1 Wednesday, 12 January 2005
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 3.02 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Case Number IT-01-47-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 Could we have the appearances for the Prosecution, please.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
12 Your Honours, counsel, and everyone in and around the courtroom. For the
13 Prosecution today, Mr. Stefan Waespi, Daryl Mundis, and our case manager,
14 Janet Stewart.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Mundis.
16 Could we have the appearances for Defence counsel. I can see that
17 one member of the Defence is missing.
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honours. On behalf
19 of Enver Hadzihasanovic, Edina Residovic, counsel; Stephane Bourgon,
20 co-counsel; and Alex Demirdjian, our legal assistant.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the appearances for the
22 other Defence team, please.
23 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honours. On
24 behalf of Mr. Kubura, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and Nermin Mulalic, legal
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will be resuming with our
2 hearing. I would like to great everyone present, members of the
3 Prosecution, Defence counsel, the accused, and everyone in or around the
4 courtroom. We'll be starting this hearing at a few minutes past 3.00. I
5 will now ask the usher to call the witness into the courtroom; he has just
7 [The witness entered court]
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good day, sir, you may sit down.
9 I will now give the floor to Defence counsel. They will continue
10 with their examination-in-chief. As far as I have understood, they
11 require about ten minutes.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
13 WITNESS: VEZIR JUSUFSPAHIC [Resumed]
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 Examined by Ms. Residovic: [Continued]
16 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Jusufspahic.
17 A. Good day.
18 Q. You will recall that yesterday we left off when you said that in
19 late July or early August you visited two brigades, the 312th and the
20 306th. Would you please look the set of documents under IV where it
21 says "Mujahedins," and would you look at documents 1 and 2 and tell me
22 whether you recognise them.
23 A. These are documents from the operations organ of the 3rd Corps.
24 Q. Who drew up these documents?
25 A. The proposal was drawn up by the operations officers, together
1 with the chief of staff. This was done in the staff.
2 Q. Excuse me, is the document you are looking at numbered 1360? It's
3 under section IV, the title is "Mujahedin"?
4 A. Excuse me, I made a mistake.
5 Q. The document is 1360, that's under number 1; and under number 2 is
6 document DH270. These are documents which are found in the last section
7 of the bundle numbered IV and entitled "Mujahedin."
8 A. Just a moment, please. Mujahedin, 1360, is that it?
9 Q. Yes, that's the first document, 1360. And under number 2 is
10 document DH270. Now I'm asking you, do you recognise these documents and
11 what are these documents?
12 A. Let me just have a look, please. This is a report that I drew up
13 myself after visiting these two brigades.
14 Q. Thank you. Mr. Jusufspahic, did there come a time when you were
15 transferred from the operations organ of the 3rd Corps to another duty,
16 and if so tell us when and where you were transferred.
17 A. I was transferred from the operations and training organ to the
18 joint commission.
19 Q. And after that?
20 A. When the joint commission ceased its work, a joint command was
21 established with HVO officers.
22 Q. And when, as you explained, the joint command ceased working, did
23 you return to the operations and training organ?
24 A. Yes, I did.
25 Q. During August 1993, were you transferred to a new duty?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Can you tell us to what duty you were appointed then.
3 A. The order was written in mid-August, but I took over my duties in
4 late August and this was in the 306th Mountain Brigade.
5 Q. When you became commander of the 306th Mountain Brigade, did any
6 changes take place in that brigade, and, if so, can you tell us what
7 happened actually.
8 A. Yes, changes did take place in that brigade. There were fighters
9 from the so-called Krajina, Siprage, Kotor Varos, and other places. They
10 were all more or less in one battalion. And together with fighters from
11 other units and this battalion, the 27th Mountain Brigade was formed.
12 Q. In that period of time, do you know whether fighters continued to
13 be transferred from your unit to other units in the way you described in
14 your report which you delivered to the corps command after your visit in
15 early August? Were there any other such visits?
16 A. It was quite clear to me when I arrived in that territory what the
17 problem was, and the problem continued. The problem of soldiers moving to
18 other units continued. This is a transit area, it's on the road between
19 Zenica and Travnik, and many units passed through.
20 Q. Mr. Jusufspahic, would you please look at documents 5 and 6 and
21 tell me whether the superior commands became involved and suggested that
22 certain transfers be made and approved the transfer of men from one unit
23 to another.
24 A. 5 and 6?
25 Q. It's in the same section. It's 1404 and 1389, those are the
1 numbers of the documents.
2 A. Will you please repeat your question once again.
3 Q. My question was: Do you know --
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as document number 5 is
5 concerned, we don't have the English translation. So it would be perhaps
6 be useful if you asked for the relevant paragraph to be read out. I only
7 have the B/C/S version of this document. I don't have the English
8 version. So perhaps you could point out the relevant sections to the
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Mr. President, for
11 not drawing your attention to this. I was just about to ask the witness
12 to read the text in document 1404 up to the words "Commander Enver
13 Hadzihasanovic" so that Your Honours would be able to know what this is
14 about. And later on, we will submit a translation of the entire document.
15 Q. So, Witness, would you please read the heading and the brief
16 letter by the commander.
17 A. "Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina" --
18 Q. Please read the upper part of the text where it says "commander of
19 the 3rd Corps."
20 A. Let me see.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness be asked to read slowly.
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Would you tell me whether you found the document which is numbered
24 1404 and is in section 5 of 4. So would you please read the top part of
25 the document above the signature of Commander Enver Hadzihasanovic.
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 A. "Please find attached the order of the staff of the VKOS [as
2 interpreted] of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Strictly
3 confidential number 14/75-91 of the 17th of August, 1993, in connection
4 with the voluntary transfer of fighters from the territory of the
5 municipality of Bosanska Krajina in the 27th Motorised Brigade."
6 I will read it again.
7 "Please find attached an order of the staff of the supreme command
8 of the armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Strictly
9 confidential, number 14/75-91, dated the 17th of August, 1993, in
10 connection with the voluntary transfer of soldiers from the territory of
11 the municipality of Bosanska Krajina to the 27th Motorised Brigade.
12 Execute the order immediately and act in compliance with its provisions.
13 Commander Enver Hadzihasanovic."
14 Q. Thank you. In 1993 were you aware of this order coming from the
15 staff of the supreme command and the order by Commander Hadzihasanovic,
16 and was that in fact the year in which significant transformations of the
17 unit of the 3rd Corps took place?
18 A. Yes, of course I am familiar with this order because I received it
19 myself; I was already in this brigade. And I know about these changes.
20 This was a continuing process of raising the brigades up to manpower level
21 and so on.
22 Q. And these changes and transfers of soldiers from one unit to
23 another, did they give rise to certain problems for the brigade
25 A. Yes, they often did because the tasks were always the same.
1 Sometimes, because of a lack of familiarity with the situation on the
2 ground, a unit would be weakened and the soldiers would go to other units.
3 Q. Mr. Jusufspahic, when you were appointed commander of the 306th
4 Brigade, did you know at that time that the El Mujahedin detachment had
5 been formed by an order of the supreme command?
6 A. When I arrived in that brigade, I didn't know about that order,
8 Q. And when as the brigade commander did you learn that such a
9 detachment existed?
10 A. I said yesterday I was already there in that area and I'd seen
11 those people up there, but I didn't make the connection. I didn't realise
12 that that was the unit in question. The first time I learned that this
13 was a detachment was when I received the order on the resubordination of
14 that unit to me for the purpose of carrying out combat activities. And it
15 then became clear to me that that unit was to carry out certain tasks
16 together with me.
17 Q. Would you please now take a look at the document and tell me first
18 what happened. Was that unit resubordinated to you in fact?
19 A. No, it wasn't. I waited for its superior officer to come to my
20 command, but nobody arrived.
21 Q. Until when were you the commander of the 306th Brigade?
22 A. Until the first week of November in that same year; that's when I
23 was wounded.
24 Q. Was the El Mujahedin detachment ever resubordinated to the 306th
1 A. While I was commander of that unit, no.
2 Q. Mr. Jusufspahic, please tell me, while you were the commander of
3 the 306th Brigade, did you ever receive a request from the command of the
4 3rd Corps, or rather the operations group of Bosanska Krajina, to answer
5 questions connected to some events dating from June 1993?
6 A. Yes, I did. I received a written order asking me to provide
7 certain information.
8 Q. Mr. Jusufspahic, please tell me, what did you know happened in
9 June 1993?
10 A. As I said previously, in that period after being in the joint
11 command in Travnik I was deployed in the operations centre. I wasn't
12 there all the time, but that's where my post was, where it had been before
13 I'd left it. And what I knew about these combat activities are only that
14 there was strong HVO forces in the area where the fighting took place and
15 that heavy fighting took place there lasting for more than a day.
16 Q. When you received this request to verify certain information, who
17 did you assign this task to?
18 A. According to the system of the chain of command, you assign such
19 tasks to the assistant for security; that's what I did.
20 Q. Did your security organ inform you and provide you with answers to
21 the questions put to you by the supreme -- by the superior command?
22 A. I don't know whether you're aware of this, but the security organ
23 usually has a parallel system of reporting. In addition to the system of
24 reporting it goes through the commanders. They would inform the
25 commanders when they thought this was necessary. I received a written
1 report on the situation.
2 Q. Did you have reason to doubt the truth of the information provided
3 to you by your security organ?
4 A. No, I had no reason to doubt the truth of the information, in
5 particular because I had no other information about the matter. And those
6 events took place before I arrived on the scene and I had spoke to other
7 officers in the command, too. And the information I had is the
8 information I put down on paper.
9 Q. What did you do with that report?
10 A. I drafted a report for the corps command.
11 Q. Please have a look at document that follows, number 7; the number
12 of the document is 1498.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Is that the report that your security organ provided to you as a
15 response to the request made by the 3rd Corps?
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have the same situation.
17 Could the witness read the document out since we don't have a translation.
18 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Go ahead, Defence.
20 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] In order to avoid any confusion,
21 this document has already been admitted into evidence. The document
22 number is DK17, and we do have the English translation; it was admitted
23 into evidence for Mr. Kubura.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We will try to
25 locate DK17. We could perhaps place it on the ELMO.
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Jusufspahic, your security organ provided you with this
3 document and you forwarded it to the 3rd Corps. Is that correct?
4 A. Yes, it's correct. I'm familiar with this document. I'm familiar
5 with the contents of the document; that's what I mean.
6 Q. As you have just said, you had no other information. Did you feel
7 the need to conduct additional investigations or to try and obtain other
8 information after you had been provided with this report by your security
10 A. Well, it wasn't necessary. I was new there. There were people
11 who were performing their duties. There was ongoing combat activity at
12 the time, so I really didn't feel the need to launch any further
14 Q. Thank you very much. Can you please also have a look at document
15 under number 8 and 9, and could you tell me whether these are new
16 appointments that concerned you and your chief of staff.
17 A. Yes, that's correct. This document concerns my transfer to other
18 duties as well as the transfer of my chief of staff to other duties. And
19 as you can see new people were appointed to posts.
20 Q. I'd like to thank you for your assistance. I apologise for having
21 taken up a little more than the 15 minutes I thought I would need to
22 conclude my examination-in-chief, but this concludes my
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 Would Mr. Kubura's Defence like to take the floor to put any
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 questions to the witness?
2 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. We only have a few
3 questions to clarify certain issues that were raised by documents shown to
4 the witness, and there were also certain issues raised by the translation
5 of that document into English.
6 Could the witness have a look at the document he had before him a
7 minute ago. It's a document that can be found in section 4, document 1.
8 The number of the document is 1360.
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Do you have the document?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. If we have a look at the document we can see that you drafted it
13 and signed it. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes, I drafted and signed the document.
15 Q. Please have a look at 2 of this document. "Proposed measures" is
16 the heading.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Under item 1 it says that in the area of Bijelo -- it says that
19 given a relatively small number of unit of Arabs left behind by the 7th
20 Muslim Brigade which has left this area is operating among the ones in
21 Bijelo Bucje sector?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You also said they were operating in the zone of responsibility of
24 the 312th Motorised Brigade?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Have a look at the line 2. There are brackets there. It says
2 "remained behind the 7th Muslim Brigade which has left the territory."
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. If I have understood this correctly, this unit of 30 Arab soldiers
5 was there after the 7th Muslim Brigade had left Bijelo Bucje?
6 A. Yes, that's correct. I can tell you about this because I was
7 present. I can tell you what happened. After having visited the defence
8 lines of the Karaula Battalion, after arranging the defence lines in the
9 forest, usually one has a meeting in the command of that battalion.
10 Problems are discussed, requests are discussed, and after having visited
11 the lines I was supposed to continue to the 306th. The commander of the
12 battalion mentioned the problem of the 30 soldiers who were there.
13 Q. The commander of the 312th?
14 A. Yes, he mentioned the problems of the soldiers who were there in
15 his zone.
16 Q. Mr. President, if we have a look at the English translation on
17 page 2 under the heading "proposed measures," in the English translation
18 it says: "Left behind by the 7th Muslim Brigade."
19 It appears that the 7th Muslim Brigade left them behind; that's
20 what the translation seems to say. But the Bosnian version doesn't say
21 that, so I think we have a problem that we have already encountered. We
22 would like to resolve the problem by following the procedure we usually
23 follow to make sure that there is no confusion.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Are you telling us
25 that in the English translation that I have before you [as interpreted] it
1 seems that the 30 soldiers were left behind by the 7th Muslim Brigade and
2 that item 5, that they were with the 7th Muslim Brigade; whereas the B/C/S
3 text, and this has been confirmed by the witness, they weren't left
4 behind, they were behind in a geographical sense. Is that how you're
5 interpreting this text?
6 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] You're absolutely correct,
7 Your Honour, and thank you. We have no further questions.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We might go back to
9 this subject when other questions are put.
10 Yes, Mr. Registrar. Could you ask CLSS to revise the translation
11 and to provide us with a translation of paragraph 1 under the heading
12 "proposed measures" which is page 2 of document number 1360. We require
13 an explanation or a re-translation of "left behind." Does this correspond
14 to the B/C/S text or is this a free interpretation.
15 I will now give the floor to Mr. Mundis so that he can proceed
16 with his cross-examination.
17 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President
18 Cross-examined by Mr. Mundis:
19 Q. Good afternoon, Witness.
20 A. Good afternoon.
21 Q. My name is Daryl Mundis and along with my colleagues here today I
22 represent the Prosecution in this case. And I do note, sir, for the
23 record you may recall I met with you in Sarajevo in November 2003 and
24 spoke to you for about two hours on that occasion. And at that time, you
25 did not provide us with a signed statement, having informed us that you
1 would be called as a witness by the Defence in this case. I just wanted
2 to put that on the record and also re-introduce myself to you.
3 My purpose here today, sir, in asking you some questions is not in
4 any way to confuse you, so I simply ask in the event you don't understand
5 any of the questions that I am asking, please tell me that and I will
6 rephrase the questions so that you do understand. I think it's in
7 everyone's best interests that we all are able to communicate as clearly
8 as possible. I'm going to ask you a few questions beginning with a
9 subject that you spoke about late yesterday as well as earlier this
10 afternoon, namely the issue of the Mujahedin.
11 And I would ask you, sir, if it's all right with you, that when I
12 use the term "Mujahedin," I'm referring to armed foreign fighters who were
13 present in Central Bosnia during late 1992 and 1993. So there may be some
14 confusion about this, but I want to be clear with you at the outset that
15 when I use the term "Mujahedin," I'm referring to armed foreign fighters.
16 Do you understand that?
17 A. I understand that.
18 Q. Let me go then, sir, back to what you began talking about
19 yesterday, these two occasions you told us about where you first
20 encountered these Mujahedin. You said the first time was when you went to
21 inspect the 312th Brigade. Is that correct?
22 A. In fact, the first time I came cross the idea of the Mujahedin,
23 the first time I heard that they had done something, was when I was a
24 member of the joint commission in Vitez. This was after the events in
25 Miletici. That's the first time I heard the term "Mujahedin." Up until
1 then, it was a term that really wasn't familiar to me.
2 Q. Okay. Let me start then by going back perhaps a step earlier.
3 Did there come a time, sir, when you were aware of the presence of -- or
4 when was the first time you became aware of the presence of these
5 Mujahedin? Was it, as you just told us, when you were with the joint
6 commission in Vitez?
7 A. Yes, exactly.
8 Q. Prior to that time, had you seen any of these individuals anywhere
9 in Bosnia?
10 A. No, I hadn't.
11 Q. So I take it then, as you told us yesterday, the first time you
12 actually saw any Mujahedin was in July 1993?
13 A. Yes, towards the end of July 1993.
14 Q. Can you tell us, sir, exactly where it was, in what village or
15 settlement or area, you first saw these individuals.
16 A. As I said yesterday, if you were following, after having visited
17 the 312th, I heard about these 30 Arabs. Up until then, I wasn't able to
18 link this to the fact that it was the same group. After having visited
19 the 312th, we visited the 306th Brigade; that was on the following day. I
20 heard them calling them Muslim forces. Some people used the term "El
21 Jihad." No one used the term "El Mujahedin," but this was a term that
22 could also be heard. The first time I saw the Mujahedin was then. After
23 having visited the 306th when we went down to Mehurici and when I asked to
24 see these foreigners. They took me there, I saw a guard by a fence or a
25 gate; he was armed. And I saw that he wasn't a local fighter. He didn't
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 have any insignia and he didn't look like a member of our forces either.
2 Q. Let me ask you some questions in terms of clarifying or expanding
3 upon what you've just told us. The first occasion when you saw these
4 individuals, at the time you were conducting an inspection of the 312th,
5 you told us that was in Bijelo Bucje. Is that correct?
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I don't think this
7 is what the witness said. He said he heard about 30 Arabs in the command.
8 He didn't say that he had seen the people there.
9 MR. MUNDIS:
10 Q. Sir, on the occasion when you were conducting an inspection of the
11 312th Brigade in July 1993, did you see any of these Mujahedin?
12 A. I didn't. I didn't even go to the place where I was told that
13 they were present. I was only informed of the fact that that group was
14 there, but I never went to the area nor did I see them.
15 Q. What did the commander or the person who told you about these 30
16 Mujahedin tell you about them?
17 A. I'll have to repeat this. He said that there was a group of 30
18 Arabs in an area, somewhere in that area, that they couldn't establish
19 contact, that that was a problem, that they were requesting that they be
20 resubordinated to the 312th or that they be taken from that area. That's
22 Q. What if anything did you tell -- first of all, do you remember the
23 name of the person who conveyed this information to you? Who told you
25 A. It was the commander of the battalion, Kobilic -- Kobilica, I'm
1 not sure what his name was because I didn't know his name was before, but
2 his name was Kobilic or Kobilica or something like that. He was the
3 battalion commander in any event.
4 Q. Once the battalion commander, the 312th battalion commander --
5 this was a battalion then of the 312th Brigade. Is that correct?
6 A. That's correct, that's correct.
7 Q. Once this battalion commander conveyed this information to you,
8 what, if anything, did you say in response to him?
9 A. He provided me with this information while we were working. We'd
10 spent the entire day working at the defence line. We had time to discuss
11 the problem throughout the day, if there was any such problem; however,
12 that was not the case. We were involved in issues of defending --
13 mounting a defence by his battalion in the forest. He only provided me
14 with this information towards the end of the day after we had completed
15 our visit. It was something he said by the way, so I didn't say anything.
16 All I said was I would relay the information to my superior command.
17 Q. Do you recall if when he told you about these Mujahedin or foreign
18 fighters that you were surprised by this?
19 A. He called them "Arabs;" he didn't use the term "Mujahedin." He
20 said "Arabs," and that's what I wrote down. You know, I can't draft a
21 report in the field; I draft reports in the corps command and I take care
22 to make a precise recording of what people say. So I'm quite certain that
23 he said "Arabs." That's what I wrote down. He did not use the term "the
25 Q. Did it surprise you, sir, when this battalion commander informed
1 you that there were approximately 30 Arabs in the vicinity?
2 A. Naturally, I was surprised.
3 Q. What questions, if any, did you ask him about these Arabs?
4 A. The only question was whether he was in contact of any kind with
5 them. He said he couldn't establish contact of any kind with them, and
6 that's the extent of our discussion about them.
7 Q. Did you give him any advice or orders or communicate any
8 information to him about what steps he might take with respect to these
10 A. I don't know if you've been following this, but I was an officer
11 in the operations and training organ of the 3rd Corps. I was one of the
12 last links in that chain of command. I couldn't issue any orders in this
13 respect. All I said was that I would inform the corps commander about the
15 Q. But you don't recall suggesting that perhaps the battalion
16 commander should attempt to obtain more information about these people or
17 keep them under surveillance or try to gather any intelligence about these
18 people for the benefit of the corps commander?
19 A. No, I didn't provide such a suggestion.
20 Q. Let's turn now, sir, to --
21 A. Let me just clarify something. You know, the defence line was
22 very near. If anyone meddled in the area of the defence line, this was
23 very dangerous. I was afraid of making any changes. All I said was that
24 I would inform the corps command and said that we would deal with this.
25 Q. Let me ask you this then, sir, in light of what you've just said:
1 Did the battalion commander of the 312th inform you or say anything to you
2 about whether or not those Arabs were manning part of that line, that
3 defence line?
4 A. No, he said nothing about that. I understood that he had come
5 across them there. According to what he said, it didn't appear that they
6 were manning the defence line, at least that's not how I understood what
7 he said.
8 Q. Let's turn now, sir, to I believe what you said was the following
9 day when you were inspecting the 306th Mountain Brigade. It was on that
10 occasion that you first personally observed Mujahedin or armed Arabs.
11 Would that be correct?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. And that was in the vicinity of the village of Mehurici?
14 A. Correct. In the vicinity of Mehurici and a little further on from
15 a mosque, which is in the centre of the village.
16 Q. Can you tell us, sir, approximately how far from the centre of the
17 village was the location where you saw these Mujahedin.
18 A. Well, perhaps I make a mistake now. I was there on that occasion
19 and that was the only time. You can see the mosque on a slight slope.
20 There's a dirt road. But it was at a distance of about 500 metres up to a
21 kilometre, something like that. But I don't know the exact distance. It
22 was a forested area, and that's where they were located. They were
23 sheltered there; you couldn't see them from the road.
24 Q. Can you tell us, sir, to the best of your recollection which
25 direction from the centre of the village of Mehurici these Mujahedin were
2 A. I don't know how to explain this. When you go to the village of
3 Mehurici from the direction of Travnik, when you enter the village from
4 the lower side there is a mosque to the left. The road continues by the
5 mosque; it becomes a dirt road. And that was the area where they were
6 located. I could draw you a sketch if you like.
7 Q. In order to save time, sir, if you could perhaps tell us, was it
8 to the north, south, east, west, north-west, south-east, which geographic
9 direction from the centre of the village?
10 A. I couldn't say, I really couldn't. But I was there. I see you're
11 trying to convince me I wasn't there, but I was.
12 Q. No, sir, I'm not trying to convince you of anything. I'm simply
13 asking you if you can tell us where this location that you saw these
14 Mujahedin was located in reference to Mehurici. But I'll move on to
15 another question.
16 Can you describe for us what this location looked like where you
17 saw these Mujahedin.
18 A. Passing by the mosque, right by the mosque, uphill along the dirt
19 road there are two paths, one leading left and one right. When you take
20 the right-hand one, you arrive at a wooded part of the terrain and there
21 was a little house there like a holiday home. And I saw an -- a fence
22 there, a wire-netting fence which may have been there before. I saw a
23 ramp and a gate and some soldiers there. We tried to enter and somebody
24 called out to that soldier that an officer from the corps command wanted
25 to go in. And he made a gesture, indicated that we were not to come near.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 And then we left, we turned away. That was all.
2 Q. Sir, you just said that you saw a ramp and a gate and some
3 soldiers there. Can you tell us approximately how many Mujahedin you saw?
4 A. No, I didn't see the soldiers inside; I just saw a guard standing
5 in front, and I focused my attention on him because I wanted to go in.
6 Inside I saw just a small building which reminded me of a holiday cottage.
7 I didn't see anybody else, just this guard standing outside, but he didn't
8 look like one of our fighters. You know what our people look like. You
9 could see that he was darker skinned; I could see that he was a foreigner.
10 It was easy to observe that.
11 Q. So that we're very clear then, sir, you saw one armed foreigner at
12 the entrance to this summer cottage, and that was the only foreigner that
13 you saw?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, do you recall who it was that escorted you from the 306th
16 Brigade? Was it -- how many people were with you from the 306th Brigade?
17 A. Yes, I remember that very clearly because I was a bit upset about
18 that. There was Remzija Siljak, the chief of staff of the brigade; there
19 was the commander of the 1st Battalion, Mirza Lubenovic; and myself.
20 These were the people who were there.
21 Q. Now, sir, you told us just a moment ago on page 20, line 24, 25:
22 "We tried to enter and somebody called out to that soldier that an officer
23 from the corps command wanted to go in."
24 Do you recall who called out to this armed guard?
25 A. I don't remember exactly who it was. It might have been Remzija
1 or Lubenovic, one of the two of them; I really don't remember exactly who
2 said that. But they clearly gave him to understand that they had an
3 officer of the corps with him and that he wanted to come in.
4 Q. And what language did they address this soldier in, or this armed
6 A. In Bosnian of course.
7 Q. Sir, can you tell us on any other occasion after this day whether
8 you saw any armed Mujahedin up to the end of 1993 in Bosnia, Central
10 A. While I was there as a commander, no.
11 Q. So then, sir, so that we're absolutely clear, the only occasion in
12 1993 that you saw any Mujahedin, any armed foreign fighters, was on one
13 day in July 1993 near Mehurici when you saw a single armed guard in front
14 of a summer cottage? That's the only time?
15 A. Correct, yes.
16 Q. Now, sir, when you became the commander of the 306th Brigade,
17 where was your headquarters?
18 A. The brigade command was in the village of Krpeljici in a private
20 Q. And during the period I believe you said from August to November
21 1993, you were the brigade commander. Isn't that correct?
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. During that time period when you were the 306th Mountain Brigade
24 commander, was there a battalion of your brigade stationed or
25 headquartered in the Mehurici primary school?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Where were the battalions of the 306th Brigade headquartered
3 during the time you were the brigade commander?
4 A. Each battalion was in its area of defence, and that's where it had
5 its command post. One of the battalions had its command post in the area
6 of Paric Greda, which is behind Ljuta Greda, in the direction of the
7 Serbian Montenegrin aggressor, where they were defending themselves and
8 that's where they had their command. The 2nd Battalion had its command
9 post in the village of Kljaci. This is the battalion holding positions in
10 the direction of the extreme HVO. The 3rd Battalion had its command post
11 of the village of -- what was its name now -- but it was in its -- Mosor,
12 yes, that's the name of the village. Mosor. That was where the command
13 of the 3rd Battalion was, and that's where they carried out their tasks
14 against the HVO forces. Where the line of defence of that battalion was,
15 that's where its command post was also.
16 Q. And I take it, sir, from your answer that the -- it certainly
17 didn't appear in the English transcript that the command post that was in
18 the area of Paric Greda was the 1st Battalion of the 306th Brigade?
19 A. That's correct, yes.
20 Q. Were you aware that earlier in 1993 there was a battalion of the
21 306th that was located or had a command post in Mehurici?
22 A. I didn't know that. I was in the corps at that time. We didn't
23 know what the command posts of the battalions was; we knew where the
24 command posts of the brigades were. And it was difficult to get that
25 information as well. And as for the lower-level units, the battalion
1 command was supposed to know that.
2 THE INTERPRETER: The brigade command, interpreter's correction.
3 MR. MUNDIS:
4 Q. Let me ask you, sir, about the El Mujahed unit and orders
5 documents ordering that unit to be resubordinated to the 306th. You were
6 asked some questions about this earlier today. Were you aware of any
7 written documents from the 3rd Corps ordering that unit to be
8 resubordinated to the 306th?
9 A. Yes, I do know that.
10 Q. But it's your testimony here today that in fact that never
12 A. Precisely so, it didn't happen.
13 Q. Once it became clear to you that that was not happening, what
14 steps did you take to inform your chain of command about this apparent
15 failure of that unit to follow orders?
16 A. I don't remember whether I drew up any written document saying
17 that the unit had not resubordinated itself to me, but as we said
18 yesterday or today offensive combat activities were being planned. And
19 when you're preparing a unit for something like that, you don't have time
20 for correspondence; you have to implement your written orders. After the
21 combat activities had been carried out, it was clear to my immediate
22 superior that the unit had not been there with me. He could see that from
23 the reports. I don't remember whether I told him right away that the unit
24 had not come under my command because I had my hands full preparing my
25 unit for combat activities.
1 Q. Can you tell us a little bit about these combat activities that
2 you were planning or preparing your unit for at that time.
3 A. To my, let's say, surprise because you have to know that I'd been
4 there for only about a week and I still hadn't found my bearings, I felt
5 as if I had been parachuted on to Mars. It was very difficult for me to
6 find my bearings in this new situation. And I was pre-occupied with these
7 combat activities; they took up all of my attention and energy. Now,
8 looking at it with hindsight, I didn't really find my way in the best
9 possible manner. There was an area where my brigade and the 305th
10 Mountain Brigade were to join up, and this was a very small area and
11 this -- all this was very frustrated -- frustrating for me. I don't know
12 what details you'd like to know about these combat activities.
13 Q. Well, let me ask you a slightly different question, sir, and that
14 is: At that point in time, in August 1993, as you were planning these
15 combat activities, did you have sufficient manpower in the 306th Brigade?
16 A. The commander of the operations group, General Alagic thought I
17 had; I of course thought I didn't. But I had to carry out the order of my
18 superior commander. So I set apart a unit the strength of a company and
19 trained it for the forthcoming combat activities; that's the way I
21 Q. When you became aware of the order resubordinating the El Mujahed
22 unit to your brigade, did you know anything about the El Mujahed unit such
23 as its size or its capabilities or any combat experience that that unit
24 might have?
25 A. You have partly answered the question. I was supposed to know all
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 that or to find out all that when the unit joined me, what its numbers
2 were, what equipment it had, what its combat experience was, what its
3 logistical support was in order to use it properly. I didn't know any of
4 this. One thing was clear to me, that this unit -- that somebody was
5 trying to bring this unit into line, to turn them into proper soldiers and
6 bring them into line when carrying out combat activity. And I understood
7 that this unit had finally been established because they were sending it
8 to me, but I didn't know any of these other elements that I needed to know
9 as a commander, which I've just listed.
10 Q. Sir, you've told us that when you were planning this operation or
11 these combat-related activities you didn't think you had enough manpower.
12 Here was an order ordering this El Mujahed unit to be resubordinated to
13 your brigade, which would seem to be a solution in part to the manpower
14 problems you had. And I'm wondering what steps you took to contact your
15 immediate superior, General Alagic, or failing that the corps commander
16 who issued this order to the El Mujahed unit to say, hey, where are these
17 guys? I need these guys. You've ordered them to be resubordinated to me
18 and I don't know where they are, and I need them. Did you take any steps
19 like that, sir?
20 A. You know, I'll tell you again. In all that chaos in which I found
21 myself, I assessed that it would be easier and less painful for me to set
22 apart from all three battalions of the brigade and even from the staff
23 units to set apart men for active combat activity rather than to wait for
24 someone who may or may not arrive. Because Commander Alagic told us more
25 than once, When you get an order don't come to me with complaints,
1 requests, or problems. You must tell me those much earlier. It was
2 easier for me to set apart a company, and it wasn't easy but I did it, and
3 I thought I could carry out the task with that company, whether this unit
4 arrived or not.
5 Q. Well, I take it, sir, from that answer that you did not contact
6 either General Alagic or the 3rd Corps commander, General Hadzihasanovic,
7 in order to determine what had happened to the El Mujahed unit that had
8 been ordered to be resubordinated to your brigade by the 3rd Corps
10 A. As for my immediate superior, I cannot assert with any certainty,
11 but he knew about the situation -- or rather I can't say whether he knew
12 or not. He may have been told briefly, orally. There were only two or
13 three days before the start of combat activities. As for the commander of
14 the 3rd Corps, I had the operations group and I didn't need to go over
15 their heads and inform the commander about my problems. Commander Alagic
16 knew about this because after all this was over I heard that this unit was
17 to have been resubordinated to the operations group and that this had not
18 happened. Yet again, it hadn't happened. That's how it was.
19 Q. Let me turn to a slightly different subject, sir. If you still
20 have the binder in front of you I'd ask you to turn to the second document
21 under IV. This is a document which the Defence has shown you earlier
22 under --
23 A. In what section is this?
24 Q. -- section IV, the Mujahedins, the final section. The tabs at the
25 top indicate the sections, and then if you go to document 2. It's a --
1 A. Just a moment, please. I've just found it. Mujahedin, document
2 2, 1360. Is that it?
3 Q. No, sir, that's document 1. It would be the one after the next
4 tab. It has in handwriting: DH270.
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] There's a mistake in the
6 interpretation, it's 270.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] DH270?
8 MR. MUNDIS:
9 Q. Yes, DH270. We briefly looked at this document earlier today.
10 Can you confirm for us, sir, that you are the author of this document
11 which is dated 2 August, 1993?
12 A. Yes, yes I am the author.
13 Q. Sir, I'd like to draw your attention to the final line of the
14 second paragraph on the first page. If you look at the first page, the
15 second paragraph.
16 A. Which page?
17 Q. Page one.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. The second paragraph, the final line of that paragraph. There is
20 a reference there --
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. There is a reference there to Muslimanske Snage?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Sir, as the author of this document, can you tell us what you were
25 talking about when you wrote Muslimanske Snage in your document?
1 A. I was referring to these foreigners because if you look at the
2 last paragraph on the next page it says: "Resolve the issue of the El
3 Jihad formation. This was what I meant when I referred to the Muslim
4 forces. One officer said these are Muslim forces, another would refer to
5 them in this other way, and then you didn't know what their name was
6 really. That's the reason for these differences. These were the
7 foreigners who were there, whom the common people sometimes refer to as
8 the Muslim forces.
9 Q. So in this document that you wrote, DH270, reference to the Muslim
10 forces on the first page and reference to the El Jihad on the second page
11 are both references to foreign fighters, Mujahedin?
12 A. Correct, yes. Precisely so.
13 Q. Now, can you elaborate or give us any additional information about
14 what the reference on the first page to: "Communication sent to all
15 villages from the Muslim forces summoning soldiers for a 40-day training."
16 Can you tell us anything about that?
17 A. All I can tell you is what I heard then from the battalion
18 commander, and this was the following: In the context of people or men
19 leaving his unit to join various other units he said that these Muslim
20 forces - and he himself may have used this expression, I'm not sure - that
21 they were recruiting, buying, coaxing, or trying to attract these fighters
22 to come to them for training and nobody knew whether they would come back
23 to our units or not. And he said if this went on, the defence line would
24 be in danger. Allegedly they were offering them money, uniforms, good
25 weapons, so that men, especially the younger men, left without asking
1 anyone if they could leave. But some of them came back.
2 Q. Can we turn now to the second page of this document under the
3 heading "Proposed Measures," number 4, point number 4. Now, sir, you've
4 addressed this document to the -- both to the commander of the operations
5 group and to the 3rd Corps. And I'm wondering if you can tell us, sir, a
6 little bit of information about proposed measure number 4?
7 A. I sent this to the command of the 306th, and I acted as a soldier
8 in the simplest way. All the armed forces in an area should be put under
9 the command of the brigade commander. And I asked that this formation -
10 and here I use the name "El Jihad," I didn't know actually what their name
11 really was - that in terms of their place in the establishments something
12 should be done, either that they should be declared a paramilitary unit if
13 they didn't want to take orders, or that they should be put under
14 somebody's command. They couldn't act on their own initiative. I
15 realised that there was no -- no one commanding them when I saw that camp.
16 Q. Can you perhaps explain to us or elaborate upon the notion of to
17 proclaim or declare them a paramilitary unit. What exactly does that
19 A. It would mean that they were not a regular unit, not part of the
20 Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, not a unit such as the units of the Army
21 of Bosnia and Herzegovina were.
22 Q. And who would make such a declaration or proclamation indicating
23 that these people were not a unit of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
24 A. I can only guess, probably the top of the army, somebody from the
25 very top. It couldn't be done by a local commander I assume, as far as I
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
2 Q. And, sir, when you made this proposal you told us that this was
3 addressed -- or you sent this to the command of the 306th. It seems to be
4 addressed to the commander of the 306th, the commander of the OG Bosanska
5 Krajina, and the 3rd Corps. And you're proposing that one of those three
6 formations, the 306th or the OG Bosanska Krajina or the 3rd Corps, could
7 resolve this problem. Isn't that what paragraph 4 under Proposed Measures
9 A. You couldn't really say that because the lower command couldn't
10 solve those problems without a superior command. The lower-level commands
11 received this for their information. I didn't state that, but that's what
12 actually happened. The only command that could solve this problem was the
13 corps command, but evidently it wasn't fully familiar with the situation.
14 And I from the corps command learned about something like this for the
15 first time.
16 Q. Well, when you say "proclaimed them paramilitaries," immediately
17 thereafter it makes reference to the corps command organ for mobilisation.
18 Isn't that right?
19 A. These personnel matters would be dealt with within that organ, but
20 that organ couldn't deal with the entire issue. They couldn't do all the
21 work necessary.
22 Q. Did you make any proposed recommendations to the 3rd Corps
23 commander that he should seek some kind of higher authority to deal with
24 this problem?
25 A. As far as this matter is concerned, no. A lot of similar reports
1 would arrive in the corps command, and usually a regular procedure would
2 be followed. A report would be sent to the operations centre, the
3 operations centre would process it, and then the usual procedure would be
4 followed. I didn't forward this report to the commander myself; it was
5 forwarded by the regular mail service.
6 Q. Now, sir, you told us earlier that you only saw this one Mujahedin
7 during 1993, and I'm wondering how you came to a conclusion that no one
8 was commanding them when you saw that camp based on this observation that
9 you had and which you had explained to us?
10 A. When visiting the unit -- when you visit a unit, you never visit a
11 lower-level unit if the commander isn't present. So I visited that with
12 the commander of the 1st Battalion, Lubenovic. I've already mentioned
13 this. He mentioned a significant problem, namely the fact that those
14 soldiers would go to other units, and he said that he had no control over
15 the fact that they would join other units. All those that left were no
16 longer in the 1st Battalion, but they would also go to the 314th, to the
17 17th. He didn't have command over the 17th either. So as far as he was
18 concerned that soldier had disappeared. And he also mentioned that the
19 Muslim forces - I think that's what he called them at the time - he said
20 that the Muslim forces were going after these people, that they wouldn't
21 return that he said that he had no contact with them. He had nothing to
22 with this. And he said that he wouldn't be able to organise any shifts.
23 If they had been under his command, there wouldn't have been any problems
24 as far as rotating the men at that location was concerned. He said that
25 if things condition in this way, it will not be possible to replenish
1 units. Then I came to the conclusion that he had no command over the
2 units that his soldiers were joining, and that was especially noticeable
3 when we went up to that location where we were seen.
4 Q. And, sir, because of the fact that this was a problem that
5 occurred in a number of different brigades, that's why this problem needed
6 to be resolved at the corps level. Isn't that right?
7 A. Yes, it was resolved, to the extent that this was possible. New
8 units were formed and in that area you heard about the fact that the 27th
9 Motorised Brigade was formed, so action was taken. Because look, as far
10 as these troops are concerned, the ones we're talking about, if that's
11 what we can call them, they didn't have any tasks. They were quite simply
12 there. They didn't go anywhere; whereas, other units had combat tasks.
13 The 27th and the 306th were constantly manning the defence lines. So the
14 corps command did take this situation into account. They tried to
15 replenish certain units, deploy units in the area concerned, et cetera.
16 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I note the time. This might be an
17 appropriate point to take our first technical break.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll have our technical break
19 now. It's almost half past 4.00, and we will resume at about 5 to 5.00.
20 --- Recess taken at 4.27 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 4.57 p.m.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will now resume.
23 Mr. Mundis.
24 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. Sir, I'd ask now that we turn our attention to a slightly
1 different matter but one which you are also asked about earlier this
2 afternoon, and that is the steps taken by the assistant commander for
3 security of the 306th Brigade with respect to the events in Maline Bikosi
4 in 1993.
5 MR. MUNDIS: Perhaps the witness could, if he doesn't have it in
6 front of him, again have before him DK17.
7 Q. Sir, let me ask you -- let me ask you, sir, while that document is
8 being returned to you, do you recall or can you perhaps tell us about how
9 you first became aware of the need to conduct an investigation or an
10 inquiry into the events of June 1993 in Maline, in Bikosi?
11 A. Before these events, before I arrived in the brigade I was aware
12 of combat activities that had been ongoing in the field. I didn't know
13 all the details, but I know there was fighting. I know that the 306th
14 Brigade and its command had been broken up, split up. The fighting was
15 very heavy; that was the initial information I had before I became the
16 commander of the 306th Brigade. Having assumed that post I found out that
17 I was being asked to provide a report on these events. The first time I
18 found out about this was when I received a written order requesting that I
19 provide them with information about what had happened.
20 Q. Let me ask you if you recall approximately when you received that
21 order or became aware of the need to conduct such an inquiry?
22 A. As far as I can remember, it was after these combat operations had
23 been conducted, sometime in October, I can't remember the exact date. But
24 that order arrived in my command in the month of October 1993.
25 Q. Do you recall, sir, during the time period that you were still
1 with the 3rd Corps in early to mid-June 1993 whether you'd heard from any
2 source about any potential criminal activity in the area of Maline Bikosi
3 or any massacre? Had you heard anything about that at all during the time
4 period you were still with the 3rd Corps command?
5 A. While I was in the corps command, combat reports would arrive from
6 the field sent by those units engaged in combat there. None of those
7 reports mentioned these events, so I had no information about this. We
8 received reports on combat, on the problems encountered while carrying out
9 combat operations. I remember that the 300 -- the command of the 306th
10 Brigade had been split up, they were located in two or three places. I
11 remember those alarming reports about the events there, but it wasn't
12 possible to draw a conclusion from these reports that anything like the
13 events described had actually happened.
14 Q. Do you recall whether you heard or received any reports about the
15 presence of Mujahedin in the area around Maline Bikosi on the 8th or 9th
16 of June, 1993, from any units?
17 A. As I have said, I never came across such information in the
18 reports I had access to.
19 Q. Do you recall, sir, whether you heard any discussions at any --
20 had perhaps any meetings of the 3rd Corps command any -- or received from
21 any source any information about complaints by the HVO or any
22 Bosnian-Croat entity about alleged massacres in Maline Bikosi on or about
23 the 8th or 9th of June, 1993?
24 A. I don't remember anything of that kind.
25 Q. So the first time then, sir, that you had any information that
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 there was potentially something wrong or something wrong had happened in
2 Maline Bikosi was in October 1993 when you received an order to conduct
3 some type of inquiry. Is that right?
4 A. Yes, but when I arrived in the unit, naturally I tried to learn as
5 many details as possible about the unit over which I was to have command.
6 I spoke to the men about various issues, and in particular we spoke about
7 the combat operations very frequently. I found out about the fact that
8 part of the command was in Lager and another part in Mehurici, and another
9 part by Rudnik. They spoke about the combat situation in that area. So I
10 drew certain conclusions as to how all of these events had unfolded. But
11 they never mentioned anything of that kind. I really never had such
12 information. The first time I found out something about this subject was
13 when I received the order to answer some questions about the events in
14 question. There were certain doubts at the time, certain things were
16 Q. Can you perhaps inform us about what these doubts or certain
17 things that were suspected, can you tell us what was in doubt or what was
19 A. I didn't suspect anything, but the fact that someone asked me for
20 a report about those events showed that they were requiring reliable
21 information. Again, since these events had happened earlier on, I was
22 wondering why I was being asked to do something then. I wasn't there; I
23 only had superficial information about these events. So that would be the
24 extent of what I suspected.
25 Q. Now, sir, can you tell us please what steps you took once you
1 received the order to conduct this inquiry into events in Maline Bikosi on
2 or about the 8th of June, 1993.
3 A. I have to correct you. I wasn't provided with a request to launch
4 an investigation. I was ordered to draft a report on everything I knew
5 about the matter; this was an order from the corps command. And on the
6 basis of this order, I didn't believe it was necessary to carry out some
7 kind of an investigation. I spoke to my closest associates, the chief of
8 staff, the deputy commander. I spoke to the men who worked with me, and I
9 forwarded the document I received to the security organ so that they could
10 take all the necessary measures and report back to me on what they had
11 done. In the meantime there was fighting, various other things were going
12 on, so that's not the only subject I was occupied with during that period.
13 Q. Sir, can you please -- you've told us the positions of the persons
14 that you spoke to concerning this order. Can you perhaps inform us of the
15 names of these individuals that you spoke with concerning this order that
16 you received.
17 A. The chief of staff Remzija Siljak, I would speak to him about
18 everything else as well. I think the deputy commander was Munib Kadric
20 Q. And you told us you forwarded the document to the security organ.
21 Can you tell us what assets or resources you had in the 306th Brigade in
22 the security organ.
23 A. I don't understand the question. What sort of resources are you
24 referring to, personnel?
25 Q. Let's talk about personnel, sir. How many people were in the
1 security organ, what were their names, what training did they have, what
2 experience in security matters, these types -- these types of issues.
3 A. My assistant for security, I know his surname, Delalic, but I have
4 forgotten his first name. And there was an officer who was present there,
5 too; they formed the security organ. There was a subordinate unit that
6 they were in charge of, it was a military police platoon. And those were
7 the resources. As far as training is concerned, as far as their knowledge
8 is concerned, I found them in the state they were in when I arrived there.
9 I didn't have conditions to train anyone, let alone these people.
10 Q. Do you recall when you first spoke to the security organ or the
11 personnel in the security organ if you spoke to one person or did you
12 speak to more than one person about this order that you received, and if
13 so can you recall who you spoke to?
14 A. As I have already said, things take place very rapidly in war.
15 It's as if you are on an assembly line. As the commander of the unit --
16 well, I've told you how I arrived at that post and I've told you how I
17 felt at that time. I think I sent the document to where it was supposed
18 to go, to the security organ, and they were to report back to me as soon
19 as possible, in particular because they were participants. But I didn't
20 speak to anyone else from the security organ.
21 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, could we very briefly go into private
22 session for a couple of questions?
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
24 [Private session]
17 [Open session]
18 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are back in open session,
19 Mr. President.
20 MR. MUNDIS:
21 Q. Sir, do you -- would it refresh your memory if I told you that the
22 assistant commander for security within the 306th Brigade was Asim
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did you at that point in time or any time subsequent to that have
1 any opportunity to get to know Mr. Delalic in terms of his professional
2 experience or training in order to be an assistant commander for security?
3 A. Before I arrived in the 306th Brigade, I didn't know Mr. Delalic.
4 I only knew the chief of staff, Remzija Siljak. I didn't know which
5 schools he had completed, I knew nothing about his training. So I knew
6 nothing about anyone else, apart from Remzija Siljak. We knew each other
7 from before. I really didn't know the other men who were present there.
8 Q. Did you at any point in time when you were the commander of that
9 brigade or perhaps at some later time come to learn anything about
10 Mr. Delalic's background or experience as it related to military security
12 A. No, I didn't. In the brigade we didn't even have files on those
13 officers, so I didn't even know the schools that certain officers had
14 completed, let alone other forms of training that they had had.
15 Q. Can you tell us what steps you took once you received information
16 back from the assistant commander Asim Delalic with respect to events in
17 Maline Bikosi on 8th of June, 1993?
18 A. When I received that document, a report was written for the corps
19 command, which was based on the document. Various people had been killed
20 at the time, but this was the result of combat operations. I think that
21 that is what he wrote.
22 Q. Can you tell us, sir, who was involved in the combat? When you
23 say these persons were killed as a result of combat operations, do you
24 know who was involved in the combat?
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I think the witness
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 has already answered this question. He has already said what he knew
2 about the combat in the month of June, and it's obvious that there is
3 nothing that the witness can add.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. In order to assist the
5 Judges and inform the Judges, who participated in the combat?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have already said that I know that
7 HVO forces and army forces were involved in the fighting; I knew nothing
8 else and that was the case while I was still in the corps.
9 MR. MUNDIS:
10 Q. Sir, at any point in time did anyone from the 306th Mountain
11 Brigade or any other unit of the 3rd Corps of the ABiH inform you or
12 otherwise tell you anything about the involvement of any Mujahedin in the
13 area of Maline Bikosi on 8th June, 1993?
14 A. No, although I spoke to various people about all sorts of
15 subjects, in fact I spoke to my associates, this is something that they
16 never mentioned. We spoke about very subjects, but they never mentioned
17 this. We spoke about an HVO attack against certain villages, they
18 mentioned their lack of organisation when conducting combat operations.
19 As far as I could understand the situation, they barely managed to
20 organise themselves again after that combat. Those are the only things
21 that we discussed.
22 Q. Sir, did you discuss with Mr. Asim Delalic what steps he took in
23 order to provide you with the information about what happened in Maline
24 Bikosi on the 8th of June, 1993?
25 A. I can't remember that. I can't remember all the conversations I
1 had. Perhaps I did speak to him about this, perhaps not. You know, when
2 the document was drafted in such clear terms -- well, the situation was
3 quite clear to me as someone who has -- as someone who had just arrived.
4 Sir, I, quite simply, did not suspect that anything else had happened. I
5 trusted and believed my officers. There was no reason for me to suspect
7 Q. I guess, sir, my question goes more towards whether you made any
8 inquiries to Mr. Delalic about the methodology he used in coming to the
9 conclusion he did. Did you say -- did you ask him, did you interview
10 witnesses or did you speak to soldiers who were present or did you review
11 documents? I'm just curious if you made any inquiries to him how he came
12 to this conclusion or whether he volunteered that information orally to
13 you and told you, this is what I did, here's the steps I took, here's how
14 I reached the conclusions I reached.
15 A. My information about these events were equal to zero. I had only
16 information about combat activities. When a document arrived asking for
17 something, again I didn't even consider it all that important. I just
18 indicated where necessary that a report be made. As for the methods he
19 used, I didn't discuss them with him because I had no suspicions. For me,
20 what was written down there was sufficient. I didn't know. I really
21 didn't know anything else.
22 Q. Thank you, sir.
23 MR. MUNDIS: The Prosecution has no further questions at this
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll give the floor to the
1 Defence now if they have any re-examination.
2 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. The
3 Defence has a few additional questions.
4 Re-examined by Ms. Residovic:
5 Q. [Interpretation] My learned friend asked you about the number of
6 battalions. Tell me please, as in early August you were touring the 306th
7 Brigade and you said that on that occasion you talked to the commander of
8 the 1st Battalion, Commander Lubenovic. This was a battalion of the 306th
9 Brigade, the 1st Battalion, and its commander was Lubenovic. Is that
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. When you became the commander of the 306th Mountain Brigade, was
13 commander Lubenovic still in this brigade with his then-1st Battalion?
14 A. No, he wasn't.
15 Q. Where was this battalion at that time?
16 A. It was being, rather the 27th was being made up of that battalion
17 and refugees from various places, and it was Mehuric. It was a brigade
18 that was in the process of being formed.
19 Q. And were all the men from that previous battalion, the fighters,
20 the command, the police department attached to that battalion, were they
21 all transferred to the 27th Brigade or did they remain under your command?
22 A. They were all transferred to the 27th Brigade.
23 Q. When you received a request that you answer questions put by the
24 command of the 3rd Corps, you as a commander had no authority over the
25 people who were previously in the 1st Battalion of the 306th which had
1 been in Mehurici. Did you have any authority over that battalion at that
3 A. Of course not. I even told Commander Imamovic, who came to take
4 over the 27th Brigade, about this. The only thing I did was that with
5 Commander Alagic of the 1st Operations Group we visited the command of
6 this new 27th Brigade, where Lubenovic and that battalion were. We
7 visited this command which was in a house on the outskirts of Mehurici and
8 I had no contact with that unit. A new commander had been appointed.
9 Q. In October 1993 this brigade was already fully functional. Is
10 that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Would you please now look again at the document under number 2,
13 your report from your visit to the 306th Mountain Brigade. Do you have
14 this document, DH270? Not that one. In section IV, Mujahedin, the second
15 document is DH270 and it's report on the inspection of the 306th Mountain
17 A. Yes, I have it here.
18 Q. Would you please look at this second paragraph that my learned
19 friend asked you about in which it says that commander Lubenovic informed
20 you that a platoon, the one from Kotor Varos, no longer wanted to be part
21 of the 306th Mountain Brigade and wanted to join the 17th Krajina Brigade.
22 A. That's on page 1?
23 Q. Yes. That's on page 1, the beginning of paragraph 2. This fact
24 to which your attention was drawn by Commander Lubenovic, who said that
25 part of his brigade wanted to be transferred to another regular unit, did
1 you consider this to be a significant problem for the commander?
2 A. Yes. When he told me this and added that they were going to other
3 units as well, if you add to this other fighters going to other units,
4 then their number is even greater and of course it's a problem.
5 Q. Would you, sir, read the sentence beginning with "also."
6 A. "Also from the Muslim forces"?
7 Q. Yes.
8 A. "Also from the Muslim forces stationed in Mehurici village, a
9 communication was sent to all villages summoning soldiers for a 40-day
10 training. The question rises of a timely rotation of personnel in the
11 Ljuta Greda sector."
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I would like to ask the
14 interpreters once again to translate the word in the Bosnian text of this
15 sentence which is that soldiers are being called or invited because the
16 official translation here is that they have received orders. So would you
17 please interpret exactly what the witness said?
18 Q. You, Mr. Jusufspahic, said that you made notes and that you drew
19 up your report in the command on the basis of your notes. What you wrote
20 down here, was this what Commander Lubenovic told you, that these Muslim
21 forces were receiving letters in the villages where they were calling on
22 people to join them? Is this the problem that you understood to be a
23 serious problem?
24 A. Yes, this is exactly what he said. He used other terms as well,
25 that they were coaxing them, trying to attract them in ways that in my
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 view were not soldierly at all.
2 Q. Did there come a time when Commander Lubenovic said that they were
3 addressing him or his command, or was the essence of what he said exactly
4 what you wrote down, that they were sending letters to all the villages
5 calling on young men, trying to attract them?
6 A. Yes, exactly. They were calling on them and trying to attract
7 them through letters, through oral means, trying various ways to get at
8 those soldiers.
9 Q. And you understood this to be a serious problem about which you
10 had to inform your superior command. Is that correct?
11 A. Well, the defence line was very drawn out, Ljuta Greda and the
12 other Greda, if you know what it looks like, this is a dominant feature
13 overlooking the villages. And if someone who is in command of that area
14 of defence tells you that there will come a point when they will be unable
15 to organise the defence, of course it's scary.
16 Q. Thank you. Will you now look at page 2 where it says "proposed
17 measures," and then look at number 4, proposal number 4 made by you to the
18 superior commands, and you said that you sent this to the lower-level
19 commands for their information, the 306th Mountain Brigade. Tell me
20 please, after this information the corps commander could he make a
21 decision about this situation or inform his superior command if this was
22 not within his competence? Is that how your superior commander operated?
23 A. Could you please repeat your question.
24 Q. My learned friend asked you whether you suggested to the corps
25 commander that he should report about this to his superiors. What I'm
1 asking you now is the following: When you make a proposal to the corps
2 commander, as an officer and a soldier, is it the usual procedure or not
3 for the corps commander to evaluate your proposals and decide what he can
4 make decisions on because it falls within his competence, and whatever is
5 not within his competence he informs his superior commander?
6 A. Yes, that's what usually happened, not only in this case but in
7 other cases as well. This was not the only problem we had. This would
8 have been the regular procedure although the corps was still in the
9 process of being formed.
10 Q. Please look at the document numbered 5, which we have only in the
11 Bosnian version, and of which you read out a part of the text. It's
12 number 1404. It's just behind these documents. It's numbered 5.
13 Previously you read the part of the text in which Commander Hadzihasanovic
14 is forwarding to his units an order from the staff of the supreme
15 command --
16 A. Yes.
17 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, we would object in light of the fact
18 that this document was not reviewed with the witness during
19 cross-examination, and therefore our submission would be that its improper
20 for the witness to be re-examined on a document that he was shown only
21 during his direct examination.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is a legal issue. As you
23 know, additional questions have to be connected to the
24 examination-in-chief. This document was not shown during the
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I believe it is --
2 it is linked to the cross-examination in its essence because it mentions
3 soldiers going over to other units, and this order could be the result. I
4 cannot testify for the witness, but in a brief time after this document
5 the staff of the supreme command is regulating the issue of the transfer
6 of these units, the units from Mehurici, which is now -- has become
7 another brigade. I believe that this is connected. But if you will not
8 allow me this question, I will withdraw it.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please go ahead. Put your
10 question to the witness.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. If you look at the document which you read out previously, does it
13 now solve some of the problems you noticed previously, the problem of
14 units wanting to go over to other brigades?
15 A. This document, and this is how the corps operated previously as
16 well, shows that if someone is unable to make a decision they inform their
17 superior commander and the formation of the 27th Motorised Brigade is
18 regulated here and the transfer to other units. This was now under
20 Q. As you are an officer of the army, tell me these proposals of the
21 creation of certain units or declaring certain units to be paramilitary,
22 in whose competence was this?
23 A. This was within the competence of the highest command. We could
24 not do that at our level.
25 Q. Thank you. If I understood you correctly, the highest command was
1 higher than the command of the 3rd Corps. Is this correct?
2 A. Yes, higher than the command of the 3rd Corps.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 I think I have no further questions. Thank you very much.
5 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have no
6 questions. Thank you.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The Judges have a
8 few questions for you.
9 Questioned by the Court:
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] First of all, you said that you
11 were the commander of the 306th Brigade. Up until which year were you the
12 commander of that brigade?
13 A. I said that I was appointed that post in mid-August, but in 1993
14 when I assumed that post --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And you were wounded in
16 November. After November 1993, where were you assigned?
17 A. Yes, in the first week of November.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And afterwards, what sort of
19 responsibilities did you have?
20 A. After November 1993 -- well, as you can see, Your Honours, I had a
21 lot of work. I was wounded and I spent a long time in the hospital in
22 Travnik, about a month. I was wounded in the spine. Afterwards, when I
23 recovered, I reported to the corps command.
24 Let me just clarify something. I apologise. There's a document
25 in which it says that I'm being assigned to an operations group, perhaps
1 you have seen it. But I didn't go there, I went to the hospital. I was
2 detained in the hospital, and after I had recovered I was told to report
3 to the corps command.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you -- when you
5 finished your service in the army, what sort of rank did you have? You
6 left the army with what rank?
7 A. With the rank of major. But when I was retired, I was promoted to
8 the rank of colonel.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] According to the interpretation,
10 you left the army with the rank of colonel. So you were a higher-level
11 officer. We'll have another look at the document presented by the Defence
12 counsel, a document that has already been tendered into evidence by the
13 other Defence team. I deliberately left the document on the ELMO, and you
14 should have a copy before you in your own language. Before I put my
15 question to you, did you know that with regard to what happened in Maline
16 General Merdan, in the month of August 1993, went to the site to observe
17 the three sites, to observe the three sites where people had been buried.
18 Were you aware of this fact? And in addition, he didn't go there on his
19 own; he was accompanied by representatives of the International Community,
20 European Community representatives. Are you aware of this?
21 A. I wasn't aware of that fact and I never went to that place either.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You weren't aware of that?
23 A. I didn't even go to that place with the general.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You assumed your duties in the
25 month of August, but on which date exactly?
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 A. I arrived in the brigade in mid-August. There was a transfer of
2 duties. You know it was a very vast zone, but I assumed my duties
3 towards the end of August. For a certain period of time, there were two
4 commanders who were working in parallel.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Were you aware of
6 the fact that about the 23rd of September to be precise the UN centre of
7 human rights met General Merdan in Zenica. This had to do with what had
8 happened in Maline. Were you aware of this fact or not?
9 A. No, I wasn't aware of this. I only received an order at a later
10 date, the order we have been discussing.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On the 17th of October, two days
12 before the report we have before us, on the 17th of October, Mr. Delic,
13 the highest-ranking military officer sent a letter to the 3rd Corps
14 command informing them of the fact that President Izetbegovic had been
15 contacted by the UN special envoy with regard to the events in Maline.
16 Were you at your level aware of the fact that the question of Maline, the
17 issue of Maline, had been discussed at an international level and that the
18 highest level of state it had been -- it was an issue that had been
19 addressed at the highest level of state by President Izetbegovic. Were
20 you aware of this fact or not.
21 A. No, I really wasn't aware of the fact.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You weren't aware of the fact,
23 very well.
24 I had these preliminary questions that I wanted to put to you
25 before discussing the document, because the document states that 25
1 individuals were killed in the course of combat. This is the document
2 that would be sent up the chain of command and it would make it possible
3 to inform the UN that these people were killed in combat. How is it that
4 the document does not refer to the request made on the 17th of October by
5 the 3rd Corps commander who had asked that the Bosanska Krajina Operations
6 Group draft a report? How is it that there is no reference? How would
7 you explain this? Because when we have a look at the document, the
8 impression one has is that it's a document that was drafted without
9 reference to a request of any kind. It's a document drafted, so to speak,
10 spontaneously. Do you have an explanation of this fact?
11 A. I was asked by the Prosecution about Mr. Delalic and the tasks he
12 had to carry out. I don't know why there's no reference here, but to me
13 it is obvious that it refers to that request, or rather that it relates to
14 that request. He should have mentioned this fact. It should be contained
15 in the document, and I don't know why no reference is made to the fact.
16 But it was quite clear to me that there was this relation.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. When
18 Mr. Asim Delalic drafted this report as commander of the 306th Brigade,
19 there are three copies, so we can see there are three copies for the
20 archives, for the Operational Group, and for the 3rd Corps. My first
21 question is: Before the document was sent, did you read it? Did you
22 yourself read the document before it was forwarded to these addressees?
23 As this happened a long time ago, I know that it might be very difficult
24 to answer this question.
25 A. I can't say for sure that I read the document. Perhaps I was
1 informed about it orally, but I cannot categorically state that I read the
2 document through to the end. But I know that this was the situation. I
3 was familiar with the situation, whether it was on the basis of this
4 document or on the basis of something else, I don't know.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If you had known that on the
6 basis of this document the 3rd Corps commander was going to inform the
7 minister of defence or the chief of staff that there had been men killed
8 in combat, if you had known about this wouldn't you have had to sign the
9 document? If Mr. Izetbegovic was going to be informed of the contents of
10 this document, if that was to be the case wouldn't you have had to sign
11 the document.
12 A. Well, a minute ago I said that I didn't realise that that level
13 was in question, too, or rather I didn't realise that Mr. Izetbegovic was
14 familiar with the issue. I wasn't informed of the fact by the corps. I
15 was just asked to report on the events from that period, to report on
16 whether there had been crimes committed. I wasn't aware of the level at
17 which this issue had been addressed.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If you had been informed of the
19 fact that the international community was interested in this issue, as
20 commander of the 306th Brigade wouldn't you have launched an investigation
21 to provide you with precise information on the circumstances of which men
22 were killed in combat? Wouldn't you have done more than what was done, as
23 stated in the report? The report states that there were 25 men killed in
24 combat. These men were of Croatian -- had Croatian nationality.
25 Apparently they didn't have any military identity cards on them, but there
1 is nothing else we know about the subject. Would you have launched a more
2 detailed investigation into the matter? Would you have launched a
3 so-called command investigation? That's what we call it in military
5 A. When we go back to that period 1993 -- well, you know how it is.
6 It's 2005 now. As far as I can remember at the time, I wasn't aware of
7 the fact that such a request had been made at such a high level. I
8 received an order from the corps command requesting that I provide them
9 with information on the events, events that took place when I wasn't
10 present on the scene. So I really didn't have the faintest idea of the
11 fact that this issue had been discussed at such a high level. That was
12 the situation. According to how I had understood the situation, the men
13 in question were combatants. Perhaps I was mistaken, but that's what I
14 thought. In fact, they were killed in combat; that's how I understood the
15 situation. But as to the fact that the issue had been raised at such a
16 high level, I wasn't aware of that.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
19 JUDGE SWART: I have two or three very small questions to put to
20 you on your inspection of the 312th and the 306th Brigades, to start with.
21 You told us that when you inspected the 312th Brigade on the 30th of July
22 you were told that there were some 30 Arabs present there at the front
23 line in the neighbourhood of Bijelo Bucje. And the next day you inspected
24 the 306th Brigade and you were confronted with the presence of foreign
25 fighters in Mehurici. Now, my question is - and I don't know at all
1 whether you could answer it - do you know anything about whether these are
2 two different groups or one and the same group? If you read your two
3 reports, the one on the 30th of July and the other on the 31st of July.
4 When listening to you you put yourself the question, Are these the same
5 people or not? Could you answer -- say anything about that?
6 A. Well, naturally I did ask myself that question. Perhaps I would
7 have visited the first group, as I had done in the 306th, the first group
8 of 30 Arabs. But as I said I think in my statement -- in my report, the
9 visit was approaching its end, we had returned to the battalion command,
10 and then all of a sudden the superior command had asked that the issue of
11 the Arabs be resolved. Upon arriving in the 306th when I encountered a
12 similar problem and they weren't calling them Arabs then, they were
13 calling them the Muslim forces, El Jihad, et cetera, well, yes the idea
14 did occur to me that they weren't the same people. I didn't see those
15 people over there, I don't know what they looked like. But the other
16 group of people, yes, I did see them. And I did come to the conclusion
17 that the same people were in question. Perhaps they were, but I didn't
18 make such a claim. I didn't see this other group.
19 JUDGE SWART: I understand your answer. For the benefit of the
20 Judges, could you tell where Bijelo Bucje is, in what part of Central
21 Bosnia is it?
22 A. It's in the Travnik sector. You pass through Turbe, then you turn
23 towards a bend -- or rather, before the bend. It's to the left of Turbe.
24 It's a village.
25 JUDGE SWART: So it's west of Travnik I understand. Is that
2 A. That's correct, yes.
3 JUDGE SWART: Can you indicate how many kilometres?
4 A. No, I could only guess. It's not far, it's not very far from
6 JUDGE SWART: My other question has to do with your second report
7 on the 306th Brigade. The issue has already been discussed. You wrote
8 there in your report something, and I paraphrase from my memory, the
9 brigade in Mehurici -- something should be done with the brigade in
10 Mehurici. There are two possibilities and one of them is to declare them
11 paramilitaries. And some questions have been put to you on that aspect of
12 the problem, declaring people paramilitaries. What I want to know is:
13 What are the consequences of declaring some groups of people paramilitary?
14 For instance, if someone declared me to be a paramilitary, what would be
15 the consequences for me? What risk would I incur or what other measures
16 would I have to face? Could you tell me anything about that?
17 A. Well, look, I'm a reserve officer. I didn't complete military
18 academy. There are quite a few professional military issues that I didn't
19 understand that well. So I really don't know what might have happened
20 after having declared some unit to be a paramilitary unit. But if there
21 is any other way in which I can be of assistance to you, I would be glad
22 to help. What would have happened? I don't know.
23 JUDGE SWART: But you are the person who proposes the -- this
25 A. Well, this was my reasoning: I thought if someone proposed such a
1 measure then it would no longer be possible for such a unit to remain in
2 the area. It would have had to leave the area. It would no longer have
3 presented a problem. As for the consequences or other consequences that
4 might ensue, I didn't think about this. The commander who was in command
5 of that unit, well I wanted him to have a clear situation. That's what I
6 had in my mind.
7 JUDGE SWART: Thank you for your answers.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] After the Judges' questions or
9 following the Judges' questions, I will now give the floor to the
10 Prosecution, if they have any additional questions.
11 MR. MUNDIS: The Prosecution has no further questions,
12 Mr. President.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll now turn to Defence. They
14 were speaking when I said that the Defence could ask additional questions
15 in the framework of a fair trial.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I only
17 have one question that has to do with the questions put to the witness by
18 the Judges.
19 Further examination by Ms. Residovic:
20 Q. The report that I sent -- my first question is: Is a security
21 organ in a military unit an organ which should have information on crimes
22 committed? Does the commander rely on the security organ for such matters
23 or on some other organ?
24 A. It's the security organ. There's no other organ. I can go
25 through all the organs. That's the only organ that can deal with the
2 Q. When you received this report, did you as the commander have any
3 doubts about the information you had been provided with by the organ of
5 A. No. I didn't have any information about this being an issue
6 raised at a higher level. I only received an order from the corps
7 command requesting that I provide them with information about events that
8 took place for a certain period of time. But this document didn't state
9 that President Izetbegovic or the UN was making such a request for
10 information. I only received an order from the 3rd Corps. And when I
11 received the report, I believe the matter to be concluded.
12 Q. But I'm now asking you as a commander, whether someone is
13 interested in 25 men who were killed, is this an important matter for you?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. If your security organ provides you with an explanation or
16 provides you with information on how these 25 men were killed, do you
17 believe that the way in which they explained the causes of death is
19 A. Well, I have to go back to something I was saying earlier on.
20 When I arrived in the command, I would examine all my assistants. When I
21 came -- when I assumed a new post, I would talk to all the men. I didn't
22 know what they knew and what they didn't know. The army was in the
23 process of formation and I wanted to speak to the men to see what sort of
24 men I was working with. I believed that Delalic was an honest man, a man
25 of the people, somebody who certainly wouldn't have deliberately lied to
1 me. So when I was provided with information on such important facts,
2 there was really no reason for me to have any doubts.
3 Q. And my last question as a commander, did you seriously examine the
4 questions that were put to you and did you believe that you should provide
5 information that you obtained from the organ to the command? Did you take
6 this to be a serious matter or did you believe this is something you
7 should deal with by the way so to speak?
8 A. Well, I have already said that I spoke about the matter to my
9 first associates. It wasn't something that was set aside. As soon as
10 many lives were at stake, I believed that the matter was very important.
11 But I must repeat, I believed that my security organ had to be familiar
12 with the case. I believed that they had all the necessary information
13 because they were present there and I wasn't.
14 Q. Thank you very much.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no other questions.
16 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] We have no questions,
17 Mr. President.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, this concludes your
19 testimony. You have answered all the questions put to you over a period
20 of two days. We thank you for having contributed to establishing the
21 truth. And on behalf of the Chamber I wish you a good trip home, and
22 naturally we wish you all the best now that you have retired. I will now
23 ask the usher to escort you out of the courtroom.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
25 [The witness withdrew]
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I will now turn to the Defence.
2 We have some time left at our disposal. According to my calculations, we
3 have another three witnesses who will be appearing this week. We'll have
4 a short break. We're obliged to have a technical break. We will resume
5 at about 6.20 or 6.25, and then we'll try to continue after 7.15, if it's
6 possible for the interpreters to do 15 additional minutes. Could you
7 provide us with a little more information on the schedule.
8 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, given the testimony
9 of this previous witness I can say that I can conclude the examination of
10 the next witness by today. But I believe that we will have to continue
11 with the examination of the witness tomorrow, rather of the
12 cross-examination of the witness tomorrow. I believe that we will be able
13 to conclude our examination of another witness, and I hope that we will be
14 able to start hearing the next witness on Friday. We also have a witness
15 who will be appearing here, so the second witness for tomorrow might
16 continue testifying on Friday. And the witness scheduled for Friday might
17 commence his testimony and conclude his testimony on Friday. According to
18 my schedule my examination-in-chief shouldn't take longer than an hour,
19 and in some cases my examination-in-chief will be briefer. I believe this
20 will allow us to finish with the witnesses scheduled for this week by the
21 end of the week.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
23 We'll have our short break now, and we will resume at about 6.25.
24 --- Recess taken at 6.07 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 6.26 p.m.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before we bring in the witness,
2 I believe we have to resolve the issue of documents.
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. The
4 Defence proposes that documents numbers 1360, 1406 -- excuse me -- no,
5 I'll start over. The documents under IV entitled "Mujahedin," 1360, under
6 number 1; then the one under number 6, 1389; under number 8, 1518; and
7 under number 9, 1519 be introduced into evidence as Defence exhibits. We
8 also wish to tender document under number 5 which has no English
9 translation, it's 1404, be marked for identification. Thank you.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Yes, Mr. President. No objection.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
13 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. These
14 two documents will be DH1360 and DH1360/E; DH1389 and DH1389/E; DH1518
15 with DH1518/E; and finally DH1519 and DH1519/E. These documents have
16 already been marked for identification. The last document which is being
17 marked for identification because it lacks a translation is DH1404 marked
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 Mr. Usher, would you please bring in the next witness.
21 [The witness entered court]
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good day, sir. First I have to
23 check whether you can hear the interpretation of what I'm saying in your
24 own language. If you do, please say so.
25 WITNESS: SUAD MENZIL
1 [Witness answered through interpreter]
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I hear you very well, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You have been called
4 by the Defence as a witness in the presentation of the Defence case.
5 Before you make the solemn declaration, I have to ascertain your identity.
6 So please tell me your full name as well as your place and date of birth.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Suad Menzil. I was born
8 on the 22nd of October, 1965, in Kotor Varos.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Are you employed?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am employed in the federation army
11 as an officer in the medical corps.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you have a rank?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I am a lieutenant.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And in 1992 or 1993, more than
15 ten years ago, at that time were you employed and did you have any rank?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not until -- no. Up to 1990 I was a
17 student. And after that, I did not have any permanent employment.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Would you now please
19 read the solemn declaration.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
21 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You may sit down.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to the
25 counsel who will examine you, I have to give you some information. At the
1 outset there is something I've forgotten to say. Is this the first time
2 you are testifying before any court, whether international or national, in
3 connection with the events in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992 and 1993?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. This is the first time I'm
5 testifying before a court about these events. Although in 1997 or 1998, I
6 think, I was asked to make a statement about genocide in Kotor Varos, but
7 I didn't know anything about the case I was asked about. And the persons
8 who questioned me probably decided they didn't need me as a witness.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Today -- at the end of today we
10 will answer the questions put to you by the Defence during what we call
11 the examination-in-chief, and then tomorrow afternoon it will be the turn
12 of the Prosecutors, who will cross-examine you. When this stage of the
13 proceedings is over, and it should be over quite soon as they told me, the
14 Defence should have some questions in re-direct examination, and the
15 Judges whether for the sake of clarification or for some other reason may
16 ask you some questions. Please try to answer the questions clearly
17 because we don't know anything about you, we have no written documents.
18 What you tell us will be entered into the record which is before you on
19 the monitor in English, true to say, but this record will contain what you
20 say during your testimony. Maybe somebody will show you documents and you
21 will answer questions on the basis of those documents. If you find the
22 question complicated, ask the person putting the question to repeat it.
23 You have just made a solemn declaration that you will speak the whole
24 truth. There's no need to say that you will not make a false statement,
25 but there is something else that's important. In international
1 proceedings when a witness does not wish to answer a question because he
2 or she feels the answer one day will be used against them, the Chamber may
3 make the witness respond to the question but will guarantee immunity in
4 that case. I am giving you this information. I don't see how it can
5 apply to you, but I want to tell you this.
6 This is how your testimony will proceed. In the best possible
7 conditions, we have about 40 minutes left today. In order not to waste
8 anymore time, I will give the floor to the Defence.
9 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Examined by Ms. Residovic:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Good evening, Mr. Menzil. I will ask you when
12 you hear my question to pause a little so that the question can be
13 interpreted and so that everyone in the courtroom can follow what we are
14 saying. Do you understand?
15 A. Yes. I have to wait a few seconds. Is that right?
16 Q. Yes. Mr. Menzil, you may have misunderstood the President and you
17 said that you did not have a job, although the question was about 1992 and
18 1993. Tell me, what were you doing actually in 1992 and 1993?
19 A. Well, I understood the question to refer to the period up to 1992,
20 so I apologise if I gave an erroneous answer. From the 11th of June until
21 the 18th of October, 1992, I was part of the Kotor Varos Territorial
22 Defence where I was the leader of a sanitary and veterinarian squad. This
23 was the time of the aggression against Kotor Varos. And on the 18th of
24 October, when I left the TO, I joined the unit which was called the 1st
25 Kotor Varos Battalion. And it was composed of people who before the war
1 had been employed abroad in Slovenia, Germany, and other places, and who
2 had heard that there was resistance against the aggressor. So they
3 established a unit in order to come and help us. This was a unit of mixed
4 ethnic origin, as had been the Territorial Defence unit which I had
5 belonged, and it was composed of Muslims, Orthodox, and Catholics.
6 However, this 1st Battalion in Travnik was composed only of Catholics and
7 Muslims. In that unit I spent a period of time. I was wounded. There
8 were some 20 or so other men who were wounded and they had their
9 destination in the barracks in Travnik where they organised a field
10 hospital for us who had been wounded waiting for the outcome.
11 At that time in Travnik there was a certain amount of chaos. The
12 units of the army had not yet been officially established and the
13 situation was quite undefined. So I felt it normal to join a unit from
14 Kotor Varos which had already been established, and this was the Siprage
15 Battalion which was in Mehurici.
16 Q. Very well. Thank you. Now, please tell me very briefly, what was
17 your education before the war because as far as I was able to understand
18 you said you had been a student. What were you studying and did you
19 complete your studies?
20 A. Well, first I completed primary school and then secondary medical
21 school. After that I went to the faculty of medicine in Pristina, and I
22 was -- I had completed my course of studies but had not yet taken my final
24 Q. You said that in Kotor Varos you were in the medical corps of the
25 TO. Does this mean that although you had not yet gained your doctor's
1 diploma, due to the wartime conditions you acted as a doctor in practice?
2 A. My first war wounds date from that period. I knew what I had
3 learned at university, but my first contact with real wounds and looking
4 after them, even complicated ones, because we lacked sufficient staff we
5 had to do these things, deal with them.
6 Q. When you joined the 1st Siprage Battalion on Mehurici, when was
7 this and what brigade was it part of?
8 A. I arrived on the 22nd of December, 1992. And on the 25th of
9 December, the 1st Siprage Battalion was established as the first battalion
10 of the 306th Mountain Brigade that was being formed.
11 Q. Mr. Menzil, please tell me were you assigned any duty in that
13 A. In view of the fact that I joined people who were well-informed
14 and whom I knew from before, because they were people from Kotor Varos,
15 there was a proposal which the brigade command accepted, and I was
16 appointed leader or commander or officer for the sanitary and veterinarian
18 Q. Mr. Menzil, please tell me what sort of medical team did you have
19 at your disposal and did you take any measures to equip yourselves in
20 order to carry out your wartime activities?
21 A. As I've already say, the army was in its infancy. It was a
22 fledgling army, and the unit I belonged to, the battalion, was in a way in
23 the beginning up to manpower levels. But as for the sanitary corps, we
24 did not have sufficient staff. I only had one medical technician who
25 hadn't even passed his professional exam. He was a young man just out of
1 school and we didn't have professional staff, especially as regards the
2 medical corps.
3 Q. In Mehuric did you find any of your colleagues who were doctors,
4 and if you did can you tell us how you organised the medical corps and
5 provided medical assistance under these conditions?
6 A. Well, I think I have to explain what my approach was because I saw
7 what the situation was, I understood that my first task was to set up this
8 unit and to attempt to, as far as possible, find medical staff to organise
9 the unit. Of course when we arrived at Mehuric, I contacted my superior
10 command and I asked for someone from my profession. And there I found
11 Dr. Ribic, an eminent specialist and an experienced doctor. And from that
12 day I cooperated with him for as long as I was at Mehuric for the simple
13 reason that he, as an older and more experienced colleague, helped me a
14 lot in certain situations. And according to our ethics we had to work
15 together, regardless of where we were.
16 Q. In that short period of time, did you manage to organise the
17 medical corps and train part of the population to help you as doctors?
18 A. Yes. The unit was in the process of being formed, but I have to
19 say that the superior command and our commanding officers were full of
20 understanding. And they tried to meet all our requests and adopt our
21 suggestions so that very soon we were able to organise courses for nurses.
22 We made a survey, a questionnaire, to find out who had the aptitude and
23 who had a good secondary education, if nothing else. And some people
24 among the civilian population were very interested, especially women. And
25 we had two or three courses, and these courses proved to be highly
2 Q. And who did you rely on for logistical support? Who provided you
3 with medicines and sanitary material?
4 A. Of course I had to respect the military hierarchy, and that's how
5 I acted. I received all the logistical support from the superior command,
6 that is the command of the 306th Mountain Brigade. Let me clarify. My
7 monthly requirements were sent to the chief of the medical corps who then
8 approved them. And then we sent these to the 3rd Corps to supply what we
10 Q. Mr. Menzil, did you draw any distinction when providing medical
11 assistance between the civilian population and the military, or did you
12 draw any distinction according to ethnic criteria when people asked for
13 medical assistance?
14 A. Of course we didn't. We didn't even -- it never even crossed our
15 minds, because apart from our medical ethics and the oath that as a
16 professional I was bound by, I was also bound by an oath I took when I
17 joined the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And this states quite clearly
18 that we are duty-bound to protect the sovereignty and the constitutional
19 order and so on and so forth of all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
20 At that time in Mehurici there were people of various ethnic origins,
21 there were Catholics, there were Orthodox, and others, and this also
22 applies to the civilian population.
23 Q. When you arrived in Mehuric, Mr. Menzil, did you observe the
24 presence of foreigners from Afro-Asian countries?
25 A. Yes, I did observe the presence of foreigners, whether they were
1 Afro-Asian, I don't know, but I saw that they were foreign, that they were
2 different. And by their physical appearance I assumed that they might be
3 from those countries, and this proved to be correct. Yes, of course I
4 observed them.
5 Q. In the time after your arrival, did you notice that these
6 foreigners had a certain attitude toward the local population and was
7 there any division among the population in relation to these foreigners?
8 A. When I arrived, they were upstairs. My unit had a floor in a
9 school and they were in the same school upstairs. They stayed there very
10 briefly, but they kept one of the offices in the school for a longer
11 period of time. I was unable to observe any divisions in the first few
12 days because I was pre-occupied with organising the medical corps as I've
13 just described. But I heard that they had a leader among them who had
14 authority over them, they called him Sheikh and they obeyed him. His
15 authority was unchallenged. In a short period, about the 20 days that
16 they were there, I did not notice that they caused any problems or
17 incidents. However, later on certain sparks began to fly and certain
18 disagreements with the local population, primarily because they tried to
19 impose religious ceremonies and a religious culture that was unacceptable,
20 both to me and to many other people there. So of course conditionally
21 speaking when I say "normal people," normal people despised them,
22 marginalised them as far as their insistence on faith went. However, in
23 this period in parallel with this, they tried to win over the local
24 population by giving various kinds of humanitarian aid, even money. And I
25 noticed people who did not belong to them who came to them for training.
1 I don't know for what motive. Later it turned out that it was for
2 material gain primarily. And one could feel that the local population was
3 divided into those who supported them and those who did not support them.
4 Q. Thank you. I would now like to discuss some specific events.
5 Tell me please, if you can remember, what were you doing on the 24th of
6 April? Does day remind you of an event in Mehurici or its vicinity that
7 you wish to testify about?
8 A. Of course, it reminds me of a tragedy that unfortunately happened
9 there. At that time and still today I become very emotional when I think
10 of it. On the 24th of April I received information because part of our
11 battalion was between the villages of Krpeljici and Bandol on the front
12 line, and late one evening we received information that there had been an
13 incident in one of our dugouts and our members were wounded. In the
14 morning at about 10.00, I asked for the commander's approval, which I
15 received, that I should go and see what happened, precisely what sort of
16 incident and what the consequences were, and what could be done about it.
17 I mean, at my level, I mean as far as providing medical assistance went.
18 At about 10.00, I set out toward Krpeljici, and as I was leaving
19 Mehurici I was stopped by two Arabs. I was in my medical vehicle. They
20 stopped me and indicated someone was lying down beside them. I went out
21 of the vehicle and saw that the man was wounded; he was also an Arab. He
22 was wounded. And according to their gestures, they were asking probably
23 that I provide assistance. I immediately approached him, took a look,
24 realised that it was a complex wound, that it required hospitalisation,
25 and we put the wounded man we found there in our ambulance and took him
1 back to our centre where I did a primary -- I dealt with the wound and I
2 knew an Arab who spoke Serbo-Croatian and I asked that this man be brought
3 so that he could translate this. Ramadan was found, he arrived, and I
4 told him that this wounded man whose wounds I had dressed should urgently
5 be taken to the hospital in Zenica. As there was a blockade and the
6 regional road was blocked we had to take a circuitous road through the
7 woods another route. I asked that they find a vehicle, that's what I
8 suggested, that they find a vehicle. I saw that they did have all-terrain
9 vehicles, and that they take the men there urgently. And that's what they
11 Q. You said that you knew an Arab called Ramadan?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. How did you know this Arab and how did you know what his name was?
14 A. Well, a few days after I arrived in Mehurici when the station was
15 being established, early in the morning a local young man brought him to
16 see me in the outpatients' clinic, and he said that he had been bitten by
17 a dog. He showed me the dog bite. I dressed his wound and we talked a
18 little bit, and he told me that he had been a student in Nis, and that's
19 why he spoke Serbo-Croatian very well, and that he was from Syria. He
20 didn't tell me anything else and I didn't ask him much, but that's how I
21 know Ramadan. And later on I noticed that he was an intermediary at
22 various times when people wanted to communicate.
23 Q. This wounded man that you provided assistance to, did you know who
24 he was?
25 A. Well, whenever you provide assistance, you have to identify the
1 person. Of course I asked Ramadan to give me his details, and he pulled
2 out a document which in my view was very odd. I'm still surprised by it.
3 And it said the person bearing this pass must be allowed to pass through
4 the Republic of Croatia and through territories under the control of the
5 HVO as a humanitarian worker from Egypt. And it was signed by the
6 minister of the interior of the Republic of Croatia, Josip Moric. This is
7 the document I saw when I asked for identification, and it was probably
8 because they entered as humanitarian workers that they obtained these
10 Q. Can you tell us, Mr. Menzil, what happened next on that day?
11 A. When I had finished dealing with this wounded man, I again set out
12 toward Krpeljic, that's where our brigade medical station was, where
13 wounded soldiers were brought. I went down there and I saw that these two
14 members of our unit had been handling a hand grenade, which had exploded.
15 One's fist had been blown off; the other was seriously wounded. So this
16 was actually an accident. And they were taken to hospital. I stayed
17 there until some 5.00 or 6.00 in the afternoon. And then I went back and
18 I saw a group of people of the local population in front of the station in
19 Mehurici. I found Dr. Ribic inside the outpatients' clinic, and on the
20 table was an elderly woman who had been seriously wounded and who, when I
21 asked the doctor who she was, he said, "Don't ask. It's a woman from
22 Miletici. She's seriously wounded. She's been brought here. We have to
23 help her, look after her, and see how we can send her off to Zenica." And
24 then together we took care of this woman. The wound was a very serious
25 one; it was in the stomach area. And the urinary tract had been damaged.
1 We introduced a catheter in order to prevent a kidney failure. And after
2 we had dealt with this woman's wounds, we asked the civilian and military
3 police to establish contact with the checkpoint at Unakovic [phoen] that
4 was held by the HVO. And we said that the woman had to be urgently
5 transported to Zenica in order for them to save her life because that's
6 how bad the wound was, and to receive the treatment. However, some 20
7 minutes later or half an hour later, the people who went on behalf of the
8 civilian and military police did not receive permission from the HVO
9 checkpoint. We even told them the first and last name of this woman in
10 order to propitiate them in some way, to pacify them, but they wouldn't
11 let her through. Then we put her in the battalion vehicle and took her as
12 far as Krpeljici, as it was night, and we had to go by a circuitous route
13 through the woods. They were unable to take her to Zenica then; however,
14 they did manage to take her in the morning, and thank God the woman
15 survived. And somebody told she's still alive, and I'm very glad to hear
17 Q. After this wounded person was transferred there, did you find out
18 about anything else that had happened that afternoon?
19 A. Well, I first spoke to Dr. Ribic, but he himself wasn't clear
20 about what had happened. He and the people who had brought the wounded
21 person to him said that she had been wounded it Miletici. Naturally I
22 went towards the base, to the school, which is where I had accommodation.
23 That's where I slept. In the yard I saw a group of people who were
24 nervous, agitated, I noticed that from Mehurici, Muhamed Arnaltovic, I
25 used to see him and asked him what was happening. He said, confusion,
1 there was a massacre in Miletici, the Mujahedin have expelled the people,
2 there are people who have been killed. And then he said, they've taken
3 Alija Delalic and Miso away. He started naming common friends of ours.
4 He said they had taken them away up to the camp where they were located.
5 I entered the command and in the command there was a state --
6 panic, it was very panic. Ribo Sulejman, the commander, was there and
7 Dervis Suljic. He was completely pale. I asked him why, he said they had
8 taken away his father, his uncle, all his relatives. I saw that they were
9 trying to find a solution, to see how they could help these people, to see
10 how they could get the civilians back as well as the people who weren't
11 from Miletici. We even made a direct proposal, five or six of us who
12 would volunteer, should go directly to their camp and request that they
13 release these people. We set off. But then Ramadan appeared and we got
14 hold of him, so to speak, to help us. We tried to persuade him to act as
15 an intermediary, to establish contact with their supreme commander or
16 their Emir, that's what they called him. Initially Ramadan hesitated, he
17 said it wasn't his affair, it wasn't his business. But then he accepted.
18 When Ramadan had gone, maybe about half an hour later, their Emir appeared
19 escorted by armed members of his. Then Commander Lubenovic spoke to him.
20 Sometimes the exchange was quite fierce, but he managed to persuade them
21 to release the people, first the Suljics were released, and then Delic and
22 Miso and all the other civilians who had been arrested were released from
23 that camp up there.
24 Q. Mr. Menzil, what did you then do with your neighbours from
1 A. They were my neighbours at the time, but that's not important.
2 When I -- well, to tell you the truth, when I saw those people I
3 re-experienced what had happened to my family in Kotor Varos, and I
4 witnessed this myself, they were maltreated, they were expelled, et
5 cetera. So this really affected me as a man and someone who worked in the
6 medical field. When Mr. Ribo asked me whether I would go up there and see
7 if it was necessary to give someone some sedatives or talk to someone,
8 well naturally I didn't think about it. I asked my commander's
9 authorisation; this was granted. I went up there and I remained -- I
10 stayed with those people until the morning. I think I tried to help them
11 to an extent. I think I was partially successful in doing so.
12 Q. Mr. Menzil, did you find out about what had happened in the
14 A. Well, in conversation with the people who were there, naturally I
15 found out what had happened in the village. They had told me about it.
16 They claimed that the Mujahedin had attacked them, that Arabs had attacked
17 them, that they appeared suddenly, unexpectedly, that they didn't know why
18 they had appeared. The people were very agitated, there were some very
19 difficult scenes. Family members would try to tell other family members
20 that somebody had been killed, so there were difficult conversations. I
21 had found out what had happened. Naturally they didn't know how many
22 people had been killed, whether people had been killed, but they assumed
23 that those who weren't there among them had been killed.
24 Q. Thank you. Mr. Menzil, tell me about the events at the beginning
25 of June in Mehurici. Were you in Mehurici at the beginning of June and do
1 you know anything about what happened on the 8th of June?
2 A. Well, look, throughout the wartime period I was in Mehurici, or
3 rather my command was located there. As a result, I had to be in that
4 area, too. After the events in Ahmici, there were the events in Miletici.
5 And then there were various other incidents down by [indiscernible] Jadol
6 [phoen] et cetera. The situation had become so tense that they started
7 cutting off roads, checkpoints were being erected, one could not circulate
8 freely, and then naturally other forms of provocations appeared as a
9 reaction. And I'm claiming with full responsibility that these were
11 I don't know how to explain what happened later. I don't know how
12 to explain the events before the 8th of June, because throughout the month
13 of May the Zenica Mehurici -- Travnik and Mehurici road was blocked by the
14 HVO. They were holding certain checkpoints. I even had an ugly
15 experience when returning, when I was first authorised to replenish
16 medical equipment in Zenica. When returning they sent us back from the
17 checkpoint in Srednje. They would not allow us to pass through; this is
18 in mid-May. What is even more absurd is that I left Zenica with one of
19 our officers who was a member of the joint command which was supposing to
20 be functioning at the time. He tried to intervene. He tried to contact
21 Filipovic and solve the problem in this way, but he didn't let us pass
22 through. And there were more serious forms of provocations because the
23 brigade had been broken up in a certain sense. We heard that
24 communications -- officer from the brigade had been killed by a sniper,
25 that some people from the brigade were making members of the command to
1 eat grass, and there was shooting directed attendant buildings, at
2 rooftops, et cetera, every evening. Naturally, I thought that these were
3 acts of provocation. I don't know if this is what caused the overall
4 conflict, but these were provocative acts. The flag of the state of
5 Croatia was put somewhere above Mehurici, or rather on a plateau above
6 Mehurici and Krpeljici. I don't know why this flag had been erected.
7 There was no border crossing there, but the flag was flying up there.
8 Q. Very well. Tell me what happened in the beginning of June. What
9 do you remember from that period?
10 A. Well, from the battalion commander I received an oral order
11 stating that medical corps reception centre should be prepared and
12 organised, they should prepare stretchers, medical equipment in companies
13 and platoons for possible combat. Given the vast area covered by the
14 Mehurici clinic with Dr. Ribic, I suggested we create two reception
15 centres so that we could be as effective as possible if fighting broke
16 out. On the 8th of June at 4.15 in the morning, the first wounded were
17 delivered to me, unfortunately, two men who had run into mines and their
18 limbs had been blown off. The roads were still blocked, so it was
19 impossible to take them to hospital using the normal roads. We had to use
20 a mountain road from Mehurici, and it took us an hour and a half for each
21 wounded man, instead of about 20 minutes. That's how long it would have
22 taken if the regular roads had been opened.
23 Q. Tell me whether Mehurici was shelled and as a doctor, as a member
24 of the medical corps, did you suffer any consequences?
25 A. Well, Mehurici was shelled, and both the reception centres, the
1 clinic, and our battalion's reception centre were hit by the shells. The
2 civilian clinic, two or three nurses, I can't remember exactly, the nurses
3 who were supposed to receive the wounded were hit by shell fragments. I
4 had one wounded man who was waiting and I was treating another one. But
5 when the shell fell, the wounded man who was waiting to be treated was
6 thrown to the ground.
7 Q. Tell me whether those were the only wounded persons who were taken
8 to you or were there any other consequences of the combat over that
10 A. Well, as far as the wounded are concerned, apart from the wounded
11 men from my unit, there were two HVO members who were wounded later. But
12 before that in the afternoon hours, let's say when there was a lull in the
13 fighting, Dr. Ribic came and said that some civilians had been taken to
14 the barracks already, that there were quite a lot of women and children.
15 He said that we should go and see what the situation was up there.
16 Naturally we went up there and there were quite a few women and children
17 who were there. We spoke to a doctor who was with them, (redacted).. I
18 think her surname is (redacted)., but I'm not quite sure. I think her name
19 was (redacted). She had a nurse with her. She knew Dr. Ribic
20 because they had worked together in the hospital before, in a medical
21 centre. I introduced myself and we said that they had all the medical
22 equipment at their disposal, that we would place all the equipment we had
23 at their disposal. All medical services would be placed at their
24 disposal. And the warehouse where we had medical supplies was within the
25 school. I gave her the key to the premises and said that she could use
1 everything that we had available at that time. Naturally, we wanted to
2 help, and if she thought there was anything we could do to help her, I
3 said that we would be happy to do so.
4 Q. Did your battalion offer those people any other form of
5 assistance, the people who were taken there?
6 A. Yes. Well, a lot of people were suddenly taken to a very small
7 area. I suggested that we take the necessary measures to prevent the
8 spread of epidemics and to protect the building, the people who were
9 there. I said that we should prepare toilets for use, and ensure that
10 they could use them in a normal manner. After we had noticed that there
11 were a lot of children there, I suggested to the commander that we should
12 use our reserves, that we should use food that was appropriate for
13 children and for the elderly so that civilian protection could help them
14 in different ways as well. I said that we could provide them with milk in
15 powdered form. Naturally this was done. And later civilian protection
16 unit took charge of these duties.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, if you believe that
18 we should adjourn now, I can do so. I have about another 15 questions, so
19 if we cannot continue until half past 8.00 [as interpreted], I would be
20 grateful if we could continue until tomorrow.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have to bear the interpreters
23 in mind, so we will have to adjourn. We'll resume tomorrow afternoon at
25 Doctor, you will have to return tomorrow. Try and return at about
1 2.00 p.m. You should be called into the courtroom at 2.15 and your
2 testimony should be concluded sometime tomorrow afternoon. We will now
3 adjourn and I invite everyone to appear for the hearing tomorrow.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.18 p.m.,
5 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 13th day of
6 January, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.