1 Tuesday, 31 October 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, will you please
7 call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Good afternoon. The case
9 IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic and others.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I bid afternoon to all those
11 present, the Prosecution, the Defence, the accused. We need to continue
12 our work, but before we do that, on a procedural point. The last time I
13 asked the Defence to let me know the list of documents for Witness BU.
14 You asked me for a few days to think it over. I think that perhaps now
15 you are in a position to let me know what those documents are.
16 Mr. Kovacic?
17 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you for
18 reminding us. Yes, we have checked through the documents for this
19 witness, and we do not have any documents to tender for Witness BU.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 Ms. Nozica?
22 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] We also did not tender any documents
23 for this witness.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 Madam Alaburic?
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] We don't have any documents for
2 this witness.
3 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Neither do we, Your
5 MR. KARNAVAS: None, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ibrisimovic?
7 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] We have no documents to tender.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
9 WITNESS: FAHRUDIN AGIC
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, will you please rise so
12 that you can take the solemn declaration. First, let me check that you're
13 able to follow what I'm saying in your own language. If so, tell me, "I
14 understand you."
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you please give me your
17 first and last name and date of birth.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Fahrudin Agic. I was
19 born on the 22nd of October, 1958.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your position or
21 currents occupation?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I am a professional military
23 man working in the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What rank do you have at
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm a brigadier.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you prefer us to address you
3 as mister or using your grade?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Whichever you prefer, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. I will call
6 you mister.
7 Have you testified before in an international or national court of
8 law about the events that took place in your country, or is this the first
9 time for you?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is for me the first time.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A second question: Within the
12 framework of these proceedings, you have been interrogated by the
13 investigators of the Prosecution. However, I want to ask you whether you
14 have been questioned by investigators of your own country.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Will you please read the solemn
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I solemnly declare
19 that I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. You may
21 be seated.
22 Just some points of clarification: You have already met yesterday
23 and maybe also this morning the Prosecutor, who I'm sure gave you some
24 information about the way in which these proceedings will evolve. We will
25 start with questions coming from the Prosecution, who is going to ask you
1 questions about the events of 1992 and 1993 in the region of Prozor and
2 Gornji Vakuf. It is also possible that the Judges in front of you at the
3 bench may also ask you questions, either follow-up questions or in order
4 to clarify certain points which we feel is necessary for a proper
5 understanding of the events.
6 The Prosecutor has envisaged to take the whole afternoon.
7 Tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday, you will be asked to answer questions
8 by the Defence counsels of the accused. You see that they are numerous.
9 However, in fact there is one counsel per accused who will be asking you
10 questions. It is possible, and I am quite sure that Mr. Praljak, who is
11 an accused, who was also a high-ranking military officer, will also
12 personally have some technical questions for you about those facts.
13 We have granted the right to speak to General Praljak and General
14 Petkovic, a minimum of one hour each. The rest of the time will be
15 divided up by the other accused.
16 You will note that the tone of the questions will change depending
17 on the speakers. Normally, the Prosecutor will be addressing neutral
18 questions, not leading questions, whereas the counsel of the accused will
19 be asking you questions when you will sometimes be able to answer with a
20 yes or no. The Judges have a different approach because we are seeking to
21 establish the truth. We wish to have replies to legal and factual
22 questions, and our approach is quite different, and you will realise that
23 very quickly as we will be spending together three whole days.
24 You're a high-ranking officer. You have a feeling for analysis
25 and synthesis, so when answering a question, try and be precise, because
1 as you know, in this field there is no place for approximations. Try and
2 be precise so that the Judges who need to judge and rule about the
3 relevance, reliability, and probative value of your words need to have a
4 clear understanding of what is said.
5 Should you have any difficulty in understanding the meaning of a
6 question, sometimes these questions may be complicated, do not hesitate to
7 ask the person asking you the question to reword it. You're a witness.
8 You have rights and, above all, the right to understand a question.
9 For technical reasons and in order to give the witnesses a chance
10 to have a rest, we have a 20-minute break every hour and a half. If you
11 have any health problems, please let us know and we can, of course,
12 interrupt the proceedings whenever necessary.
13 You will be able to comment on the documents that will be shown to
14 you by one of the parties. These documents are those that you are
15 probably familiar with, and I'm sure the Prosecutor has discussed them
16 with you, and in this way we will be able to save some time.
17 It is possible that during the cross-examination stage the
18 questions could be difficult or sensitive, but please be calm. Don't get
19 upset. The events that took place in your country are 13 years old, so to
20 speak. Calmness is a necessity in this kind of process. So no dispute or
21 conflict between the witness and the parties. Up to the present, as a
22 general rule, everything was fine, and I believe it will continue to be so
23 in your case.
24 This is what I wanted to tell you before giving the floor to the
25 Prosecution, who are going to begin their examination-in-chief.
1 Mr. Mundis, you have the floor.
2 Mr. Murphy.
3 MR. MURPHY: Just before Mr. Mundis begins his examination, I've
4 just been asked to place on the record on behalf of all the Defence
5 counsel the fact that yesterday at the close of proceedings, which would
6 have been, I suppose, sometime after 6.00 in the evening, we were given a
7 list of corrections to his statement made by the witness as a result of a
8 proofing session. We just want to note that the original statement was
9 made in February, 2000, and that we were only provided with these
10 corrections after 6.00 yesterday evening.
11 Bearing in mind the rulings made by the Trial Chamber in respect
12 of previous witnesses, we do not make any formal objection to this, but we
13 felt it right to place that fact on the record for the Trial Chamber's
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I think that
16 Mr. Mundis will probably respond, but I have been informed about this and
17 I assume that yesterday afternoon the Prosecution reviewed the statement
18 with the witness, the written statement, which was prepared on the 11th of
19 February, 2000, and during the reading, word by word, paragraph by
20 paragraph, the witness wished to make certain corrections, and that is why
21 it was only at 6.00 p.m. that the Prosecution was able to inform the
22 Defence of these alterations.
23 Mr. Mundis, can you reassure Mr. Murphy with respect to this
25 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Your Honours. Good afternoon to everyone
1 in and around the courtroom.
2 Your Honour Judge Antonetti is absolutely correct. One thing that
3 was slightly different with respect to this situation, that in the past
4 was -- well, there are two factors. First of all, the original statement
5 was taken in French and then translated into English and then translated
6 from English into B/C/S. So there were two translation steps rather than
7 the usual one.
8 The witness indicated yesterday when he was reading the statement
9 in his own language for the first time a number of corrections, and rather
10 than trying to memorialise those in the form of a letter or a memo, it
11 became obvious to the proofing team that the best way to proceed would be
12 to do so by using the track changes technology that's available. So
13 that's why it looks like a revised statement with what precisely was done
14 in terms of additions, deletions, and corrections.
15 I should also say for the benefit of everyone we did that in all
16 three languages, although we were unable to provide the French version, I
17 understand, until this morning. So there was additional delay in ensuring
18 that the Bosnian-language and the English-language versions of this
19 statement reflected all of the changes which the witness wished to make.
20 So it was out of an abundance of caution and, of course, the Prosecution's
21 desire to make sure that all the Defence teams have adequate access to all
22 the material they need to prepare for cross-examination which resulted in
23 this coming at this time in the day rather than perhaps a little bit
24 earlier, when we could have done that in the form of a memo. But quite
25 frankly, that would have been confusing because the English version of the
1 statement did not have paragraph numbers. So it was -- would have been
2 extremely difficult and perhaps confusing to have done so in any other way
3 than the way we chose to do it.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Mundis, for this
6 Examination by Mr. Mundis:
7 Q. Good afternoon, Brigadier Agic.
8 A. Good afternoon.
9 Q. I'd like to start by asking you just a few brief questions
10 concerning your background. Sir, where are you from?
11 A. I'm from Gornji Vakuf.
12 Q. And were you living in Gornji Vakuf at the time the war started?
13 A. Yes. I was born in Ploce. I lived up till 1983 in the village of
14 Trnovaca and moved to Gornji Vakuf, a part of the town known as Kosuta.
15 Q. And, sir, what were you doing prior to the war? How were you
17 A. Before the war I was employed in the Territorial Defence as Chief
18 of Staff for the municipality of Gornji Vakuf. And again let's focus on
19 early 1992. Did you have any rank or what were your primary
20 responsibilities in the Territorial Defence as Chief of Staff?
21 A. Up until April, I was Chief of Staff of the Territorial Defence
22 for the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was part of Yugoslavia.
23 When Bosnia and Herzegovina gained independence, the state authorities of
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina decided to form the Territorial Defence of the
25 Independent Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and as of the first
1 multi-party elections, the HDZ got the position of Staff Commander. Then
2 the Assembly relieved me of the position of Chief of Staff and appointed
3 to that position Mr. Mladen Kovacevic, and I was appointed to the position
4 of Chief of Staff.
5 Q. Sir, can you tell us approximately when this change occurred, when
6 you were relieved and Mr. Mladen Kovacevic was appointed.
7 A. This was the beginning of April, and it was decided at an Assembly
8 meeting. The Assembly is the highest body of the socio-political
9 community in those days, and the Assembly was entitled to do this with the
10 approval of the senior command, that is, the District Staff of the TO in
12 When the new TO was formed, we were given a form with a statement
13 of the minister of defence. His name was Jerko Doko. And we had to fill
14 in this form to state our loyalty to the new TO Staff of Bosnia and
16 Q. And did you, sir, in fact complete this loyalty form?
17 A. Yes, I did. I filled in this form, and most of the people in the
18 staff, with the exception of those people who were Croats by ethnicity. I
19 think perhaps Luka Sekerija was a Croat who signed this loyalty form, but
20 as far as I can remember, this was in 1992.
21 Q. Now, again, sir, in the period April, 1992, what was the
22 approximate strength of the TO in Gornji Vakuf?
23 A. In the old TO there was a total of 2.000, including units in work
24 organisations and local communities. But according to the new structure,
25 the TO numbered 1.600 men in the month of April.
1 Q. Can you inform us as to the approximate breakdown of that
2 1.600-man TO in Gornji Vakuf in terms of ethnicity?
3 A. Almost 100 per cent were Bosniaks, with the exception of a few
4 cases. We had two officers of Serb ethnicity and a third officer of Croat
6 Q. You mentioned the commander, Mladen Kovacevic. How long did he
7 remain as the commander of the TO in Gornji Vakuf?
8 A. He remained until about mid-May, between the 15th and 20th of May
9 when he definitely left the TO. And Musa Fikret was appointed in his
11 Q. And, sir, for the benefit of the transcript, when you refer to
12 between 15th and 20th of May, what year was that?
13 A. It was 1992.
14 Q. At that point in time, did Mladen Kovacevic join any other
15 military organisation?
16 A. At first he didn't, but I think in October, 1992, he joined the
18 Q. To the best of your knowledge can you tell us when the HVO was
19 formed in Gornji Vakuf?
20 A. I heard that for the first time at a joint meeting at the end of
21 April and the beginning of May when we were discussing the formation of
22 units and preparations. That was the first time for me to see the HVO
23 insignia. Pero Mejdandzic was wearing it and he introduced himself as
24 Chief of Staff of the HVO TO for Gornji Vakuf.
25 Q. And, sir, we have to be absolutely clear. What year was this when
1 you had the joint meeting?
2 A. 1992.
3 Q. Why were you having this joint meeting? What was the purpose?
4 A. The purpose of the meeting was for us to try and form joint armed
6 Q. Again, for what purpose?
7 A. To prepare for the struggle against aggression.
8 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I'm sorry to intervene, but it seems
9 that there is an important mistake in the transcript. The gentleman said
10 that Pero Mejdandzic represented HVO of Gornji Vakuf and the transcript
11 said TO. That is line 23 on page 10. I think that should be clarified.
12 MR. MUNDIS: I thank my colleague for that.
13 Q. Again, there appears to be an error in the transcript, Brigadier
14 Agic. Can you tell us, Pero Mejdandzic was appointed the Chief of Staff
15 of what military formation in Gornji Vakuf?
16 A. He introduced himself as the Chief of Staff of the HVO for Gornji
18 Q. Do you know how long he remained in that position?
19 A. I think he remained until August, and then Mr. Zrinko Tokic took
20 over from him.
21 Q. I think we're going to have a recurring problem here, sir. If at
22 any time you indicate a month if you could also tell it us the year that
23 would be very helpful. When did Mr. Tokic take over?
24 A. I think it was in beginning -- it was at the beginning of August,
25 1992, or perhaps the end of July, 1992.
1 Q. And throughout this period, again now we're focusing from April,
2 1992, until towards the end of 1992, what position did you hold?
3 A. Until the 10th of August, I held the position I was appointed to
4 and that is Chief of Staff. And on the 10th of August, I became commander
5 of the Municipal Staff of the TO for Gornji Vakuf.
6 Q. During this period, again from April, 1992, through the summer of
7 1992, can you characterise the relationship between the TO in Gornji Vakuf
8 and the HVO in Gornji Vakuf?
9 A. In May we formed a joint line, one next to the other, in the
10 region of Radusa towards the front held by the army of Republika Srpska
11 towards Kupres. As far as possibilities allowed, we endeavoured to
12 fortify those lines jointly. However, a number of factors had their
13 effect, and above all the problem of the use of communications, also
14 supplies, so that these problems increased. There were certain incidents
15 that occurred which reached a climax on the 20th of June, because on that
16 date -- or, rather, the 19th of June, 1992, there was an armed clash
17 between members of the Territorial Defence and the HVO in Novi Travnik.
18 As these are two neighbouring municipalities, this had repercussions on
19 Gornji Vakuf.
20 I need to point out that between the 15th and the 20th, a unit
21 arrived from Croatia in the region of Gornji Vakuf. The unit was known as
22 Garavi. It numbered between 60 and 65 members, and on the 19th or the
23 18th of June, 1992, the Frankopani unit was deployed in Gornji Vakuf, and
24 the commander, with members of his command, were put up in the hotel where
25 the unit was put up, in the secondary school centre and in the department
2 On the 20th of June, 1992, in the afternoon, between 1440 and 1500
3 hours, the HVO from the lower part of the town opened fire on the part of
4 the town inhabited by majority Muslim population. In the meantime, the
5 unit Garavi in location Karamustafic set up a check-point and started
6 arresting and taking people to a meadow that had a wire fence around it,
7 and that is where people were stopped, searched, identified, and held.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, I have to intervene at
9 this point. You have just said that there was a so-called Garavi unit
10 that arrived in the Gornji Vakuf area, and you added that this unit
11 apparently came from Croatia. Can you provide us with any additional
12 information that would allow us to identify the origin of this Garavi
13 unit? Did they have vehicles, uniforms, insignia? Why were they there?
14 Was there an agreement according to which they were to cooperate in
15 military terms with some other body? Could you add any other information
16 to what you have just said?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to what the commander of
18 that unit, called Klica, who was older than me, two years older than me,
19 and I knew him personally since we had gone to the same school, he was
20 from Vilic Polje, when I spoke to him according to what he said well he
21 came from Pakrac. He mentioned fighting in that area of Croatia. He
22 mentioned the structure of the unit. He said the unit was composed of
23 soldiers who had voluntarily left Bosnia and Herzegovina to go to war in
24 Croatia. They had been gathered or assembled in the unit. They had
25 fought in Croatia as the Garavi unit. They all had ID cards from the
1 Croatian army and on their sleeves most of them had Croatian army
2 insignia, whereas on their other sleeve they had the Garavi insignia.
3 This was a unit that was in Vakuf quite frequently. After the Washington
4 agreement, General Roso personally ordered they should leave the territory
5 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, so they then returned to Kupres in 1995, and
6 their commander lost a leg there.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as I have understood your
8 testimony, this so-called Garavi unit had been composed or assembled in
9 Croatia. They were -- they were composed of men who had come from
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, men who had gone to Croatia and who were volunteers
11 within that unit. Is that in fact what you are telling us? And all the
12 more so because you said you knew their commander because you went to
13 school with that person.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Quite right. That's exact.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So they arrived in the Gornji
16 Vakuf area, in the surroundings of Gornji Vakuf, but what was the purpose
17 of their arrival there? Why was it necessary for them to be there at that
18 point in time?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the pretext was that they had
20 come to prepare for fighting in the direction of Kupres. The commander of
21 the Frankopan unit, Zulu, also said that.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You said it was the pretext.
23 Was that the purpose or the pretext?
24 Mr. Karnavas is shaking his head, because he's wondering about
25 this just like myself.
1 Was it the pretext or was it the objective? Was the objective to
2 go and fight in Kupres, or did they say, "We're here to fight around
3 Kupres, but in fact we have another purpose in mind"?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, time showed that that was a
5 pretext. They had come to take control of Gornji Vakuf. On that day in
6 the afternoon, the Garavi unit took control of the entrance to Gornji
7 Vakuf at the juncture for the roads to Dobrasin-Karamustafic, because
8 there's only one house there. It's not a settlement. They took over the
9 road there in order to control the passage of people in both directions.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My last question: If I have
11 understood you correctly, a foreign unit came to put up check-points, to
12 establish control over the surroundings of Gornji Vakuf.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.
15 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 Q. Brigadier Agic, you also mentioned a few moments ago the
17 Frankopani unit. Do you know the strength of that formation?
18 A. Between 300 and 350 well-equipped troops.
19 Q. Let me go back, sir, to the period of time in the spring and
20 summer of 1992 when you and the HVO or the TO and the HVO were jointly
21 defending the line against the VRS. How closely were you working with
22 Zrinko Tokic during that time period?
23 A. We had daily contact initially in terms of -- well, in military
24 terms, and we cooperated in the area where we had to establish the line.
25 We tried to fill in certain gaps in the lines. The HVO also provided
1 certain materiel, certain supplies. We would receive fuel that we paid
2 for. We also received some of the uniforms from them, et cetera.
3 Q. Based on this daily contact, did you become familiar with the
4 structure of the HVO in terms of how the HVO in Gornji Vakuf fit into a
5 larger structure?
6 A. Well, in Gornji Vakuf the HVO established a brigade with three
7 battalions. Vakuf is not a large town. The municipality isn't very large
8 either. We all knew each other, and some of the officers who were in the
9 Territorial Defence, those who were of Croatian nationality, joined the
10 Ante Starcevic Brigade.
11 Q. Where was the Ante Starcevic Brigade headquartered?
12 A. The headquarters were located in the factory, in the textile
13 factory called Yassa.
14 Q. And for the record Yassa is in what town?
15 A. Yassa is in an area of Gornji Vakuf called Bistrica. It's west of
16 the Novi Travnik-Gornji Vakuf road. It's about 4 to 500 metres to the
17 west of that road. It's in the vicinity of the village of Batusa. There
18 was only the Vrbas between them.
19 Q. Sir, as a result --
20 A. Vrbas River.
21 Q. As a result of your contact with Zrinko Tokic, the HVO Brigade
22 commander in Gornji Vakuf, did you become aware of to whom he reported?
23 A. Apart from myself, Zrinko mostly had contact with the then
24 commander, Musa Fikret, commander of the ABiH. But I know that his
25 immediate superior was in Duvno or rather, in Tomislavgrad. That's the
1 operation's zone of Tomislavgrad.
2 Q. Sir, do you know who was the commander of the operation zone
3 Tomislavgrad in mid-1992?
4 A. I do. When we said we needed something, he had to obtain approval
5 to take action. He had to receive approval from the commander of the
6 Tomislavgrad operative zone and that was Colonel Siljeg.
7 Q. And do you know, sir, based upon your dealings with the HVO
8 command, local HVO command, to whom Colonel Siljeg reported as the
9 operation zone Tomislavgrad commander?
10 A. I didn't know that in May, but I knew that the HVO headquarters
11 was in Grude. Later, I found out that the person concerned was General
13 Q. And what time period was General Petkovic the person concerned at
14 the HVO headquarters in Grude?
15 A. I know that General Petkovic was there from August onwards. I
16 don't know if he was there prior to that date as a commander of the HVO
18 Q. Let me ask you, Brigadier Agic, a few questions about the
19 structure of the TO at this point in time, that is mid-1992.
20 A. You told us that there were 1.600 men in the TO in Gornji Vakuf;
21 is that correct?
22 A. Yes. Yes.
23 Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the materiel in terms of
24 weaponry that was available to the Gornji Vakuf TO in the summer of 1992?
25 A. When I said they'd had 1.600 men, according to the structure in
1 place at the time -- well, it was what we called a formation, what the
2 soldiers would call a formation. In October and after, October they
3 started forming brigades, and then a brigade was formed in Gornji Vakuf
4 that consisted of 2.560 men. It was a Mountain Brigade according to its
5 establishment. Initially we would buy weapons from smugglers who had come
6 from the Republic of Croatia, from arms traffickers and other dealers
7 who'd pass through Gornji Vakuf, who would come to Gornji Vakuf. And we
8 also used some hunting weapons, the hunting weapons that citizens of
9 Gornji Vakuf had, those who were members of the sporting society, hunting
10 society, since hunting is a very popular sport in that area.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may, Mr. President. The witness did not
12 directly answer the question posed to him, and I think this is going to be
13 a problem. I know that Mr. Mundis is asking very precise questions
14 because he wishes to get very precise answers. So perhaps the gentleman
15 could be asked to answer the question, because I think the -- how this TO
16 progressively goes from 1.600 to 2.500, what weapons they had back in May
17 and onwards may become an issue that is important to all of us here.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you add other information
19 with regard to the Territorial Defence, but there's a question that one
20 should have immediately put to you. In 1993 -- or, rather, 1992, you were
21 34 years old. I've come to the conclusion that you must have done your
22 military service when you were between 20 and 25 years old. Did you serve
23 in the JNA?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I didn't. I was -- I worked in
25 the TO defence in -- from 1980 onwards, after I had done my military
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So where did you do your
3 military service?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I served in the military in Bileca.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And when you left, did you have
6 a rank? Were you just a private, a non-commissioned officer, an officer?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Staff Commander, that's the
8 position individuals are assigned to. There's an establishment rank that
9 is allocated. In peacetime this didn't mean much since Territorial
10 Defence members did not have any uniforms, but according to the rank I
11 had, I was a captain.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: For the record, Your Honour, the gentleman attended
13 what would be a school for reserve officers, not a regular military
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you served in the military in
16 a reserve school, not in a military academy.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. And there was also training
18 provided in the Territorial Defence units. That training was provided in
19 the former system.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Mundis, it would
21 be good for the Judges to have more information with regard to the
22 Territorial Defence. If you could put a series of questions to the
23 witness so that everyone could be provided with the appropriate
24 information. I could do it myself, but I would rather you proceeded in
25 this way.
1 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Q. Brigadier Agic, at the time the TO had 1.600 men in the spring of
3 1992, how many weapons did the TO in Gornji Vakuf have?
4 A. The TO in Gornji Vakuf at the time period you're interested in,
5 March to April, had between 200 and 300 pieces -- 200, 300 weapons,
6 military weapons, obtained from various sources.
7 Q. Could you describe for us, sir, the structure of the TO from the
8 level of the Municipal Staff in Gornji Vakuf up the chain of command to
9 where the ultimate authority or responsibility for the TO rested? Again,
10 I'm talking about the summer -- spring and summer of 1992.
11 A. In 1992 or 1993?
12 Q. 1992.
13 A. According to the initial formation in Gornji Vakuf, we were the TO
14 Defence Staff of the third variant. According to that variant, the TO in
15 Gornji Vakuf had 1.600 men who in three Territorial Defence detachments.
16 There was a logistics base, there was a police platoon, and there was an
17 Officers Staff Command of the TO. We had a subordinate command, and our
18 First Superior Command was located in Zenica. There was a District Staff
19 of the TO in Zenica that was established then. Zenica was subordinate,
20 and its superior body was the Republican Staff of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The
21 commander of the TO in Zenica was Colonel Ramiz Suvalic at the time, and
22 the commander of the Republican Staff was Colonel Hasan Efendic. The
23 minister of defence was Mr. Jerko Doko.
24 Q. I'd like to turn your attention now, Brigadier Agic, to the period
25 when the TO was transformed toward the latter part of the 1992. Do you
1 recall when this transformation began?
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a follow-up question. The
3 1.600 men who were members of the TO, of the Territorial Defence, what
4 status did they have? Did they have the status of members of the
5 military? Were they civilians who had provisionally been mobilised or who
6 were serving for a period in the Territorial Defence? Could you provide
7 us with some information concerning the status of TO members? In one
8 word, were they members of the military? Were they soldiers?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. They were soldiers who had
10 reported or, rather, through the defence secretariat they'd been assigned
11 to TO units, and they started doing their military service. At the end of
12 May, the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina issued an order on general
13 mobilisation, mobilisation of men and of equipment in Bosnia and
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When a -- I'll provide you with
16 an example I have in mind right now, but if a villager says that he is a
17 member of the TO, should one draw the conclusion, as you seem to be
18 saying, that if that is what he says, he is necessarily a soldier?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. He's deployed in the TO
20 through a state body, the municipal staffs of the TO state administrative
22 MR. KARNAVAS: As a point of clarification, Your Honour, the
23 gentleman said military service. That was on page 21, line 11. Prior to
24 the formation of the ABiH one would do their military obligation, not
25 service, with the Territorial Defence. Perhaps the gentleman wishes to
1 correct me if I'm -- if I'm incorrect.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. When a citizen served in
3 the Territorial Defence, was such a citizen a soldier?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes. The Territorial Defence
5 was an integral part of the defence system in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
6 these were the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the beginning.
7 The army hadn't been established at that time. That's why I'm saying they
8 were soldiers, because they had been assigned to TO units as citizens of
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it was their duty to carry out the tasks
10 assigned to them.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To be more precise, at the time
12 of the former Yugoslavia, the JNA was in fact the army. When the JNA had
13 withdrawn, was replaced by the Territorial Defence.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The State of Bosnia-Herzegovina only
15 took over the system of defence that was already in existence, because the
16 Republican Staff of the SFRY that had existed up until then was
17 transformed, and instead of that term we had the Territorial Defence Staff
18 of Bosnia and Herzegovina. But the system was taken over.
19 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, those who are members of
20 the TO, as far as we have understood, after the order issued by the
21 government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, these people were soldiers. I'd
22 like a clarification. What did the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina
23 have to say with regard to all the men who were between 16 and 60 years of
24 age? Were they automatically members of the Territorial Defence and,
25 therefore, soldiers, or were men who had been recruited in fact the men
1 who were members of the Territorial Defence, and only these men who had
2 been recruited. So my question concerns people between the age of 16 and
3 60 years of age.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In April men from 16 to 60 weren't
5 mobilised. Members of the Territorial Defence were people who had served
6 or men who had served in the former JNA, so they were military-able men,
7 able-bodied men. Not all citizens were members of the TO. Only those fit
8 to perform their military service were such members. That was the case
9 until all the units had been brought up to establishment strength. They
10 would then be given a wartime assignment by the defence department from
11 the ministry of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We called that the defence
12 secretariat or the municipal defence secretariat at the time.
13 JUDGE PRANDLER: May I say a few words. Frankly, I do not
14 understand why the question of the TO has taken so much time away from the
15 Prosecution. I believe that at this Tribunal it is quite clear that the
16 TO was a part and parcel of the national defence of the former Yugoslavia,
17 and as the witness now explained, the able-bodied men who were already in
18 the army, the JNA, they then become, in general, party to the TO. And of
19 course it has been the previous system and it probably remained so during
20 the first months of the independent Bosnia-Herzegovina. Afterwards when
21 the general mobilisation entered into force, then of course the -- the TO
22 had to be reorganised and to be, I would say, based on -- on the -- on
23 those other persons who had joined the TO. But again, I say that I do not
24 see too much controversy here, but -- and therefore I would say that we
25 may go on from this issue and to let the Prosecution to continue actually
1 it's examination-in-chief. Thank you.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, do you share the
3 conclusion made by the Judge of the Chamber regarding what has just been
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise, but I
7 feel it might be useful at this stage already to explain. On the 8th of
8 April, 1992, the president of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Alija
9 Izetbegovic, issued a decree abolishing the Republican Staff of the TO and
10 forming TO staffs of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And it
11 follows from this that this was not a question of the continuity of the TO
12 but a new organisation being established which only retained the name of
13 TO. And I think that we will be able to find out that two months later,
14 that is in August, 1992, the decision was taken that the TO should be
15 replaced with the words, "the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina," so that
16 this was a continuity of armed forces with different names rather than
17 parallel existence of two military organisations, one being the army and
18 the other the TO.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Defence, and more
20 specifically Ms. Alaburic, submits, and your opinion is important in this
21 connection, that after the 8th of April, 1992, there was no continuity of
22 the TO in the sense as it existed in the ex-Yugoslavia but in fact a new
23 entity which was formed as the army. What do you think about this? Was
24 this a continuity, or was it a real change?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have just said what the lady
1 repeated. The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina in April set up a new
2 Bosnian TO, if I can call it that. And I said that we were given
3 statements to sign by the defence -- from the Defence Minister that in
4 future the members of this new Bosnian army should sign. And the lady is
5 quite right. Afterwards, this led to the formation of the republic of
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina. So I agree.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, let's move on.
8 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you.
9 Q. Now, Witness, you just mentioned this led to the formation of the
10 army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. When did that happen?
11 A. The preparation started in the month of August, but the real
12 proper units of the Bosnian army were formed in the area I'm talking
13 about. In Sarajevo this may have taken place earlier, but in the area of
14 Central Bosnia the preparations to form the 3rd Corps started in August
15 onwards, and it was finally formed in October. Then came the formation of
16 brigades, the personnel, and so on, but the structure of an army in the
17 process of formation cannot be achieved quickly and efficiently under
18 conditions of a shortage of resources, a lack of unity of territory,
19 complications regarding control and command, et cetera.
20 Q. Once this transformation from the TO to the ARBiH occurred, what
21 happened to the TO Staff in Gornji Vakuf?
22 A. TO staffs required a new role according to the defence law passed
23 at the time, and this was that they became military territorial bodies
24 which would serve and logistically assist the TO brigades as the
25 operational units.
1 Q. And the TO Staff that you were with in Gornji Vakuf, did it assume
2 a new identity as part of this transformation?
3 A. It was called the defence staff of the municipality. The
4 word "territorial" was redacted. But they were abolished for good at the
5 end of September. All the functions of these staffs were taken over by
6 brigade commands.
7 Q. Okay. And Gornji Vakuf, what brigade command assumed the
8 functions formerly held by the TO Staff?
9 A. By order of the state Presidency, the Mountain Brigade was formed
10 in Gornji Vakuf, and it was called the 317th, and it was part of the 3rd
11 Corps of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
12 Q. And where was the headquarters of the 3rd Corps of the Army of the
13 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina at that time?
14 A. The command was in Zenica. I think in the building of the
15 ironworks there. I think it was known as the engineering works or
17 Q. What was the strength upon its formation of the 317th Mountain
19 A. It was a Mountain Brigade, and it numbered 200, 560 [as
20 interpreted] men with three battalions. An anti-armour company,
21 120-millimetre mortar company, and a logistics company, and a military
22 police company.
23 Q. Can you -- can you repeat -- can you repeat the numbers? It
24 didn't seem to be recorded accurately in the transcript.
25 A. [No interpretation].
1 Q. Can you repeat that? We don't seem to be getting --
2 A. 2.560 men.
3 Q. Thank you. Can you explain for the Trial Chamber how it was that
4 the TO in the spring had 1.600 men yet in the fall the 317th Mountain
5 Brigade had 2.560 men?
6 A. This is -- this has a simple explanation, because we know that the
7 formations were changed. The most important thing was for the defence
8 secretariat to have sufficient number of men of -- able-bodied men to join
9 the armed forces. So that through the Secretariat of National Defence or
10 Defence, the additional men were assigned to these brigades in addition to
11 those who belonged to the TO.
12 Q. And, sir, what was the source of these additional men that were
13 assigned to the brigades? Where did these men come from?
14 A. From the territory of Gornji Vakuf municipality. And a smaller
15 number of people joined who in fled from the area of Kupres, Jajce, Donji
16 Vakuf. But that number is negligible in relation to the total. For a
17 while in Gornji Vakuf, there were some 30 men from Modrica, and in August
18 we sent them to Zenica. They came from the area of Modrica. And when
19 Bosanski Brod fell, I don't know how, but they managed to reach Gornji
21 Q. Do you recall, Brigadier Agic, that the date that the 317th
22 Mountain Brigade was established?
23 A. The 17th of October, 1992.
24 Q. Now, can you tell us, sir, at the time the 317th Mountain Brigade
25 was established what the relationship was between that unit and the HVO
1 Brigade in Gornji Vakuf?
2 A. You mean in the month of October?
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. They were very strained and difficult. It was difficult to
5 achieve communication with them. In those days, we even tried and finally
6 succeeded in limiting our communications to those through UNPROFOR. If we
7 had any disagreements, it was via UNPROFOR that we got in touch with each
8 other and agreed as to the ways we should proceed.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At this stage you're telling us
10 that the Brigade was formed on the 17th of October, 1992. And 2.560 men,
11 did they have a uniform with a badge indicating the 317th Brigade. The
12 officers, commander, the Chief of Staff, did they have stamps with the
13 indication "Bosnia-Herzegovina, 3rd Corps, 317th Brigade"? In brief, this
14 317th Brigade, was it a real unit or a virtual unit?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 17th is the date of the
16 establishment of the brigade, but this is a process that had to take time.
17 They didn't have uniforms. The officers did have uniforms. At first we
18 didn't have any brigade insignia, but all members of the brigade did
19 receive the insignia of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the
20 command officers had what we called "wartime ranks" indicating the
21 position the person held. They were in yellow or green depending on the
22 service that person belonged to, the person wearing this sign.
23 MR. MUNDIS:
24 Q. Approximately how long, sir, did it take for the 317th Mountain
25 Brigade to constitute itself as a -- as a real military unit with uniforms
1 and ranks and adequate supplies, et cetera? How long did this process
3 A. That didn't depend only on us who were in Gornji Vakuf. This was
4 a broader problem when talking about units of the army of Bosnia and
5 Herzegovina. Supplies were a problem. Logistics were a problem. So from
6 the month of April, we managed quite quickly to complete the manning, but
7 the rest regarding the establishment of a real brigade was quite a
8 problem. There was a shortage of uniform, weaponry, and other equipment
9 that goes with a brigade.
10 Q. At the time the 317th Mountain Brigade was established, what
11 position or function did you hold?
12 A. I was Chief of Staff of the defence. The commander was Jusuf
13 Delic, because he was the highest ranking person in the former Territorial
14 Defence. He had the rank of major. And his deputy was Captain First
15 Class Adem Kilic.
16 Q. Did there come a time, Brigadier Agic, when you became a member of
17 the 317th Mountain Brigade?
18 A. Yes. And I was appointed commander. I think it was the 5th of
19 October, 1993, after Mr. Enver Zejnalic.
20 Q. And what position did you hold from October, 1992, until the 5th
21 of October, 1993?
22 A. I was Staff Commander.
23 Q. Of what unit?
24 A. The Defence Staff for Gornji Vakuf.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In a few words could you define
1 the qualities of a chief of staff and the duties of the Chief of Staff of
2 a brigade?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A brigade Chief of Staff? The
4 duties of a chief of staff, he's head of the staff. He's in charge of the
5 staff, and he takes care of planning, the deployment of units, and the
6 functioning of all the services engaged in planning, and he replaces the
7 commander in his absence.
8 MR. MUNDIS:
9 Q. Witness, a few moments ago, as reflected on -- I believe it was
10 page 28, lines 3 and 4, you told us that relations between the 317th
11 Mountain Brigade and the HVO were strained in Gornji Vakuf and difficult.
12 Can you elaborate upon that? What do you mean by "strained," and perhaps
13 give us an example.
14 A. I could give you several examples. The situation in Central
15 Bosnia at the time was, let me say, highly confusing or chaotic. In
16 October, there was another armed conflict in Novi Travnik which affected
17 the situation in Gornji Vakuf very seriously, so that it was difficult to
18 communicate, and the capture of positions, the deployment of units, et
19 cetera. In October there was an open conflict in the region of Prozor,
20 and Prozor was militarily captured and taken by the HVO, and all this was
21 reflected upon Gornji Vakuf. And in the evening of the 20th and 21st of
22 October, there was an exchange of fire in town, and the HVO fired several
23 projectiles on the town.
24 Q. Let me ask you, sir, prior to this incident on the 20th and 21st
25 of October, 1992, were there any other incidents in Gornji Vakuf that
1 strained relations between the Croats and the Bosniaks?
2 A. I already mentioned the exchange of fire on the 20th of June.
3 There were also some casualties. And in the course of that month there
4 were other incidents in the region of Vojica, again with several dead.
5 During the summer at a Croat HVO check-point next to the clothing factory
6 Borac, vehicles were stopped belonging to the TO who were bringing back
7 shifts from Radusa. These were disarmed, and in one case these weapons
8 were never returned. More than 20 pieces were seized. And we had cases
9 when a soldier of ours would be beaten up and physically mistreated, and
10 all this further complicated the situation. And the situation in Novi
11 Travnik was reflected on the situation in Gornji Vakuf.
12 Q. Let's me draw your attention, Brigadier Agic, to the 16th of
13 October, 1992. Do you remember any particular incidents on that day?
14 A. I can't remember.
15 Q. An incident involving a flag?
16 A. Oh, yes. On that day, the civilian police was put up in the
17 Radusa hotel. Close to that hotel is a crossroads of roads leading to
18 Bugojno, Novi Travnik, and the centre of town. An HVO soldier came
19 carrying a black Ustasha flag with a big letter U with the words: "Ready
20 to Die for the Fatherland" on it. And where normally flags are hoisted on
21 holidays, he hung up that flag. And the policeman from the MUP of Gornji
22 Vakuf removed that flag, and while he was doing so, members of the HVO
23 opened fire from the post office and wounded this policeman.
24 After that, in the town of -- centre where the lines were from the
25 beginning and remained there, there was an exchange of fire on both sides.
1 So that during the night Mr. Zrinko and myself and other senior officers,
2 whose duty it was to take steps, did efforts to avoid any escalation, and
3 by the morning we managed to calm the situation down.
4 Q. Brigadier Agic, a few moments ago you mentioned the town of
5 Prozor. Can you tell us what happened in Prozor in the autumn of 1992?
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me, could we have some foundation? Is this
7 from what he heard, or was he there personally? Which of the two? And
8 also, I might add when he was asked to give examples, I failed to hear any
9 examples where Muslim may have acted in provocative ways that would have
10 strained relations. Are we to consider that there were no acts on their
12 MR. MUNDIS: I think that's certainly a subject that can be
13 covered --
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Incident with the flag, were you
15 present there or you were told about it?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was in town, and I reached the
17 spot in five minutes. Vakuf is a small town.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you arrived there five
19 minutes later; is that right? To the best of your recollection, do you
20 remember incidents where Croats were not opposed to Muslims but the other
21 way around, when Muslims provoked Croats? Do you remember any such
22 incidents or not?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes, I am aware of such
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you tell us one by way of
1 an example so that there should be a balance?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was an event at the beginning
3 of June when a member of the TO from Grnica, his surname is a Grizic,
4 forget his first name, in the village of Bistricka Rijeka, which is on the
5 way to Novi Travnik, he stopped a husband and wife of Croatian ethnicity,
6 looted them, tied their hands behind their backs with wire, and killed
7 them in a most brutal fashion.
8 That event worsened the situation, but in 24 hours we found the
9 perpetrator. And, instead of the situation calming down, it got worse,
10 because the HVO wanted us to hand them over -- hand him over to him [as
11 interpreted], for the -- him to be taken to trial in Mostar, but we didn't
12 agree to that. We sent him to Zenica, and that person was sentenced to 20
13 years in prison. And he's still serving his term. But incidents of this
14 kind could get the situation quite out of hand. And this occurred on a
15 daily basis. The TO forces and the secured forces, everyone was involved.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you're telling us that in
17 this particular incident that the perpetrator Grizic was sent to Zenica
18 where apparently he was tried and sentenced, and apparently he's still in
19 prison. Is that right?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He should be.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, we're coming close
22 to the time for the break.
23 MR. MUNDIS: I was going to suggest we take the break at this
24 point, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll take a
1 20-minute break and we'll resume at 4.00.
2 --- Recess taken at 3.40 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 4.02 p.m.
4 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you.
5 Q. Brigadier Agic, I wanted to return to a subject that you mentioned
6 earlier this afternoon reflected on page 13, line 4. You mentioned a
7 check-point at the Karamustafic location. Other than that check-point
8 were there at any point in time in 1992 other check-points established in
9 Gornji Vakuf?
10 A. From May or June onwards there were check-points that had been set
11 up on -- in -- because of certain agreements and there were people who
12 took the initiative and set up check-points. The Karamustafic check-point
13 had been agreed on. That was also the case for the Humac and Devec
14 check-points. Those check-points were set up, and they were manned by
15 military police members from the HVO and the Territorial Defence and later
16 the armija. After every incident, the HVO would set up additional
17 check-points. In Trnovaca, in Krupa, and near Borac. It's the industrial
18 zone, the entrance to Gornji Vakuf when you come from the direction of
19 Bugojno. And this was also done in the village of Dobrasin near the
20 so-called Krecana.
21 Q. Sir, you just told us that after every incident the HVO would set
22 up additional check-points. What were you referring to when you
23 said "after every incident"?
24 A. I was referring to incidents that brought the situation to a head
25 and as a result of the risk of fire being opened. Whenever someone opened
1 fire, check-points would be established at the locations I have just
3 Q. And what do you mean by additional HVO check-points, the HVO would
4 set up additional check-points? Where would they do this?
5 A. I've just said that they set up check points the village of
6 Trnovaca. That was a check-point that hadn't been agreed upon. And they
7 set up a check-point in the industrial zone, in the village of Krupa and
8 in Dobrasin.
9 Q. Was it possible to pass through these check-points for Bosniaks?
10 A. It depended on those who had set up the check-points. Usually the
11 men who were found or the people who were found at the check-points would
12 be taken in. Their property would be stolen. Some of them would also be
13 beaten up. And after things had calmed down these people would usually be
14 released and return to the places they had come from but without their
16 Q. Before the break we were about to talk about Prozor. Let me ask
17 you this: In the autumn of 1992, were you in Prozor at any point in time?
18 A. No. I hadn't been in Prozor since July. The first time I went
19 there afterwards, after the fall of Prozor, was on the 23rd of October, I
20 believe. I went there with Colonel Mandic [as interpreted], and we
21 visited Mejnik, Glibe, Jurici, Slijme [phoen]. Our intention was to calm
22 the situation down and inspect the area, to ensure that there were no
23 armed units on either side. And I didn't go to Prozor again.
24 Q. Who is Colonel Mandic?
25 A. Antic [as interpreted].
1 Q. Okay. So we need to correct that in the transcript. Who is
2 Colonel Antic?
3 A. Andric. I met Mr. Andric at the beginning of October in Gornji
4 Vakuf. We had dinner in the restaurant. At the time it was a discotheque
5 at Sandro. He introduced himself as the commander of an area under the
6 control of the HVO. It was from Colakovic, Bijelo Polje, and onwards
7 towards Rudnik. That's the area that he controlled. That's how he
8 introduced himself.
9 Q. And what was the purpose for you and Colonel Andric to go to
10 Prozor? Why? What prompted you to go there?
11 A. At a suggestion made by UNPROFOR -- well, as I said, when Prozor
12 fell, that evening fire was opened in Vakuf by both parties. UNPROFOR
13 then suggested that we should go to the area that I have just mentioned.
14 I accepted the suggestion, and I arrived at the Prozor command under HVO
15 escort. We had a meeting, had a coffee, and visited the area around
16 Mejnik. We inspected the area, spoke to the people, the civilians who
17 lived there. We then returned to Prozor. And I had to go to Gornji
19 Q. And did you receive any information about what had happened in
20 Prozor and, if so, from whom?
21 A. I knew more or less what had happened in Prozor because I was made
22 aware of it through the chain of command. When I was in Prozor, I saw
23 what the situation was like. There had been armed clashes in the area of
24 Mejnik. So I gained a fuller picture of what had happened in the field.
25 Q. Do you recall the date that, as you put it, Prozor fell?
1 A. Well, I think it was on the 21st of October.
2 Q. And after -- on or about the 21st of October, 1992, what force was
3 in control in Prozor?
4 A. The town of Prozor itself, the entire town and part of the
5 municipality of Prozor, in the direction of Tomislavgrad, and also in the
6 direction of Jablanica and the village of Here. It was under the control
7 of the HVO. I realised this when I went to the commission that was
8 supposed to see what had happened. I went with Mr. Tokic Zrinko, because
9 we were supposed to attend the meeting and to make an attempt to calm the
10 situation down.
11 Q. Can you tell us what you mean by the commission that was supposed
12 to see what happened?
13 A. Well, at that meeting the meeting should have been attended by the
14 following as ordered by the commander, I suppose: On may have of the
15 army, armija, there was General Arif Pasalic; the commander of the Bugojno
16 TO Staff, Senad Dautovic; myself, the TO commander from Gornji Vakuf; on
17 behalf of the HVO, Colonel Zeljko Siljeg was supposed to attend the
18 meeting; and Juergen or Jure Schmidt. Colonel Siljeg didn't attend the
19 meeting. He said he had been prevented from doing so. And on behalf of
20 the HVO, the meeting was attended by Juergen Jure Schmidt.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, a question -- Colonel,
22 a question. You said that Prozor fell on the 21st of October, and then
23 apparently there was a meeting with General Pasalic, Dautovic, et cetera.
24 You're quite sure that it was on the 21st of October? Because in the
25 indictment it says that it was on the 23rd of October. So are you quite
1 sure it was on the 21st of October, or is this a date that you're not a
2 hundred per cent sure about?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I'm not a hundred per cent
4 sure of that. I was born on 22nd of October. I know I was in Jablanica
5 after my birthday. I was in Jablanica at this meeting, and the meeting
6 was held two days after Prozor had been taken, so that's how I came to
7 this date. But you may be quite right. It may have been on the 23rd.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But you say that your birthday
9 is on the 22nd. Everyone remembers their birthday. There can be no
10 mistakes there.
11 So the fall of Prozor was, in your opinion, prior to your birthday
12 or after your birthday?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I think it was on the 21st of
14 October, as I have said.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.
16 MR. MUNDIS:
17 Q. Now, sir, after Prozor fell, what steps, if any, were taken by the
18 317th Mountain Brigade or the TO Staff in Gornji Vakuf with respect to the
19 defence of Gornji Vakuf?
20 A. Two steps were taken. A third battalion -- or, rather, the 2nd
21 Battalion in Voljevac was ordered to take up positions in the area of the
22 village of Pridvorci in order to prevent an HVO breakthrough in that area
23 or sector. And we spend the entire day in the town trying to calm the
24 situation down, and by evening we had managed to take control of the
25 situation and to ensure that both sides stopped clashing. Unfortunately,
1 certain people were killed, but by the end of the day we had managed to
2 calm things down.
3 Q. What steps, sir, if any were taken in terms of fortifying the town
4 or preparing defence lines around the town?
5 A. In the town and around the town nothing was done to fortify the
6 lines, absolutely nothing.
7 Q. Why not?
8 A. We weren't expecting a clash with the HVO.
9 Q. Can you tell us how the situation progressed in the months of
10 November and December, 1992, in the town of Gornji Vakuf with respect to
11 relations between the ARBiH and the HVO?
12 A. During this period we tried to get back to normal. We were mostly
13 concerned with the lines in the direction of Kupres. However, during this
14 period of time, the Serbian forces took control of Jajce. There was a lot
15 of troop movement on the roads.
16 As for Vakuf, the HVO tried to increase the strength of its units
17 every day. So at the end of November, there were quite a lot of uniformed
18 men in Vakuf, men who weren't from Gornji Vakuf. This caused the men and
19 soldiers to be afraid. So given that the HVO was increasing the strength
20 of its units in Gornji Vakuf, the situation became more tense and the
21 relationship aggravated.
22 Q. What steps were taken, if any, as a result of the increase in the
23 strength of HVO units in Gornji Vakuf in November, December, 1992?
24 A. The brigade and the staff informed the 3rd Corps about all these
25 events. General Hadzihasanovic issued an order stating that brigade and
1 staff units should do all they could to avoid a conflict. Attempts were
2 made to avoid such a conflict at all costs, but often people's property
3 was stolen on roads, people arrested, taken in, and this compounded the
4 situation on a daily basis.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, I'd like to clarify
6 something that you said a while ago. You said that in Gornji Vakuf there
7 was the HVO and they were increasing the strength of their units, and you
8 said that these people weren't local people. They had come from elsewhere
9 apparently. So the HVO men who went to Gornji Vakuf, as far as you know,
10 in your opinion, which area had they come from?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I assume that they had come
12 from the area of Livno and Duvno and from Western Herzegovina. Gornji
13 Vakuf is a very small town. When strangers appear in town this is
14 immediately noticed. And these men acted in a very arrogant and brazen
15 way, and there were provocations in the town itself, and --
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In military terms, you're a
17 general, so you're familiar with such matters. In military terms when you
18 have people coming from Livno and Duvno, from Western Herzegovina to bring
19 the strength of the units up, well, what was the purpose, in military
20 terms, of -- of these enforcements? Were they there to reinforce the
21 units? Was something being prepared? What was the military objective in
22 your opinion, on your side? How was this reinforcement perceived?
23 Perhaps a different sort of question will be pursued later.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the HVO's pretext was they
25 were preparing for an attack on Kupres in Gornji Vakuf. We knew or,
1 rather, I assumed and was convinced that the HVO was massing its forces
2 there to attack and take Gornji Vakuf after this had been done in Prozor.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. And the 3rd Corps
4 commander, General Hadzihasanovic, had they been informed of these
5 important reinforcements that you had noticed? Mr. Mundis' question was
6 what steps did you take?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We informed the 3rd Corps about all
8 changes in the situation in a timely fashion. General Hadzihasanovic
9 ordered us to monitor the situation but not to take any military action.
10 We knew that if the HVO wanted to attack Kupres from the direction of
11 Radusa, from the direction of Skrte. They wouldn't be able to do this
12 without us being aware of the fact. We had a battalion there, at the line
13 facing Kupres. So the pretext they gave massing forces in the town was
14 that they would attack Kupres, but this was quite an academic pretext.
15 MR. MUNDIS:
16 Q. Well, again, sir, following what you've told us was this build-up
17 and what was your assumption concerning what the HVO was doing, did you
18 protest to General Hadzihasanovic that additional steps needed to be
20 A. Well, you can't protest in the army, but we requested that he take
21 certain measures at his level to ensure that no other clashes or conflicts
22 broke out.
23 Q. Can you recall, sir, whether there were any meetings in November
24 and December, 1992, between the ARBiH and the HVO concerning attempts to
25 stabilise the situation in Gornji Vakuf?
1 A. No, there weren't any official meetings during that period of
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Just a point of clarification to the earlier
4 question. He said that he did make some requests. Was this to General
5 Hadzihasanovic? To whom did he make the request? As I understand it, his
6 superiors were in -- somewhere else. In Zenica.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. This is a question I
8 wanted to put to you since -- but since I know that we're short of time,
9 all of us, I didn't put the question. But since the Defence is asking for
10 this: When you saw that the HVO was obtaining reinforcements, did you
11 send any reports or messages to General Hadzihasanovic to inform him of
12 the situation and to suggest, perhaps, that certain measures should be
13 taken? So did you send any reports, are there any traces of these
14 reports, and did General Hadzihasanovic issue any orders to you and any
15 precise orders with regard to the problem? Did he issue any orders for
16 you to deal with the HVO amassing forces there?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, this is something we were
18 involved in at the beginning of the November. At the time an order had
19 been issued to calm the situation down, and we were trying to find a way
20 of doing this, of calming down the situation. A group of officers arrived
21 in Gornji Vakuf, a group of officers from the HVO and the ABiH, and their
22 objective was to take control of the situation the following way: In
23 their assessment, the armija and HVO were on good terms in Mostar and
24 General Milivoj Petkovic and Arif Pasalic had agreed on sending in a team
25 to make an assessment, and an officer was to be sent to the HVO command in
1 Gornji Vakuf. And from my command -- and to my command a -- an army
2 member from the 4th Corps was supposed to come. This was done. But this
3 form of cooperation didn't last for long, and seven days later everyone
4 had been called back.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, this is --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You haven't answered the
7 question. What we would like to know is whether there were any written
8 reports on the situation, reports from the 317th Mountain Brigade to the
9 3rd Corps, and did the 3rd Corps respond to such reports? That's the
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was a misunderstanding. It
12 was the brigade's duty to send an operative report every day, in the
13 morning and in the evening. And this problem was emphasised in each
14 report, and we asked for instructions as to how to act. The corps
15 commander stated quite explicitly that the situation had to be put under
16 control and that we should not allow an armed conflict to break out
17 whatever the cost.
18 MR. MUNDIS:
19 Q. Brigadier Agic, did there come a time when the issue of liaison
20 officers was discussed as a means of reducing tension between the ARBiH
21 and the HVO?
22 A. Yes, and agreement was reached at this meeting about this, that
23 liaison officers from the 4th Corps and from the HVO in Mostar did come to
24 the command of the 317th Brigade.
25 Q. Let me ask you, sir, when you talk about this meeting, you say
1 agreement was reached at this meeting. When was this meeting and where
2 was this meeting?
3 A. I think it was held at the beginning of November in the brigade
5 Q. And who attended -- who attended this meeting?
6 A. General Pasalic, Zejnil Delalic. I think Vehbija Karic. And on
7 behalf of the HVO General Praljak and some officers that I'm not familiar
9 Q. Do you recall, sir, what General Praljak was wearing when he
10 attended this meeting?
11 A. No. This was a higher-level meeting that I did not attend. It
12 was dusk. I don't remember too well.
13 Q. Just so we're clear then. At this meeting you were not in
15 A. I was not.
16 Q. Did you ever attend any other meetings that General Praljak
18 A. At the beginning of August I met General Praljak when with Mr.
19 Musa Fikret he held a meeting in the Radusa hotel, in the banquet room.
20 That is when we met.
21 Q. Were there any other occasions when you met General Praljak or
22 were in attendance at meetings where he was present at?
23 A. No. Perhaps on the Motorola we may have communicated.
24 Q. Let's continue, then, sir, with the period moving into early
25 January, 1993. What was the state of relations between the ARBiH and the
1 HVO in that period of time, the beginning of January, 1993?
2 A. When the new year came there was a lot of uncertainty. It was an
3 ugly period for Central Bosnia. Jajce was captured. There were a lot of
4 refugees, and there was a problem of humanitarian convoys that were being
5 looted and stopped. It was a very difficult situation, generally
6 speaking, for the whole territory. But I must say that the HVO continued
7 to reinforce its forces in town.
8 Q. Before we turn to town, I'd like to ask you if you could expand
9 upon the answer where you indicated there was a problem of humanitarian
10 convoys that were being looted and stopped. What are you referring to?
11 A. In those days, and I'm talking about the beginning of 1993, there
12 wasn't a single convoy that was safe unless it was escorted by UNPROFOR.
13 Communications were halted by the HVO for men who had come from Western
14 Europe to spend the holidays at home. As they went back, their passports
15 were seized and they couldn't go back to work in Germany, Austria,
16 Switzerland, and so on. This complicated the situation. We intervened,
17 but I have to point out that even until then no Bosniak could leave Vakuf
18 and go to Prozor without showing an HVO certificate saying that he had
19 paid a hundred Deutschmarks for passage. And this was operational
20 throughout 1992 and the beginning of 1993. They charged the sum in the
21 municipality, that is the HVO, one hundred German marks for each person.
22 JUDGE PRANDLER: Excuse me. Witness, Brigadier, I would like to
23 ask you about the following: It is a follow-up question which was
24 previously asked of you, but somehow I fear that you were not able to
25 answer with certainty. It was asked, had you met General Praljak later
1 on, apart from the one meeting which you mentioned, and you said that,
2 "No, apart from the Motorola incident."
3 Now, I would like to refer to your statement which was
4 distributed, and page 5 of the statement, the very last paragraph
5 mentioning the following that -- in the very last three lines,
6 actually: "In December 1992, Praljak, wearing an HV uniform came to my
7 office with Jasmin Jaganjac, a Croatian army officer, Arif Pasalic, and
8 Zejnil Delalic, both from the Bosnian army. They dispatched a liaison
9 officer to my army and a Croatian officer to the HVO," et cetera.
10 So I would like to clarify this situation in -- concerning your
11 previous statement. Was it a meeting proper or was it only a passing
12 meeting with General Praljak when you refer to the fact that he actually
13 was wearing HV -- HV uniform? So it is my question, if you would be able
14 to clarify this.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said this in 2000, and when we
16 wanted to change it yesterday, we didn't. But I remember General Praljak
17 very well. I saw him that evening. I didn't attend the meeting because
18 I'm a soldier. I don't ask why. We said hello in passing, and we were
19 sitting in my office because it was the most suitable place for the people
20 to hold their meeting there. And I believe that this commission was at
21 the level of a state commission, as General Pasalic had authority from the
22 Supreme Command Staff to discuss matters on behalf of the army and
23 regulate things on the ground.
24 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you for your answer.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But you don't remember how he
1 was clothed, what he was wearing?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] General -- General Praljak had a
3 green uniform. Over his jacket he had a belt with a pistol. For a
4 general, rather a large pistol.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. But you don't remember
6 whether he had an insignia, a particular badge? Do you remember that?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think he did have insignia.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but you don't remember with
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't.
11 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, perhaps -- perhaps we could have a
12 further clarification of something the witness said at page 46, lines 17
13 and 18 where he said, "When we wanted to change it yesterday, we didn't.
14 I said this in 2000, and when we wanted to change it yesterday, we
15 didn't." That was in response to Judge Prandler's question, but in fact
16 at that passage that is His Honour referred to at the bottom of page 5,
17 there is a certain change that has been made. I wonder whether the Judge
18 might appreciate a further clarification of that.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. When you met with the
20 Prosecutor yesterday, he must have read to you word by word your written
21 statement. You didn't consider it useful at that point to make any
22 corrections. Do you remember that?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do. Let me explain. When you
24 look at the changes that I made together with the Prosecutor yesterday,
25 these were all grammatical errors and errors in the translation. There
1 were no substantive changes with respect to my statement of 2000.
2 When we discussed this particular passage yesterday, how I saw
3 General Praljak, the Prosecutor wouldn't somehow let me make the changes
4 as it would change my statement, and that is the explanation.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you made changes of
6 grammatical nature. "They appointed a liaison officer," and this is
7 replaced by "They wanted to appoint a liaison officer."
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. There were some clumsy
9 translations and words that simply don't fit into the context.
10 MR. MUNDIS:
11 Q. Now, Brigadier Agic, can we return to the issue of early January,
12 1993, and the state of the relationship between the ARBiH and the HVO in
13 Gornji Vakuf in early January, 1993. Can you explain that to us, please?
14 A. Prohibition on the return of people to Western Germany for
15 employment caused a lot of problems for all of us. People were afraid to
16 lose their jobs, and in most cases these were people who had spent years
17 working in the Federal Republic of Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden for
18 several years before the war already. Throughout Europe, in fact.
19 The arrival of units that were not from the area in such a highly
20 tense situation is extremely dangerous. However, this was not concealed.
21 Reinforcements were brought in even after the new year.
22 Q. How many reinforcements, to the best of your knowledge and
23 information that you received, were brought in after the new year 1993?
24 A. I think that until the 10th of January in 1993 about -- between
25 500, 600 men were brought in, which would be the strength of a battalion,
2 Q. And just so we're clear, sir, were these men brought in by the HVO
3 or by the ARBiH?
4 A. The HVO. They joined their forces.
5 Q. And can you tell us about the rough numbers of men within the
6 317th Mountain Brigade and the Gornji Vakuf TO Staff in the period late
7 October, 1992, until early January, 1993?
8 A. At positions facing Kupres, we held forces of battalion and a half
9 strength. Between 700 and 800 men were there. Part of those
10 battalions -- or, rather, the rest of the battalion was in reserve. So
11 would had the following way of working on the lines: One-third on the
12 lines out of the total manpower, one-third in reserve, and one-third at
13 home resting.
14 Q. Did you, sir, at any point between late October, 1992, and early
15 January, 1993, make requests for additional men from the 3rd Corps?
16 A. At the time, no.
17 Q. Why not?
18 A. It was not necessary.
19 Q. Why not?
20 A. It wasn't necessary because General Hadzihasanovic, by his orders
21 had expressly prohibited even internal transfers of manpower within our
22 zone of responsibility in Gornji Vakuf, and each of us received specific
23 orders prohibiting this.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are throwing us into some
25 perplexion. You just explained that a third were on the lines, a third in
1 reserve, and a third at home resting. That was the situation with respect
2 to the BiH. On the other hand we have 700 HVO who are not at home nor in
3 reserve. That is a force that is present there. So there's something
4 that in military terms seems to have been the result of the arrival of 500
5 men. You have told us that Hadzihasanovic prohibited the movement of any
6 men, so the 3rd Corps didn't require any particular attention. Is that
7 how you saw the arrival of these 500 men on the ground?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. We told General Hadzihasanovic
9 every time in our reports about this. And in the second half of
10 December, he was in Zenica, in the 3rd Corps Command, and he -- he
11 repeated that we mustn't allow a conflict with the HVO under any
12 circumstances for the simple reason that whatever entered
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina in those days came through Gornji Vakuf. It was the
14 closest route to Central Bosnia. And should there be a conflict in Gornji
15 Vakuf this would be blocked, and this would cause difficulties for the
16 whole region to the north of Gornji Vakuf. And as a military man, I could
17 understand that, and I knew why the conflict had to be avoided at all
18 cost. And General Hadzihasanovic was aware of this fact, and he
19 understood my fear. And I could feel angry, but I couldn't show my anger
20 against the corps commander.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I see that you were not on the
22 same wavelength as General Hadzihasanovic. So 500 people arrived and for
23 a while nothing happened.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 MR. MUNDIS:
1 Q. Brigadier Agic, at this point in time, that is early January 1993,
2 were you aware of political developments at the international level to
3 bring about peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
4 A. Partially, yes. Actually, I knew quite well what was going on,
5 but the population did not. Gornji Vakuf was far away from the world in
6 those days. There were no TV broadcasts, or, rather, those who followed
7 the TV from Bosnia-Herzegovina, that was interrupted at the beginning of
8 1992. So we couldn't watch the news. The press didn't reach Gornji
9 Vakuf. Some of the command officers were aware of this through the
10 information service of the 3rd Corps that negotiations were under
11 preparation in Geneva, and I could -- frequently spoke to military
12 observers who would drop by and would leave papers that they had. When
13 they came from Zagreb they would bring the newspapers so that I knew what
14 was under preparation with respect to Bosnia-Herzegovina. And I think
15 that the international factors were absolutely opposed to any conflict
16 between the Bosniaks and the Croats.
17 Q. When you were referring to the negotiations under preparation in
18 Geneva, what specifically were you referring to?
19 A. The Vance-Owen Plan, about the formation of provinces in Bosnia
20 and Herzegovina.
21 Q. Now, Brigadier, earlier this afternoon as reflected on page 30,
22 lines 20 and 21 of the transcript, you said in the evening of the 20th and
23 21st of October there was an exchange of fire in the town and the HVO
24 fired several projectiles on the town.
25 Was that an isolated incident or was more of that to come?
1 A. It was an isolated incident. There was an exchange of fire in
2 town, and I said we managed to calm things down by the morning.
3 Q. Let's focus now, sir, on January, 1993. Did the situation in
4 Gornji Vakuf remain peaceful throughout the month of January, 1993?
5 A. January? In January?
6 Q. January, 1993.
7 A. It was peaceful until the 10th or 11th.
8 Q. And can you tell the Trial Chamber what happened on the 10th or
9 11th of January, 1993, in Gornji Vakuf?
10 A. On that day, I found time to take my two sons into town. At
11 between 1707 and 1710, two mortar shells of 82 millimetres were fired from
12 the direction of Mackovac, and they fell at the entrance of the town near
13 the bridge close to the fire brigade centre at a distance of 10 to 15
14 metres between the two.
15 I took -- I returned the children to my wife immediately and went
16 to the brigade headquarters. I was told about these two projectiles. I
17 said that I had heard it, I almost saw it, and I asked what had -- what it
18 was all about. I called UNPROFOR, and they arranged a meeting, and Mr.
19 Tokic Zrinko and myself came. The response was that two irresponsible,
20 drunken soldiers had fired those two shells.
21 After that, the police exchanged fire in the centre of town.
22 Q. Let me interrupt you, sir. When you say "after that," how long
23 after these two shells was this exchange of fire between the police? The
24 same day, the next day, a week later? Can you give us an idea of the
1 A. That same day, between an hour and 40 minutes or two hours later.
2 Q. And when you say that UNPROFOR arranged a meeting between
3 Mr. Tokic and yourself, how was this meeting conducted?
4 A. It was an ordinary working meeting. I asked what was going on,
5 and he admitted that this was due to lack of discipline and that two
6 soldiers in a drunken state had fired those two shells. And I said, "Why
7 do you need mortars in that region, because this is a region that can only
8 hit Gornji Vakuf or -- within a circle of 360 degrees and within the range
9 of an 82-millimetre mortar?" He wasn't ready for this query on my part,
10 but I understood clearly why they were there.
11 Q. At that point in time, sir, January 10th or 11th, 1993, how far
12 were the VRS lines from the town of Gornji Vakuf?
13 A. I don't want to be mistaken, but I'd say it was between 15 and 20
14 kilometres as the crow flies, maybe even more.
15 Q. And this meeting that you had with Zrinko Tokic following these
16 two mortar shells landing in the town, where was it held?
17 A. At UNPROFOR.
18 Q. And where was UNPROFOR?
19 A. UNPROFOR was right next to the HVO headquarters in the ball
20 bearings factory and the factory Yassa, and the ball bearings factories
21 are one next to the other. They share a common fence.
22 Q. When was the next time after this meeting with Zrinko Tokic that
23 you were at the UNPROFOR building next to the HVO headquarters?
24 A. We met again on the 12th in the afternoon, but this was preceded
25 by a virtually day-long shooting in town, and occasionally even artillery
1 weapons were being used. So the town had become a target. But it was my
2 assessment that it was by mistake that someone had started the attack
3 early, that the forces were not ready for the attack. And this was
4 something that in a sense saved Gornji Vakuf from the destiny suffered by
5 Prozor. Time will show whether I'm right.
6 Q. Can you elaborate upon what you mean by it was a mistake that
7 someone had started the attack early?
8 MR. KARNAVAS: I would ask also, it assumes an attack was planned.
9 It begs the question --
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, you will have
11 plenty of time during the cross-examination. I don't know what you wanted
12 to say, but generally you have just said many things. You discover that
13 there were two shells of 82 millimetres that fell. The official version
14 of the HVO is that two drunken soldiers -- let's say that's possible in
15 any unit; occasionally this type of incident may occur. But then you
16 added there was an exchange of fire with the police. We don't know whether
17 it was the HVO police who fired at the BH or vice versa. You didn't
18 explain that. And then listening to you, you're explaining that in the
19 afternoon there were exchanges.
20 We, the Judges, would like to know who was the aggressor. Was it,
21 as you seem to imply, an attempt at an attack which was aborted because
22 they weren't ready, or was it an isolated incident? What counts for us is
23 your analysis of this event. To save time, could you tell us exactly what
24 your understanding of it is?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is an undisputed fact that two
1 mortar shells were fired. I can understand the possibility of two
2 soldiers getting drunk. All armies in the world drink, and so did ours.
3 What I can't understand is why this 82-millimetre mortar was positioned in
4 the spot from where the fire came. This is what is unacceptable
5 militarily in this case, because enemy lines are nowhere near that
7 Furthermore, there was an exchange of fire between the HVO police
8 and the 317th Brigade in the centre of town, next to the main shop.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So we learned that there was an
10 exchange of fire between the HVO police and your own soldiers. So who was
11 the first to shoot, yours or the HVO?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The HVO.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please carry on. So the HVO can
14 fire. So what did this mean in your opinion?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it meant that the plan to take
16 Gornji Vakuf was being implemented.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And did you immediately contact
18 the 3rd Corps to inform them of the fact that certain events were
19 unfolding in the field? Did you inform them of the fact immediately?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I immediately informed the 3rd
21 Corps Command of the fact, and I reported to them on the situation in
22 Gornji Vakuf.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, let's move on.
24 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. I note that the witness
25 has been provided with two bundles of documents. I ask at this point that
1 he be shown -- or that the witness take the bundle and look at document
2 numbered 643.
3 Q. Brigadier Agic, just for the record, you were shown both of these
4 bundles of documents yesterday; is that correct?
5 A. Yes. Yes.
6 Q. And you actually took those bundles with you to your hotel last
7 night and reviewed all of these documents. Is that -- is that accurate?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Now, document 643, when was the first time you ever saw this
11 A. Yesterday.
12 Q. Can you comment on the contents of this document P 643?
13 A. Well, this relates to the question that you put to me when you
14 asked me what the situation was like in October and November. I said that
15 the tension was constant, that contact was poor, that it was difficult to
16 move around, to establish communications, that it was difficult to use the
18 Q. How does this document relate to these issues that you just
20 A. Well, I said that it was difficult to move around the area. It
21 was difficult to use the roads. You couldn't do anything without HVO
22 escort in the areas that were under their control. You had to announce
23 your intention to go somewhere and then you would be accompanied by HVO
24 police, and this included everyone. This included the Merhamet
25 organisation too.
1 Q. Sir, I'd ask you to turn to document number 712. Again, when was
2 the first time you saw this document?
3 A. Last night.
4 Q. Can you comment on this document and its contents with respect to
5 the events in Gornji Vakuf municipality?
6 A. It's not true that it was on the 23rd of October that -- it's not
7 true that we were amassing forces. This is correct. I said that on the
8 23rd we were attempting to make sure that the situation in Prozor didn't
9 have repercussions in Gornji Vakuf. We were trying to ensure that the
10 conflict didn't escalate.
11 Q. Do you see, sir, the reference to 24 October, where the document
12 indicates all BH Army units were ordered to full combat readiness at 0500
13 hours? Can you comment on that aspect of this document?
14 A. You're referring to the 24th?
15 Q. Yes and again this report has two reports one on Gornji Vakuf and
16 one on Prozor and I'd ask you to make sure you're looking at the Gornji
17 Vakuf part of the report.
18 A. The 22nd, in Voljevac two buses arrived. Is that what you're
19 referring to?
20 Q. Make sure do you have number 712?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. If you could go to the third page in the Bosnian language.
23 A. I haven't got three pages.
24 Q. If you could see, sir, the entry under the 24th of October.
25 A. I can see that. This isn't true. We didn't order full combat
1 readiness for the units because we were working all day on the 23rd to put
2 things under control, to put an end to the conflict. The exchange of fire
3 between ABiH members and the HVO. Not a single unit had been ordered to
4 take up a position outside the town.
5 It's true that on the 24th of October in the village of Voljevac
6 as it's stated in this HVO police report, it's true that two buses arrived
7 in the Voljevac sector with ABiH members, but we would operate in that
8 area. And these people didn't have the right to go back through Prozor
9 because of the situation in Prozor and Novi Travnik. At my request, when
10 I requested this from the commander in Prozor, I knew him personally. I
11 couldn't get to him that evening, so as a result we decided to send the
12 unit back and they were sent back to Konjic, and from Konjic via Parsovic
13 [phoen] they arrived in the village around Voljevac. They arrived in the
14 Voljevac sector and they remained there.
15 Q. Brigadier Agic if you could now turn to document 1087. Again,
16 sir, when was the first time you saw this document?
17 A. Last night.
18 Q. Can you comment on this document and particularly the reference to
20 A. What I'm certain of -- or, rather, I became certain of the fact
21 last night is that my claim with regard to the HVO attack on Gornji Vakuf
22 is correct. This was an attack that had been prepared, and I became
23 certain of this last night.
24 Q. Could you now turn, sir, to document 1107. And again, my
25 preliminary question is when was the first time you saw this document?
1 A. Last night.
2 Q. I'd ask you to draw your attention, sir, to the first paragraph of
3 this document, and I'd like to ask you to comment on what's contained in
4 that first paragraph?
5 A. I said a while ago with regard to individuals who were being
6 arrested and with regard to movement, I said that that was a problem. I
7 can't remember that in the part of town under the control of the armija, I
8 can't remember there being a Croatian flag. But in the introduction it
9 says that the civilian authorities were not functioning, and someone felt
10 that as a result, since the civilian authorities were not functioning an
11 order could be issued, an attempt could be made to take the town.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, in this document, in
13 the first paragraph I can see that ABiH forces arrived from Central
14 Bosnia. They arrived in Gornji Vakuf. Is that true or not?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] During this period when this order
16 was issued, I claim with full responsibility that there was not a single
17 soldier in the area of Gornji Vakuf on the 12th of January.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So what this states does not
19 reflect the truth as you experienced the events at the time it.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
21 MR. MUNDIS:
22 Q. Sir, what about the statement, "... the BH army is attempting to
23 take over certain key buildings in Gornji Vakuf ..."? The first -- in the
24 first part of the sentence.
25 A. Well, there were no any -- there were no longer any key
1 facilities. The HVO had control of all the key facilities in and around
2 the town. So all the facilities in and around Vakuf were under HVO
3 control and at the border they even had a centre for interception. It was
4 in the Rog centre.
5 Q. What about the last paragraph the attempt by the BH army to
6 eliminate the HVO in Gornji Vakuf? Can you comment on that?
7 A. I can't because this seems illogical to me. I don't know what it
8 is that we did to try to eliminate the HVO. Perhaps we wanted to persuade
9 them somehow.
10 Q. If you look, sir, under the heading "Order", the first paragraph
11 or number 1 under order, towards the end of number 1 there's reference
12 to "... prevent the enemy from threatening the Croatian population in
13 Bugojno and Gornji Vakuf." Can you comment on that? Threats to the Croat
14 population in Gornji Vakuf.
15 A. I really don't know what they should be protected from in this
16 area under the control of the armija. In that area there were certain
17 Croats, not many of them. They had received flats as a result of the
18 positions they occupied, as a result of their jobs. But given the area
19 under the armija control, well, there was just one old family, the
20 Kovacevic family, and in that area there wasn't a single house inhabited
21 by a Croat. After the Second World War, none such houses had been built.
22 Only Bosniaks had houses there. Only the old Kovacevic family had a house
23 there, and that's still the case today. So I really don't see how
24 someone's property might have been at risk or anything else for that
25 matter. And I won't comment on the situation in Bugojno. Item 1 of the
1 order says, "Break up the enemy forces of the ABiH in Bugojno and Gornji
3 Q. Sir, based on what's contained in paragraph -- or number 6 of this
4 document, can you as a professional soldier characterise this order?
5 A. As I have already said, these things took place on a daily basis.
6 Forces would take people in incessantly. As far as item 5 is concerned, I
7 interpret it as follows: Some of the HVO forces were sent to Bugojno in
8 order to divide or to cut off Gornji Vakuf from the direction of Bugojno.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What does 6 mean in military
10 terms? What does 6 mean, where it says, "Combat. Be prepared for combat
11 activity immediately."
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, this an order. It says be
13 prepared for combat activity immediately. Well, that is order. I don't
14 understand why it "says to be started when I gave the order." If you have
15 such an order, that's sufficient. You have to be ready for combat
16 activity. It's sufficient to implement this order.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But couldn't we interpret this
18 as order that says there will be an action, but I'll say when this should
19 be started? In English it says, "when I give the order."
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's what it says in my document
21 too. I think that these two shells were fired from 82-millimetre mortars,
22 and as a result this plan had been disturbed. Otherwise, things wouldn't
23 have unfolded in this way.
24 MR. MUNDIS:
25 Q. Now, Brigadier Agic, at this point in time, that is mid-January,
1 1993, to whom were you reporting?
2 A. I reported to the 3rd Corps. Unfortunately, the time the corps
3 was the immediate superior command of the brigades. So the brigade
4 commander and the staff would always send extraordinary reports with
5 regard to every event. The 3rd Corps commander was well-informed of this
6 situation. I then requested that officers from the Corps Command should
7 be sent to help us deal with this situation, because these were matters
8 that were beyond our authority.
9 Q. And, sir, how did you submit reports to the 3rd Corps? By what
10 means did you submit reports to the 3rd Corps?
11 A. All the brigades had so-called switch communications. This was a
12 means whereby one would send reports or any other documents. You'd use a
13 modem to send such documents.
14 Q. Now, that was just translated, at least into English, as "switch
15 communications." Was this also known as Paket communications?
16 A. Yes. We call this form of communication Paket communications.
17 I'm not an expert in this field so I wouldn't go into the details. I
18 wouldn't want to explain how this actually functioned.
19 Q. How frequently would you produce these reports to the 3rd Corps?
20 A. As I have already said we had to send such reports twice a day
21 but, given the situation, whenever there was an incident, an event of any
22 importance, we would react immediately and send reports to the Corps
24 Q. I'd asks you now, Brigadier Agic, to turn to number 1132?
25 MR. KARNAVAS: And, Your Honour, before we get to this particular
1 document which is dated 14 January, since the gentleman indicated that he
2 was sending reports twice a day, and on special incidents he would also
3 send one, perhaps the gentleman could tell it us, where are the other
4 documents, the documents that he was generating on the 11th, the 12th, the
5 13th, the twice a day, plus the extra ones.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On the 11th, 12th, and 13th of
7 January you sent reports to the 3rd Corps.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] These reports must have been
10 filed or registered in a logbook. They must have been given certain
11 numbers. There must be a written trace of the reports that you sent to
12 the 3rd Corps.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have a response from the corps
14 commander in front of me, a response to our requests. This is what the
15 Prosecution was referring to, 1132.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But that's a different document.
17 We'll see about that later. But on the 11th, 12th, and 13th, you're
18 saying that you sent reports to the 3rd Corps, reports on the situation.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, even before. We'd send
20 reports in the morning and in the evening. It was our duty to do that.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To be quite clear about this,
22 because I have time limitations that have to be respected and to avoid
23 questions -- to avoid putting questions to you that aren't very helpful,
24 my question is very simple. Before the 18th of January, 1993, are you
25 saying that you never received an order to attack the HVO?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
2 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. Sir, document 1132, when was the first time you ever saw this
5 A. Last night was the first time I saw it.
6 Q. Can you comment on what's contained in this document? First of
7 all, why don't you tell us what this document is.
8 A. The corps commander requested in this document that the Chief of
9 Staffs of the armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be made
10 familiar with the situation of the -- in the zone of responsibility of the
11 3rd Corps. In fact, he informed them of the situation. He informed these
12 commanders of the situation.
13 Q. And the references in here, sir, to Gornji Vakuf, if you could
14 focus your attention on those. There are a few places where Gornji Vakuf
15 is mentioned, particularly in the middle of the document. Do you see
16 those references?
17 A. I can't see it very well, but I can make out the gist of it.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the middle of the page there
19 is a paragraph which relates directly to what you said about the 500
20 individuals who arrived. Can you see it?
21 A. No. I can see a paragraph where it mentions 500 soldiers.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't read it, though.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. In fact, the copy is not
25 very good.
1 Mr. Mundis, I'm looking at the B/C/S version of the document, and
2 it's very difficult to read.
3 MR. MUNDIS: It is. It is indeed, Mr. President. I believe
4 that --
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, the simplest thing
6 to do would be for you to read out the paragraph and ask what the witness
7 thinks about it. The interpreters can then interpret it into the
8 witness's language, and it will be just as if he read it himself.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've read it.
10 MR. MUNDIS:
11 Q. Witness, let me just -- so that there's no confusion, in the
12 middle of page 2, in the English translation it says as
13 follows: "Accordingly, around 500 such HVO members were deployed in the
14 previous 10 days in the wider area of Novi Travnik, Gornji Vakuf, and
15 along the Gornji Vakuf-Bugojno stretch. Upon this, there occurred an open
16 artillery attack, followed by an infantry attack on Gornji Vakuf."
17 Does this report and analysis submitted by General Hadzihasanovic
18 up the chain of command to the RBiH Armed Forces Command Staff accurately
19 reflect the situation in the middle of January, 1993, with respect to
20 Gornji Vakuf and the immediate area?
21 A. In does reflect the situation, but I don't think the position of
22 the artillery was correctly noted. The artillery can't act in Gornji
23 Vakuf if it has this calibre. It was positioned between Pidris and
24 Mackovac, on the left side in the Dobrasin sector.
25 Q. And, sir, where -- where are you seeing that in this document?
1 A. Well, it says from the firing positions, Pajic Polje and the
2 village of Rumboci.
3 Q. That's the paragraph immediately below the one that I just read
4 out to you, but I was concerned about what's contained in the paragraph
5 preceding that.
6 A. On the 14th the HVO carried out infantry attacks, and they tried
7 to attain their objective in this manner.
8 Q. Did you report that information to General Hadzihasanovic?
9 A. And on the 13th, he promised that a team of officers would be
10 September to Gornji Vakuf to assist in the negotiations and to halt what
11 was happening.
12 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I note the time. This might be an
13 appropriate spot for the next break.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: And before we take a break, Mr. President, just a
15 correction on the transcript. I believe it was page 65, line 21. The
16 witness said that it "was not correctly noted." As it reflects now, it
17 says "was correctly noted." So I think that needs to be corrected.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My understanding was that in
19 this report by General Hadzihasanovic to the Supreme Command he positioned
20 the HVO artillery in two positions, Pajic Polje and the village of
21 Rumboci, and you said that there must be an error because they weren't
22 there. They were somewhere else. Is that what you told us?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. It says Rumboci correctly, but
24 the artillery wasn't there.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] For the benefit of the
1 transcript, the artillery, according to you, was situated where?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The artillery was between the
3 village of Pidris and Mackovci [phoen]. I apologise. I am not counting
4 82-millimetre mortars as artillery.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So when you're talking about
6 artillery, what do you mean?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm referring to calibres of a
8 hundred and more millimetres, guns and howitzers. The 130-millimetre gun
9 and so on. 82 millimetres is an infantry weapon.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And would you include tanks in
11 this group?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Tanks are armoured vehicles.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
14 It is half past 5.00. We will have a 20-minute break, and we will
15 resume work after that.
16 --- Recess taken at 5.31 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 5.51 p.m.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, we have an hour and
19 10 minutes at our disposal.
20 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. Brigadier Agic, I'd now ask you to turn to document -- let me ask
22 you a couple of questions before we get to the next document. Middle of
23 January 1993, can -- were you aware, based on the position that you held,
24 as to events occurring in the villages in Gornji Vakuf municipality
25 outside the town of Gornji Vakuf itself?
1 A. We were more or less familiar with the situation in all the
2 villages, wherever we had units of the BH army.
3 Q. How were you familiar? Was it based on reports you received or
4 speaking to people? How did you receive this information as to what was
5 going on in the area around the town of Gornji Vakuf?
6 A. First of all, by means of communications with subordinate units.
7 We had to contact and coordination with them. Then also upon the
8 initiative of the UNPROFOR commander in Gornji Vakuf it was agreed that I
9 and Mr. Tokic Zrinko in the evening of the 13th of January, 1993, should
10 tour the lower part of Gornji Vakuf municipality, which meant we would
11 tour Duratbegovic Dolac, Draza Dolac, Pajic Polje, Hrasnica, and Grnica,
12 and that is what we did. In all these localities we spoke to the unit
13 commanders, but I must point out that in Pajic Polje I was not allowed to
14 leave the transporter because Mr. Zrinko Tokic could not guarantee my
16 Q. I'd ask you now sir to take a look at document 1126. When was the
17 first time you saw this document, sir?
18 A. I saw this document last night.
19 Q. Can you comment on what's contained in this document in terms of
20 the accuracy of the information?
21 A. I can comment on the part referring to Gornji Vakuf. Voljevac and
22 Pridvorci were shot at with multiple-rocket launchers, and the other place
23 with artillery.
24 Q. And how did you come to know that?
25 A. From the report of the 2nd Battalion commander in Donji Boljevci.
1 He was precise, asking what he should do, and it's not far away because
2 you can hear the sound of such weapons. And in town we felt it too.
3 Q. Now, Brigadier Agic, can you tell us what was occurring in the
4 town of Gornji Vakuf on the 14th and 15th of January, 1993?
5 A. In the afternoon of the 14th, I think it was about 3.00 p.m.,
6 three persons came from Zenica. That is, a delegation of the armed forces
7 from Bosnia-Herzegovina with the addition of a representative of the
8 ruling circles of the SDA. I think the gentleman was a member of the SDA,
9 and he was a representative in the parliament of the Republic of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Dzemal Merdan came, deputy commander of the 3rd
11 Corps; Selmo Cikotic, member of the Corps Command; and Salcinovic, I
12 cannot recall his first name, who was a deputy in the republic's
13 parliament and the most responsible person of the SDA in the then ruling
14 structure in Zenica. On behalf of the HVO the meeting was attended by
15 Colonel Andric and Colonel Zeljko Siljeg. And there was another member
16 and I cannot recall his name.
17 Q. Can you tell us, first of all, what the purpose of this meeting
19 A. The purpose was to put a stop to combat operations and to come to
20 an agreement how to restore the situation to the previous situation in --
21 to the previous condition in Gornji Vakuf.
22 Q. Did anything occur at this meeting that stuck out in your mind?
23 A. At this meeting Colonel Andric produced a document of the
24 government of Herceg-Bosna, of the republic of the Croatian community of
25 Herceg-Bosna, which specifies that the forces of the army in Gornji Vakuf
1 must immediately be placed under the command of the HVO. And a second
2 document described how to implement that decision, and the third, what the
3 consequences would be if that were not to be carried out. And it was
4 signed by the Prime Minister of the government of Herceg-Bosna,
5 Mr. Prlic.
6 Q. Did you actually see this document, sir?
7 A. I did. Yes, I saw it.
8 Q. How did the meeting develop after this letter was produced or this
9 document was produced by Colonel Andric?
10 A. It was a very awkward situation for all those present, especially
11 for those on my side of the table. I even felt that representatives of
12 the international community were astonished. Colonel Stewart was present,
13 BritBat commander from Vitez. I think his name was Raymond Lee, the head
14 of the observers based in Zenica.
15 We were all astonished. And when Mr. Andric asked the others to
16 comment, Dzemal Merdan said that this was beyond his powers as president
17 of this commission and that he would have to return to Zenica to consult
18 with the corps commander.
19 At the end, Colonel Siljeg commented where he took this decision
20 of the government of Herceg-Bosna, that this would be done willy-nilly,
21 that it would be carried out. It was an ultimatum. And then
22 representatives of the international community asked for time for the
23 delegation of the BH army to consult with higher-level authorities.
24 Q. Once this document was produced and these comments that you've
25 told us about were made, how much longer did the meeting continue?
1 A. There was a break, as far as I can remember, for people to take
2 some coffee and to discuss amongst themselves, and this lasted perhaps a
3 little longer than half an hour. And when it was resumed, it didn't take
4 long. I think it ended about 17.45. Dzemal Merdan asked to return to
5 Zenica together with this gentleman from the SDA. I've just forgotten his
6 name. However, they couldn't receive guarantees for safe return, and they
7 were taken to Zenica in the warriors of the British Battalion, and Colonel
8 Stewart gave them these vehicles to go back to Zenica.
9 Q. Now, sir, a few moments ago, as reflected on page 69, lines 24 and
10 25, you indicated that this document, the third part of this document
11 contained what the consequences would be if that were not to be carried
12 out. Do you remember what these consequences were as set forth in this
13 document that you saw?
14 A. In item 3, it was stated, to paraphrase, that the HVO would disarm
15 such units by force and place them under their control.
16 Q. I'd ask you now, sir, if you would turn your attention to document
17 1131. When was the first time, sir, that you saw this document?
18 A. Last night.
19 Q. I'd like you to look, if you would, on the Bosnian language
20 version of this document towards the bottom where there's reference to a
21 state commission of the BH army arriving at around 1600 hours. Do you see
22 that, sir?
23 A. That is the commission, and it was about 1500 hours, not 1600.
24 Q. Can you read that portion of the document, please? And then I'd
25 like to ask you a couple of questions about what's contained on that
2 A. I have read it.
3 Q. Does this document reflect what occurred at the meeting that took
4 place on the 14th of January, 1993, that you attended?
5 A. It does. Agreement was reached that a delegation of the army
6 would return to Zenica and consult with their superiors, and that efforts
7 would be made to halt combat operations until an official position is
9 Q. Let me ask you this, General -- Brigadier: The document, does it
10 make reference to this, as you've described it, ultimatum that was
11 produced by Colonel Andric?
12 A. It doesn't mention it.
13 Q. Do you see in the -- in the bullet point immediately below
14 Mr. Salcinovic's name reference to a statement? Do you see that?
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I'm going to be asking counsel to be
16 very careful not to lead the witness because the witness indicated that it
17 was a decision and then counsel later on referred to it as a letter. I
18 didn't object then but at this point I would just kindly ask that we
19 proceed with a great deal of caution, because the decision has been
20 introduced and we will be looking at it, I take it, at some point.
21 MR. MUNDIS: I take Counsel Karnavas's point. This document
22 refers to a statement, and that's what I'm asking the witness about.
23 Q. Do you see the reference in this document to the statement?
24 A. Yes. But this is an HVO report.
25 Q. Can you comment on the sentence that says: "The commission
1 consisting of the said members entirely supports and accepts the
2 statement"? Do you know, sir, what this is referring to based on your
3 attendance at this meeting?
4 A. It was officially agreed, and when they say statement,
5 representatives of the media were present, and it was officially announced
6 that the commission would adjourn until higher-level authorities are
7 consulted with a view to overcoming the newly created situation. And
8 probably the reference here is to that.
9 Q. Now, sir, to the best of your recollection how long did Dzemal
10 Merdan remain in town after this meeting was completed?
11 A. Dzemal Merdan, in a UN Warrior, came to town, came to my office.
12 He wrote a telegram for General Hadzihasanovic, and within half an hour he
13 left Gornji Vakuf to go to Zenica with Mr. Salcinovic. Merdan suggested,
14 and General Hadzihasanovic accepted, that Selmo Cikotic, as a member of
15 this commission and a member of the Corps Command, should remain in Gornji
16 Vakuf and should try with HVO representatives to keep the situation under
17 control as much as possible until further decisions were made.
18 Q. And do you recall -- Brigadier Agic, do you recall how long
19 Mr. Cikotic remained in Gornji Vakuf?
20 A. Mr. Cikotic left Vakuf, I think, on the 17th or 18th. He went to
21 Zenica for consultations and then he returned the next day. He remained
22 in Gornji Vakuf until the truce was signed on behalf of the HVO by General
23 Milivoj Petkovic and, on behalf of the army, General Arif Pasalic. And he
24 stayed until that day in Gornji Vakuf.
25 Q. Now, you indicated that -- that Dzemal Merdan was going to take
1 this ultimatum, as you've described it, to higher authorities because it
2 wasn't something that he was able to deal with at his level. Did he ever
3 come back to you or to the other people who were participating with a
5 A. Dzemal Merdan did not come back, and he couldn't interpret the
6 first item because there was mention made of the Vance-Owen Plan and the
7 cantons with the Bosniak or Croat majority.
8 Q. I'd ask you, sir, to take a look at the document marked 1174.
9 When was the first time, Brigadier Agic, that you saw this document?
10 A. I saw it last night.
11 Q. And, sir, can you comment on what this document is in terms of who
12 produced and when and where, if you know?
13 A. I think that this document was compiled in the 3rd Corps on the
14 basis of a report by Mr. Merdan from these negotiations which were
15 conducted early on and the report which a member of the corps,
16 Mr. Cikotic, would send to the 3rd Corps Command on a daily basis.
17 Q. Can you explain to the Trial Chamber what might seem to be a
18 discrepancy that the document indicates Gornji Vakuf, 16/1/1993 at 1845
19 hours? This is on the top of the document in your language in the middle
20 of the first page on the left-hand side.
21 Was General Merdan in Gornji Vakuf on that day, at that time, to
22 the best of your knowledge?
23 A. No, Dzemal Merdan was not in Gornji Vakuf on that day.
24 Mr. Cikotic spent the whole day on behalf of the army in the UNPROFOR.
25 Q. And now, sir, if you can see towards, again in the Bosnian
1 language, at the bottom of the first page and the top of the second page,
2 there are a number of bullet points. Were you aware of what's contained
3 in these bullet points on this document?
4 A. I was not.
5 Q. Let's turn to document 1146. Before we do that, though, let me
6 ask you this question: There appears to be a reference to you in this
7 document. Again, in one of the bullet points.
8 A. I am mentioned in the second bullet point, that there's a request
9 that command of the army can no longer be carried out through Topcic,
10 Agic, and Prijic.
11 Q. At any point in time, sir, were you familiar or were you aware
12 that this demand was being made?
13 A. I was, because earlier on, on the 12th, when we were talking, that
14 is something that they said.
15 Q. Okay. And when you say on the 12th, what are you -- what are you
16 referring to?
17 A. When I said that we had meetings with UNPROFOR daily and we were
18 endeavouring to come to an agreement with the assistance of UNPROFOR and
19 representatives of the staffs and HVO brigades from Bugojno joined in.
20 And these mixed teams, efforts were made for a member of the Bosnian units
21 to go to HVO commands, that a Bosniak from the 307th Brigade should go to
22 the HVO, such attempts were made. And I can't remember the name of -- the
23 HVO representative from the Eugen Kvaternik Brigade in Bugojno came to our
24 command, but there were problems on the ground. We withdrew a person who
25 was at Pidris, at the command post at Pidris on behalf of the army. So
1 these attempts were being made constantly to stop the conflict, because
2 losses were considerable, casualties were high, destruction enormous.
3 Q. Let me ask you now, sir, to please look at document 1146. I would
4 like to be absolutely clear, Brigadier Agic, is this decision that you
5 have before you the document that you saw, that was presented by Colonel
6 Andric at the meeting on the 14th of January, 1993?
7 A. Well, the important difference is the following: There was no
8 signature because it was sent by Paket communications. I believe they
9 used a similar system in the HVO. It didn't have this number of items and
10 I believe it was a document that concerned the municipality of Gornji
12 MR. KARNAVAS: So is the answer no?
13 MR. MUNDIS:
14 Q. Is that -- is that the decision you saw or not?
15 A. Yes, yes. It's not this decision. The decision I saw was that
16 Colonel Andric had three items. It hadn't been signed. It had arrived
17 via Paket communications, and it had been placed on our desk.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ibrisimovic.
19 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I don't
20 believe this decision could have been shown to the witness, the date of
21 the 15th of January. So it couldn't have been shown on the 14th of
23 MR. KARNAVAS: And just for a further point of clarification or
24 confusion, whichever may be the case, if we go back to document 1174 where
25 the gentleman said that he hadn't seen this document, if you look at --
1 under paragraph 2, the first bulletin point, it says the HVO decision on
2 the organisation of provinces is a temporary decision based on
3 reciprocity. And then it talks -- the next one talks about the Geneva
4 agreement. So I would suspect that there's going to be some clarification
5 whether the gentleman perhaps might be just simply confused with the
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, you spoke about a
8 document that had three items in it. The first one concerned the fact
9 that the ABiH forces had to be under the -- placed under the HVO, and then
10 we had implementation and three consequences. Then you said that this
11 document, as far as you can remember, had been sent -- had been signed by
12 Prlic. Here we have a document as the Defence has rightly pointed out,
13 and the date is the 15th of January, the date of the document. So this
14 can't be the document in question.
15 The document that you saw on the 14th that had been signed by
16 Prlic, are you quite certain that you saw this document?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I have said, I haven't seen this
18 document. I saw a different document. It had three items, and I said
19 that it didn't bear a signature. And we were told that it had been sent
20 via Paket communications. You can't sign documents that are sent by
21 this -- by this way -- in this way.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But was the name Prlic at the
23 bottom of the document, although it hadn't been signed?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. And the Defence also asked me
25 something else. These are the items, as I have said, but General
1 Hadzihasanovic says that there were requests made at the meeting that had
2 to be complied with. There was the HVO decision on structuring units and,
3 on the basis of reciprocity, the HVO wanted this to be done at this
4 meeting. They asked for units to be withdrawn in the direction of the
5 villages. All units in the municipality of Gornji Vakuf that weren't from
6 Gornji Vakuf should be withdrawn from Gornji Vakuf. The HVO said they
7 wouldn't shell, and then there were other requests.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. And the decision of
9 the 15th of January, 1146, you'd never seen it before?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
11 MR. MUNDIS:
12 Q. Let me go back to document 1174, if you still have that before
13 you, 1174.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Based on the text of the second paragraph, it would appear that
16 there was a meeting at 1730 hours on the 16th of January, 1993. Is that
18 A. I said that Mr. Cikotic stayed on in town, and every day he had
19 meetings with some HVO officers, and they tried to reach an agreement so
20 an end could be put to the conflict. I think this is based on his
22 Mr. Tokic Zrinko and myself were only called upon if it was
23 necessary to do something concrete and if it was necessary to convey
24 orders to us and inform us of what had been agreed upon in UNPROFOR.
25 Q. And do you recall, Brigadier Agic, at how many meetings of these
1 you were called in, either you or -- yourself and Mr. Tokic, in this
2 period in the middle of January, 1993, while Selmo Cikotic was still in
3 Gornji Vakuf?
4 A. Well, on average I think we were called to the UNPROFOR premises
5 at least once a day in order to have consultations with the commission
6 that was there. Sometimes it was more frequent. But it was a problem for
7 me to pass through a certain area to reach UNPROFOR. This area was under
8 HVO control, so I had to use UN armoured carriers.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may, and this was brought to my attention and
10 I apologise for the interruption, but on page 69, 20 going on further
11 down, the gentleman said that he saw three documents, one signed by
12 Mr. Prlic on the 14th. And so, as I recall his testimony, he's saying
13 that such documents couldn't be signed because of the way they were being,
14 you know, transmitted.
15 Now, again, perhaps the Court may invite the witness, you know, to
16 answer whether he is simply mistaken, because after all we're talking
17 about a lot of years, or whether he stands firm, in which case we will
18 need to take the necessary actions in impeaching him.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When the colonel showed you the
20 document that had arrived by Paket communications, the document that
21 hadn't been sign by Prlic but nevertheless bore his name, was this a
22 document with these three items or were there in fact three documents?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. There was just one document.
24 It was a decision and it consisted of three items. I mentioned three
25 items. I didn't mention three documents.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That's how I understood your
2 testimony. It was one document that consisted of three items. We're not
3 talking about three documents. Mr. Karnavas, apparently you seem to think
4 that there were three documents.
5 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, if I may assist because I had brought it
6 up and brought it to Mr. Karnavas's attention. The testimony reads as
7 follows at that reference: "At this meeting Colonel Andric produced a
8 document of the government of Herceg-Bosna of the republic of the Croatian
9 Republic of Herceg-Bosna which specifies that the forces of the army in
10 Gornji Vakuf must immediately be placed under the command of the HVO, and
11 a second document described how to implement that decision, and the third
12 what the consequences would be if that were not to be carried out, and it
13 was signed by the Prime Minister of the government of Herceg-Bosna, Mr.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Was there perhaps an
16 interpretation error when you answered the question you were referring to
17 one single document, not three documents.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will repeat what I said. There
19 was one document that consisted of three items. The first one was
20 execution, second implementation, and the third consequences.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: But does the gentleman still stand by his testimony
22 under oath earlier on when he says that he saw it signed by Dr. Prlic?
23 There lies the conundrum, sir.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you said "signed," in
25 military terms, well, we can have a document that's sent, a document that
1 bears someone's name but that doesn't have a signature. Is that what you
2 were saying?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I said that the document had
4 been transmitted via Paket communications, and this means that it's
5 impossible for such a document to bear a stamp or someone's signature.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It wasn't a document
7 that had been faxed. It was a document that was sent electronically via
8 Paket communications, so there was no signature. Is that correct.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I assume so. I don't know how the
10 communications department in the HVO actually functions. I assume that
11 they used a modem, Paket communications, which is what we in the armija
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To make sure there is no
14 ambiguity remaining, since Defence is focusing on this, the document did
15 bear Prlic's name but not his signature, his handwritten signature.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That's how I understood your
19 Mr. Mundis.
20 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. Witness, I'd like you now to turn to document 1135. When was the
22 first time you saw this document?
23 A. Last night was the first time.
24 Q. I'd ask you, sir, if you could please take a look at the first
25 sentence of this document leading up to the "I hereby issue the following
1 order," and if you could comment on that first sentence for us, please.
2 A. I don't understand the order you're presenting this in. You
3 showed me an order from the commander of the Tomislav operative zone.
4 That was Colonel Siljeg. The date was the 12th of January. And in that
5 order it was ordering that the town be attacked, and I assume that his
6 command or, rather, the Main Staff issued such an order -- drafted such an
7 order on the 15th of January. In the introduction it says "because of the
8 open aggression of the Muslim forces -- the open and treacherous
9 aggression by Muslim forces throughout the HZ HB territory," et cetera,
10 but the introduction in his order, in Mr. Siljeg's order, is different.
11 He orders an attack.
12 Q. Again, I would ask you, sir, to focus on this paragraph that
13 you've just started reading, and if you could comment on what's contained
14 in this document.
15 A. In the introduction it mentions Croatian houses being set on fire,
16 but up until the 15th of January, not a single Croatian house had been
17 torched. Up until the 15th of January the situation was quite the
18 reverse. Wherever they arrived everything was set fire to. On the 15th
19 of January, the -- Hrasnica had been entirely burnt down. I can claim
20 with full responsibility that no one attacked Croats in Gornji Vakuf and
21 in the territory of the HZ HB. This is what the Main Staff refers to in
22 the introduction.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: I don't wish to interrupt, but there's nothing in
24 this document that refers to Gornji Vakuf, and I understand that the man
25 is fixated with Gornji Vakuf, and that's his testimony, and we'll see
1 whether that evidence bears out. Perhaps Mr. Mundis could clarify to the
2 gentleman, because this is the 15th, and somehow the gentleman is
3 insisting on marching to his own orders, that he's trying to connect the
4 12th with the 15th. So I would ask that -- I don't want to interrupt, but
5 he -- simply answer the questions.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Item 4, page 2 in the English
7 version, it says Vakuf and Prozor. Vakuf is referred to in this document.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: He was asked to look at the preamble and the
9 gentleman begins with the 12th. And he has done this -- this is his
10 second time I would just simply ask that the gentleman -- so we can have a
11 clear record.
12 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, if I could just briefly respond. This
13 is -- I don't even know how many times Mr. Karnavas has asked for
14 clarification which, with all due respect, are matters for him to raise
15 during cross-examination. We would ask that this time be deducted - for
16 all of these questions - from his cross because that's actually what he's
17 trying to do during the direct examination.
18 Number two, as has been --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll try to move
20 ahead. There is an order and it has a preamble. In the preamble General
21 Petkovic says that Muslim forces had launched an attack and as a result
22 there were scores of dead and wounded. That concerns HVO soldiers. It
23 also says that Croatian houses were burnt, Croats were expelled, et
24 cetera, et cetera.
25 So the question the Judges are requesting themselves is whether
1 this preamble actually reflects the situation on the ground or not. Is it
2 true or not?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The preamble, the part of the
4 preamble that refers to the aggression, to the expulsion, to the torching
5 of houses, this part of the preamble is false.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's move on.
7 MR. MUNDIS:
8 Q. Let's just clarify this, sir. Are you speaking about what you
9 were familiar with, that is Gornji Vakuf, when you make this statement
10 that this is false?
11 A. Yes. As the Defence said, the preamble can be linked up with item
12 4, can be related to item 4, where forces in Gornji Vakuf are being
13 strengthened. So the conflict is up there, nowhere else.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, the preamble says "throughout HZ HB
15 territory." And I don't know why the witness refuses to look at that
16 part. It's not restricted to Gornji Vakuf. And now the gentleman under
17 oath is saying under no -- in no area --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, you can raise this
19 issue in the course of your cross-examination. The witness is a
20 high-ranking officer, and as a result he should be aware of what he's
21 saying. You quite rightly pointed out that the preamble mentions the
22 entire territory.
23 Can this preamble be linked up to the situation in Gornji Vakuf?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] With your leave, may I respond? May
25 I clarify this matter, Your Honour?
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Combat readiness throughout the area
3 under HVO control should be raised, and it says part of the forces at full
4 combat readiness should arrive in Gornji Vakuf. As far as I know on the
5 15th of January there were no longer any clashes between the armija and
6 the HVO, in no areas.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, please continue.
8 MR. MUNDIS:
9 Q. Witness, can you please look at 1139. When was the first time you
10 saw this document?
11 A. Last night was the first time.
12 Q. Now, turning your attention to the 15th of January, 1993, again
13 there's reference in the preamble to the Geneva agreements. Do you know
14 what that's referring to?
15 A. I apologise. Which page did you refer to?
16 Q. At the beginning in the preamble.
17 A. No, which document number?
18 Q. 1139. Have you ever seen this document before?
19 A. No, I haven't.
20 Q. Now, again, sir, with reference to the date, 15 January 1993, do
21 you know what the reference in the first -- in the preamble of this
22 document, with respect to Geneva agreements, is referring to?
23 A. In the preamble they're referring to areas in which there's a
24 Croatian majority and a Bosniak majority, but they were in a bit of a
25 hurry. The Geneva agreement was never signed.
1 Q. And my question is: What is the Geneva agreement? What is that
2 referring to, if you know?
3 A. I wouldn't want to speculate. I've never read through the Geneva
5 Q. Look under, sir, under number 1, references to provinces 3, 8, and
6 10. Do you know what that refers to?
7 A. I wouldn't know --
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think I should raise
9 an objection now. If the witness said he's not familiar with the contents
10 of the agreement, I think it's really useless to ask the witness about the
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
13 General, you said that at the time you weren't familiar with the
14 Vance-Owen Plan, but on the 15th of January, 1993, did you have contact
15 with the HVO, UNPROFOR, your colleagues, the 3rd Corps, Merdan, and
16 others, and in these contexts did you hear about provinces 3, 8, and 10?
17 Were provinces 3, 8, and 10 discussed when you had such contact at the
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I heard about them, but I still
20 don't know which territories are concerned when reference is made to
21 provinces 3, 8, and 10. I don't even know which areas provinces 1, 5, and
22 9 refer to.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you don't know. But you were
24 aware of the fact that negotiations were under way in Geneva, high-level
25 negotiations, the purpose of which was to find a solution for the problems
1 in your country? Were you aware of that?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, each and every normal citizen
3 discussed this subject because everyone wanted the war to come to an end.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You said there was no television
5 in Gornji Vakuf. What about radios? Were radios functioning at the time
6 or not? Could you listen to Radio Zagreb or Radio Sarajevo? No one
7 listened to the radio?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was no electricity for quite a
9 long time.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but radios can also
11 function with batteries.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we knew that they said that
13 Croatian and Bosniak provinces would be established, and each population,
14 each people would have the majority in certain provinces. They didn't
15 speak about the actual territory that would be covered by these provinces
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You haven't answered
18 my question about the radio. I still don't know whether there was anyone
19 who was able to listen to the radio in Gornji Vakuf on the 15th of
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, believe me, it's very simple
22 to answer that question. On the 15th of January in Vakuf, the ordinary
23 people were just trying to save their lives. No one had Geneva on their
25 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, did this order
1 nevertheless reach you? Did it reach members of the ABiH? Because it was
2 addressed to you so that your forces could be in the provinces concerned
3 and that under HVO control. Because if you were familiar with the order
4 at the time, it concerned you in a certain sense, and you could have asked
5 yourself about the significance of provinces 3, 8, and 10.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We never received this order, and we
7 were in the chain of command that was part of my 3rd Corps. Whatever I
8 received, whatever orders I received, I received from the 3rd Corps. That
9 included the fact -- well, even if army units should have been placed on
10 someone's command, I should have received such an order from the
11 appropriate commander to carry out at that task in order to report
12 the "new commander."
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, everyone saw a series
14 of documents a minute ago, and it seems that -- well, it's not that it
15 seems, it's quite certain or almost certain that ABiH units were to be
16 subordinated to the HVO. But at the same time, in certain areas the
17 situation was the reverse. HVO units were going to be subordinated to the
18 ABiH. Were you aware of this?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, but the Vance-Owen Plan was
20 never signed. It never entered into force. It was never implemented.
21 But I knew that this was supposed to happen if it had been signed.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When Colonel Andric says you --
23 told you this is how it's going to happen, as of the 15th of January you
24 will be subordinated to some body, what was your initial reaction? What
25 did you tell him? "This is madness, and I don't understand. I'm going to
1 refer this matter to my superiors"? What did you tell him?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The deputy commander of the 3rd
3 Corps reacted calmly to this, or pretended to be calm. My reaction was
4 different. I can't say -- put in words what I said he should do with that
5 piece of paper.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, tell us what you said.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm really embarrassed to say that,
8 that he can wipe his behind with it.
9 JUDGE PRANDLER: I really would like to refrain from questions,
10 too much questions addressed to you from the Bench, but I would like to
11 ask, for me at least, a final question today, and then when we are
12 addressing the issue to whom the -- this letter, actually not the letter
13 but a comment was developed, and here at the very end, in the very end we
14 find on the page 2, in the English version, to be delivered, number 1,
15 South-eastern Herzegovina operative zone, then the number 2, North-western
16 Herzegovina operative zone, then number 3, Central Bosnia operative zone.
17 1st Mostar Brigade, that's number 4 and 5. Now my question is to you: If
18 it is there mentioned the various regional operative zones, do you
19 believe, do you consider that your own unit, that is the 317th Brigade,
20 was included, in your view, to those operative zones or not? Because
21 then -- otherwise, you should have received it. If you did not receive
22 it, then it could have been considered a technical or any other problem.
23 But do you -- did you consider yourselves at that time if you received
24 this very kind of order as an addressee, or you really would like to tell
25 us now that these addressees which are mentioned here on page 2, that is
1 to be delivered to those operative zones, that it -- it does not relate to
2 your own unit? So I would like to ask you this question.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 317th Brigade was part of the
4 3rd Corps. This order was addressed to operative zones, which up until
5 then were part of the Main Staff of the HVO in Grude. Putting units under
6 the command of the HVO in the provinces would need a restructuring at the
7 state level, a reorganisation of the state whether they be regions,
8 provinces, cantons. In this case, provinces were envisaged. This would
9 mean the reorganisation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and within that framework of
10 the armed forces.
11 I cannot on my own initiative as a commander of any Tactical Unit
12 execute this order, because somebody from my chain of command has to give
13 me such an order. We know that the Vance-Owen Plan was not signed, and
14 this order could perhaps have waited until the end of February when it
15 might have been signed. But when I was being ordered to put my unit under
16 this command, that was an absurdity. On what basis would I do that?
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now you're telling us something
18 that appears to me to be very interesting. You have just told us that
19 when this document was shown to you and you were told that the 317th
20 Brigade needs to be subordinated to the HVO, you have just said that at
21 your level it was not up to you to say yes or no because this would have
22 to come from a decision by your commander-in-chief. Is that what you're
23 telling us?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, precisely so. The Presidency
25 of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina would need to make a decision to
1 this effect.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So your colleague Colonel Andric
3 who tells you this, he knows there are chains of command, and when he's
4 addressing you, is that the proper level to address this to?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that Colonel Andric was
6 executing orders received from his chain of command.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Ms. Alaburic.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone, please.
9 Microphone, please.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. Your Honours, I think I
11 could contribute to improved understanding of this document. According to
12 this document, no one needed to subordinate themselves to anyone. The
13 Chief of Staff of the HVO can issue --
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're developing a theory.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] No, no. I just wish to draw
16 attention to point 7 of this decision which says that commanders of
17 operative zones must talk to commanders of Bosnia-Herzegovina to find the
18 best solution to establish joint commands, because as the witness said,
19 this is a decision that had to be taken at the highest level because it
20 entailed the reorganisation of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina
21 consisting of the HVO and the ABiH.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] However, yes, but in this case
23 Colonel Siljeg spoke with the force of arms. He didn't sit down and talk
24 about it. He spoke with the force of arms. Unfortunately, he attacked
25 the town.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
2 Mr. Mundis, we have 10 minutes left.
3 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Q. Witness, in response to what you just said, "unfortunately he
5 attacked the town," what are you referring to?
6 A. He attacked the town with everything he had at his disposal. And
7 I see from these reports that what he was short of he asked for.
8 Q. Let me just interrupt you there, sir. When you say "he," who are
9 you referring to?
10 A. I apologise. I am referring to Colonel Siljeg.
11 Q. And when did he attack the town?
12 A. He attacked it on the 12th of January, openly.
13 Q. And how long, sir, did this attack take place?
14 A. The attack on Gornji Vakuf lasted until it was finally halted in
15 the second half of February. But throughout that time negotiations were
16 conducted and attempts were made to stop the conflict. Commissions were
17 formed after the 20th of January, but the cease-fire did not bear fruit.
18 Then another commission was formed and two seniors officers from the 4th
19 Corps, upon orders from General Pasalic, were sent to assist in a
20 solution, in finding a solution. But until the truce was signed by
21 General Petkovic and General Pasalic, and probably some other
22 circumstances were fulfilled which I was not aware of, and this truce
23 somehow lasted until the 20th of January, 1993.
24 Q. Brigadier Agic, at line 25 of page 91, your answer is recorded
25 as, "He attacked the town with everything he had at his disposal." I
1 asked you if you could please explain that and perhaps amplify what you
2 mean by "everything he had at his disposal."
3 A. I repeat. When I said that he attacked with everything at his
4 disposal, I meant that he used all available artillery that he had,
5 howitzers, 120-millimetre mortars, 130-millimetre cannon, a VBR of 122
6 millimetres known as Grad, 60-millimetre mortars, 82-millimetre mortars,
7 and finally tank units joined in as well.
8 Q. Do you know, sir, from which direction Gornji Vakuf was targeted
9 by these weapons that you've just outlined?
10 A. At the time the multiple-rocket launcher, for instance, was
11 positioned to the right of the road before you reach the coffee bar
12 approaching the monument. Close to him and on the other side a 203
13 howitzer, General Mate Sarlija from Mount Igman was positioned there.
14 Then also I can explain in greater detail the positions. The tanks were
15 mobile, and they were deployed as necessary. The howitzers were in the
16 region of Mackovac.
17 Q. And can you describe for the Trial Chamber what was happening in
18 the actual town of Gornji Vakuf itself in terms of any type of combat?
19 A. The HVO prepared units for attack, the best quality ones, at least
20 that is my opinion. The military police battalion was exerting pressure
21 and attack on lines which was defended by the brigade police, and from the
22 14th or the 15th this military police battalion was joined by Mladen
23 Naletilic, Tuta's battalion, and that is where the worst infantry combat
24 was conducted, and also in the region of Vrse.
25 Q. And, Brigadier Agic, can you tell us if you know or if you had
1 reports available to you what type of infantry weapons were being employed
2 in the city of Gornji Vakuf in the middle of January, 1993?
3 A. In addition to regular infantry weapons and anti-armour devices,
4 HVO members used nitroglycerine rifles. In street combat they have a
5 frightening effect. Fortunately, except for making a lot of noise and
6 direct hits, they're not -- they're not that dangerous. They were used in
7 large quantities. And later on when a truce was made in the region of the
8 Ciganski meadows, I think they fired about a thousand of them because they
9 had plenty of them.
10 Q. The term nitroglycerine rifles is not commonly used in English.
11 Can you describe what type of weapon this is?
12 A. It's a rifle. The Western armies have an edition, and it is
13 filled with a bullet, I think 23 calibre, and it is filled with a drum
14 with six to eight bullets, and then it is fired like a pistol with a drum.
15 It can be filled with helio [phoen], which is inflammable, or
16 nitroglycerine which creates a lot of noise, a large explosion.
17 Q. One final question, sir, before we adjourn for the evening.
18 You've told us about meetings that took place between the HVO and the
19 ARBiH and UNPROFOR and other internationals during the period from the
20 14th to the 16th of January, 1993. Did those meetings take place during
21 cease-fires or was the fighting going on or were there lulls in the
22 fighting during these meetings? Can you describe?
23 A. Before the 20th of January when the first truce was signed, which
24 didn't hold, I think it was the 18th or the 19th of January, 1993, the
25 town was visited by General Morillon, the commander of the UN forces in
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina. And I think the ambassador of the European Union
2 based in Zenica, Mr. Bousseau, came to visit. I think Raymond Lee also
3 came to UNPROFOR on that day. He was --
4 MR. KARNAVAS: It's not responsive, Your Honour. I mean, he's
5 indicated there was fighting in the town. The question was, on the 14th,
6 15th where these meetings take place. Where. And I think when -- he
7 starts with the 20th.
8 MR. MUNDIS: The question wasn't so much "where" the meetings
9 were; the question was, was the fighting going on at the same time the
10 meetings were going on.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: And if you look at his previous testimony, he had
12 indicated that there was fighting.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On a daily basis in Gornji Vakuf
14 while the fighting was ongoing there were negotiations in the UTL factory
15 at the UNPROFOR headquarters in an effort to stop the fighting. Colonel
16 Siljeg in the meantime on the ground operated militarily, and when he did
17 something, he would say, "We will not discuss that." And he would look at
18 his watch and say, "When the HVO captured such-and-such place."
19 I'm saying that General Morillon came because the parties had
20 agreed to sign a cease-fire on the 20th of January.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We're going to stop
22 for today. According to my accounts, Mr. Mundis, you have used two hours,
23 20. How much more time do you need?
24 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. We've put the witness down
25 for three hours, and I would expect that we would probably need that,
1 meaning that we would need about 30 to 45 minutes tomorrow. I will do my
2 best to reduce the number of remaining documents.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Karnavas.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: I want to make an observation, Your Honour, an
5 observation in a way of an objection for future purposes. I don't think
6 it's proper to have a witness take documents with him to study them
7 overnight prior to giving testimony. Why is that? Because these
8 documents the gentleman on almost every single occasion has indicated that
9 he was not familiar with them. I think it taints one's memory. We don't
10 know actually what he knew versus what he learned from the documents. I'm
11 not suggesting anything nefarious, but I think as memories work, it does
12 cloud the ability to distinguish what you learned the night before by
13 reading a document versus what you remember, and I think we need to be
14 very, very careful.
15 I don't object to having a document shown to the witness for the
16 first time, but to show them the night before, after the proofing session,
17 where they know exactly where the Prosecution's story line is going, and I
18 assume they also tell them what these nefarious Defence lawyers are going
19 to ask about because that's how proofing normally goes on both sides. So
20 I think we need to be careful. I would object to this practice,
21 Your Honour, and I think one of my colleagues may join me on that issue as
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, you will respond to
25 But what has been done would also apply to your witnesses. So
1 when you have witnesses of the HVO, you will have dozens of documents,
2 you'll review them the night before, and you will tell them, "Look at the
3 documents because you'll be asked about them tomorrow." What you're
4 criticising the Prosecution for you may be doing yourself tomorrow.
5 Mr. Mundis, us shall response.
6 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you Mr. President. This is not a standard
7 practice by any means what we've ended up with yesterday was a situation,
8 as I've explained, where due to a number of changes that the witness
9 wanted made to his statement we simply ran out of time to complete the
10 proofing with the number of documents assigned. The choice would have
11 been to delay today's hearing to continue proofing the witness or to show
12 him the documents for the first time in the courtroom which is not, in our
13 experience, a very productive way of going forward. So the witness was
14 not given his homework to go and study based on the questions I'd asked
15 him. It was simply a question of, take these remaining documents that we
16 haven't discussed yet and have a read through them so when we completed
17 the proofing this morning we could do so expeditiously with the limited
18 amount of time available so that the witness then didn't have to read the
19 document for the first time sitting in a proofing room somewhere. It was a
20 way of simply saying, take a look at these documents tonight, we'll talk
21 about them tomorrow.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: That's fine and for the record Mr. Mundis is an
23 honourable man and we trust him. It's just that I find it usual. This is
24 the first time in my practice where a witness actually has taken documents
25 to --
1 MR. MUNDIS: And it was the first time in my practice as well but,
2 again, it was because we spent a considerable period of time correcting
3 the statement and there was simply no time left to go through the
4 statements. The Defence will discover this as well, VWS has very strict
5 rules about how long we can keep a witness here. They want them out of
6 the building no later than 7.00 so that they're back at the hotel, and we
7 have all kinds of limitations like that as well.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, you will come back
9 tomorrow for the hearing beginning at 2.15. Of course in the meantime
10 you will not see anyone. You are now a witness of justice. You don't
11 "belong" to the Prosecution. You're a witness of the Court. So you will
12 not communicate with anyone.
13 The documents that you have, leave them here. So listen to the
14 radio or discuss other matters this evening, because it works here, and we
15 will meet again tomorrow.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.07 p.m.,
17 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 1st day
18 of November, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.