1 Friday, 8 April, 2005.
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Could you call the case, please.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
7 IT-03-68-T, the Prosecutor versus Naser Oric.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, madam, and good morning to you.
9 Mr. Oric, can you follow the proceedings in your own language?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Ladies
11 and gentlemen, I am able to follow the proceedings in my own language.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. You may sit down.
13 Appearances for the Prosecution.
14 MS. SELLERS: Good morning Your Honour, I'm Patricia Sellers
15 representing the Prosecution today. With me is co-counsel, Gramsci Di
16 Fazio, and co-counsel, Ms. Joanne Richardson; also our case manager,
17 Donnica Henry-Frijlink, is with us.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you madam and good morning to you and your
19 team. Appearances for Naser Oric.
20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours and the
21 colleagues from the Prosecution. I am Vasvija Vidovic. Together with
22 Mr. John Jones, I represent the Defence team for Mr. Naser Oric. We also
23 have a legal assistant, Miss Adisa Mehic, and our case manager,
24 Mr. Geoff Roberts.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, madam. And good morning to you and
1 your team. Any preliminaries?
2 MS. SELLERS: We just have one brief preliminary and Your Honour,
3 it's more in the nature of an update, in terms of the projected time
4 period, the Prosecution case. As I've discussed informally with the
5 Defence this week, that we are still in the process of adding a few
6 witnesses and removing witnesses. We've been informed by your legal
7 assistant that we would follow that up with the proper motion asking your
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
10 MS. SELLERS: Yes. I just wanted to --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: If there is anything that needs to be formalised,
12 that's it.
13 MS. SELLERS: Yes. And we intend to be able to be in a position
14 to follow that motion at least by mid next week, if not towards the end of
15 next week, but to let you know we have formally been speaking to the
16 Defence and are trying to update them so that in future -- their future
17 preparation they would have knowledge of -- at least at this period of
18 time people we have decided not to call and our anticipation of those
19 called. I just wanted to state today that in our provisionary -- looking
20 at our schedule it seemed as if we would be finishing somewhere between
21 the 7th and 10 of June, and if that changes we will certainly get back to
22 you. As I said this is provisional and I think by mid next week or the
23 end of next week when we filed our motion we might have a slightly
24 different date for you.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: We need to make an effort to finish by the end of
1 May, Ms. Sellers, a great effort.
2 MS. SELLERS: Certainly, Your Honours; we will convey that.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: If necessary, try to make it a humungous effort,
4 finish by the 8th of May. There are more reasons than one for that.
5 MS. SELLERS: Finish by the 8th of May, Your Honour?.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: End of May. End of May. Sorry -- my apologies if I
7 said the 8th of May. Yes. 8th of May is an important feast day in Malta,
8 so sometimes it does occur to my mind.
9 MS. SELLERS: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Can you live with that, Madam Vidovic?
11 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we would like to get
12 the names of the witnesses as soon as possible, at least the names so that
13 our team can start working.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: It's not that that I'm referring to. What I'm
15 referring to is whether it is okay with you if we delay this filing till
16 mid next week?
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] That is precisely the essence of
18 what I was going to say. Obviously we are uncomfortable with that because
19 we were expecting the Prosecution to do that by the end of this week.
20 However, if it's not possible, we would appeal to the Prosecution to do it
21 as soon as possible. We got the name Okanovic on the list but we have no
22 idea what the witness is supposed to testify about, and his testimony is
23 coming up very soon and we would really like to get that information as
24 soon as possible.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Fair enough. I think you need to look into this.
1 Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: That can be solved in an -- in an instant. He's
3 the fellow -- who my colleagues will correct me if I'm wrong, I'm standing
4 here, but he's the fellow who took the video of the planes over Bjelovac.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I wouldn't know.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: That's it, so you will recall that video where you
7 see the planes dropping bombs or whatever. And that's ...
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. All right. Please try to do your best to
9 have this motion in place with all of the details by not later than
10 Wednesday of next week. That's number 1.
11 Number 2 is, try to work out your schedule in a way as to ensure
12 that we try and finish by the end of May. When I say we try and finish,
13 you finish your case by the end of May. And for the time being, I don't
14 think I should add anything, because would we will obviously need to
15 discuss the situation, the three judges and it's not something that I can
16 decide on my own, for sure, how to go about it. But please do keep in
17 mind that following the closure of the case by you, there is that
18 important event that we had talked about that we need to put in place,
19 number 1. There is the Rule 98 bis procedure that has to be followed,
20 although this will be taking into account the amendments that have taken
21 place and the time limit will be reduced considerably. And the important
22 thing is that the Defence is put on notice well before they are expected,
23 well before they are expected to start. And I have got nothing else to
24 say. Let's bring the witness in.
25 Madam Vidovic, are you going to finish with this witness today?
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, yesterday I made good
2 progress and I'm going to try and do all I can. If the witness continues
3 to reply in the same way, it is possible that I might finish. But in this
4 part of my cross-examination, there will be documents, et cetera, so it
5 might take a little bit longer. But I will do my best.
6 After the second break, I will be able to let you know.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: It was not meant as pressure in any way, as you
8 would have certainly gathered. The reason why I'm asking you is because
9 we have the next witness - I'm not going to mention the name, her name -
10 was supposed to start on Tuesday. Because I asked Madam Vidovic the
11 question because, I have enough experience to know where she stands with
12 this witness already. And I do anticipate that if she doesn't finish
13 today, she will finish pretty early on Monday.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, I would have thought so as well.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: So in that case I would suggest that whoever is
16 proofing the next witness, witness number 40, I wouldn't know who it is.
17 I don't want to mention the name.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: The witness is flying in on Saturday and is going
19 to be started to be proofed on the Sunday.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Please try -- the whole idea is, please do
21 understand me. I mean, it's -- last thing I want to do is to waste time.
22 It's not that I, my two colleagues, yourselves have got nothing else to
23 do. I mean we all have a lot of work to do. But the thing is, I have a
24 responsibility. I mean, it's ...
25 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, I understand that. Would Your Honours just
1 give me a moment, please.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I gather that what you
5 would like is for the witness to start after the completion of this
6 particular witness on Monday?
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Start on Monday.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I mean immediately after. I didn't say immediately
11 MR. DI FAZIO: Very soon thereafter.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: If there is an extra hour, that's no big deal, you
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, I know that. I gather what Your Honour is
15 driving at. Yes, we will comply with that. That will be done.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I would appreciate that. And also because the more
17 time we save, the earlier we can finish and the easier it will be for you
18 to regulate --
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Counsel who is handling that witness will be
20 informed and they will be ready to proceed.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I thank you, Mr. Di Fazio.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: There is just one very small matter. Should
23 Madam Vidovic finish with this witness at the -- today and should
24 something unusual happen, say, she finishes 20 minutes or 15 minutes
25 beforehand, could I put off my re-examination until Monday? Because I
1 haven't had a --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: We have questions as well.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. I would like to be able to read the
5 JUDGE AGIUS: When I asked Madam Vidovic in my heart of hearts I
6 knew that -- what the answer was going to be. It's possible that she
7 finishes today, but more likely that she overflows on to Monday, but
8 that's ...
9 MR. DI FAZIO: All I'm saying is I would like to be able to read
10 the transcript and prepare.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly. I don't think there will be any problems
12 there, but don't use this as a stratagem to delay bringing the next
13 witness until Tuesday. Understood?
14 MR. DI FAZIO: That's perfectly understood, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: So I think we speak the same language.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, to you, Mr. Meholjic.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Welcome back.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: We are going to continue with your testimony. We'll
22 do our best, very best to progress as much as possible today. I don't
23 promise you that we will finish today. Probably we will overflow to
24 Monday, which would give you an opportunity to spend a weekend here in
25 this beautiful city hoping that the weather will be your friend. But much
1 depends on how you answer the questions. In other words, how efficient
2 you are in your answers. Yesterday, particularly, you were extremely
3 efficient and the day before. You have been taking my advice, answering
4 the question, the whole question, and nothing but the question. Please
5 try to maintain that. I hope you had a good rest and that you have been
6 able to contact your family. All right. Please, sit down and let's
8 WITNESS: HAKIJA MEHOLJIC: [Resumed]
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 Cross-examined by Ms. Vidovic: [Continued]
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I wanted to remind you, you are still testifying
12 under oath. Madam Vidovic.
13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Good morning, Mr. Meholjic.
15 A. Good morning.
16 Q. Yesterday we stopped when you were saying that you did not accept
17 Naser as commander. You had your own unit at the very centre of
18 Srebrenica, wasn't that right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. It was known as Hakija's men?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. There were about 100 people in that unit in 1992, am I correct?
23 A. 100 maximum. And sometimes less than that. Between 60 and 100
24 men. It varied.
25 Q. Thank you. Oric used to come to Domavija hotel and to ask you to
1 help out in certain cases?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. He did not issue orders to you?
4 A. No.
5 Q. You did not write any reports to him?
6 A. No.
7 Q. You sent your men into action on those occasions when you were in
8 agreement and if you were in agreement with the action; is that the truth?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Before you were made chief of police at Srebrenica, following the
11 demilitarisation in April 1993, you were never a member of the armed
12 forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina in that area, is that correct?
13 A. That's correct. I was not on the list. I saw it afterwards, but
14 well that's the way it was.
15 MS. VIDOVIC: I would like to ask the usher to show the witness
16 the Prosecution document P80. P80, then.
17 Q. Mr. Meholjic, it's supposedly a document from the staff of
18 Territorial Defence for Srebrenica dated the 19th of September, 1993. And
19 the title is delivery of data with regard to the formation and structure
20 of the armed forces at Srebrenica in the past period. It consists of six
21 pages. First of all, there are references to the first, the 2nd and 3rd
22 formation or structure. I would like to draw your attention to page
23 number 4. Can you take a look. There is a big computer number there,
25 Could you please place the English version of this document on the
1 ELMO, if possible.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: We're talking of page 3 in the English version.
3 Correct? Madam Vidovic?
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think we are
5 referring to page 6 of the English version, item 4.
6 Q. Mr. Meholjic, have you seen that?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. I'm going to quote to you what it says on page 4, "Independent
9 Srebrenica Battalion based in Srebrenica, commander Safet Mujic, 849
10 conscripts, comprising five companies."
11 I would like to ask you to look at the last line of this document.
12 It says "the Fifth Company based in Srebrenica, Commander Hakija
14 In other words, according to this document, it would appear that
15 your company was a part of the independent Srebrenica battalion under the
16 command of Safet Mujic.
17 Now, Mr. Mujic, Safet has never actually been your commander,
18 isn't that so?
19 A. Well, there were some attempts to that effect, but I don't know.
20 I would say not. There were attempts at organising that, but I can't
21 really claim that he was my commander, because he was never in a position
22 to order me anything whatsoever. So, if I may just clarify. There had
23 been attempts as I was saying, I mean my life is actually too short to
24 cram into it all the experiences I've had. And I can't go into every
25 single detail. But, yes, there had been attempts to that effect, but I
1 don't think they were successful. Naser will know better and you, of
2 course, as well.
3 Q. So in practice, de facto he had never been your commander?
4 A. No. So it is true that this document contains wrong information?
5 A. May I comment?
6 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do apologize.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A reference to Bektic Nedzad is a
10 bit surprising as the person in charge of security. I mean, Naser will
11 know, but I think he was appointed at a later stage. Don't misunderstand
12 me. I think it happened at a later stage. Perhaps he was already there
13 at the time, but I don't know. This is the first I've seen of this
15 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Mr. Meholjic, I'm going to put this question to you in a different
17 way. This structure is on paper, in case this is an authentic document,
18 but at any rate, the reference to you does not reflect the real state of
19 affairs in as far as your unit was concerned?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Thank you. In the course of your testimony, you have told us that
22 Oric had appointed you as commander of a certain area in order to, in
23 March 1993, defend a certain part of Srebrenica territory. You yourself
24 volunteered the information whereby you said that Hadjin [phoen] had been
25 prepared to do, he wouldn't have been in a position to order you.
1 A. Correct. But I did want it.
2 Q. Thank you. On the basis of your testimony, I can conclude that
3 you were very familiar with Zulfo Tursonovic and Akif Ustic?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Zulfo and Akif were both people of a certain age with some life
7 A. Yes, they were slightly older, but as to their fitness mentally
8 and physically, well I don't know.
9 Q. I'm talking about elderly people here. You told us that on one
10 occasion Naser wanted to meet with you with regard to the Zaluzje action,
11 but Zulfo opposed your presence and the meeting did not take place, isn't
12 that correct?
13 A. Yes, that's correct.
14 Q. Do you agree that Zulfo's wish was -- actually took precedence
15 over Naser's decision?
16 A. Of course I agree.
17 Q. You also said that Zulfo Tursonovic, on one occasion, in the
18 course of 1992, said: "If Hakija's men are going to fight in this battle,
19 I won't be there." Zulfo Tursonovic's character was such that you could
20 not really oppose him.
21 A. I didn't. And Mr. Oric knows and I do know that he found the
22 situation difficult. And as to the characters of the people in charge of
23 those local units, well they varied. We had certain people of character
24 and, well educated people who had fled Srebrenica and those who remained,
25 well, it was a bit difficult. We had to adjust to the circumstances at
1 the time as well.
2 Q. Okay. Do you agree that Zulfo Tursunovic went along with Naser
3 only on those occasions when he felt like it? When he felt it was
5 A. Look, I can only assume that, but I was not with them when they
6 were talking to one another, and I'm unable to comment on that. But I
7 know Zulfo. I mean, he's a bit difficult, if he didn't want to do
8 something there was nothing you could do about it. And how Naser managed,
9 well I don't know. That's why I said that Naser probably found himself in
10 a difficult situation. That's why I was against its appointment because I
11 thought that he was just not up to the task of dealing with all of these
13 Q. Thank you. I mentioned a certain battle, and the participation on
14 your and Zulfo's part in a certain battle. Quite simply, Zulfo was free
15 to decide whether he wanted to join in or not; is that correct?
16 A. If you're asking a question about Asliza [phoen], he went and he
17 lost between three or five people at the very beginning and then he left
18 straight away. He didn't do anything at all. So, yes, he could. He was
19 not accountable to anyone.
20 Q. Thank you. In the same way you mentioned yesterday that Akif
21 Ustic went into action on his own initiative and according to your
22 opinion, without Naser's knowledge.
23 A. He did. And I minded. I mean, I said, okay if Naser didn't know,
24 fine. But Hamdija and myself, we didn't know either. And we were
25 supposed to be his subordinates. So if he's battalion commander and he
1 doesn't tell his company commanders what he was doing, well -- and then he
2 ends up wounded or loses between eight or 12 people in a certain action,
3 well this was a disaster.
4 Q. Thank you. You spoke about an action in which Akif Ustic was
5 wounded. So that was the action that he undertook on his own initiative?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. It was in the month of June 1992, isn't that so?
8 A. I can't really tell you. June or July. Don't press me on the
9 dates, but thereabouts.
10 Q. Thank you. And it was an action in the area south of Srebrenica,
11 am I right?
12 A. The upper area. When I say the upper area, it is to the
13 south-east, perhaps. One should look at the map, but that's what I think.
14 Q. Thank you. Isn't it true that your opinion is that Akif did
15 things upon his own initiative, without informing Naser and at any rate
16 without asking for any permission from Naser?
17 A. Yes, that's what he did when he went to Zaluzje. And he took his
18 men there and about 20 people were killed and he himself was killed. He
19 was just doing everything on his own initiative and that's when he messed
20 up as well.
21 Q. Thank you. Can you agree with me, in relation to the nature of
22 the relationship between these people, that is to say that Zulfo and Akif
23 accepted Naser as commander, but they did not feel bound to inform him
24 about their activities or to follow his orders, except in those situations
25 where they felt like it. Can you agree?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Look, I have decided to testify in public and I have to go back
2 there and live there and I'm going to reiterate what I said before. I'm
3 accepting all moral and criminal responsibility for everything I've said,
4 so my opinion is this. I am convinced of that, but Naser was more in
5 touch with them than I was, but since I know several things on the basis
6 of my own personal experience, when Akif and myself were together when I
7 was his boss, when I was elected to that position by the population in the
8 beginning, so even then he did things on his own initiative and some of
9 these things were disastrous. For example, when his cousin was killed,
10 that was also something that he did single-handedly. Did I make myself
12 Q. Yes, you did. Thank you very much. Akmija -- Akmija's people or
13 Akmija's [as interpreted] army was under the command of Ahmet Tihic at
15 A. Yes, and his nickname was Tica.
16 Q. Thank you. It is true that Ahmo Tihic was also, to a great extent
17 autonomous independent, is it known to you as well?
18 A. Well, he acted autonomously. He was a commander. I don't know
19 what kind of a unit he had up there, either a battalion or a company, but
20 he did act independently. I don't want to speak certain things about him.
21 He's dead. He was more into some other things.
22 Q. Yes, I will ask you about that.
23 A. No, not about crimes, but in connection of seizing some grain and
24 then selling it to Muslims, et cetera. You have to understand, it is not
25 a simple task for me to be here. I've come here to tell the truth. Not
1 against Naser. Not to speak in favour of him. But to tell the truth so
2 that the people can continue with their lives.
3 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Meholjic. It is known to you, is it not,
4 that certain commanders led by Mr. Tihic and leaning towards the
5 hard-liners of the SDA wanted to establish a completely separate army, is
6 it known to you?
7 A. Yes. Naser is guilty for that. He accepted Ibran and Ibran came
8 to -- with a task to divide us even more than we were divided before. And
9 they invited me to take part in this, but I didn't want to.
10 Q. You mentioned Ibran. What kind of Ibran was he?
11 A. He was Ibran Mustafic, that was his name.
12 Q. Thank you. I would like to ask the usher to show the witness a
14 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm not objecting. I'm merely making an
17 observation. The witness has just given evidence about something
18 involving Ibran. I don't know if Your Honours understood that, that
19 portion of evidence, but I have some trouble understanding what was meant.
20 It's a question of Ibran coming along and not -- and Naser accepting it.
21 Accepting what? It's unclear. I don't know if you want to pursue it or
22 not. It's not my job.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I was going to pursue it to be honest with you to by
24 asking the witness who sent this Ibran. Who sent this Ibran? Because
25 otherwise it doesn't make sense. I agree with you. It does make sense, I
1 mean, because you can come to conclusions, but who sent Ibran?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Ibran was the president of the
3 executive council of Srebrenica before the war. Then he was in Sarajevo
4 as a delegate at the republic level, as it was before the war.
5 Towards the end of 1992, miraculously, Ibran managed to reach us from the
6 direction of Rogatica, through Zepa, during war circumstances. And since
7 he was a leader of the SDA, he started proselytising. We don't need this
8 kind of army, et cetera and we -- our answer was: "How can you say that?
9 You fled." But Mr. Tihic and I -- and he were in it together but I was
10 against it. Not because of anything else, but because of the appointment
11 of that man, if things were different I could have been in the dock
12 instead of in the witness stand. But the situation was as it is and there
13 was some internal fraction that started then.
14 When I'm talking about Ibran. In 1995 when Srebrenica was about
15 to fall, and Mr. Oric was there [as interpreted], at an Assembly, an
16 Assembly of the municipality. Ibran Mustafic demanded publicly to
17 establish radio contact with Momcilo Krajisnik to get us out of
18 Srebrenica. After that Srebrenica fell. He was detained and exchanged.
19 Many people were killed who were retarded, retarded, who didn't know who
20 they were, what was -- but he managed to stay alive. If I was clear.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's keep to what is relevant. You also said that
22 Oric, Naser Oric accepted him. What did you exactly mean by that?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, he accepted him as a person,
24 but I did not mean accepted him in this sense. I would have told him,
25 "Go away," because what he left behind him is a disorganised group. He
1 was president of the executive council. He left us at the mercy of the
2 headless, without leadership, and it was my duty, as a policeman to defend
3 the lives and property of citizens in extraordinary circumstances. This
4 is what I was paid for.
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Thank you very much Mr. Meholjic. So Oric accepted him as a
7 person. Just a slight correction. I see that in 1995 Naser was -- you
8 said that Naser was not in Srebrenica before the fall?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know what happened because I wasn't
10 following the transcript and was doing other things at the same time. But
11 I heard him say the opposite. And in fact, if you look at line 12, he
12 said in 1995 when Srebrenica was about to fall and Mr. Oric was there.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He wasn't there. He wasn't there.
14 Well, everybody knows that. It's generally known thing that Naser was
15 outside of Srebrenica then.
16 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Mr. Meholjic, I will ask the usher to show you a document. It is
18 a document by the police station of Srebrenica or public security station
19 of Srebrenica. 4th of April, 1994. It is an assessment of the political
20 and security situation in the demilitarised zone and in connection with
21 what we spoke about. I would like to read out to you a passage from page
22 2 where it says: "At meetings held on Saturdays in the house of Hamid
23 Efendic and on other days with Ahmo Tihic plans are made to belittle the
24 fight of the self-organised people and they determine who will take which
25 position when they come into power."
1 You were aware of this situation, that they were trying to
2 organise an army and you reported that fact. I see this is a report from
3 1995. But you had sent reports on this even before that date?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. I want this document to be assigned a number.
6 A. If I may add, this document was forwarded to the 2nd Corps,
7 because the Presidency accepted my report in its entirety and forwarded to
8 2nd Corps to inform them of the situation in the protected zone.
9 MS. VIDOVIC: I want this written material to be tendered into
10 evidence and to be given an exhibit number.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Before we do so, Madam Vidovic, I see this
12 document -- at least what we have been given -- the first two pages, 096
13 and 097, followed by the English equivalent, right, which consisting of
14 three pages. Then there are a number of pages in handwriting, about five,
15 six pages or something like that. Followed by three pages, three pages in
17 I am prone to presume that this is the same document, one in
18 typewritten form, one in handwritten form. The English translation, in
19 each case, is not exactly identical. It seems that they have been
20 translated by different persons at different times. But I want to
21 establish that that is correct. If that is correct, then we need to move
22 to the following questions.
23 Number 1, I would like the witness to look at the typewritten
24 document which has the last number 096 and 097 and on the second page,
25 there is a stamp and a signature under, or upon -- over the name Hakija
1 Meholjic. And I would like him to confirm that that is, indeed, his
2 signature and that that stamp is an authentic stamp. That's number 1.
3 And secondly, I would then refer the witness to the other
4 document, which is handwritten, in handwritten form, which starts with 098
5 and finishes with 103, and ask him if he is in a position to inform us --
6 to tell us whose handwriting that is, if he can recognise it.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As you asked me, this is my
8 signature on this and my stamp on this document. And this is true. And I
9 fully endorse that.
10 Regarding this handwritten document, I dictated and I believe that
11 Resid Efendic wrote it down.
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Your Honour, if I may add, this handwritten document is a more
14 handwritten document is a -- more expansive in its context. I will
15 repeatedly use that document and this is the reason, just to save us some
16 time. I'm explaining this so that we can tender the whole document into
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you going to tender the two documents together?
19 Or do you want to separate them?
20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I would separate them.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I agree, Your Honour. Thank you
23 very much for your suggestion. I can separate these two documents. So I
24 propose that the document from 24th of April, a two-page 3906 and 3906 and
25 9097 to be given an exhibit number, and the document with the numbers 9098
1 to 9103, to be given a different exhibit number.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's start with the first one. 096 and 097, this
3 will be D.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Defence exhibit number D243.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: 243. So. Right. And the other one will be Defence
6 Exhibit 244. Do you have a clip?
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE AGIUS: When you put the previous question and you referred
9 the witness to the document, were you referring him to the first one of
10 these two documents? Or to the second? Madam Vidovic? You told the
11 witness, I'm reading from page 2 and ...
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes. I asked the witness to take a
13 look at the first document, but to save some time, the witness took a look
14 at the second document and said that he knows of the document. He
15 dictated it. I didn't want to ask him additional questions because he had
16 already confirmed that.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Let's proceed.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Meholjic, I will now go back to the topic of Ahmo Tihic. Ahmo
20 Tihic, is it not, he had a great deal of influence in the area where he
21 was active?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. He was a pre-war activist of the SDA and he had some influence on
24 decisions that affected the area of Srebrenica as well, am I right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Mr. Meholjic, is it true, is it not, that Oric could not issue
2 orders to Tihic?
3 A. Look here now, you are bringing me into a very awkward position.
4 I believe and I've told you, to the Chamber and everybody, that Naser
5 knows that I did not attend meetings and I cannot comment whether he had
6 any quarrels, whether he had made concessions, whether he could or could
7 not, at those meetings where I wasn't present. It was very difficult to
8 issue orders to Tihic. He was an SDA hard-liner. So it was very
9 difficult. That's why I said that Mr. Oric was surrounded by some people
10 who suggested some bad things to him. I believe that it was very
11 difficult for him to get on top of the situation.
12 Q. Thank you very much. These groups of people, up until the
13 establishment of the 28th division and later on, they were known as
14 Zulfo's people, Nedzad's -- Zulfo's people, my people?
15 A. Yes, "my people," et cetera, et cetera.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Judge Eser.
17 JUDGE ESER: Madam Vidovic, perhaps could you make clear, on the
18 period of time we are talking about, was it the beginning of 1992? Or the
19 end of 1992 or 1993, because I think there has been more than a year that
20 the relationship may have been the same or it may have changed between the
21 people who are in discussion here.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. We're talking about a period during 1992 until April 1993, are we
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Therefore, Mr. Meholjic, although the headquarters and the staff
2 was established and existed, objectively in the field in 1992 and the
3 winter offensive in 1993, in essence we are talking about individual,
4 independent village-based armed groups of people?
5 A. Yes. They covered that part of the terrain.
6 Q. Thank you. There were attempts to organise those, the structure
7 of those groups?
8 A. Yes, yes.
9 Q. Naser tried to subsume those groups under his command, am I right?
10 A. As far as I'm concerned, you are right. But what happened later
11 on, I don't know.
12 Q. Thank you. Could you agree with me if I said that throughout 1992
13 and early 1993, until March 1993, armed forces in Srebrenica did not
14 resemble a proper army?
15 A. You know how it is, a proper army is something completely
16 different. You have to understand the situation we were in. Secondly,
17 those were not soldiers living in barracks. These were people who would
18 go back home for the night. And so if we had a meeting arranging an
19 attack, then we would ask commanders how many people can you get for the
20 fight, as if we were going for a harvest. And then people would say:
21 "Well tomorrow I can gather ten people," et cetera. But very soon --
22 very often we would get less people than was announced, because there was
23 no structure.
24 Q. Thank you. As far as I could understand, there were agreements
25 made. There was no line of command?
1 A. There was no line of command for me. I cannot accept that there
3 Q. Thank you. These people in these armed groups, they did not wear
4 uniforms or they had very little -- very few uniforms, army uniforms?
5 A. Well, some people got, people from Nurif came and people were
7 Q. Thank you. They had very few arms, no weapons were arranged for
8 them. They had to take it from the enemy, is it right?
9 A. Yes. If my group which had 18 automatic rifles, 20-odd
10 semi-automatic, and one machine-gun, then you can -- and -- we were the
11 best-armed group, then you can imagine how it was for the rest of them.
12 Q. Thank you. Food was not secured for the fighters?
13 A. No. Except that I did for my men.
14 Q. There were no ranks --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: You are not allowing the short interval of time that
16 I appealed for yesterday and the day before. And I can see that the
17 interpreters are finding it difficult to catch up with both of you. And
18 that will reflect in the transcript, because we are missing things then.
19 So, please, this applies to both of you, including you Madam Vidovic,
20 because you're doing exactly the same as the witness is. Let's proceed.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. I asked you about ranks. There were no ranks?
23 A. There were no breads, let alone ranks.
24 Q. There were no patches. There were no markings by which the troops
25 could be distinguished from civilians?
1 A. No, there weren't.
2 Q. As far as the bands are concerned, the bands that the fighters
3 used to wear in actions, for their families this was no secret. Anybody
4 who followed them could use those bands, is that not right?
5 A. Yes, they could.
6 Q. The fighters of the Srebrenica area were mostly persons who
7 swapped their tools and took to arms, am I right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. There were no circumstances or conditions in place that would
10 enable the commander to exercise the effective control over the troops
11 that were supposed to be subordinated to him?
12 A. No.
13 Q. When you say "no", does that mean that you confirm my statement?
14 A. Yes, I do. Is there was nothing in place to provide for an
15 efficient control. Not even the organised military of the United States
16 cannot control all of its troops, let alone us. We were not organised.
17 Secondly there were no corps. There was no mechanism to punish a soldier.
18 You could only beat him or chase him out of your ranks. There were no
19 institutions as such in place.
20 Q. Whatever there was on paper, in terms of the military organisation
21 at the time during the war, year of 1992 and early 1993, did not reflect
22 the reality of the matter.
23 A. No, it didn't.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please this evidence is going to be
25 meaningless unless we know what piece of paper, unless the -- unless
1 Madam Vidovic says or makes it clear that she is referring to every
2 document that was shown to the witness in court, or, if not, what other
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Di Fazio. Madam Vidovic.
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you.
7 Q. Witness, you did see the paper that we showed you a little while
8 ago that refers to the organisation of units on the ground and my last
9 question was relative to that particular document. Please, whatever there
10 was on that paper, in terms of the military organisation, during 1992 and
11 early 1993, did not actually reflect the reality of the matter.
12 A. No, it didn't.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, because I don't like things half cooked.
14 You are referring to P80? P80? Witness, could the witness be shown P80
15 again, please. To my knowledge you were only referred to one small part
16 on P80 and that was on page 4 in your language, page 6 in our language.
17 Not in our language, in English language, in the English language.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. Your Honour but he also
19 mentioned Nedzad Bektic as the commander of the security organ and he said
20 that this did not exist.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Look at the document again, please and I want
22 to make sure that before you give a final answer on Madam Vidovic's
23 question, you have gone through the entire document.
24 Did you see this document before coming here to The Hague? Were
25 you ever shown this document before coming here to The Hague?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Never.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: So, please --
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Today I see it for the first time.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So please take your time and have a look
5 at it. And then at the end, please tell us how much we, the three Judges,
6 ought to rely on this document. Yes, you can put the English version on
7 the ELMO, madam, please.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have had a look at the document
9 and when I read the titles, it seems there were more battalions than the
10 troops themselves. And if you wish to hear my comment, I will be very
11 brief and I will provide you with a comment. Whether this is a credible
12 document or not, I can't be a judge of that. But I can say that it -- if
13 you look at this document, you get the impression that something existed,
14 but there was nothing. Hakija, when I read here "poljek," [phoen]
15 "battalions,", "millions of battalions," and they did not have even two
16 hens let alone the troops that are mentioned here. I believe that this
17 has nothing whatsoever to do with the reality of the situation on the
19 This looks like a very good homework that somebody was given to do
20 and did really very well. However, this document has nothing whatsoever
21 to do with the reality of the situation at that time.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]. Thank you very much.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Meholjic, look at the last page of the document,
24 where it is purported to be stamped and signed by Bektic Nedzad. Do you
25 recognise that signature?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Page 6. Page 6.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It says here, the stamp first of
4 all, I don't understand the stamp. It is very small. As for the
5 signature, I never saw the signature before. I never saw Bektic's
6 signature before, so I can't tell you anything about his signature. If it
7 is his signature, then he's the one who confirm that it is.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Again, one final question, just for the record also,
9 because Madam Vidovic referred to this. It also says -- correct me if I
10 am wrong -- "nacirnek," [phoen] Does that mean chief?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Then it says something else. [B/C/S/ spoken]. Does
13 it say he is supposedly signing as chief of intelligence and security?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If he was chief and if he did sign
15 that, I suppose that he took it upon himself the responsibility to act on
16 anything that was done by the troops on the ground. This would have been
17 his duty. However, I know that he arrived later. I don't know that he
18 was there during this particular period of time.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: In other words, in or about the 19th of September
20 1993, are you telling us that Nedzad Bektic was not in Srebrenica? Or are
21 you telling us that he may have been in Srebrenica but you cannot tell us
22 if he was chief of intelligence and security at the time, 19 September
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 19th September 1992?
25 JUDGE AGIUS: 1993.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Or 1993? Okay, 1993, he was there.
2 He was assistant commander. That already existed. However, this does not
3 have anything to do with the organisation on the ground. This is a
4 census. This has to do with the creation of the 28th division. This
5 is -- this does not reflect the period of war activities.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. He's back to you, Madam Vidovic. I
7 tried to help you and also in response to the point made by -- very valid
8 point made by Mr. Di Fazio. He's back to you. You are free to ask him
9 any question you like on this document, any further question. However,
10 let's try to avoid repetition and we are still -- we are still away from
11 the break.
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Your Honour ...
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Please, if I may provide you with an
14 explanation? If this document was issued in September 1993, Hakija
15 Meholjic was no longer in the army. He was the chief of the public
16 security station, so how did my name find itself there?
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Thank you very much for this very valid and valuable explanation.
19 I'm going to move on to another topic.
20 The term battalion is mentioned here. You've also mentioned the
21 term battalion on several occasions. If we're talking about a battalion
22 within the Srebrenica TO in May 1992, you're not talking about a
23 duly-established unit in a modern army such as the JNA was at the time?
24 A. Of course not. We were -- we had to give it a name and we just
25 used the terms from the JNA. We did not have any other terms at our
2 Q. Thank you. Actually, you were talking about a certain number of
3 people who were fighting, a group of people who were fighting?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And the same refers to the terms that you used, such as company,
6 brigade, and so on?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. In other words, these were not duly-established and equipped units
9 with all of the things that these terms imply in a military sense?
10 A. No. I was shown some documents here and I saw that Zulfo said,
11 "People were lying to each other; we don't have that many people." It
12 was an arbitrary way of giving names to certain groups of people.
13 Q. When you were talking about the character or nature of combat
14 units in Srebrenica in 1992, you said, about you're unit, on page 17, as
15 follows: "Our men did not have to be anywhere if they didn't want to be
16 there. They could flee. They could run. They could go to Tuzla, or they
17 could change their unit."
18 Your unit, if I may call it so, was better organised than other
19 units in Srebrenica because it did have some sort of barracks, which was
20 the Domavija hotel.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. However, even in your units, your men could leave -- could go as
23 they wished and come back as they wished. You couldn't force them to do
25 A. I couldn't force them to do anything. They would go. They would
1 come back. Some I chased out of my unit if they didn't behave the way I
2 wanted them to behave.
3 Q. Let's just clarify a matter in the transcript. So they could
4 go -- they could join another unit if they so wished?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. In other words people did not necessarily belong to the units in
7 their villages. In your unit there were men from different locations. Am
8 I right in saying that?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. As far as you know it is correct that you could not force able
11 bodied-men to fight. They could leave without being held accountable for
13 A. Yes. They could do that and there were such cases.
14 Q. In other words, in Srebrenica, in the course of 1992 until the
15 demilitarisation, people acted on a voluntary basis. Am I right in saying
16 that, and this was the case even up to the end of the war?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. When we're talking about this issue, I would kindly ask you to
19 assist us with the following thing. When you were talking about actions,
20 you were mentioning different people, Zulfo's men, Akif's men, Naser's
21 men, your own men, and we heard that Oric was the TO commander as of May
23 However, when you were describing people who fought after the
24 month of May, 1992, you wouldn't say that all of these men were Naser's
1 A. No. They couldn't be. How could they have been?
2 Q. It is a fact, is it not, that local commanders kept their command
3 of their men?
4 A. I know that I did.
5 Q. Realistically speaking, Naser had real command power over his men?
6 Did he or did he not?
7 A. Yes. He did. He had power over his men. He did not have power
9 Q. When you were talking about all of these actions, what actually
10 happened is that different commanders, with their respective troops, would
11 go into action and that these actions were coordinated amongst themselves
12 in order to be efficient?
13 A. Yes. We would know who was on our left flank, who was on our
14 right-hand flank, who was following us, because if you enter the 2nd, then
15 the --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter didn't hear the end of the witness's
18 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Madam Vidovic because we have a problem.
19 The interpreters did not hear the -- your answer completely. So if you
20 could repeat it, please. You said: Yes, we would know how was on left
21 flank, who was on our right flank, who was following us, because if you
22 enter the 2nd, and then the interpreters got lost in a good sense. Could
23 you finish your sentence, please.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I was given my territory, I
25 would be independent in working out how I would enter. This was not
1 worked out at the staff. Every commander would have to work out his part
2 of task, the task that he had been given.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: By whom? A task would have been given by whom?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At meetings where we sat down and we
5 discussed the plan. This was not a proper plan. The plan was just to
6 attack a certain area for a certain reason. Again, we were discussing the
7 number of people that we could count on and then one commander would come
8 from one direction. Another from another direction. It was the staff.
9 It was not myself who could call such meetings. It was the staff.
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. In other words, Mr. Meholjic, the staff was the place where you
12 agreed on the forthcoming actions. Oric was not the person who issued
13 orders on the actions. It was the commanders who agreed on those actions,
14 amongst themselves?
15 A. You're right. But let me clarify that. I don't know when there
16 were those meetings of the staff and what decisions were made. I know
17 that when I was invited to such meetings, Osman Osmanovic would chair, and
18 he would inform us that an attack was to be carried out. It was not Naser
19 who would issue orders to the effect, "Okay, we are going to do this." We
20 would sit down. We would talk. Somebody would say "I don't have any
21 ammunition, is there anybody who can provide me with some? Does anybody
22 have any spare ammunition to give me?" And this is how things happened.
23 I don't know whether I've made myself clear or not.
24 Q. Thank you. When you were talking about the actions in which you
25 didn't participate, you said that you assumed that Naser or somebody that
1 he authorised to do that, had been in command of those attacks. This was
2 your assumption, wasn't it?
3 A. Let me tell you this. Somebody has to issue an order, but I did
4 not have in mind the proper military command, artillery, or this or that
5 because we did not have that. But there would be people who would be
6 designated for coordination, one or two persons. For example, if Naser
7 said let's withdraw, it could have been him, or it could have been me.
8 And whenever this was said we would withdraw. It could not have been said
9 by somebody that -- whom the fighters didn't know. I don't know whether
10 I'm making myself clear at all. There was a person, there had to be a
11 person who had to know what was going on.
12 Q. Actually, you assumed that it would have been much more effective
13 to have one commander, but you don't know whether this really happened in
14 those actions, although it was a good idea. It would have been a good
16 A. You could have pulled out from any action and nobody could do
17 anything to you. However, if you wanted to save your face and if you took
18 the task upon itself, then you would proceed and there were no disputes
19 about that. So we never disputed about that part of the action. Once you
20 took upon the responsibility, you carried through.
21 Q. The essence of my question with regard to the actions was as
22 follows: You assumed that it would have been much more effective to have
23 one commander in the actions in which you didn't participate. However,
24 you don't know whether this is what happened in practice?
25 A. I don't know what happened on the ground. When my men were sent
1 to the ground, they didn't have any -- they didn't make any problems and
2 Mr. Oric knows that whenever I took responsibility upon myself, I followed
3 through. And whatever I did, I am ready to take responsibility for my
4 actions, because I was the one who was in charge, who was responsible.
5 And it is true that it would have been very good that the command could
6 have been exercised from one place, that is the state of lack of
7 organisation and the lack of structure. And in our circumstances, things
8 could not have been done better than they were.
9 Q. Thank you very much. When you testified yesterday about the
10 incident during which you were surrounded at the Domavija hotel because
11 Naser thought that you were in charge of some actions and that you had not
12 informed him, I would like to come back to that and ask you a few
13 questions about that.
14 First of all, do you agree that he was under the influence of the
15 fact that some people had died, that this could have been the fact that
16 people had died because the action was not coordinated and that he was
17 actually concerned about the futile loss of life. Would you agree with
19 A. Yes, I do. I said that yesterday.
20 Q. Do you also agree that on one occasion you were not satisfied when
21 Hustic did not inform you about an action that he took?
22 A. Yes, I agree with that.
23 Q. It is a fact, isn't it, that all those who fought in Srebrenica
24 wanted to know what was going on and that they were dissatisfied if they
25 were not informed about the actions, because this could have had
1 repercussions on them, their men and their respective territories. Am I
2 right in saying that?
3 A. Yes, you are. If those territories were close to each other. And
4 the story was entirely different if those territories were far away.
5 Q. Yes. This is exactly what I meant. It could have been dangerous
6 for everybody in Srebrenica if actions were not coordinated and if they
7 were not under some sort of control?
8 A. Yes, you're right there.
9 Q. Zulfo, Akif, Hamdija, they also wanted to be informed about the
10 actions that were undertaken by others?
11 A. I suppose so. They were members of that staff. For what it's
12 worth the staff was there to coordinate things to the extent that it was
13 possible. People had to talk.
14 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think that this is a
15 good moment for our break.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, thank you, Madam Vidovic. We will have a break
17 of 25 minutes starting from now. Thank you.
18 --- Recess taken at 10.25 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Let's continue, Madam Vidovic.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Meholjic, you testified yesterday about meetings at which
23 military matters were discussed. First of all, do you agree that quite a
24 few meetings took place where you were not present and such matters were
25 discussed on those occasions, do you agree?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. With respect to meetings that you attended, when Prosecution asked
3 about whether Naser was in a position to influence the decision making
4 process, you answered: "By all means everybody could, especially him. I
5 think he was the commander. It is assumed then that he should have more
6 influence than others."
7 First of all, can you agree that there is a difference between
8 what is assumed to be the case and what is indeed the case?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. In fact in the period of time between September 1992, until
11 demilitarisation, judging by the war diary, you, at staff meetings or
12 joint staff meetings between -- with the Presidency as well, well you were
13 present there twice in September and October 1992, is that correct? Am I
15 A. Probably. I did not look through all the papers, but I did attend
16 some meetings. I can't really I say. Probably it transpires from the
18 Q. Do you agree that you attended those meetings rarely?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Now, I would like to ask the usher to show the witness P 84, it's
21 an exhibit which has to do with the minutes of the meeting on the 3rd of
22 October, 1992. The page number is -- no, sorry. The end is PO46. But at
23 the same time, I would like you to show the witness the pages P047 and
24 5048. So it was not "P", but it was 5046, 5047, and presumably 5048. So,
25 in the English version, basically, those are the pages from 4 through to
2 Mr. Meholjic, I would like you to take a look at the first page,
3 the number is 5046. It's the computer number. And you can see that Osman
4 is reported to be speaking. And you can see as the Prosecution showed to
5 you yesterday, that it was about preparing for action at Fakovici.
6 Because in the fourth sentence of what he is satisfying, it says, there is
7 a three-barreled gun at Fakovici and so on and so forth, and there are
8 references to Fakovici. Do you agree that it is a meeting at which
9 actions at Fakovici in September 1992 was being discussed?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. I would like you to take a look at the names of the people who
12 took the floor in preparing for that action. On page 2, there is a
13 reference to your name. You seem to be saying -- well, there is a
14 reference to Hakija and yesterday you indicated it to refer to you. Isn't
15 that the case?
16 A. Yes. Yes, yes, yes.
17 Q. I would like you to go back to page 1. You can see that the
18 reference is to Osman. Then Akif, and then Osman again, and then Hamid.
19 And on page 2, can you turn to page 2, please. Sakib, Ahmo, Zulfo, and
20 then Osman once again. And on page 3, Hamdija.
21 A. I can't quite follow you. I do apologise.
22 Q. Okay. You go back --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: We can't follow you either.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Judge.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: We can't follow either, Madam Vidovic. So if you
1 can be a little bit more helpful. Thank you.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. You were following me all right on the first page, which ends with
4 number 5046.
5 A. Yes.
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I do hope the Judges could follow me
7 with regard to page one otherwise I will have to repeat what I said in
8 relation to page 1. On page 2 --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Page 1 is 5046.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: Wouldn't it be simpler if Your Honours just say,
11 "on page 5046."
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I think it would be simpler. I think that is
13 why the confusion arose, actually.
14 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for this suggestion. On
15 page 5047, Mr. Meholjic, there is reference to your name, Hakija and
16 then -- did you see that?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation].
19 Q. And then you have "Sakib" just underneath, answer number 4.
20 A. Number 4.
21 Q. And then in number 6, you have Ahmo, and then number 7, Zulfo. 8,
22 Osman. I would like you to turn the page and look at page 5048.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And there is a reference to the name Hamdija here, is that right?
25 I don't see any other names here except for Hamdija. Take a good look.
1 A. Yes, I can see Hamdija. But do I need to read anything out to
3 Q. No, you don't need to. I'm going to ask you a question and my
4 question will be referring to all these names.
5 You, in your testimony, stated that Naser attended that meeting.
6 Is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Judging by these minutes, it would appear that he didn't say a
9 single word. Isn't that the case?
10 A. Well, he didn't.
11 Q. In the course of your testimony yesterday, I'm going to ask you
12 something else altogether. So this question is not in relation to the
13 question you've just answered. So in the course of your testimony
14 yesterday, and in relation to this same meeting, you said that Naser said
15 that you would get the time you needed in order to demine the area in the
16 direction in which you were supposed to go. But simply what he said was
17 not adhered to by others. Is that correct?
18 A. Naser told me: "You will get that." And then the meeting went
19 on. As to whether Naser left, I was thinking about this. I think it seems
20 to me that once we were told about the date, himself and Zulfo -- and this
21 is something that I tried to think about last night and I think that him
22 and Zulfo went out and they were whispering to one another and apparently
23 Osman said: "This is the date and this is the time." But probably they
24 had agreed something beforehand. I mean, this is just an assumption,
25 because I have no idea, because we did not agree on the time, because
1 Osman, as the chief, told us.
2 Q. The essence of my question, Mr. Meholjic, the essence of my
3 question is the following: What Naser promised you when he said "you will
4 get the time you need," this is something that others did not adhere to.
5 Osman for example, can you agree?
6 A. Well, I can agree. I mean, at that meeting we got the information
7 about the date. That's what I saw. I mean, I kept thinking about this
8 last night. I think the attack took place on Monday and the meeting took
9 place on Saturday. So it was two days later and I keep thinking about it
10 and it keeps cropping up in my mind. So to me, this one day, basically
11 not even two days, meant nothing and so I couldn't go.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 A. I asked for four days.
14 Q. I would like to ask you to, once again, take a look at page 15046,
15 below the title "the minutes of the meeting on the 3rd of October, 1992".
16 Below that, item 1, it says "agreement about action." Item 2,
17 "consultations with the Presidency." And then, "present, unit
19 A short while ago we saw a name on page 3, the name Hamdija. It
20 was Hamdija Fezic, wasn't it, the member of the War Presidency?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Isn't it correct that when it came to consultations about actions,
23 the War Presidency had considerable influence over all of that, am I
24 right? Are you aware of that?
25 A. Don't insinuate that. I don't know. I've never been present at
1 any consultations or talks within the Presidency. I can only think that
2 they had influence, but I was never present there, because I was not
3 allowed. I mean, Naser knows it. I mean, I didn't have such free access
4 to certain things and I'm unable to say. I mean, I can't insinuate
5 anything whatsoever. Especially if it's not true.
6 It wouldn't be logical for the Presidency not to know about these
7 things. There's no logic behind that. Because if you are planning to
8 undertake a broad action, and especially if we're talking about this
9 action in particular, and Mr. Oric is present here so he can speak for
10 himself. But not everything is in the minutes. And I even don't know if
11 these -- this is a faithful reproduction of the discussions, but even if
12 it is, they did not take down every single word, because on the basis of
13 this, you may think that this was a two-minute meeting, but there were
14 preparations to go to look for food. And somebody, I think Suljo, had the
15 task to get horses and go and look for food because people were starving
16 and Suljo was a member of the Presidency and at the same time Suljo -- I
17 can't remember his name. Hamed or something. He was secretary at the
18 Defence secretariat. And his task, it seems to me, was to get the people
19 to give him horses so that they could go and get some maize so that they
20 had something to eat. But the Presidency was supposed to know. But
21 perhaps they didn't know. I can't really claim anything to that effect.
22 Q. Yes. But do you agree that Mr. Hamdija, as a member of the War
23 Presidency, was present at that meeting and he was involved in the
24 discussions there?
25 A. I do agree he was the president of the executive committee. And
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 we did not have any chiefs or anything like that. We had the mayor and he
2 was Hajrudin Avdic, and the president of the executive committee, and
3 today it is done by others. I mean, they were in charge of the budget.
4 At the time we had no budget at all. But the president of the executive
5 committee was in charge of all that. He would have had to deal with the
6 budget in much the same way as, just for the sake of a comparison, we have
7 another -- treasurers, or whatever, today dealing with this.
8 Q. Thank you. If we set aside for a moment the influence that Naser
9 Oric would have had to have as commander, keeping in mind his actual
10 influence, could you agree that his influence on the occasion of these
11 meetings, the meetings that you yourself attended, was not greater than
12 Zulfo's, for example?
13 A. If I may, I would just like to point out. I'm going to answer
14 your question, you know. But no, it wasn't -- when I said it wasn't, this
15 is why I said in the beginning that Naser Oric was not the person who was
16 the appropriate choice of commander, because there were problems with
17 people. You had to get them under control. I had no -- there was nothing
18 personal I had against him. But I felt it was a bad idea to put a person
19 in that position and he was not up to it.
20 Q. Thank you. Let me just clarify it. You answered to my question
21 his influence wasn't bigger. And we don't have the term bigger or greater
22 in the transcript. I would just like you to clarify whether you actually
23 did say --
24 A. No. Zulfo was a member of the Territorial Defence Staff, what
25 they were discussing about it in there, I don't know. But Zulfo had an
1 authority and he was just as free as I was to say I won't go along with
2 this. And as to whether he said anything or not at that particular time
3 at that particular meeting he did not. As to how they settled things
4 amongst themselves, I really don't know.
5 Q. At those meetings that you attended, could you notice that his
6 influence was not greater than the influence of Akif Ustic, do you know
8 A. Zulfo's influence was greater than Akif's and Akif's was slightly
9 less significant. But Akif could also say, "No." Because that's the way
10 he was. But he was a member of that Staff and I really don't know how
11 they settled things amongst themselves. They probably had difficulties.
12 Q. Is it not correct that the best you can say about these meetings
13 is that different people, different commanders discussed matters
14 pertaining to actions amongst themselves and that they were more or less
15 in a position to convince others that their point of view was the correct
16 one. Is that correct, on the basis of your experience of those meetings?
17 A. The question is not all that clear to me. Could you clarify it a
18 little bit?
19 Q. I'm going to repeat it. At those meetings, commanders discussed
20 and coordinated things amongst themselves and each and every one of them
21 was trying to impose his own opinion. Am I correct?
22 A. Yes. Because they had to impose their views, because they had
23 better knowledge of their own areas. They knew what was going on there.
24 Q. So Mr. Meholjic, it was not a matter of Staff meetings -- and I'm
25 referring to the meetings that you yourself were attending -- whereby
1 Naser as commander would simply say, "Okay, you are to do this. You are
2 to do that." And they would obey his orders?
3 A. No. I don't know how they organised things within the Staff. But
4 when there were extended meetings, if there were extended meetings and so
5 we are invited as well, not just members of the Staff proper, but extended
6 meetings, as I said, well, in that case it would be the way you said. And
7 when they were amongst themselves, I really don't know.
8 Q. Yes. I asked about meetings that you yourself attended.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Fine. Thank you. Now, I'm going to move on to another topic.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment before we move to another topic, because
12 the answer -- yes, on its own leaves the question unanswered, according to
13 me. Could we go through it again, Madam Vidovic, please.
14 Your question was this: So Mr. Meholjic, it was not a matter of
15 Staff meetings - and I'm referring to the meetings that you yourself were
16 attending - whereby Naser as commander would simply say, okay, you are to
17 do this. You are to do that. And they would obey his orders.
18 First, he said "no" and then he said "yes". So when you pointed
19 out that you were referring specifically and exclusively to the meetings
20 that he attended, he said "yes". But I don't know what he's saying "yes"
21 to. Perhaps you can answer the question now, Mr. Meholjic.
22 If I haven't made myself clear, please, I will repeat the
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The way I understood it was that
25 Madam here asked whether it was true that, when I attended meetings, Naser
1 did not stand up and order people to do this, that and the other. And I
2 said "yes." Her question was whether it was true. And I said "yes."
3 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Let me just clarify, Your Honour.
4 My question is not translated properly, because I asked whether Naser was
5 ordering, in the same way, actually, as the witness has just repeated.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
7 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, it seems to be clear now.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I think he has answered the question at this point.
9 I don't think I need any clarification, further clarifications.
10 Judge Eser.
11 JUDGE ESER: I am not quite clear yet. I would like to have a
12 clarification. Am I correct in assuming that you would only talk about
13 meetings which you attended, that at that meetings, there have been
14 discussions between you and other commanders and where Naser would say
15 something, or would not say something? But you did not deal with meetings
16 in other groups, where you have not been present. So you did not make,
17 make a statement with regard to Staff meetings that you have not been
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot say anything about things
20 that I did not attend. I think it would be logical for the Staff to sit
21 down to consider requests, demand by the War Presidency to search for food
22 because the people were starving and that they would take a decision
23 saying, we took a decision to attack this position and then this is the
24 presumption that they would have, that nobody can convene me to nothing.
25 My presumption is that they would have prepared something in advance, some
1 decision, et cetera. So we did not propose. I believe that proposals
2 were drafted beforehand. I did not attend that meeting, but I did attend
3 the meeting where the agreement was reached. Whether there were any
4 previous meetings, I cannot tell you about them because I don't know. I
5 really don't know.
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I've made myself clear.
8 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Meholjic, I will now switch on to another topic. You were
10 asked a series of questions on the establishment of the War Presidency of
11 Srebrenica. I would like to ask the usher to show the witness Prosecution
12 evidence P42.
13 Could you take a look at this document. This is a document, a
14 decision, alleged decision of the War Presidency, dated 1st of July, 1992.
15 You -- in your testimony you said that you did not attend that meeting
16 when the War Presidency was established, and also that people did not tell
17 you many things. Is that correct?
18 A. I wasn't there when the War Presidency was established, but the
19 latter part of the question, when people would not tell me many things,
20 could you explain that?
21 Q. In your testimony you said -- or let me rephrase it. Would you
22 agree that some people in Srebrenica, up to a certain extent for this or
23 other reasons that you don't have to explain now, maybe kept you in the
24 dark? Do you agree?
25 A. Not sometimes. On many occasions.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, if Your Honours please --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: The evidence doesn't make sense, unless it is
4 explained. What people in Srebrenica? To what extent? For what reasons?
5 And about what topics was he kept in the dark? Otherwise it's
7 JUDGE AGIUS: But we are not going to comment on that,
8 Mr. Di Fazio.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: Very well.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: It may be incomprehensible to you. We are not
11 saying whether it is incomprehensible to us.
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. You said that you received many information from Dr. Nedret
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. He did not arrive to Srebrenica before August 1992, so that maybe
17 you did not have correct information on the establishment of the War
18 Presidency. Can you accept that?
19 A. No, I did not have. Maybe later on I had some post facto
21 Q. But you did testify on certain information that you had pertaining
22 to this event and, in this light, I will ask you the following question,
23 please. It is known to you, is it not, that at that meeting, at the
24 beginning of July 1992, leading persons of the SDA of Srebrenica took
25 part, like Hamdija Fezic, Hajrudin Avdic. Am I correct in saying that?
1 A. Yes, they did take part. I don't know were they -- whether were
2 they among the leaders of SDA. What I consider leadership are two, three
3 people. But at that time they did not lead the SDA.
4 Q. But they were among the leaders of the SDA?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. If you take a look at this decision. Please take a look at the
7 preamble, the introductory part. The first sentence, it is stated there:
8 Pursuant to the decision of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to
9 declare a state of war, and after that, at the initiative of the armed
10 forces and citizens of the free territory of Srebrenica. In connection
11 with this I will ask you the following question.
12 Regarding the establishment of the War Presidency, you were the
13 person who, in fact, suggested that civilian authority were established,
14 including War Presidency. Is it correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. So it went for an initiative inter alia of citizens, including
17 you, yourself, because you were not a member of the Territorial Defence
18 Staff of Srebrenica. Is it not --
19 A. I was not a part of the establishment. I proposed this. I was
20 not a member of the staff of the Territorial Defence, but I did suggest
21 that it should be established.
22 Q. Mr. Meholjic, maybe you misunderstood me. I was speaking about
23 the initiative.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. So as a citizen you endorsed this initiative?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. At the same time, when the War Presidency was established,
3 military police was established as well. Are you aware of that fact?
4 A. I hadn't known before I saw some documents, but it was around at
5 the same time. I do not contest that.
6 Q. Thank you. You said that the military police, from its inception,
7 was part of the public security station, that Mirzet was subordinated to
8 Mr. Halilovic [as interpreted].
9 A. Yes. But this is not correct. It was not proper for a chief of
10 civil police to be chief of military police. He shouldn't have accepted
12 Q. Yes. But de facto this was so, in practice?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Thank you very much.
15 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, these are very
16 important things for me. Subordinated to Mr. Bogilovic. And it was
17 translated "Halilovic.". So it is fifth line.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, yes. I noticed that immediately, Madam
19 Vidovic. I went straight on to the monitor. So it shouldn't
20 be "Halilovic" it should be "Bogilovic." Correct? Madam Vidovic?
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I think that is enough. We can proceed.
23 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
24 Q. Mr. Meholjic, I will show you a document. Please, Madam Usher,
25 would you be so kind to show the witness a document. It is a document
1 drafted by the republic of Srpska. Public security station of Srebrenica.
2 Dated 22nd of October 1996. RR146579. It goes for an official note.
3 Please produce it. There is a description of a number of documents there,
4 found by Serbian authorities after the fall of Srebrenica.
5 I would like to ask you a question pertaining to a small section
6 of that document. Please take a look at page 2 of that document,
7 Mr. Meholjic. Page 2. In the penultimate passage on page 2, it says --
8 an I will quote, please take a look at the penultimate passage, it says
9 here: On a piece of paper commander of the SJB, Jusuf Nurija, asked from
10 Avdic to give him advice how to go about with non-persons of Serb
11 ethnicity who are detained by him and who originate from Karna.
12 I will not ask you questions about this piece of paper, but I
13 will, however, ask you this: Mr. Jusuf Nurija was commander of the -- he
14 was subordinated to Becir Bogilovic and he was head of the SJB. These
15 events --
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. These events took place in early summer 1992, the events
18 surrounding the village of Karna; is it true?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Does this document to your knowledge -- have you heard that some
21 persons were detained at the public security station in Srebrenica?
22 A. I will tell you. At that time, I was not allowed to gain access
23 to the police station, because I was considered an enemy. And about these
24 things, I have no knowledge. And I responsibly can say, in front of this
25 Trial Chamber, that no paperwork was found by me when I came on the 26th
1 of April, 1993 when I was appointed chief. I don't know whether these
2 documents are true. Maybe this was true. Maybe not. I'm not doubting.
3 But what I'm saying is that within the police station, I did not take over
4 any paperwork from Mr. Bogilovic when I assumed my position.
5 Q. I will ask you a series of questions pertaining to what you just
6 said. But I'm simply asking you this, there were actions taking place
7 around Karna; is it true?
8 A. Yes.
9 MS. VIDOVIC: Thank you. Please tender this document, assign it
10 an exhibit number as a Defence Exhibit.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. This document is being admitted in evidence
12 and is being marked as Defence Exhibit D245.
13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Now I would like to ask the usher
14 to show the witness an excerpt from P84, war diary. Page 5075. 5075.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Is -- it starts on page 24 in the -- no. Sorry. It
16 starts on page 24 in the English version, and finishes on page 25.
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in the English version,
18 I believe that's page 25. Please take a look. It's an excerpt from
19 minutes of the meeting of the Staff of Armed Forces, dated 10th of
20 November, 1992.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Where do you see this date?
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Meholjic, you don't have to pay attention to that date. I'm
24 just telling you that this is an excerpt from minutes of the meeting from
25 10th of November, but I will ask you something else concerning this.
1 Please take a look. On this page, under Roman II, cooperation
2 with the military police is good. Then you -- as another line marker, the
3 name Zulfo.
4 A. But there is a smudge here.
5 Q. I will read out to you. Zulfo says: "Good policemen are not
6 necessary to certain individuals," but in connection with the next quote I
7 will ask you the question. So please pay attention to this quote. "Who
8 let Ahmo's people to go to the prison is no longer in the police." Carry
9 out an investigation into this young had from Bajramovici. Mirza says
10 that he carried out the preliminary procedure and the record was delivered
11 to Becir.
12 Therefore, Mirza is Mirzet Halilovic, is he not?
13 A. Yes. There are no other Mirzas.
14 Q. In connection with this I will ask you this question. It is true,
15 isn't it, that the person that conducted the preliminary procedure - in
16 our Criminal Procedure Act, is another term for police investigation -
17 that such a person would always submit their report to their superior
19 A. Yes. This is supposed to be so [as interpreted].
20 Q. Thank you. Mr. Meholjic, it was entered into the transcript "Yes.
21 This is supposed to be so."
22 A. Yes, he must know as a superior officer.
23 MS. VIDOVIC:
24 Q. I believe the question -- I would like the transcript to be
25 corrected to this effect. Thank you.
1 Q. When you were appointed as chief of the public security service,
2 you found military police within the structures of the civil police?
3 A. Yes. That day. And then I threw them out.
4 Q. You had problems in getting rid of military police when you were
5 appointed the chief of public security.
6 A. Yes, I had complications but I threw them out. They would not
7 enter my building. If I was clear.
8 Q. Yes, you were.
9 A. I had some problems. Atif Krdzic, when Mirza got killed, I had
10 some problems but I said: "Get out from here."
11 Q. Therefore, Mr. Meholjic, in fact military police had before your
12 appointment -- part of civil police; am I right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: It's the way it is reported in the transcript, but
16 anyway, I think it -- we can understand what is -- pardon.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Would it be "were part."
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I can't help it, Mr. Di Fazio. I mean I
19 can't - otherwise I would have to stop every minute with regard to the
20 transcript. So let's move. We know exactly what the witness said.
21 Yes, Madam Vidovic? That's the problem that arises when you don't
22 allow this blessed interval of time between question an answer. This is
23 the problem. Yes, please.
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Mr. Meholjic, you clearly stated that before your appointment,
1 military police was part of civil police, within the ranks of civil
3 A. Yes, this is not a contentious matter. I repeated that on several
5 Q. Yes, thank you. When you were appointed and when you assumed your
6 position of chief of public security station, you did not find any
7 records, any documents, statements, depositions, any cases formulated. Am
8 I right?
9 A. Yes. I notified Ministry of the Interior through the package
10 device. I did not find anything. There were no criminal charges against
11 persons unknown or anything else.
12 Q. Thank you. Simply documentation had not been completed, records
13 had not been kept before demilitarisation, am I right?
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Well if Your Honours.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: It's not a question, unless this witness can tell
18 us how he knows that they weren't kept, then I object to the question.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. You're perfectly right.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: All he know is: I came along. I don't see
21 anything. He doesn't know if they were kept or taken away or not.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, you're perfectly right, perfectly right,
23 Mr. Di Fazio.
24 Yes, Madam Vidovic.
25 One moment, one moment.
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I will put it to you this way.
2 Q. Mr. Meholjic, provided that there were minutes on the
3 interrogation of prisoners of war, minutes of -- interviews of certain
4 witnesses, any criminal charges, had they been there you would have been
5 in a position to see them?
6 A. I'm telling you that I did not find anything there. Who I found
7 was commander of the police station who had been appointed in December.
8 He was there in the pre-war period. Mr. Mustafic, and I asked him, "Did
9 you keep any records?" And he said "no."
10 Q. Thank you.
11 A. I did not find them. I don't know whether they'd been kept, but I
12 did not find them. I did not receive anything.
13 Q. Thank you. The said Mustafic told you that no records had been
15 A. Yes. He was commander of civil police before the war and, in
16 1992, in December, he was reinstated as commander of civil police. And
17 Becir was his superior officer. And since he was there during my term of
18 office, I asked him and he said "no," and I was surprised that there was
20 Q. Thank you. As a professional policeman, you must have performed
21 the transfer of duty with your predecessor, Mr. Becir Bogilovic?
22 A. Becir just left. There was no official transfer. And there was
23 nothing to transfer. Every -- case files were dishevelled all over the
24 place and I had to sort it all out. Nothing was transferred to me. I
25 prepared a record of that and forwarded it to the Ministry of the Interior
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 in Tuzla and then they forwarded it to Sarajevo.
2 Q. Thank you. When you said "files" we are talking about pre-war
3 files, records of citizens, is it not so?
4 A. As opposed to other countries within -- in our country, police
5 stations issued ID cards, driver's licenses, permits to carry weapons,
6 permits to transport explosives, because there were mines in the area. So
7 all kinds of permits were issued by the police. So this is why we had
8 files on IDs, driver's licenses, passports, et cetera.
9 Q. Thank you. You will agree with me, won't you that armed -- or
10 military forces, after the agreement on demilitarisation had to leave the
11 city of Srebrenica, the core of the area of Srebrenica, is it not --
12 A. I did not understand you correctly. We had to disarm, but we had
13 nothing -- nowhere to withdraw to. It was like a bucket. We had no place
14 to retreat to. We had to disarm on the 18th of April, 1993. Ramiz
15 conducted negotiations as far as I know with UNPROFOR and he congregated
16 us to inform us how we were to go about disarming. After that I went to
17 the police.
18 Q. Good. Military police was disbanded and it was decided that civil
19 police should take over its duties, so the remnants of military police was
20 disbanded after the demilitarisation; am I right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, I would like to ask the usher to show the witness a document.
23 It is an assessment of the political security situation in the Srebrenica
24 enclave, dated 23rd of May, 1995 prepared by the public security station
25 of Srebrenica.
1 Mr. Meholjic, please take a look at this document. The first
2 page, and then the second page, it says Hakija Meholjic." Is this your
4 A. This is my signature.
5 Q. Please go through the document.
6 A. Yes, I will.
7 Q. Can you answer my question whether it is -- goes for a document
8 that you drafted?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Thank you. I will quote the second paragraph of this document.
11 Not to lose too much time.
12 "Both military and civilian police operated in Srebrenica during
13 combat operations, but police work was reduced to detaining the
14 perpetrators of misdemeanours and crimes for three days and then releasing
15 them without filing reports, because no court, misdemeanour court,
16 Prosecutor's office or prison existed at the time. After UNPROFOR came to
17 the Srebrenica enclave and it was demilitarised, the military police
18 ceased to operate and only civilian police was left in operation.
19 Municipal republic Prosecutor's office, lower court, miss demeanour court
20 and prison were established, as well as other government authorities.
21 When military police ceased to operate, it was a agreed with the 8th OG
22 command that civilian police would maintain law and order, prevent crime,
23 detect perpetrators of misdemeanours and criminal offences, and file
24 reports against both civilian and military perpetrators with the
25 misdemeanour court and the Srebrenica municipal public Prosecutor's
1 office. And the courts in Srebrenica would process urgent investigations
2 and maintain contact with the military court in Tuzla.
3 Therefore military police, after the fall of Srebrenica, was not
4 authorised to conduct any sort of investigation. Is it so?
5 A. There was no military police.
6 Q. In Srebrenica itself, not any person could do so who was a member
7 of the military, including military security?
8 A. I'm -- the question is not clear to me.
9 Q. Members of military security service, if any, could not have
10 operated in Srebrenica because of the demilitarisation; is it so?
11 A. They could not operate to perform their duties publicly, let's be
12 frank here. They could not do so openly, to operate openly.
13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Now I would like this
14 assessment of the political security situation in the Srebrenica enclave
15 to be designed [as interpreted] an exhibit number, and to be tendered into
16 evidence as a Defence Exhibit.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, and that will be Defence Exhibit D246. Thank
19 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Now I would like to ask the usher,
20 while she is still on her feet, to show the witness the document
21 018460655. It is an act of the Presidency of the Srebrenica municipality,
22 dated 28th of February, 1994, signed by Salihovic, Fahrudin.
23 Let me correct this number. Computer number 01840655.
24 Mr. Meholjic, please take a look at this document. I will quote. It is a
25 very short document. I will quote it for you. It was adopted on the 28th
1 of February, 1994 and it says, "The Presidency of the municipality of
2 Srebrenica at its session on 28th of February, 1994, adopted the following
3 decision. The work reports for 1993 of the following are hereby adopted.
4 First, the staff of the armed forces of Srebrenica municipality - command
5 of the 8th OG Srebrenica number 50/94, of the 2nd of February, 1994, and
6 under 2, the municipal prison in Srebrenica, number 1/94 of the 10th of
7 January, 199" -- presumably 94 because the last digit is illegible.
8 Please, Mr. Meholjic, this document confirms, does it not that the
9 prison provided separate reports to the War Presidency and the staff of
10 the armed forces a separate report to the War Presidency for their work in
11 1993. Do you agree?
12 A. I agree, but this pertains for the period from the establishment
13 of the prison, which was under the justice ministry as an outpost of the
14 Tuzla prison. But we reported that because the Presidency had to take
15 decisions on how to feed them, et cetera. This was an inception report to
16 explain to them what -- how many people were there. But since this was a
17 political structure, we had to prepare reports to their superiors.
18 Q. Thank you. I would like this document to be tendered into
19 evidence and be assigned an exhibit number.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: And this document will become Defence Exhibit D247.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. I would like to move on and ask you the following. It is true,
23 isn't it, Mr. Meholjic, that the War Presidency tried to establish
24 something that should have been a military court. They called it a court
25 martial. They did make certain attempts to that effect?
1 A. Don't ask me about that. I only heard that this had been
2 established. I was not a member of the Presidency. This happened at the
3 beginning of 1992. I learned that from Djemo Becirovic. We spoke and he
4 told me that this had been established. I don't know whether there had
5 been any trials conducted by that court. I only heard that I was not
7 Q. Mr. Meholjic, your answer is actually the essence of my question.
8 This court or an institution of that kind never became operational.
9 A. When I heard "court martial" I thought that I would be tried by
10 that court, by the -- that I would be condemned to death by them, because
11 court March hall is something that you feared. Court martial is something
12 intimidating and that's why I was interested to see what that was.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: But you haven't answered the question, Mr. Meholjic,
14 I'm afraid.
15 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: It's being put to you that this court martial or
17 this court or this institution - that's how Madam Vidovic referred to it
18 now - in actual fact never saw the light of day. It never became
19 operational. Can you answer that question?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have answered that I don't know of
21 anybody ever having been tried by that court. That was my answer.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] The witness did say "no," but this
23 has not entered the transcript, but subsequently he has clarified. Let's
24 move on.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's move on.
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Now I would kindly ask the usher to
2 show the witness another document which is Prosecutor's Exhibit P162.
3 Q. This is information by the Presidency of the Srebrenica
4 municipality, the date is 25th, May, 1993 and this was sent to the
5 Presidency of the Tuzla district. Mr. Meholjic, please take a look at
6 this document. I am going to quote just one paragraph, from this
7 document. It is a long document. We would like not to waste any more
8 time than we need. I am going to quote page 0618, paragraph 3 from the
9 bottom of that page.
10 Please look at the third paragraph from the bottom of that page.
11 And I am going to ask you whether you will agree with some of the facts
12 that are stated herein. I'm quoting: "You are familiar of the situation
13 that we were in in Srebrenica in the past time. We did not receive any
14 official visit or any regulations, so the decrees that you're referring
15 are unknown to us, official gazettes number 1 or 2/93 that you sent to us
16 are the first sets of regulations that we received from the very beginning
17 of the war."
18 And later on, can you please look at the last paragraph in which
19 it says as follows, on the same page that, is: "We are addressing you
20 with a request to for your assistance in organising the judicial powers in
21 Srebrenica. In Srebrenica we have no judges or prosecutors left. The
22 public security station in Srebrenica is staffed to perform duties
23 pertaining to its purview to carry out pre-trial procedures and to file
24 criminal reports."
25 And then, can you please turn the document to the next page and
1 look at the first two short paragraphs. I am going to quote. It
2 says: "Since we don't have Prosecutors or regular general courts or
3 military courts, we are asking you to contact the republic secretariat for
4 justice and administration and provide us with instructions on how to
5 proceed. We would like to remind you that so far we've had many serious
6 crimes. The administration organs are not sufficiently staffed as well.
7 Please forward to us all the necessary regulations, especially those
8 adopted in 1992 and 1993."
9 In connection with this, let me ask you the following,
10 Mr. Meholjic. Do you agree with me, if I say that the Prosecution bodies
11 and courts could not function without any regulations or laws?
12 A. Of course I agree.
13 Q. In Srebrenica, there were none to be had, is that correct?
14 A. No. There were none. And I already said that this was
15 established when I came. Before that there was nothing.
16 Q. The quote that you've just heard from me and that I quoted, the
17 information of the War Presidency, testifies to the fact that the public
18 security station in Srebrenica that you were the head of was staffed only
19 to file criminal reports. Will you agree with me if I say that you,
20 yourself, in the performance of your pre-trial procedures encountered huge
22 A. Of course I had difficulties. We were not equipped. We did have
23 staff, but we did not have any equipment.
24 Q. Thank you. Now, I would kindly ask the usher to provide the
25 witness with another document. The number of this document is 01838107.
1 This is an enactment issued by the public security station of Srebrenica.
2 It's number is 56/94. The date is 2 July 1994. This is a report on the
3 work of the public security station of Srebrenica for the period starting
4 with the 18th of April 1993 and through 31st December 1993. It was sent
5 to the ministry of the interior inside Sarajevo, to the centre of security
6 services in Tuzla, and the presidents of the municipality.
7 First of all, Mr. Meholjic, please look at this report and to see
8 whether this was -- this is your signature, and to see whether this is a
9 report that you yourself drafted and signed during that period of time.
10 A. This is a long report. It would take me time to look at it
11 properly. But this should be my signature. Yes, this is my document.
12 Q. Very well then. Thank you, Mr. Meholjic. I'm going to read --
13 A. I can tell by the sentences that this is my style of expression.
14 And that's why I've said that -- I'm not so sure about the signature, but
15 I believe that it is mine.
16 Q. Let me read out to you one part of this document, part from page
17 1. It says in here, "in performing our regular tasks and the duties
18 pertaining to our purview, based on laws and regulations enforced in the
19 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina until the war, this service had
20 difficulties in terms of implementation of these regulations. It had to
21 operate and adjust to the war conditions and was unable to implement all
22 the current regulations. These problems were reflected in the
23 disfunctioning of other supporting services, organs, and institutions,
24 including communications equipment, inadequate equipment and insufficient
25 number of good quality, i.e. professional policemen. Destruction of
1 areas, documentation and a lack of basic tools for work. And also the
2 disfunctioning of the lower and municipal courts and various technical
3 services that were a prerequisite for the appropriate pre-war peacetime
4 operation of the station.
5 "In addition to all of the above deficiencies, the Srebrenica
6 police station workers carried out duties which were not the
7 responsibility of this service, such as: Providing security for Serbian
8 families, the premises of the Red Cross," and so on and so forth.
9 Before I put the question to you in connection with this,
10 yesterday you mentioned the fact that security was provided for Serbian
11 families which had been agreed with Oric. And this document confirms
12 that, does it not?
13 A. Yes, it does.
14 Q. Thank you. And now let me ask you the following. It has to do
15 with this subject matter. Do you agree with me that the situation was
16 exactly as you described it in this document of yours?
17 A. Whatever I did and whatever I still do, I adhere to all that and I
18 agree that the situation was exactly as described herein.
19 Q. There were no teams for investigation, there was no equipment for
20 criminal investigation of clues, there were no experts and so on an so
22 A. There were no experts with -- we could not have that.
23 Sometimes it was very difficult to go to the separation lines in order to
24 carry out investigation. That was very difficult. Secondly, we could not
25 leave the protected area. You could not send your policemen to get killed
1 outside the protected area.
2 Q. Thank you. It is true, therefore, that the other services were
3 also not functioning, the ones that were -- that are mentioned here?
4 A. No. They didn't function and this aggravated our work.
5 Q. You didn't have paper, you didn't have any machinery, you didn't
6 have computers?
7 A. In drafting this report, I was helped by the international police.
8 They provided me with paper and also UNPROFOR provided me with paper in
9 order for me to be able to draft my reports, because I used this paper to
10 draft my criminal reports on it. I couldn't do it by hand. They were the
11 only ones who helped me in any way, the only assistance I got was from
13 Q. Thank you very much for your explanation. I would like to tender
14 this document into evidence. It was issued by the public security station
15 in Srebrenica. I would like the document to be given the -- an exhibit
17 A. Can I clarify something here? Here it says that we are supposed
18 to provide security for the Serbian families. They were citizens, but
19 this was not possible to be done. However, we believed that these people
20 should be protected because there were people from other areas, a lot
21 people from other areas that could cause problems and that's why these
22 people were guarded around the clock. And this was another thing that
23 made our job even more difficult. Naser and I agreed -- and I remember
24 that we visited a person in Orasanin [phoen]. We talked to him and we
25 told him that if he noticed anything, that he should report to us. This
1 person, his name is Stanisa and he can confirm that. He is still alive
2 and living in Srebrenica. He can confirm that.
3 Q. Thank you very much.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: This document will become Defence Exhibit D 248.
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Do you agree with me, Mr. Meholjic, that the -- any sort of
7 investigation under this condition was close to impossible?
8 A. I agree that it was difficult, but we did what we could. It is up
9 to somebody else to be a judge of that.
10 Q. Thank you. It was easier for you to come by information if people
11 were willing to provide you with information, wouldn't that be correct?
12 A. Of course it would. The information was provided in the most
13 primitive way. The most primitive way was to obtain information directly.
14 There were no ballistic experts [as interpreted] that could provide us
15 with information. Only in our work with people and through the goodwill of
16 those people we were able to obtain information.
17 Q. Thank you. Mr. Meholjic, do you agree with me that during that
18 period of time, in Srebrenica, throughout all this time as a matter of
19 fact, throughout the war, there was fear amongst Muslims and hatred
20 towards the Serbs that had prosecuted [as interpreted] them and it was
21 very difficult to obtain any information on a crime that was committed
22 against the Serbs? Would you agree with that?
23 A. Yes, I agree. There were very few sensible people. Those who
24 would appreciate that, not all people were the same and there are good and
25 bad people on all sides, irrespective of their ethnic background. I told
1 you when -- yesterday when we were talking about Halilovic, the man who
2 committed three murders, when I detained him I had a I had problems, who
3 committed three murders, when I detained him -- a I had problems, I was
4 attacked by his family from Potocari so that I even had to ask for
5 UNPROFOR protection. I believe that UNPROFOR has records of -- to that
6 effect, because they obviously had to record everything that happened on
7 the ground. They had to maintain records as well.
8 Q. Your Honour, I believe that the transcript is not clear on a very
9 important matter. I said to you amongst Muslims there was fear and hatred
10 against the Serbs who had persecuted them. And it was very difficult --
11 again, I am using the word "Serbs who had expelled them from their areas,"
12 if the interpreter can understand me. "Serbs who had expelled them from
13 their areas."
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I think that was clear enough from the very
15 beginning, because it doesn't make sense to see "prosecuted" there.
16 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Very well then. Thank you very
18 Q. Mr. Meholjic, do you agree with me when I say that the information
19 on crimes was much easier to obtain if such a crime was committed against
20 the Muslims and their property? Would you agree with that?
21 A. Yes, I would. Of course.
22 Q. You have also told us something about refugees, about tens of
23 thousands of refugees in a very small area of Srebrenica. It is correct,
24 is it not, that these people had arrived from different -- mixed?
25 A. Yes. They came from everywhere and their mentalities differed.
1 Q. You people from Srebrenica did not know them, did you?
2 A. No. We didn't know them. I was a foreigner in my own town,
3 because there was more of them than of us.
4 Q. Very often they didn't know each other, did they?
5 A. Of course. They came from different municipalities some of which
6 were a hundred kilometres away, so they didn't know each other.
7 Q. No official records were kept on those refugees as far as you
9 A. I think that it was done at the request of the UNHCR that a list
10 was compiled, but if had been done, this was done by the civilian
11 protection. But this happened only later on, towards the end of 1994 or
12 beginning of 1994. I can't be sure of that. There were -- there was some
13 documentation. We were talking about 45.000 people who were registered as
14 refugees in that enclave. 8.000 had been transferred by UNPROFOR when
15 Srebrenica was demilitarised and when the Serbian forces allowed some of
16 the population to exit the enclave.
17 Q. Mr. Meholjic, let's just clarify one thing. Until the year 1994,
18 there was no such official record on the refugees as far as you know?
19 A. No, there were no official records.
20 Q. Thank you very much. The refugees did not have addresses. They
21 slept where they could. They stayed where they could. Am I right in
22 saying that?
23 A. You're right. For some of the people we knew their addresses.
24 The others slept where they could. There was 16 people sleeping in one
25 room at places. And this is nothing new. This is something that has been
1 recorded by a number of journalists who came to visit us.
2 Q. Would you agree with me, Mr. Meholjic, that under such conditions
3 it was very difficult to obtain information on what was going on on the
5 A. Yes, at the beginning. Later on, we had somewhat better
6 coordination when the zone became demilitarised. At the beginning there
7 was a lot of misinformation. It was very difficult to know what was going
8 on on the ground. Of course, this is only normal. Under such conditions
9 we're talking about a very huge area, too big for us to know what was
10 going on.
11 Q. When you said at the beginning, you are referring to the period
12 before the demilitarisation. You are saying that that period was
13 particularly chaotic? Am I right in saying that?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Thank you. Mr. Meholjic, yesterday you told us that you had filed
16 a criminal report against Amir Halilovic and that UNPROFOR had transferred
17 him to Tuzla. You also told us that you had filed a criminal report for
18 the murders committed at the beginning of 1993, at the time when you were
19 not the chief, but you had obtained that information. You also told us
20 that Oric assisted you with that.
21 In this connection, I would like to ask you as follows: It is
22 true, is it not, Mr. Meholjic, that you would have filed criminal reports
23 for the crimes, including war crimes, providing that you had any sort of
24 reliable information and evidence to the effect that these crimes had been
25 committed irrespective of the fact who had committed them. Am I right in
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 saying that?
2 A. Yes, you're right. But somebody would have had to inform --
3 inform me about that. I would have had to obtain information in order
4 to -- in order for the investigation to be carried out.
5 Q. In other words, you had reliable evidence that Amir Halilovic had
6 committed these crimes and you filed a criminal report? Is that correct?
7 A. Yes, it is.
8 Q. There was no reason for you not to do that, even in other cases,
9 if you had any issue about the crimes having been committed. I'm talking
10 about you personally?
11 A. I believe that you are referring to the citizens and soldiers of
12 Serbian origin. I believe that you are referring to them. In Srebrenica
13 there should be a criminal report that I issued against a Muslim, Begovic,
14 who was Huso's son. He cursed a Serbian. He cursed his mother. He was
15 reported and imprisoned. And in a daily there is a report on me being an
16 enemy of the Muslims for having reported this guy and for this guy having
17 ended in prison. This should exist. There are records on all the reports
18 that I filed and really, it didn't matter which ethnic group they belonged
19 to. I told you already that whatever I learnt, I issued and ordered -- an
20 order for the things to be processed.
21 Q. Yes, thank you very much. That was the essential of my question.
22 Your Honours, I believe that this is a good moment for our next Your
23 Honours I believe that this is a good moment for our next break.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, I think the witness can be escorted,
25 unless you want to raise something.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: I want to, but the witness can be taken out. It
2 doesn't concern him.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. That's the point. Yes.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Just this. I don't know if Madam Vidovic is going
5 to finish today.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know. I mean, I was going to ask.
7 MR. DI FAZIO: But whatever the situation, whether she does or
8 does not, I -- first I reiterate more strongly than ever that I would like
9 to -- if she does finish early, that I would like to start my
10 re-examination on Monday.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Your wish will be respected.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: If she does not finish, then I would like to be
13 able to address you about re-examination perhaps at about 1.40 or
14 thereabouts. So could we finish, if she's still -- if Madam Vidovic is
15 still with the witness, could we ask the witness to leave because there is
16 something I want to raise with you about the nature of re-examination on
18 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I thank you. We will have a break of 25
19 minutes. Usher. The usher has -- registrar, officer, could you give the
20 registrar, please, the mobile that was -- you have in your pocket which
21 was ringing at ten minutes to 12. You will get it back from your chief
22 later on. Can you check for me whether it is switched on or off.
23 THE REGISTRAR: I can't even open it.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Let me see. Leave it as it is and please hand it to
25 Mr. Innell soon after the sitting. Thank you. 25-minute break.
1 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 1.05 p.m.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Vidovic.
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation].
5 Q. Mr. Meholjic, in the course of your testimony you described and
6 you confirmed it upon seeing the document, that after demilitarisation the
7 regular Tribunal was set up at Srebrenica as well as the Prosecution
8 office, the Prosecutor's office, but you will agree with me that that
9 court was -- did not have competence to deal with serious crime, including
10 looting, murder and similar crime?
11 A. No, they were not.
12 Q. Especially, they did not have competences to deal with crimes
13 Q. Especially, they did not have competence to deal with crimes which
14 would fall within the competence of a military court?
15 A. No, because you can see in the report that they -- the Prosecutor
16 held talks with the military court at Tuzla and they dealt with it. I had
17 no competence in that respect.
18 Q. Clear. Thank you. However, since that court was not even able to
19 deal with their own cases for the simple reason that they did not enjoy
20 the necessary conditions; is that correct?
21 A. It is correct, if what you have in mind are the conditions with
22 regard to the penal or criminal law that we have inherited from before,
23 because there were no major changes. But there were financial penalties,
24 for example, provided for, but you could not impose financial penalties
25 since nobody had any money. So it was simply impossible to pass certain
1 sentences. But the judges did what they could. In case it was an
2 infringement or a crime which was a bit more serious, they sent people to
3 prison for a couple of days, that was against the law as well. And so
4 that is based on what I know. And then we submitted reports against
5 citizens of Bosnian nationality and there was no other solution there. It
6 is better to do something rather than nothing at all.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please show the
9 exhibit, the Defence Exhibit D243.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: In the meantime, Madam Vidovic, how much more time?
11 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I've made good
12 progress, but this precisely is the part where we need to deal with
13 several documents. If I don't finish up today, I will certainly need very
14 little time on Monday, no longer than 20 minutes, unless I manage to
15 finish up today.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. Yes. Has the witness been
17 given the document, D243? Yes. This is one of the documents we -- that
18 were tendered this morning? No? The first one?
19 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. I am going to quote to you the second and the third paragraph on
21 the page, which ends at 9097 and I'm quoting.
22 "To expect better situation and better conditions, we cannot
23 expect a better situation or facilitate the operation of civilian
24 authorities unless we are physically connected to Tuzla. The absence of a
25 second-instance court means that unsolved cases keep piling up at the
1 court, which negatively affects the atmosphere, because citizens believe
2 they will not be held accountable, so decide to get involved in all sorts
3 of criminal activities. The absence of military police and a military
4 court is a great problem and army members resent being reported by
5 civilian police, which puts the Srebrenica public security station into an
6 awkward position. Lacking minimum living conditions in the enclave, in
7 their struggle for survival, people destroy factories, rip off roofs,
8 doors, et cetera, to build their own living quarters. Although civilian
9 authorities have been doing everything to improve the situation and to
10 protect factories, they have not had much success. People have also been
11 usurping state properly destroying forests and especially evergreen
12 forests. Such phenomena, we're trying to stop these phenomena by
13 submitting criminal reports, but the lack of functioning and the absence
14 of a second-instance court makes it more difficult."
15 Mr. Meholjic, before we move on to talk about this, I would just
16 like to ask you the following: Does the text that I have read out to you
17 in the last part of the text where there is a description of the behaviour
18 of the citizens within Srebrenica itself, them ripping off roofs and
19 doors, et cetera, does this actually reflect the real state of affairs?
20 A. There was no problem. It does reflect the real, state of affairs,
21 I did write it down and I still stand by it because I did not have enough
22 police officers to place them in front of other -- each house and each
23 factory. And I was not able to cover all of that. I mean, everything
24 that is indicated in this document is proper account of the situation. I
25 did not invent anything. I didn't write it haphazardly. There were
1 discussions about whether we should send this in, because those were harsh
2 words, but we nevertheless managed to send it.
3 Q. Thank you. Now, my question is this, not even within Srebrenica
4 itself, you could not really do anything about these people. You couldn't
5 stop them destroying Muslim property. Isn't that the case?
6 A. I'm just going to quote you one example. My father was hosting a
7 refugee and there were cherries in the cherry tree, and the guy climbed up
8 the tree and he broke off all the branches. And so nobody else could get
9 to the cherries, and we had no electricity. We had no street lighting.
10 There was nothing and there were too many people loitering about, day and
11 night. So it was a huge problem and I mean later on I found out that even
12 some Serb forces were coming in and they were mixing with the population
13 to see what it was like. I mean I found out about that later because it
14 was simply impossible to follow all of these developments. It was
15 impossible to introduce a curfew or anything. So the situation was really
16 extremely difficult. There was a total lack of discipline on the part of
17 the citizens and especially on the part of certain individuals and certain
18 commanders. So all of that had an impact on the situation and the overall
19 atmosphere and the fact that we're in a closed off area. I mean it is up
20 to experts to say in what way it determines the peoples' state of mind. I
21 can just, you know say that I stand by everything I've written in this
23 Q. I'm going to go back to what we had mentioned before. So
24 basically, under such conditions, not a single trial could have been
25 completed in Srebrenica?
1 A. According to our legal provisions, which we had inherited from the
2 former Yugoslavia since there was nothing else, those who were sentenced
3 in the first instance had to write to appeal to the court of second
4 instance and so we did not have a court of second instance. So a sentence
5 might have been imposed, but then they would have wanted to appeal. But
6 they would have had to go to Sarajevo to appeal. But we did not have a
7 physical link there. So there was no court of second instance. So
8 objectively speaking it was a very difficult situation for the judges.
9 Q. You have already mentioned that there was no physical link or
10 connection to Tuzla. The links, the communications that you've mentioned
11 were not sufficient in order to make for an even halfway sufficient flow
12 of information with Tuzla. There was no possibility to send in any
13 evidence to Tuzla in that way; isn't that the case?
14 A. No. Well, maybe in some instances, maybe if we had separate
15 situations for the police, for the Staff, of the municipality. Well, no
16 it wasn't possible. There was no such possibility. This one Paket radio
17 system could not deal with that. So we tried to do what we could as best
18 we could, but always whilst trying to talk to the higher authorities at
19 Tuzla, the judiciary, the Ministry of the Interior.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 A. Well here I am talking simply about the period after I was
22 appointed chief of police. Apart from that, I don't know.
23 Q. So your last point refers to the period of time starting in April
24 1993 onwards?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Thank you. You talked to us about the functioning of the
2 communication systems. You said that in 1992 there was a radio station
3 and somebody called Naser used to work there. Do you know, by any chance,
4 if this was Naser Smajlovic?
5 A. I don't know. He's bald. He has not hair at all. He's tiny, but
6 I don't know him really. He is not from the area of Srebrenica. I mean,
7 I know now who he is but I don't know his family name.
8 Q. Very well. Thank you.
9 A. I do know his name is Naser.
10 Q. Thank you. Can you accept that since that radio device was used
11 by you yourself only ones, at least that is my understanding of the
12 situation, that you did not, in fact, have enough information about who
13 supervised and was in charge of that radio station and in what way?
14 A. Well, when I talked to Djemo, I was told that that radio device
15 was meant to cover the needs of the staff and the Presidency, and from my
16 point of view that was only normal. There was nothing to argue about.
17 Because if everybody were to come along there would have been a great deal
18 of confusion and we needed some order. So that's the information I had,
19 and I did not have any other information. Even though I did use it
20 without asking anyone, because they told me they did manage to get in
21 touch with my family and they were actually held somewhere else for eight
22 months and I didn't know anything about them.
23 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Meholjic. Now I would like to ask the
24 usher to show another document to the witness. The number is 01801624,
25 and it is a document issued by the War Presidency of Srebrenica, number
1 85/92, dated the 1st of October, 1992. And the title is "the report."
2 Mr. Meholjic, could you take a look at that document. At this
3 particular moment we are not particularly concerned with the contents of
4 the document. I would just like to ask you to look at the name of the
5 author who drafted this, and it says there "Communications and Information
6 Service of the Municipality of Srebrenica." Am I right?
7 A. Yes, that's what it says.
8 Q. So this was not the communications service of the armed forces or
9 the Staff of Srebrenica; can you answer that question?
10 A. No. I can't. I can tell you I don't know. You know why, I mean
11 that's what it says on the paper and therefore it seems to be what you
12 say. But I think that the staff would have had to use it. I don't know
13 who was the sponsor, as it were. I don't know who was above them. But I
14 do know, on the basis of my conversation with Djemo Becirevic, who was a
15 member of the War Presidency, that this was meant to be used by the
16 Presidency and the staff, and I know that Naser, at that time - I don't
17 know at what time exactly - did talk to Mr. Alija Izetbegovic and Sefer
18 Halilovic. As to whether he did or didn't, I don't know. That's what I
19 heard from Djemo Becirevic.
20 Q. Thank you. Mr. Meholjic, I'm not trying to claim that staff did
21 not make use of it. I'm simply drawing your attention, or rather, trying
22 to ask you whether you were aware that there was a liaison or
23 communication service at the municipality of Srebrenica?
24 A. Well, there was no board anywhere, plaque or anything stating
25 that. I can't be very specific on that one, but it is logical, since it
1 is indicated Presidency here, that it was the Presidency; if it was indeed
2 because I've never seen this document before, I don't know, and I was far
3 away from the real source of information.
4 Q. Thank you very much.
5 A. You will have to ask somebody else who was a member of the
6 Presidency or a member of the staff. They will probably know.
7 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we submit this into evidence,
8 please, for the Defence.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. This document will become Defence Exhibit
11 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. In the course of your testimony, you mentioned that the radio
13 Paket device was the property of the Territorial Defence staff and with
14 respect to that I would like you to take a look at another document. I
15 would like to ask the usher to show the witness the document coming from
16 the War Presidency of Bratunac, of the 11th of July, 1994, addressed to
17 the Assembly of BH, 01838914.
18 Mr. Meholjic, this document is a full-page document and, at this
19 moment, I'm not actually discussing the contents of the document. All I
20 would like you to do would be to look at the very end of this document.
21 On one of the pages it says: On behalf of the War Presidency of the
22 municipality of Bratunac, the Mayor Alica Zajkun [phoen]. There is a
23 stamp there and I would like you to look at the bottom-left corner can you
24 see at the very end, on page 4, that is to say the last page where the
25 signature is. Can you see that?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Can you see that in the bottom-left corner, it says "Paket
3 approved by the president of the War Presidency of the municipality of
4 Srebrenica, Fahrudin Salihovic."
5 A. I do.
6 Q. Do you allow, Mr. Meholjic, for the possibility that it may be
7 right that the use of the Paket was approved by the War Presidency as
9 A. Probably that was the case. I can't deny it. Probably. We used
10 to call him -- no longer president, but chief or head, or mayor. It was a
11 different term. And possibly he was in charge of that. He was Ramiz's
12 brother, the one who dealt with the Paket device and Ahmetovic, Nedzad as
14 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Meholjic. I would like for this document
15 to be submitted into evidence.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: This document will become Defence Exhibit D250.
17 250. Madam Vidovic, please stop your questions at exactly five minutes
18 past the half hour. In other words, at 1.35 so that we will deal with the
19 other matters.
20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone please.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am switching to
23 another topic. It would be very convenient for me to conclude my today's
24 cross-examination, if it's possible, because I have one chapter in my
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. No, I think there is no problem there. There
2 is no problem there. You know that we try to accommodate you both as much
3 as we can.
4 Mr. Meholjic, we are going to stop here for today. We will
5 continue on Monday. In the meantime relax, and Monday we will finish with
6 you. You will now be escorted by Madam Usher, and during the weekend you
7 will receive all the assistance you require to make your stay here in The
8 Hague as relaxing as possible. Thank you.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you as well.
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 JUDGE AGIUS: So Mr. Di Fazio.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Your Honours. There are two matters.
13 Firstly the schedule for Monday. I can say this. I don't -- I think my
14 re-examination is going to be more than a ten-minute fixing up, cosmetic
15 aspects job. So I will be -- have a substantial re-examination, I think.
16 That's the first point that I want to make.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: It's important that we finish with this witness on
18 Monday. The rest is relative.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, I understand that. And I -- of course, I am
20 not going to do anything that will interfere with that, but I just want to
21 flag that. It's not going to be five minutes' worth and I want to work in
22 with Your Honours, I don't want to -- I want to make sure that I can
23 adjust my re-examination to make sure that Your Honours are given -- well,
24 sufficient time for any questions that you may have. So I would be
25 grateful if you can provide me with my guidance on that. That's the first
2 Second point is how far one can go in re-examination. I looked at
3 the Rules. The Rules are silent other than simply boldly stating, well,
4 you have examination, cross-examination, re-examination. And I know what
5 the basic principle of re-examination is, to clarify matters in
6 cross-examination. I don't need to -- there is no issue that's going to
7 arise on that.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: We are not going to change the Rules.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: No.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Not the Rules, the written Rules, the Rules that you
11 and I and Mr. Jones are familiar with.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: All familiar with, of course.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Our jurisdictions.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Of course my re-examination will only deal with
15 issues that arise, topics that arise, have arisen today and may arise on
17 On the 23rd of March, during the course of re-examination of
18 Mr. Bogilovic by Ms. Sellers, Your Honour had this to say at the point of
19 interjection -- an objection I should say by Madam Vidovic. Your Honour
20 said, "Now leading questions with permissible at this stage. They weren't
21 permissible during examination-in-chief, but they are permissible now.
22 Just like you, in cross-examination, can put leading questions."
23 I can safely say that I can use that as a guide to my
24 re-examination on Monday? And does -- and I would intend to possibly make
25 reference to past statements of this witness. Now, if there is going to
1 be a problem with that, then it would be better for me to know so that I
2 can structure my re-examination accordingly over the weekend. That's the
3 issue that I am raising.
4 MR. JONES: Your Honour may I --
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Jones. Have you finished Mr. Di Fazio?
6 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Jones, yes.
8 MR. JONES: I think we would like to have an opportunity to look
9 at the transcript again but I always understood the general principle to
10 be that in re-examination, leading questions are not permitted any more
11 than they are in examination-in-chief, because it's -- it's the party's
12 own witness. I don't know if there is a mistake in the transcript, or if
13 it was taken at that out of context. But that's clearly the principle.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: It was different. That was -- were you re
15 re-examining at the time?
16 MS. SELLERS: Yes Your Honours, I was re re-examining
17 Mr. Bogilovic.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Anyway, but we will come to this on
19 Monday and we will give you a direction exactly as to what is, according
20 to us, the proper pronouncement. And do I read you -- you do not intend
21 to treat the witness as a hostile witness or anything --
22 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm not making that application, no. I don't think
23 I can at this stage.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no. This is because I want to make sure that I
25 am understanding what you say, because you said that you wished to
1 confront him with previous statements.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: I want to -- well, I may need to do that if I carry
3 out the re-examination in the manner in which I wish to do so. My point
4 is this, the guiding principle that I will use is: I'm restricted to
5 elucidating or getting further explanation of issues raised by
6 Madam Vidovic in cross-examination. The means by which I do that is what
7 I'm concerned about. Leading questions, the ability to use prior
8 statements, and so on.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. We will deal with this on Monday
10 morning. We will come back to you. The difference between the
11 examination-in-chief and the re-examination is a very simple and
12 straightforward one, that the re-examination and the right to re-examine
13 the witness arises out of the questions put on cross-examination.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: That's what I understand.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: And for -- just like cross-examination, arises out
16 of the questions put during the examination-in-chief. Same principles do
17 apply. But we will be more categorical Monday on this, and you will be --
18 you will know exactly how to proceed. But I'm putting you on notice that
19 you will -- I will discuss it with Judge Eser and Judge Brydensholt,
20 obviously. But I don't think you will find us entertaining any idea to
21 treat the witness as a hostile witness at this stage.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: I will not be making that application.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm making it clear, because it will be ...
24 Is there anything else you would like to raise at this point?
25 Yes, Mr. Jones.
1 MR. JONES: Maybe just to observe that, therefore, if prior
2 statements are an issue there's going to have to be some basis for the
3 Prosecution doing it. It's not something which follows.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
5 MR. JONES: Yes. That's all.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm making bot myself very clear, and I think both
7 of you coming from common law jurisdictions, you know exactly what I mean.
8 You have every right, at any stage, during the examination-in-chief, even
9 to put to the witness prior statements. But again the purpose of doing
10 that or the -- is limited, is limited by law. You can't do that to
11 contradict or discredit the witness without following the usual procedure
12 that I referred to earlier on, which has not been followed during the
13 entire examination-in-chief.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Just if Your Honours want to look at that little
15 page that I quoted to you, you will find it at page 6532 of the
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, okay. So we adjourn till Monday morning at --
18 it is in the morning, isn't it? Yes, it is in the morning. Monday
19 morning. I don't know which courtroom. Thank you. Have a nice weekend.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.33 p.m.,
21 to be reconvened on Monday, the 11th day of April,
22 2005 at 9.00 a.m.