1 Friday, 17th April 1998
2 (10.00 a.m.)
3 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Good morning, ladies
4 and gentlemen. May we have the appearances, please?
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 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Could we have
9 appearances for the Defence, please?
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: Good morning, your Honours.
11 My name is Edina Residovic, Defence counsel for
12 Mr. Zejnil Delalic, along with my colleague, Professor
13 Eugene O'Sullivan from Canada.
14 MR. OLUJIC: Good morning, your Honours. My
15 name is Zeljko Olujic, Defence counsel for Mr. Zdravko
16 Mucic, along with Mr. Michael Greaves.
17 Unfortunately, Mr. Mucic is not present in the
18 courtroom today and we do not have his agreement for
19 the continuation of the hearing in his absence. I also
20 ask the court's permission to visit my client in the
21 detention unit, whereas Michael Greaves will stay
22 behind during the hearing.
23 MR. KARABDIC: Good morning, your Honours.
24 I am Salih Karabdic appearing on behalf of Mr. Hazim
25 Delic, along with Mr. Thomas Moran, attorney from
1 Houston, Texas.
2 MS. McMURREY: Good morning, your Honours.
3 I am Cynthia McMurrey and, along with Ms. Nancy Boler,
4 we are here to represent Esad Landzo.
5 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I am surprised to hear
6 Mr. Olujic speaking in the way that he did after hearing
7 the views of the Trial Chamber yesterday. Either he
8 has misunderstood the position of the Trial Chamber, or
9 the position of a criminal trial, or he is particularly
10 ignorant about what the law says when a person is
11 compulsorily on trial. If he is, I suppose, he might
12 reconsider his position to know what to say in
13 circumstances of this nature.
14 The Trial Chamber observes a few things.
15 Apart from the fact that we heard nothing from
16 Mr. Olujic even before this incident occurred, when he
17 knew that this was a stratagem of his client -- he kept
18 quiet -- and merely told the Trial Chamber that things
19 had happened and that his client had not waived his
20 rights -- this is what he told us.
21 Yesterday, Mr. Greaves told us that the main
22 complaint of Mr. Mucic, who has for a long time behaved
23 in this Tribunal as a rascal -- that his main complaint
24 was that Mr. Mucic was not allowed access to his
25 investigator. That is the main complaint -- not the
1 question of his health.
2 After a lot of concentration, we got in touch
3 with the administration which sent someone to interview
4 Mr. Mucic at the detention centre. I will read out to
5 you what transpired:
6 "Yesterday evening (16 April 1998), about 9 p.m.
7 [the party] visited Mr. Mucic at detention unit. He was
8 recalled his right to be present in the courtroom
9 during the Trial, but he was told that the Chamber
10 considers that he waived this right since he had
11 decided unilaterally not to come to the courtroom. He
12 was told that the trial carries on without him.
13 After Mr. Mucic heard this, he said that he
14 does not want to talk without his Defence counsel. He
15 was told that he does not need to say anything.
16 However, he said that he is not in a physical and
17 psychological condition to attend the trial. He was
18 asked about the problems with the investigator and he
19 told that there is a problem concerning the contacts
20 with the investigators, but it is not a main reason for
21 his refusal to come to the courtroom. He repeated that
22 the main reason for his absence is his health and he
23 stressed that it is very painful for him to be in the
24 courtroom the whole day. He informed us that he has no
25 intention to come to the courtroom today.
1 At the end he said that he would consider
2 that this conversation did not take place because one
3 hour ago he took some tranquillisers, so he cannot
4 concentrate. He also repeated that he would wish that
5 this conversation occurred in the presence of his
6 Defence counsel."
7 You are all lawyers and I think you should
8 understand the implications of what has transpired --
9 it just shows clearly, by any unbiased analysis, a
10 complete absence of good faith in any of the reasons
11 given here.
12 He knows that, if his health was in some
13 disturbance, his counsel could have applied to the
14 Trial Chamber for the necessary assistance. If he had
15 other reasons other than the stratagem to disrupt the
16 proceedings, there would have been a way to discuss
17 with the Trial Chamber how to find a solution.
18 The Trial Chamber has considered it this
19 morning and we do not think it is in the interests of
20 justice to allow this type of situation to continue.
21 Mr. Mucic will have to be brought to this court before
22 11 a.m. today, by whichever method they can bring him. He
23 should come and tell the court his real problems. The
24 Trial Chamber will rise and we will reassemble at
1 JUDGE JAN: Mr. Olujic, you can meet him here
2 in the premises.
3 MR. GREAVES: Can I ask that your Honours
4 obtain from the Registry the letter which I wrote to
5 them concerning his medical condition so that you are
6 fully informed of that matter as well, please?
7 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I think we will discuss
8 that later -- not now.
9 (10.17 a.m.)
10 (A short adjournment)
11 (11.30 a.m.)
12 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Will Ms. Residovic call
13 her witness?
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: Can Enver Tahirovic please be
15 brought in?
16 (The witness entered court)
17 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Let him make his
19 THE WITNESS: A little bit louder, please?
20 Now I can hear it well. I solemnly declare that I will
21 speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
23 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You may sit down.
24 ENVER TAHIROVIC
25 Examined by MS. RESIDOVIC
1 Q. Good morning, Sir.
2 A. Good morning.
3 Q. Will you please introduce yourself by telling
4 the Trial Chamber your full name?
5 A. My name is Enver Tahirovic.
6 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, before I proceed with my
7 questioning, I need to advise you of one thing. My
8 questions and your answers are being entered into the
9 record of these proceedings and they need to be
10 interpreted by the interpreters, so that our
11 conversation may be followed by the Trial Chamber and
12 everyone else in the courtroom. I therefore request,
13 Mr. Tahirovic, that you listen to the interpretation
14 coming out of the headset on your desk and only when
15 you hear that interpretation, please answer my
17 Also, if you do not understand any of my
18 questions, let me know so I can rephrase it. Is this
19 clear, Mr. Tahirovic?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Thank you. When and where were you born,
22 Mr. Tahirovic?
23 A. I was born 14 September 1956 in Jablanica.
24 Q. What is your national group and what is your
1 A. I am a Muslim Bosniak, and I am a citizen of
3 Q. Where do you live now, Mr. Tahirovic?
4 A. I live in Konjic.
5 Q. What are you by profession, Mr. Tahirovic?
6 A. By profession, I am a professor of the All
7 People's Defence.
8 Q. Can you tell us what is your education and
9 where did you receive it?
10 A. I graduated from the high school in Konjic
11 and the faculty of All People's Defence in Sarajevo.
12 Q. Did you serve in the former Yugoslav People's
14 A. Not strictly speaking, because I graduated
15 from this faculty, which has the rank of a military
16 academy, so I only had four and a half months of
17 practical training in order to receive my rank.
18 Q. What rank did you hold in the former JNA
19 before the war?
20 A. I was a reserve captain.
21 Q. Where were you in early April 1992?
22 A. I was working as a senior adviser for All
23 People's Defence in the health centre in Konjic.
24 Q. Have you, of late, been on duty in the
25 formation of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
1 A. I am one of the first members of the Army of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, who was assigned to the joint
3 command. This was still during the war. However,
4 after the end of the war, in May 1996, I left the army
5 and moved into the civilian sphere.
6 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, since we are talking about
7 similar names of different entities, can you tell me
8 what joint command did you become a member of and when?
9 A. This is the joint command of the army and the
10 HVO, which was established after the signing of the
11 Washington Agreement. I became its member in late 1994
12 -- some time, if I am not mistaken, on 24 December
14 Q. Thank you. Where do you work now?
15 A. Currently, I am now the director of the
16 public utility company in Konjic, since October of last
17 year. The name of the company is "Standard".
18 Q. Since you said that you were involved in
19 matters of People's Defence in the health centre,
20 I want to ask you whether the health centre in the
21 early April of 1992 was prepared for the wartime
23 A. You could not say that it was prepared for
24 the wartime conditions, because we did not have enough
25 supplies to meet the needs of the war. It was only on
1 paper -- there were certain plans in case of potential
2 aggression against the former Yugoslavia and then later
3 on against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 Q. Since at that time you were a citizen of
5 Konjic, and the Trial Chamber has already heard quite a
6 bit about the situation in Konjic, could you now just,
7 very briefly, tell us what was the military strategic
8 important, significance of Konjic and did the shelling
9 at some point start, or combat operations around
11 A. Due to my training, I had access to quite a
12 bit of organisational material -- plans -- in that
13 period. I know that in all military maps in the former
14 Yugoslavia, the town of Konjic was usually circled with
15 a thick marker, in red, as a very important strategic
16 place, significant for the defence of the former
17 Yugoslavia and the fact that Konjic is in the middle of
18 the canyon of the Neretva River and it linked the
19 Neretva River to the sea --
20 JUDGE JAN: We have heard from the two
21 generals about the importance of Konjic, you do not
22 have to touch it again.
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: Yes, this is why I wanted the
24 witness just to confirm that he knew of its strategic
25 importance and I think that I only wanted to elicit two
1 or three sentences about it. I think he already
2 covered that, so I think we need not go any further.
3 So, please, Sir, the Trial Chamber is well
4 acquainted with the strategic importance of Konjic, so
5 I would just like you to tell me if you can confirm
6 this importance and whether at some point the shelling
7 of Konjic started?
8 A. I believe all the things that were available
9 in Konjic, but I think you also asked me about the
10 weapons that were there. The Territorial Defence of
11 Konjic consisted of one Partisan Brigade -- that is how
12 it was classified in the former Yugoslavia, which was
13 the 14th Partisan Brigade, which was armed with small
14 arms, infantry-type weapons. It had mortars of 60 and
15 82 millimetres for immediate support. Then it had some
16 anti-armour equipment.
17 Q. Can you please tell me where this equipment
19 A. It was in the Ljuta barracks.
20 Q. Do you know under whose control they were?
21 A. At first, until 1990, this equipment was
22 under the control of the Territorial Defence staff in
23 Konjic, and apart from this, there were also units of
24 Territorial Defence in different companies and weapons
25 of these units, that is, platoons and up to the
1 company, were stored in the various companies.
2 However, some time in the middle of 1990,
3 somewhere around there, an order came that the weapons
4 stored in all companies, as well as the weapons of the
5 Territorial Defence, be placed under the control of the
7 Q. Thank you. As a citizen of Konjic -- and
8 again, please, just a very brief answer -- do you know
9 whether, in April and May, Konjic underwent a blockade
10 and please be very brief because the Trial Chamber has
11 heard this from various witnesses before?
12 A. Yes, Konjic was surrounded by almost all
13 sides. From the south-west, it was not a direct
14 barricade, but Serbs from Donje Selo could easily cut
15 off the highway leading to the coast, and I can tell
16 you -- and maybe no witness has told you this -- but in
17 May 1992 no ambulance, regardless of the kind of a
18 patient, could pass through Bradina to take these
19 patients to Sarajevo for treatment, so that we had to
20 take these patients across mountains -- across
21 Mount Risovica -- we had to take them across very
22 bad roads to Split.
23 Q. Indeed, we have not heard this fact before,
24 but you must be familiar with it because you worked at
25 the health centre. Mr. Tahirovic, since in early April
1 1992, you were in Konjic, can you tell me who were the
2 leaders with the most authority in Konjic at the
3 beginning of the war?
4 A. Everybody had as much authority as they
5 received votes in the elections of 1991. There was a
6 small concession that was made to the Serbs as far as
7 I know, because they had about 16 per cent share of the
8 population -- of the total population in Konjic, so,
9 even though they were not entitled to it, they were
10 offered the position of the vice-president of the
11 municipal assembly, and Duro Kuljanin, who was the
12 President of the SDS for Konjic, assumed this post .
13 The President of the Konjic municipality was Dr. Rusmir
14 Hadzihuseinovic. The President of the executive board
15 was a Croat -- I cannot recall now, and Bruno Jurisic
16 was the secretary of the office for the defence.
17 Q. Do you know who the commander of the TO staff
19 A. The commander of the TO staff was Mr. Smajo
21 Q. Sir, did you at some time in May of 1992 come
22 into a situation to join the TO staff and, if you do,
23 can you please explain this to the Trial Chamber?
24 A. After Mr. Esad Ramic left the JNA and came to
25 Konjic, I met him through some mutual friends. In May
1 he, together with Mr. Dinko Zebic, offered me on several
2 occasions to take over the position of the commander of
3 the Celebici barracks.
4 Q. Did you accept this post and, if not, can you
5 state the reasons for that?
6 A. I more or less accepted to become the
7 commander of the barracks. However, when I learned
8 that some prisoners, some Serbs, were already being
9 held there, and the citizens of Konjic were talking
10 that these were Serbs from Idbar and Celebici from whom
11 weapons were seized, I refused that post and I stayed
12 in the health centre.
13 Q. Did you, nevertheless, in May 1992, become a
14 member of the staff, or some other defence body in
15 Konjic? If you did, can you please explain on whose
16 invitation and what position did you hold?
17 A. Due to the problems that the commander at the
18 time, Esad Ramic, had -- he had a heart condition -- he
19 was brought to the health centre, and we placed him in
20 the room which was the room that I used, because it was
21 one of the quietest rooms around and he needed quiet.
22 In the conversation with him at the time, I had
23 accepted -- I had agreed to accept to become a member
24 of the TO staff and, upon invitation of the new
25 commander, Mr. Boric, on 18 May 1992, I joined the TO
1 staff. At that time, it was already a joint staff of
2 TO and the HVO.
3 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, on this 18 May when you were
4 invited by Mr. Boric, did you attend a meeting where
5 defence issues were discussed?
6 A. Yes, it was a joint meeting of the military
7 structures and the civilian authorities, that is, the
8 war presidency, which took place in the brewery in
10 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, were certain conclusions
11 adopted following this meeting?
12 A. In this meeting, problems of civilian
13 authorities, military issues, and the problems of
14 cooperation between the civilian authorities and
15 military authorities were all discussed. After this
16 meeting certain conclusions were adopted regarding all
17 these issues that I just mentioned.
18 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, who was tasked with
19 implementing these conclusions?
20 A. I just wanted to explain to you that part of
21 these conclusions related strictly to the civilian
22 affairs, problems with procurement of equipment, and
23 food, and another part of the conclusions related to
24 military matters of the establishment of the then joint
25 command of the TO and the HVO and everybody implemented
1 the aspects of these conclusions that he was charged
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: Let me now show you documents
4 which were admitted from the second volume of the
5 expert opinions. It is V-A/7 and may the witness be
6 given these documents so that he can try to identify
7 it. There are enough copies for the Trial Chamber and
8 for my colleagues and the Prosecution. (Handed).
9 I believe it is 244/1; is that correct?
10 THE REGISTRAR: That is correct.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: Mr. Tahirovic, would you
12 please look through these conclusions? Excuse me, it
13 is a misinterpretation. I see on the transcript it is
14 marked as 244 but it should be 144/1.
15 Mr. Tahirovic, have you looked at the
17 A. I have.
18 Q. Are those the conclusions of the meeting that
19 you personally attended?
20 A. Yes. You can see from this document what
21 I just said. First, there are matters relating to the
22 civilian authorities, and then I see here -- I forgot
23 to mention this -- this is a very important part with
24 respect to refugees and when somebody got killed, who
25 would bury him and who would be in charge of the
1 burial. It was the Civil Defence that was tasked to
2 take care of this. Then the second part, are
3 conclusions relating to military matters. If
4 necessary, I can comment on each of these conclusions
5 and why they appear here.
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you, that will be
7 sufficient for now.
8 As the witness has confirmed the truth of the
9 contents of this document and he personally was present
10 at the meeting that these conclusions were made, and as
11 they are relevant from the standpoint of the Defence,
12 I am tendering them into evidence.
13 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Yes, you may. They are
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you, so Exhibit 144/1.
16 Mr. Tahirovic, will you please tell me, in
17 view of the fact that you have just told us that this
18 was a meeting of the war presidency and the joint
19 command, will you tell me, first, whether you know when
20 the joint command was formed of the HVO and the TO in
22 A. A kind of joint command existed from the very
23 beginning, though, in legal terms, at the very
24 beginning of the war, the HVO was not legalised as an
25 official component of the armed forces of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but, due to its desire to defend
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, it had legitimacy and we treated it
3 as such, that is, we, the citizens of Konjic and
4 probably the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina as well.
5 Some members of the joint command were
6 already working in the pre-war staff of the Territorial
7 Defence, such as, for instance, Dinko Zebic.
8 Q. Do you know whether, in the course of May, a
9 formal decision was taken to form the joint command?
10 A. As far as I can remember, that could have
11 been I think the 12th of May, if my memory does not
12 fail me.
13 Q. Very well, thank you. At the meeting whose
14 conclusions you have recognised, was Zejnil Delalic
15 present -- do you remember that? If you do, please
16 tell us. If not, tell us again?
17 A. I remember a detail that occurred after that
18 meeting, because my colleague Dzevad Pasic and I had
19 just arrived at the staff headquarters and we were not
20 dressed in uniforms. The commander at the time, Omer
21 Boric, asked Dinko Zebic, his deputy, to dress us
22 appropriately because the HVO already had its uniforms
23 and warehouses and he told him that he would return the
24 uniforms, because Zejnil Delalic was about to bring a
25 convoy in a day or two from Croatia, which would
1 include convoys -- a convoy which would include
2 uniforms so he would be able to make up for those
3 uniforms for him. We went to a village called Vrbice
4 outside Konjic where the HVO had a warehouse and we
5 were issued these uniforms. I do not know whether they
6 were returned to the HVO later.
7 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, you have answered my question
8 indirectly, telling us that you learnt that Mr. Delalic
9 was due to come in a day or two from Zagreb, but could
10 you tell the court, with greater precision now, whether
11 Zejnil Delalic was present at that meeting of the 18th?
12 A. No. May I clarify?
13 Q. No, no, there is no need. We heard your
14 explanation, but not the exact answer to my question
15 and now we have that.
16 Mr. Tahirovic, did you, as of that day, become
17 a member of the TO staff, or, rather, of the joint
19 A. I did.
20 Q. Tell me, do you know whether Zejnil Delalic
21 was a member of the staff then, or a member of the
22 joint command?
23 A. No, he was not.
24 Q. Was Zejnil Delalic commander of the TO staff
25 of Konjic municipality?
1 A. No, Omer Boric was the commander.
2 Q. For how long were you a member of the staff
3 in Konjic in 1992?
4 A. By chance and probably because of my
5 familiarity with these issues, I was perhaps the person
6 who spent most time there, with brief breaks when
7 I toured the front-lines.
8 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, are you telling us that, in
9 1992, you were, throughout that period, a member of the
10 staff, or is that not correct?
11 A. Yes, that is correct, I was a member of the
12 staff, only I held different positions within the
14 Q. In view of this fact, Mr. Tahirovic, could you
15 tell us who were the commanders of the TO staff from
16 the beginning until the end of 1992?
17 A. I jokingly would always say that I was the
18 7th commander of the municipal staff of Konjic, and
19 I can list the names and you will see what I am saying
20 is true. At the very beginning of the war -- not the
21 war in Konjic but the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina -- the
22 commander of the TO staff was Smajo Prevljak, then
23 Enver Redzepovic took over from him. After that Esad
24 Ramic held that post. After him, came Omer Boric, and
25 then, after him, Esad Ramic came again, and, in October
1 1992, Mirsad Catic took over the command of the
2 municipal staff and, on 15 January 1993, I became
4 Q. Thank you. From this answer, one could infer
5 the answer to my next question, but let me put it to
6 you all the same. Was Zejnil Delalic at any point in
7 time in 1992 the commander or member of the municipal
8 staff of TO or of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
9 A. He was never even a member and still less a
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: I would now like the witness
12 to be shown D144/1. This is in the second volume of
13 the expert witness, V-A/27. I have a sufficient number
14 of copies for the Prosecution and the court.
16 While this document is being distributed,
17 Mr. Tahirovic, will you please read through the text.
18 Mr. Tahirovic, I will not ask you who issued
19 this document, nor am I asking you to confirm its
20 authenticity, but if you have read the contents, in
21 view of your personal knowledge regarding the position
22 of Mr. Delalic in 1992, can you tell me whether the
23 contents of this certificate are truthful?
24 A. Yes.
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, since the
1 witness is familiar with the truth linked to the
2 position referred to here and, as this is a document
3 that is of relevance for the Defence case, I should
4 like to tender it into evidence.
5 JUDGE JAN: He has already verified it on
6 oath in court.
7 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: And this was in reply
8 to your own question, which is quite a different thing
9 from what he said. He has spoken from his own
10 knowledge --
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: Yes, your Honours. I accept
12 your clarification, but, as the question of the
13 truthfulness of contents was raised during the
14 testimony of the expert witness, that is the reason
15 that prompted me to show the document to the witness
16 and we now have confirmation of the truth of the
17 contents from this witness. So, thank you for your
18 suggestions, your Honours.
19 In view of the position that you held in
20 Konjic, could you please tell me, was Mr. Zejnil Delalic
21 President of the war presidency at any period of time?
22 A. No, he was never -- I can assert that with
24 Q. Do you know whether he was ever elected to
25 the war presidency of Konjic municipality?
1 A. No, never.
2 Q. Do you know whether he ever performed any
3 other duty within the administration of Konjic
5 A. In the government of Konjic, no.
6 Q. Do you know whether he held any political
8 A. As far as I know, he lived outside Konjic, so
9 he certainly could not have performed any political
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: As before, without wishing to
12 tender this into evidence, I would like the witness to
13 be shown document D145/1. It is in the third volume,
14 9th section/1. I have enough copies for the
15 Prosecution and their Honours. (Handed). .
16 Have you read it?
17 A. I have.
18 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, I am again not asking you to
19 authenticate this document; I am just asking you
20 whether the facts indicated in this document, according
21 to your personal knowledge, are correct or not?
22 A. They are correct.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 A. This man who signed it -- it is probably his
25 signature and he still holds this position in the
1 municipal assembly, so it can be verified through him.
2 Q. Thank you. We are interested, Mr. Tahirovic,
3 in your personal knowledge regarding 1992 and you have
4 already answered my question, so thank you, the
5 document can be returned to the files.
6 Mr. Tahirovic, do you know what the defence
7 forces of Konjic municipality consisted of?
8 A. A moment ago, when I spoke about the HVO,
9 I said that the defence forces consisted of the HVO,
10 the Territorial Defence, and the MUP of Konjic.
11 Q. At the time when we had these defence forces,
12 were there any other formations in Konjic like the
13 Green Berets, the Patriotic League or anything like
15 A. Not in Konjic.
16 Q. Were there any independent armed groups or
17 Party armies in Konjic?
18 A. Are you asking about the city of Konjic or
19 the municipality of Konjic?
20 Q. Well, you tell me?
21 A. In the town of Konjic, no; but within the
22 territory of Konjic municipality, there were forces of
23 the SDS -- the armed Serbs.
24 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, tell me, please, what
25 activities you personally engaged in in the joint
2 A. I was an officer -- I was an operations man
3 for the educational and training department.
4 Q. What were your responsibilities in that
6 A. Partly staff activities, the drafting and
7 preparation of orders for the commander, visiting
8 defence lines, assisting the commanders in positioning
9 defence lines, and preparing documentation for combat
10 operations prepared for the chief of staff and then the
11 chief of staff submits them to the commander.
12 Q. Thank you. In view of these duties that you
13 performed, are you familiar with the way in which
14 combat orders were issued and who signed the same?
15 A. Yes. When these combat orders are prepared,
16 for them to be valid for all units, they had to be
17 signed by the commander of the TO staff, that is, the
18 commander of the joint staff, and his deputy, that is,
19 the commander of the HVO headquarters in the joint
20 command -- his deputy in the joint command.
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: As we have already admitted
22 into evidence a chart -- an organisational chart of the
23 joint command, I should like to show you -- this is
24 exhibit number 145/1 from volume V-D/10. Could you
25 tell us what is the position that you held on this
1 chart? I have a sufficient number of copies, but
2 I think we already remember the chart from yesterday.
3 JUDGE JAN: He is one of the aides to the
4 chief of staff.
5 THE WITNESS: Yes, one of the aides to the
6 chief of staff. You have the chief of staff, and then
7 below him are the heads of these operations departments
8 and I was one of the officers in the operations
9 department, so we were directly linked to the chief of
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: Could you please place it on
12 the ELMO and show us the position you held, as
13 indicated on the chart?
14 JUDGE JAN: He has explained it.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: Very well, thank you. You
16 have looked at this chart. Is it truthful regarding
17 the period May/June 1992?
18 A. Can I have a little more time, please? Yes,
19 with some minor corrections. For instance, here it
20 says commander of the joint command Ramic and Boric --
21 in the period when Omer Boric was commander, Esad Ramic
22 was assistant chief of staff for operative and
23 training, so he was my direct superior for a time, and
24 there are some other corrections, but more or less
25 these are the people, but they would change from time
1 to time. Some people were coming and going, but more
2 or less they are those people.
3 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, could you please tell us which
4 was the superior command to the municipal staff of the
5 Territorial Defence of Konjic?
6 A. Within the structure of the Territorial
7 Defence, the municipal staffs, as a rule, were
8 subordinated to district staffs. However, because of
9 the situation in Mostar, that is, the HVO would not
10 allow the district staff in Mostar to become
11 operational, we were directly subordinated to the main
12 staff in Sarajevo -- the supreme command.
13 Q. And to whom was the HVO Konjic subordinated?
14 A. The HVO Konjic was all the time directly
15 subordinated to the headquarters in Grude.
16 Q. What about the third defence element?
17 A. The MUP also had its chain of command, but it
18 would only occasionally join in the defence forces on
19 the basis of a special request, but it was directly
20 linked to the MUP of the republic.
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: Could the witness now be shown
22 a chart that has not been shown so far. It is a chart
23 contained in D145/1. It is V-D2. I have a sufficient
24 number of copies here. We have it in Bosnian and in
25 English, so please distribute both. (Handed).
1 Have you looked at the chart?
2 A. I have.
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: Could you please place the
4 English version on the ELMO? I apologise.
5 You have already answered a part of the
6 questions that I have for you, so I will just
7 continue. In view of the chart which indicates certain
8 combat units, will you tell us, please, to whom these
9 combat units of Territorial Defence were subordinated?
10 A. Is this the period when there was a joint
12 Q. Well, you can see from the heading -- I am
13 interested in the period April/October, who was in
14 command of the combat units in Konjic?
15 A. During the time that we had a joint command,
16 the TO units were under the direct command of the
17 commander, and the HVO units were under the direct
18 control of their commander. The police units were
19 under the direct command of the MUP chief in Konjic.
20 Q. Thank you. In view of your personal
21 knowledge as a member of the command of the TO staff,
22 will you tell me, please, whether this chart is a
23 truthful one -- does it truthfully reflect the chain of
24 command that was in effect for the period April/October
1 A. Yes, it fully corresponds to the situation in
2 Konjic in that period.
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you. In view of the
4 fact that the witness was a member of the staff and is
5 familiar with this structure and has confirmed the
6 truth of the contents of this chart, I tender it into
8 MR. NIEMANN: I object, your Honour.
9 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: It will be admitted.
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you.
11 Mr. Tahirovic, while you were commander -- no,
12 I apologise -- when you became a member of the joint
13 command -- I am sorry, I am not hearing the
14 interpretation into Bosnian -- while you were a member
15 of the joint command, were any combat operations
16 conducted within the territory of Konjic municipality?
17 A. When I joined the joint command, preparations
18 were already under way for combat operations in Donje
19 Selo and, later, in Bradina.
20 Q. Tell me, please, are you aware whether,
21 before that, there were any negotiations with the armed
22 population on the surrender of weapons and the lifting
23 of the blockade on the roads?
24 A. Yes, both in the case of Donje Selo and
25 Bradina, for several days attempts were made to
1 persuade those people to surrender their weapons, so
2 that combat could be avoided, and I am particularly
3 familiar with that situation with respect to Bradina,
4 because the negotiations were conducted in a village
5 above Konjic called Podorasac, and I also know the
6 people on the Serb side who participated in the
7 negotiations at the time. (redacted)
8 (redacted) Another one was my son's teacher in
9 elementary school, Jovo Kuljanin.
10 Q. Thank you. Will you please tell me who
11 signed the order for the combat operation in Donje Selo
12 to lift the blockade on that part of the municipality?
13 A. Yes, I do know -- the order for Donje Selo
14 was signed by the commander of the joint staff, his
15 deputy, and the chief of police in Konjic, because MUP
16 units participated in lifting the blockade of Donje
18 Q. Do you know whether the staff of the joint
19 command and MUP took certain steps after this to
20 protect the population in this area?
21 A. Not only then, but at any time we paid
22 attention to the protection of the population in the
23 areas where combat operations were conducted and here
24 I am referring to the population of the opposing side.
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: Very well. Would you please
1 look at the order, which is contained in document
2 144/1? It is V-D/1.
3 Can this please be distributed around?
4 I have a question to put to you in that
5 regard. (Handed). My first question to you,
6 Mr. Tahirovic, is: do you know whether any weapons were
7 found amongst this population after the fighting, that
8 is, military weapons?
9 A. Yes, a part of hunting weapons and quite a
10 number of military arms, that is, automatic weapons.
11 Q. Do you know whether somebody took these
12 weapons to the staff of the joint command?
13 A. During the combat operation itself,
14 commanders of the subordinate units were reporting to
15 us, and they submitted the numbers on the kinds and
16 quantities of weapons that were seized at the time and,
17 later on, by combing the terrain -- this was the task
18 of the military police of the HVO and the MUP, because
19 at that time the TO did not have an organised military
20 police force.
21 Q. Having reviewed this document, do you
22 remember it from those days?
23 A. Yes. As I said in the beginning, a large
24 number -- not all, but a large number of documents
25 I myself drafted, so I am the author of many of these.
1 Q. As you just stated, this is one of the
2 documents where you pointed out a need to protect the
3 local population of Bradina?
4 A. Yes, that is correct, of Donje Selo.
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: Since this is a document that
6 the witness has identified that he drafted it and that
7 it was used by his commanders, I ask that it be
8 admitted into evidence.
9 MR. NIEMANN: We do not have any objection,
10 but the document is incomplete.
11 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: It does not bear the
12 name of the person to whom the appointment is made. In
13 fact it appears as if one person is making the
14 appointment but signed by two. I do not know how you
15 can explain that.
16 JUDGE JAN: It is also unnecessary -- he has
17 said Donje Selo -- there was a military operation and
18 the area was taken over and a large number of weapons
19 were recovered. He said that -- why have this
20 document? Being in the office of the chief of staff,
21 he should know that an operation took place in Donje
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: Sorry, I am not getting the
25 JUDGE JAN: He was a member of the chief of
1 staff team. He should know a military operation took
2 place in Donje Selo. It was taken over and a large
3 number of weapons were recovered -- hunting rifles and
4 military weapons. Why have this document? He said
5 that. It is something within his personal knowledge,
6 so why bother about the document?
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: There is no problem here,
8 your Honour. I agree with you -- this is an order of
9 the joint command of the HVO and the MUP, and the
10 provision about protection of civilians is also
11 included here, and through this document I just wanted
12 to point out this fact. Now, whether it is relevant
13 with respect to the superior authority and command,
14 I do not know about that, but the witness did confirm
15 what I have asked.
16 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Why are you putting it
17 forward? It is unnecessary for this purpose. It does
18 not answer any of the questions.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: Very well, thank you. The
20 witness did answer my questions.
21 Mr. Tahirovic, can you tell me whether you
22 know who were deputies of the TO commander, that is,
23 who was the deputy of the HVO commander?
24 A. Do you mean in the period of the joint
25 command, or regardless of that?
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: Please, answer the best you
2 know -- I am more interested in who was the chief of
3 staff of the municipal staff and who was the deputy
4 commander of the HVO.
5 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: (INAUDIBLE) who have
6 any relevance to the position of your client in the
8 MS. RESIDOVIC: I believe that, from the
9 point of view of my client, any elucidation of the
10 structures that were there is of assistance to him. It
11 is something that may be of assistance to you as well.
12 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: There is considerable
13 and consistent emphasis he has no business in the TO,
14 the HVO or any of those organisations -- he was never a
15 member. Everyone you have called have denied it. I do
16 not see how you want to relate him to any of these
17 institutions. I think it is your case -- it is your
18 client. You are entitled to present it the way you
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you.
21 Could you please answer my question: who was
22 the TO chief of staff, that is, deputy commander?
23 A. At the time when Omer Boric became commander,
24 his deputy was Esad Ramic, and, when Esad Ramic became
25 commander, his deputy or chief of staff was Midhat
1 Cerovac, because while Omer Boric --
2 Q. Very well, Sir, you answered my question.
3 Can you tell me whether the deputy commanders at some
4 period were able to sign certain documents if requested
5 by the commander?
6 A. Yes, but if specially authorised by the
7 commander, and for the most part that was in cases when
8 the commander was unable to do so, or if there were not
9 very significant documents in order not to overburden
10 the commander, but for the most part, if the commander
11 was absent, the deputy commander could have signed a
12 document on his behalf.
13 Q. I asked you a question which you did not
14 answer initially, but now it is I think a bit more
15 significant. You were talking about the combat
16 operations, about the lifting of the blockade of Donje
17 Selo, that is, Bradina. During that period, was the
18 town of Konjic subjected to shelling, or were there
19 periods in 1992 when the town was not attacked?
20 A. There were very few days, especially in 1992,
21 when the town of Konjic was not shelled, or when its
22 lines of defence were not attacked and especially
23 during the combat operations this shelling was
24 particularly intense. Sometimes, 200 to 800
25 projectiles would be lobbed into the town, as far as we
1 were able to count them at some stages.
2 Q. You said that you remembered who signed the
3 order for Donje Selo. As a member of the joint
4 command, do you know who signed the order to lift the
5 blockade of Konjic in the direction of Bradina?
6 A. The same persons signed both orders.
7 Q. Do you know that after the liberation of
8 Bradina military weapons were found with the
9 population, which had rebelled?
10 A. Yes, even later, maybe up to one month later,
11 we were finding additional weapons in this area -- our
12 units did -- and they ranged from hunting weapons to
13 automatic rifles to mortars, 82 millimetre calibre.
14 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, do you know who was the
15 commander responsible for the combat operations in the
16 area during the Bradina operation?
17 A. Yes, it was Zvonko, Zovko and his command post
18 was -- I do not know if it is really a mountain, but it
19 is a hill over -- above Bradina. It was called
20 Prezlica, which had a very good view of Bradina, and,
21 as far as I know, our mortars were positioned there.
22 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, do you know whether Mr. Zejnil
23 Delalic had any kind of command duty in the operation
24 at Donje Selo or at Bradina?
25 A. I am not even sure whether he was in Konjic
1 during the operation at Donje Selo, and I know
2 positively that he was not there at the operation of
3 Bradina. I maybe saw him once in town during that
4 period, but I am not even sure of that.
5 Q. During these combat operations, were there
6 any casualties on the part of the defence forces of
8 A. Both at Donje Selo and at Bradina, we had two
9 men killed at each of these operations. In Bradina, it
10 was one member of the HVO and one of the TO and at
11 Donje Selo they were both members of the special unit
12 of the MUP.
13 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, do you know, after these combat
14 operations, whether the persons who took part in these
15 combats and who were found with weapons were detained?
16 A. This was not part of my job, but I know that
17 certain persons were detained after and during the
19 Q. Do you know where these people were detained?
20 A. Yes, because of the limitations of space,
21 some were kept in the Musala sports hall and some in
22 the Celebici barracks.
23 Q. Do you know which bodies were authorised for
24 detaining these persons and who did the actual
25 arresting and detention of these persons? Also, please
1 tell me whose duty it was -- what body had the duty to
2 detain and arrest these persons?
3 A. The bodies that would be typically charged
4 with such matters would be the MUP and the military
5 police, and in the case of Donje Selo it was the MUP
6 and the HVO, because the Territorial Defence at that
7 time did not have its own military police force.
8 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, did you have any knowledge
9 about the fact that some of these individuals were
10 trying to escape to the territory controlled by the
11 Serb forces and whether, even after the operation,
12 there were detentions and arrests of such persons?
13 A. Yes. As late as 10, 15, or even more days,
14 there were some arrests, and, frankly speaking, I
15 learned some of these things later from people who were
16 released later. For instance, Dobroslav Djordjic, who
17 had worked with me until the beginning of the war at
18 the health centre, he was captured on Mount Igman.
19 Q. Very well, thank you.
20 A. Together with Dr. Petko Grubac, because he is
21 a brother-in-law of this man.
22 Q. Very well. Mr. Tahirovic, I would like you
23 just to limit yourself to your personal experience --
24 this would be of best assistance to the Trial Chamber.
25 Let me ask you this: did you know Mr. Zejnil Delalic
1 before the outbreak of war?
2 A. I do not know how, but Zejnil Delalic was
3 somehow on very friendly terms with most of the
4 physicians on the staff in the health centre in Konjic,
5 and I think I met him about five or six years before
6 the outbreak of war through a mutual friend. Dr. Sejo
7 Hajduk -- and I saw him quite often at the health
8 centre in Konjic, and shortly before the war he even
9 brought the dialysis equipment for the Konjic hospital,
10 because it was quite a bit of a health condition in
11 Konjic, I guess, because of the kind of water we had
13 Q. Was Zejnil Delalic in Konjic at the outbreak
14 of war?
15 A. I had heard at the health centre where
16 I worked that his brother died just before the outbreak
17 of war and that he came to Konjic for the burial of his
19 Q. Did you know, in April, what Mr. Delalic was
20 involved in?
21 A. No, not at all.
22 Q. When did you first find out what Mr. Delalic
23 was engaged in?
24 A. Some time in May, I heard that he was in
25 Zagreb where he had gone to procure some equipment and
1 food, because of the contacts that he had in the
2 Republic of Croatia and in the west. We also knew that
3 his brother was a manager of some kind in Zagreb and
4 that he had a lot of business contacts abroad and that
5 he had gone there to bring some stuff back to Konjic,
6 including uniforms, as I said previously.
7 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, did you find out at some point
8 that Mr. Delalic was appointed to the position of
9 coordinator and, if you do, do you know who appointed
10 him and what it entailed?
11 A. Perhaps a day or two after that joint meeting
12 of the war presidency and the joint command, I learned
13 that Zejnil Delalic was appointed coordinator to work
14 as a go-between between the war presidency and the TO
16 Q. Do you know who appointed him?
17 A. The war presidency did.
18 Q. At that time, was the war presidency superior
19 to the TO staff, or the joint command?
20 A. At no point throughout the war was the war
21 presidency superior to the TO headquarters, or the
22 joint command.
23 Q. Was Zejnil Delalic at any time, as
24 coordinator, superior to you or to your staff?
25 A. Based on the laws -- the military regulations
1 that were in force at that time in the area, no
2 civilian could ever be superior to a military person.
3 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, did you, in June, take part in
4 preparations for some combat operations?
5 A. Yes, some time in early June, I went to visit
6 my family in Korcula and, when I came, Esad Ramic was
7 commander again, and I heard that preparations were
8 underway for lifting the blockade of Borci and, as an
9 operations officer, I got involved in that.
10 Q. Did the members of the HVO also take part in
11 these preparations, especially Dinko Zebic?
12 A. Yes, very much so -- practically up until the
13 last day. May I sort of expound -- not much -- I just
14 want to take you back a bit. The HVO held a very short
15 line of defence around the town of Konjic. It was in
16 the direction of the village of Bijela -- it was kind
17 of a Tactical Group, so they were given this area --
18 they were supposed to prepare it and, through their
19 connections in Croatia, they were supposed to provide a
20 certain amount of artillery pieces and ammunition and
21 all this was unfolding well up until one or two days --
22 I think it was one day before the operation at Borci
23 was to commence, because they did not get agreement
24 from their headquarters in Grude.
25 Q. Do you know who issued the command for the
1 operation at Borci -- did it have any codename, by the
3 A. The Borci operation was codenamed Operation
4 Oganj. It was usual that all the operations would be
5 codenamed -- that was the practice throughout the war.
6 Q. Given the situation with the HVO, can you
7 tell me who was the commander of this operation, who
8 issued the order for the Oganj Operation?
9 A. It was the supreme command which issued this
10 order for the lifting of the blockade, and the
11 commander of the TO staff was Mr. Esad Ramic.
12 Q. How long did this operation last?
13 A. From 22 June until early August -- maybe a
14 few days into August. That was the time when there was
15 serious fighting, but we left part of our forces
16 throughout August, which engaged in combat operations
17 with the Serb forces. We left some sabotage units
18 there in order to prevent a counterattack from the
19 Serb forces from that area.
20 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, what was your duty personally
21 during this combat operation?
22 A. As I already stated, for the most part I was
23 a staff officer, and Commander Ramic, due to
24 significant problems with the HVO in Konjic at the
25 time, he had left me as an officer on duty in the
1 headquarters in Konjic and I was given a unit at my
2 disposal, which was accommodated in the motel in Konjic
3 and led by Mr. Seid Padalovic, who had been slightly
4 wounded in the leg during a previous attempt to lift
5 the siege of Sarajevo and could not join us for the
6 Oganj Operation, so he was left behind to assist me
7 should there be any misunderstanding with the HVO,
8 because at that time they already were attempting --
9 that is, the MUP was trying to have the MUP
10 subordinated to the Mostar MUP and they were part of
11 the Croatian Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you very much.
13 Mr. Tahirovic, this is enough. I am about to move to
14 another area, but this may be a good time for the lunch
16 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Thank you very much.
17 The Trial Chamber will now rise. We will reassemble at
19 (1.00 p.m.)
20 (Luncheon adjournment)
1 (2.32 p.m.)
2 MR. GREAVES: Before the witness is brought
3 in, I would like to address you, please, if I may.
4 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Yes, let us hear you.
5 MR. GREAVES: I have had an opportunity to
6 speak to my client over the luncheon adjournment and
7 I am instructed to address your Honours concerning what
8 has happened today. The defendant asserts that he is
9 unwell, that during the course of today he has
10 requested on four separate occasions medical treatment,
11 but that that has been denied to him. He asserts that
12 he has been brought here under protest and that he does
13 not wish to be here. He asserts that, during the
14 course of today, he has sought but been refused contact
15 with his legal advisers and, as a result of that, is
16 going to resort to other measures, which I suspect will
17 involve him refusing to take food and so on.
18 Your Honour will know, because I have asked
19 for the relevant documentation to be placed before you,
20 that a doctor has seen him and has diagnosed that he
21 has a medical condition of some severity, so plainly
22 there is a medical problem that he has.
23 He sought medical treatment and, if there is
24 any question over whether or not he is physically fit
25 to attend, that is a matter which ought to be dealt
1 with before these proceedings continue further. If --
2 and I say this with utmost of respect -- if your
3 Honours decide to continue before that position had
4 been established and it was later discovered that he is
5 in fact suffering from a medical condition today, a
6 grave injustice might be caused by continuing the
7 proceedings in his presence in his present condition.
8 As regards last night's visit to the
9 Tribunal, he complains -- sorry, by the Registry, he
10 complains of two matters. Firstly, that when he was
11 visited, he asked immediately to be spoken to in the
12 presence of his lawyers. The meeting continued
13 thereafter, and, on the face of it, he having requested
14 the presence of his lawyers, the meeting should not
15 have continued.
16 He further protests that he was at the time
17 -- had had some medication and was not in a fit state
18 to be interviewed by anybody. He pointed this out and
19 again asked for his lawyers and that was not done.
20 I am very concerned that this is a matter that should
21 not get out of hand in any way. I am very anxious that
22 the greatest of care be taken before any further step
23 to cajole him or coerce him in any way is taken,
24 because that may prove to be counterproductive. I said
25 yesterday and I repeat again today, that it is
1 desirable that this problem can be resolved in other
2 ways, if at all possible, but I anticipate that there
3 may come a time, possibly during today, when I am
4 instructed and my learned friend is instructed to seek
5 redress either from your Honours or from the President
6 of the Tribunal.
7 I do not want that to sound like a threat to
8 your Honours -- it is not intended to be. I am simply
9 telling your Honours what the position may be during
10 the course of today. I hope that this matter does not
11 get further out of hand. That is my earnest desire,
12 but of course I must abide by the instructions which
13 I am given by my client and put those forward to your
14 Honours as fearlessly as I may and I shall do that,
15 with due courtesy to your Honours. Is there anything
16 upon which I can assist you?
17 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: No, if you have
18 finished, you can take your seat. I am surprised that
19 you could even get up to say these things for so many
20 reasons. I assumed, as counsel, your client was acting
21 under your advice. When you advise your client to stay
22 out of the proceedings and still to reserve his right
23 to be present and not to waive that right, you give no
24 choice to the Trial Chamber other than --
25 MR. GREAVES: Your Honour --
1 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Please! I am speaking
2 -- I did not disturb you. When you have given him
3 that advice and you come to the Trial Chamber to tell
4 the Trial Chamber that anybody is coercing him and
5 there are some other ways of dealing with that type of
6 advice by counsel, you may take your objections to
7 wherever you like. The Trial Chamber has both a moral
8 and legal obligation to your client, to the country,
9 and to the universe at large and to all involving the
10 administration of justice. We do not expect a bigoted
11 attitude would compel us to be unfair to the other
12 accused persons.
13 I have read the medical report. If there is
14 any need to make the accused stay away, the doctor
15 would have said it. I think you have a copy -- the
16 doctor prescribed treatment -- pain killers and a
17 corset for the lumbar region and that sort of thing.
18 If these are the remedies and he has taken them,
19 I suppose that should be sufficient for the purposes,
20 but, in any event, that is not the issue.
21 No application was made to this Trial Chamber
22 on medical grounds that the accused was staying away.
23 As far as the Trial Chamber is concerned, he has to be
24 here. If he does not want to be here, he can nominate
25 his counsel to stay on his behalf, and listen to the
1 evidence. But, when there is satisfactory medical
2 evidence enabling him to stay away, we will respect it,
3 but not for the time being.
4 Forget your threats -- they mean nothing as
5 far as the law is concerned. We are obeying the law
6 which we know and we will obey it to its letter.
7 I think that is all the Trial Chamber wants to say
8 about this matter. I do not want to --
9 MR. GREAVES: I really must correct one thing
10 that your Honour has said. Nothing that I have said
11 this afternoon should be construed as suggesting that
12 I have advised my client to stay out of court. That is
13 simply not true and if your Honour thinks that, then
14 I would very, very much like your Honour to withdraw
15 the suggestion. I have not done that; I would not do
16 so, and your Honour is incorrect about that.
17 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: As I said, as a judge
18 sitting here, I do not go into argument with counsel --
19 normally, I do not.
20 MR. GREAVES: I just want to correct your
21 Honour's impression.
22 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: As I have told you,
23 every reasonable inference suggests that that is what
24 has happened. In any event, I said I do not argue with
1 MR. GREAVES: I really do not want to argue
2 about it. I just want to correct the impression that
3 your Honour may have derived --
4 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I have had enough of
5 it. Ms. Residovic, will you call your witness?
6 (The witness entered court)
7 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You may proceed.
8 Kindly inform him he is still on his oath.
9 THE REGISTRAR: I remind you, Sir, that you
10 are still under oath.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you, your Honours.
12 Mr. Tahirovic, have you had a short rest?
13 A. Yes, thank you.
14 Q. Before the break, if you remember, we started
15 talking about Operation Oganj and you testified before
16 their Honours that the commander of that operation was
17 Esad Ramic and that you stayed behind as the officer on
18 duty in the municipal staff in the town of Konjic.
19 Will you please tell me whether, in the course of that
20 operation, was any change made regarding the commander
21 of the operation?
22 A. Some time in July, the second half of July,
23 the commander Esad Ramic had a slight injury and he
24 went to Split for treatment and he was replaced by the
25 chief of staff, Midhat Cerovac.
1 Q. In that period of more than a month that the
2 operation took, as you testified before court, did you
3 personally go to the area of combat operations?
4 A. After two of our offensives in the area of
5 Prenj Mountain failed, Commander Ramic, some time in
6 the first half of July -- I do not know exactly,
7 somewhere around 10 July, I received orders to go with
8 the unit, a company of about 90 men, to go to the area
9 of Mount Prenj -- to be more precise, a position called
10 Tisovica, and because there was a danger of a
11 breakthrough by Serb forces from that side, and the
12 possibility that they could cut communications between
13 the village of Idbar and the village of Celebici,
14 defence lines had to be positioned between Zelena Kapa
15 and Zelena Glava.
16 Q. Those details were probably very important
17 for the defence of Konjic, but in view of this case and
18 this Trial Chamber, I would like to ask you,
19 Mr. Tahirovic, since you were the officer on duty in
20 Konjic and for a time you also went to the area of
21 combat operations, could you tell us whether Mr. Zejnil
22 Delalic participated in the Operation Oganj?
23 A. I know that Zejnil Delalic, in the Operation
24 Oganj, held the position of a logistics man at the
25 position Oganj 1.
1 Q. And where was this position?
2 A. At Vranjske Stijene, and I had contact with
3 him several times by radio link, when he asked me, in
4 connection with uniforms that had arrived a day or two
5 before, to distribute those uniforms, as Major Kevric
6 was not around, that I should distribute those uniforms
7 to members of the anti-aircraft defence, who were
8 supposed to reach Vranjske Stijene, to protect that
9 position and other areas against the possibility of
10 Serb air attacks.
11 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, do you know whether Mr. Zejnil
12 Delalic, at any point in time from 27 June when this
13 operation started until its completion, as you said at
14 the beginning of August, was a commander of that
15 operation, or did he take over a command function in
16 the course of those combat activities?
17 A. As far as I know, he did not on any occasion.
18 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, let me be even more precise.
19 In view of the functions that you had, would it be
20 possible for you not to be aware of that fact?
21 A. I think that should not have been possible.
22 Q. Thank you. You were very precise when you
23 told us the dates of this Operation Oganj, but let me
24 go back a little to previous questions, because I did
25 not hear the dates of the Operation Donje Selo and the
1 other operation for the liberation of Bradina?
2 A. The Donje Selo operation took place on 20 May
3 and the Bradina operation immediately after this one,
4 that is, on 25 May.
5 Q. Before the break, you also said that you know
6 that Mr. Zejnil Delalic was appointed the coordinator
7 between the war presidency and the defence forces. As
8 a member of the staff, can you tell us whether, in that
9 capacity, Zejnil Delalic was authorised to issue orders
10 to the army and to make appointments of military or
11 other persons?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Could you also tell us whether you know if,
14 or, rather, what was the role of the war presidency in
15 the initial period with respect to the choice of a
16 commander of the Territorial Defence?
17 A. According to the law, or, rather, before the
18 war, the presidency of the municipality would propose
19 the commander and his appointment would be made by the
20 republic staff of the TO, later in the main staff of
21 the Territorial Defence, that is, our supreme command.
22 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, do you know whether, in any
23 period of time during 1992, the war presidency had the
24 competence and actually carried out the appointment of
25 commanders of the Territorial Defence of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, later the army?
2 A. Appointments -- no.
3 Q. Thank you. Mr. Tahirovic, will you please
4 tell me do you know whether, at some time in 1992,
5 Mr. Zejnil Delalic was appointed to a command military
7 A. In 1992?
8 Q. Yes, in 1992.
9 A. Yes, at the end of July he was appointed
10 commander of TG1.
11 Q. Do you know who was the previous commander
12 and where that Tactical Group was based?
13 A. Yes, I did know that. It was Mustafa Polutak
14 and the Tactical Group was based in the area of
15 Pazarici, the municipality of Hadzici, actually in
17 Q. Before the break, referring to your position
18 in the TO Konjic staff in July, you said that the late
19 Seid Padalovic was with you and who participated with
20 you in the battles at Tinovo Brdo. I am asking you in
21 that connection whether you knew any units from Konjic,
22 while the commander of Tactical Group 1 was Mustafa
23 Polutak, were engaged or subordinated to the Tactical
24 Group and its commander?
25 A. Yes, around the middle of June under the
1 command of the late Seid Padalovic, a unit of about 200
2 men was subordinated to the command of TG1, and it was
3 used in the direction of Pazaric, Tinovo Brdo, Hadzici,
4 when we lost several fighters and, as I said myself,
5 Seid Padalovic himself suffered a slight wound in that
7 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, can you tell us, during that
8 operation, when the late Padalovic was subordinated to
9 the command of TG1 Mustafa Polutak, to whom were the
10 remaining units that remained in Konjic subordinated?
11 A. The TO units to the municipal staff of the
12 TO, HVO units to the HVO staff and the MUP units to the
13 police station of Konjic -- to the MUP station.
14 Q. You said you know personally that Mr. Zejnil
15 Delalic became commander of Tactical Group 1 at the end
16 of July. Tell me, please, after that appointment, did
17 Mr. Zejnil Delalic become superior to the municipal
18 staff of Konjic?
19 A. No. Due to the request that one of the
20 artillery pieces be moved to the area of the Tactical
21 Group, a disagreement arose, so that relations between
22 Tactical Group 1 and the municipal staff of Territorial
23 Defence in Konjic were, throughout Mr. Zejnil Delalic's
24 presence, rather strained.
25 Q. Can you tell us which artillery piece is
2 A. It is a --
3 Q. It is?
4 A. It is a 130-millimetre calibre gun, because
5 we believed that this would detract from the defence of
6 Konjic if this gun were to be transferred to the area
7 of Sarajevo.
8 Q. Who, in the end, gave you the orders in the
9 municipal staff? The orders for the gun to be moved to
10 Igman and to be placed at the disposal of Tactical
11 Group 1?
12 A. We received the order from the general staff.
13 Q. Do you know whether some units, or parts of
14 units, after the appointment of Mr. Delalic as commander
15 of Tactical Group 1, were subordinated to Mr. Delalic,
16 or some other commanders in the areas of the fighting
17 for lifting the siege of Sarajevo?
18 A. Not to Tactical Group 1, but in the Operation
19 Jug, they were subordinated to Tactical Group 2, which
20 was attacking from Mount Igman in the direction of
21 Trnovo. Our units participated in that operation, the
22 operation of the liberation of Trnovo, under the
23 command of Captain Zlatan Redzic.
24 Q. How is it you know this?
25 A. I personally worked on the preparation of
1 those units and their despatch to combat assignments.
2 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, in this period of time, after
3 Zejnil Delalic's appointment as commander of Tactical
4 Group 1, tell me, the units that were not subordinated
5 to him or to the commander of Tactical Group 2 and
6 remained in Konjic, who were they subordinated to?
7 A. You mean under whose command they were?
8 Q. Yes.
9 A. Well, let me see -- the defence lines for the
10 town of Konjic, throughout the war, were never less
11 than 100 kilometres, so that we had constant combat
12 operations and all those units were under the command
13 of the municipal staff of the Territorial Defence of
14 Konjic, which later become the army, as of August.
15 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, if you remember, before the
16 break you spoke about the fact that, in that period,
17 the municipal staff sought to warn or brief troops
18 regarding the need to respect civilians and other
19 inhabitants and to brief them regarding the rules of
20 warfare. Let me ask you first whether, between the
21 period of mobilisation in April and the beginning of
22 combat, did the municipal staff have time to send
23 troops for special training?
24 A. Throughout the duration of the war, and
25 particularly in that period, we made a point of having
1 a mobile unit, which would also undergo training and
2 which could, at any point in time, assist our units in
3 any particular part of the front. Later on, when we
4 were able to form sabotage and reconnaissance units --
5 we formed two of them, A0004 and Sejdo's Tigers -- and
6 those units, together with other units, were always
7 trained and prepared for combat.
8 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you. Mr. Tahirovic, in
9 connection with what you have said, would you look at
10 these two documents, since you said yourself that you
11 worked on the drafting of these documents, so could you
12 tell us something about them?
13 These have already been admitted into
14 evidence -- D145/1, third volume, V-D/18 and V-D/20.
15 I have a sufficient number of copies for the Trial
16 Chamber and the Prosecution. (Handed).
17 A. These do not seem to me documents linked to
18 this question.
19 Q. Yes, let me ask you a question.
20 A. This is an order on interrogation and a
21 checkpoint. Maybe there is an error, or maybe I did
22 not understand your question.
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: Perhaps my question is not
24 clear enough.
25 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Are you still pursuing
1 this -- if you find it has no relevance to the question
2 you asked him...
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: I will rephrase my question,
4 perhaps I did not put it properly, so the witness did
5 not understand me.
6 I wanted to ask you, Mr. Tahirovic, whether,
7 through your orders, regardless of what they referred
8 to, did you repeatedly draw attention to the need for
9 respect of the law and a humane treatment of all
10 persons -- that you gave me more detailed answers
11 regarding combat units but I am asking you whether you
12 are familiar with these two documents?
13 A. Yes, only I did not understand the question
14 at first. If your question is whether, throughout the
15 war we even wrote leaflets and gave every fighter when
16 going into combat instructions so that no undesirable
17 consequences should occur, such as looting or
18 mistreatment of civilians, we always sought to respect
19 the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, which I, as
20 somebody working in the health sector, are quite
21 familiar with.
22 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, I have given you only two
23 documents that have been annexed to the expert report
24 and my question is whether you recognise these
25 documents as documents issued by the joint command of
1 the TO and the HVO?
2 A. I do.
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you. Since the
4 documents have been recognised by the witness, who has
5 confirmed the truthfulness of the contents, I will not
6 tender them into evidence at this stage, but I think
7 that, in a certain way, they corroborate the views of
8 the expert witness, so I just wanted the Trial Chamber
9 to know that this witness is personally familiar with
10 these documents.
11 MR. NIEMANN: We are at a bit of a
12 disadvantage. There was discussion of two documents --
13 we have been given only one, 15 June 1992.
14 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I do not think counsel
15 is proceeding with it.
16 MR. NIEMANN: I just did not know what it
18 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I do not see its
19 relevance of what was said. Merely because he drafted
20 a document means you have to tender it?
21 JUDGE JAN: He might have drafted it.
22 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: So what?
23 MR. NIEMANN: I was not questioning that.
24 I did not have the other copy. I asked counsel could
25 I please have it because I could not follow what was
1 going on. I think Madam Residovic may have the other
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: Yes, I do have another copy
4 and I said it was D145/1, and I think that both were
5 shown to the witness, and he has already commented on
6 both documents, which was quite sufficient for the
7 Defence at this stage. I apologise if the usher did
8 not give everyone the other document as well.
9 THE REGISTRAR: We did not receive copies
10 of the other document.
11 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You may proceed. At
12 least you have nothing to connect this one -- if you
13 have the second document, let us have it.
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: I gave the second document
15 just now. I apologise for not having given it to your
16 Honours. I have already mentioned its number. My
17 question to the witness was linked to orders given by
18 the staff regarding strict respect of legality. He has
19 recognised the documents and given his answers, because
20 I would like you to see the documents, because his
21 answers applied to both documents which were in the
22 hands of the witness.
23 At the same time, I must apologise to the
24 Trial Chamber, because I am trying to focus my
25 questions as much as possible, for delaying a little
1 bit, because I am trying to group the questions so as
2 to avoid any unnecessary repetition.
3 Mr. Tahirovic, could you please answer a few
4 questions having to do with the development of the
5 army, or, rather, the Territorial Defence and the army
6 in Konjic itself.
7 JUDGE JAN: Do you not think we have enough
8 material about that already on the record -- the
9 development of the army in Konjic? We are more
10 concerned with the role played by Zejnil Delalic in the
11 area -- nothing more than that. Why burden the record
12 unnecessarily with details which are of no use to us in
13 determining the question of guilt or innocence of your
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honour --
16 JUDGE JAN: You can ask him about his role
17 as a tactical commander, what connection he had with
18 the TO, you can ask him when orders issued placing all
19 formations under the control of Zejnil Delalic, what
20 that really meant? That is what we are concerned about
21 -- we are not concerned with the formation of the
22 Bosnian army or the army in Konjic.
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, if I understood
24 you well, I am doing my best to present facts to the
25 Trial Chamber, through witnesses who were direct
1 participants, about all the things that may be of
2 assistance when making a decision. You have a certain
3 number of facts before you regarding the position of
4 the coordinator, the development of the army and so on
5 that we have heard.
6 JUDGE JAN: That, we have got, and we have
7 also got from him that Zejnil Delalic had nothing to do
8 with the TO, except as a coordinator with the war
9 presidency, or with the MUP. This witness has said
10 that. Unless as a tactical commander he had any role
11 to play in the Celebici camp -- if you can succeed in
12 that, that is your case.
13 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You should know the
14 scope of the indictment and how it concerns your
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: That is precisely, your
17 Honours, what I have in mind and many of the documents
18 tendered by the Prosecutor, which you consider to be
19 relevant -- in order for you to be able to know whether
20 they are relevant or not, an eye-witness of these
21 events must tell you what he knows about these things.
22 If you know how the various companies were formed,
23 perhaps you will be able to decide. I cannot testify
24 on behalf of the witness, as you know very well.
25 Perhaps this witness knows how the organisation in
1 Konjic was formed and this may give you a better
2 insight to be able to decide whether any stage existed
3 or not at all that you have heard about.
4 We want you to know the facts, but of course
5 it is up to you to judge those facts. That is my
6 approach to the presentation of my case.
7 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Thank you very much.
8 You might help us better if you can tell us, when TG1
9 was formed, how he got his own men for the TG1, and how
10 they were deployed, and how they affected the Celebici
11 prison and areas in which he was charged to be
12 responsible. These are the things that are of concern
13 -- whether there were people who remained in the
14 territory has nothing to do with it. The composition
15 of the membership of TG1 and their deployment is what
16 concerns us.
17 JUDGE JAN: (INAUDIBLE) of the Celebici camp
18 came under the TG1.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: I have not heard any evidence
20 to that effect. That is why I am asking these
21 witnesses about what they know. Your Honours, the
22 indictment does not charge my client as the commander
23 of Tactical Group 1, but, rather, that from the end of
24 May he coordinated the forces of the Bosnian Croats and
25 Bosnian Muslims and that, as a coordinator and later as
1 commander of Tactical Group 1, was a person of superior
2 authority. Therefore, the scope of the indictment is
3 so broad that the Defence cannot narrow down the
4 presentation of facts for you to be able to rule
5 whether that is so or not.
6 That is all I am trying to say. The
7 indictment has not -- does not allow me to be more
8 concise. The indictment is broad and that is why
9 I have to present my case in such a way, too, that you
10 are able to make your judgement. It is much simpler for
11 me to ask the witness whether he entered hangar 6 or
12 did not. The indictment is very broad in scope
13 regarding my client. I had more than 100 questions --
14 I have already skipped over 40 so as not to confuse
15 you, but there are some essential things that I think I
16 have to ask this witness. Thank you.
17 I also have a responsibility towards the
18 witness and particularly towards the Trial Chamber, so,
19 please, be very brief and tell the Trial Chamber very
20 briefly, from the moment of mobilisation, how the
21 forces of Territorial Defence in Konjic were organised,
22 so please be concise and clear for the benefit of all
23 of us, as we are not all military men here.
24 A. First of all, we started from detachments on
25 the left- and right-hand of Neretva. This developed
1 into Konjic 1 and Konjic 2, then battalions started to
2 be formed and, in August, there was an attempt to form
3 a brigade, the 111th Brigade of Konjic. However, that
4 attempt failed. It was successful, however, in
5 November, when we succeeded in forming brigades in the
6 territory around Konjic, and that was also the time
7 when the corps was established, and thereby the process
8 of formation of the army in the area of Herzegovina was
10 But the municipal staff remained in effect
11 until 8 January 1994 -- it remained operational.
12 Q. I think you have indeed been concise and
13 clear at least as far as I am concerned, but, in the
14 process of development from detachments through
15 battalions to brigades, was there a stage of
16 development of the Territorial Defence or the army that
17 could have been called a "coordinator" stage?
18 A. A coordinator stage in the development of the
19 army means nothing. As such, it did not exist.
20 A coordinator is something done by the civilian
21 authority to facilitate contact with us, because we did
22 not have the necessary resources. We did not have our
23 own warehouses, we needed a coordinator to assist us
24 with supplies and logistics -- because we did not have
25 money, either, so gradually this developed and in the
1 second half of the war we reached a stage when we were
2 able to have our own warehouses and when a unit would
3 be issued equipment upon its own request.
4 Q. I asked you earlier on, and now I understand,
5 that a coordinator is no "stage", but, as Mr. Delalic
6 was appointed by the war presidency a coordinator, did
7 he have the authority to issue orders to the army, or
8 to appoint other persons?
9 A. I do not know how the word "coordinator" is
10 understood here, but, for us, it was easy to
11 understand. It is a person who coordinates, who
12 assists, who bridges between two points, linking
13 certain structures, and all through the war we had some
14 kind of coordinators. If I may, for instance, in a
15 stage when I was a commander, because there was no
16 possibility of coordination, we agreed that, as we
17 already had two brigades and the staff, we, once a
18 week, had meetings at which we would review our
19 problems, distribute resources, so we either had to
20 meet, or somebody had to link these activities.
21 Because of the combat operations we needed to have
22 someone who would link all this together, and make it
23 possible for us to perform our basic duties and to
24 carry out our fundamental tasks and those were the
25 defence of Konjic.
1 Q. Just a moment, please. The municipality, did
2 it have obligations and responsibilities in the
3 preparation of combat operations, to assist you with
4 logistics and in other ways?
5 A. We had no other source. We did not have
6 depots. As you probably know, all our warehouses and
7 armament were destroyed and we did not have food
8 storage space, either.
9 Q. This is not the way that I should put this
10 question, but the coordinator did not have any right to
11 issue orders to military bodies; did I understand you
13 A. Yes, you did understand me well -- he had no
14 right to issue orders.
15 Q. Before the break, when we discussed the
16 liberation of Bradina, you told us that you know, even
17 though that is not within your area of responsibility,
18 that some of the persons arrested were detained in
19 Musala and some in the Celebici barracks. Can you
20 please tell me whether you know who decided, and why,
21 to put these persons in that particular place?
22 A. I think, because it was their obligation to
23 detain, then it must have been their responsibility,
24 too, the HVO and the MUP. As I said, some of them were
25 already there. That is the reason why I did not agree
1 to be commander of the barracks, because in part of the
2 barracks, there was a prison.
3 Q. After these persons were detained, did you
4 know as a member of the TO staff that an investigating
5 commission had been established which was supposed to
6 investigate the treatment of these detainees?
7 A. Yes, I know that this commission had been
9 Q. Who was its President?
10 A. It was Goran Lokas, who, at that time, was
11 the security officer in the joint command.
12 Q. Did you ever receive any report in the staff
13 from this commission about the treatment of the
14 interrogated persons?
15 A. As far as I know, we did not.
16 Q. Did you, at any time, see any report
17 regarding the problems which the investigating
18 commission encountered?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Did you find out, that is, did someone tell
21 you anything about some alleged mistreatment of the
22 prisoners at Celebici?
23 A. No, on the contrary, from what I know, many
24 citizens of Konjic complained that they were treated
25 almost better than they were -- they were eating the
1 same food, they were protected from shelling, they did
2 nothing, et cetera.
3 Q. Very well, you answered my question, you have
4 no knowledge of that, but, Mr. Tahirovic, regarding 18
5 May, that is the date when you started working in the
6 joint command, from that date on until November 1992,
7 did you have any personal communication or contact with
8 persons who either visited the prison or who may have
9 told you something about the prison? Let me be more
10 specific. Did you contact, in the month of June, or
11 did you learn in the month of June that some
12 journalists were expressing an interest to visit the
14 A. Yes, President Rusmir Hadzihuseinovic
15 informed me certain Arabic journalists expressed a wish
16 to visit the prison. I told him that there would be no
17 problem in doing that, but that I wanted to consult
18 with my commander, and, following consultation with my
19 commander, we determined that there were no problems
20 involved in that, and I really do not know whether
21 these journalists did pay a visit there.
22 Q. Can you tell me whether you ever heard of any
23 person, or did you ever know a person who was detained
24 at Celebici?
25 A. Yes, I knew several individuals, but
1 throughout that period of their detention, I intervened
2 on only one occasion -- intervened on behalf of one of
3 the persons, and I talked to Sadik Dzumhur, called
4 Diksa and he gave me some information that someone from
5 the family of the MUP members, who were killed, wanted
6 to do harm to Miro Golubovic and the sister of Miro
7 Golubovic worked with my wife and I knew them well, so
8 I got in touch with Cerovac, who at that time had taken
9 over the command from Mr. Ramic, and he told me that
10 there was no problem there, that I should only send him
11 certain forms to his command post, which I did, and
12 I know that Mr. Miro was released after that.
13 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, did you personally ever enter,
14 or did you come near the premises where the prisoners
15 were being kept?
16 A. I came to Celebici several times, but
17 I always went just over to these tunnels. I see that
18 there is a model of Celebici there.
19 Q. Could you please point to us where did you
21 A. Here is the gate. I was going down this road
22 (witness indicates on the model with pointer) and
23 I went to these tunnels and there was an ammunition
24 warehouse there -- an ammunition depot. I am sorry,
25 I guess nobody can hear, so my apologies -- I forgot
1 about the microphone. I took this upper road and came
2 to these two tunnels. There was equipment being kept
3 there of the municipal headquarters -- supplies
4 equipment and ammunition and this is where we would
5 take our supplies and this is from where we would send
6 them to the lines of defence (witness indicates with
7 pointer on model) and it was only on one occasion --
8 I believe that this was an OSCE team, so it was only
9 then that I came to Celebici on orders of Commander
10 Ramic -- I believe this was in August.
11 I went both to Celebici and to Musala, and
12 Major Kevric also accompanied us also, on the orders of
13 Commander Ramic, and then we took this lower road
14 (witness indicates with pointer on model) and we went
15 to the structure, the hangar marked with the letter "E"
16 and that is where the prisoners were kept.
17 When we brought these gentlemen from the
18 OSCE, once we were there, they asked us to step outside
19 of the hangar so that they could talk to the prisoners
20 alone, which we did. Then the same procedure took
21 place at Musala, except that Major Kevric did not go
22 there with me; I went there alone with the group.
23 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, when you brought this
24 commission, you do not recall exactly whether this was
25 OSCE or whatever it was, but did you go into the
1 hangar 6 and did you see in what condition these
2 detained persons were?
3 A. Yes, as I told you, we came inside and the
4 prisoners were lined up. Behind them were blankets and
5 they stood in front of them -- lined up around the
6 walls of the hangar, we stayed there a very short time
7 and then we stepped out and, if I may add, the driver
8 who brought these gentlemen, he said, "Look at them,
9 the way they look, like actors. You should see how our
10 own look like."
11 Q. So who was this driver?
12 A. He I think was the driver of the HVO police
13 from Mostar, I believe -- not a driver; it was like an
14 escort. They had escorts.
15 Q. Did this commission ask you about the prison
16 authorities or the persons responsible for these
18 A. As far as I know, there was a brief meeting
19 in our command headquarters, and I do not know, but
20 personally I was not asked this.
21 Q. When they finished the visit, did they tell
22 you what impressions they had, or did they tell you
23 anything or how did you understand whether this
24 delegation was satisfied or not -- but let me not ask
25 you too much; what did this delegation tell you?
1 A. They did not say anything, but, based on
2 their expressions on their faces, they seemed to be
3 very happy with what they found, both at Celebici and
4 at Musala.
5 Q. Since you entered the hangar at that time,
6 can you tell me, did the prisoners have blankets?
7 A. Yes, as I explained, the blankets were lined
8 up against the walls of the hangars and the prisoners
9 were standing in front of these blankets, also lined up
10 all along the walls and so the blankets were behind
12 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, let me go back to some issues
13 that the Trial Chamber is paying particular attention
14 to. You mentioned that you intervened on behalf of
15 Miro Golubovic -- that was an unusual way, out of the
16 ordinary way of effecting release of certain prisoners;
17 is that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. During the period of time when Zejnil Delalic
20 was a coordinator, before he became a commander of the
21 TG, as a coordinator, do you know whether Zejnil
22 Delalic had any position of superiority regarding the
24 A. No, he could not have had one, as far as
25 I know, so, no.
1 Q. Can you please tell me, since the Trial
2 Chamber is directing us to clarify the issue of the
3 Tactical Group, how many soldiers from Konjic were
4 subordinated to these Tactical Groups 1 and 2, if you
6 A. This was not the case throughout this time.
7 I think it was just, for instance, for the Operation
8 South -- Operation Jug -- I think there was one company
9 which was assigned to it and, from what I know, it was
10 the only time, and they were assigned to the Tactical
11 Group 2, which was engaged in an attempt to liberate
12 the town of Trnovo.
13 Q. Very well. You gave us a sufficient
14 explanation regarding the late Mr. Padalovic and I am
15 not going to go back to that, but let me ask you this,
16 Mr. Tahirovic: was any soldier belonging to Tactical
17 Group 1, whose commander was Mr. Zejnil Delalic -- were
18 any of these soldiers on the staff of the Celebici
20 A. As far as I know, no.
21 Q. Could it be that you may not know? Do you
22 know any person from the Celebici prison who was a
23 soldier of the Tactical Group 1?
24 A. I believe no soldiers were members of the
25 Tactical Group 1.
1 Q. Not even during the period when Mr. Polutak
2 was the commander?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Thank you. According to what you know, did
5 the Tactical Group 1 have any authority over the
7 A. A Tactical Group is a provisional formation.
8 It is established only to carry out certain tasks.
9 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, do you know what the task of
10 the Tactical Group 1 was?
11 A. Yes, I do know. It was the lifting of the
12 siege of Sarajevo from the direction of Hadzici -- that
13 is what we called this direction.
14 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, were you ever a soldier of
15 Tactical Group 1?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Were you ever a member of the command of the
18 Tactical Group 1?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Mr. Tahirovic, do you know anything about the
21 activities of the court in Konjic; did the court in
22 Konjic work at that time?
23 A. No, it was not working. We kept insisting on
24 the court being made operational, but they were not in
25 a position to do that.
1 Q. Do you know that this was the reason why your
2 staff contacted the supreme command staff, in order to
3 move the prisoners to Zenica?
4 A. Yes, I do know that. We got in touch with
5 the staff of the supreme command. We asked that the
6 prisoners from Celebici be transferred, either to
7 Zenica or Mostar, and it was suggested to us that we
8 move them to Zenica. However, for objective reasons,
9 that is because of the HVO, we could not transfer them
10 either to Zenica or to Mostar.
11 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Ms. Residovic, let us
12 clarify this. How did the group, that is the
13 territorial army, how did you exercise control over the
14 prisons, that is, moving prisoners to somewhere else --
15 how did you get to do that.
16 THE WITNESS: Your Honours, we tried, through
17 the supreme command staff, to resolve the issue of the
18 Celebici prisoners -- to use either buses or trucks,
19 and then to transport them to Zenica, because Zenica
20 had a large district prison facility where these
21 persons could be housed, and where appropriate
22 investigation could be conducted, as well as
23 appropriate trials.
24 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: From whom did you take
25 over control -- who was organising or controlling the
1 prisons at the time that you took over this duty, to
2 transfer the prisoners to somewhere else?
3 THE WITNESS: We did not take over the duty
4 to transport the prisoners. These prisoners were a
5 ballast to us in Konjic, because we ourselves did not
6 have enough food at that time, and we could not provide
7 them with adequate accommodation or conditions of life
8 that we thought that they ought to have.
9 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Who was looking after
10 them at the time you stepped into it, to transfer them
11 to somewhere else? Were they just there alone,
12 abandoned and nobody was looking after them?
13 THE WITNESS: I do not know to what degree
14 you are understanding what I am saying. We did not go
15 there; we asked, in writing, of the command to have
16 them transferred. At that time, the security of the
17 Celebici prison was provided by the Territorial Defence
18 forces. They kept changing. For a while, it was the
19 HVO, for the while it was the MUP and then it was the
20 TO, so at that time we were the ones providing security
21 for the entire Celebici compound.
22 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: There was a time when
23 the Territorial Defence was controlling the Celebici
24 prison -- you were in control at some point.
25 THE WITNESS: We received an order from the
1 supreme command staff to speed up the process of the
2 interrogation of these people. We said that we were
3 not able to do that, and instead we asked that they be
4 transferred and that then this be done either in Zenica
5 or in Mostar.
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, let me help
8 Do you remember what period of time this was,
9 the relevant period that the judges are asking about?
10 A. I believe this would be in September 1992 --
11 either August or September of 1992.
12 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: That is alright.
13 I will leave the rest for cross-examination. They will
14 be able to find these things out, perhaps.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, I have actually
16 concluded my examination of this witness, and I tried
17 to follow your suggestion and directions of yesterday,
18 so that we could at least complete this portion of this
19 witness's testimony before 4 o'clock this afternoon.
20 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Thank you very much.
21 Is there any cross-examination of this witness?
22 MR. OLUJIC: Yes, your Honour. May it please
23 the court.
24 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You may proceed.
25 Cross-examined by MR. OLUJIC
1 Q. Thank you.
2 Good afternoon, Mr. Tahirovic. I am the
3 Defence counsel for Mr. Zdravko Mucic. I will have a
4 few questions for you, because I can tell that you are
5 very familiar with the situation in Konjic around
6 Konjic and as regards the camp, that is, the prison.
7 Professor, you are professor of All People's
8 Defence and you showed, during your examination, that
9 you are very well versed in military matters; is that
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you tell me, did Bosnia-Herzegovina have
13 enough time to prepare for its defence in early 1992,
14 given the fact that it did not want the war?
15 A. It was very difficult and it went with a lot
16 of effort and I believe that we nevertheless were able
17 to prepare, but rather due to the hearts and courage of
18 people rather than materiel and equipment that we had
19 at the time.
20 Q. How were you able to do so without being
21 attacked by the JNA?
22 A. I am sorry, I did not understand you well.
23 Q. Professor, let me put it this way: was the
24 JNA the body that actually was arming the Serbs in
25 order to carry out its attack on Bosnia-Herzegovina?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. How many soldiers, including the reservists
3 from Serbia and Montenegro did come to
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina after the defeats in Slovenia and
6 A. At least two corps arrived -- I believe it
7 was one from Slovenia -- it was the so-called 5th or
8 7th Army District. I think the 5th was in Zagreb, so
9 the entire corps came from Croatia, so, according to
10 the number of personnel that a corps should have, there
11 should have been somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000
12 people, so one corps is about 17,000 to 20,000 strong
13 and, if you add the reservists from Montenegro who, so
14 to speak, had flooded the whole area at the time, you
15 could probably come up with a figure of 50,000.
16 MR. OLUJIC: Could you also say that the JNA
17 did take away weapons from the Territorial Defence,
18 wherever it managed to do so?
19 JUDGE JAN: We already have enough evidence
20 on that. Witnesses have said from both sides the JNA
21 was arming the local Serbs, the JNA was initially
22 involved in all these -- in the conflict. We already
23 have enough evidence of that. In fact, the experts
24 told us 80,000 troops of the JNA were there until
25 Serbia and Montenegro declared to withdraw from Bosnia,
1 but they left their soldiers of Bosnian extraction
2 there with all the equipment. We already have enough
3 evidence of that.
4 MR. OLUJIC: Yes, your Honour. However, this
5 witness is an expert witness, so to speak, because he
6 is a professor of All People's Defence, so is somebody
7 who received his education in the former State, with a
8 very high degree of military expertise, and since part
9 of the indictment concerns the violation of Conventions
10 and the treatment of the prisoners and their status in
11 the prison, I thought that it may be necessary for me
12 to clarify. I am not suggesting that we are hearing
13 this for the first time, but I am trying to elucidate
14 this. Anyway, I am grateful to you for your
15 intervention and I am going to move on to another area.
16 Professor, could we say that the villagers of
17 Bradina and Donje Selo were very well armed, with good
18 quality weapons?
19 JUDGE JAN: And also very strategic points.
20 We have heard evidence.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
22 JUDGE JAN: (INAUDIBLE) to Sarajevo, Donje
23 Selo and Bradina. Bradina was right there -- I think
24 Mount Igman -- it was a passage. In fact, one of the
25 generals told us that, if you avoid this Igman pass,
1 you have to cross 12 different passes. I think General
2 Divjak told us that. This Donje Selo was controlling
3 the road to Mostar and then probably further on to the
4 sea. We have been educated enough on this matter.
5 Please go ahead.
6 MR. OLUJIC: Go ahead, professor?
7 A. I do not know if you will believe me, but I
8 forgot the question.
9 Q. The question was, were Donje Selo and Bradina
10 very well armed?
11 A. Yes, they were very well armed. This morning
12 I said they had mortars, 82-millimetre calibre, which
13 means that they had a complete set of infantry-type
15 MR. OLUJIC: Very well. Your Honours, since
16 it is 4 o'clock, this might be a time for a break.
17 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: We said yesterday that
18 we will break at 4 o'clock and that we will do that
19 right now. We will reassemble at 4.30 for our status
21 (4 p.m.)
22 (Short adjournment) .
23 (4.40 p.m.)
24 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I think we will first
25 adjourn the proceedings to 18 May before we start our
1 status conference. It is better that I do that,
2 because I did not indicate the case stands adjourned,
3 so cross-examination will continue on 18 May, for those
4 who have not exercised their right of
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honour, may I be allowed
7 to tell the witness that he is now free and that he may
8 leave the building of the Tribunal, because he waited
9 your decision about that.
10 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: That is correct --
11 I think this is what we will proceed to do.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you -- I will thank
14 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I think the usher will
15 definitely go to him and tell him the matter has been
16 adjourned until 18 May. Now we are in closed session
17 for the status conference.
18 (The hearing adjourned until Monday, 18th May, 1998)