1 Monday, 11 April, 2005.
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.10 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Registrar, could you call the case, please.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Case number
7 IT-03-68-T, the Prosecutor versus Naser Oric.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Oric, can you follow the proceedings
9 in your own language?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. I can
11 follow the proceedings in my own language.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Appearances for the Prosecution.
13 MR. WUBBEN: Good morning, Your Honours. My name is Jan Wubben,
14 lead counsel for the Prosecution. I'm here together with co-counsels
15 Patricia Sellers, Mr. Gramsci Di Fazio, and Ms. Donnica Henry-Frijlink,
16 our case manager.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Wubben, and good morning to you and
18 your team.
19 Appearances for the Defence.
20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
21 morning to my learned friends from the Prosecution. I am Vasvija
22 Vidovic. Together with Mr. John Jones, I represent Mr. Naser Oric.
23 Together with us are our legal assistant Miss Adisa Mehic, and our case
24 manager Mr. Geoff Roberts.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Any preliminaries? Yes, Mr. Wubben.
1 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honours, I learned with a view to the coming
2 witness, the next witness projected, as such Milosava Nikolic, that this
3 is a lady of 71 years old, and meaning also with a view to her experiences
4 during the war actions and the subsequent actions in which she might
5 testify, that has a great influence on her person. This information
6 confirmed to me is that, well, she need indeed some time as being an elder
7 lady during proofing as well. So if it has been confirmed to you that,
8 upon finalising this redirect, we can start, it should be more defined in
9 we should start upon the demand of the Trial Chamber. And we will do so
10 then. But I advise you strongly to accept that we will start her proofing
11 -- start her testifying tomorrow, as we have then two days.
12 I have been informed that the subsequent witness cannot start
13 earlier, as being contacted by the Victim Witness Unit that his flight
14 cannot be earlier than already arranged for.
15 In sum, Your Honours, I advise you to accept to finalise the
16 redirect and your questioning of the witness today, if so, and then start
17 tomorrow with the next witness.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: What's your position on this, Mr. Jones and Madam
20 MR. JONES: Yes, I will be taking that witness. That's why I will
21 respond. As far as the timing is concerned, that's really a matter for
22 the Prosecution and the Court. We don't have a position. We just note
23 that we received at 8.40 this morning an exhibit list. We haven't
24 received proofing notes yet. Our understanding was this next witness was
25 illiterate, so that is already one surprise that there is a list of
1 exhibits for her to be shown. But I will -- I would note the late hour of
2 this being served on us and the fact we don't have proofing notes as not
3 being entirely satisfactory.
4 I also just want to mention that as far as the issues arising in
5 the re-examination of this witness is concerned, the current witness, that
6 I may be taking some of those issues given that there were issues of law
7 which were going to look into, so just to say not to be surprised if you
8 hear from me with the witness who has so far been dealt with by my
10 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. We will decide at the end of the -- when
11 we finish with this witness, what to do. In the meantime, is this witness
12 available? Will she be available here?
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. If Your Honours please, the situation is the
14 witness is arthritic and is unable to sit for an extended period of time,
15 which resulted in Ms. Richardson being unable to complete proofing
16 yesterday. And on that basis Ms. Richardson would like to express the
17 preference to commence her evidence tomorrow, the reason being that no
18 loss of time will be occasioned to the Trial Chamber, because the next
19 witness is not available until Thursday in any event, and that's the basis
20 on which we are seeking an extra period of time.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Now, with regard to the matter that was
22 raised last time as to the procedural law that should apply during
23 re-examination, the reference was made to the transcript going back to --
24 during the re-examination of Witness Bogilovic. The position is as
25 follows: I come from a system where we draw a clear distinction between
1 leading questions and direct questions.
2 A leading question, from the system that I come from, is a
3 question that is in a form -- it's put in a form calculated to suggest the
4 answer to it. The position is as follows: If, during the Bogilovic
5 re-examination I used the word "leading questions are permitted," I meant
6 to say not leading questions, but direct questions. I am also making it
7 clear, therefore, that as far as direct questions which are not leading
8 questions are concerned, they are permissible under re-examination. And
9 amongst the direct questions, I am including questions which contain a
10 statement of some facts material to the issue and that the witness -- and
11 the witness is asked to provide a simple, affirmative or a negative answer
12 thereto. That will be permissible.
13 In addition, just to make it clear what I also understand by
14 direct questions which are permissible during re-examination, a question
15 during re-examination is not forbidden on the grounds that it may lead
16 -- or that it leads the mind of a witness to a particular subject if it
17 will tend to elicit in a fair manner the circumstances -- in the
18 circumstances the honest belief of the witness.
19 With regard to the use of a prior statement consistent or
20 inconsistent, there I have to be very categoric. I mean, that's why I did
21 point out during the last sitting that short of you trying to ask the
22 Trial Chamber to grant you the status of hostile witness, you will only be
23 allowed to make use of prior statements to refresh the witness's memory
24 and not to contradict him. The moment you will try to contradict the
25 witness or to discredit him, then I will stop you. All right?
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you very much for that guidance.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
3 MR. JONES: Your Honours, might I just address you briefly on that
4 subject. It would assist us to hand up copies of small bundles which I
5 prepared because I will also refer to them later, so it's one for each of
6 the Judges and one for the Prosecution.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Jones, please, one thing I don't want from you
8 or from Mr. Di Fazio, from Ms. Sellers, whoever, is coming from the common
9 law tradition. This is -- I know -- I'm --
10 MR. JONES: It will become apparent if it will be distributed.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: All right, thank you. Let's not try, during the
12 proceedings, to stick to British law or Australian law or Canadian law or
13 to US law, because in the States, for example, it varies from state to
15 MR. JONES: Of course.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: And the same applies to questions that Judges can
17 put, including questions during court-martials.
18 MR. JONES: Yes, indeed, Your Honour. May I say at the outset I'm
19 the last person who would insist on my own national jurisdiction because I
20 know this jurisdiction better than my own probably, so believe me I'm not
21 going to insist that Archibold should be followed, or the federal rules of
22 evidence, or anything. But of course, certain guidance can be provided by
23 those practices. I pass this up merely because on the memory refreshing
24 exercise there is some guidance on the third page of this handout.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
1 MR. JONES: Actually, sorry, the third page, I wish to draw your
2 attention to the reference there to the bottom of the second full
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Third page of what?
5 MR. JONES: Of this hand-out, page 1071, paragraph 876.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: You're referring to the Archibold.
7 MR. JONES: Yes. I will just take the pages in sequence just so
8 it is clear why I pass this up. It refers there to the --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Page?
10 MR. JONES: It says 1071 at the bottom, where there is reference
11 to the "... twin phenomena within the daily experience of practitioners in
12 the criminal courts. First, a witness statement often bears little --"
13 THE INTERPRETER: Would you please slow down.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, please slow down, Mr. Jones.
15 MR. JONES: Right. "First, a witness statement often bears little
16 relation to the evidence given by the witness. Secondly, a witness who is
17 permitted to have his statement in front of him frequently latches onto it
18 and sticks to it as if it were a script."
19 I wanted to highlight that phenomena, those phenomena because I
20 think this is something which is also of concern to us, that we were
21 concerned to have the best evidence --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
23 MR. JONES: -- of a witness and of course, he may, if shown a
24 prior statement, in inverted commas, he may feel he has to latch onto it.
25 I wanted to highlight that.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: You're preaching to the converted on this.
2 MR. JONES: Thank you, I'm obliged, Your Honour.
3 The next page 1072, this is still of Archibold, 2002, I handed
4 that up just because there is a summary of the foundation for the memory
5 refreshing exercise. Where it says, "A proper and sufficient foundation
6 will have been laid if the witness gives evidence to the effect, 1, that
7 he did make a statement to the police --" for us that would obviously be
8 investigators -- "2, that he made the statement on such-and-such a date;
9 and 3, that at the time he made it the matters he dealt with in it were
10 fresh in his mind." There is the issue of contemporaneousness, if I can
11 put it that way, contemporaneity, of the statement. In this case we have
12 statements from 1999 and 2001 and they're certainly not contemporaneous
13 with events.
14 Of course, we can come to all of this but I'm just explaining the
15 hand-out really at this stage.
16 The next page, 1141, I handed up just for the reference to
17 "leading questions should not be asked in re-examination." Given what
18 Your Honour said this morning, there is no need to dwell on that. That
19 was also set out in the extract from Murphy On Evidence. And I included
20 that because Peter Murphy practices in the UK and the US, and of course
21 before this Tribunal as well, so I thought that would be useful as a
22 reference to re-examination and that leading questions are not permitted
23 in re-examination for the same reason as in the case, re-examination
25 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. There let me make it clear, the
1 distinction is the following, Mr. Jones and Mr. Di Fazio: What is the
2 ultimate legal consequence should the Prosecution in this case ask the
3 Trial Chamber to declare the witness as a hostile witness? In that
4 instance, from that moment onwards, Mr. Di Fazio can cross examine.
5 MR. JONES: Yes.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: -- that witness, that's the basic legal consequence.
7 And if he would be granted the right to cross-examine that witness, then
8 for all intents and purposes he will be put in the same position that you
9 are when you are cross-examining the witness. After that, the
10 examination-in-chief has come to an end, which then, in turn, brings us to
11 another legal conclusion; that if the Prosecution in this case does not
12 seek to have this witness declared by the Trial Chamber as a hostile
13 witness, then at the same time the Prosecution cannot pretend to be in the
14 same legal position as it would have been or as it would be in the case of
16 So the ultimate result is that while leading questions are
17 permissible during cross-examination, they cannot be permissible in
18 re-examination, et cetera. However, our position is as follows:, and this
19 is a position we have reached trying to study the position as it obtains
20 not only in Great Britain -- or in England but in other common law
21 jurisdictions, where especially those where a clear distinction is made
22 between what is classically defined as a legal question sequitur
23 simpliciter and a direct question, which is not a leading question.
24 Obviously, a leading question is always a direct question, but not all
25 direct questions are leading questions. And the distinction exists also
1 in civil law jurisdictions. We are not coming to the conclusion that
2 certain direct questions are permissible because they are permissible
3 under civil law tradition but more so because they are -- the position is
4 so in many common law jurisdictions. But that will be -- in other words
5 it will be us three who will be gauging the situation and each and every
6 question as it arises.
7 The only serious problem that I can foresee is not knowing how
8 Mr. Di Fazio, if Mr. Di Fazio intends to make use of prior statements,
9 and if he does, how he intends to make use of those prior statements. And
10 I'm saying this, because from my experience, I know that sometimes the
11 moment you try something that -- with all due respect, you will then not
12 be allowed to do -- the damage would have already been done. So this is
13 why I'm telling you, I hope we are speaking the same language.
14 If I smell for a moment that you're -- you're going to use the
15 word "abuse," but abuse in good faith, Mr. Di Fazio, abuse in good faith
16 the system, I will jump on you without the least hesitation. And if you
17 try to go beyond the -- I will stop the re-examination.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: If it's of any assistance, if Your Honours please,
19 I've had the opportunity of the weekend to consider the matter. I've gone
20 through it and I intend to re-examine in the usual fashion.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: That's even better then.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: And if I -- I made a prediction that I would be a
23 substantial period of time on Friday. I have revised that too. I don't
24 think anything is going to arise.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: The thing is this, you know as much as I do that
1 irrespective of how the law varies from one common law jurisdiction to the
2 other, at the end of the day answers given to an irregular leading
3 question, to a leading question which should never have been put and
4 unfortunately it has been put and an answer has been given, that answer
5 does not depend on the validity of the question as far as admissibility is
6 concerned, and that is always admissible. And this is across the board in
7 all common law jurisdictions. And this is why I'm saying, don't try to
8 overstep the basics, because we will stop you. Because at the end of the
9 day, apart from the usual principles that are applied upon review as to
10 the materiality, substantive materiality of the irregularity and whatever,
11 we should do our utmost to avoid these things happening.
12 However, I'm sorry, Mr. Jones, I stopped you halfway. I wanted to
13 say something which arose from what you had...
14 MR. JONES: Thank you, Your Honour. I'm obliged to Your Honour
15 and obliged to my learned friend for the indication which means a certain
16 number of the submissions which I was planning to make would be premature.
17 We would, of course, still have submissions if Your Honours were to wish
18 to use the prior statements and I would just reserve the opportunity to
19 address Your Honours on that, on that matter, if there were to be an
20 exercise conducted similar to that which was conducted with Dr. Mukanovic,
21 because the concerns are the same from our point of view if prior
22 statements are put to a witness from the Bench as from the Prosecution.
23 In fact, we see the dangers as being worse if the Bench put statements
24 based on prior statements.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you.
1 MR. JONES: Sorry. It's questions, sorry, based on prior
2 statements. Thank you.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I think we can bring the witness in. I will
4 explain to him the reason for the delay.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Your Honours, sorry to -- just as far as the next
6 witness is concerned, are you amenable to starting her tomorrow?
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I think, given that Ms. Richardson has not yet
8 proofed the witness, finished the proofing, given that the Defence have
9 not yet been given a report on the proofing --
10 MR. DI FAZIO: And also, Your Honour, given she will easily be
11 completed before we can even get the next witness here.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Let me finish. Given what was stated both by
13 yourself and lead counsel, Mr. Wubben, then I think we have no option but
14 to accede to your request.
15 On the other hand, although you tell me -- you're telling me that
16 there will not be any problems in finishing this witness before the next
17 one arrives, I have heard what you said, namely that she cannot sit for
18 lengthy periods of time and I would like to know whether that is going to
19 cause us a problem, because if it's going to cause us a problem, the only
20 problem that it could cause us is that we -- in spite of all your
21 statements -- we will not be able or in a position to start with the next
22 witness on time, according to schedule. This is the only problem that I
23 have. I mean, but we are amenable, yes, to start tomorrow.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: I will make sure that Ms. Richardson considers the
25 matter and gets back to us as soon as possible, if that is the slightest
2 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. I think there is nothing else
3 that needs to be said. Let's start. Bring the witness in, please, Madam
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Meholjic, good morning to you.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I hope you had a quiet weekend and that you managed
9 to rest from the previous days. A well deserved rest. I am sorry that we
10 are starting not at 9.00 but 9:30, but we had procedural matters to
11 discuss, procedural matters that of course do not concern you, they
12 concern the trial, but they needed to be discussed before we could
13 continue with your testimony. Madam Vidovic is going to finish with your
14 testimony this morning and then there will be a short re-examination by
15 Mr. Di Fazio and then there are a few questions from the Bench. And then
16 you are free to go.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Again, although this is a different week, you are
19 still testifying under the same oath or solemn declaration that you
20 entered last week. Just a memento of that. I know that you are an
21 honourable man. So you may sit down and Madam Vidovic may proceed with
22 her cross-examination.
23 WITNESS: HAKIJA MEHOLJIC: [Resumed]
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 Cross-examination by Ms. Vidovic: [Continued]
1 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Meholjic.
2 A. Good morning.
3 Q. In your testimony, you have spoken about the War Presidency.
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the usher to show
5 the witness an excerpt from the war diary, P84, namely pages 50 and 51,
6 which is page 8 in the English version of this document.
7 Q. We're talking about pages 50 and 51, please. Mr. Meholjic, could
8 you please look at the document in its part where you can see the name
9 Osman and where it says: Let us agree on concrete things. Let's give
10 names to the structures or let's assign names to the structure.
11 A. On page 1, yes, I can see that. I can't find the name Osman.
12 Q. This is page -- can you see the ERN number, 5051?
13 A. 5051, I apologise. Osman.
14 Q. Can you see the place where it says: Let's give the names to
15 structures. Avdic - president; president of the executive board -
16 Hamdija; secretary - Ankic Esad. The secretary for economy remains the
17 same, the secretary of the Secretariat for National Defence - Suljo
18 Hasanovic. The chief of the civilian protection staff - Jusuf Halilovic.
19 The chief of the public security station - Becir (Mirza; VP civilian
20 police - Nurija). Under that, under number 8, it says commander of staff
21 - "Naser (he is not a member of the War Presidency)."
22 In connection with this I would like to ask you as follows: We
23 are talking about a session which took place on the 14th of October, 1992.
24 In addition to Oric's name, it also says next to his name that he is not a
25 member of the War Presidency.
1 Do you allow the possibility that you did not have the information
2 that Oric, as of the 14th of October, 1992, was not a member of the War
4 A. Please, I will answer, but I don't want to drag anybody into the
5 things that I don't know. I was not present at this meeting and I cannot
6 confirm that he was or that he wasn't. Can you understand me? Can you
7 appreciate that? I believe and I will explain why I believe that, if the
8 Presiding Judge will allow me to say that, that some things were happening
9 in the circumstances that were in place. On the other hand, the things
10 that were happening were beyond our regulations that were in effect at the
11 time. The commander should have been, was supposed to be a member of the
12 War Presidency. I'm not saying anything with that. Mr. Oric and you, if
13 you have documents or if the Prosecution has documents, then you will know
14 that the first War Presidency that was appointed by the Presidency of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina is the Presidency in which Oric and I were together in
16 the period after the demilitarisation.
17 I know that and you can find it in one of the official gazettes of
18 the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And as for this, I have already
19 claimed that this is illegal, this was against the law. Now, whether
20 somebody is offended or hurt by that, it's not up to me to say that. It's
21 up to the Judges to be the judges of that.
22 Q. In other words, when you testified that he was a member of the War
23 Presidency during this period of time, you believed that this was supposed
24 to be the case, according to the law. However, you were not aware of the
25 facts. Am I right in saying that?
1 A. Yes, you are, because I repeat again some things which were
2 happening were happening far from me, because I was not allowed access to
3 those things and I cannot say -- I know that he was supposed to be there.
4 He should have been. If he wasn't and if this is a valid document, that's
5 another story, and I cannot dispute that document.
6 Q. Thank you. Now I'm going to show you a different document. I
7 would kindly ask the usher to provide the witness --
8 A. I apologise. If I may, another explanation. The Presidency, the
9 War Presidency, that is, had to fill up the structures that were
10 established later, the chief of civilian protection, the president of the
11 court, and so on and so forth, the chief of police, the commander of the
12 Territorial Defence or the armed forces. This is what had to be there.
13 These people did not have to be elected. They were there by virtue of
14 their functions. The Presidency that was in place and that was headed by
15 Mr. Avdic, and when you said that Avdic and Hamdija were the high
16 officials of the SDA, I can tell you that this Presidency made a decision
17 or issued a decision that is unprecedented, and the decision was to ban
18 the work of the Assembly and the political parties.
19 When I joined the War Presidency, I made an effort for this
20 decision to be made null and void and we allowed the Assembly to continue
21 working, and then, then amongst the MPs, Osman Sulic [phoen] was appointed
22 a president of the War Presidency. This was done by the Assembly.
23 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Meholjic.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's move to the next question, and Mr. Meholjic,
25 try to keep your answers as concise as possible, please. Let's continue.
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Meholjic, I'm going to show you another document issued by the
3 Presidency of the Srebrenica municipality. The date is 13, May, 1994. I
4 would kindly ask the usher to show the witness that document.
5 This is information and requests for the verification of the
6 Presidency of the municipality of Srebrenica. The date is 13 of May,
8 Mr. Meholjic, could you please take a look at this document, and
9 particularly can you please look at page 3 of this document, which is page
10 2 in the English version. Somewhere around the middle of that document,
11 it says as follows. Mr. Meholjic, you can see that the document is a
12 request for the verification of the Presidency of Srebrenica
13 municipality. On page 3, in the bottom part, it says: "The Presidency of
14 Srebrenica municipality at its session held on the 13, 14th -- 13th of
15 April, 1994 issued a decision on the establishment of the Presidency of
16 municipalities of Srebrenica. In keeping with the decree of Defence,
17 according to that decision, the Presidency of the municipality of
18 Srebrenica will consist of the president of the Srebrenica municipality,
19 President Fahrudin Salihovic; chairman of the municipal executive
20 committee, Hamdija Fezic; head of the department of the Ministry of
21 Defence, Suljic Hasanovic; chief of the public security station in
22 Srebrenica, Hakija Meholjic; commander the civilian protection staff in
23 the municipality, this post was not filled. These duties are discharged
24 by the chairman the executive committee. The post of chief of the
25 civilian protection staff has been filled.
1 On the 6th, presidents of Assemblymen's clubs, in the Municipal
2 Assembly, press of the SDA club is Hajrudin Avdic, and he is also a member
3 of the Presidency. Presidents of Assemblymen's clubs of other parties
4 left Srebrenica and currently these clubs do not have representatives in
5 the Presidency.
6 Thank you. I apologise to the interpreters. Murat Efendic is
7 also a member of the Presidency of the municipality of Srebrenica. At our
8 proposal he was elected by the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And
9 finally we have the statement: "We ask you to verify our Presidency as
10 soon as possible."
11 Mr. Meholjic, do you agree with me that the name of Naser Oric
12 cannot be found in this document?
13 A. Yes, anybody can see that.
14 Q. Do you also agree with me that it is a fact that in the
15 municipality of Srebrenica, during that period of time, a demilitarisation
16 was in place and it is that fact that had an impact on the composition of
17 the War Presidency. Is that the reason why Oric's name is not here, that
18 he was not a member of the War Presidency?
19 A. I can't answer this question. First of all, I have never seen
20 this document before. Secondly, I am not clear. I don't understand that
21 we did not have the chief of the civilian protection, and I know that the
22 man was there all the time, Jusuf Halilovic. I don't know who drafted
23 this document. It seems that it was Salihovic. I don't see a signature.
24 I don't see anything that would make this document clear to me. This
25 document was issued 12 years ago and it is very hard for me to remember
1 anything about that. I'm not the author of this document and I can tell
2 that he wasn't. Yes, looking at the document.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I want to make sure that
5 I've got the same document. It's been twice now put to the witness that
6 the name Naser Oric doesn't appear. It is on the first page.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: No. No. You had the explanation, not actually
8 being made by Madam Vidovic herself. I was going to interject --
9 intervene myself, because, as you say, on the first page there is the
10 inclusion of Mr. Oric in the War Presidency.
11 But on the second page, which is what the question referred to,
12 you have a new phase in the historical events and that is when
13 demilitarisation had just come into force.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: And she is actually trying to make the point that I
16 would have tried to make had she not made it, that this seems to be the
17 only explanation why the composition of the governing body in Srebrenica
18 changed on the 13th of April of -- was different on the 13th of April,
20 However, the point that certainly has been made now and for which
21 there doesn't seem to be an explanation is that this document, under item
22 5, bottom of page 2, English text, purports to say that the commander of
23 the civil protection staff and the municipality was not appointed, this
24 post was not yet filled. And the witness is saying that his knowledge
25 with demilitarisation, the appointment of Jusuf Halilovic as chief of the
1 civilian protection had not been effected. And that makes him query the
2 correctness of this document.
3 Have I interpreted your testimony correctly, Mr. Meholjic, or not?
4 Have I understood you well?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Meholjic is saying that Jusuf Halilovic was
7 there before and upon -- or after demilitarisation. Yes, Madam Vidovic.
8 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I would
9 like to tender this document into evidence, and if it may be given an
10 exhibit number, we will be looking at this document later on.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. This is D --
12 THE REGISTRAR: D251.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: -- 251. So this document which has been tendered by
14 the Defence and which is dated the 13th of May, 1994, issued by the
15 Presidency of the Srebrenica municipality, and with reference number
16 01-183/94 is being received, admitted and marked as Defence Exhibit D251.
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] And now I would kindly ask the usher
18 to provide the witness with another excerpt from P84, and this time I
19 would like the witness to be shown pages 50 and 51.
20 I apologise. We're talking about the same pages that we have
21 already shown to the witness. We are going to look at a different part of
22 the excerpt.
23 Q. Witness, could you please look at the part around the middle of
24 the page, where Naser's words are quoted. Can you see it? It is above
25 the part that we discussed a while ago. I'm going to quote. It says
1 here: Naser: All the current problems are due to organisation.
2 Mr. Meholjic, let me just inform you as well as the Trial Chamber that
3 this is an excerpt from the session that was taken -- that took place on
4 the 14th of October, 1992, and Naser said at this session as follows:
5 All our problems are due to organisation. All of this boils down to the
6 fact that everybody should assume their part of responsibility. And later
7 on, you can quarrel about power. Let's all come to our senses. Let us
8 put an organisation in place in order to protect ourselves. It is
9 possible that there is some ammunition in Fakovici and it hasn't been
10 taken. If we want to be a military, we have to have some order and we
11 have to have a command.
12 In connection with this, I would like to ask you as follows:
13 Mr. Meholjic, as far as you know, Oric tried to bring some order into the
14 ranks. He wanted people to come to their senses. Is this what you can
15 read in this part of the minutes?
16 A. Yes, this is what I can see. This is what everybody can see.
17 There is nothing in dispute here.
18 Q. Mr. Meholjic, do you agree with me if I say that Oric was aware of
19 the fact that people around him, the local commanders and members of the
20 War Presidency, are actually fighting over power? Did he ever discuss
21 that issue with you?
22 A. Look here, Naser and I spoke quite a number of times, and we
23 mostly agreed on things. Secondly, he -- even when he agreed not to
24 disagree, he didn't object to hearing my remarks and hearing my views.
25 And I'm sure he will confirm that. In my testimony I've already said that
1 he was surrounded by people who were bad people. But he -- I didn't have
2 the power or the will to deal with that problem, and that is why my main
3 position, which is not of any importance for this Trial Chamber, and that
4 was my reason for him not being in any position, because the situation was
5 complex, there were no institutions, the situation would have been
6 different if the institutions were in place, if there was somebody else
7 who would have called people to mobilisation. Maybe the two of us would
8 have been couriers and nothing else. It was a difficult situation, a
9 complex situation. He was a young man. He was not -- it is not the fact
10 that he was not capable, but he was not experienced and he was not used to
11 dealing with the people the way they were.
12 Q. Do you agree that he was trying to introduce some order in the way
13 that he could? Will you agree with that?
14 A. When I read this and when I remember some things, yes, he did try
15 to introduce order. Whether he could or whether he couldn't is a
16 different issue, but the situation was bad. I wouldn't wish it upon
17 anybody to go through the things that I had to go through.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I would now kindly ask the usher to
20 provide the witness with another excerpt from this document, and the page
21 is 5098. This is -- these are the four -- last four digits in the ERN
22 numbers, 5098, and we're talking about the excerpt from the diary.
23 Q. Mr. Meholjic, the session took place on the 22nd of December,
24 1992, and this is an excerpt from the minutes of this session. Can you
25 please look at the part of the page where Naser is speaking, and it is the
1 same page that the Prosecutor has already shown to you.
2 Naser brought the meeting to order. He spoke about the mine and
3 I'm going to quote the second part of his speech, which starts with the
4 following words: Our biggest problems is to man the lines and protect our
5 property. The fighters obey their superiors.
6 Mr. Meholjic, will you agree with me if I say that this document
7 also shows that Naser, at that particular meeting, criticised the
8 commanders and he also said that the commanders should be the role models
9 for both their men and the civilians when it comes to protecting property.
10 Can you see that?
11 A. Yes, I can.
12 Q. It says here --
13 A. I can't hear you.
14 Q. It says here: "The biggest problem for us is to man the lines and
15 protect property." Does this reflect his position and his attitude
16 towards the protection of property at the time?
17 A. Yes, it does reflect that and there is nothing in dispute here.
18 Q. Thank you very much. I am also going to ask you -- put to you one
19 or two more questions, very short ones.
20 In your testimony, you have mentioned a black Mercedes owned by
21 Ibrahim. Was that Mr. Golubovic?
22 A. Yes, you have just jogged my memory. Golubovic was the last name.
23 I believe that this was the Mercedes, and Ibrahim wasn't there. He was
24 not there during the war. He was Naser's neighbour from Potocari.
25 Q. In your testimony you have also said that this vehicle, at the
1 beginning of the war, was used by Naser. Are we talking about the
2 beginning of the war, the first months of 1992?
3 A. Yes. And I believe that I was clear in my testimony. I said that
4 I'm aware of that Mercedes - I don't know what the question was about -
5 Naser used it, I don't know whether it was a petrol car or a diesel car.
6 If it was a diesel, then he could have used it a bit longer because there
7 was no petrol and there was some diesel to be had. I don't know for how
8 long he used it. Later on he couldn't use it. Either he couldn't use it
9 because there was no fuel or something.
10 Q. He didn't use it at the beginning of 1993, did he?
11 A. No, I wouldn't say. He used it for a short period of time,
12 between day when he came in front of the Domavija. And actually he drove
13 in it to the meeting with me, and he used it after that only for a short
14 period of time because there was no fuel. There was no chance in hell for
15 him to be using that. We criticised it because he drove a motorcycle.
16 Q. You saw that vehicle, that vehicle did not have German
17 registration plates, did it?
18 A. No, it did not.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have no other
21 questions for this witness.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam Vidovic. Mr. Di Fazio,
24 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, if Your Honours please.
25 Just on the timing of the re-examination, as I said I will be
1 shorter than predicted. No problem finishing this morning easily. In
2 fact, if I finish before 10.30, could I have a moment to read through
3 D251, which I saw this morning, in a bit more detail and finish it after
4 11, if that is suitable to you? Thank you.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: It's only three pages, actually. We can give you
6 five minutes now, if you want.
7 MR. DI FAZIO: No. No. Could we just see how we go?
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: I just want to have a look at it a little more
10 carefully than I have been able to. I just found my transcripts. Thank
12 Re-examined by Mr. Di Fazio:
13 Q. Mr. Meholjic, on Thursday the 7th of April, you were asked
14 questions by Madam Vidovic. And she asked you this about the decision at
15 Bajramovici, she asked you if the body that was formed there on the 20th
16 of May was a decision that was made by an informal group of people. And
17 you said, "According to my assessment, yes."
18 And then you were asked, "According to the legal provisions that
19 applied then, of the former Yugoslavia, that such a decision would have to
20 have been made by a social political body. Isn't that true?"
21 And you answered, "Yes."
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Vidovic.
23 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, go ahead. Let's see how -- because you haven't
25 come to the question as yet.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: So far, from my recollection, whatever he has stated
3 is correct. If you are referring to the transcript, that's another
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. The Prosecutor is
6 wrong interpreting my question. I did not ask the witness about the
7 regulations in force at that time. I enquired about the regulations that
8 had been in force until that time. And likewise, I didn't say -- I said
9 -- in fact I said "social political community" which means in fact a
10 governmental body and not -- so the interpretation of the Prosecution is
11 wrong. That was what I was saying about the transcript.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Having heard Madam Vidovic, could you proceed,
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. I'm quoting from transcripts.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, yes, yes. And ultimately it is what the
16 witness said which is important --
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
18 Q. And you were --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: -- his opinion about the legality of the whole
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, yes.
22 Q. You were then asked if you agreed that you did not consider that
23 decision to be binding. And you said you were of the opinion that it had
24 to be done in a different way. You still didn't know if it was legal or
25 not, but your assessment at the time was that it was not legal. And you
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 were then asked: "In other words, you did not consider that agreement at
2 Bajramovici as a State act and therefore you did not act in line with it."
3 Answer: "No."
4 Are you aware of any decision, any move, any effort, any
5 manoeuvre, on the part of the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or the
6 republican War Presidency, or any of the authorities at all, to disband
7 the Srebrenica War Presidency, alter its composition? Or bring in other
8 people from outside the Srebrenica enclave and add them to the Srebrenica
9 War Presidency?
10 A. Oh, that's a lot of questions.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's break it into different parts. Because the
12 first part could be mashed together and answered collectively, but then
13 you jump into a second aspect which is completely and almost unrelated.
14 Anyway, I leave it up to you. You're putting the question, but please
15 split it into at least two or three parts.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
17 Q. And I should point out that I have mistakenly referred the War
18 Presidency. In fact, I should have been referring to the Territorial
19 Defence. You were in fact talking about the Territorial Defence when you
20 gave this evidence and I have misled you by suggesting it was the War
21 Presidency. So you were being asked questions about the Territorial
22 Defence. Let me be absolutely clear about that.
23 Now, my question is: Are you aware of any move on the part of
24 government authorities to disband the Srebrenica Territorial Defence or
25 alter its composition in any way at all?
1 A. No, I don't know of any such moves, because I was not close to
2 them. They may have received such instructions, but I don't know. At a
3 later time, I do have some knowledge of suggestions being made that some
4 people from outside Srebrenica be deployed there, some military personnel
5 be sent to Srebrenica. I think I remember that well. But why that never
6 happened, I don't know, because I wasn't involved. So I would like to ask
7 you not to involve me into things to which I cannot answer.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 A. And I beg your pardon. If there were some such moves, there must
10 be documents about that, either in the Tuzla region or in the Presidency
11 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or the command of the army. I don't know about
13 Q. Thank you. You were asked about Mr. Oric himself. You were
14 asked: "Do you agree that Naser was elected or selected as the commander
15 because he was young, charismatic and a popular person?"
16 You answered: "I would tend to say people who were discussing the
17 whole issue, they were counting on the fact that he was a member of the
18 special forces with Milosevic and he had some training, because they were
19 given special training, and that's why they felt he could do something.
20 And I think that was the reason, even though I was of the view that the
21 commander did not necessarily have to be a good fighter, but I felt that
22 he had to be able to draw on some life experience and have a different
23 view of life because he was young, lively, and, well, that was my
25 What special forces training are you referring to?
1 A. Well, you see, Naser was young and the people in the area of
2 Srebrenica didn't know him, because he only graduated from primary school
3 in Potocari and he went to secondary school to Bratunac. Anyway, it must
4 have been somewhere else than Srebrenica. And Potocari, the place where
5 he was born and where he lived is on the very border with the Bratunac
6 area. So that --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Meholjic, stop. Go straight to the answer. The
8 question was: What special forces training are you referring to? What
9 special training -- come to that. I'm not interested where he received
10 his primary and secondary education, whether he was known in Srebrenica.
11 Let's go straight to the point and to the question that was asked, because
12 otherwise you are going to stay here tomorrow.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I will finish this. I just
14 wanted to explain to make it clear. As a young man he left for Belgrade
15 and there where he became a police officer. He never worked in the
16 Srebrenica area. And according to our knowledge, or to what people in
17 Srebrenica knew at that time, was that he was a man who was from the
18 special forces had arrived. Whether he in fact was a special forces guy
19 or not in the police in Belgrade, I never knew. And he must have gone
20 through some training for communication and so on, but I also went through
21 some training. But whether all of that is correct or not, I don't know.
22 I said that was probably what made the decision makers to decide in favour
23 of him, but I am -- I may make mistakes also.
24 MR. DI FAZIO:
25 Q. Yes. These are your words. I'm using your words, Mr. Meholjic,
1 and I would just like you to amplify and explain your words to the Trial
2 Chamber. "People who were discussing the whole issue, they were counting
3 on the fact -- they were counting on the fact -- that he was a member of
4 the special forces with Milosevic and he had some training."
5 Now, in what way were they counting on the fact that he was a
6 member of the special forces with Mr. Milosevic and had some training? In
7 what way were they counting on that?
8 MR. JONES: I'm sorry, the witness has just said he doesn't even
9 know whether that is a fact, or not, so how he can speculate about why
10 other people might have relied on something which may or may not have been
11 a fact --
12 MR. DI FAZIO: No, I'm asking --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: But in his testimony he said exactly the same words
14 that Mr. Di Fazio is reading out to him.
15 MR. JONES: Yes. But he has just explained that he didn't in fact
17 JUDGE AGIUS: He can answer the question.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm permitted to do it twice?
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I think it is the case of putting the question
20 again, Mr. Di Fazio, because I see that the witness is looking at me
21 rather than at you.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. That's fine. Thank you, Your Honours.
23 Q. Your answer was, you would tend to say people were discussing the
24 whole issue. They were counting on the fact that he was a member of the
25 special forces with Milosevic and he had some training, because they were
1 given special training and that's why they felt he could do something.
2 So, please explain to the Trial Chamber how they were counting on
3 the fact that he was a member of the special forces with Mr. Milosevic,
4 that he had some training, special training.
5 A. Well, people talked about that in Srebrenica. Naser had come five
6 or six months earlier to work with us and that's what people were talking
7 about. And he also -- he was -- he said that to me, that he had been in
8 Kosovo. But I was also in Kosovo in 1991. And Naser had been a police
9 officer since 1988. Those were the most difficult times. He may know
10 more than I. I know what I heard, and also talking to Zulfo about what
11 made them to choose Naser, the answer was, yeah, well, he was with
12 Milosevic, he knows about warfare and stuff. That's it. I don't know
13 whether this is okay. I wasn't there. I can't corroborate that. I can't
14 give a certificate of him going through certain training or
15 specialisation. Probably some documents can be found, or perhaps Oric
16 himself may be able to tell.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Would Your Honours just bear with me.
18 Q. You were asked questions - I've just been asking you questions
19 about what happened on Thursday. Then on the Friday you were asked
20 questions about a document, Exhibit P80.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: In fact, could the witness be shown P80.
22 Would Your Honours just give me a moment, please. Yes. Thank
23 you. And your attention was directed to paragraph -- sorry, would Your
24 Honours just bear with me for a moment. I've lost my point in the
25 document that I wanted to take the witness to.
1 I can't find it at the moment.
2 Q. But in any event this document was shown to you and you were asked
3 questions about whether or not the document reflected reality. And you
4 were asked if Safet Mujic had been your commander. And you were asked if
5 Mr. Safet had ever actually been your commander, and you answered, "Well,
6 there were some attempts to that effect, but I don't know. I would say
7 not. There were attempts at organising that, but I can't really claim
8 that he was my commander because he was never in a position to order me
9 anything whatsoever."
10 Can you explain to the Trial Chamber what attempts were made to
11 organise that, namely, his position as commander over you, and who
12 originated those attempts to organise him as commander.
13 A. I read through this document a little better. I can say the
14 following: There were some attempts by the staff, but now I realise that
15 this is -- this document is dated 19 September 1995 [as interpreted] and
16 when I was giving my statement, I thought that the current state referred
17 to here was 19, September, 1993. I think that this is something to which
18 they can answer better. You keep asking me questions that I cannot
20 I was opposed to this, and Mr. Oric may be willing to corroborate
21 that, but anyway I'm telling the truth. There was the plan to establish
22 the 28th Division and we wanted to show that we had some forces there,
23 because there were also false reports from Srebrenica. Somebody wanted to
24 boast a little. And those reports did not reflect the real state.
25 Now, I stand behind this with all my moral authority because if I
1 had had all of those forces, we would have been in an excellent position.
2 And I think that Safet was not able to able to assert himself over me as
3 my commander. So it would be as trying to install someone as a judge here
4 who has never finished primary school, because the guy you're talking
5 about didn't have any soldiers. I hope I was clear enough. So this
6 document, I suppose, is correct, but it did not -- does not reflect the
7 real situation in Srebrenica.
8 I don't know what Naser agreed about with the one who drafted this
9 protocol. I was against the establishment of the 28th Division. You know
10 what it means to command a division? It is worse than having a factory
11 with 50.000 employees.
12 MR. DI FAZIO:
13 Q. Thank you.
14 A. This is a census.
15 Q. Yes, thank you, Mr. Meholjic. But I'm merely trying to clarify
16 your answer, your words. You were asked very clearly about the document
17 by Madam Vidovic and you were taken to a part of the document that
18 indicated that the 5th Company, based in Srebrenica, the commander was
19 Hakija Meholjic. And Madam Vidovic put to you: "In other words,
20 according to this document, it would appear that your company was part of
21 the Independent Srebrenica Battalion under the command of Safet Mujic."
22 Now, Mr. Safet has never actually been your commander, isn't that so?
23 Never actually been your commander.
24 A. Exactly. He's never been commander and I stated already that it
25 was a misunderstanding on my part. I thought this was referring to
1 another period but upon rereading this and finding all the data about the
2 establishment and the structure of the municipality of Srebrenica, it was
3 obvious -- it is obvious from another period. So this report does not
4 reflect the real situation on the ground.
5 Q. Fine. I'm not actually concerned --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Because fortunately or unfortunately
7 this matter arose, came to my mind while the question was being put during
8 the cross-examination. It has never been put to the witness that although
9 -- first of all let me correct this. Because further up on the
10 transcript - I've lost track of it now - it is reported that the witness
11 said, I noticed, that this document is dated 19th September, 1995. It's
12 not dated 1995. I don't know if he said 1995 or it's a -- merely a
13 question of wrong interpretation. It is --
14 THE WITNESS: It was 1993.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: 19th September, 1993. It was also never put to the
16 witness that this document is divided into four sections and it is divided
17 into four sections because each section refers to a specific point in time
18 reflecting the events occurring during that particular point in time:
19 The first section on which he was not asked questions seems to cover the
20 period April 1992, to sort of September 1992.
21 The second section, which is on page 3 in the English text,
22 starts, it seems, with the events on early September 1992 and the
23 restructuring that took place then. The third section, which is on page 7
24 -- page 7 in the English. Page 7 in the English text.
25 MR. DI FAZIO: Oh, yes.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: -- refers to, again, the restructuring that seems to
2 have taken place towards the end, that is in December, of 1992. And the
3 last section, which is on page 9, section 4, part 4, deals with the
4 creation or formation late November 1992 of the so-called subregion.
5 If you draw comparisons between compositions and structures,
6 during the various time frames covered by these four sections, there are
7 differences. And what -- this would spare us having to put the question
8 later on, if you could perhaps direct your question to the witness, which
9 he has answered, but if you could direct it first to the particular period
10 of time in which it is incorporated in this document, and that is the
11 third phase, and then ask him whether there was any -- whether the
12 situation was, at any time, different during the other time frames that
13 are covered by this document.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Because it seems that the Srebrenica, for example,
16 forces or Territorial Defence or whatever, the structure in early -- or
17 mid-1992 was different from what it was in October or before December of
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: It seems to have changed also afterwards, but...
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Very well. If Your Honours please, I will do --
22 I've heard what you said --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we break now. Look at the document.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: I want to have a closer look at the document.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. And this is something I myself was going to
1 come to precisely because I think the way the question was put to him,
2 from section 3, part 3 of this document, and the answer he gave when he
3 gave -- when he did on the 7th, is pretty much misleading for anyone who
4 ultimately has to draw conclusions from his testimony.
5 Yes, Madam Vidovic.
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, my question was
7 whether Safet Mujic had ever, at any period, been the commander of
8 Mr. Meholjic, and that's why I think that this question is clear enough
9 and couldn't have confused the witness.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: You referred him to a particular part of the
11 document. And he had not even had the chance to look -- to have a close
12 look at the entire document while he was answering the question.
13 So we will have a 25-minute break starting from now. Thank you.
14 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.
15 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. The witness.
17 Yes, Mr. Di Fazio, let's continue.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
19 Q. I was asking you questions about Exhibit P80. Just so that you
20 can follow the format of the document, on the first page you will see that
21 it refers to the first formation structure of the TO, and it then goes on
22 to describe its composition from the 17th of April to October of 1992.
23 At page -- if you look at your B/C/S version and you go to the
24 page that has computer number 5844, ends in computer number 5844, you see
25 that it then talks about a second formation structure. And it is talking
1 about events, as I understand it, on and after the 3rd of September, 1992.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: No. After the 14th of October, 1992.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Oh, yes.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: The changes took effect on the 14th October.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. And you see that also -- you will see that
6 also in the B/C/S version at 5848, where it says: On the 14th of October,
7 1992 the -- following the commander's orders, units were again reorganised
8 as follows, and then there are numbers indicating various formations and
9 the reorganisation. And if you follow that through, you keep going,
10 turning over the pages, eventually you get to number 4, and that is at
11 page 5846, 5846. Page 6 of the English, if Your Honours please. So that
12 is how it is -- the document is set out.
13 And it would appear at the part of the document bearing computer
14 number 5846 that it is talking about events post 14 October 1992. And you
15 can see there what it says. It says that the commander of the Independent
16 Srebrenica Battalion Safet Mujic, and then it talks about the 1st, 2nd,
17 3rd company, until we get to the 5th company, based in Srebrenica,
18 commander Hakija Meholjic. Do you see that?
19 A. That's under number 4.
20 Q. Yes, that's right. At the part of the document bearing computer
21 number 5846. You see that?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. That's what you were asked about by Madam Vidovic in
24 cross-examination. Now, the first question that I would like to ask you
25 is, do you know if there was any military grouping or formation based in
1 Stari Grad led by someone called Enes Ustic? If you don't know, say so.
2 Don't speculate, but just tell us if --
3 A. I won't speculate. This is the same unit that was first under
4 Akif Ustic, who was replaced. The Ustic Akif that we mentioned before, he
5 got killed and then he got replaced by Enes Ustic, and it is correct that
6 he was the one leading these men.
7 Q. Is Enes any relation to Akif?
8 A. They were first cousins.
9 Q. Thank you. Look, I have the same question now with respect to the
10 2nd, 3rd and 4th company. Just have a look at the information that is
11 contained there. And my question in respect of those entries is this:
12 Are there -- are you aware of there being military groupings or formations
13 in the various places mentioned with those commanders who were mentioned
14 there; 2nd, 3rd, and 4th?
15 A. I don't know Ramiz Habibovic. Suad Smajlovic, this is the guy
16 whose nickname was Sosun, and if that was him, then that existed.
17 Sabahudin Jusic, I don't know him, I've never heard of him.
18 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, to get back to the question that was
19 actually asked of you in court, Madam Vidovic was asking you about this
20 very entry and about the last entry, the 5th Company based in Srebrenica,
21 you, as commander. That is what she was asking you about.
22 And she asked you if Mr. Safet Mujic has ever actually been your
23 commander. In fact she put it to you that he had not.
24 And you answered: "Well, there were some attempts to that effect,
25 but I don't know. I would say not. There were attempts at organising
1 that, but I can't really claim that he was my commander, because he was
2 never in a position to order me anything whatsoever. So if I may just
3 clarify. There had been attempts as I was saying ..." And then you said,
4 "... yes, there had been attempts to that effect, but I don't think they
5 were successful."
6 Now my question is simply this: What attempts were made to
7 organise Safet Mujic as your commander, the commander over you? What were
8 you talking about when you answered Madam Vidovic's question?
9 A. Well, one day this guy Safet appeared and told me that he was my
10 commander, and I just chased him out. I asked him what kind of a
11 commander are you? And then he said that the Staff had appointed him. I
12 did not recognise that Staff. This did not apply to me. Whether this
13 took off the ground anywhere else, I don't know. In any case, it did not
14 mean anything to me.
15 He came to me, to my office to inform me of that. There was no
16 written order to that effect. He was a young guy, and when he came to me,
17 I just threw him out of the office. As simple as that. So when I replied
18 to Madam Vidovic's question, I thought that he was referring to the month
19 of September. However, when I looked at the document, I realised that
20 this report was drafted and painted a nice picture to present to the
21 Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina or the Supreme Command in order to
22 establish the 28th Division, and that was the sole purpose of this pretty
23 picture that was painted in this document.
24 Q. You referred to the picture that is painted in this document. And
25 that it was done in order to present it to the Presidency of Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina or the Supreme Command. Do you say that because you actually
2 have any hard fact or information that that is what the intent was behind
3 this document, or are you saying that because that's what you -- that is
4 your opinion?
5 A. There were some talks about the establishment of the 28th
6 Division, and since this is not -- this does not reflect the situation on
7 the ground, I spoke to Naser as the chief of the public security station,
8 I asked him what he was doing, whether these people up there would think
9 that we indeed had a division. Do you know what the division means?
10 I advised him as much as I could, as if I had been his brother. I
11 don't know how he took my advice, but I adhere by what I just said and
12 this was the situation that was on the ground.
13 Q. Thank you. All right. You were asked -- let me rephrase this.
14 During the course of your testimony you mentioned a place called Azlica
15 during the cross-examination on Friday. You mentioned a place calls
16 Azlica. Where is Azlica in relation to Zaluzje?
17 A. I have never heard of anything like that. It doesn't ring a bell.
18 Maybe this is the area where the subregion [Realtime transcript read in
19 error "region"] was supposed to be organised. I was not involved in any
20 of this. I know that some other people tried to organise something and I
21 am not sure that this was successful. There was always attempts at
22 organising some subregions. I have never heard of this in the region of
23 Srebrenica. I don't know all the places. Maybe you can jog my memory.
24 Maybe you can tell me what happened there. As it is, it doesn't ring any
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Vidovic.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologize. I don't
3 like to interrupt, however, the witness was talking and said, "Maybe it is
4 there where people tried to establish a subregion," and the only thing
5 that was recorded is "region" which doesn't mean anything. And as opposed
6 to a subregion, which means a lot in this case.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Subregion. This is what it was
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Stop, stop, both of you, please. The question was a
10 very simple one and it is unbelievable how this witness manages to answer
11 on a tangent all the time.
12 The question was: "In relation to Zaluzje, where is Azlica?"
13 This was the question. It's a very simple question. Azlica.
14 A. This was not the original interpretation. The interpretation said
15 whether I know whether there is Azlica or something similar, that's why I
16 said this didn't ring any bells. The interpretation was whether I heard
17 of Azlica or something similar, and I said no.
18 I was not avoiding the answer. I know where Azlica is; it's close
19 to Zalazje in the direction of Sase. And as to the other place with a
20 similar name, I don't know of it. Maybe the Prosecutor can repeat that
21 other name and maybe that will clarify the matter.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: The question was a very simple one and you have
23 answered it now in relation to Zaluzje where is Azlica, and we can look at
24 the map that we have here and it's just a couple of kilometres away, to
25 the south-east of Zaluzje.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Your Honour can see it?
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, of course.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. Fine. I'm grateful for that.
4 Q. Okay, so in cross-examination you were asked this: "Question: I
5 mentioned a certain battle, and the participation on your and Zulfo's part
6 in a certain battle. Quite simply, Zulfo was free to decide whether he
7 wanted to join in or not; is that correct?"
8 And you answered: "If you're asking a question about Azlica, he
9 went and he lost between three or five people at the very beginning and
10 then he left straight away. He didn't do anything at all. So, yes, he
11 could. He was not accountable to anyone."
12 MR. JONES: I wonder if we could have a reference.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I do remember it, but...
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Page 13.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Which date?
16 MR. DI FAZIO: 8th of April, 2005.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: 8th of April.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: 2005 of the transcript that I have, if Your Honours
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Di Fazio, and I thank you,
21 Mr. Jones as well. Because it's -- we have to rely upon both of you.
22 MR. DI FAZIO:
23 Q. Now, when you were giving that answer, you were talking, were you
24 not, about the third attack on Zaluzje that you testified about?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Can you explain to the Trial Chamber how they should reconcile
2 what you said in your examination-in-chief, to the effect that Mr. Oric
3 was in command of that operation, with this answer that you provided in
4 your cross-examination, namely that Mr. Zulfo was not accountable to
6 A. As far as I can remember, the question was whether he reported to
7 anybody. At that moment, he did not report to anybody. You're talking
8 about a different place, Razlica is outside of the place where this action
9 took place. Yes, it happened on the same day, but those two places were
10 not close and there was no communication between the two of them. Later
11 on, we learned that Zulfo had withdrawn his men and my men were together
12 with Mr. Oric who was up there. And I'm talking about Zalazje. I am not
13 talking about Azlica, A-z-l-i-c-a. Azlica was the place that Zulfo indeed
14 did abandon, and I hope I've made myself clear.
15 At the beginning I said that when I went to the meeting and when
16 Naser came to meet at Domavija asking whether my men would join, he told
17 me Zulfo's men would not be with us because Zulfo's men are assigned to go
18 to Azlica, and that's how I learned about that. If I hadn't heard that I
19 wouldn't be able to talk about that.
20 Q. The action that Mr. Tursonovic was engaged in at Azlica, did it
21 occur on the same day as the third attack on Zaluzje?
22 A. I've just said that it was on the same day, at the same time.
23 Q. How far apart are these two places, approximately?
24 A. I wouldn't know how far as the crow flies, but I would say it is
25 about anything between one and two kilometres. It shouldn't be more than
2 MR. JONES: Your Honour, may I --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Jones.
4 MR. JONES: This is -- again this problem results from not being
5 referred to the transcript. I was checking to see whether in
6 examination-in-chief the witness did say that Oric commanded the attack.
7 In fact the evidence is much more complicated and in fact he never said
8 that Mr. Oric was in charge of the attack. He was asked whether he knew
9 who commanded the attack and he didn't -- he didn't answer.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: This formula has always been, well, if Mr. Oric was
11 there, it would be him who --
12 MR. JONES: Yes. There may be some speculation. But if my
13 colleague could refer to each time where the evidence is given, then we
14 can check and see whether that is in fact what was said.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Page 6808 and 6809 of the transcript.
16 MR. JONES: We need LiveNote references really. We have the
17 computers, we don't have the finalised transcripts.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm sorry. I do. That's what I have in front of
19 me, I don't have it at the moment, and it's pretty clear what was said
21 "Who? Who did they have to obey during the attack? You weren't
23 "Well, they had to obey Ziga and Ziga had to obey someone. I
24 mean on the basis of my conversation with Naser, I sent him with Naser and
25 it was up to him to decide who was to do what. They were acting in
1 cooperation, but somebody would have had to command, to be in command,
2 because otherwise the action wouldn't have been successful.
3 "Question: Well, with respect, that makes perfect sense. Do you
4 know who it was, who that someone who would have had to command, do you
5 know who the someone actually was? I'm not talking about the localised
6 actions. I'm talking about the entire operation.
7 "Answer: Well, since Naser was up there, Naser obviously. Who
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's proceed.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: That's pretty clear to me.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we can ultimately, at the end of the day,
12 make our assessment.
13 MR. DI FAZIO:
14 Q. So you've heard the quote that I put, that I have just read out,
15 Mr. Meholjic. Now, my question is this: Bearing in mind what you told
16 the court in examination-in-chief, can you explain to the Court what you
17 said in cross-examination, namely that Mr. Tursonovic went to Azlica,
18 which is part of the Zaluzje attack, he didn't do anything and he wasn't
19 accountable to anyone.
20 A. You said Zaluzje. It is not Zaluzje. It is Zalazje - or at
21 least, this is what I received in interpretation. At that moment...
22 At that moment he did not report to anybody. He was not
23 accountable by anybody. He did abandon this action that he was supposed
24 to be in charge of, but he was not taken to task for that. And when I say
25 he was not taken to task, I mean there were no consequences and this is
1 the kind of responsibility I'm referring to. I'm referring -- I don't
2 know whether he was subordinated to anybody, or not. I wouldn't know
4 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Let me intervene here with a very
5 simple question. Taking into consideration the importance of the attack
6 on Zalazje, which was basically the third time that you were trying, why
7 on earth would someone dream of sending Tursonovic and his men to engage
8 in battle somewhere else and not join in with the forces that were needed
9 on the third onslaught on Zalazje? Why would he go two kilometers away
10 and engage the enemy or engage in an action two kilometres away? I think
11 in military terms I do understand, but I want it from you.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am not trying to lecture anybody
13 nor can I do that. At the meeting that was held in Naser's house, I was
14 not there. I don't know what agreement had been reached. Naser told me
15 that only in the evening, after that meeting. And if you remember well, I
16 was not allowed to attend although I had been invited. Zulfo wouldn't
17 allow me to attend, I left, and I really don't know what agreements they
18 had reached and what they had done at the meeting.
19 I only know what Mr. Oric subsequently told me, and he asked me to
20 give him my men. This is something that I can discuss, this is something
21 that I can talk about in a sensible way. The rest is speculation. I did
22 not attend that meeting, and I don't know what the agreement was, what his
23 strategy was. Maybe somebody else was to be engaged but I wouldn't know
24 that. I only know what Mr. Oric told me later on.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Di Fazio.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
2 Q. Move on. You were asked questions by Madam Vidovic about Hamdija
3 -- sorry, about Akif Ustic. Page 13 and 14.
4 And you were talking about the episode where Mr. Ustic went off
5 and acted by himself in an attack and was wounded. And you said this:
6 "Question: In the same way you mentioned yesterday that Akif
7 Ustic went into action on his own initiative and, according to your
8 opinion, without Naser's knowledge.
9 "Answer: He did. And I minded. I mean, I said, okay, if Naser
10 didn't know, fine. But Hamdija and myself, we didn't know either. And we
11 were supposed to be his subordinates, and he doesn't tell his company
12 commanders what he was doing and then he ends up wounded or loses between
13 eight or 12 people in such an action. Well, this was a disaster."
14 And then later in, you were asked by Defence counsel: "Isn't it
15 true that your opinion is that Akif did things upon his own initiative
16 without informing Naser, at any rate without asking for any permission
17 from Naser?"
18 And you said: "Yes. And that's what he did when he went to
19 Zalazje, and he took his men there and about 20 people were killed and he
20 himself was killed. He was just doing everything on his own initiative
21 and that's when he messed up as well."
22 So twice you mentioned that a disaster occurred when a commander
23 acted independently, and on another occasion, he "messed up when he acted
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, your question? Is it --
1 MR. DI FAZIO: I haven't finished yet.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm drawing your attention, Mr. Di Fazio, that while
3 you were reading from the transcript, the witness was clearly disagreeing
4 with what you were reading. So we may encounter a problem with the
5 interpretation of what you were reading or what he said. So we will need
6 to clear that first and foremost.
7 MR. DI FAZIO: I've got the transcript here and it may -- it goes
8 through several interpretations.
9 Q. But the essence of what you were saying was that this fellow, Akif
10 Ustic, acting by himself, resulted in what you called a disaster and what
11 you called "messing things up."
12 Now, did you ever speak to any of the Srebrenica Staff or anyone
13 in the military in Srebrenica about commanders acting independently,
14 resulting in disasters and messing up of actions?
15 A. I would like to make a few corrections. I was not the superior to
16 Akif. That's not what I said, ever. Akif had actions with his men, about
17 20 of them, and he attacked a huge area without our knowledge, his nearest
18 co-workers. So I stated that things were being hidden from me and that I
19 couldn't talk about what they were doing. But I know that Akif was acting
20 on his own initiative. And he went -- he attacked Zalazje, not Zaluzje,
21 and he lost some men there. He had gone to that village to fetch some
22 stuff, but he was caught -- he was caught in an ambush by Serbian forces
23 and that's where the losses occurred.
24 So the dead bodies were later on exchanged but things were being
25 hidden from me. I had no contact with those things, and the lady should
1 know that many things were in fact being hidden from me.
2 Q. Mr. Meholjic, that's fine. I don't actually need the details of
3 the actual attacks itself. It's your comments that I am interested in.
4 You're talking about two occasions, two separate occasions where a
5 commander acts independently and a disaster, to use your words, your
6 words, a disaster results, and secondly when there is a mess up again.
7 So what I'm asking you is this: Did you ever convey any concerns
8 to anyone in the military, in Srebrenica, about the disaster and the
9 messes that were being created when commanders acted independently, or at
10 least when Mr. Ustic acted independently?
11 A. Mr. Ustic was my battalion commander. That's what I said. But at
12 the same time, he was the battalion commander and the deputy of Naser
13 Oric. So they should know better. He was my superior, so he was not
14 obliged to inform me. I think that's clear.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we have something radically wrong with the
16 interpretation here, because it's...
17 I mean, it is obvious that your question was not interpreted well
18 to the witness. I don't believe that the witness did not understand it.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: I will try. I will try a more direct approach.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Please do. If you're not successful, I will do it
22 MR. DI FAZIO:
23 Q. It's a very simple matter, Mr. Meholjic. You're talking about
24 Akif Ustic and you've given two examples where he goes off and acts by
25 himself independently, and in both cases you describe the results as
1 either a disaster or messing up.
2 Now, did you ever speak to the Srebrenica TO or military
3 commanders in the Srebrenica enclave about precisely that, commanders
4 acting independently where disasters result and situations are messed up?
5 That's all.
6 A. No, I didn't. They all knew what was going on, and so did
7 Mr. Oric. It was not my obligation to inform anybody of such things,
8 because they were not trifles.
9 Q. Thank you. I will move on.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: Page 25, if Your Honours please, of the transcript.
11 Again from Friday.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you able to follow, Mr. Jones?
13 MR. JONES: Yes, with those references.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
15 MR. DI FAZIO:
16 Q. I would just remind you of the evidence.
17 "Question: There were no circumstances or conditions in place
18 that would enable the commander to exercise the effective control over the
19 troops that were supposed to be subordinated to him?
20 "Answer: No."
21 Question, I think it should be: "When you say 'no,' does that
22 mean that you confirm my statement?
23 "Answer: Yes, I do. There was nothing in place to provide for an
24 efficient control. Not even the organised -- something -- of the United
25 States cannot control all of its troops, let alone us. We were not
1 organised. Secondly, there was no corps. There was no mechanism to
2 punish a soldier. You could only beat him or chase him out of your ranks.
3 There were no institutions as such in place."
4 Now, you've testified about going to meetings of the Srebrenica TO
5 for pre-planning sessions and on other occasions sending Velid, your
6 subordinate, to such planning sessions.
7 As far as you are concerned or you are aware, were those planning
8 sessions designed to organise and marshal forces during the course of
10 A. The question is not really clear, but I will answer it to my
11 understanding. At the meetings I attended, responsibilities were given
12 out for actions -- for future actions. But I was not present when that
13 was done. I was only informed we had a meeting today, we're going there,
14 you're coming from this side, the others will do that, and the third guy
15 will do this, and that was all. There was nothing for me to say or
16 comment about that. So I was not present at meetings where decisions were
17 made about the -- about what should be done against someone and how. So I
18 didn't partake in that. I only was included later -- involved later. I
19 don't know whether I was clear enough. If the question had been clearer
20 to me, I may have been able to give a clearer answer. I've answered to --
21 to the best of my understanding.
22 Q. The general thrust of your evidence both in-chief and in
23 cross-examination was that the fighters in the Srebrenica area were poorly
24 equipped. My question is this: Were these planning sessions, the ones
25 that you attended -- the few that you attended -- were they attempts, or
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 did you observe any attempts to organise and control, through those
2 planning sessions, what was going to happen during the actual attack
3 itself? Military action, whatever you want to call it.
4 A. Well, probably about matters of control, what should be done at
5 some place, yes. But about uniforms or other provisions, there was no
6 discussion about that. I don't know if I understood you well.
7 MR. DI FAZIO: All right. We'll move on. Page 30 and 31, if Your
8 Honours please.
9 Q. You were being asked questions about men coming and going from
10 your units and asking about -- questions about the fighters. And then you
11 were asked this question and gave this answer:
12 "In other words, in Srebrenica, in the course of 1992 until the
13 demilitarisation, people acted on a voluntary basis. Am I right in saying
14 that? And that this was the case even up to the end of the war?
15 "Answer: Yes."
16 Now you appear there to be saying that the fighters under your
17 control and within the enclave, the Srebrenica enclave, right up until the
18 end of the war, acted on a voluntary basis.
19 In the action in Zalazje, were your men free to leave the action
20 at any time that they wished during the course of it?
21 A. No. If I may, I would like to clarify. Voluntary is, if you want
22 to be a soldier, all right. A soldier in the army, for lack of a better
23 word. But if you become a soldier, then there must be order, otherwise it
24 would be chaotic. If you want to be a soldier under my command, all
25 right. If you don't want to, get lost. About volunteers, it's -- the
1 matter is that if someone decides to leave, I have no way of holding him
2 back. I'm not sure about these -- this linguistic point. There is this
3 -- voluntary participation is one thing, and the other -- another thing
4 is being drafted by the State. But even when you join as a volunteer, you
5 must obey certain things, do things that are told to you.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I wonder if you can take it a step further and save
7 me having to put the question later on.
8 Taking you back to the question that Mr. Di Fazio asked you.
9 You've answered that this volunteer system, voluntary system basically
10 boiled down to the ability of an individual to decide whether to form part
11 of your unit, or not. And no one was forced to become part of your unit.
12 And that I have perfectly understood.
13 Now, let's take it to a step between what you were asked by Mr. Di
14 Fazio, that is: Once a soldier under your command is engaged in an
15 action, can he, at that point in time, during the action, decide to
16 withdraw simply because he is a volunteer and not a regularly enrolled
17 soldier? And I take you back to the time when you are going to ask that
18 soldier to form part of the unit which will be engaged in the attack
19 tomorrow, or today. If you asked that soldier: Tomorrow you are going to
20 be engaged in the action that we are going to have in Zalazje, was he free
21 to tell you, Mr. Meholjic, or Capo, Commander, I'm very sorry, tomorrow I
22 can't, I will not join the unit tomorrow? Or had he to obey your command,
23 your order?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm talking only about my men. No,
25 they were not -- in no position to refuse.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. Sorry, would Your Honours just bear
3 with me for one moment, I just want to...
4 Okay, thank you. Page 32, if Your Honours please.
5 Q. You were -- very shortly thereafter, you were still being asked
6 questions about this topic by Defence counsel. And you were asked this
8 "It is a fact, is it not, that local commanders kept their command
9 of their men?
10 "Answer: I know that I did."
11 Firstly, on that particular point, I will just repeat the question
12 that was put by Madam Vidovic and see if you can provide an answer: "Is
13 it true that local commanders -- not just you, but other local commanders
14 -- kept their command of their men?"
15 MR. JONES: There's two things, really. One, I think this is
16 would be an appropriate time to caution the witness not to speculate
17 obviously. It's only if he knows.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: He has been told several times and he knows because
19 there were many occasions when he said, "There is no speculation. I won't
20 speculate" without being prompted to do so.
21 MR. JONES: Yes. Secondly, I remember when this question was put,
22 I'm not sure if the interpretation was perfect, but in any event the
23 emphasis was -- kept on about their men and as for the next question as
24 well, had power over his men. The emphasis was not on had command but had
25 command over their men only, in other words. That was the question which
1 was put, the gist of it.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Not the question that I see written here. I see it
3 written in black and white.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: There is a difference, definitely.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: There is a big difference. Another question that
6 is here in the transcript: "It is a fact, is it not, that local
7 commanders kept their command of their men?"
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
9 MR. JONES: Obviously the original question was in Bosnian so as
10 to emphasis and just the exact wording, if there is a dispute we might
11 need to go back to that, but as to where the emphasis is placed --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: We can go back to the recording, about there is
13 nowhere else or nothing else that we can go back to. But for the time
14 being, if that is what the transcript says, that's what your question will
15 relate to.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: If that's not the case, in other words if the
18 witness remembers that that was not the question that was asked of him,
19 then he's free to say so. I mean, it's... He's the witness.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. So you've heard that. The question was: "Is it a fact that local
22 commanders kept their command of their men?
23 "Answer: I know that I did."
24 Now my question is this, what about the other local commanders,
25 did they keep their command of their men?
1 A. Well, they kept it anyway, because when they accept to go into an
2 action, they were in a position to rely upon being able to lead their men
3 into the action, otherwise it wouldn't have made sense. But I wasn't in
4 -- didn't have contact with other people, nor did they contact me, in
5 such a way as for me to know that there was disobedience anywhere. They
6 must know about those things better than I. Where I can say or talk about
7 things, I will. But I won't speculate.
8 There were people deserting. There was all sorts of things going
9 on, but action was taken against them. So I am not trying to duck the
11 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Di Fazio, I'm sorry. But did the
12 situation fluctuate, vary, at any time between -- the situation that you
13 are describing, was it always the same throughout the period April 1992 to
14 April 1993, or did it change? Did it fluctuate? Because we are talking
15 of a whole year, an entire year here where the structure itself changed.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me tell you. As time progressed
17 there was better order. So as time progressed, things got better and we
18 knew more than before, so things were improving, in my opinion. Because
19 at the beginning there were instances where I didn't accept and then later
20 on I did accept some things. So there was -- discipline was going
22 JUDGE AGIUS: When would you say, at what particular period of
23 time -- again we're talking of between April 1992 and April 1993 when you
24 have the demilitarisation, during this year, when did the situation that
25 you described really start changing?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, really it was in autumn when
2 it started getting better. That's my opinion. And in autumn until the
3 Serbian offensive, then things were getting loose again.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio, back to you.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
6 Q. Next question you were asked was this: "Realistically speaking,
7 Naser had real command, command power over his men, did he? Or did he
9 "Answer: Yes, he did. He had power over his men. He did not
10 have power elsewhere."
11 Now, can you explain to the Trial Chamber how they should consider
12 that evidence in the light of your evidence in-chief where you said that
13 in the Zalazje action you subordinated your men to Mr. Oric's command.
14 A. If I understood you well, there are two questions here. One is
15 whether Naser Oric exerted control over his men, and I meant that men from
16 Potocari and I answered "yes" to that question, and I also added that I
17 had control over my men, who were at the Domavija with me.
18 The other question was, if I understood you well, how or whether I
19 had subordinated my men to Mr. Oric, or maybe the -- or perhaps it would
20 be good for you to repeat that question to me. I'm not sure I understood
21 it well, the second question.
22 Q. Okay. You were making a distinction. You were asked about
23 command power over his men, did he have it, and you said, yes, he did. He
24 had power over his men, but he did not have power elsewhere. Now in the
25 context of the answer, correct me if I'm wrong but I assume you were
1 saying, he did not have power over other armed forces or grouping within
2 the Srebrenica enclave. That's the obvious reading, I suggest. So that's
3 what I'm asking you about: Power over other armed groupings in the
5 A. The question is still unclear to me, but here is what I said:
6 Direct control, this is what I tried to distinguish, but I wouldn't have
7 participated in the action if I hadn't been clear about what was whose
8 responsibility. If -- so it had to be clear who was authorised to say,
9 let's stop the action. Could I say let's stop? So what -- I don't know
10 what they agreed in the Staff, but what the Staff -- what the Staff
11 assigned to me as my responsibility, then I did it or sent my men to do
12 it. And so Naser could have said, "Let's retreat, guys. No go." There
13 was nothing unclear about that. At that moment, Naser had control over my
14 men to, as for example, order a retreat, and they would have obeyed. I
15 hope I was clear about this.
16 Q. You were. You were very clear in examination-in-chief. I don't
17 have any problems. I understood what you said and you seem to have
18 essentially repeated what you said. It's what you said in
19 cross-examination that I'm concerned about. You said this: "He had power
20 over his men. He did not have power elsewhere."
21 Now, in the Zalazje attack that you've spoken of, he had command
22 control over your men, did he not?
23 Now was that the only occasion that you know of where Mr. Oric had
24 command power over other men? Is that how we are to understand your
1 MR. JONES: There are two questions. I don't know which one he
2 wants the witness to answer.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's see whether he can answer them.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I still don't understand. Whether
5 on other occasions he had control over other people. Every commander --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's --
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I will cut it short. Just one
8 more sentence: Every commander is the person who is most responsible for
9 his men, and those who were subordinated to the TO staff should have been
10 under control. Whether they in fact were or were not, I cannot say. He
11 knows best whether he was in a position to control everybody, or those
12 people on the Staff. I am trying to say -- or I -- that I have been far
13 from the Staff. I haven't participated in the decision. I wasn't allowed
14 anywhere near. Because the crucial question about the establishment of
15 the subregion and so on, nobody ever asked me about that nor involved me
16 in any way.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. Page 43, if Your Honours please.
18 Q. You were being asked questions by Defence counsel over the
19 influence that Naser Oric had as a commander. And you were asked this:
20 "If we set aside for a moment the influence that Naser Oric would
21 have had to have as a commander, keeping in mind his actual influence,
22 could you agree that his influence on the occasion of these meetings, the
23 meetings that you yourself attended, was not greater than Zulfo's, for
25 And then you answered: "If I may, I would just like to point out
1 -- I'm going to answer your question. When I said it wasn't --" I will
2 take you to -- I will take you to the relevant portion of the answer. You
3 answered this: "This is why I said in the beginning that Naser Oric was
4 not the person who was the appropriate choice of commander, because there
5 were problems with people. You had to get them under control. I had no
6 -- there was nothing personal I had against him but I felt it was a bad
7 idea to put a person in that position and he was not up to it."
8 Now the part of the answer that I am interested in is this: Can
9 you explain to the Trial Chamber why it was necessary to get them under
10 control? And I take it you're referring to the TO Staff. Explain to the
11 Trial Chamber why it was necessary to get control of them.
12 A. Again, I don't understand your question. However, if we are
13 talking about Zulfo or anybody else, I believe that there should have been
14 discipline. Discipline should have been put in place. There should have
15 been rules applied, military court should have been established, as well
16 as the structures of civilian authorities, and that would have guaranteed
17 a success, because every discipline is a guarantee of success. However,
18 things were done in quite a disorder and it was pointless for anybody to
19 take things upon themselves without being able to carry things through.
20 And this did not have a bad reflection on the Serbian forces, it had a bad
21 reflection and consequences on us, because we were not organised and it
22 was the Presidency and the TO Staff which largely contributed to our state
23 of lack of organisation.
24 Q. If you will turn to another area you were asked questions about
25 the court system and legal system, if any, that was in place in Srebrenica
1 in the relevant years. Madam Vidovic asked you this: "It is true, is it
2 not, Mr. Meholjic, that you would have filed criminal reports for the
3 crimes, including war crimes, providing that you had any sort of reliable
4 information and evidence to the effect that these crimes had been
5 committed irrespective of the fact who had committed them. Am I right?
6 "Yes, you're right. But somebody would have had to inform --
7 inform me about that. I would have had to obtain information in order for
8 the investigation to be carried out."
9 So, Mr. Meholjic, if you had been informed that in the Srebrenica
10 enclave Muslim fighters were murdering people, setting fire to barns,
11 slaughtering pigs, setting fire to people's houses, would you have
12 investigated that?
13 A. I would have, if the military command had provided me with some
14 information. They were supposed to assist me with that. We took upon
15 ourselves a huge responsibility since there was no military court, there
16 was no military police until later on. And the situation was that we had
17 the army, but at the same time we didn't have the army. It's a very
18 complicated issue and it's very difficult to explain things in light of
19 the circumstances that were in place. But, to answer your question, we
20 certainly would have done something. Maybe we wouldn't have done things
21 completely, but we certainly would have done things, even under the
23 Q. All right. Yes, thank you.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: No further questions.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Di Fazio. There are some questions
1 from the Bench. I would invite first Judge Brydensholt. Judge
3 Questioned by the Court:
4 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: I'm going first to ask you about the attacks
5 where you or your men participated. Were you told, when you were asked to
6 participate or to provide men for such an attack, were you told what is
7 the goal, what should be achieved during this attack? You have mentioned,
8 as far as I remember, two things. One was to get some food for your own
9 men but also for the general population in Srebrenica. You have also
10 mentioned that a goal could be, on other occasions, to enable people who
11 has been living away from their homes to return to harvest and probably to
12 live there in order to diminish the pressure on Srebrenica.
13 First of all, is that rightly understood? Are those goals which
14 you were told and were aware of?
15 A. This is what I knew and these were the goals.
16 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Were there other goals? For instance, as part
17 of making it possible for Muslims to return to their own homes, to make it
18 impossible for the Serbians to return to their villages? Was that a goal
19 which were discussed?
20 A. Well, let me tell you one thing: Our mentality and the curse of
21 that people, irrespective of their religion or -- is such that it was very
22 difficult for Muslims to return to a village if that village had once
23 fallen and if there were Serbs in the vicinity. I'm not saying that all
24 the Serbs are criminals, but the Muslims would be afraid that maybe the
25 following night they would be attacked. And the same applied to the
1 Serbs. I claim that none of us have -- nothing against the Serbs. We did
2 not take to the arms in order to cleanse the territory. We took to the
3 arms in order to survive and to save our hides. I was not even interested
4 in whether the state of Bosnia would survive. What I wanted to do was to
5 leave Bosnia, but if we are talking about Voljevica and Zalazje, those are
6 two Muslim places. And people who were in my unit and in other units
7 wanted to go back to their homes. They wanted to be able to continue
8 living there. They wanted to continue their defence in their respective
9 villages, and I believe that I have already said that in my testimony that
10 at one point an issue -- an order had been issued that all the people
11 from these areas should withdraw and form their own units, because they
12 insisted on that and this was allowed to them. They were given weapons.
13 I know how it was in my unit. I complied with the orders of that
14 Presidency. I didn't think much of them, but I gave them my men and they
15 went to the vicinity of Bratunac. They were there for a while, then they
16 were attacked and that's how it all ended. They were expelled and that
17 was it. I don't know whether I've made myself clear.
18 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: When your men participated in an action, were
19 you aware that civilians -- not soldiers -- civilians were following your
20 men during an attack? Did that happen? Was this regular?
21 A. Let me tell you this: I don't know what the number of the
22 document is that was provided to me, but when we're talking about Fakovici
23 where I did not participate but I had participated in the meeting, I said
24 at that meeting that the action -- that there had been a leak about the
25 action. The people, because there were so many problems, they followed us
1 with bags in order to look for a piece of bread and that's how we ended
2 with problems with the dead and the wounded, because people are following
3 us with bags in order to get some food. And I believe that this was our
4 best attempt to organise horses and other things, to help these people.
5 But the people just started moving even before us. I did not participate
6 in the action, but I was observing the situation closely and I believe
7 that as many as 5.000 people with bags, like carpet baggers, went to the
8 area in order to get some food. It was very chaotic. It was not
9 organised. Although it was the best attempt at organisation. Maybe if
10 those things had been prevented from the very start, maybe the civilians
11 would not have taken part in those actions, but once the floodgate was
12 open, there was no stopping it. Although, for example, a soldier sleeps
13 at home and says to his brother, his wife: Tomorrow there will be an
14 action so you can join to get food. Everybody knew when the action would
15 take place. There was no secrets. There was a leak every time, before
16 every action. It was a public secret, so to speak.
17 And then sometimes they would leave a day before us, they would
18 spend the night in the woods. They would hide in the woods. They would
19 sit there and wait for the army to launch the action. Sometimes they
20 would be here much more -- much before the army. They knew about the
21 action sometimes even before the rest of the army.
22 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Okay, thank you. Then I will turn to the
23 situation regarding the prisoners in Srebrenica. You said that you, in
24 this period during the war in 1992/1993, you were not allowed to enter the
25 SUP building, the police building. Is that rightly understood?
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Why was that? Could you explain that to me,
3 why could you, as a commander and a former police officer, not go to this
4 particular building?
5 A. I couldn't go because in that situation I was considered a Serbian
6 man. I don't know what. There are lots of discord, and that's why I said
7 that many things had been hidden from me. When I say "many things," I
8 mean I don't know what had been agreed. I was not clear on things. I was
9 not desirable. And some people even considered me a good target. I was
10 supposed to be murdered on several occasions. My view was that I should
11 move as little as possible and that I should not go there in the first
13 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Were you aware that from a certain time in the
14 autumn of 1992 there was a distinction -- at least from that time, there
15 was a distinction between civil and military police and where, if that was
16 so, were they placed?
17 A. For a while everybody was in the police station and then for a
18 while they were divided. Some of them were close to the corps. But I
19 don't know exactly. In any case, they were under one roof when I arrived.
20 When I arrived to take over the police station, that's when they were all
21 under one roof. That's all I can say.
22 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Yes, they were under one roof. Were they on
23 separate floors? Was there any separation at all between military and
24 civil police, as far as you could see, in April 1993?
25 A. I'm sorry to say this, but I did not arrive at the police station.
1 I arrived at a pigsty. There was no inscriptions on the doors; there was
2 nothing there. Nothing. Believe me. When I arrived, I did not come
3 looking for money. There was no money to -- there. I wanted to restore
4 order. There was no order, and I wanted to restore order because I live
5 there. When I arrived there, I did not even have to take my appointment
6 as the chief. I first came to talk to Rashid, who was the head of the
7 crime squad before the war, and Ibro, who was the police commander even
8 before the war. I wanted to hear from them that we would be able to set
9 up a team the way I wanted it. If they had not agreed to that - and they
10 did - I would not have joined the police station.
11 Taib is still alive. He was there before my arrival. He was a
12 member of the police for four or five months before my arrival. He was
13 the commander of the civilian police. He replaced Nurija. That's what I
14 found there. I talked to him. I asked him whether there were any papers,
15 any documents, anything. There was no paper trail of what had been done.
16 As when I was finally appointed, when I took the duty, I reported to the
17 minister of the Drina district, the minister of the interior, whose name
18 was Hazim Vrancic. I used the communication means to talk to him.
19 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Then there was -- I understand that before the
20 war you didn't have any prison in Srebrenica. You said that. But then a
21 prison was organised behind the court building, as far as I understand.
22 Do you have any knowledge who had the responsibility for that place? You
23 mentioned -- you have used the word "the prison police." Did you have any
24 specific prison police or is that something you just thought of but didn't
25 know? We have not heard of any prison police before.
1 A. Please, I've told you in my testimony. When I arrived and when I
2 became the chief of police and when I joined the Presidency, I asked for a
3 court to be established through the minister of justice, and I also wanted
4 the prison police to be established by the minister of justice. The
5 Ministry of Justice issued a decision appointing judges, the Prosecutors,
6 and the police. The commander of that police was a teacher. I can't
7 remember his name, but in any case, he was commander of the branch of the
8 Tuzla prison, because in the former system all the prisons belonged to the
9 respective courts.
10 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Yes. I am aware what you have explained
11 regarding the period after April 1993. But during the period before that,
12 who was, in your opinion, responsible for what was going on in what was
13 used as a prison? Do you have any knowledge of that?
14 JUDGE AGIUS: In Srebrenica.
15 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Yes.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. Who was responsible? Well, it
17 should have been the Presidency and the staff. If there had been a
18 prison, I don't know where it was. I don't know where the prison was, if
19 there was any.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Judge Eser.
21 JUDGE ESER: Mr. Meholjic, I just would like to come back once
22 more to the recruiting of groups. You told us that about 60 to 100 men
23 followed your command. And how did you recruit these people? How did you
24 mention that you got these people together?
25 A. At the beginning of my testimony, I said that most of these men
1 were reserve policemen. After the ultimatum when we were asked to hand
2 over our weapons, we decided to take to the woods. I did not recruit
3 anybody. Everybody could go home, surrender, flee, or whatever. But one
4 group of people took to the woods with me and this is the core of my
5 future unit. This is not recruitment. A few of them later on fled to
6 Tuzla, some went home, some came to ask me whether they could join me. I
7 said, yes, of course you can. And that's how things happened. There was
8 no recruitment as such. I did not recruit anybody.
9 JUDGE ESER: We also heard about other groups. To your knowledge,
10 did they come together or get together in the same way as your group?
11 A. I don't know how they did that, how they recruited people. In any
12 event, I believe that it was all on a voluntary basis because there was no
13 institution that could have mobilised people. How they mobilised people,
14 did they force them to join or not, I don't know. I've told you already
15 that every movement was difficult. It was very difficult to move about.
16 JUDGE ESER: But even if it was on a voluntary basis to join you
17 or to join a group, you testified that it was possible to chase people out
18 of a unit. Is this to be understood in a way that you -- it was on your
19 decision to accept somebody as a member of your group, or not to accept
20 somebody as a member of your group? And if you did accept them, if
21 somebody behaved in a wrong way, that you could say "stay out of my unit"?
22 A. Yes.
23 JUDGE ESER: Now although you told us your people, your fighters
24 did not have uniforms, now you also testified that civilians would follow
25 certain actions. Now, how was it possible to distinguish men who had been
1 members of a unit from other civilians? Was it possible at all? And if
2 so, by what means did you distinguish them?
3 A. I knew my men personally. I've also explained in my testimony
4 that whenever an action was launched, we had agreed on a band that would
5 be worn, a band of a different colour that would be tied around the arm.
6 And that's how the army was marked. I mean, civilians could have done
7 that as well. Nobody prevented them from marking themselves in that way.
8 JUDGE ESER: Now, according to the testimony, it was they have not
9 been in barracks, but if there was an action to be performed, how did you
10 get in touch with each other? How did people learn that they should get
11 together in order to have some sort of action?
12 A. I don't know about the others. In my case, there was no problem.
13 I had to issue my men with a written notification. Nobody could leave
14 without a written notification signed by myself. I don't know about the
15 others, how they did it.
16 JUDGE ESER: Okay. Now, in the cross-examination, you have been
17 told or it was understood that there were agreements with regard to
18 getting together to have certain actions. And then you have been asked:
19 There was no line of command? And your answer was: "There was no line of
20 command for me."
21 Now, why did you stress "for me"? Does this mean that it may have
22 been different with regard to other people, other group leaders or
24 A. In my view, war is an evil. Nobody needs a war. One needs to
25 survive in war or sell your hide as dear as possible. When we took our
1 men into action without any prior reconnaissance, then people died. If
2 people placed their lives into my hands, it was my responsibility not to
3 take them into any madness. I didn't like the way things were done,
4 because I believe that the Staff was supposed to prepare every action with
5 everything that it entails. And when the commander is convinced that
6 everything is in place, then the commander should issue an order that an
7 action should be taken and that his men should participate in it.
8 In Srebrenica, in 1995, we had casualties because we did not have
9 good men out there. If we had been organised in a better way, I'm not
10 saying that Srebrenica would not have fallen, I'm saying that a lot of
11 more people would have been saved.
12 When I asked a gentleman from the armed forces what plan was in
13 place for an attack on Srebrenica, they said they did have a plan, that it
14 was secret. In 1995, when I was invited by the Presidency to the PTT
15 building, Ramiz was sitting there, he was sitting and substituting for
16 Naser, and he said that there was no plan at all. And Ramiz was the one
17 who prior to that said that there was a plan but that it was a military
18 secret. I was very cross. I was very angry, but what could I do at that
19 moment? So I'm talking about my part. I believed that my way of thinking
20 of the misfortune that had fallen upon us, it was good. I have given a
21 lot of statements in my life and I'm still here, but my men are not here.
22 My men who have survived are sitting at home and I'm going through all of
23 this once again.
24 I was aware at that moment that I -- that there would be some
25 responsibility discussed at one point. I had that in mind and I -- I made
1 sure that I directed my men well at that moment.
2 JUDGE ESER: Now, turning to the attack or the event of Fakovici.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. I have -- I am going to suggest -- it's
4 12:30. I was going to suggest that we finish with the questions that
5 Judge Eser has to the witness. I do not have any questions to the witness
6 myself. Maybe perhaps one. Probably not, not even that. And after that,
7 we can conclude. But that would involve proceeding for -- how many more
8 questions? About five minutes or ten minutes, maximum more, rather than
9 have a break now and start again in 25 minutes' time. Is that agreeable
10 to everyone?
11 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may correct the
12 transcript. If I understood the witness well, he said "I asked men from
13 the Presidency."
14 JUDGE AGIUS: I just want a confirmation that we can go ahead for
15 another ten minutes without a break, and I need to get the go-ahead from
16 the interpreters. Okay. I see the interpreters okay. Technicians.
17 Okay. All right. Staff? Right. Let's proceed.
18 Let's hear what Madam Vidovic wishes to point out.
19 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, a correction in the
20 transcript. I understood that the witness said as follows: "I asked a
21 gentleman from the Presidency whether there was a plan in place in case of
22 a large-scale attack." In the transcript here, it says "in the military
23 command," which is an entirely different story. Can the witness clarify?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I asked at the meeting of the
25 Presidency whether -- meaning the military command -- whether there was a
1 plan for a special situation such as the attack on Srebrenica or the
2 evacuation of the population. They said, yes, there is a plan but this is
3 a military secret, you can't know it. I had always doubted that.
4 JUDGE ESER: Back to my question with regard to Fakovici.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the judge.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Microphone, please.
7 JUDGE ESER: I'm sorry. I will come back to my question with
8 regard to Fakovici. And I refer you to your testimony where you tried to
9 explain why you did not participate. And you testified: "I mean that it
10 is not a defence operation, but you have to do what you have to do. But
11 if you are attacking, you have to make sure that you have as few victims
12 as possible."
13 Now, what is the difference between a defence operation and an
14 operation which has to be considered as an attack? What do you mean by
15 this distinction?
16 A. When you attack someone, then it's you who does the planning. So
17 how -- what you do to have as few casualties as possible. But when I'm
18 attacked I must defend myself, and I don't have a plan for that because it
19 wasn't me who decided when that attack would take place. Do you
20 understand now? Is it clear? So when I planned to attack --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Now if you have a defence operation, it is clear,
22 you want to defend something. Now, if you have an attack, what is the
23 purpose of an attacking action? What is the purpose of the attack? Or
24 what was the purpose of the attack?
25 A. It depends from case to case. Talking about Fakovici, the purpose
1 was to provide food, because there were cereals there and our people were
2 hungry. But not at any price, not at any price. So if I can't break
3 through to the place where I was supposed to go, Sefik Mandzic was killed
4 who went there with his men instead of me and they achieved nothing
5 because they got killed immediately and I didn't want to go through a
6 minefield before de-mining it. It was my opinion that the action had not
7 been prepared as it should have been and I decided not to take my people
9 JUDGE ESER: Who was supposed to take the food? The fighters or
10 the -- some other people? Who was supposed to fetch for the food?
11 A. If we are talking about this concrete case, I think it was the
12 secretary of the Secretariat of National Defence, because under our
13 regulations he was in a position to mobilise men and horses, and whoever
14 had a horse received an order from the secretary of the Secretariat of
15 National Defence, because it was his responsibility to mobilise.
16 JUDGE ESER: Now, with regard to Kravica: You also said it was an
17 event where you did not participate, and why not? Why did you not
19 A. On one occasion, Naser just told me, not at the meeting but while
20 we were sitting down together, that it would be good, since there are many
21 fighters would go, it would be better for me to stay at Srebrenica because
22 there was a possibility of an attack on Srebrenica, so that I could defend
23 Srebrenica. So I wasn't involved in either the preparation or anything
24 else with regard to Kravica and I had no contacts about that whatsoever.
25 JUDGE ESER: Now, there was also some testimony with regard to the
1 UNPROFOR people in Srebrenica in the first quarter of 1993. Are you aware
2 who was leading the negotiations with UNPROFOR?
3 A. Well probably the Presidency, Naser and Ramiz. I have no idea who
4 it was. I was far. I was out there in the field. And my responsibility
5 stopped far out. And I never came to town. Of course, it couldn't have
6 been everybody, so only somebody would, of a certain importance, and it
7 was then the Presidency, staff, and so on. So this was done.
8 JUDGE ESER: Can I deduce from the questions that you yourself
9 have not been involved in this negotiations with UNPROFOR?
10 A. No. I was ten kilometres away from Srebrenica, on the line which
11 I commanded.
12 JUDGE ESER: Now another question with regard to the election or
13 selection of Naser Oric as commander. You have been asked by the Defence
14 the following question, page 6932: "Do you agree that Naser was elected
15 or selected as a commander because he was a young, charismatic and popular
16 person?" Then you would answer: "I would rather tend to say people
17 discussed the whole issue..."
18 And your answer seemed to have been rather evasive. So may I put
19 it again. It has been asked whether he was elected because he was a
20 young, charismatic and popular person. Can you - would you confirm this
21 and, if you can confirm it, why he was considered a charismatic and
22 popular person.
23 A. I cannot confirm that. The people didn't really know him. Maybe
24 later on. But at that time we can't really say that he was popular. He
25 may have been popular with some people but not on the whole territory.
1 No, there wasn't anyone who was popular all over.
2 JUDGE ESER: You were referred to an exhibit which was referred to
3 by the Defence, that is Exhibit P162. It was information given to the
4 president of Tuzla district, signed by Hajrudin Avdic of May 25, 1993.
5 And it reads as follows -- so Exhibit 162: "Faced with that reality,
6 responsible individuals led by our legendary commander, Naser Oric,
7 organised the people for the Defence, at first in the form of sabotage
8 groups and village guards, and later gathering armed forces and creating
9 military and later civilian authority structures on the free territory of
10 Srebrenica municipality."
11 So it was a quotation from an exhibit you had already dealt with.
12 Now, would you confirm, could you confirm what was written in this
14 A. I don't know how I can confirm that, this is what it was or this
15 is what it wasn't like. I don't understand the question. If we're
16 talking about the beginning of May, how can you talk about a legendary
17 commander, because he hadn't done anything yet to become a legend.
18 JUDGE ESER: The statement is May of 1993. Not -- 1993.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: But that's -- May 1993 is when the document was
20 issued by...
21 JUDGE ESER: Okay. Would you like to add anything? If you have
22 realised that this statement was made 1993, you already had one year of
23 fighting within the area of Srebrenica, that you could confirm the
24 description which was made of Naser Oric.
25 A. Well, you see, I do not hold that opinion. I've always contested
1 it. Whoever wrote it obviously thought otherwise. That's not how I see
2 it. I wouldn't have put it that way, certainly, if it's my opinion you
3 want to hear.
4 JUDGE ESER: No further questions.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. And I have one question for you,
6 Mr. Meholjic, before we send you home. You mentioned in the course of
7 your examination-in-chief and also in the course of your cross-examination
8 that there were, at times, you had, in the Domavija hotel, stocks of
9 foodstuffs. How did you procure that foodstuff?
10 A. I will tell you. We -- at the Domavija there was some food.
11 Later on, when we went into action, we had a platoon of people who were in
12 charge of collecting food. Others would go looking for weapons, and
13 that's how we proceeded. When I came to Podravanje, I saw many pumpkins
14 and I said come on, take those pumpkins so we can made bread, pumpkin
15 bread, and this is how we procured food.
16 And there was another way. I had several engineers with me,
17 electronic engineers and others, so we set up a workshop that produced a
18 generator to drive a mill to grind food. Because at the time there were
19 no mills. Only later on some people made some. And this is how I
20 procured food. You go to a field. It's full of unpicked corn. We pick
21 it. And this is how we procured food to our fighters. And some people
22 took food home, but not my people. We did it in an orderly fashion, and
23 that's how we went about it.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you aware whether the other units that took part
25 in the various actions that were mentioned to you, also had the same
1 structure like yours did? In other words, you had -- would they have a
2 platoon of people who -- that would be in charge of collecting food and
3 another platoon of people that would go looking for weapons? Was this
4 something particular to your unit only or was it common to others as well?
5 A. The others would collect food all together, load it on a truck and
6 later sell it because food was expensive, but that's not how I did. I
7 never sold anything. I didn't care for making money, I only wanted us to
8 survive. Some commanders actually engaged in smuggling and stuff.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm not interested in that. Okay. Mr. Meholjic,
10 we've come to an end. We promised you we would finish by the end of
11 business on Monday and we have finished even before that.
12 The staff of the Tribunal will now help you to arrange for your
13 return back home and everything will be attended to.
14 On behalf of Judge Brydensholt, Judge Eser, and on my own behalf,
15 but also on behalf of the Tribunal in general, I should like to thank you
16 for having come over to give testimony in this case instituted by the
17 Prosecutor, Madam Prosecutor, against Naser Oric, and also on behalf of
18 everyone I wish you a safe journey back home.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Usher will now escort you out of the
21 courtroom. Thank you.
22 [The witness withdrew]
23 JUDGE AGIUS: So we will continue tomorrow morning, 9.00. I hope
24 Ms. Richardson will have finished with the proofing.
25 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, might it be also the afternoon instead
1 of the morning?
2 JUDGE AGIUS: It is in the afternoon tomorrow, I see. Thank you.
3 Yes, tomorrow afternoon. We will start -- I want to make sure that you
4 liaise a little bit with the Victims and Witnesses Unit, if the next
5 witness has got problems because of age or physical condition, please, I
6 want to make sure that her stay in the courtroom will be as comfortable as
7 possible for her.
8 MR. WUBBEN: Yes, Your Honour. I've been informed that they
9 already took care in that regard.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I thank you. I assumed that before I
11 spoke, but I wanted to make sure.
12 So I thank the interpreters, I thank the technicians, the staff
13 and counsel, of course, for having cooperated making it possible for us to
14 finish now at 10 to 1.00 and I will see you all tomorrow afternoon. Thank
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.50 p.m.,
17 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 12th day of April,
18 2005 at 2.15 p.m.