Mr. Jeremy, the final resolution of the language issue not being
7 there yet, could you again put the question to the witness offering the
8 two -- the two possible translations of that one word.
9 And, Witness, you were not asked to comment on the word "War
10 Staff," that was part of the question already. Carefully listen to the
11 question as will now be phrased by Mr. Jeremy.
12 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours. And I'll go with the
13 version that Mr. Lukic read out.
14 Q. So, Colonel Basara, do you agree that you, at the point of 11th
15 of May, 1992, you were awaiting orders from above to enter into the --
16 the War Staff, as the Crisis Staff was to be referred to until further
18 Do you agree that you were awaiting for those orders from above?
19 A. I was not awaiting any orders. That I know. So why Rasula wrote
20 that, I have no idea.
21 Q. And I take it that your answer would be the same if the version
22 was to read that you were awaiting orders to become a member of the --
23 the War Staff; correct?
24 A. The War Staff did not exist because a state of war had not been
1 Q. It's clear -- you will agree that it's clear from this entry that
2 Rasula obviously thought that a War Staff did exist and he considered
3 this to be the new name for the Crisis Staff?
4 A. That I cannot say. I mean, I cannot assert what it was Rasula
5 was thinking.
6 Q. Sir --
7 A. -- I cannot comment upon that.
8 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... that's understood. Thank
9 you, Colonel Basara. I've got a couple of other documents on this same
10 topic I don't think we need to look at all of them but there's evidence
11 in this case that at the end of this same month, May 1992, there are
12 conclusions of the Crisis Staff of the Serbian Municipality of Sanski
13 Most which, again, which records you as being a member of the Crisis
14 Staff. Now, these conclusions were on the 30th of May, 1992, so shortly
15 after the events in Mahala. Does that prompt your recollection that you
16 might have perhaps joined the Crisis Staff immediately after the events
17 in Mahala in -- shortly before events in Hrustovo and Vrhpolje?
18 A. I think that this is unnecessary, to put questions at all about
19 the Crisis Staff because I as commander, as a professional could not have
20 allowed --
21 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... Witness, I have
22 to stop you here.
23 You may not understand but it's in fairness to you that
24 Mr. Jeremy puts to you what is found in documentary evidence which
25 contradicts your testimony. That's the reason why he does it and that's
1 a good reason.
2 Would you refrain from commenting on whether or not it's good to
3 ask certain questions and whether it's appropriate to do it or to do it
4 more times. We'll deal with that.
5 Please proceed.
6 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
7 Q. So, Colonel Basara, I take it that my -- my prompt about the
8 timing of this particular conclusion on the 30th of May, 1992 indicating
9 that you were, indeed, a member of the Crisis Staff doesn't refresh your
10 recollection; is that correct?
11 A. It's not necessary to refresh my recollection about the Crisis
12 Staff. I have told you that I'm a professional soldier, a brigade
13 commander, who did not want to place himself under the command of the
14 civilian structures, and I did not accept that, and that is how I stayed
15 on until the very end.
16 Q. But, Colonel Basara, it's correct, is it not, that you were a
17 member of the Crisis Staff in your very capacity as a brigade commander.
18 That's -- that's the reason -- that's the very -- an express reason that
19 you were actually on the Crisis Staff in the first place. That's --
20 that's correct, is it not?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Let's take a look at a final document in connection with this
24 MR. JEREMY: Could we please see P4161.
25 Q. Now, Colonel Basara, these are some conclusions of the Crisis
1 Staff of the Serbian municipality of Sanski Most. They are dated the
2 19th of June, 1992. And we see they're conclusions from a meeting on the
3 18th of June 1992.
4 Now, we see that there are lists of two -- two sets of names.
5 The first set are permanent members of the Crisis Staff and we see number
6 7, Branko Basara.
7 Now, we see this list of what looks like two tiers of
8 responsibility of persons in the municipality and you're in the first
9 list, the permanent list. So does the permanence of your role within the
10 Crisis Staff, does that perhaps refresh your recollection that you were,
11 indeed, a member?
12 A. No. I was not any kind of member of the Crisis Staff. Why they
13 wrote my name down there, I have no idea. Probably because I attended
14 certain meetings.
15 Q. Okay. Let's move on to a different topic.
16 Now, I'd like to discuss your relationship with the -- with the
17 civilian police.
18 Now as brigade commander, you regularly met with the chief of
19 police, Mirko Vrucinic. That's correct, isn't it?
20 A. Not regularly. When necessary.
21 Q. Well, okay. Let's explore that a little bit. Now,
22 Mirko Vrucinic was actually your chief of intelligence in the 6th Brigade
23 while you were in Jasenovac. That's -- that's true; yes?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And for a short period of time, he -- he continued to be your
1 chief of intelligence after your brigade was transferred to Sanski Most
2 on the 3rd of April, 1992. That's also correct; yes?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And you knew one another well.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, Nedjeljko Rasula requested that Vrucinic be reassigned from
7 your units -- from your brigade to the head of the MUP in Sanski Most;
9 A. The Secretary for National Defence asked, and he is in charge of
10 manning the brigade and manning the police.
11 Q. Now, when you were asked about this during the Stanisic/Zupljanin
12 testimony, you -- you stated that it -- it was Nedjeljko Rasula who
13 requested that Vrucinic be police commander in Sanski Most. Does that --
14 was that answer correct?
15 A. He asked the secretary. In fact, he asked his own organ and then
16 that organ asked me for approval to have Vrucinic appointed chief of
18 Q. Okay. That's clear. Thank you. Now you considered
19 Mirko Vrucinic to be very skilled at his job; yes?
20 A. I consider that today as well.
21 Q. And you therefore co-operated well; yes?
22 A. I've already said that I had good co-operation when necessary.
23 Not regularly, as you had stated.
24 Q. And it was necessary for you to have this good co-operation
25 during, for example, military operations that your brigade was engaged in
1 within Sanski Most. That's correct; yes?
2 A. Co-operation was mainly through security organs. They collected
3 information about Muslims and Croats who had weapons. That is where most
4 of the co-operation took place.
5 As for some operations, there was no co-operation there
6 whatsoever. We did not carry out certain actions together.
7 Q. And those actions were, for example, actions in Mahala, Hrustovo
8 and Vrhpolje; correct?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Did you carry out any disarming operations with the civilian
11 military in, for example, Mahala at all?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Let's have a quick look at a document, please, in connection ...
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jeremy, you are recorded - and that's what I
15 think I heard - to have spoken about the civilian military.
16 Could you please rephrase that question, seek an answer again,
17 and then move on.
18 MR. JEREMY: Thank you. Thank you for that, Your Honour.
19 Q. Colonel Basara, my question for you is whether Mirko Vrucinic and
20 his civilian police carried out any disarming operations in co-operation
21 with your brigade in, for example, Mahala?
22 A. As far as I know, I did not discuss disarming in Mahala with
23 anyone. I had enough information. Mahala is small, in terms of
24 territory. That is to say, it is a neighbourhood. I thought that I had
25 enough men in order to check things out and to disarm people. If there
1 is some co-operation, then the co-operation is in terms of information as
2 to who has weapons so that they could be taken away.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I put one question to the witness at this
4 point in time.
5 Mr. Basara, a moment ago, you said, "we carried out certain
6 actions together." Co-operation in exchanging - wait a moment, please.
7 Co-operation in exchanging information is one thing, but you said certain
8 actions. Which kind of actions did you carry out together?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't say that we were carrying
10 out actions together because I had enough forces to act independently and
11 that has to do with disarmament.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, we're --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If they, along parallel lines --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, we'll verify what you said on the basis of
15 the audio, whether you said that you carried out -- that you were
16 involved in actions together. We'll try to have that done as soon as
18 But you're now saying that you were not co-operating in action?
19 Mr. Lukic, yes.
20 MR. LUKIC: Maybe the witness should take off his headphones.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Well, first, we should ask the witness whether the
22 witness understands any English because I don't know exactly what is
23 audible at the other side.
24 Witness, could you tell us whether you understand the English
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I studied French.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, then we'll not speak French.
3 Could you please take off your earphones for a second.
4 Mr. Lukic, you're instructed not to speak French.
5 MR. LUKIC: I'm on the safe side. I don't speak French unlike
6 you, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
8 MR. LUKIC: The witness what we heard said "nismo," which means
9 we were not. And it was translated "mi smo," we were. So --
10 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us the exact page and line reference
11 so that.
12 MR. LUKIC: Where it was recorded that he said we carried out,
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is page 19, line 25. Page 18, line 25.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It says we carried out certain actions together.
17 MR. LUKIC: Yeah, it says.
18 JUDGE ORIE: And [Overlapping speakers] ...
19 MR. LUKIC: [Overlapping speakers] ...
20 JUDGE ORIE: We'll have that verified, Mr. Lukic, and as you know
21 you're always welcome if there's any problem in terms of translation or
22 interpretation or transcription.
23 I ...
24 Could the witness be invited to put on his headphones again.
25 We'll continue.
1 Mr. Jeremy.
2 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
3 Q. So, Colonel Basara, as I understand it, it's your position that
4 the 6th Brigade did not co-operate with the civilian police with the SJB
5 in -- in any disarming operations in Sanski Most. Is that -- is that
6 your position?
7 A. Co-operation that was carried out, as I've already said, for
8 collecting information. Together -- the units and the MUP did not act
9 together anywhere.
10 Q. So not co-operation for the purpose of disarming; is that -- is
11 that your position?
12 A. Carrying out actions.
13 Q. My question is just to clarify your answer. You're saying that
14 you did not co-operate with the SJB in any disarming operations in
15 Sanski Most.
16 A. I don't know what kind of co-operation you mean. Do explain that
17 to me.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jeremy, there may be a little problem. You
19 asked whether there was co-operation. Earlier the witness said there was
20 co-operation but limited to intelligence.
21 Now, if you ask him again whether there was any co-operation, the
22 witness is still in doubt as to what kind of co-operation.
23 Do I take it that are you asking the witness whether there was
24 any co-operation in the field during such operations? Is that what you
25 intend to ask the witness.
1 MR. JEREMY: Yes, any co-operation in the course of disarming
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, in the field.
4 MR. JEREMY: In the field.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's --
6 Witness, you've heard the question. That is, whether it's your
7 position that there was never any co-operation between your brigade and
8 the civilian police during disarming operations. That means co-operation
9 in the field.
10 Could you answer that question.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We did not co-operate because I, as
12 commander, when I planned and organised activities, I did not involve the
14 Now, whether some of them, somewhere, got involved without any
15 agreement having been reached on that, I cannot say.
16 MR. JEREMY:
17 Q. Well, Colonel Basara, given your close relationship with
18 Mirko Vrucinic, how likely is it that members of his police force would
19 have been involved in operations together with members of your brigade
20 that you were not aware of? It's not very likely, is it?
21 A. That could have happened only in the case of individuals who
22 could, together with their neighbours or relatives, become involved.
23 However, the civilian police was never involved to resolve this in the
24 field together with the brigade. Except for intelligence.
25 Q. Okay. That's -- your position is clear.
1 So how about the Territorial Defence? They were -- they were
2 involved in disarming operations together with the 6th Brigade; yes?
3 A. Likewise, they were not under my command, and they did not do
4 that. If they did that, they could have on orders from the Crisis Staff
5 along parallel lines, for example, while we are disarming one village, at
6 that time they could have been disarming another village because I know
7 where I issued orders, which villages I had disarmed and it wasn't all
8 villages. So the last one was Hrustovo. If necessary, I can enumerate
9 the villages that we disarmed, the 6th Brigade. And the other villages
10 were probably disarmed by somebody who was not the 6th Brigade.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We didn't hear the end of
12 the sentence.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They acted --
14 THE INTERPRETER: And, again, we didn't hear the end of the
16 MR. JEREMY:
17 Q. Could you repeat the -- the -- your last -- could you repeat the
18 last sentence of your last answer, please, Colonel.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could all other
20 microphones please be switched off.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Never organised together with the
22 Territorial Defence. That is to say, if disarming took place in villages
23 and if the brigade was not involved, then it was the TO and the police
24 that did that. So I can enumerate the villages where the 6th Brigade
25 carried out the disarming.
1 MR. JEREMY: Could we have a look at one document in connection
2 with this, P2889.
3 Q. And, Colonel Basara, just very quickly before the break, what's
4 coming up on the screen before you is a -- it's a report on the process
5 of disarming military formations in the Sanski Most public security
6 station area, and it's dated the 15th of June, 1992.
7 MR. JEREMY: If we could go to the second page, please, in each
9 Q. And we see it's signed by a Mirko Vrucinic. And if we can just
10 go back to the first page, I just want to focus your attention on the
11 first paragraph, and I should indicate this is a report that's being sent
12 to the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Ministry of Interior
13 Banja Luka Security Services Centre.
14 Colonel Basara, in the first paragraph we read that: "Serbian
15 army units of and commands (six brigades), Territorial Defence units and
16 the SJB have for some time been disarming paramilitary Muslim and
17 Croatian formations in the Sanski Most municipal area."
18 So, sir, it's very clear that Mirko Vrucinic considered the SJB,
19 the civilian police, to be co-operating with the 6th Brigade and with the
20 Territorial Defence in disarming operations in Sanski Most.
21 Is it your position that he is -- that he's incorrect in -- in
22 stating this?
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic.
24 One second, Witness.
25 Mr. Lukic.
1 MR. LUKIC: Where do we can see co-operation? [Overlapping
2 speakers] ...
3 JUDGE ORIE: It's -- it's -- you misrepresented the evidence, the
4 document in your question to the witness. It says that army units and
5 commands, TO, and SJB have for sometime been disarming, paramilitary
6 Muslim and Croatian formations.
7 MR. JEREMY: Sorry, Your Honours. That's my mistake and I got
8 ahead of myself. I apologise to the Chamber and to the witness.
9 Q. But, Colonel Basara, let me read that sentence to you again. It
10 reads: "Serbian army units and commands (six brigades), TO Territorial
11 Defence units and the SJB have for some time been disarming paramilitary
12 Muslim and Croatian formations in the Sanski Most municipal area."
13 Now, my question for you is that this is clearly an indication of
14 co-operation between those different entities within the Sanski Most in
15 the disarming process; correct?
16 A. No, not the way you formulated it. Everybody did their own part
17 of work and then, at the end, it resulted in the implementation of
18 disarming. However, this does not indicate any co-operation. I've
19 already explained what that co-operation entailed, which was gathering
20 intelligence, gathering data. However, there was no other co-operation.
21 The brigade independently carried out the disarming process.
22 Q. So do I understand your position to be that it is true that the
23 6th Brigade was involved in disarming, the TO was involved in disarming,
24 and the civilian police were involved in disarming, but they were doing
25 this individually and they weren't co-operating and the only way that
1 they did co-operate was to share information. That's your position; yes?
2 A. Yes. That was the position.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, before we would take a break, I have one
5 How was it avoided that suddenly TO, SJB and one of the brigades
6 would appear at the same village in order to disarm it? And how was
7 it --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know in what village.
9 JUDGE ORIE: What I'm -- what I'm suggesting to you is there may
10 have been some co-ordination, TO goes here, SJB goes there, a brigade
11 goes there, so as to have all the villages disarmed in such a way that no
12 one was left out and that everyone that did - although individually and
13 in its own responsibility - did the disarming in the villages they were
14 engaged in.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not familiar with their plan in
16 terms of the security services and Territorial Defence. I was not
17 informed by anyone about their activities. I only know what I planned
18 and which villages I disarmed. The last one was Hrustovo. So Mahala and
19 Hrustovo. The other villages adjacent to Sanski Most are the villages I
20 did not disarm. They had already been disarmed by the TO and security
22 JUDGE ORIE: So you knew that they had been disarmed by the TO
23 and the security service?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course I received such
25 information that they had carried out disarming, but they never informed
1 me about what they were doing. My security organs forwarded information
2 to me to the effect that some villages had been disarmed by them.
3 JUDGE ORIE: So it was a lucky coincidence that did you not
4 appear at the same village early in the morning, TO, SJB, and the army in
5 order to disarm that village. It was coincidence, or was there any
6 co-ordination as to, You go there on Monday?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. As regards Mahala, the
8 information we had was that the Muslims there were organised and that it
9 could only be carried out by the 6th Brigade. There was expectation of
10 encountering resistance, as was the case in the end. The same goes for
11 Hrustovo. As for the other villages close to Sanski Most, we did not
12 have such information and thus the 6th Brigade was not involved. Once
13 the brigades was finished with its activities there may have been others
14 coming to that village to carry out checks, but I'm not aware of that.
15 JUDGE ORIE: And is this the kind of intelligence information you
16 shared which made it possible that the needs for disarming were such that
17 it would be either your brigade or the TO or the SJB that effectively
18 could carry out such disarming?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Since I received my orders from the
20 corps command, as the commander in charge, I assessed the situation in
21 the territory based on the information I had received, and I assessed
22 which villages were supposed to be disarmed by our forces. All villages
23 between Lusci Palanka and Sanski Most were the villages we controlled,
24 and there were no armed conflicts in any of them. They co-operated,
25 thanks to me touring those villages and taking measures.
1 As for the other villages close to Sanski Most, as I said --
2 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... I'm
3 interrupting you. You go far beyond what I asked you.
4 It was time for a break already ten minutes go. Apologies for
5 that. We take a break. We'd like to see you back in 20 minutes.
6 We resume at 11.00.
7 --- Recess taken at 10.39 a.m.
8 --- On resuming at 11.03 a.m.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jeremy, I'll first verify whether the videolink
10 is functioning well.
11 THE REGISTRAR: [Via videolink] Yes, Your Honours. We can see and
12 hear you clearly.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. The same is true for this side.
14 Mr. Jeremy, please proceed.
15 MR. JEREMY:
16 Q. I would like to stay with this same issue of co-operation with
17 the TO and the police in Sanski Most, and actually, I'll focus on your
18 co-operation with Anicic within the TO. Could we please see D00079.
19 And, Colonel Basara, I'll tell you as it is coming up, these are
20 conclusions of a Crisis Staff meeting from the 22nd of May. The
21 conclusions are dated the 22nd of May and the meeting itself was on the
22 21st of May, 1992.
23 So we see there the heading, "Crisis Staff of the Serbian
24 Municipality of Sanski Most," we see the date the 22nd of May, and we see
25 the heading, "Conclusions" and then there's two conclusions below there.
1 If we could go to page 2 in the English, please, and page 3 in the B/C/S.
2 Now, Colonel, I'd like to focus your attention on paragraph 4
3 where we read as follows: "As far as disarming paramilitary formations
4 in Sanski Most is concerned, Colonel Basara and Colonel Anicic are
5 charged with putting this into practice."
6 So, Colonel Basara, in the process of putting these disarming
7 operations into practice, you co-operated with Colonel Anicic who was
8 then the head of the TO; correct?
9 A. I am not even aware of the fact that Colonel Anicic was the TO
10 commander. This does not indicate in any way that the two of us
11 co-operated in -- on this matter. It is stated that Colonel Basara and
12 Colonel Anicic are in charge, meaning that Basara was responsible for his
13 share of work and Anicic was probably responsible for some tasks given to
14 him by the municipal organs.
15 Q. And do you recall sitting in meetings with Colonel Anicic with
16 Mirko Vrucinic during this period, planning disarming operations in
17 Sanski Most?
18 A. I do not. I did attend the meetings and most of them were also
19 attended by Colonel Anicic who kept the minutes and attendance. I
20 thought he a recording clerk in the municipality, as Vrucinic used to be.
21 In other words, I do not remember us discussing it anywhere.
22 Q. If I understand your answer correctly, you do recall being in
23 meetings with Colonel Anicic but your understanding was this former JNA
24 colonel was basically there to take the minutes of the meetings. Is
25 that -- is that correct?
1 A. That was my understanding of his role.
2 Q. So did he talk in these meetings or he was only there in a silent
3 capacity, taking notes?
4 A. As far as I remember, he was silent most of the time. Sometimes
5 he would nod when Rasula spoke. As I said, my understanding was that he
6 did not play any major role. That he was there as a kind of recording
8 Q. Okay, that's clear. Let's take a look at one of those -- the
9 minutes of one of those meetings to see if they shed some light on this.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before we remove this document, can we see the
11 previous page, please.
12 I -- okay. I was just looking at this subparagraph (d) and
13 wanted to find out from the witness, if you can, Witness, it is said that
14 here that: "The commander of the 6th Krajina Brigade, Colonel Basara,
15 and the commander of the Serbian Territorial Defence, Colonel Anicic, are
16 hereby instructed to protect vital facilities in the town, above all the
17 water supply system, the transformer station, the silo, et cetera."
18 Did you two at least co-operate with each other with respect to
19 this task?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We did not co-operate on this. I
21 was not in charge of securing those facilities.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... [Overlapping
23 speakers] ...
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I add something?
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ...
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As regards these conclusions --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Well, let's wait for the next question, Witness. If
3 at the very end there is something you would like to add, you will have
4 an opportunity do so.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... I'm done,
7 Mr. Jeremy.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jeremy.
9 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
10 Q. And as a follow-up to His Honour Moloto's question, I'd like to
11 take a look at the diary of Nedjeljko Rasula, which we were just looking
12 at, and if we go to page 51 in the English and 36 in the B/C/S.
13 MR. LUKIC: Still, we'll need the number.
14 MR. JEREMY: Sorry, forgive me. P3294.
15 Q. And, Colonel Basara, what will be coming up are actually the
16 minutes of the meeting on 21st of May, 1992 that the conclusions that we
17 just looked at refer to.
18 MR. JEREMY: If we could go, please, to page 51 in the English
19 and page 36 in the B/C/S.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Is there minutes of note about the meeting?
21 MR. JEREMY: They're the minutes of the meeting and the document
22 we just looked at contains the conclusions from the meeting that we're
23 now going to look at.
24 JUDGE ORIE: I'm a bit confused. Earlier you announced that we
25 would look at some of the meetings; that's what we are doing now?
1 MR. JEREMY: Yes, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but you are talking about minutes. I consider
3 usually minutes to be more or less verbatim reports which this seems not
4 to be.
5 MR. JEREMY: Yes. So -- notes on the meeting and then notes
6 recorded in Nedjeljko Rasula's diary.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please proceed.
8 MR. JEREMY: Now, if we can go to page 36 in the B/C/S, please.
9 Q. And focussing attention on the right-hand side of the page, we
10 see a Crisis Staff meeting dated 21st of May, 1992. We see a reference
11 to Colonel Basara. We see that you're talking about issues relating to
12 the TO Staff, that the TO has been -- number 2: "The TO Defence has been
13 given the status of an army under a single command."
14 If we can go to the next page in each language, please.
15 Focussing on the left side, there we see a reference under item 2
16 to Colonel Anicic, he is talking about work organisation and switching to
17 war-time production. Then we see this reference to securing vital
18 facilities, water reservoirs, Velprom. Security plans to be drawn up by
19 Colonels Basara and Anicic.
20 So, Colonel Basara, looking at the minutes of this meeting you
21 attended, does that help to refresh your recollection about your
22 discussions to secure these facilities, facilities that we saw referred
23 to in the conclusions of the Crisis Staff dated the next day?
24 A. I was not involved in any way in the creation of these
25 conclusions. I'm not familiar with them whatsoever. At the bottom, just
1 beneath the conclusions, it doesn't say who those conclusions were
2 supposed to be forwarded to. They were supposed to be sent to those who
3 were expected to implement them.
4 Q. Sir, perhaps I've confused you. What we're looking at now is the
5 record of the meeting as written by Nedjeljko Rasula and he's
6 recording -- the assumption is that he is recording what was said at that
7 meeting and one of the things that was said at that meeting was that you,
8 Colonel Basara, and Anicic would secure certain vital facilities and we
9 see reference to water reservoirs and Velprom. Does that refresh your
10 recollection about your discussion --
11 A. There's nothing for me to recollect. I did not devise any plan
12 with Anicic, so I don't know whether this reflects some idea of his that
13 he noted down. I have no clue.
14 Q. All right, let's look at item 3 where we see a reference to
15 Mirko Vrucinic, the police commander. "Colonel Basara and Mirko to
16 negotiate disarmament arrangements with Sabic, first in Kamengrad and
17 then in town."
18 So this suggests that you are co-ordinating with Mirko Vrucinic
19 in the course of disarmament arrangements in Sanski Most, does it not?
20 A. That is not correct. It does not confirm I was involved in it
21 because I did not accept orders or suggestions from the Crisis Staff or
22 municipal bodies. It was their wish, but I did not implement it together
23 with them.
24 Q. Okay. But -- before we leave this diary, let's take look at one
25 more entry along a similar line --
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Perhaps if we stay with this page at the moment.
2 Some lines down, Mr. Basara, I read your name again, and I quote:
3 "Colonel Basara: Do not confiscate weapons for which they own a licence
4 but carry out inspections and issue new licences."
5 Do you remember this meeting where you urged the people not to
6 confiscate weapons for which the people have their own licence?
7 MR. JEREMY: And I think you might need to scroll to the right in
8 the B/C/S.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, please. Let's move to the right side of the
10 B/C/S page.
11 Can you see that, what I read to you? I think it's on top of
12 that page.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was the initial variant when a
14 deadline was issued for the hand-over of weapons. So the weapons were
15 not seized but it was suggested that they be called upon to hand over
16 their weapons. What we had in mind was military, were military weapons,
17 automatic rifles and so on.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you for that. Can I take it from your
19 answer that you remember having been at this meeting where Mr. Rasula has
20 taken these notes from?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Rasula kept the notes. I don't
22 remember this specifically. I only know what I proposed, and based on
23 what I have just read, I realised that it was my suggestion, that it be
24 handled this way during disarming. I don't know, though, when exactly it
25 took place.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: But you confirm that Mr. Rasula quoted you
2 correctly when he noted down your words; yes?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Overall, it does reflect the gist
4 of it, but I don't know whether he recorded it precisely as I put it. I
5 was just speaking and he put it down in shorthand, so to speak, because
6 if I remember, my address was longer than this.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
8 Mr. Jeremy.
9 JUDGE ORIE: I also have one or two questions to you, Witness.
10 A few lines further down, Mr. Rasula's diary records that
11 Colonel Anicic is talking. Do you see that?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please read it for yourself - not aloud
14 but just for yourself - and tell me when you've read that portion. It's
15 in the middle of your page in B/C/S.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I read it.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, do you remember that Colonel Anicic
18 addressed these issues?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Would you agree with me that what is recorded here
21 by Mr. Rasula doesn't give the impression that Mr. Anicic is there as a
22 note-taker, but that he's, rather, participating in the discussions at
23 the meeting fully. Do you agree with that, or do you disagree?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I disagree because Rasula could
25 have written this on the basis of his conversation in the office and then
1 he proposed it to him as he was noting it down. Hence, I don't remember
2 it, and I can't confirm it.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And you would expect Mr. Rasula to include in
4 his notes from meetings just private conversations he would have outside
5 that meeting and then not clearly indicate that? Is that how I have to
6 understand your testimony?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't think you should understand
8 it that way. I think he wrote down what he thought was necessary. So in
9 all likelihood, he just wrote it. That's all I can explain.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Jeremy.
11 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
12 Q. So we'll shortly move away from this diary, but I'd like to look
13 at one final entry on page 56 in the English, please, and page 40 in the
15 Now, Colonel Basara, on the screen before you and if we can look
16 at the left side in the B/C/S, is another entry in Rasula's diary of a --
17 another Crisis Staff meeting. It's dated 24th May 1992. We see item 2,
18 we see a briefing given by Mirko Vrucinic. He's referring to increasing
19 security at various locations. Point (c), control of the silo - "how we
20 can capture it.
21 "Colonel Basara will secure the silo."
22 Then we look at item 3, reference to: "The operation being
23 successful so far only in the case of weapons belonging to the TO and the
24 republican police, while nothing has been done about weapons from illegal
1 We see a reference to, Colonel Basara proposed a strike at the
2 strongest points [sic].
3 We see Colonel Anicic suggested various locations.
4 If we go to the next page in the English, please. And we see a
5 reference to: "Could Colonel Basara will prepare an operation against
6 Demisevci, evening. The proposal was not accepted. It was decided that
7 it should take place on Tuesday ..."
8 Colonel Basara, this is a clear indication of discussions and
9 co-ordination between Mirko Vrucinic, between Colonel Anicic, and
10 yourself in preparation for what were then ongoing disarming operations
11 in Sanski Most, correct, these aren't notes by Colonel Rasula of private
12 conversations that he had outside of this meeting?
13 A. I did not have any private conversations in mind. As they say,
14 he was simply doing something of his own accord, noting down what he
15 wanted to. This does not indicate that the brigade was engaged
16 whatsoever. If there were any proposals to that effect, in all
17 likelihood I never accepted them. I have no knowledge about this. I
18 just know that we were not engaged in the operation concerning Demisevci
19 in any way.
20 Q. Do you doubt that you were at this meeting, having these
21 discussions with Colonel Anicic and Mirko Vrucinic?
22 A. I don't recall discussing an attack on Demisevci in any way. We
23 probably did speak at some other meetings, but not about Demisevci.
24 JUDGE ORIE: And could the witness tell us what he meant when he
25 said "we"? Who discussed?
1 Witness, could you answer that question?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I said "we," some names were
3 mentioned, and that's what I had in mind. I said that we could have
4 discussed some other issues at some other locations or on a different
5 day. But as regards Demisevci, I know I did not discuss --
6 JUDGE ORIE: I just asked who "we" are. You gave a bit of a
7 vague answer. Some names were mentioned. Do you mean Anicic, Vrucinic,
8 Rasula included as well?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, when I said that I did have
10 the names in mind. They were referred to, and I said "we."
11 "We" may have discussed it but I don't remember when or what
13 JUDGE ORIE: But when you say "we," you refer to then, that is
14 Anicic and Vrucinic?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes. I had the two in mind.
16 Because there was a reference about us discussing something. However, I
17 do not remember us discussing this problem mentioned now.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Anicic being the note-taker with whom you
19 discussed these kind of matters. Is that properly understood?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not discuss it with him.
21 Please do not turn things around. I said --
22 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... well, I asked
23 you who you meant when you were talking about "we" and you confirmed that
24 at least Anicic and Vrucinic were among those you had on your mind. I'm
25 not twisting your words. I'm inviting Mr. Jeremy to put his next
1 question to you.
2 No, please wait for the next question.
3 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
4 Q. And I'll actually move to a different document which is related
5 to this entry.
6 MR. JEREMY: Could we please see 65 ter 31873, and that's the war
7 diary that we looked at at the start of the day.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's P7321, MFI.
9 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 And could we please go to page 19 in the English and 14 in the
11 B/C/S. And if we can focus on the left-hand side of the page in the
12 B/C/S to begin with, please.
13 Q. So, Colonel Basara, this is an entry in this notebook that we
14 were looking at earlier. It's dated 25th of May, 1992 which is the same
15 date as the entry in Rasula's diary that we looked at a moment ago. We
16 see a number of items. First item --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We did not hear the
19 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, you apparently interrupted Mr. Jeremy.
20 Your words were not heard. If there's anything to be said, wait until he
21 has finished his question and then answer it.
22 MR. JEREMY:
23 Q. So, Colonel Basara, I just want to take you to a few items that
24 we see listed on the 25th of May, 1992. We see a reference to
25 confiscation of weapons by force, "take weapons during the night (early
1 in the morning). Number 1: "Bring out all weapons within one hour (all,
2 both legal and illegal)."
3 We see number 2:
4 "Let them evacuate women and children (if they do not hand over
5 the weapons)."
6 Now, at point 8 we see the order and we see reference to: "Start
7 with Skucani Vakuf and then go on (Gorice, Naprelje, Okrec)."
8 If we could go to the next page, please, or scroll over to the
9 right in the B/C/S. Now we see what looks like planning for the
10 operation. "Tomorrow, day one completion up to and including, Suhaca.
11 Day 2, we push on to Demisevci."
12 Skipping down, we see Mahala is to be blocked. We see reference
13 to further Mahala, Kruhari, Trnova, Sehovci, Poljak. I see a reference
14 to Vrhpolje and Hrustovo. And below that we see a reference to "Be ready
15 at 0600, and open fire at Demisevci.
16 Now, Colonel, this reflects planning for the disarming operations
17 that the 6th Brigade were involved in in Sanski Most; correct?
18 A. No.
19 Q. In your view, then, what do these entries reflect if not planning
20 for operations against the locations listed here, including Demisevci
21 which we see -- saw a reference to in Rasula's diary?
22 A. I just know that what is mentioned up here, Okrec and the other
23 villages, those villages were checked by the 6th Brigade, that is to say
24 all of them, Fajtovci, Okreci, Skucani Vakuf, Kamengrad and so on. All
25 of that was dealt with by the 6th Brigade on their own. No one was
1 arrested. No force was applied. No violence, nothing. Mahala also the
2 6th Brigade. As for this plan that you are presenting to me, it is
3 totally unknown to me, I don't know who made that plan, and that -- on
4 the basis of that somebody acted.
5 Q. And you say on the basis of that, someone acted. So we see this
6 reference to Mahala, the plan for the -- this entry is dated the 25th.
7 Now it's correct, isn't it, that your forces and you personally acted
8 against Mahala on the 26th of May, 1992. You were involved in a military
9 operation there?
10 A. You can call it whatever you want, military operation. But we
11 actually set out to check things and to take weapons away. Fire was
12 opened and afterwards, the soldiers continued, that is to say, launched
13 an attack and Mahala was taken. However.
14 Q. Sir --
15 A. -- three hours were given to get all of those out who --
16 Q. [Previous translation continues]... shortly. I have one final
17 question on this entry. We see a couple of references to Demisevci.
18 Now, we saw a reference to that location in Rasula's diary entry, which
19 was the same date, and you say you don't recall discussing the location
20 of Demisevci.
21 Seeing it referred to here in the diary of a member of your
22 brigade, does that refresh your recollection that you did indeed have
23 discussions about that location with Rasula, Anicic, and Vrucinic?
24 A. Please prove that to me, that that is a member of my brigade who
25 made this plan.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, the simple question was whether this
2 refreshes your recollection. And apparently it does not. Is that how I
3 have to understand your answer?
4 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
5 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour --
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I've already said no.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Mr. Lukic.
8 MR. LUKIC: In the question we have, "in the diary of a member of
9 your brigade." Where we can find that, please. Finally, for the tenth
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jeremy, do you want to say something more about
12 the document so as to give support to the Prosecution's position in
13 relation to this document?
14 MR. JEREMY: Yes, Your Honour. Firstly, that the Prosecution is
15 entitled to put the witness their position in respect to this diary. And
16 I've put to the witness that's it's our position that it belongs to a
17 member of his brigade. In terms of the content of the diary, while we
18 are not clear who the original author of the diary is, it is clearly a
19 contemporaneous record of events that occurred in Sanski Most and as
20 we've just seen from the previous exhibit that we were looking at, it's
21 corroborated by other evidence in this case including that exhibit and a
22 number of other exhibits.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Do you know where it was found?
24 MR. JEREMY: It was handed over to -- it was -- it was located by
25 AID in Bosnia, I understand after the war and handed over to the -- to
1 the Tribunal.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And I take it if you have not located it you
3 can't hand it over. That's pretty clear but my question was do you know
4 where it was found, prior to it being given to OTP.
5 MR. JEREMY: My understanding it was found in an empty house
6 in -- in Bosnia in Sanski Most.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Okay.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Lukic has drawn your attention to the
9 question or to your supposition that you said, "in the diary of a member
10 of your brigade." What is the basis of this assumption that it was
11 written by a member of the brigade of Mr. Basara?
12 MR. JEREMY: So, the basis of that assumption is the entries
13 reflect planning of operations that evidence in this case suggests that
14 the brigade was involved in, for example, the attack on Mahala that we
15 saw referenced in Rasula's diary that we see referenced in this diary and
16 that we know occurred on the 26th of May 1992. The entries are also
17 corroborated by another diary, the diary of Dragan Karic, P7070, and the
18 very close corroboration between, for example, the entry on the 14th of
19 May in this diary and the entry on the 14th of May in Dragan Karic's
20 diary, that's page 4 of P7070.
21 So, our position is even though the author of this diary is not
22 clear, that is ultimately an issue of weight to be afforded to the diary.
23 But there is no doubt it is an authentic contemporaneous account of
24 events as occurring in Sanski Most.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Is the Prosecution of the Prosecution that the
1 author was a member of the brigade?
2 MR. JEREMY: Yes, Your Honours. The basis for what is the
3 reference to the various military operations that are recounted
4 throughout the diary. Military operations that the 6th Brigade were
5 involved in within Sanski Most.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
7 MR. LUKIC: Your Honours, quite the opposite --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic.
9 MR. LUKIC: -- Mr. Basara explained that they did not take part
10 in those operations.
11 Secondly, where is the proof that this is -- that this diary is
12 made at the time? We just heard now that it was received from AID. AID
13 was not only accused of forgeries but also of terrorism.
14 So, please, and my learned friend should inform the witness that
15 this was their position, that it was made by a member of his brigade, not
16 to ask the witness this -- this was made by the member of your brigade.
17 JUDGE ORIE: I think I --
18 MR. LUKIC: We object to introduction of any document received
19 from AID.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Well --
21 MR. LUKIC: We saw it from Trnovo, the forgeries made by them.
22 So ...
23 JUDGE ORIE: Let's move on at this moment. It may take quite a
24 bit of analysis before the Chamber could decide whether or not this
25 document has probative value or not.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE ORIE: We'll deal with that in due course.
3 Meanwhile, Mr. Jeremy, would you be very cautious in making a
4 clear distinction between what stands for a fact and what is an inference
5 drawn by the examiner.
6 MR. JEREMY: Yes, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
8 MR. JEREMY:
9 Q. Colonel Basara, can you think of who else other than someone in
10 your brigade would be writing down detail about operations that your
11 brigade were involved in, in preparation for disarming, on operations in
12 Sanski Most. And, in particular, why someone on the 25th of May would be
13 referring to attacks against Mahala, attacks against Vrhpolje and
14 Hrustovo that we know transpired a few days later?
15 MR. LUKIC: Objection.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic.
17 MR. LUKIC: Where is the proof that this was written on 25th of
18 May, not after the war?
19 JUDGE ORIE: That's not an objection. But I invited Mr. Jeremy
20 to clearly state what your position is and that is, here, that the
21 Prosecution assumes that this was written at that time.
22 And you're asking whether the witness would have any idea as to
23 who else could have written such details about the operations which were
24 conducted at the time as indicated in this document? That's what you
25 wanted to ask the witness --
1 MR. JEREMY: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
2 JUDGE ORIE: And, then, Witness, I don't know whether you wanted
3 to hear the question again. It will then be --
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE ORIE: Could you answer the question, Witness?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This document that was written up
7 here, it could have been written up by anybody from the Crisis Staff or
8 the municipality or the Territorial Defence. As for what is said here
9 that the 6th Brigade took part in the action vis-à-vis Mahala, that was
10 my personal plan, and it has nothing whatsoever to do anything with this.
11 So the brigade independently planned disarming. All the villages along
12 the road Lusci Palanka, Sanski Most. I assume that the Prosecutor knows
13 that. Mahala and Hrustovo too. All the other villages, the brigade did
14 not plan that at all and the brigade did not take part in that.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Jeremy.
16 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
17 Q. Let's stay with the subject of Mahala, Colonel Basara. Now
18 Mahala was a -- a Muslim area of Sanski Most; correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And on the 26th of May, 1992, residents there were given a
21 three-hour warning to evacuate, after which units from your brigade
22 shelled Mahala. That's correct, isn't it?
23 A. It's not that way. What was said was that all of those who don't
24 want to fight should get out of Mahala. That is to say, only those who
25 wished to put up resistance and fight are to stay in Mahala. That is the
1 truth. As for the rest that you phrased within your question, that is
2 not correct.
3 Q. So those who did not wish to fight were given a three-hour
4 warning to evacuate Mahala after which it was shelled. That's your
5 answer; yes?
6 A. Not shelled. When the soldiers went to Mahala, a few shells from
7 a mortar fell within the line. Later on, we found that 60-millimetre
8 mortar in Mahala. And so they opened that mortar and that's when fire
9 was opened at Mahala.
10 Q. So units from your brigade did, indeed, shell Mahala. That's
11 correct, isn't it?
12 A. I've said to you just now --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The sound is no longer
14 good enough for interpretation.
15 JUDGE ORIE: One second. One second. We do understand that the
16 quality of the audio is not good at this moment. I think the experience
17 of the last few days was that this sometimes changes very quickly again.
18 So I filled 20 seconds. Let's give it another try and see whether the
19 quality is now better.
20 Could you again put your question to the witness, Mr. Jeremy.
21 MR. JEREMY: Yes, Your Honour.
22 Q. So, Colonel Basara, my understanding is that your position is
23 that units from your brigade did shell Mahala; yes?
24 A. I said to you how it was that the shelling took place. You
25 cannot take things out of context, just saying yes or no.
1 So, first, three hours were given for all of those do not want to
2 fight to get out, to leave.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, I'm interrupting you. You've explained
4 that to us. And Mr. Jeremy finally then sought confirmation that your
5 units, perhaps with the whole history as you explained it to us, finally
6 fired shells at Mahala.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Fighting took place, and during
8 combat, both were firing. So it wasn't just random shelling of a
9 peaceful settlement. Rather, combat activities were taking place.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Including firing shells.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, firing projectiles, it is
12 only natural in armed combat, on both sides.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Jeremy.
14 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
15 Q. And, Colonel Basara, you know that civilians in Mahala died as a
16 consequence of this military operation. You know that; yes?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, I'd like to discuss the involvement of your Chief of Staff
19 in relation to Mahala. Your Chief of Staff was Major Veljko Brajic;
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, I didn't see a reference to this in your statement, but
23 you've previously admitted that you -- you know that your Chief of Staff
24 ordered the destruction of a mosque in Mahala. That's correct, isn't it?
25 A. I had my doubts. I did not claim anything. I had my doubts. I
1 thought that he couldn't have done that, but later on I found it was the
2 commander of the SOS, Njunja, that destroyed that. I mean, he didn't
3 need to take orders. He just did what he did.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Let me stop you there. No one asked you at this
5 moment what happened. What Mr. Jeremy asked you is whether you had
6 previously admitted that you knew that your Chief of Staff ordered the
7 destruction of a mosque. Did you say that in -- previously?
8 A. I said that I had my doubts, that I doubt that he could have --
9 JUDGE ORIE: Is that what you say today, or is what you said
10 previously? Because that is what the question was about.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had my doubts. Now I don't know
12 exactly what that was I said at some point before, but ...
13 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... then we'll ask
14 Mr. Jeremy to move on and he may have recordings of it.
15 Please proceed.
16 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
17 Q. And just another question on this. You previously said that not
18 only did Veljko Brajic order the destruction of the mosque in Mahala but
19 that he actually destroyed the mosque in Mahala, the mosque was destroyed
20 pursuant to his order. That's what you've previously said; yes?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Okay. Let's take a look at your interview in 2002, your
23 interview with the Office of the Prosecutor. After than we'll take a
24 look at your testimony in the Stanisic and Zupljanin case.
25 MR. JEREMY: Could we please see 65 ter 27968. And if we can go
1 to page 107 in the English and we have a B/C/S translation at page 133.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Before we do so, Mr. Jeremy, I'd like to come back
3 just for a second to an issue that arose earlier today, that is, whether
4 the witness said that "we carried out certain actions together," CLSS,
5 that is the Conference and Language Services Section, has verified on the
6 basis of the audio and reports that what the witness said is "we did not
7 carry it out -- carry out certain actions together."
8 Thank you, Mr. Lukic, for drawing our attention to this issue.
9 It has been verified. Witness, you may remember the dispute on
10 what you said before it has been verified and you said indeed you did not
11 carry out actions together.
12 Please proceed.
13 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. So, Colonel Basara, I'd like you to focus on the screen on the
15 left -- on the document on the left side and we see the -- we see that
16 you are asked about the destruction of a -- we see that you are asked --
17 I'm just finding the reference in the B/C/S.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It can't be the right page.
19 MR. JEREMY: Yeah, I think we need to go to the next page,
21 Q. So halfway down the page, and it's at line 12 in -- in the B/C/S,
22 we read that you state:
23 "I know of a mosque in Sanski Most. The Chief of Staff ordered
24 it the Chief of Staff Brajic Nedjeljko ordered that mosque to be
25 destroyed when he was the chief of the engineers."
1 "Q. Your Chief of Staff?
2 "Branko Basara: Yes. At the time that the attack on Mahala
4 "Q. He ordered the destruction of the mosque.
5 "A. He ordered that the mosque be demolished."
6 So, Colonel Basara, does this refresh your recollection that in
7 2002 you did, indeed, tell -- you did, indeed, state that your Chief of
8 Staff destroyed the mosque in Mahala.
9 A. He did not destroy that mosque. Later on, I found out that he
10 had ordered the chief of engineers to do that. However, in the meantime
11 Njunja did that, the commander of the SOS. So his order was not carried
13 Q. And you say that later on you found out that Njunja was
14 responsible, so this was after you gave this answer in 2002; is that
16 A. Later on, I found out, yes.
17 Q. Yes. Later on you found out. When -- when was that? Was after
18 this interview in 2002?
19 A. Well, yes, people come from those parts. I can't remember who it
20 was that I talked to exactly. And one man said that he knows with 100
21 per cent certainty that Njunja destroyed that mosque and he was the only
22 one who was in the area of Sanski Most who could handle explosives
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We didn't hear the end.
25 MR. JEREMY:
1 Q. Sir, I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I have limited time. My
2 question is: When did you find this out? When were you told that Njunja
3 destroyed this mosque?
4 A. Sometime later, after I had conversations and provided
5 statements. Then I met some people from the area of Sanski Most and we
6 talked about it all. Then one of them told me that he was positive that
7 it was done by Njunja and that the chief of engineers should not be
8 charged with that because he didn't do it.
9 Q. Sir, did you -- let me try and get a time-frame for this. Did
10 you find out this information before 2009?
11 A. Well, I really can't say what year it was when I learnt that. No
12 idea. I just know that I had those conversations, that I was in contact
13 with the people coming in, and we started remembering things. That is
14 how I remember one of them told me that it was Njunja. That whenever
15 explosives were used and mosques were involved, it was his work.
16 Q. Now, I'd like to just quickly to go to what you said during your
17 testimony in the Stanisic and Zupljanin case in 2009 and --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Before we do that --
19 Could the witness tell us who it was that told you that Njunja
20 did it? Witness.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Now, how could I remember? I spoke
22 to so many people. I can't remember who told me that.
23 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues]... thank you.
24 You've answered my question, Witness.
25 Mr. Jeremy.
1 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours. And I will ask for this --
2 this page to be -- this page of this interview to be tendered. I'm happy
3 to come back to these pages [Overlapping speakers] ...
4 JUDGE ORIE: We'll reserve a number for it but this page then
5 should be uploaded separately.
6 Madam Registrar, the number would be reserved for an excerpt from
7 the interview with Mr. Basara would receive.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, number would be P7322.
9 JUDGE ORIE: That number is reserved.
10 Please proceed.
11 MR. JEREMY: Could we please go to 65 ter 31876. I'd like to go
12 to page 77. And this is the testimony of Branko Basara in the Stanisic
13 and Zupljanin case.
14 Q. Now, Colonel Basara, there isn't a translation of this so you'll
15 need to listen to my words carefully, but I'm going to read you the
16 questions and answers that you provided during your testimony in the
17 Stanisic and Zupljanin case.
18 MR. JEREMY: Could we scroll down a little bit, please.
19 Q. Now, focussing on line 18, we read as follows:
20 "Q. Sorry, do you mean that you did make the request to
21 General Talic, that Major Brajic who had confessed to blowing up a mosque
22 should be removed? And I mean in June not in December" --
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You shouldn't read too fast.
24 MR. JEREMY:
25 Q. "I didn't only refer to the mosque issue, but also his work and
1 his conduct as my first assistant, and I had insisted a few times in
2 conversations with the General Talic that he be removed from the brigade.
3 "Q. Right. Did you say to General Talic who also incidentally
4 issued an order, didn't he, that mosques should not be destroyed or other
5 religious documents, did you explain to General Talic that he had
6 confessed to blowing up a mosque and, therefore, should be dismissed?
7 "A. I conveyed this to General Talic, and most probably in the
8 end he did accept my request to remove him from the brigade because I was
9 afraid if he did stay in the brigade."
10 So, Colonel Basara, it's clear that when you testified in the
11 Stanisic and Zupljanin case on the 13th of October, 2009, it was clear in
12 your mind that Major Brajic was indeed responsible for the destruction of
13 this mosque; yes.
14 A. Looking at the text and following those statements, I am quite
15 surprised to see it there. I know why I went to see General Talic,
16 asking him that Brajic and I leave the brigade together, that we both
17 leave. It was because Brajic tried to split up the brigades between his
18 and my men.
19 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
20 A. He wanted to take over control of the brigades at any cost.
21 Q. Sir my simple question to you is the follows [sic]: It's clear
22 that when you testified in Stanisic and Zupljanin case on the 13th of
23 October, 2009 it was clear in your mind that Major Brajic was responsible
24 for the destruction of this mosque. That's correct, isn't it?
25 A. As I said, concerning the mosque, I was unable to establish
1 anything but I did receive some information that Njunja did it. Because
2 Brajic did not --
3 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... Witness, I stop
4 you again. You apparently consider it important to give us your thoughts
5 of today. You've given them already. Mr. Jeremy asked you whether, when
6 you testified in the Stanisic and Zupljanin case, whether you testified
7 as he read it to you and which clearly expresses your conviction at that
8 time, that Major Brajic was responsible for the destruction of the
10 Is that what you said at the time?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was not my conviction. I was
12 only wondering or I was in doubt if it was he who could have issued the
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's not what is expressed or what is
15 recorded as would -- what you said at the time. Would you agree with
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would. But I had no proof. And
18 I couldn't assert anything.
19 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ...
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was only doubting. I was
21 suspicious that it was he who could have done it.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Witness you presented it as a fact and you even said
23 that he confessed to it, isn't it? That's a fact and not just
25 Is that what you said?
1 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, that he confessed is in the question.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't see anywhere that I ...
3 JUDGE ORIE: I think I read it, but ...
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I understand that if you ask someone whether
6 you explained to General Talic that he had confessed, that if you say, "I
7 conveyed this to General Talic," that -- but let's not, at this moment,
8 argue about that.
9 Did you say at the time what is recorded you to have said?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] About what?
11 JUDGE ORIE: About that you said at that time that the colonel
12 was responsible, Brajic was responsible. Is that what you said at the
13 time and not that you had doubts as whether he was but you just presented
14 that for a fact. That's what we read. You agree?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I agree that he was
16 responsible because he was in direct command of those activities. I
17 tried to --
18 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... for one reason
19 or another, you are evading to answer my questions. I just simply asked
20 you whether that is what you had said.
21 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, I again have to -- and I will maybe ask
22 Colonel to remove his headphones.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Please remove your headphones, Mr. Basara.
24 MR. LUKIC: In B/C/S, when somebody says "sumnjao sam" can be
25 translated "I had doubts" and can be translated "I suspected." And I
1 asked translators to verify that, if possible.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that can be --
3 MR. LUKIC: How I understood, Colonel Basara is telling us he
4 suspected not that he had doubts.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Now, whether the one is true or the other, what is
6 recorded at this statement that he presents for facts and the question
7 whether he had doubts or whether it was just suspicions.
8 MR. LUKIC: When he had said today that he had doubts.
9 JUDGE ORIE: The only thing we're doing at this moment and it
10 takes us a while to establish whether the witness said in Stanisic and
11 Zupljanin what he is recorded to have said.
12 MR. LUKIC: Why I --
13 JUDGE ORIE: And at that time from what we read in the
14 transcript, but it always can be verified if there are serious doubts, we
15 read that he presented that for a fact, and whether today he says it was
16 just a suspicion or I had doubts or whatever, the issue at stake is that
17 he was -- what he presented as a fact in the Stanisic/Zupljanin case is
18 now presented as an uncertainty, and I leave it apart whether that is
19 suspicion or doubt or whatever.
20 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, why I intervened that doubt is in your
21 question as well so it might be confusing a bit [Overlapping
22 speakers] ...
23 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ...
24 MR. LUKIC: Line -- page 56, line 18 so --
25 JUDGE ORIE: One of the problems is, Mr. Lukic, and you certainly
1 are aware of that whatever question you ask the witness he has apparently
2 difficulties in answering that question rather -- but let me see.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I should have said, not that it was just a
5 suspicion or that you had doubts.
6 If the two meanings are there -- but again the core issue is
7 whether the witness said so. Now I don't intend to spend more time with
8 the witness on that. As to whether there's any doubt he said that, we'll
9 have to check the Stanisic and Zupljanin.
10 MR. LUKIC: He admitted that he said that.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Well -- well, you are optimistic and --
12 MR. LUKIC: Maybe you can check with him. Because he was talking
13 about burned mosque or destroyed mosque.
14 JUDGE ORIE: When I asked him whether he said that the Colonel
15 was responsible he said he was responsible but he didn't do it and --
16 well, let's -- Mr. Lukic.
17 MR. LUKIC: -- yes.
18 JUDGE ORIE: -- let's continue with the evidence of the witness.
19 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
20 JUDGE ORIE: And take a break first.
21 Witness, we'll take a break of 20 minutes. We'd like to see you
22 back after this break.
23 We resume at 25 minutes to 1.00.
24 --- Recess taken at 12.14 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 12.37 p.m.
1 JUDGE ORIE: If the videolink is functioning well, we can
2 continue, Mr. Jeremy.
3 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours. And staying on this topic
4 of Major Brajic and mosques, could we please go back to Colonel Basara's
5 interview in 2002, 65 ter 27986.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: P7322, reserved.
7 MR. JEREMY: Sorry, Your Honour. Mental block. Although there
8 may be -- that's the whole -- yeah, that's fine. Could we please go to
9 page 108 in the English and 138 in the B/C/S.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the B/C/S version has 137 pages in
11 total. Can counsel check?
12 JUDGE ORIE: In English, it's two pages from the end so that may
13 make it easier to find the corresponding B/C/S page.
14 MR. JEREMY: If we could back two pages in the B/C/S, please.
15 And back another page as well, please.
16 MR. LUKIC: The top of the page is at the bottom of the B/C/S
17 version: "What could I do?" It's BB from the bottom of the page, if
18 that's what you need.
19 MR. JEREMY: Yeah, I'd like to go from where we see the question:
20 "Can I ask you one question?"
21 MR. LUKIC: That's the last question on this page.
22 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
23 Q. Colonel Basara, focussing your attention on the bottom of the
24 page, at line 31 and looking at the English at line 6, we see you're
25 asked the following question: "Can I ask you one question? When the
1 Chief of Staff gave the orders for the destruction of the mosque in
2 Mahala, was it actually destroyed?"
3 Your answer: "Yes, it was demolished, and do you know how I came
4 to that conclusion? Because I was not on my command post and the
5 chief -- and the chief engineer wants to see me. And I used a bit of a
6 ruse and I just extended my hand and said: Thank you to you it was
7 really done brightly, and he just laughed and he said: We didn't need
8 much explosive. It just lied down. Because the Chief of Staff had
9 actually told me [sic] that those were my orders, that I had ordered" --
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Told him.
11 MR. JEREMY: Sorry. "Had told him that those were my orders,
12 that I had ordered it, and so he gave himself out and he admitted to
13 having done it. To which - and then I told him, you know: I, I, it
14 wasn't me, I didn't issue the order. You were, basically, you were
15 cheated. They cheated you. And, so you will be the one who will be held
16 responsible for this. And, so one day, if you're held responsible you go
17 and then you tell people at whose orders you actually did this."
18 Q. So, Colonel Basara, here you are relaying how you -- you tricked
19 your chief engineer into admitting to you that he destroyed the mosque in
20 Mahala upon the orders of Major Brajic; correct?
21 A. That is the impression you get from reading it. But later on
22 when I learned what I learnt, as I said, I realised it couldn't have been
23 him. He may have been present though because later on he refused to
24 admit it.
25 So as it probably turned out he was there, present but Njunja was
1 the man in charge who set the explosives. The other guy was not as
2 competent to do so.
3 Q. But, sir, you would agree that in 2002, there was no doubt in
4 your mind about who -- who was in charge and who was responsible for the
5 demolition of this mosque in Mahala?
6 A. I didn't know at the time, and, as I said, I provided that
7 particular answer to that question at the time. But later on, through
8 conversations and when I thought about it carefully, I concluded that the
9 chief of engineers did not have sufficient knowledge to destroy a mosque
10 in one go. Then I realised that it was done by Njunja.
11 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ...
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He may have been present only.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, I'm interrupting you. Could you please
14 answer the questions and refrain from a lot of other comments because the
15 question still was whether in 2002, it was clear on your mind who was in
16 charge and who was responsible for the demolition of the mosque.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not 100 per cent.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But you told, as you said in the beginning of
19 today -- of -- your testimony in this Court, that when you gave your
20 statement, including the one in 2002, that you had told the truth, isn't
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the time, I thought --
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
2 Please proceed, Mr. Jeremy.
3 MR. JEREMY:
4 Q. Colonel Basara, in paragraph 64 of your statement, you say the
5 following: "I do not know who destroyed the mosques in Sanski Most. The
6 perpetrators put stockings on their head."
7 Now, sir, now you're telling the Court that you -- that you
8 learnt that it was Njunja who destroyed this mosque in Mahala. So my
9 question to is why did you not make that clear in your statement and --
10 and why did you not make clear your previous suspicions about
11 Major Brajic?
12 A. I mean -- I don't understand this question very well. When the
13 mosque in Mahala was destroyed, there were no people with stockings on
14 their heads. It had to do with other mosques.
15 Q. Well, sir, you say in your statement, paragraph 64: "I do not
16 know who destroyed these mosques in Sanski Most. The perpetrators put
17 stockings on their head."
18 And I'm putting to that you do have an idea about who was
19 involved. You once thought it was a Major Brajic. You now seem to be
20 telling us that it was a man called Njunja.
21 So why not mention that in your statement that you've put into
22 evidence before this Chamber?
23 A. I mean, when there are 100 ambiguous questions, one often has a
24 slip of the tongue or says something that may not necessarily be so.
25 Now, as you put this question, it doesn't pertain to mosques but a
1 mosque. They had their stockings in Sanski Most on their heads. It
2 doesn't concern mosques, in the plural. In Mahala, there was no one with
3 a stocking on their head. There was no need.
4 Q. Sir --
5 A. The first person to arrive in the area of the mosque was Njunja.
6 Q. I'm less focussed on stockings on heads and more the fact that
7 you say you have no idea who destroyed the mosques in Sanski Most. Can
8 we agree that when you said that actually it wasn't the truth?
9 A. Again, you put such questions that one simply doesn't know how to
10 answer them. No matter what I say seems to be incorrect.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Witness --
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- I discussed mosques, in the
13 plural, all mosques, and yet again you go back to a single one.
14 JUDGE ORIE: But that single one, Witness, is included in the
15 overall category mosques in Sanski Most.
16 Now, in your statement, you say you had no idea of the
17 perpetrators. Today you told us that, at least in relation to Mahala,
18 you had an idea about the perpetrators, that is, Njunja. And that is
19 what Mr. Jeremy is drawing your attention --
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Only for one mosque in Mahala. As
21 for the other mosques, I was never able to find out who destroyed them.
22 JUDGE ORIE: So a truthful answer to what you were asked when you
23 gave your statement in paragraph 64 would have been: I do not know who
24 destroyed the mosques in Sanski Most apart from Mahala, where I had an
25 idea who had done it."
1 That would have been the whole truth.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That would have been the truth.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
4 Please proceed, Mr. Jeremy.
5 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
6 Q. And, Colonel Basara, you -- you know that all the mosques in
7 Sanski Most were knocked down, weren't they?
8 A. I don't know whether all of them were knocked down. As for the
9 villages I went through, I could see that they were, indeed, destroyed
11 Q. Let's take a quick look at your Stanisic and Zupljanin testimony.
12 MR. JEREMY: And I'd like to tender the page of this 2002
13 interview that we just looked at. I can come back at the end with an
14 excerpt perhaps.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated]
16 MR. JEREMY: Yes, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps to keep matters also short.
18 Witness, could you tell us whether there was any mosque you saw
19 still standing?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. Mosques may have
21 been destroyed even after my departure. In any case, as for the villages
22 I went through, I think there was only one in Kamengrad, an old mosque
23 that had not been destroyed. The new one was though.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's the only one you still saw not being
25 destroyed in Sanski Most?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. That was the only one along
2 the route I travelled the most.
3 MR. JEREMY:
4 Q. Okay. Let's ...
5 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
6 MR. JEREMY:
7 Q. I have a couple of final questions on this, Colonel Basara. Now
8 you testified in the Stanisic and Zupljanin case that General Talic, your
9 superior commander, explained to you that Major Brajic was a good senior
10 officer who should be kept. And this is in reference to the
11 conversations that you had with General Talic when you suspected that
12 Major Brajic had destroyed this mosque.
13 Now my question to you is: Who was in the superior command who
14 explained to you or explained to General Talic that Major Brajic was a
15 good superior officer who should be kept?
16 A. I don't know who was present. It was a long time ago. He was an
17 infantry man in any case, with specialist knowledge in combat activities
18 and tactical exercises. Given the fact that he was quite younger than
19 me, I expected that he would take over the brigade, and I tried to
20 introduce him to the job, to test him. However, I realised that he was
21 under somebody's influence and I was afraid that politicians would
22 eventually be able to take over the staff and the brigade. When I
23 realised that I could no longer stay --
24 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... Witness, I
25 interrupt you. The simple question was who was in the superior command
1 who explained to you or explained to General Talic that Major Brajic was
2 a good superior officer who should be kept.
3 Who was it? That's the question.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
6 Next question, please.
7 MR. JEREMY:
8 Q. Now, Colonel Basara, there's evidence in this case that the high
9 command did indeed subsequently take steps in respect of Major Brajic,
10 and these steps are indicated in the military notebook of General Mladic,
11 P364, pages 240 to 244.
12 Now, that entry in that notebook dated the 15th of January, 1996,
13 refers to Major Brajic as a -- or refers to a Lieutenant-Colonel Brajic.
14 Were you aware that Brajic was promoted during the course of the war to
15 lieutenant-colonel from a major?
16 A. I'm not aware of that. Because when I left the brigade, while I
17 was in the operations group, I know that he was not promoted and later on
18 I have no idea whatsoever.
19 Q. And the same entry refers to a Lieutenant-Colonel Brajic being
20 appointed to the school of the Main Staff in 1996. Now, were you aware
21 of that, Colonel Basara?
22 A. I know that he went to Manjaca, to the school centre there
23 because he is very competent for training.
24 Q. Okay. Let's leave that there and we will move on. I'd like to
25 briefly discuss operations that your units were engaged in Hrustovo, late
1 May/early June 1992.
2 Now you refer to Hrustovo in your statements in -- in
3 paragraph 47. You explain that when the battalion commander headed
4 towards Hrustovo with his units and entered the village two of his
5 soldiers were killed and you explain that the soldiers gave civilians
6 within Hrustovo the opportunity to evacuate before an attack was
7 launched. That's your -- that's -- that's what you say in paragraph 47.
8 Now you also say that it -- individuals that perished in the
9 village were Muslims who had taken part in the fighting against VRS
10 forces in Hrustovo on the 31st of May, 1992 and you say that these Muslim
11 fighters were dressed in civilian clothes and they were not buried with
12 their weapons so that when they are exhumed one would get the impression
13 that they are civilians, and you say that you exclude the possibility
14 that anyone who did not take part in the combat activities was killed
16 Now, Colonel Basara, this Chamber has received evidence that Serb
17 soldiers shot dead a number of civilians, overwhelmingly women and
18 children, who were hiding in a garage, the Merdanovic garage, in Hrustovo
19 on the 31st of May, 1992. P2499, for example.
20 Now this evidence includes exhumation reports, for example,
22 Now, just so I'm clear, you're not suggesting that these persons
23 were somehow Muslim fighters dressed in civilian clothes, are you?
24 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please answer the question, Witness?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And what was the question?
1 JUDGE ORIE: The question was whether the evidence this Chamber
2 received that women and children were killed during the Hrustovo event,
3 whether they were -- had taken part in combat activities.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it's clear to everyone that
5 they did not take part in combat. But do give me the day when the first
6 actions took place in Hrustovo and when these people fell victim. So
7 it's not the same day, is it?
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jeremy, you may --
9 MR. JEREMY: Yes.
10 Q. Colonel Basara, the day is the 31st of May, 1992, and the
11 evidence that this Chamber has received is that women and children were
12 murdered in a garage in Hrustovo on the 31st of May, 1992. Now you
13 were -- you are aware of that incident; yes?
14 A. I heard about that later. I heard of this incident later. I
15 don't know when exactly when I was being questioned. But do tell me the
16 date, when you have this recorded. When did this first attack take place
17 against Hrustovo? I would like to know that date. You do have it
18 registered, don't you.
19 Q. Yes, Colonel Basara, I will repeat the date, it's 31st of
20 May 1992, and you are saying that you were aware of the casualties of
21 women and children but you're also saying that you exclude the
22 possibility that anyone who took part in combat activities was killed
24 JUDGE ORIE: Did not take part.
25 MR. JEREMY: Did not take part.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
2 MR. JEREMY:
3 Thank you.
4 A. Because combat was taking place. Two hours were given so that
5 all of those who did not wish to fight just like I did in Mahala that
6 they could pull out of that village and go towards Sanski Most. Those
7 who stayed, if combat activities were taking place, could have lost his
8 life and, of course, who was fighting could certainly have been killed.
9 So the army did something that I thought was normal. That is to say,
10 those who do not wish to fight should leave. That is to say, those who
11 remain in Hrustovo would be the ones who wished to fight.
12 Q. Colonel, do you accept that some civilians did remain and those
13 civilians did lose their lives on the 31st of May in Hrustovo in the
14 Merdanovic garage?
15 A. I do not accept that. Those who did not want to get out when
16 combat activities were taking place could have lost his life. When NATO
17 was bombing they didn't give a second for anyone to leave and everybody
18 who got killed was considered to be collateral damage.
19 JUDGE ORIE: But do you then consider the killing of women and
20 children in the garage as collateral damage?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do not. But if they did not
22 leave from areas where mortars, Osas, Zoljas and other weapons were being
23 fired then it could have happened that they would get killed. Nobody
24 could have stopped that from happening.
25 JUDGE ORIE: And is it your information that they were killed
1 from mortar fire?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because according to some
3 statements, it says artillery was fired in Hrustovo for three days. So
4 from the area of Golaja, Muslims were firing mortars against the Serbs
5 when they entered Hrustovo. So they could have been killed by their
6 shells too. And before they entered the village, it could have been ours
8 JUDGE ORIE: So you do not know, really, about how they were
9 killed? Is that how I have to understand your testimony?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. I don't know.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, in your statement, where you say, "I
12 exclude the possibility that anyone who did not take part in the combat
13 activities was killed there," as a matter of fact, you do not know that
14 either, isn't it?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I just know that those who did not
16 leave Hrustovo could have lost their lives, and I do not know of a single
17 one who had been killed that had not been fighting.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Including those women and children?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I've already told you about
20 the women and children.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's --
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] How that could happen ...
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jeremy, please proceed.
24 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. And, Colonel Basara, the women and children in this garage the
1 evidence that this Chamber has received is that they were not killed by
2 shells or Zoljas that they were killed by weapons, automatic weapons
3 being fired into the garage in which they were hiding. But you indicated
4 that you don't have clear knowledge about this, but that do you know that
5 your units were in Hrustovo village on the 31st of May, 1992, that's --
6 that's accurate, yes?
7 A. I don't know whether it was the 31st of May because I did not
8 keep a diary or something. I don't know what date it was. I don't know
9 that now. And I do know that activities evolved in the way in which I
10 have already presented.
11 As for the dates you have there I mean, there are different
12 references to different dates.
13 Q. Well, sir --
14 A. So --
15 Q. Sir, you're very clear on dates in your statement which is what
16 I'm using now.
17 Let's move onto Vrhpolje which as I understand it was a related
18 operation and which you discuss in your statements.
19 Now, citizen -- civilians who were evacuating from Hrustovo or
20 all those people who didn't want to fight in Hrustovo headed towards
21 Vrhpolje. That's correct, yes?
22 A. Yes. So they were going as they were retreating gradually,
23 nobody took them out. They, themselves, went towards Vrhpolje.
24 Q. Thank you, so the answer is yes. In paragraph 42 of your
25 statement you discuss what you call the crime at Vrhpolje bridge where 16
1 Muslims were killed took place on that same day, and --
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. So that you're aware that the Prosecution charges that there were
4 28 persons that day, but I want to discuss these events now.
5 Now, your position is that persons who were evacuated from
6 Hrustovo were murdered on Vrhpolje bridge by paramilitaries who
7 intercepted them and then executed a number of them on that bridge.
8 That's -- that's basically your position; yes?
9 A. My position is not several of them as you had put it, but it's
10 16. That is the group that --
11 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
12 A. -- we could not establish who they were.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We could not hear the rest
14 of the sentence.
15 MR. JEREMY:
16 Q. That's understood, Colonel, and I'm sorry to speak across you, I
17 have limited time.
18 Now, there's evidence before this Trial Chamber and that's at
19 T147 to T169 that the men executed on the bridge of Vrhpolje were being
20 escorted out of Hrustovo by your soldiers who then executed the men on
21 that bridge. And that's -- that's the truth, isn't it?
22 A. That's not the truth. That is a total fabrication of those who
23 are now providing you with that information.
24 Q. Let's go through that in a little bit of detail. Now, from your
25 statement, you indicate that you actually heard the firing on the bridge
1 that -- when you were 100 or 200 metres away from the bridge. This is
2 paragraph 43.
3 Now, It's correct that there was a civilian police check-point on
4 or very near to Vrhpolje bridge; yes?
5 A. Not civilian police but armed men. Some had blue uniforms, I
6 mean, of the civilian protection, others had these camouflage uniforms.
7 Now they were -- was it from the Territorial Defence or civilian
8 protection from Sanski Most? They were the ones who held the check-point
9 there, right by the bridge.
10 Q. So there was a check-point by the bridge which -- which you say
11 may have been staffed by men in blue uniforms or camouflage uniforms.
12 Now you previously indicated that the men at that check-point
13 were armed. That's correct; yes?
14 A. Well, they were armed, and they fired and they made these other
15 people jump into the Sana and then they fired at them. That's the
16 information that I received from these people who watched that.
17 Q. Colonel, to be clear, I want to draw a distinction between the
18 people who you believe are responsible for the executions on the bridge
19 and the people who were staffing the check-point that was on or near to
20 the bridge which you've previously discussed.
21 Now you previously indicated there was a civilian police
22 check-point, that was in the close vicinity of the bridge. So is this
24 A. Well, I've already said that this did exist but it didn't have to
25 be the civilian police. I knew that these were people who were appointed
1 by the leadership of Sanski Most. Now whether there were policemen among
2 them and who that was, that I don't know. But they were at that
4 Q. Are you now saying today that it was people who were at that
5 check-point who were also involved in the executions on Vrhpolje bridge?
6 A. They were not involved. They were in shelters when I jumped out
7 of the vehicle and ran towards the bridge.
8 Q. And these men who were in the shelters, they were -- they were
9 armed but they took no steps to prevent the executions; correct?
10 A. Well, they did not expect that to happen at all. Because that
11 happened in a moment, so they could not react at all. They couldn't have
12 prevented that. The order issued was that these people should jump and
13 they did not expect them to shoot at them and this happened at lightning
14 speed. And I checked that, and they said that could have not have
15 intervened at all. And then this group escaped to the other side of the
16 bridge when they heard them shouting, Colonel Basara. Then they ran
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jeremy, can I ask one clarifying question.
19 You said the order issued was that these people should jump. How
20 do you know that this was the order?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, listen, now you'll be asking
22 me whether it was written too. Well, the group that was shooting ordered
23 them. They demanded that they jump into the water. And then we jumped
24 into the water, then they started firing at them. And the
25 interpretation --
1 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... I stop you
3 First of all, would you refrain from cynical observations.
4 Second, would you please answer my question. My question was:
5 How did you know that this was the order issued?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Now you have to explain to me who
7 issued the order so that I could answer that question for you.
8 JUDGE ORIE: You said --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Who was it that could have issued
10 the order?
11 JUDGE ORIE: Well, I took it from your statement that those
12 who -- Witness, would you not interrupt me. I took it -- Witness, do not
13 interrupt me. Otherwise we'll have to deal with it in another way.
14 I took from your statement that those on the bridge who killed
15 the soldiers, that they ordered them to jump from that bridge.
16 Is that well understood?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's it. Now who ordered
18 that, they ordered that, and those people jumped in, and then they fired
19 at them.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Now, my question is: How do you know that they were
21 ordered to jump from the bridge instead of, for example, being kicked
22 from the bridge or whatever, but how do you know that they were ordered
23 to jump from that bridge?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There's no other way they could
25 have jumped, when these people at the check-point claim that they did not
1 throw them in or push them in or that. They said that all of a sudden
2 they all jumped from the bridge. So the only thing that could have
3 happened was that somebody had ordered that.
4 JUDGE ORIE: First of all, we are clearly separating the people
5 at the check-point who were in the shelter and those were at the bridge.
6 I'm focussing at this moment on those on the bridge. You said they
7 ordered them to jump from that bridge.
8 Now, could you tell us, how do you know that it -- they ordered
9 them to do that or that they spontaneously jumped from the bridge, or
10 that they were kicked from the bridge, or whatever may have happened?
11 How do you know that they were ordered to jump from the bridge?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is my assumption.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because the explanation given to me
15 was --
16 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... my question.
17 Thank you.
18 Please proceed.
19 MR. JEREMY:
20 Q. Now, Colonel, in respect to this incident in paragraph 43 of your
21 statement, you say that no one recognised the perpetrators.
22 Now, you -- you don't mention this in your statement --
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... the fact is that you
25 recognised two of the people who were on the bridge while the shooting
1 was takes place, didn't you?
2 A. Yes. Two persons who escorted Major Brajic, they were present by
3 the bridge, but they kept saying to me all the time that they didn't know
4 anybody from that group. And my impression was that they were not firing
5 at all. They had their weapons on their right shoulders.
6 Q. And what were the names of these two men who were on the bridge
7 who were Major Brajic's escorts and who had their weapons on their
9 A. I think one was Mutic, that was his last name. And the other
10 one's first name is Ilija but I don't have all their details. It was a
11 long time ago. So I just remember that one of the escorts was nicknamed
12 Muta, his last name being Mutic and the other one's first name was Ilija.
13 Q. You previously indicated you thought it might be an
14 Ilija Maksimovic. Does that refresh your recollection?
15 A. Maybe. Maksimovic, but I don't remember exactly. I just know it
16 is Ilija.
17 Q. Now the fact that you recognised two men, two men who were in
18 your brigade who were on the bridge at the time of this execution, did
19 you consider that something relevant to include in your statement? And
20 why didn't you include it?
21 A. Well, nobody asked me. And even now, if you're not asking me
22 about something, I don't say anything to you. So if I'm not asked, I
23 cannot state anything.
24 Q. Now, these two escorts of Major Brajic who were on this bridge
25 who you spoke to immediately after this incident, you didn't arrest them,
1 did you?
2 A. I had no grounds on which I could have arrested them because when
3 I jumped out of the vehicle, I saw that their weapons were on their
4 shoulders. They were not among those people on the bridge who were
5 fighting, and the group fled, and they just went on standing there.
6 Q. And --
7 A. And then they walked up to me --
8 Q. Sir, you mentioned the weapons on their shoulders. Did you take
9 those weapons for any sort of ballistics analysis?
10 A. I don't know. I mean, I don't want to sound funny now or
11 anything. I didn't send it off for an analysis. I didn't have time to
12 do that, to examine the victims, to send weapons off to ballistics
13 analysis and so on. All the people I had available were reservists.
14 Q. So 16 men killed almost in front of your eyes and you don't have
15 time to launch a proper investigation into that. Is that your position?
16 A. It's not that I didn't have time. But I didn't have the experts,
17 the organs who could have done that. And I'm not a professional. I am
18 not able to do that.
19 Q. Well --
20 A. So that means that during the war, I should have dealt with such
21 questions, investigations for 90 per cent of my time and leave aside
22 everything else. And combat was ongoing in Hrustovo, so there wasn't
23 enough time. There weren't any professional personnel there who would be
24 capable of doing that.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jeremy, I'm looking at the clock.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE ORIE: In order to make the last session not too short, as
3 a matter of fact, I would refer to take the break now and then resume at
4 quarter to 2.00.
5 Witness, we'll take a break and we'll resume at quarter to 2.00.
6 --- Recess taken at 1.25 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 1.47 p.m.
8 JUDGE ORIE: The videolink apparently is still functioning well.
9 Mr. Jeremy, you may proceed. If I -- my calculation is okay,
10 then you have 20 minutes left.
11 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. Now, Colonel Basara, staying with events on Vrhpolje bridge,
13 there is evidence in this case that a 6th Brigade member,
14 Jadranko Palija, was a perpetrator of the killings on Vrhpolje bridge.
15 That's P7072.
16 Now, Colonel Basara, you knew Jadranko Palija; yes?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Now, he was convicted for his involvement in these crimes in the
19 State Court of Bosnia. Did you hear about this conviction? And this was
20 in 2008.
21 A. No.
22 Q. And he's actually also mentioned in connection with this
23 particular crime in the indictment against you in the State Court that's
24 been issued by the BiH prosecutor, and that's in paragraph 8. Do you
25 recall seeing his name in your indictment.
1 Could you repeat your answer, please.
2 A. I wasn't paying attention to the individual names in the
3 indictment, but I understood the charges as laid out, more or less.
4 Q. Now I'd like to look at a document that you issued the day after
5 the events on Vrhpolje bridge and the events in Hrustovo, and that's
7 MR. JEREMY: If we could please see that on our screens.
8 Q. Now, we see that this is a document from the Command of the
9 6th Brigade and it's dated the 1st of June 1992. If we can please go to
10 page 3 in the English and the B/C/S. Sorry, page 2 in the B/C/S, the
11 last page.
12 And we see your name and the signature. Is that your signature,
13 Colonel Basara?
14 A. Yes. Yes, it is.
15 Q. And in the paragraph immediately above your signature, we read
16 that: This order shall be read out to all subordinate units of the
17 brigade by a time we can't -- that we don't know on the 3rd of June, 1992
18 and the brigade command is to be informed about it through the regular
19 communications system.
20 Colonel Basara, you said something that wasn't captured, could
21 you -- could you repeat it. Or are you saying yes, yes it is?
22 A. I said yes, the date is 3rd of June, 1992.
23 Q. Now if we go back to the first page of this document, please.
24 And the heading is "Establishing discipline in the units of the
25 brigade during combat operations." And we see that there is an order and
1 there are a number of items - we don't have time to deal with them all -
2 but I'd like to focus your attention on -- on number 2. So we see that:
3 "In future combat operations we must not repeat the mistakes we've made
4 before in the treatment of prisoners and that no one has the right to
5 beat or abuse prisoners when they are brought in and until questioning
6 has been carried out. Any soldier who abuses prisoners must be
7 discharged from the unit without delay."
8 And then number 3: "I categorically forbid acts of genocide
9 against the population of the opposing side who are unable to fight,
10 including women, children under 18, the sick and people over 60 years of
12 Now, Colonel Basara, this is issued the day after the events in
13 Hrustovo, the -- the executions in the garage. This is a reference to
14 those events, is it not?
15 A. Well, at this moment, I don't know whether it pertained to those
16 events, but it mostly concerned the situation at the Vrhpolje bridge and
17 Kenjari, where 17 people were killed.
18 Q. But, sir --
19 A. That is what prompted me to draft this order.
20 Q. My understanding is that victims of those events were male, male
21 civilians. Now here we see there's a reference to women and children
22 under 18. So which women and children under 18 did you have in mind when
23 you forbidded [sic] acts of genocide against them on the 3rd of June,
25 A. It was a general formulation. It involved the categories that
1 were supposed to be protected in times of war. That is why it had been
2 ordered that all those not wishing to fight had to withdraw to certain
3 areas. It referred to all those who were not capable of fighting.
4 Q. But when I look at this order, Colonel Basara, and I see the
5 title, "Establishing discipline in the units of the brigade," and I see
6 you forbidding acts of genocide against women and children, that
7 certainly suggests to me that are acts that had been carried out that you
8 now needed to forbid in the future.
9 A. It doesn't have to be. I always tried to foresee and to take
10 measures to prevent things from happening.
11 As regards your interpretation, I cannot offer any other
13 Q. So if I understand your answer correctly you're thinking that
14 this -- this could have been an order that you issued in anticipation of
15 any soldiers in your unit thinking about committing genocide against
16 women and children under 18 and you're just simply forbidding any such
17 future activity?
18 Is that your position?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Okay.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Could I ask one short question.
22 And, please, a short answer, Witness. The events we discussed
23 earlier, did they play any role in triggering you to issue this order?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, to a certain extent,
25 especially the event at the Vrhpolje bridge.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It - how should I put it? - it
3 completely ...
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please, you said: "It completely ..." and then
5 I didn't hear the remainder of the sentence.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] How should I put it? It drove me
7 nuts completely, thinking that people could do such a thing. I was
8 concerned that such a situation could repeat -- be repeated. That is why
9 I issued this order to pre-empt any such future events.
10 JUDGE ORIE: But was it then your own soldiers who had done it?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It wasn't done by my soldiers. But
12 one learns from others' mistakes.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I'm trying to understand why you said that you
14 wanted to -- to restore or at least heighten the discipline. It was
15 triggered by these events, you were addressing your own soldiers,
16 although the events were not including anything done by your soldiers.
17 I'm trying to understand that. If you would be in a position to give me
18 one or two more words on it, I would appreciate it.
19 Next question, please, Mr. Jeremy.
20 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
21 Q. And, Colonel Basara, just before we leave this document, I'd like
22 to focus your attention on number 1 and the third bullet point down where
23 we see a reference to: "All soldiers prone to burning down and
24 destroying buildings from which the enemy is not opening fire at the unit
25 must be discharged."
1 Now, at the time, you -- you believed that -- or -- that Major
2 Brajic had destroyed the mosque in Mahala but you -- you -- you didn't
3 discharge your Chief of Staff from your unit in -- pursuant to your own
4 order, did you?
5 A. I couldn't prove that. I had no witnesses, and I couldn't have
6 him removed on the basis of my suspicion. It is also a question of
7 whether my superior command in the corps would have allowed it.
8 Q. And you think that your superior command in the corps wouldn't
9 have allowed it. That's correct; yes?
10 A. I can't say either way.
11 Q. Okay. Let move on --
12 A. But that was my reasoning at the time.
13 Q. Let's move on. In paragraph 50 of your statement, you refer to
14 Skrljevita, and you state that: "I do not even know where this is." The
15 paramilitary would go from municipality to municipality and that your
16 unit was not in that village.
17 Now, Colonel Basara, it's -- it's -- it's correct that you
18 actually issued a criminal report against Danilusko Kajtez in respect of
19 this incident on the 7th of December, 1992, is it not?
20 A. It is incorrect. It was issued by Colonel Kajtez, his uncle,
21 because it happened after I left the brigade.
22 Q. Okay. Let's take a quick look at 65 ter 06529, please.
23 Now, on the screen before you, Colonel Basara, is a document
24 dated the 7th of December, 1992. You'd not left the brigade by this
25 time, correct, you said you left in the middle of December 1992?
1 A. I don't know exactly when I left, but it was sometime in
2 December. You have --
3 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... let's go to the last page.
4 And we see there, Colonel Basara, your name and your signature. Do you
5 see that?
6 A. Yes, it is my signature.
7 Q. And can we go to page 2 in the English and 2 in the B/C/S,
9 Now, Colonel Basara, you see that the subheading, "Description of
10 crime." We see that on the 1st of November, 1992, in Glamosnica, the
11 passage for Skrljevita, Danilusko Kajtez and others laid in wait for a
12 man who came from Skrljevita who Dane then" - if we go to the next page
13 in the English - "questioned about who was on guard, what weapons they
14 had, who was organising them. Dane then killed with him his light
15 machine-gun by firing a bullet into his chest." And then you go on to
16 talk about another incident on -- on the same day, where more persons
17 were killed.
18 So I understand it was a long time ago, Colonel Basara, but in
19 fact, you did know about this incident in Skrljevita and you did have the
20 capacity to request -- request the Office of the Military Prosecutor to
21 investigate certain crimes, didn't you?
22 MR. LUKIC: Objection.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
24 MR. LUKIC: It does not say that it was in Skrljevita. Please
25 read the first sentence after the subtitle. It says: "In the place of
1 Glamosnica, passage to Skrljevita." So it's not Skrljevita.
2 JUDGE ORIE: I think that Mr. Jeremy said Glamosnica and then
3 he ... let me just see. Glamosnica, the palm of Skrljevita. Let me just
4 see whether that's a ...
5 MR. LUKIC: In line 17, says this incident in Skrljevita. So it
6 can be [Overlapping speakers] ...
7 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, it's --
8 Yes, apparently the witness -- Mr. Jeremy considered Glamosnica
9 part of that. Is that ...
10 MR. JEREMY: Yeah that's.
11 JUDGE ORIE: That's what the document says.
12 MR. JEREMY: That's correct. That's [Overlapping speakers] ...
13 JUDGE ORIE: It's a -- Mr. Lukic, doesn't assist that much, is
15 Please proceed.
16 MR. JEREMY: Thank you, Your Honours.
17 Q. So, Colonel Basara, back to my question. The fact is you did
18 know about this incident in Skrljevita, or near Glamosnica, and that
19 you -- you did request an investigation into this incident by the Office
20 of the Military Prosecutor, and you clearly had the capacity to do that;
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And now your answer, please.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, this Danilusko
24 was finally convicted.
25 MR. JEREMY:
1 Q. Sir that's not my investigation?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]
3 ... had been an investigation.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, could you please be so kind to answer the
5 question rather than to elaborate on matters not asked?
6 MR. JEREMY:
7 Q. And, Colonel Basara, that question is that you did know about
8 these incidents involving Danilusko Kajtez in Skrljevita, yes or no.
9 A. I can't say now that I remember it. However, given the fact that
10 I signed it, in all likelihood information was provided to me by the
11 security organ and I signed it.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 A. However based on some further --
14 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
15 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ...
16 MR. JEREMY:
17 Q. And you would agree that you clearly had the capacity to request
18 the Office of the Military Investigator to investigate crimes that you
19 wanted to be investigated; yes?
20 A. Well, there was that possibility, and procedure was initiated and
21 information forwarded.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MR. JEREMY: I'd like to tender that document as the next
24 Prosecution Exhibit.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
1 THE REGISTRAR: 06529 receives number P7323.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Admitted into evidence.
3 MR. JEREMY:
4 Q. And, Colonel Basara, a final topic. Now, yesterday you -- you
5 told this Trial Chamber that you had no occasion to meet General Mladic
6 during the war; is that -- is that correct.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, did you ever attend any meetings at which General Mladic was
9 also present?
10 A. Only once, in Banja Luka. There was a large room where many of
11 us were, and Mladic was in attendance. However, I had no opportunity to
12 contact him or to speak with him.
13 Q. Thank you. Let's take a look at a document in connection with
14 that answer.
15 MR. JEREMY: Could we please see 65 ter 00585.
16 Q. While that's coming up, Colonel Basara, what was the -- what was
17 the date of this meeting that you -- you attended together with
18 General Mladic?
19 A. No clue. I don't know the date.
20 Q. Okay.
21 A. Because --
22 Q. That's understood. Now on the screen before us we have a report
23 that if we go to the last page or it's dated 16 September 1992. And on
24 the last page we see your signature Commander Colonel Branko Basara.
25 MR. JEREMY: And could we go back to the first page, please.
1 Q. Now we see that this is a report from the consultation on the
2 state of the VRS under the leadership of lieutenant-general Ratko Mladic,
3 and we see reference to a consultation meeting on 13th of September 1992
4 with -- that included commanders of the brigades in the 1st Krajina
6 That's the meeting that you recollect; yes? Just a yes or no
8 A. That's the one.
9 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
10 A. But without documents to jog my memory I do not remember.
11 Q. We have a document here.
12 MR. JEREMY: Could we go to page 2, please, in the English and
13 page 3 in the B/C/S.
14 Q. I just want to focus your attention on number 5: Tasks issued by
15 General Mladic. And I'd look to focus just on one of those tasks, number
16 5 which reads: "Extend maximum support to the civilian authorities and
17 the MUP."
18 Now, Colonel Basara, we see at the start of your testimony that
19 the document that transferred, the order that transferred the 6th Brigade
20 to Sanski Most by General Talic dated the 3rd of April 1992 requested
21 that your brigade establish full co-operation with organs of government
22 in Sanski Most. Now, we see that a number of months on, after the crimes
23 that we have been discussing today, yesterday, and in your statement, you
24 are, again, being advised by General Mladic to extend maximum support to
25 the civilian authorities and the MUP. And that's exactly what you did,
1 isn't it?
2 A. No. You have to refer specifically to what kind of assistance it
3 relates to. Because if they asked for assistance, it was given. If they
4 did not, we did not offer our services.
5 Q. Thank you, Colonel Basara. Thank you for those answers.
6 MR. JEREMY: Your Honours, I have no further questions.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you Mr. Jeremy.
8 MR. JEREMY: I'd like to tender that document.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar the number would be.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the document receives number P7324.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
12 Mr. Lukic, may I take it, not today, but that you would have
13 further questions for the witness.
14 MR. LUKIC: Yes, I will, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us a time estimate for that.
16 MR. LUKIC: Not at this moment. I will be more organised in the
17 morning. But I will have a quite a lot of more questions after this long
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If you would give us a time estimate tomorrow
20 morning, then we'll consider how much time you'd have.
21 Witness, Mr. Basara, tomorrow, there will be some further
22 questions for you. I hope that all the transportation problems have been
23 resolved. At least I established that you were in the videolink room. I
24 again instruct you that you should not speak or communicate in whatever
25 way with whomever about your testimony, whether that is testimony given
1 yesterday and today, or whether that is testimony still to be given
3 If that's clear to you, we'd like to see you back tomorrow
4 morning at 9.30.
5 Then we can --
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well. I understood.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Then we can close the videolink. I have one short
8 matter which I would like to briefly address.
9 It is about the time available for the Prosecution for
10 presentation of its re-opened case.
11 Last week the Chamber decided on the Prosecution's 45th Rule 92
12 bis motion. The Chamber is now in a position to set the time available
13 for the Prosecution to present its re-opening. The Prosecution will call
14 eight witnesses - two 92 ter and six expert witnesses - and the Chamber
15 grants the Prosecution's request to hear those eight witnesses within
16 nine hours.
17 We adjourn for the day -- one second, please.
18 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
19 JUDGE ORIE: I'm reminded that I had not yet -- that the Chamber
20 had not yet decided on the admission of the document last tendered by the
21 Prosecution. That was -- yes, that's ... P7324 is admitted into
23 We adjourn for the day, and we'll resume tomorrow, Wednesday, the
24 22nd of April, 9.30 in the morning, in this same courtroom, I.
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.17 p.m.,
1 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 22nd day of
2 April, 2015, at 9.30 a.m.