1 Monday, 6th April 1998
2 [Open Session] --- Upon commencing at 10 a.m.
3 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Good morning, ladies
4 and gentlemen. May we have the appearances.
5 MR. NIEMANN: Good morning, your Honours. My
6 name is Niemann and I appear with my colleagues,
7 Ms. McHenry, Mr. Turone and Ms. Udo for the Prosecution.
8 MS. RESIDOVIC: Good morning, your Honours.
9 My name is Edina Residovic, Defence counsel for
10 Mr. Zejnil Delalic, along with my colleague, Eugene
11 O'Sullivan, professor from Canada.
12 MR. OLUJIC: Good morning, your Honours. My
13 name is Zeljko Olujic, representing the Defence for
14 Mr. Zdravko Mucic, along with my colleague, Mr. Michael
16 MR. KARABDIC: Good morning, your Honours.
17 I am Salih Karabdic, attorney from Sarajevo, Defence
18 counsel for Mr. Hazim Delic, along with Mr. Thomas Moran,
19 attorney from Houston, Texas.
20 MS. McMURREY: Good morning, your Honours.
21 I am Cynthia McMurrey and, along with my esteemed
22 colleague, Ms. Nancy Boler, we represent Esad Landzo.
23 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: May we have the
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Kindly remind the
2 witness he is still under oath.
3 THE REGISTRAR: I remind you, Sir, that you
4 are still under oath?
5 A. Yes, thank you.
6 SENAD BEGTASOVIC (continued)
7 Examined by MS. RESIDOVIC (continued)
8 Q. Thank you, your Honours. Let me solve a
9 small technical problem here. Thank you, everything is
10 fine now.
11 Good morning, Mr. Begtasovic.
12 A. Good morning.
13 Q. Did you manage to rest a little bit over the
15 A. Yes, thank you.
16 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, I would like to continue where
17 we left off on Friday. You will recall that, before
18 this Trial Chamber, on Friday you identified a number
19 of statements which you took from individuals who were
20 in Celebici and who were later transferred to Musala;
21 do you recall this?
22 A. I do.
23 Q. You also stated before the Trial Chamber that
24 you reviewed files of other individuals who had been
25 detained in Celebici and relating to this issue,
1 Mr. Begtasovic, could you tell the Trial Chamber what
2 was in the files which you reviewed?
3 A. First of all, I would like to say that I did
4 not review these files very carefully. That is the
5 files that I had access to. I recall that these were
6 statements for the most part of the same suspects whom
7 I had interviewed and this was part of a proceeding
8 that was -- which took place prior to the proceedings
9 in which I was involved, and as I recall, these persons
10 had been interviewed in Celebici.
11 Q. Beside the statements which you glanced at,
12 if not thoroughly reviewed, were there any other
13 documents there that you remember?
14 A. Yes. I recall that there were decisions on
15 release from detention of some of these individuals,
16 that is, the measures of detentions were abolished.
17 Q. Could you recall from what period such
18 decisions were dated, given that you interviewed the
19 suspects in January 1993, so from which period were the
20 decisions that you reviewed -- what period of time?
21 A. I can only recall that they were from the
22 summer of 1992. I could not give you a more precise
23 time frame.
24 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, can you tell us whether, by
25 reviewing these documents, you were able to determine
1 how many individuals were released, taking into account
2 that you pointed out that you did not review them very
3 carefully or very thoroughly, but can you tell us was
4 it a small number, was it a larger number of
5 individuals who were released at that time?
6 A. At any rate, it was a larger number of people
7 and, when I say a larger number, then as a parameter
8 I can take a number of persons whom I subsequently
9 interviewed, so that means that there would be several
10 dozen individuals. How many exactly, I could not tell.
11 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, can you remember individuals
12 who signed these documents on release?
13 A. I believe that I mentioned that before, that
14 is, last time I testified. As I recall, those
15 decisions were signed by Mr. Lokas, Mr. Zovko, and
16 I cannot recall who else.
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Begtasovic. As a member of the
18 commission, you interviewed these individuals and you
19 gave us a fairly accurate number of 105. Can you
20 please tell this Trial Chamber whether, in questioning
21 these individuals, you were able to determine whether
22 these persons possessed arms or not?
23 A. Almost all interviewed persons did have
24 weapons -- at least, that is what they stated to me.
25 It is possible that, out of 105 individuals who were
1 questioned -- and this is the number that I recall --
2 there were maybe two or three individuals who did not
3 possess weapons -- at least that is what they stated to
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you. Can I please ask
6 the usher's assistance to show the witness the document
7 on the appointment of the commission -- it is D7/1 and
8 I again apologise to the court for not having had
9 enough copies on Friday for their Honours and for the
10 witness, so now we have a sufficient number of copies,
11 so can the copies please be handed out to everyone.
13 Mr. Begtasovic, have you reviewed this order?
14 A. Yes, I have.
15 Q. Is this the order whereby your commission was
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And (1) are all the members named, including
20 A. That is correct.
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, since the
22 witness recognises the document order by which he was
23 appointed a member of the commission, I move to admit
24 it into evidence, please.
25 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Any objection? I am
1 not sure that this has not been tendered before.
2 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, this document
3 was marked for identification through one of the
4 Prosecution witnesses, but I was informed by the
5 Registry that it had not been admitted into evidence,
6 so now I would like to move to tender it.
7 MR. TURONE: No objection, your Honour.
8 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: It is admitted.
9 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you.
10 Mr. Begtasovic, given the fact that, as a
11 member of the commission, you questioned the mentioned
12 individuals, as a judge were you able to determine at
13 that time, and taking into account all the facts that
14 they conveyed to you, did you come to a determination
15 whether criminal proceedings should be instigated
16 against these individuals?
17 A. Yes, that is correct.
18 Q. What criminal charges would be appropriate
19 based on the facts that you determined by questioning
20 these individuals?
21 A. The basic criminal act which was -- for which
22 there was suspicion based on the facts
23 that I determined was armed rebellion.
24 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, as a very experienced criminal
25 judge, can you tell this Trial Chamber what punishment
1 was foreseen for crime of this kind during the wartime?
2 A. For such a crime which was committed either
3 in wartime or in a situation of the threat of armed
4 conflict, the punishment was the most severe
5 punishment, which was set out by the SFRY law, which
6 had been adopted by the Bosnian authorities for these
7 crimes which was the death penalty.
8 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, for crimes for which the death
9 penalty is the highest available sentence, is detention
10 an obligatory measure for persons who were charged with
11 such a crime?
12 A. Pursuant to the law, detention is obligatory
13 -- it is mandatory. There is no possibility of not
14 having a detention in such cases.
15 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, can you tell us how long may a
16 suspect be detained legally during the investigation
17 process before the indictment is issued?
18 A. The investigating judge can order a 30-day
19 detention and, from there on, until the investigation
20 is completed, the trial chamber can order detention for
21 up to six months.
22 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, what happens after the
23 indictment has been issued?
24 A. The trial chamber, that is not the pre-trial
25 judge, can determine to order to continue with the
1 detention and it reviews it every two months. After
2 the trial, after the sentencing, if the sentence is
3 more than five years, then the case can be reviewed
4 again and then we start from zero.
5 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, given your investigation, in
6 your opinion, as a person who is both an experienced
7 criminal judge and a person who was investigating these
8 persons, was detention of persons who were charged with
9 crimes which you just mentioned justified?
10 A. Given the fact that these individuals
11 possessed weapons illegally, that they engaged in acts
12 which were directed against the system, given the fact
13 that there was enough grounds, that there was suspicion
14 that they engaged in these acts, that all means that
15 there were grounds for their detention.
16 Q. Even though you mentioned this on Friday, let
17 me ask you again, Mr. Begtasovic: do you know how the
18 proceedings against these individuals whom you
19 questioned were completed?
20 A. I know that certain persons were later
21 prosecuted and I also do not know how many such
22 proceedings took place, but I know that all proceedings
23 were later abolished through a decision adopted by the
24 court based on the law of amnesty.
25 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, by dropping charges pursuant
1 to the law of amnesty, does this mean that these people
2 were pardoned or does this mean something else?
3 A. No, the court does not take a decision on
4 whether these individuals did commit such acts or not.
5 The court only acknowledges that they have fulfilled
6 conditions that meet the law of amnesty. It would be
7 the same as when an application is made for a pardon --
8 it is an act of mercy on the part of the authorities to
9 pardon a convicted person, or a person who is being
10 prosecuted regardless of the fact whether this person
11 actually did commit such a crime or not.
12 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, on Friday you said that the
13 court which was able to prosecute for a more serious
14 crime, that it was established only during 1993. Can
15 you tell me whether, at that time, criminal charges
16 were filed against some other individuals who may have
17 committed some other different crimes?
18 A. Yes. A large number of indictments were
19 issued against a variety of individuals in the military
20 court in Mostar.
21 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, do you know whether, at that
22 time, indictments were issued against individuals who
23 committed crimes, the victims of whom were also certain
24 persons of Serbian ethnic origin?
25 A. Yes, there was a number of such criminal
1 cases that were processed at that time.
2 Q. Thank you. Mr. Begtasovic, when you
3 questioned these individuals, can you tell us where did
4 these people reside before the war, that is, before the
6 A. The majority lived in the territory of the
7 Konjic municipality.
8 Q. During your questioning of these individuals,
9 Mr. Begtasovic, were you able to determine what
10 citizenship these individuals held?
11 A. They were all citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, how do you legally determine
13 the citizenship of an individual in Bosnia-Herzegovina;
14 in other words, what was the underlying legal act for
15 determining citizenship of anyone in
17 A. That would be by birth certificate and there
18 was an office in the municipality in Konjic which had a
19 register of citizens and I believe that this was so
20 since 1979. Before that, the procedure was a bit
21 different, so there was no separate list of citizens
22 until then and then, after that, it was part of the
23 Registry of births and deaths.
24 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, did the legal system in
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina provide for the citizenship of
2 A. Yes, it was set out in the law.
3 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, who can be issued with a birth
4 certificate, that is a citizenship certificate which,
5 as you said, are all being registered in the place of
6 residence of individuals?
7 A. Whoever has a legal interest to be issued
8 such a document and who can provide the authorities
9 with good reason for that.
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: May I have the usher's
11 assistance to help me show the witness a document which
12 was produced by Professor Hadzibegovic, and I am not
13 asking for this witness to confirm the truthfulness of
14 this document, but, rather, just to be able to answer
15 several questions that I have to pose. I have a copy
16 -- an original for Mr. Begtasovic, if you would please
17 hand it to him. (Handed)
18 THE REGISTRAR: Defence document D160/1.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: Mr. Begtasovic, did you look
20 at the document?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber what this
23 document represents?
24 A. This is a certificate of citizenship issued
25 by the registry in Konjic -- the municipal registry.
1 Today, this is not a valid certificate, because there
2 is an old coat of arms with lilies, which is no longer
3 in use. Also, the name of the State is Republic of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Today, it is only
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, so with the exception of these two
6 details, everything else is the same today.
7 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, can you tell me whether such
8 certificates were being issued up until the end of last
9 year, that is, with that name and that coat of arms?
10 A. Yes, such certificates were being issued
11 until the end of last year and they were valid for
12 legal purposes.
13 Q. Can you tell me whether an attorney for a
14 certain person who has an interest in such matters
15 needs to ask proper authorities for issuance of such a
17 A. Yes, an attorney who has the right legal
18 interest can be issued such a document.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: Yes. Your Honours, I move to
20 admit this into evidence -- not on whether this is
21 Milan Kuljanin's citizenship certificate, but in terms
22 of the truthfulness of what the judge has just said.
23 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I do not think you can
24 do that.
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: Very well, in that case this
1 exhibit has been admitted and we will try to determine
2 its truthfulness through other witnesses.
3 Mr. Begtasovic, on Friday you told us about
4 your court, which did not function throughout the whole
5 of 1992, and the reasons for this. Tell us, please,
6 apart from the courts like your own and the higher
7 court, are there any other administrative courts in the
8 municipality, or in the municipalities in keeping with
9 our regulations -- do any other courts exist?
10 A. Yes. You have municipal courts for
11 misdemeanours, for smaller crimes.
12 Q. What is the difference between that type of
13 court and the courts in the jurisdiction system of the
15 A. Well, first of all, the difference is in
16 their competencies and authorities. This type of court
17 deals with decision-making on smaller crimes if a
18 misdemeanour has been committed and punishments and
19 penalties for those types of crime. The difference is
20 also in the selection of the judges. The judges of the
21 municipal courts are elected by the municipal
22 assemblies -- at least what were the municipal
23 assemblies in the former system of the time -- and
24 those are administrative courts, so to speak, which are
25 linked up with the municipal organs of management, or
1 with the municipal powers that be.
2 As opposed to this type of court, we have the
3 basic courts in the municipalities, which are
4 hierarchically linked to the higher court and the
5 supreme court of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The competency
6 and authority over the regularity of these regular
7 courts is done by the Ministry of Justice and
8 jurisprudence and authority over the municipal courts
9 for the misdemeanours and petty crimes is done by the
10 municipal assembly.
11 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, before the war, tell me,
12 please, which were the organs of the municipal assembly
13 over which it had superiority -- superior authority?
14 A. First of all, the executive board, as the
15 executive organ of power and authority of the municipal
16 assembly, and the organs of management. There were a
17 certain number of secretariats -- I forget their exact
18 number, four or five I believe -- and the municipal
19 court for misdemeanours.
20 Q. Can you tell me to whom the Serb station of
21 public security was subordinate before the war and
22 during the war as well?
23 A. Both before the war and in the course of the
24 war, it was subject to the Ministry of Internal
25 Affairs, the republican Ministry of Internal Affairs.
1 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, do you have personal knowledge
2 from your practice to whom were subordinated the
3 departments for national defence which were formerly
4 known as the secretariats for national Defence, who
5 were they subordinated to?
6 A. To the republican Ministry of Defence.
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: In view of the fact that
8 Dr. Iljas Hadzibegovic made up a chart of pre-war
9 organisation of power and authority in the
10 municipality, which is to be found in our dossiers on
11 page 290 and 291 -- that is, the Bosnian text and
12 translation -- I would like to show the witness this
13 chart, this diagram. (Handed) Without looking this
14 document up in our volume, in our big volume, I have a
15 copy for the court.
16 THE REGISTRAR: It is D161/1, Defence
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: Mr. Begtasovic, on the basis
19 of your personal knowledge and experience, can you tell
20 us whether this diagram represents the organisation of
21 the organs and their subordinate organs within the
22 municipality of Konjic before the beginning of the war?
23 A. Well, this diagram is, for the most part,
24 correct, I would say. I should just like to mention
25 that, as far as the communication between the basic
1 courts is concerned -- and I said that a moment ago --
2 with the higher courts and the supreme court, there is
3 another parallel link between the basic court and the
4 ministry of jurisprudence, of justice, of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina in the organisational sense, but
6 this is the pre-war organisation in the municipality as
7 it stood and it is a correct diagram.
8 MS. RESIDOVIC: In view of the fact that,
9 based on his personal experience, the witness is well
10 acquainted with the makeup of the organisation of power
11 and authority in the municipality, I move that this
12 diagram be accepted.
13 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Why? He did not
14 produce this. It is not his own efforts, and he is
15 making only a claim that he knows that such a thing
16 exists. It is not him who produced it.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, listening to
18 Professor Hadzibegovic, who made up this diagram and
19 identified it, we have just the verisimilitude of the
20 diagram. The witness has identified
21 Professor Hadzibegovic -- he did not have any personal
22 knowledge of the functions of this kind of work in
23 Konjic, but, as we now have the fact that somebody has
24 identified the diagram and has somebody else who is
25 well acquainted with the organisation of power and
1 authority, in view of the relevance of this document,
2 I submit that it be admitted into evidence.
3 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Do you not think you
4 are misunderstanding the situation? If you are
5 introducing a matter as an exhibit produced by you,
6 obviously there would be no problem tendering it as
7 produced by you. If he is giving evidence because he
8 knows about the system in which he works, go ahead and
9 ask him whatever questions you want -- I do not think
10 anybody bothers about that. If he said things which
11 shows he knows about the system, it is sufficient, not
12 because he is now adopting this diagram as his own --
13 this is what tendering it will mean.
14 JUDGE JAN: He is merely verifying its
15 correctness -- nothing more than that. The document
16 will have to be exhibited from Dr Iljas Hadzibegovic.
17 He is merely confirming that it is a true
18 representation -- that is all.
19 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You seem to
20 misunderstand how it works. All we are saying here is
21 that the professor has tendered it as a document
22 produced by him. Your witness is now saying this
23 document represents accurately what he knows this
24 system to be. This is all he can do, and no more than
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you, very much. I have
2 understood your Honours' warning. The witness has
3 testified to its correctness -- verified its
4 correctness and that it is a true representation and
5 that is contained in the transcript of this court.
6 Mr. Begtasovic, I should now like to ask you
7 to tell me what happens with the municipal assembly as
8 an organ of power and authority in a situation of war
9 and the direct threat and danger of war? Does this
10 organ experience any changes and who performs the
11 function of the municipal assembly?
12 A. Because of an objective impossibility of
13 convening an assembly at this particular time, and due
14 to the war circumstances prevailing, the function of
15 the municipal assembly was taken over, as far as
16 I recall, in April 1992 by the war presidency of the
17 municipality of Konjic. Everything that the municipal
18 assembly dealt with, all the matters that it dealt with
19 before the war, were now dealt with by the war-time
20 presidency of the municipality of Konjic.
21 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, tell us, please, whether,
22 after the proclamation of the immediate dangers of war,
23 during the war in Konjic, whether there was a
24 Territorial Defence headquarters, which later became
25 the headquarters of the armed forces and the Army of
2 A. Yes, you are right, it did.
3 Q. Do you know, from your personal experience as
4 somebody who lived and worked in Konjic in 1992, to
5 whom the headquarters of Territorial Defence of Konjic
6 was subordinate -- who was the superior authority to
7 the headquarters of Konjic's Territorial Defence?
8 A. The republican headquarters of Territorial
9 Defence were the superior authority.
10 JUDGE JAN: We already had that from a
11 number of witnesses, including Dr Hadzibegovic, who is
12 a military expert. He is not a military expert -- he
13 is the chief justice of his municipality. This is a
14 military matter.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, the witness, as
16 a judge who lived in the place in 1992, can verify the
17 correctness of the situation. He is just speaking as a
18 witness and I just want to show him the military
19 diagram of Konjic for the same reason that I showed him
20 the previous diagram. It was drawn up by Professor
21 Hadzibegovic and it was tendered into evidence as such,
22 but I would just like this witness, who has personal
23 experience of the situation, to verify its correctness.
24 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: What pertinence would
25 it have to the military situation? Do you mean that he
1 was part of the system -- military structure, for him
2 to be able to identify this and give evidence about it,
3 when the experts themselves have said things about it.
4 You have had two experts who have made statements about
5 these things. Why do you need a non-expert to come and
6 say anything about it again?
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, I am not asking
8 him about the war-time situation, just the diagram of
9 the organisation of power and authority in the
10 municipality and he was part of that power and
11 authority. He had a function to perform within that
12 system. This diagram was drawn up by an expert witness
13 who was an historian. Could he just take a look at the
14 diagram, study it and say whether it is a true
15 representation and that is how it will go down in the
16 transcript. If he cannot give his opinions, if the
17 witness cannot give his opinion, then he will not, so
18 none of these questions refer to military
19 organisation. I merely want to discuss the
20 organisation of power and authority and this document,
21 in Dr Hadzibegovic's dossier, is on pages 312 and 313.
22 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Yes, you may well get
23 the witness to say what he thinks he knows.
24 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you.
25 I would now like to ask that these diagrams
1 be presented to the witness -- I have a copy for the
2 court, but, as I say, they have already been admitted
3 as diagrams made up by Professor Hadzibegovic.
5 Mr. Begtasovic, as a citizen of Konjic and as
6 a man who performed certain duties, do you have
7 personal knowledge as to the organisation of power and
8 authority in Konjic in 1992 -- was it as represented in
9 the diagram?
10 A. Yes. In my answers to the previous questions
11 I gave an affirmative answer to your question and
12 I repeat this affirmative answer. I have in front of
13 me a diagram of the organisation of power and authority
14 in Konjic in the municipality during the war and before
15 the war, when there was the danger of war.
16 Q. Could you tell me, Mr. Begtasovic, whether the
17 wartime presidency is a civilian or a military organ?
18 A. It is the highest civilian organ in the
20 Q. Thank you. I should now like to ask you,
21 Mr. Begtasovic, do you personally know Mr. Zejnil
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. In performing your duties in Konjic in 1992,
25 did you at any time receive orders from Zejnil Delalic?
1 A. No, I did not.
2 Q. Did you, and were you somebody who was
3 subordinate to Zejnil Delalic?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Do you know, Mr. Begtasovic, who were the
6 commanders of the headquarters of Territorial Defence
7 of Konjic in 1992?
8 A. If I recall correctly, they were Mr. Ramic,
9 Mr. Boric, and Mr. Catic.
10 Q. On the basis of your personal knowledge, was
11 Mr. Zejnil Delalic ever commander of the municipal
12 headquarters in 1992?
13 A. No, he was not -- he was never commander of
14 the municipal headquarters.
15 Q. Do you know whether Zejnil Delalic at one
16 time held any military functions?
17 A. Yes, I remember that he was commander of a
18 military group. I am not quite sure -- I am not very
19 high up on the structure of military authority, but
20 I seem to recall that he was the commander of a
21 Tactical Group. I am not quite sure of the exact term
22 given to the group.
23 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, I am now going to ask you
24 several other questions related to your own personal
25 and professional knowledge. Tell me, please,
1 Mr. Begtasovic, whether members of the Ministry of
2 Internal Affairs can take statements from citizens?
3 A. Yes, they can take statements. This is
4 colloquially referred to as an "informative dialogue".
5 Q. Can these statements at any time form the
6 basis for a decision for prosecution -- can they lead
7 to prosecution?
8 A. These statements can never be a basis for a
9 decision to bring in a case against these individuals.
10 Q. What happens to them after they come to
11 court, these documents?
12 A. Then the judge -- investigating judge --
13 must, according to the rules, separate these statements
14 and records of the statements in a separate file and
15 they are separately kept as separate files, so that the
16 counsel deliberating and investigating the case does
17 not have these files -- the trial chamber's.
18 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, if the prosecutor ceases to
19 prosecute, what happens to the criminal case?
20 A. The court in that case severs the criminal
21 proceedings -- puts a stop to the criminal proceedings.
22 Q. Against the same individual, for perpetuating
23 the same crime, can the case be brought up once again?
24 A. No, and in this case we are speaking about
25 res judicata. The exception is in the case of a
1 repetition of the criminal proceedings which the court
2 can allow with the adoption of new facts -- if new
3 facts are brought to light -- new evidence.
4 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, which organs issue facts as to
5 whether, before a court, a criminal proceeding is under
6 way or not?
7 A. The courts provide this information.
8 Q. According to our regulations, do organs exist
9 which have records on the punishment of individuals?
10 A. They are the organs of internal affairs --
11 the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the municipalities.
12 Q. Does that ministry, at the request of
13 individuals having a legal interest in doing so -- can
14 they issue a confirmation whether an individual has
15 been punished or not?
16 A. Yes, but the individual must be able to
17 verify that he has a legal interest in doing this.
18 Q. Tell me, Mr. Begtasovic, according to our
19 criminal law, are there crimes for which a Defence
20 counsel is required from the first stages?
21 A. Yes. If there is reasonable doubt that a
22 crime has been committed for which the punishment can
23 be the death penalty, the death sentence.
24 Q. Can the suspect be withheld this right to a
25 Defence attorney?
1 A. No -- to waive this right.
2 Q. Does the violation of this right lead to
3 legal repercussions in the proceedings?
4 A. This is a vital violation of the proceedings
5 and, if it is committed, it will lead to the sentence
6 being revoked.
7 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, although you have already said
8 this earlier on, but as I am drawing to the end of my
9 questioning, we have called you here to testify to
10 facts which are directly linked to this case, would you
11 tell us, please, once again whether investigating --
12 interviewing 105 individuals -- did you question them
13 according to the prevailing rules and regulations and
14 in a legal and lawful manner?
15 A. The interviews with the 105 individuals,
16 which I for the most part did, this questioning was
17 done legally, according to all the prevailing rules and
19 Q. For reasonable doubt on the basis of the
20 statements of these individuals, were these acts
21 criminal acts according to the laws of the Socialist
22 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?
23 A. Yes, you are right.
24 Q. And my last question, although you have
25 partially answered it already, in view of the fact of
1 what you learnt questioning those individuals, was
2 their detention lawful and justified?
3 A. Yes.
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you, Mr. Begtasovic.
5 I have no further questions, your Honours.
6 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Thank you very much.
7 Any cross-examination by the Defence?
8 MR. OLUJIC: Yes, your Honour, may it please
9 the court.
10 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Yes, you may proceed
11 Cross-examined by MR. OLUJIC
12 Q. Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Begtasovic.
13 A. Good morning.
14 Q. I represent the Defence of Mr. Zdravko Mucic.
15 I do not have many questions for you. However, as a
16 highly qualified witness, as a colleague of ours, as a
17 man of law, I think that you will be able to help us
18 clarify certain facts, which are both relevant and
19 important for determining the truth in these
21 I would like to draw your attention, and I am
22 also reminding myself, to the fact that during our
23 exchanges, since we speak the language in which we
24 understand one another, we try to wait until the end of
25 the interpretation of a question into one of the
1 official languages. You wait and then give your
3 Mr. Begtasovic, according to the laws and the
4 rules regulating prisons in the Socialist Federal
5 Republic of Yugoslavia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, can
6 we say that, regardless of the fact whether someone had
7 been sentenced by the military or a civilian court,
8 that the sentence was always served in a civilian
9 prison, that is, in a correctional facility which was
10 under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice,
11 which was originally called the Secretariat of Justice?
12 A. Yes, you are correct.
13 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, could we further say that by
14 the fall of SFRY the legislation gradually changed and
15 a new one was adopted and that these laws and
16 regulations were not changing rapidly, but, rather,
17 quite gradually?
18 A. That is correct. In the legislation of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, after the proclamation of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina as an independent State, first a
21 large number of laws and legal provisions were adopted
22 from the former SFRY and they were adopted as laws and
23 legal provisions of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This was in
24 the initial period.
25 Q. Can we say that the adoption of these laws
1 and regulations proceeded in such a way that they were
2 purged of Communism of self-management and everything
3 else that dominated the previous system, and this was
4 then adjusted to the circumstances within the republic,
5 that is, the State of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
6 A. Yes, you are absolutely correct.
7 Q. Thank you. Mr. Begtasovic, during your
8 examination-in-chief, you limited yourself not to
9 tempore criminis suspecti, but until January 1993 when
10 you were involved in the questioning of certain
11 suspects and you said that you did not have knowledge
12 of what went on in 1992, that is, the period between
13 May and November 1992; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, that is correct.
15 Q. Please tell me, when you conducted
16 questioning, what authorities did you have at that
17 time? Did you have any military rank, a police rank,
18 or was this -- or was it the case that only your
19 expertise was used -- the expertise of somebody who had
20 a long record of experience in criminal affairs?
21 A. The latter part of your question is correct
22 -- in fact, I was never in the military, I never
23 served in the military, I never had any rank, so I was
24 simply involved in it as a person who is qualified to
25 question individuals who were suspected of carrying
1 arms and involved in illegal matters and, in that
2 capacity, I was appointed as a member of the Military
3 Investigating Commission.
4 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, if that is so, could you
5 please tell me, when you conducted these interviews,
6 could you, for instance, order the guards who were
7 bringing you these individuals whom you were to
8 question, whether to do certain things or not to do
9 certain things, because I assume these were military
11 A. As a rule, I could not do this. Obviously,
12 I could request these guards who were guarding these
13 individuals to bring over a person that I was to
14 question, and I could do it and the lady who was the
15 president of the commission could also do it and, in
16 that sense, I had the authority which you just
18 Q. But you could not order these gentlemen to do
20 A. (Witness nods head)
21 Q. Could you please state in words?
22 A. That is correct, I could not do anything.
23 Q. Could you, for instance, order them to tie
24 somebody up?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Thank you. Can we say, Mr. Begtasovic, that
2 in the Konjic area, and now I am talking about a
3 tempore criminis suspecti, that is, I am talking about
4 this time frame and you were a resident of Konjic, so
5 can we say that in 1992, as the old system broke down,
6 a certain amount of anarchy reigned?
7 A. In a certain sense, yes, and I say this
8 taking into account the fact that the court where
9 I worked had no conditions, objectively speaking, to
10 properly work during 1992.
11 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, the suspects whom you
12 questioned later on, that is, in January 1993, were
13 these, for the most part, persons who had been captured
14 during fighting?
15 A. Yes. Perhaps all of them.
16 Q. Did you allow for the possibility that some
17 of them may have been captured later, after the
18 fighting stopped, in forests and carrying arms?
19 A. Yes, there were such cases.
20 Q. Please tell me, during your first encounter
21 with these individuals, did you notice that some of
22 them had visible signs or traces of injuries, which
23 they may have sustained either during fighting or
24 during their capture?
25 A. I do not recall seeing such a person, or such
2 Q. Did individuals whom you questioned complain
3 to you of any such acts against them?
4 A. What acts?
5 Q. Acts during their arrest or capture?
6 A. No, I had no such knowledge.
7 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, let me ask you something else
8 now. Do you know Mr. Zdravko Mucic?
9 A. Just superficially -- I know him by sight, as
10 we say.
11 Q. Have you ever seen any documents to the
12 effect that Mr. Mucic would have any authority in the
14 A. I do not recall.
15 Q. Could we say that, during the popular
16 insurrection and crimes committed against the Muslims
17 and roaming of certain groups in the area, people who
18 were in the camp were safer there than being free
20 A. If you take as a parameter the number of
21 shells -- it was a higher risk to live in downtown
22 Konjic during the war than in Celebici.
23 MR. OLUJIC: Thank you, Mr. Begtasovic and,
24 your Honours, thank you, I have no further questions.
25 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Thank you very much.
1 Any further cross-examination?
2 MR. MORAN: I have a few questions, your
3 Honour. May it please the court.
4 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Yes, you may proceed.
5 Cross-examined by MR. MORAN
6 Q. Thank you, your Honour.
7 Good morning, judge.
8 A. Good morning.
9 Q. Back in my country, if you have been a judge
10 for one day, we call you a judge for the rest of your
11 life so I hope you do not mind if I do call you judge,
13 A. Well, thank you.
14 Q. Judge, I am going to ask you some questions
15 in about four areas. I do not think it will take long,
16 but I will just go over those areas with you right now
17 so you know what we are going to be talking about.
18 The first thing I am going to talk to you
19 about is the actual method of questioning these people
20 you questioned as a member of the commission. The
21 second thing I want to talk to you about is the
22 authority in the former Yugoslavia and, also, in the
23 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina for gaolers to take
24 people into custody, and then I want to talk to you
25 about the citizenship laws and nationality laws of the
1 republic, and finally I will ask you about some kinds
2 of records and whether or not you know whether they
4 Sometimes my questions are probably not
5 nearly as artful as yours are. So, if I ask a question
6 you do not understand it, will you stop me and I will
7 repeat it, rephrase it, whatever it takes.
8 The first subject I want to talk to you
9 about, like I said, was the manner in which these
10 statements were taken from those, what, 105,
11 approximately, accused. When you were questioning
12 them, did you see them -- were they tied or shackled or
13 restrained in any way?
14 A. The questioning was conducted in the building
15 of the station for public security in Konjic. This is
16 an elevation in town which is called Musala. These
17 individuals were kept in the sports hall which bore the
18 same name, which is Musala. The sports hall -- the
19 distance between the sports hall and the building where
20 the questioning took place was about 100 metres.
21 I recall that, on one occasion, while these individuals
22 were transported from the sports hall to the public
23 security station, these persons were cuffed. As they
24 entered the office where the commission was conducting
25 this questioning, that is, where all the members and
1 the note taker were, these people would be uncuffed for
2 the duration of the questioning.
3 If these personnel who had brought them
4 there, or the personnel of the public security station
5 had not done it previously, they certainly did it once
6 they got there and when I asked them to uncuff them.
7 Q. Judge, let me follow that up just a bit. You
8 have been back in the back here in the Defence room
9 for, what, since I guess last week, and you have seen
10 these four accused being moved by the security guards
11 here, and, when they move them from one place to
12 another outside the courtroom, they are shackled -- you
13 have seen that, have you not?
14 A. Yes, it was an identical procedure.
15 Q. When they were brought into the courtroom,
16 they were unshackled?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You did not see any guards or anyone beat
19 people to get statements out of them, did you?
20 A. No, I did not see that.
21 Q. And you did not see any big bulky guards
22 standing behind these people, coercing them into giving
23 statements, did you?
24 A. At that time, there were no such big bulky
25 persons in Konjic.
1 Q. None of these people who were brought to you
2 looked like they had been beaten up or coerced in any
3 way when they got there, did they?
4 A. You are right.
5 Q. And did you on any occasion interrogate any
6 of these suspects on more than one day, so maybe you
7 talked to them today, send them back to the sports hall
8 and bring them back the next day or a couple of days
10 A. No, during a single day, a number of suspects
11 were questioned.
12 Q. Did any of these suspects that you recall
13 complain to you that they had been beaten or threatened
14 to give statements, or that they had been told what to
15 tell you, or anything like that?
16 A. No.
17 MR. MORAN: Would this be a convenient time
18 to take the morning break?
19 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: The Trial Chamber will
20 now rise and reassemble at noon.
21 --- Recess taken at 11.30 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 12.03 p.m.
23 [Open Session]
24 [The witness entered court]
25 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Mr. Moran, you may
2 MR. MORAN: Thank you, your Honour.
3 Good morning again, judge.
4 A. Good afternoon.
5 Q. You are correct, I am sorry, it is
6 afternoon. Judge, one last question about the suspects
7 you questioned, and then we will move on to something
8 else. Did any of those people complain to you that
9 they had been somehow mistreated while they were being
10 detained in the Celebici camp?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Thank you very much, judge. Let us go on to
13 another subject. I want to talk to you a little bit
14 about people who run gaols or prisons. Under the law
15 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and also under the law of the
16 former Yugoslavia, if a person who was under arrest was
17 delivered to a gaol or a prison -- some kind of
18 confinement facility -- did the head of that gaol or
19 the guards in that gaol, or the deputy head of that
20 gaol have any legal obligation to determine whether or
21 not the person was being legally confined, or could
22 they just simply rely on the fact that the prisoner was
23 brought to them by someone of the appropriate State
25 A. Well, to determine this fact is under the
1 competencies of the courts. Therefore, the officials
2 of the prison and, even the commander, has no right
3 according to the law to determine whether these
4 individuals, these suspects, have been detained for
5 committing a criminal act or not, whether they have
6 been justly detained or not.
7 MR. MORAN: Thank you a lot, judge.
8 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Was that your
10 MR. MORAN: Yes.
11 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Was that the answer --
12 MR. MORAN: That is exactly the answer
13 I wanted, that gaolers have no legal authority to
14 enquire into the legality of detention.
15 The next thing I want to talk to you about,
16 judge, is the laws of Bosnia-Herzegovina as they
17 related to citizenship and nationality -- when I
18 say "nationality", I do not mean ethnic origin. What
19 I mean is the connection between a person and the
20 State, similar to citizenship. Are you familiar with
21 the laws of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina as it
22 relates to citizenship and nationality?
23 A. Yes, for the most part I am.
24 Q. If I go outside of your expertise, let me
25 know and we will stop. Back in April 1992, when Bosnia
1 became an independent nation, recognised by the
2 European Community, member of the United Nations, did
3 the republic confer both its citizenship and its
4 nationality on all habitual residents of the republic?
5 A. All the individuals who resided within
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, along with conditions previously
7 determined by law, were citizens of the State of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina up until 1992 -- to be more exact,
9 up to mid April 1992. The question of citizenship was
10 regulated by the law on citizenship for
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the law on citizenship of the
12 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This latter
13 law was later on taken over by the legal organs of
14 power and authority in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and, at the
15 same time, these two laws, as far as I recall, were in
16 force up until the fall of 1992, when a new law was
17 adopted relating to citizenship for
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina. This law, along with very slight
19 changes, amendments, which came in 1996, as far as
20 I recall, is in force today.
21 Q. If I were a citizen of the Socialist Federal
22 Republic of Yugoslavia on 5 April 1992, the day Bosnia
23 became independent, and I lived in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
24 and I was a habitual resident of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
25 did I become a citizen of BH?
1 A. This is an explicit provision of the law on
2 citizenship of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Therefore, had you,
3 on 6 April 1992, been a citizen of the SFRJ and if you
4 resided on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, you
5 were a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
6 Q. And also a national of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is
7 that correct?
8 A. Yes, that is correct.
9 Q. Now, judge, are there provisions in Bosnian
10 law to give up or renounce your Bosnian citizenship?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And could you tell the Trial Chamber what
13 those provisions were in the period from May through
14 December 1992, if you know?
15 A. The law provides for several forms -- several
16 procedures for renouncing citizenship, or for it to
17 cease to exist. One is release from citizenship, one
18 is renouncing your -- the second is renouncing your
19 citizenship, and another form is according to an
20 international contract, whereby this can be done. The
21 most complicated form of ceasing to be a citizen is
22 contained in the provision which I mentioned and which
23 refers to renouncement. If necessary, I shall go into
24 an explanation of this.
25 Q. Unless the Trial Chamber thinks it is
1 necessary, I do not think that is necessary. But the
2 question I do have to follow up is: if a citizen of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina wished to give up his citizenship,
4 for whatever reason, and how ever -- in any of the
5 three ways he wanted to do it, would there be some
6 documents on file with the Republic of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina showing that he had given up his
9 A. At all events, yes, there would. For
10 somebody to give up his citizenship of any of the three
11 counts, the individual requesting that his citizenship
12 cease in the BH republic must, to the organs of
13 authority, submit a request. The competent authorities
14 will then deliberate on that request and they will
15 either adopt it, or refute it. Therefore, tabling such
16 a request to be released from citizenship does not
17 automatically mean ipso jure, for a given time, that
18 that request is met.
19 Q. If there were these requests made and there
20 were these documents within the republic somewhere,
21 would they be available to, say, the Office of the
23 A. They could be, because the Prosecutor has the
24 legal interest in obtaining those documents, and the
25 organ in question, by law, is duty bound to give the
1 prosecuting office these documents for insight.
2 MR. MORAN: Judge, one last area, and then
3 I think we are done --
4 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Before he goes on, let
5 me ask a question. Are you suggesting that a person
6 who applies to renounce citizenship can be refused? An
7 application for citizenship -- for renouncing
8 citizenship can be refused by the authorities -- is
9 that what you are suggesting.
10 THE WITNESS: You are absolutely right, your
11 Honour. That is a way in which we can avoid a
12 situation by which apartheid status can be gained --
13 the intention of all the international conventions is
14 to reduce the number of Stateless persons.
15 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You can carry on, now.
16 MR. MORAN: By the way, judge, Mr. Greaves
17 pointed out one of the last questions I asked may not
18 have been as clear as it could have been. When I asked
19 if the Office of the Prosecutor could obtain copies of
20 these documents renouncing citizenship, by "Office of
21 the Prosecutor" I mean the Office of the Prosecutor for
22 the Tribunal -- those three people sitting over there
23 and their investigators, could they obtain copies of
25 A. I had in mind those particular prosecutors,
2 MR. MORAN: Somebody suggested to me I might
3 have meant the prosecutor in Bosnia-Herzegovina, so
4 I just wanted to clear that up.
5 Judge, what kind of records are maintained by
6 the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and when I
7 say "the government", I mean in the larger sense, not
8 just the central Government in Sarajevo, but also the
9 municipality, or the districts, to show that someone is
10 a citizen of BH? For instance, you were shown a
11 document a little while ago -- I believe it was Exhibit
12 D160/1, which was a certificate of citizenship. Would
13 there be other documents such as birth certificates
14 showing that someone was born in Bosnia-Herzegovina
15 and, therefore, was a citizen?
16 JUDGE JAN: It is a somewhat vague
17 question. You are asking him whether there are records
18 or not and he answered it according to the best of his
20 MR. MORAN: I will move on to another area,
21 your Honour.
22 Judge, in April 1992, when citizenship in the
23 newly independent Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was
24 conferred on the habitual residents, was it conferred
25 without regard to the person's ethnic background or
1 their religion?
2 A. Yes, it had nothing to do with national or
3 religious affiliation.
4 Q. Judge, when you say "national" there, you
5 mean ethnic affiliation?
6 A. Yes, you are right -- ethnic.
7 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Do you include aliens
8 in this, too, who are habitually living in
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina -- were they also entitled to their
11 THE WITNESS: What "aliens" do you have in
12 mind, your Honour?
13 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Persons who do not come
14 within any of the boundaries -- they are neither
15 Bosniaks or Serbs, but were merely living there, and
16 not also citizens of SFRY -- anybody else who was
17 habitually living in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the date
18 that the law came into force.
19 THE WITNESS: Regardless of ethnic
20 affiliation, only citizens of the former Socialist
21 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia residing in
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina had the right to citizenship in the
23 new State.
24 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Thank you very much.
25 This is what I wanted to establish.
1 MR. MORAN: Thank you very much, your
2 Honour. I pass the witness.
3 MS. McMURREY: May it please the court.
4 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Yes, Ms. McMurrey, you
5 can proceed.
6 Cross-examined by MS. McMURREY
7 Q. Good morning. I have only a few questions
8 this morning, but on a more promising note, and
9 recognising that today, 6 April, marks the six-year
10 anniversary of the outbreak of the Bosnian war, Konjic
11 municipality is one of the first open cities in
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina, welcoming back Serb families; is
13 that true?
14 A. Yes, it is.
15 Q. And, also, going back to 1992, when the war
16 first broke out in April and May, there was an influx
17 of some 20,000 to 30,000 refugees from eastern Bosnia
18 flowing through Konjic at that time; is that true?
19 A. Yes, it is true, and I am a witness of it
21 JUDGE JAN: I just want to find out -- but
22 you told us Konjic was blocked from all sides, how
23 could the refugees come in.
24 THE WITNESS: Through the forests, across the
1 MS. McMURREY: May I proceed, your Honour.
2 Did that answer your question?
3 JUDGE JAN: Yes.
4 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Yes, you may.
5 MS. McMURREY: With that influx of refugees
6 at that time, these people came to the city of Konjic
7 telling their stories of murder, rape and destruction
8 of their hometowns, did they not?
9 A. Yes, that is correct.
10 Q. And so, in April and May and June of 1992,
11 that brought about a sense of panic and fear in the
12 people of Konjic, that this was maybe about to happen
13 to them; is that true?
14 A. Yes, you are right there again.
15 Q. I am going to go on to another topic right
16 now. I want to talk about your capacity as an
17 investigating judge in the municipality of Konjic.
18 When you are an investigating judge, this is in the
19 civil law system, not a common law system like we are
20 accustomed to; is that right?
21 A. The system of criminal continental law.
22 Q. Okay, that is another name for it, yes,
23 continental law, in which an investigative judge
24 collects information and, under the laws of Bosnia and
25 Herzegovina, under your ethical code of conduct for
1 either a lawyer or a judge, it is your duty not to
2 disclose that information collected in your capacity as
3 an investigating judge; is that true?
4 A. Yes, you are right, but may I add something?
5 The law on criminal proceedings, there is a regulation
6 of the law, which expressly forbids any statements to
7 be made as to information received at this particular
8 stage of the investigating process.
9 Q. Thank you. I wanted to differentiate between
10 your capacity as an investigative judge, where you have
11 a duty not to disclose statements, and your duties
12 under an assignment of a commission, such as the
13 statements that were introduced by Madam Residovic in
14 the Delalic Defence on Friday, which was D149 through
15 to 159, I think -- those were statements taken in your
16 capacity as a member of a commission appointed by a
17 military branch; is that true?
18 A. Yes, that is true.
19 Q. As opposed to statements taken in your
20 capacity as an investigating judge, which are totally
21 not subject to disclosure?
22 A. You are right.
23 MS. McMURREY: Thank you very much. I have no
24 further questions. Thank you, your Honour.
25 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Thank you very much.
1 Any cross-examination by the Prosecution?
2 MR. TURONE: Yes, your Honour, thank you very
4 MR. TURONE: May I proceed?
5 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Yes.
6 Cross-examined by MR. TURONE
7 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Begtasovic. My name is
8 Giuliano Turone and I am a trial attorney for the
9 Prosecution for this trial. Let me ask you also some
10 questions related to your testimony in chief. You told
11 us that you have been working as a judge in Konjic from
12 1976 until 1995; is that true?
13 A. Yes, that is correct.
14 Q. In that period of time, did you also work as
15 an investigating judge for criminal proceedings --
16 I mean, some time during those years?
17 A. Yes, I did also work as an investigating
19 Q. I am sorry, I did not get the translation --
20 could you repeat the answer?
21 A. Yes, I also worked as an investigating judge.
22 Q. Thank you very much. And when did that
23 happen -- in which years?
24 A. My basic area is the criminal law, and the
25 procedure that would follow the investigating period.
1 However, I also, during my time as a judge, worked as
2 an investigating judge and I cannot tell you exactly
3 the number of cases that I worked on as an
4 investigating judge and I was involved in that
5 throughout the period that I was a judge in Konjic,
6 that is, 1976 until I stopped being a judge there.
7 Q. I see. So there was not a specific period in
8 which you dealt with the work of an investigating judge
10 A. (Witness nods head) That is correct.
11 Q. Okay. Mr. Begtasovic, you mentioned that
12 starting in April or May 1992, Konjic was surrounded
13 and then shelled almost daily. Can you say
14 approximately how long did the shelling last in your
16 A. Are you talking about the daily shellings?
17 MR. TURONE: Yes, for how long did these daily
18 shellings go on?
19 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: For each day, or
20 continuously for how many days?
21 MR. TURONE: Let us say for how long a time
22 did continuous relevant shelling daily or almost daily,
23 did that go on?
24 A. I do not recall a single day in 1992,
25 starting in early May, when there was no shelling.
1 Q. You mean until the end of the year?
2 A. From this distance in time, it seems to me
3 that it went on until the end of the year.
4 Q. Thank you. You also stated in your
5 examination-in-chief that general mobilisation was
6 proclaimed in Konjic around 20 April 1992, you said,
7 I think. Can you tell us who proclaimed general
9 A. The war presidency of the Konjic
11 Q. Was the war presidency then the competent
12 authority for that?
13 A. Yes, because it took over the authority, that
14 is, the competencies of the municipal assembly.
15 Q. And to which extent and in which terms did
16 the mobilisation concern you personally -- I mean, what
17 did you do during 1992 after mobilisation?
18 A. I had work duty, and it involved the duties
19 which related to my position as the chief judge in
20 Konjic court.
21 Q. You also stated that, because of the
22 shelling, persons could not go to work, and the courts
23 could not function from April 1992 and during the
24 entire year 1992; is that correct?
25 A. That is correct.
1 Q. But, in any case, would you agree with me
2 that persons did move around Konjic anyway in 1992 and
3 persons did on a more or less regular basis report to
4 duties, including their assignments from the TO and war
5 presidency; is that true?
6 A. That is absolutely true. However, there was
7 one risk involved -- you could have lost your life.
8 Q. I see what you mean, but in any case, even
9 prisoners, would you agree with me, that they were in
10 fact moved to other areas, at least for the purposes of
11 exchange; is that true, in 1992?
12 A. That is possible.
13 Q. In any case, could you tell us, when did the
14 basic court in Konjic start functioning again and, in
15 particular, when did criminal proceedings start taking
16 place again in the basic court of Konjic?
17 A. As far as I recall, that was at around the
18 same time when the department of the military court
19 started working. Before this took place, the court
20 building was repaired and I would like to point out
21 that they shared the same building, that is, the basic
22 court and the department of the military court of
23 Mostar. During 1992 and in 1993, it was shelled
24 several times, and, as far as I recall, some time in
25 the summer of 1993, this court building was repaired.
1 It was shelled later, too, but at least it was brought
2 to the level when it functioned, so that, in late 1993,
3 we had proceedings going on in the court building, but
4 this is all as far as I recall.
5 Q. You mean criminal proceedings in the basic
6 court of Konjic started taking place again after summer
7 of 1993 -- not at the beginning of 1993?
8 A. I think that is correct, and I think it is an
9 insignificant number of cases. I think it was not a
10 very sizeable case load.
11 Q. Thank you. As soon as the basic court
12 started functioning again, what kind of work did you do
13 exactly as far as criminal proceedings were concerned?
14 Did that change something in your personal position in
16 A. No. I should only point out that there were
17 very few new case files which we received; in other
18 words, there were very few lawsuits filed, very few
19 indictments which were referred to the basic court in
20 Konjic. For the most part, these were files that had
21 already been initiated before the war and the bulk of
22 the cases was really relating to the military court.
23 Q. So, in any case, you mean that your functions
24 were the same after the court functioned again during
25 the entire period of 1992, without any changes in your
1 personal professional position; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, that is correct.
3 Q. As soon as the basic court in Konjic started
4 functioning again, how many judges dealt with criminal
6 A. As far as I can recall, I was the only one.
7 I mentioned earlier in my testimony that, before the
8 war, in addition to me, there was Judge Silic and Judge
9 Smrkic who also dealt with criminal matters but they
10 both left Konjic.
11 Q. What happened after the summer of 1993 when
12 criminal proceedings started taking place again, could
13 you deal with the criminal matters by yourself, when
14 were there proceedings that had to be dealt with by a
15 panel of judges?
16 A. For those criminal proceedings for which a
17 single judge was appointed, I was dealing with those.
18 However, where there was a Chamber of three -- a panel
19 of three judges involved, then I would have the judges'
20 jury members with me.
21 Q. You mean lay jurors -- not professional
23 A. Yes, lay jurors. The basic courts were
24 established in such a way that a single judge can
25 preside over a proceeding, or a panel of three judges.
1 If there is a panel of three judges, it is always one
2 professional judge and two lay jurors.
3 Q. I see. You also stated that a department or
4 the military court was created in Konjic -- you said
5 around autumn 1993?
6 A. (Witness nods head)
7 Q. As a judge of the basic court, did you have
8 to perform any duties also within the Konjic department
9 of the military court?
10 A. No.
11 Q. And who were the judges dealing with that in
12 Konjic -- can you say the names?
13 A. You mean the judges of the military court?
14 Q. Yes, the Konjic department of the military
16 A. Yes, I can recall them. I recall a judge
17 whose name was Selejman Bajric. I also remember a
18 judge whose name was Rasim Trnka -- Rasim with an "M"
19 -- R-A-S-I-M -- with an M -- as in "Mostar". Also, a
20 lady judge whose name was Sena Uzunovic and a judge
21 Meho Musinovic, and a judge Reuf Zaimovic. And I
22 remember a judge Jasmin Sose. Those are the judges
23 whose names I recall.
24 MR. TURONE: Thank you very much.
25 Mr. Begtasovic, you stated that, after the combats of
1 May 1992, many persons were arrested for participating
2 in an armed rebellion. Do you know if these persons or
3 any of them would have been entitled to prisoner of war
5 MR. MORAN: I am going to object. That is
6 outside his area of expertise, unless it is shown he
7 has expertise in this area.
8 MR. TURONE: I would say that a criminal
9 judge has the knowledge to answer this question,
10 especially a judge who had something to do with these
11 prisoners in the commission of the fourth court. May
12 I invite the witness to answer this question?
13 JUDGE JAN: The judge may not be well versed
14 with international law. When you talk about prisoners
15 of war you are talking in terms of Geneva Conventions?
16 MR. TURONE: Yes.
17 JUDGE JAN: How would he know that? What
18 would his expertise be?
19 MR. TURONE: I would say the commission of
20 the 4th Corps, who had to investigate the prisoners as
21 we heard in the testimony in chief, implied work which
22 had something to do with the Geneva Conventions.
23 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Ask him perhaps whether
24 he knows the circumstances in which they were brought
25 to them.
1 MR. TURONE: Do you know the circumstances in
2 which these persons were brought to proceedings? If
3 you do not know about the applicability of the
4 prisoners of war status, you can say that, anyway?
5 A. With the court's permission, I would prefer
6 not to offer my opinion on that question, precisely for
7 reasons which you mentioned.
8 MR. TURONE: all right. May I ask that Defence
9 Exhibit D7/1 be shown again to the witness, please?
11 You stated that this document, which is dated
12 5 January 1993, is the order by which you were
13 appointed as a member of the 4th Corps Commission; is
14 that correct?
15 A. That is correct.
16 Q. Who signed this order, please?
17 A. I do not know who signed it. Here it states
18 that the person who issued the order is a Major Mirsad
19 Catic. However, before his name, there is a
20 preposition "for", which means that someone else signed
21 this document -- not he himself and I do not know who
22 did it.
23 Q. Anyway, in which capacity did Mr. Catic or
24 somebody else for him sign that order?
25 A. In any event, in the capacity of the
1 commander of the municipal staff of Konjic.
2 Q. Okay. So, according to point 4 of this
3 order, Mr. Begtasovic, you had to give a report after
4 completing your work. Did you see point 4? My
5 question is: did you give such a final report?
6 A. Yes, I see point 4 and I do understand what
7 your question is. Concerning the work duties contained
8 in point 4, to be honest with you, I do not recall my
9 own participation in compiling the report that is
10 mentioned here. Usually, the report is drafted by one
11 person. I assume that Ms. Jasminka Dzumhur, the
12 president of the commission, did that. I assume the
13 report was drafted and that the other members of the
14 commission signed it. However, at this point, I do not
15 recall the contents of this report.
16 Q. Do you mean that this report was given and
17 that you did not sign it, or this report was given and
18 you signed it as well and do not remember -- could you
19 please clarify that a little?
20 A. It would have been normal for me to have
21 signed it as well as all the other members of the
22 commission and I believe that that is what actually
23 happened. I doubt that the report was signed only by
24 the president of the commission.
25 Q. Do you agree with me that you are saying that
1 the report was given -- you signed it, and you do not
2 remember the contents of it?
3 A. I could not tell you with absolute certainty
4 even whether I had signed it. I assumed that this was
5 done and I do not remember the contents of this report
6 at this time. If you showed me this report with my
7 signature on it, I probably would recognise it.
8 Q. The problem is that we did not see any report
9 like that, neither coming from the Defence or her
10 Defence military witness. This is why I wanted to ask
11 you something about this report nobody is talking
13 In any case, let us clarify something. The
14 report was given, and, even if you do not remember
15 whether you signed it or not, and even if you do not
16 remember the contents of it, could you say
17 approximately when was it given?
18 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Did he say the report
19 was given?
20 JUDGE JAN: He does not even remember.
21 MR. TURONE: He said the report was given.
22 JUDGE JAN: "Must have been given", he says
23 -- "it must have been given", and he thinks he must
24 have signed it also, but he does not remember now.
25 That is his answer.
1 MR. TURONE: Let me say then, you have no
2 possibility to say anything else but that -- that you
3 do not remember whether there was a report, whether you
4 signed it, and, if there was a report, you do not
5 remember the contents -- is that a fair statement?
6 A. Yes, that is a fair statement.
7 Q. In any case, Mr. Begtasovic, in consideration
8 of point 4 of this appointment order, you members of
9 the commission were supposed to find out how many
10 prisoners were subject to court proceedings and if you
11 read again point 4, how many proceedings were subject
12 to court proceedings, how many were not subject to
13 court proceedings, how many were wounded and sick, and
14 how many had incurable wounds and diseases; is that
15 correct? Do you read this in point 4 of the order?
16 A. Excuse me, but that is not correct.
17 Q. Please read yourself then -- I might have
18 some erroneous translation. Read point 4 of the order?
19 A. It is not in the past tense, but in the
20 future tense. That is the only error in your
21 interpretation or translation. Upon the completion of
22 its task, the commission "shall" compile a report in
23 which it will show the following. The persons to be
24 criminally prosecuted -- that means in the future,
25 including all the evidence. Further on, "Individuals
1 who are not to be criminally prosecuted" -- that also
2 means in the future. "The wounded and sick persons" --
3 I guess that means among the questioned persons -- "and
4 prisoners with incurable wounds or diseases." I have
5 to say here that the commission was charged with
6 something that, according to the law, it could not have
7 been charged with. This commission could not decide on
8 who of the questioned persons would be criminally
9 prosecuted in the future, because it was up to the
10 prosecutor's office, and that is a military court's
11 prosecutor's office to make such a determination.
12 MR. TURONE: All right, but do you agree with me
13 that the Serbo-Croatian sentence means that the order
14 asks the commission to find out which prisoners were
15 suitable for proceedings; is that correct.
16 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I think what counsel is
17 suggesting --
18 THE WITNESS: Yes, that is correct.
19 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: -- is paragraph 4 is
20 what the commission is directed to report on. This is
21 what counsel is suggesting. You are expected to report
22 on all these things indicated in paragraph 4. Is he
23 correct to assume that that is what your report should
25 THE WITNESS: That is correct, your Honour.
1 MR. TURONE: If this was stated in the order
2 in point 4, that means that you were expected to seek
3 information in order to answer to these questions; is
4 that not correct -- at least, that was the intention of
5 the person who wrote the order of appointment; is that
7 A. That is correct.
8 Q. My question is: no matter whether the report
9 was given or not, do you remember having reached some
10 information like that suitable to answer these four
11 questions? I mean, not only as far as the suitability
12 for proceedings is concerned but, also, to the other
13 points -- did you reach some information?
14 A. Yes, you are correct, we did reach such
15 information. We were able to answer all four questions
16 contained in paragraph 4, based on the statements taken
17 from these individuals, and on this basis we could
18 suggest which person would be suitable, as you put it,
19 for criminal prosecution.
20 For instance, persons who were in possession
21 of weapons; also, persons who were not liable that way,
22 and were also able to determine about those who were
23 wounded and sick and who had incurable diseases and
24 injuries because we had Dr Nadra Buturovic who was a
25 member of the staff of the war hospital in Konjic and
1 whose job within this commission was precisely to
2 answer questions relating to these last two items in
3 paragraph 4.
4 Q. So, when you say "we could suggest which
5 persons", et cetera, et cetera, with which document did
6 you suggest that? Do you recall something more about
7 the possibility of having given a report, or otherwise
8 in which document or with which act did you give this
9 answer about these points?
10 A. You mean the evidence?
11 Q. No, I mean you said that you reached the
12 answer on these questions and you reported -- you
13 suggested -- you answered? When you say
14 you "answered", to whom did you say you answered?
15 A. I am sorry, I said that we were in a position
16 to answer these questions. It is possible that our
17 answers were contained in this report.
18 MR. TURONE: All right.
19 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Actually he does not
20 really now remember. We might adjourn at this point
21 until 2.30.
22 --- Whereupon luncheon adjournment taken at 1 p.m
24 --- On resuming at 2.30 p.m.
1 [Open Session]
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Kindly remind the
4 witness that he is still on his oath.
5 THE REGISTRAR: I remind you, Sir, that you
6 are still under oath.
7 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You may proceed.
8 MR. TURONE: Thank you.
9 Good afternoon, Mr. Begtasovic. I think you
10 still have in front of you Defence Exhibit D7/1, do
11 you, otherwise I would request -- yes, the appointment
12 order of 5 January 1993. So, in point 1 of this order,
13 one can see that Jasminka Dzumhur was appointed
14 president of the Commission. Did you know already
15 Jasminka Dzumhur already when you were appointed as a
16 member of the 4th Corps Commission -- did you know her
18 A. Yes, I did.
19 Q. What did she do before working with you in
20 this 4th Corps Commission?
21 A. I do not know.
22 Q. You do not know. Before starting the work of
23 your Commission, did all members have a meeting among
24 you before starting -- did you discuss before starting
25 the way you should proceed? How did you decide to
1 proceed -- can you describe in some detail the method
2 and procedure which you decided to apply before
3 starting? Did you reach an agreement about the way of
5 A. With this time distance, I do not quite
6 recall the time directly prior to the beginning of the
7 work of the Commission, but, at any event, I think that
8 a meeting of the kind you have described was held,
9 because we had to reach an agreement on the method and
10 way in which the order would be executed. At the
11 meeting I probably took it upon myself to question the
12 individuals and Dr Nadira Buturovic probably took it
13 upon herself to examine the suspects from the medical
14 standpoint. I think that Ms. Jasminka Dzumhur, as
15 president of the Commission, coordinated our work and
16 that Mr. Habdulah and Mr. Begic took part in the work of
17 the Commission.
18 Q. Does that mean, coming back to point 4 of the
19 appointment order, that you decided also a method --
20 which method to follow in order to seek information
21 about the wounded and sick among the prisoners you had
22 to deal with; is that correct? You said about this
23 lady, the doctor?
24 A. Yes, the affirmative answer to your question
25 can be given. But let me say once again that I do not
1 remember exactly what happened.
2 Q. Do you not remember whether this lady --
3 I beg your pardon -- could you repeat the name of this
4 lady doctor to me?
5 A. Dr Nadira Buturovic.
6 Q. Dr Nadira Buturovic, do you remember whether
7 she did perform medical examinations on the prisoners
8 you had to deal with?
9 A. Yes, she did.
10 Q. Did you always, concerning this point 4 about
11 wounded and sick -- did you decide also to ask the
12 prisoners questions about possible wounds and health
13 problems they might have to complain about?
14 A. I do not remember asking questions of this
15 kind, but at all events, questions of this kind I would
16 have asked had I noticed, in the course of my talks, my
17 questioning with these individuals, that they had been
18 wounded or that they were ill. But I do not remember
19 that I questioned anybody who was wounded or sick at
20 the time.
21 MR. TURONE: At this time, Exhibit D7/1 can be
22 given back to the Registrar.
23 In your examination-in-chief, you said
24 something about another similar investigating
25 commission, which had to deal with prisoners a number
1 of months before your Commission. Are you aware that
2 this other commission was appointed around the second
3 half of May -- it was active in Celebici mostly during
4 the month of June 1992?
5 A. I cannot say exactly whether it was the
6 second half of May, but I do know that it was in one of
7 the summer months.
8 Q. Thank you. You also mentioned some of its
9 members -- you mentioned Goran Lokas, Miroslav Stenek
10 and Mladen Zovko. Did you know them personally?
11 A. I remember that detail precisely because
12 I did know these individuals personally.
13 Q. So, can you tell us which position did they
14 have in Konjic -- these three persons?
15 A. Yes, Mr. Lokas, I cooperated with him for
16 several years -- he was for several years at the head
17 of the Konjic police. Mr. Stenek was a criminal
18 inspector working for the Konjic police and Mr. Zovko,
19 immediately before the war I seem to recall he worked
20 in the police as well but at the centre for the
21 security for Mostar.
22 Q. Do you know that Goran Lokas had to withdraw
23 immediately from the Commission because of a car
24 accident he suffered at the end of May and that he did
25 not return to the Commission any more?
1 A. Yes, I do know that he had a car accident.
2 He broke an arm and he did not return to the Commission
3 after that.
4 Q. Being a judge in Konjic and since you said
5 that you spent your entire life in Konjic, we can
6 expect that you know at least by name many persons who
7 had some public responsibility in the municipality, so
8 I am going to mention to you some other names, and
9 I would like you to tell me if any of these people were
10 also a member of the summer 1992 commission, as far as
11 you know. So, Mirsad Subasic?
12 A. I think he was there, yes.
13 Q. Munib Halilovic?
14 A. Yes, he was there, too.
16 A. I think he was there as well.
17 Q. Sacir Pajic?
18 A. I do not remember that name.
19 Q. Nusret Secibovic?
20 A. Yes, I think he was there.
21 Q. Mehmedalija Rizvic?
22 A. I do not remember that name and surname.
23 Q. So, I take it that you do not know personally
24 Sacir Pajic and Mehmedalija Rizvic, do you know them
1 A. No, I do not.
2 MR. MORAN: Excuse me, your Honour. There is
3 a person in the public gallery who earlier was a
4 witness for the Prosecutor. If she is not going to be
5 a witness again, I do not care if she stays, but it is
6 Sabina Manke, one of the investigators. If she is
7 going to be a witness in the future, I would ask she
8 leaves the public gallery.
9 MR. TURONE: The Prosecution case is closed.
10 We have no plans to call her.
11 MR. MORAN: That is fine. They have
12 rebuttal. I did not want to be bringing this up at
13 some later date.
14 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You have the answer and
15 they are not likely to call such a witness again.
16 MR. MORAN: That is correct. In that case,
17 I have no objection to her staying. She is more than
19 JUDGE JAN: You do not intend to call her as
20 your witness?
21 MR. MORAN: No, there is one investigator for
22 the OTP I may call, but she is not that person.
23 MR. TURONE: So, you remember four names
24 among the ones I told you, and was any of them a
25 colleague of you, a judge as you, either in Konjic or
1 in any other court. I repeat the names, Mirsad
3 A. No.
4 Q. Munib Halilovic?
5 A. He was the deputy public prosecutor in
6 Konjic, but he did not work in the court.
7 MR. TURONE: So, he was a kind of a -- in
8 Yugoslavia judges and prosecutors consider themselves
9 as colleagues.
10 JUDGE JAN: You mean their appointments are
12 MR. TURONE: They might shift one position
13 from the another.
14 JUDGE JAN: In some countries the positions
15 are interchangeable.
16 MR. TURONE: Is that correct, that in the
17 former Yugoslavia, you could move from the position of
18 judge to the one of prosecutor and vice versa?
19 A. Yes. Yes, you are right. The same
20 conditions are necessary for appointment of judges and
22 Q. That is correct, thank you. So, let us say
23 that Munib Halilovic somehow was a colleague of yours.
25 A. I do not know him, and he is not -- did not
1 work in the justice organs of Konjic, definitely not.
2 Q. You do not know what was his position -- his
3 official position, wherever he was?
4 A. I do not know.
5 Q. And Nasret Secibovic?
6 A. As far as I remember, he worked in the public
7 security station of Konjic.
8 Q. I forgot to say whether you know which was
9 the position of Mirsad Subasic -- do you know him
11 A. I know from hearing that he worked in the
12 security station of Konjic. Perhaps I contacted with
13 him at some point, but I cannot recall his face -- I do
14 not know what he looks like. I cannot recall that now.
15 Q. So, among these names I mentioned to you, who
16 was the most familiar to you, or who were the most
17 familiar to you -- maybe Munib Halilovic?
18 A. No. The most familiar were Goran Lokas,
19 Miroslav Stenek, and Zovko Mladen.
20 MR. TURONE: So, Mr. Begtasovic, did your
21 Commission keep in consideration the investigations
22 already done by the previous commission, and, if so, in
23 this way, did you have their file? I think you said
24 you had something.
25 JUDGE JAN: Yes, he said that.
1 MR. TURONE: The file of the previous
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: The witness did say precisely
4 that he had a dossier, a file, with some statements and
5 some files on their release.
6 MR. TURONE: All right, it was my fault. I did
7 not remember quite precisely.
8 Who gave this file to you, Mr. Begtasovic, do
9 you remember who gave this file to the 4th Corps
11 A. I do not remember -- after six years,
12 I really cannot remember.
13 MR. TURONE: That is a fair statement,
14 anyway. I would now like to show you two documents,
15 which have to do with the previous commission and which
16 are attached -- were attached by the Defence military
17 expert witness, Brigadier Vejzagic, to his expert
18 report. First, may I ask that the witness be provided
19 with annex V-D/19 of Defence Exhibit D145/1, which is
20 the third Vejzagic binder, please -- annex V-D/19.
21 If you see this document, you see it is a
22 document dated 18 June 1992; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, it is.
24 Q. And it is entitled, "Summary of the Findings
25 Regarding the Way of Arming the Serb Population"; is
1 that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did you remember having seen and taking into
4 consideration this document during the work of your
6 A. I do not remember that I have ever seen this
7 document before.
8 MR. TURONE: All right. So, this document might
9 be given back to the Registry. Now may I ask that the
10 witness be provided with annex IV/9 of Defence Exhibit
11 D144/1, which is the second Vejzagic binder, please.
13 As you see, it is a document dated
14 15 December 1992; is that correct?
15 A. Yes, it is.
16 Q. And it is entitled, "Excerpts from
17 Statements"; is that correct?
18 A. Yes, it is.
19 Q. Can you please read out the stamp -- the
20 heading, which appears right on top of the first page?
21 A. "The Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in situ
22 for Investigating Crimes against Humanity and
23 International Law at Sarajevo".
24 Q. If you want to give a quick glance at the
25 document to see how it appears to you, as I told you
1 this is one of the documents which the military expert
2 witness of the Defence relied upon for his expert
3 report. Did you remember having seen and taken into
4 consideration this document -- excerpts from statements
5 -- in your work at the 4th Corps Commission?
6 A. I do not remember ever having seen this
8 MR. TURONE: Do you agree that this document
9 appears to contain 136 excerpts from statements taken
10 before December 1992.
11 JUDGE JAN: Really I do not understand the
12 question. It contains excerpts -- why do you
13 say "agree"?
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, your
16 MR. TURONE: Is that correct, that this
17 document appears to contain 136 --
18 JUDGE JAN: He has never seen this document
19 before, according to him. He does not remember seeing
20 it before.
21 MR. TURONE: He can look at it now. He is
22 examining it and we are just describing it.
23 Does that contain 136 paragraphs?
24 A. Let me have a look first.
25 Q. Yes, sure -- take your time?
1 A. I notice that these are excerpts of
2 statements of 136 individuals. The last number that
3 I have come across seems to be 136.
4 Q. That is right. Would you please go to the
5 excerpt number 122 in this document, please?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. It contains a very short summary -- alleged
8 -- of the information given by Veseljko Dzordzic , is
9 that not correct?
10 A. Dzordzic Veseljko, yes.
11 MR. TURONE: Would you please read it out --
12 there are four lines -- could you plead read it out?
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, the witness did
14 not see this document before. Why should he read its
15 contents out?
16 MR. TURONE: Because I have a question for
17 him in my cross-examination, which requires him to read
18 before these few lines.
19 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: How he is associated
20 with this document itself? Is he in any way connected
21 with it?
22 MR. TURONE: He said he did not see this
23 document, but I think the Prosecution can show this
24 document to him and organise a specific question after
25 that he had read a specific part of it.
1 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: No, except you are
2 trying to show that he has anything to do with it, or
3 that he is concerned with it at all. He has no
4 business with it. He has even told you he has never
5 seen it before, he is seeing it for the first time and
6 you now proceed to tell him to read out things, which
7 somebody else might have made.
8 MR. TURONE: Your Honour, it does concern
9 some work he was doing in any case -- this is why --
10 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: These particular
11 excerpts were part of the work he was doing?
12 MR. TURONE: Yes, because they are excerpts
13 of statements --
14 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Let us have the
15 background to that, how he was in any way concerned
16 with any preliminary work leading to this document.
17 MR. TURONE: Do you see the 13 statements
18 which were tendered on Friday by Ms. Residovic belonging
19 to 13 persons who are included in this document, are
20 they not? You can see, for instance, Kuljanin Radovan,
21 Kuljanin Bosko, Dusko Bendzo, Mrsic Radovan, Kuljanin
22 Marko -- all these prisoners who were interrogated by
23 you and who are concerned by the 13 statements tendered
24 Friday by Ms. Residovic, are all included in this
1 JUDGE JAN: According to him, he merely
2 recorded the statements of those persons. Even if
3 those statements are in conflict with this small
4 version, how can he explain that? That is for them to
5 explain. He says he merely recorded their statements.
6 Even if there is conflict, how would you impeach in
7 reference to those statements?
8 MR. TURONE: I will move on to another issue.
9 Did you consider any possible finding of the
10 summer of 1992 commission about prisoners complaining
11 of wounds and mistreatment, if you found any, in order
12 to seek information about the wounded and sick
13 according to point 4 of the order which appointed your
15 A. We did not take into consideration these
16 records of statements which we found in the files at
17 all. I did say that I saw the statements of these
18 individuals before our Commission was established, but
19 we did not take them into account.
20 Q. So you did not take into account the
21 statements given by the same prisoners to the previous
22 commission; is that what you say?
23 A. Yes, that is correct.
24 Q. But did you happen to comment in your work in
25 the 4th Corps Commission with any of the other members
1 of the previous commission, Mladen Zovko, and Stenek,
2 the ones you knew better?
3 A. No.
4 Q. I read in the report of Defence military
5 expert Vejzagic on page 48 that your Commission's work
6 turned out to be very short, because the legally
7 determined judicial organs resumed their competencies.
8 Is that a fair statement -- do you agree with this
10 A. I think that I could not link this to the
11 resumption of work of the legally appointed
12 authorities, as you put it, and I know that the
13 district military court started work in the fall and
14 I am not sure when the district military prosecutor's
15 office began its work, and it would have been up to
16 them initiate any criminal investigation and
17 proceedings in this respect.
18 MR. TURONE: So you mean that this statement
19 is not correct, as far as the reason for which your
20 Commission work turned out to be very short, or do you
21 mean that it is not correct because your Commission's
22 work did not turn out to be very short.
23 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Actually, that is an
24 opinion of assessing the work --
25 MR. TURONE: I would like him to elaborate on
1 this basis and just tell us how long did the Commission
2 actually work -- how long did the 4th Corps
3 Commission --
4 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: That is a fairer
5 question than an opinion which someone else had of
6 their work.
7 MR. TURONE: Yes, thank you, your Honour.
8 So, how long did the commission actually
10 A. I think that they did not work more than one
12 Q. So, your appointment being dated 5 January,
13 can you say, when did you start interviewing the
14 prisoners? Let me give you some assistance in order to
15 put you in a condition to better remember. Looking at
16 the 13 statements shown to you last Friday by
17 Ms. Residovic, we can see that the earliest date is 9
18 January, which is in Exhibit 147/1. So, since you were
19 appointed on 5 January, could 9 January be the first
20 day when you started interviewing prisoners?
21 A. With your assistance, I think I can confirm
23 Q. And, again, among those 13 statements, the
24 latest date appearing on them is 18 January (Exhibits
25 153 and 154). Does that help you in recalling what
1 might have been approximately the day when you
2 completed the interviews?
3 A. Believe me, I do not remember, but I know
4 that it did not last longer than one month. It could
5 have lasted 15 days, and taking into account that we
6 had 105 individuals, and that it would not have been
7 possible to interrogate more than, say, 15
8 witnesses --
9 Q. Per day, you mean?
10 A. Yes, per day. In cases where we had rather
11 short questioning, there would be up to 15 persons, let
12 us say, if we took a 10-hour working day --
13 Q. I beg your pardon?
14 A. If we took a 10-hour working day.
15 Q. I see. In that period of time, when you
16 worked, how many working days did you actually employ
17 in all, approximately?
18 A. Whatever I tell you now would be inaccurate.
19 I can just guess or surmise. I could not really give
20 you an exact number.
21 Q. So, in any case, you said you had to
22 interview 105 prisoners; is that correct?
23 A. I believe that was the number, yes.
24 Q. Do you have a list of these prisoners?
25 A. Excuse me, I did not understand the question.
1 Q. I wonder if you have a list of these
2 witnesses with you?
3 A. No, I do not.
4 Q. And they were all detained at Musala at that
5 time; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 MR. TURONE: May I ask again that the witness
8 be provided with annex VII/4 of the third binder of
9 expert witness Vejzagic. (Handed)
10 You see this is a list of amnesties
11 concerning 97 people. Do these 97 prisoners -- are
12 these 97 persons part of the 105 prisoners you
14 A. The names of the persons whom I questioned,
15 I cannot recall.
16 Q. I see. But, in any case, you have been
17 talking about the amnesty -- can you say, when was this
18 amnesty granted?
19 A. The law on amnesty was adopted, as far as
20 I can recall, in 1996.
21 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, you stated that your
22 Investigating Commission, in January 1993, conducted
23 the proceedings, including the questioning of the
24 prisoners according to the letter of the law, namely,
25 according to the code of criminal procedure of
1 Yugoslavia; is that correct?
2 A. That is correct. According to the laws of
3 Yugoslavia, which was later adopted as the law in
5 Q. Prior to the war, the law provided that
6 persons could only be detained for three days without
7 being brought to court, to a judge, or having formal
8 proceedings initiated; is that correct?
9 A. That is correct.
10 Q. And, before the war, if a person was kept for
11 more than three days without having formal proceedings
12 brought, without seeing a judge, that would be illegal;
13 is that correct?
14 A. Before the war, yes.
15 Q. But, would you agree that this continued to
16 be the law, even after the war started?
17 A. That is correct.
18 Q. So, would you agree that the fact that these
19 persons were detained for a long time without having
20 proceedings and seeing a judge was not according to the
21 code of criminal procedure of Yugoslavia, was it?
22 A. I would disagree with you.
23 Q. Can you elaborate and tell me why?
24 A. I will try. At that time, the basic court in
25 Konjic did not work and neither did the higher court in
1 Mostar, nor did the district military court, nor the
2 competent prosecutor's offices and all these bodies
3 that were involved in bringing charges and conducting
4 criminal proceedings basically did not exist. Konjic
5 was simply surrounded. There were no communications
6 with the district court in Mostar, with the high court
7 in Sarajevo, nor was there any communication with the
8 district Prosecutor's Offices in Mostar or Sarajevo.
9 This is why I say that the situation was different
10 before the war from the one at the beginning of the
12 Q. Was there any law that said that persons
13 could be detained indefinitely in prison where persons
14 could not be brought to court and, if so, what is that
16 A. Such a law does not exist.
17 Q. So, do you agree with me that, even if the
18 situation might have been an emergency situation,
19 because of that situation the code of criminal
20 procedure of Yugoslavia was anyway violated; is that
22 A. In my view, it would have been illegal to
23 release persons who are suspected of having committed
24 criminal acts, such acts for which the death penalty
25 could be imposed, should they have been found guilty.
1 Q. I see your point, but, in any case, even if
2 this reasoning is acceptable, that means that, for
3 emergency reasons, you were compelled to violate the
4 code of criminal procedure of Yugoslavia, were you not?
5 A. I think that observing the principle of
6 legality -- that is, the obligation of all State
7 authorities to do everything within their power to
8 prosecute persons suspected of such high crimes, that
9 takes precedence over the rights to which you are
11 Q. I can see even this point. By the way, is
12 not Yugoslavia and the former Yugoslavia -- did the
13 principle of compulsory penal action apply in the
14 former Yugoslavia, or did the principle of
15 discretionary penal action apply there?
16 A. I am afraid I do not understand this
17 question. I do not know what you are implying by
18 "discretionary" and "obligatory".
19 JUDGE JAN: It is a question of great
20 importance. Maybe he can refer to the law of necessity
21 where necessity creates its own law. I am not going
22 into that -- it is a possible question on
23 constitutional law.
24 MR. TURONE: I am getting to that.
25 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: If his explanation is
1 acceptable, would you not prefer turning to another
2 question? He has given an explanation of why it was
3 not possible to release those incarcerated at that
4 time. I do not see what else he should say.
5 MR. TURONE: All right. In any case, you did,
6 in examination-in-chief, mention the code of criminal
7 procedure of Yugoslavia as the laws which should rule
8 these proceedings, did you not?
9 A. (Witness nods head) Yes.
10 Q. Again, coming back to the 13 copies of
11 records of statements of prisoners shown to you last
12 Friday and where you recognised your signature, would
13 you agree that these persons, prior to being questioned
14 by your committee or your Commission, were not informed
15 of any rights, were they?
16 A. What rights do you have in mind?
17 Q. The rights concerning the accused according
18 to the Yugoslavian code of criminal procedure, the
19 accused's rights to be warned about his rights -- is
20 that not right -- did you advise these prisoners,
21 before questioning them of any rights they might have
22 according to regulations?
23 A. All these individuals were invited to state
24 the circumstances relating to the suspicion of their
25 participation in armed rebellion, so they were advised
1 before the questioning that there was reasonable
2 grounds for suspicion that they committed such acts.
3 Then, they were invited to state what they knew about
4 it, that is, whether they had taken part in armed
5 rebellion, and to state that freely before the
7 MR. TURONE: Yes, but this is not exactly what
8 I wanted to say. What are the rights of the
9 accused --
10 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: What counsel is saying,
11 before you questioned those accused persons or
12 witnesses, whatever, did you read to them their
13 entitlements as persons being questioned, as to what
14 rights they had, whether they do not have to say
15 anything, whether they have the right to counsel --
16 what did you spell out to them as to what rights they
17 had before your Commission, or did they have no rights
18 before your Commission?
19 A. No, in any event, these persons were told
20 that they could remain silent, that they could state
21 what they had in their Defence, and, as far as the duty
22 of the questioner is concerned, according to the law --
23 as far as the Defence counsel is concerned, for
24 instance, the regulations governing the code of
25 procedure was violated in that respect. However, since
1 this was not an investigative procedure, this was a
2 procedure based on an earlier charge -- in that
3 respect, these persons could have been interrogated
4 without the presence of their counsel and I said
5 previously that the statements which were taken
6 previously from these persons could not have been used
7 in the court proceedings subsequently -- only the
8 investigating judge could have advised the suspects
9 that they had the rights to Defence counsel.
10 However, since this is a pre-trial
11 proceeding, this is an information interview, which
12 could be a basis for, let us say, initiating some
13 criminal proceedings, but, again, I repeat that it may
14 not be used as a basis for reaching a final decision on
16 So, again, I repeat: this statement had to
17 be sealed in a separate envelope and kept separately.
18 I believe that I was clear enough on that point.
19 MR. TURONE: According to the court of
20 criminal procedure in any case, this kind of
21 interrogation was also dealt with with the same rights
22 as the interrogation of an investigating judge; was
23 that not true.
24 MR. OLUJIC: Objection, your Honours. The
25 witness clarified that -- in this specific case, he
1 mentioned that this is not the same procedure; this is
2 the procedure which is not a court procedure. He said
3 that this was an information interview and that
4 sufficiently explains why the witnesses were not
5 properly advised of the rights according to them,
6 according to the procedure -- to the proper code of
7 criminal procedure.
8 MR. TURONE: Your Honour, since the witness,
9 in examination-in-chief, mentioned precisely the code
10 of criminal procedure in the former Yugoslavia, I think
11 I am entitled to cross-examine him through this line of
13 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You are -- actually,
14 you are following it. I think what should be your next
15 question --
16 MR. TURONE: My next question is, since he
17 said that the prisoners were warned about their right
18 to keep silent, why did you not give an account of this
19 in the record, as it is provided by the code of
20 criminal procedure.
21 JUDGE JAN: He has answered that question.
22 He said it was not an investigation under the criminal
23 procedure court. He was not acting as an investigating
24 judge -- he was not even acting as a police officer.
25 This is proceedings of a commission -- this is what he
2 MR. TURONE: But, your Honour, he said that
3 he warned the prisoners of this --
4 JUDGE JAN: That is fair enough but that
5 does not mean the proceedings were under the code of
6 criminal procedure.
7 MR. TURONE: I asked why did he not give an
8 account of that in the record about this warning.
9 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: And why was it no spelt
10 out that the warnings had been given, or that no
11 warning was necessary, or the type of warning they gave
12 -- is that your question?
13 MR. TURONE: Yes, that is my question.
14 Why was that not made clear in the record,
15 that you actually did advise the prisoners of their
16 right of keeping silent?
17 A. I do not remember whether this was introduced
18 into the records or not.
19 Q. Since all this is not according to the code
20 of criminal procedure and when you stated Friday that
21 these persons were questioned according to the letter
22 of the law, then please tell us exactly what law or
23 regulations you were talking about in your
25 A. I spoke on the law of criminal procedure for
2 Q. All right, let us move on.
3 Is it your testimony, Mr. Begtasovic, that
4 proceedings were warranted against every single person
5 interrogated by your Commission?
6 A. I said that, in my opinion, against most of
7 these individuals, there were grounds for procedures of
8 this kind.
9 Q. And when did that happen; when were
10 proceedings brought against the single persons
11 interrogated by your Commission -- when the indictments
12 took place, in how many cases?
13 A. I do not know.
14 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, let us go back for a moment to
15 the 13 statements taken by your Commission where you
16 recognised your signature last Friday. Were these the
17 only copies you have had occasion to see again in the
18 last two years?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And, by the way, I do not know whether you
21 are in a position to answer this question, but do you
22 know why only 13 of the over 100 interrogations that
23 you conducted were brought here; do you have any idea
24 -- are the other ones missing? Did you understand my
1 A. Yes, I have understood the question, but I do
2 not know why we only have 13 brought to the Tribunal,
3 as you yourself have just said.
4 Q. All right. You said in examination-in-chief,
5 or in some cross-examination of co-defendants that you
6 interviewed the prisoners in the SUP headquarters in
7 Konjic; am I correct?
8 A. Yes, "SUP" is short for Secretariat of
9 Internal Affairs. It is an organ of the police -- the
10 executive organ -- and for some usual colloquial
11 reasons we refer to it as the SUP building, but it is
12 the building of the public security office in Konjic,
13 in actual fact, so we are dealing with the same thing,
14 SUP, MUP public security station, they are one and the
15 same, dating back to Communistic terms -- SUP, that is.
16 Q. Did those interviews always take place in the
17 same room inside this building?
18 A. I am not sure, but I think it was all done in
19 the same room, and this was conditioned by the
20 shelling, so that, as far as I am able to recall, the
21 questioning took place on the first floor, because that
22 was the safest place to have them.
23 Q. Did you meet every single prisoner only once,
24 or more than once?
25 A. I think I met them only once.
1 Q. Did the prisoners -- were they brought to SUP
2 from Musala in groups?
3 A. Probably two or three prisoners at a time --
4 two or three detainees at a time, so that two or three
5 would wait in an antechamber, in a room in front of the
6 room where the questioning took place, and then they
7 would come in one by one and sit before the Commission.
8 Q. I see. Were guards present in the room when
9 the interrogations took place?
10 A. I think that the guards were not present in
11 the room where the actual Commission was doing the
12 questioning. They would wait in front of the door
14 Q. You said that all five members of the
15 Commission were present during the interview; is that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. How long did the single interviews take,
19 approximately, more or less?
20 A. I cannot tell you exactly, but I would
21 suppose that we would hear daily seven or eight of
22 these detainees.
23 Q. Was there a typist present during the
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Do you know the name of the typist?
2 A. I remember the face -- if you were to give me
3 a name, I could say whether that was the name or not.
4 Q. Was that Ismeta Pozder?
5 A. Yes, I know her.
6 MR. TURONE: Were the five members, the typist
7 and the detainee present or together the entire time.
8 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Also the recorder.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
10 THE WITNESS: Yes.
11 MR. TURONE: Were there the five members, the
12 typist (the recorder) and the detainee all present the
13 entire time?
14 A. Yes, they were present all the time.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: This question has been
16 answered on several occasions, your Honours.
17 MR. TURONE: You said that the record was
18 typed during the interview itself as long as the
19 prisoner gave his statement, did you not?
20 A. Not at the same time -- after the
21 questioning. The questioned individual would sign the
22 record and then members of the Commission and the
23 recorder would do the same.
24 Q. All right. So you said that the previous
25 statements of the previous commission were not used by
1 you; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, it is.
3 Q. Why did you not find it proper to give the
4 prisoner the possibility to review his previous
6 A. I did not find any justified reasons for
7 this, or logical reasons, either.
8 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, did you personally know any of
9 the prisoners you happened to interview?
10 A. I did not know them personally, no. Perhaps
11 I had seen some of the people around in Konjic, because
12 Konjic is a small town -- I might have known them by
13 sight, but I could not say exactly that I talked to
14 them or was in any direct contact with any of them.
15 Q. Let me mention a name to you. Does the name
16 of Milenko Kuljanin say anything to you?
17 A. No, it does not. "Kuljanin" is a fairly
18 common surname. It is from the Bradina area.
19 Q. I mention Milenko Kuljanin, because he
20 testified in this court that he was not really
21 interviewed by your Commission but was simply requested
22 to sign a record of statement, which had already been
23 prepared -- is that possible?
24 A. That is absolutely not possible.
25 Q. You would agree, Mr. Begtasovic, that, in
1 interviewing persons, when the interviews are -- when
2 two different interviews are separated by months --
3 I mean, two different interviews of the same person --
4 when the interviews are separated by months, do you
5 agree that the interviewed person does not give the
6 identical statement using identical language; in other
7 words, even if the sense is the same, the exact same
8 words will not be used -- is that not true? Was
9 I clear in my question?
10 A. Yes, that was clear. I do not think the
11 statement would be identical -- each on two occasions
12 in the space of two days, let alone after several
13 months have expired.
14 MR. TURONE: So, may I ask that the witness be
15 shown Exhibits D16/4 and D15/4, which are two different
16 statements of Milenko Kuljanin -- the one dated 8 June
17 1992 and the second one dated 11 January 1993. Would
18 you please provide the witness with both statements --
19 D16/4 and D15/4. (Handed)
20 Would you please, Mr. Begtasovic, compare
21 these two statements and just take your time, of
22 course, to compare them and just, for instance, could
23 you please, just for an example, read out from the
24 first statement -- I mean, first of all, I withdraw it.
25 First of all, look at the statement of 11
1 January and tell me do you recognise your signature on
3 A. Yes, I do recognise my signature.
4 Q. So, let us start from this record of
5 statement -- the one dated 11 January 1993. Would you
6 please read out the 10 lines from the third paragraph
7 -- the one which starts with the words "I was at home
8 when the attack on Bradina started" -- do you see this
9 on 11 January 1993 statement. Could you please read it
10 out, just 10 lines of this statement -- read it out
11 aloud, please?
12 A. "I was at home when the attack on Bradina
13 started. I took my rifle and with my unit -- "
14 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, start again and very slowly,
15 please, would you read it very slowly?
16 A. Yes:
17 "I was at home when the attack on Bradina
18 started. I took my rifle and went to the positions, to
19 Bratisava with my unit. I spent about 24 hours at the
20 position, then retreated towards Jasika. The following
21 men from Brdani remained at Bratisava: Draganic Marko,
22 Draganic Jovo, Draganic Milan, Sinikovic Velo,
23 Sinikovic Goran, Sinikovic Slobodan, Sinikovic Gojko,
24 Sinikovic Vojo, and Sinikovic Branko who intended to
25 break through to the village of Brdani. I met Mrkajic
1 Momir, Gligorevic Brano and Gligorevic Milovan in
2 Jasika and we decided to try and make it to Hadzici
3 across Mount Bjelasnica."
4 Q. That is okay. Could you take the other
5 statement, the one dated 8 June 1992, and go to the
6 third paragraph starting with the same words, "I was at
7 home when the attack on Bradina started" -- would you
8 please read these 10 lines, also?
9 A. Yes:
10 "I was at home at the time of the attack on
11 Bradina. Then I took my rifle and proceeded to the
12 positions at Bratisava with my unit. I spent about 24
13 hours at the position, then retreated towards Jasika.
14 The following men from Brdani remained at Bratisava:
15 Draganic Marko, Draganic Jovo, Draganic
16 Milan, Sinikovic Velo, Sinikovic Goran, Sinikovic
17 Slobodan, Sinikovic Gojko, Sinikovic Vojo and Sinikovic
18 Branko who intended to break through to the village of
19 Brdani. I met Momir Mrkajic, Brano Gligorevic and
20 Milovan Gligorevic in Jasika and we decided to try and
21 make it to Hadzici across Mount Bjelasnica."
22 Q. Do you agree with me that these two passages
23 you read out are absolutely identical, word by word, in
24 the two documents?
25 A. Yes, I do agree.
1 Q. Do you have any explanation for that?
2 A. I have no other explanation apart from saying
3 that, when I attended the questioning -- when
4 I questioned this individual, if it was myself who
5 questioned him, that I had in my hands this statement
6 of the previous commission, and that I used it in the
8 Q. Do you agree that this is not what you said
9 so far about the procedure of questioning the
11 A. I said previously that I only took a brief
12 view of the statements that existed in the files.
13 I did not have this in mind, but now, when I come to
14 compare these two texts, the only explanation is the
15 one that I have just given you.
16 MR. TURONE: Your Honours, we have more
17 accurate translations now of these two statements such
18 as to show in both characters the parts which are
19 identical in the two statements. We have copies for
20 your Honours and for the Defence lawyers.
21 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I thought he explained
22 why it so happened -- why he had -- why now you can
25 MR. TURONE: Mr. Begtasovic, I would like you
1 to be provided with annex D45 from the Vejzagic second
3 JUDGE JAN: Is it true of all the Defence
4 statements produced the day before last -- they have
5 common passages to the statements which they made in
6 the Celebici camp?
7 MR. TURONE: The Defence statements produced
8 the day before -- do you mean last Friday?
9 JUDGE JAN: There common passages with the
10 statements made by these detainees in the Celebici
12 MR. TURONE: If you are talking about the 13
13 statements, we do not know, because we do not have the
14 statements of both commissions for every one of them.
15 JUDGE JAN: I see.
16 (Document handed)
17 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Do we still wait for
19 MR. TURONE: Sorry, just to answer your
20 Honour's question, there are exhibits D42/1, and D43/1
21 concerning Novica Dzordzic, which are also identical
22 passages -- D42/1 and D43/1, Novica Dzordzic.
23 Do you recognise Dzumhur's signature on this
25 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Which document is the witness
1 being shown -- could you identify the document?
2 MR. TURONE: V-D45 from the second binder of
3 Mr. Vejzagic.
4 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: The Trial Chamber will
5 now rise. We will reassemble at 4.30 so you can
6 streamline your presentation.
8 (A short break)
10 (The witness entered court)
11 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Please remind the
12 witness he is still on his oath.
13 THE REGISTRAR: I remind you, Sir, that you
14 are still under oath.
15 THE WITNESS: Yes, thank you.
16 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You may proceed now.
17 MR. TURONE: I will withdraw my previous
18 question and I will go to another issue.
19 Mr. Begtasovic, are you aware that the
20 previous commission resigned before completing its work
21 because of the mistreatment of the prisoners?
22 A. I did not know that the previous commission
23 resigned at all.
24 MR. TURONE: May I ask that the witness be
25 provided with Prosecution Exhibit 162, please?
2 Did you ever see this document,
3 Mr. Begtasovic? Do you know it?
4 A. No, I have never seen this document before.
5 Q. You see that this document is addressed to
6 three authorities -- one of them being the
7 "coordinator" or "combat coordinator". Do you know
8 who the "coordinator" is?
9 A. No.
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: The witness answered, but
11 even before replying to this question, he had already
12 stated that he had never seen this document before.
13 MR. TURONE: Do you know who had control and
14 command over the prisons of Musala and Celebici during
16 A. I do not know that.
17 Q. By the way, in your position of a prominent
18 citizen and civil servant of Konjic, and during your
19 work in the Investigating Commission, did you get to
20 know anything about a man by the name "Belalic",
21 initial "B", "Bosnia", as responsible for detainees in
23 A. No, I have not heard that.
24 MR. TURONE: May I ask that the witness be
25 provided with Prosecution Exhibit 214, please? You see
1 this document is dated 22 December 1992? Do you agree
2 that it was 15 days before your appointment as a member
3 of the Commission?
4 A. According to the date indicated, that is how
5 it appears.
6 Q. Did you ever see this document?
7 A. No, I have never seen that.
8 Q. Would you agree -- that is a general question
9 -- do you agree that telexes, since they go through a
10 machine, do not have signatures and seals?
11 A. Would you please repeat the question? I did
12 not understand it.
13 Q. Would you agree that telexes, since they go
14 through a machine, do not have signatures or seals on
15 them -- would you agree on that?
16 A. Since I am completely ignorant in things
17 technical, including transmission of documents,
18 I really cannot answer you. I am not sure whether this
19 can be transmitted or not.
20 Q. Let me read out the five lines starting
21 with, "From the first days of the war" from this
22 document and ask you something:
23 "From the first days of the war -- "
24 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, objection --
25 the witness does not recognise this document, so I do
1 not understand what purpose his reading of it serves.
2 MR. TURONE: Just forget about the document,
3 Mr. Begtasovic. I want to ask you whether a given
4 statement I am going to tell you is true or not. So,
5 the statement is this one:
6 "From the first days of the war, in the area
7 of our municipality, 455 persons of the aggressor were
8 registered as captured. The same were placed in the
9 Celebici barracks and the sports hall in Konjic and, at
10 the same time, a Military Investigation Commission was
11 formed, composed of the representatives of the TO and
12 HVO from Konjic -- people with adequate knowledge to
13 conduct these affairs."
14 Is this a true statement, as far as --
15 JUDGE JAN: How can he give this opinion?
16 MR. TURONE: Does this statement -- is this
17 statement consistent with your personal knowledge of
18 what happened in the area in 1992?
19 JUDGE JAN: Personal knowledge derived from
20 what -- what source?
21 MR. TURONE: From his knowledge about what
22 happened in the area of Konjic in 1992.
23 JUDGE JAN: He was a judge. How would he
24 knows about these things -- if it is something that has
25 come to his knowledge as an officer --
1 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You might be able to
2 put questions to him about what happened about that
3 time, and if he knows it --
4 JUDGE JAN: Generally, yes, but how can you
5 ask him specific questions like this?
6 MR. TURONE: Mr. Begtasovic, is that true,
7 that after people were captured and placed in Celebici
8 barracks, and the sports hall in Konjic, at that time,
9 a Military Investigation Commission was formed composed
10 of the representatives of the TO and HVO from Konjic --
11 people with adequate knowledge to conduct these affairs
12 -- is that a fair statement?
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: The witness already answered
14 this question.
15 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: If he knows about it,
16 he should be able to answer. He was there, he was an
17 official, if these are things which he could know
18 about, he would be able to say.
19 MR. TURONE: Would you answer my question --
20 is that a true statement?
21 A. I heard your question and I will give you an
22 answer. During the work of the Commission of which
23 I was a member, I was aware of the fact that, before
24 the Commission of which I was a member, a different
25 commission had been formed, which interrogated people
1 who were detained at Celebici. As to the composition
2 of this commission, including representatives of the TO
3 and the HVO, that, I do not know -- I do not recall
4 that any more. I doubt whether I had such precise
5 information, even at that time.
6 Q. And is that a true statement, that:
7 "Towards the end of December 1992, in Konjic,
8 the investigation for the war prisoners had not been
9 completed and it was requested to the Ministry of
10 Defence to intervene urgently with the relevant State
11 institutions so that a decree with powers of law be
12 passed concerning abolition, that is amnesty of certain
13 categories of individuals, perpetrators of criminal
15 Was that true and was that the reason for
16 which your Commission was appointed?
17 A. I am not aware of this. I did not have that
18 knowledge then; I do not possess such knowledge now.
19 Q. I am coming to the end of my
20 cross-examination. You reported that none of the
21 persons you interrogated complained to you that they
22 had been mistreated while in Celebici; is that correct?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. Did you ask any of the persons you
25 interrogated whether they had been mistreated while in
2 A. I am not sure of that. It is possible that
3 I did ask them, but I do not remember now.
4 Q. You discussed the Bosnian citizenship laws
5 and the fact that they changed at various times. Can
6 you tell us the difference between the law in April
7 1992, the law in the fall of 1992, and the law of 1996?
8 A. As far as the crucial differences are
9 concerned, there are no such differences in these two
10 laws. The provisions regarding application for
11 citizenship are identical -- as far as the basic
12 provisions for cessation of it are concerned are also
13 the same. However, maybe we should point out that
14 there is a provision in this current law pursuant to
15 which all citizens of the former SFRY, citizens who
16 lived in the territory of BH on 6 April 1992, still
17 have their citizenship.
18 Q. You say that there were not crucial
19 differences. What were then the non-crucial
21 A. It is this last provision that I mentioned in
22 this last answer to you and right now I cannot recall
23 any other.
24 Q. You discussed the procedure for renouncing
25 citizenship, but did I understand you correctly that
1 the relevant bodies, including the court, were not
2 functioning after April 1992?
3 A. I said that, after April 1992, the basic
4 court in Konjic was not functioning and there were no
5 other regular courts that were able to function or that
6 did function in the Konjic area and that includes both
7 the courts and the Prosecutor's Office.
8 MR. TURONE: Mr. Begtasovic, is that correct,
9 that you in 1993, you interviewed Mr. Delic and
10 Mr. Landzo and, further, that you have already --
11 MS. McMURREY: Objection.
12 MR. MORAN: Objection, your Honour.
13 MS. McMURREY: This is a matter that I sent a
14 letter to the Prosecution earlier about discussing. It
15 is a matter we object to relevance, it is a matter that
16 has been brought before this court before and it is a
17 matter that I believe this witness has a privilege to
18 invoke. I am going to let him speak on that.
19 Also, under Rule 89(D), it is a matter that
20 should be excluded from consideration by this court.
21 This court has ruled before that documents by the
22 Prosecution had been admitted for the limited purpose
23 of identity of names only, but this matter is totally
24 irrelevant to this proceeding before this court.
25 JUDGE JAN: We have not heard the question
1 yet. You anticipate --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
3 MS. McMURREY: Yes, we anticipated it for
4 several days.
5 JUDGE JAN: We should know the question
6 before ruling on it.
7 MR. TURONE: May I finish my question. May
8 I also say that the reason for questioning that -- my
9 question is: is that correct, is it not, that you in
10 1993, interviewed Mr. Delic and Mr. Landzo and, further,
11 is that true that you have already given a witness
12 statement yourself concerning those interviews in front
13 of another judge of Konjic? I am asking this question,
14 because it is related to the position of Mr. Delalic in
15 Konjic at the time, and this is --
16 JUDGE JAN: Delic or Delalic?
17 MR. TURONE: Delalic.
18 JUDGE JAN: Delalic was not in Konjic
19 I thought in 1993.
20 MR. TURONE: This is a question, the reason
21 for which will become clear in the following part, if
22 I am allowed to ask it.
23 Was that true, Mr. Begtasovic, that you
24 interviewed Mr. Delic and Mr. Landzo in 1993, and that,
25 after that, you gave a witness statement yourself
1 concerning those interviews to Judge Sena Uzunovic in
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the witness,
5 A. As to the first part of your question, my
6 answer is yes, in the affirmative. I did question --
7 and I cannot claim whether this was in 1993 -- it is
8 possible, but I am not sure of the date -- I questioned
9 Mr. Landzo and Mr. Delic and, as far as the second part
10 of your question is concerned, I do not recall that
11 I was called up as a witness in a case and that I was
12 questioned as a witness, especially not before Judge
13 Senad Uzunovic, because there is no judge with such
14 first and last names.
15 Q. Sena Uzunovic?
16 A. Sena Uzunovic does exist, it is a female
18 Q. Is that the case, that on 6 April 1994, Judge
19 Sena Uzunovic took a witness statement from you about
20 your interviews of Mr. Landzo and Mr. Delic?
21 A. If you were to show me a record of it,
22 I could answer you in the affirmative or the negative,
23 but I do not remember it.
24 MR. TURONE: May I ask the usher to show to
25 the witness this document, which is already in the
1 possession of the Prosecution -- I ask it be marked for
2 identification. These are copies --
3 JUDGE JAN: What is the statement about?
4 MR. TURONE: This is a draft of the statement
5 he was telling me that, if he sees it, he --
6 JUDGE JAN: Yes, but what is the statement
7 about? There will be a question of whether or not the
8 statement is relevant here.
9 MR. TURONE: It is a witness statement given
10 by Mr. Begtasovic to investigating Judge Sena Uzunovic
11 in Konjic about his interviews of Mr. Landzo and
12 Mr. Delic.
13 MR. MORAN: We object to the relevance --
14 MS. McMURREY: Your Honour, I do not have the
15 document that he is referring to, either. We do not
16 have that. We do not know what he is showing to the
17 witness at the moment and, if he wants to pursue this
18 line of questioning, I would ask the leave of the court
19 to take the witness on voir dire about this issue,
21 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I do not see the
22 relevance of this at all.
23 MR. TURONE: In those statements in front of
24 Mr. Begtasovic, Mr. Landzo and Mr. Delic were asked to
25 make statements about the position in Celebici --
1 MS. McMURREY: I am going to object --
2 MR. TURONE: In 1992 and his superiors --
3 Landzo and Delic were asked statements about their
4 position in Celebici --
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours --
6 MR. TURONE: We have reason to believe that
7 this happened in their statement, about the positions
8 of themselves and their superiors. This is why we
9 believe that this is relevant. We are not interested
10 in bringing in this statement, this witness statement
11 of Mr. Begtasovic for any other reason -- not for any
12 other part of its contents.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Counsel's microphone.
14 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Whose statement are we
15 dealing with now?
16 MR. TURONE: The statement -- I hope your
17 Honours received copies of this statement of
18 Mr. Begtasovic.
19 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: It is his own
21 MR. TURONE: His own witness statement in
22 front of Judge Sena Uzunovic.
23 JUDGE JAN: A statement producing somebody
24 else's statement.
25 MR. TURONE: This is a witness statement --
1 JUDGE JAN: A statement of a co-accused --
2 MR. TURONE: Given by Mr. Begtasovic.
3 JUDGE JAN: He is repeating a statement of a
4 co-accused against another co-accused -- is that what
5 your position is?
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, we object,
7 because this is a statement against a co-accused and
8 I think this is against the Rules. This cannot be
10 MS. McMURREY: I also believe that this is
11 privileged information according to the continental
12 form of law in Yugoslavia, that this is part of a
13 proceedings where an investigating judge is reporting
14 to another investigating judge, which is privileged
15 information and they have a duty not to disclose that.
16 MR. MORAN: Also, your Honour, I would
17 object, besides those grounds, under Rule 66(B).
18 MS. McMURREY: Also under Rule 89(D), your
20 MR. TURONE: We have to emphasise that, with
21 respect to Rule 66, we made the entire file available
22 to the Defence lawyers many, many, many months ago.
23 I would like to state that I am not asking this
24 question for the specifics of the crime Mr. Begtasovic
25 was investigating at the time when he interviewed
1 Mr. Landzo and Mr. Delic.
2 JUDGE JAN: That is what I was asking -- a
3 statement -- he is presenting a statement of a
4 co-accused against another co-accused.
5 MR. TURONE: The same of the statements which
6 were admitted.
7 JUDGE JAN: What statement has been admitted
8 -- a statement of a co-accused against another
9 co-accused, how can it be used?
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: These statements are not --
11 were not disclosed in the evidence which we received
12 and, also, it is a procedure that is privileged
13 information according to our legislation and I want to
14 advise the witness that he is in violation of our own
15 Rules of Procedure if he discloses such material.
16 MR. TURONE: Our position is that this is
17 admissible against Delic and Landzo and your Honours
18 can later consider whether to admit it with respect to
19 Mr. Delalic.
20 MR. MORAN: I am confused. I do not know how
21 this man's statement given to somebody else can be
22 admissible against my client. Unless he is talking
23 about the statements that were previously introduced by
24 the Prosecutor for the sole purpose of the names and
25 titles of people in there, and in that case, there is
1 no substantive facts that are introduced against my
2 client, and -- I am just befuddled.
3 MS. McMURREY: Your Honour, the further
4 objection under Rule 66 is I have never seen this
5 document before, as I am sure none of the other counsel
6 for defendants on this side have ever seen this
7 document before. At least before we go further with
8 this, we would like to have one moment to sit down and
9 at least ascertain what this is.
10 MR. TURONE: As far as the discovery issue is
11 concerned, all the Defence lawyers had an opportunity
12 to see all the Bubalo file -- I was not yet in the
13 trial team at that time. If your Honours wish,
14 Ms. McHenry can explain how that happened.
15 MR. MORAN: I am still at a loss how the
16 Bubalo matter is in any way relevant to any of the
17 accusations in the indictment in this case -- two
18 accused, or maybe all of the defendants, of just being
19 bad people in general, and they are not on trial for
20 being bad people in general -- they are on trial for
21 specific allegations.
22 MR. TURONE: Actually, we are not wishing to
23 introduce the Bubalo affair in this trial. This
24 question can deal with information about the position
25 of Mr. Delalic in Konjic and with respect to Celebici.
1 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I have read it myself
2 and I really do not see any connection between the
3 accused persons and the present trial we have here. If
4 anything might have happened in some other proceedings
5 elsewhere, I think that is a quite different position.
6 JUDGE JAN: Where does the statement show
7 that Delalic was the superior of Delic and Landzo in
8 respect of the Celebici camp? Where does it show that?
9 Read that portion.
10 MR. TURONE: There might be a possibility to
11 clarify that question --
12 JUDGE JAN: Why bring in unnecessary matters
13 that do not relate to our case? In any case a
14 statement of a co-accused against another
15 co-accused --
16 MR. TURONE: This document is only intended
17 to refresh his memory.
18 JUDGE JAN: About what?
19 MR. TURONE: He said, "I do not see the
20 record, I do not remember." This is why we wanted
21 to --
22 JUDGE JAN: To that extent, maybe you can
23 show it to him for that, but nothing more than that.
24 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Speaking for myself,
25 I do not think it is admissible for this purpose. If
1 there is another way of bringing it in, I do not know,
2 but definitely not through this witness.
3 JUDGE JAN: We have already seen some
4 documents which indicate that Delalic had probably
5 directed Delic to commit the murder of Bubalo. We do
6 not know whether Bubalo was a person detained in the
7 camp -- and that charge was later on dropped.
8 MR. TURONE: Could we ask the witness what
9 Mr. Delic and Mr. Landzo said about their own position in
10 Celebici --
11 MS. McMURREY: Your Honours!
12 MR. MORAN: Your Honours!
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours!
14 JUDGE JAN: Where is it in the statement you
15 are referring to?
16 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Some of this sounds
17 fairly strange. I think there are circumstances when
18 perhaps one could introduce a witness linking accused
19 persons, but not in these circumstances. I do not see
20 how you could. I seized the opportunity to read
21 through this statement and I am not satisfied that
22 there is a sufficient linkage.
23 MR. TURONE: All right, your Honour. So, my
24 cross-examination is finished.
25 Thank you, Mr. Begtasovic.
1 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Is there any
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, I would first
4 of all like to ask that this document, which has been
5 identified, be taken out of the evidence material, away
6 from the evidence material of this court.
7 I have just one question for the witness and
8 you thought that the document was irrelevant for the
9 witness as well.
10 Re-examined by MS. RESIDOVIC
11 Q. Mr. Begtasovic, in the course of your
12 examination and re-examination, you said that you
13 questioned most of the 105 individuals?
14 A. Yes, I questioned most of those 105
16 Q. Can you recall the exact names of the
17 individuals that you did not question yourself?
18 A. No, I cannot.
19 Q. The Prosecutor showed you a statement by
20 somebody named Milenko Kuljanin and you said you did
21 not know him. Do you recall if you personally
22 questioned that particular individual?
23 A. I do not recall whether I questioned him
24 personally. It is possible that I did, but there is
25 also the possibility that another member of the
1 Commission questioned him.
2 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you. I have no further
4 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I think this is all we
5 have for this witness. Thank you very much for your
6 effort and for assisting the Trial Chamber. I think
7 you are discharged.
8 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
9 (The witness withdrew)
10 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Can we have your next
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, we should first
13 of all like to know whether we are going to continue
14 the cross-examination of the Brigadier?
15 JUDGE JAN: On Thursday.
16 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: The Prosecutor actually
17 made a special application for that and not only him --
18 all the other counsel requested for time within which
19 to conduct the cross-examination. I thought, because
20 of the amount of material you assembled, it might not
21 be unreasonable to allow cross-examination on Thursday,
22 leaving two clear days within which to work through
23 it. So I think we will still wait until Thursday to
24 determine the cross-examination -- it is possible a lot
25 of cross-examination may not materialise, depending on
1 what the Prosecutor discovers, but let him have ample
2 time to work through the amount of material you have
3 already presented.
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: I have heard your decision,
5 but I ask the question so that we should know, because
6 in the transcript it said that on Monday our colleagues
7 would continue the cross-examination -- the Brigadier
8 was present and I would just like to say that the
9 Brigadier has a visa lasting 50 days. The visa expires
10 on the 9th, so as he is the first witness here, the
11 prime witness, this makes a difficulty with his stay in
12 Holland. But we must respect the court's decision,
13 although it has been 11 days since the colleagues and
14 the Prosecutor has all the material at their disposal.
15 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: There are good reasons
16 why he should be in Holland and The Hague. I think the
17 visa will be accordingly extended to cover the period.
18 Let us have your next witness.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: I would like the next witness
20 for the Defence to be called. He is Arif Sultanic.
21 Before the witness enters, could I just ask
22 you whether we are going to complete this witness and
23 then continue the Brigadier's cross-examination, so
24 I can tell the witness, or are we going to interrupt
25 the examination of this witness? I would like to have
1 the examination done as a whole, without any
3 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You could interrupt his
4 examination-in-chief to enable the cross-examine to be
5 completed. Did you understand me?
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: Yes, I do.
7 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: We would continue - we
8 do not want to lost any time. Whatever time we have,
9 we will use it up and carry on. On Thursday, we will
10 start with the cross-examination. It is only the
11 Prosecutor and then the other Defence counsel who have
12 also reserved their cross-examination. It will not be
13 as tedious as you are expecting. With the thorough
14 study as I see the Prosecutor is doing, he might know
15 how to organise himself.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you, now I am clear on
17 procedure, because I have an obligation towards my
18 witnesses to tell them the order in which they are
19 going to be examined and re-examined. May I call the
20 witness now?
21 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Yes, kindly invite the
22 witness in.
23 [The witness entered the court]
24 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that
25 I will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but
1 the truth.
2 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You can take your seat,
3 thank you very much.
4 Examined by MS. RESIDOVIC
5 Q. Good afternoon, Sir. Would you tell the
6 Chamber your name and surname?
7 A. My name is Arif Sultanic.
8 Q. Mr. Sultanic, before I start my questioning,
9 I should like to warn you of a technical aspect of this
10 hearing. You and I both speak the same language and we
11 could ask questions and give answers very quickly, but,
12 in the booths that you see up there, we have our
13 interpreters, who are doing a very difficult job, to
14 translate for the Chamber everything that we are
15 talking about here. That is why I should like to ask
16 you, Mr. Sultanic, to pay attention to the earphones you
17 have on the table beside you and, when I ask a
18 question, you are going to hear the translation of my
19 question. After you hear the interpreters have
20 finished, then you can take up my question and answer
21 it so that everybody in the Chamber will be able to
22 hear and understand us. Have I been clear enough,
23 Mr. Sultanic?
24 A. Yes, fully.
25 Q. Mr. Sultanic, tell me when you were born?
1 A. I was born on 25 February 1946.
2 Q. Can you tell the court where you were born?
3 A. I was born in a village near the town of
4 Konjic in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
5 Q. Where do you live, Mr. Sultanic?
6 A. I live in Konjic.
7 Q. What citizenship do you hold, Mr. Sultanic?
8 A. I have Bosnian and Herzegovinian citizenship.
9 Q. What is your profession?
10 A. I am, by profession, an electrical engineer.
11 Q. What education do you have?
12 A. I went to primary school in Konjic, secondary
13 school in Sarajevo, and I went to university in
15 Q. Where did you work -- where did your work
16 take you, professionally?
17 A. For a time, I worked in Mostar, then I worked
18 in Sarajevo, and, until the conflicts broke out,
19 I worked in Konjic. My main office was in Mostar,
21 Q. What work were you engaged in, Mr. Sultanic,
22 immediately before the war broke out in
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is, immediately prior to 6
24 April 1992?
25 A. I worked as the head of the working unit and
1 the speciality was the maintenance of the signal and
2 security installations and tele command for
4 Q. Did you, at the same time, Mr. Sultanic, have
5 your own private business, to call it that?
6 A. Yes, prior to the conflict, I got the
7 material necessary and equipment I needed for household
8 appliance maintenance, that is to say, television sets,
9 video recorders, and other similar appliances.
10 Q. Where was your sojourn on 6 April 1992 --
11 where exactly were you residing?
12 A. Near the railway station; the street was
13 Proleterskih Brigada, number 8 -- Proletarian Brigade,
14 number 8.
15 Q. Mr. Sultanic, as a citizen of Konjic, can you
16 tell the court what ethnic groups did the population of
17 Konjic belong to?
18 A. The population of Konjic was composed of all
19 types of nations -- there were Serbs, Croats, Muslims,
20 Jews, and others.
21 JUDGE JAN: We have the exact figures before
22 us on the record about the population percentages.
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: Could you tell us, please,
24 Mr. Sultanic, in view of the fact that you worked for
25 the railways, did you at any time -- did, in April 1992
1 -- was road traffic interrupted in 1992?
2 A. Yes. Road traffic was interrupted towards
3 Sarajevo in the section between Ivan Planina and
4 Bradina and on the road towards Mostar at the end of
5 April it was severed at Aleksin Han -- it is a bridge
6 of the Grabavica Lake and lower down, some 20
7 kilometres away, the Bijela bridge, which bridges a bay
8 from the Lakovacko Lake.
9 Q. I apologise, Mr. Sultanic, I said as you
10 worked for the railways, because road traffic was
11 severed. Let me now ask you, as you did work for the
12 railways, where the -- was railway traffic interrupted?
13 A. Yes. On 27 April of that year, 1992, railway
14 lines towards Sarajevo from the direction of Konjic
15 were severed. Later on, at the beginning of May,
16 railway links were interrupted towards Mostar -- with
17 the destruction of the railway bridge at the outskirts
18 of Mostar. The bridge crossed the Neretva River.
19 Q. Thank you. Mr. Sultanic, as this is your
20 particular speciality, can you tell us what links the
21 town of Konjic had in the course of April with other
22 parts of the republic, and with the capital -- in
23 April, that is?
24 A. In April, the town had telephone
25 communications with Sarajevo -- the PTT links,
1 communications. Railway lines were severed when there
2 was no railway traffic. The railway system had its own
3 system of telephone communications parallel with the
4 system of the Post Telephone and Telegraph
6 Q. Can you tell us when the PTT communications
7 of the town of Konjic were severed with the capital,
8 when were the PTT communications between Sarajevo and
9 Konjic severed?
10 A. Yes, I can tell you that -- on 2 May 1992,
11 the day that the President of the republic was taken
12 prisoner, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, and the main post
13 office in Sarajevo was set fire to, so that, with that
14 act, all links and communications between Sarajevo and
15 the world and, of course, between Sarajevo and other
16 towns in the republic, were severed.
17 Q. Mr. Sultanic, at one time in May 1992, was the
18 town of Konjic -- did the town of Konjic lose its post
19 and telecommunication links with other parts of the
20 republic and not only with the capital?
21 A. Yes, I said so a moment ago. I said that all
22 links towards Mostar were severed with the destruction
23 of the railway bridge.
24 Q. Why, for the interruption of
25 telecommunications, would the destruction of a railway
1 bridge near the town of Mostar be relevant?
2 A. Because the cables linking the PTT centres
3 went via the railway bridge, together with our railway
4 cables -- the same route was followed, because
5 otherwise, from Sarajevo to Mostar, the same channel
6 contained the PTT and the railway cables in order to
7 save on construction work -- this was one
8 communications line.
9 Q. Mr. Sultanic, at the beginning of 1992, in
10 addition to this blockade, the one you have just
11 explained to us, was your town shelled?
12 A. Yes, it was. Yes, there was shelling of
13 Konjic on 4 May of that year.
14 Q. How frequently and for what duration was
15 Konjic shelled?
16 A. Konjic was shelled from that day, every day,
17 at least twice a day and, very often, during the night
18 as well, so that I do not remember a single day when
19 the town was not shelled from the day you mentioned
20 until the agreement was signed -- until the Dayton
21 agreement was signed.
22 Q. Mr. Sultanic, tell us, please, whether, some
23 time during May and April 1992, the roads towards the
24 surrounding villages were blocked as well -- villages
25 around Konjic, in the surrounds of Konjic?
1 A. Yes, they were. In that month, roads were
2 blocked along Donje Selo, which links the
3 south-westerly villages with the town of Konjic. They
4 are Kralupi, Hasinovice, Balmis, Dabovice, Irici,
5 Tresnejavica, and towards the west Lisicici, and west
6 of Lisicici, Nevizdraci, Obre towards Butrovic Polje
7 and the River Neretva -- those are the villages --
8 towards Sarajevo the Bradina road was blocked, whereas
9 towards the southern portions of the Konjic
10 municipality, the road to Bijela, to Ravni Kuk was
11 blocked in the direction of Borci, on the one hand and,
12 on the other side of Borci, the road was blocked near
13 the village of Glavaticevo.
14 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, whether at the
15 same time these blockades took place, if you know of
16 this, whether at the same time that these blockades
17 took place, that the population was expelled from the
18 surrounding villages -- if you know anything about
19 this, please tell us what the population was and who
20 did the expelling?
21 A. Yes, the population was expelled -- the
22 Bosnians were expelled from the village of Bijela --
23 that is one village and two other villages are Dzajici
24 and Gakici and upstream towards the river Neretva,
25 towards Borci.
1 Q. In May, and in the rest of 1992, what were
2 the supplies like for the town -- do you know what the
3 supply situation was like for the town and its
5 A. Yes, I do, although this was not my -- within
6 my realm of activity, but I do know that the population
7 had to wait in long lines in front of the Caritas and
8 Red Cross organisation and the Merhamet and the food
9 that did manage to reach the town via Croatia and
10 Herzegovina to Konjic were distributed in front of the
11 Caritas, Merhamet and the Red Cross organisations and
12 part of the population had some stores at home. They
13 had stockpiled, so they were able to take in some of
14 the refugees.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: I have completed my general
16 questions. I would now like to move to my other
17 questions. Perhaps it is time to complete the
18 examination for today.
19 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: We will adjourn until
20 the 9th, Thursday, possibly after the
21 cross-examination. So we will adjourn until 10am on
23 (At 5.30pm the hearing adjourned
24 until Thursday, 9 April 1997, at 10am)