1 Wednesday, 20 April 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.17 a.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Mr. Court Deputy.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
7 IT-01-48-T, the Prosecutor versus Sefer Halilovic.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. I have to apologise for the delay.
9 Judge Szenasi is not feeling well this morning so the remaining Judges,
10 according to Rule 15(B) decided to continue our proceedings today. And
11 this afternoon, we will have an extra sitting. Originally it was set at
12 4:00 but I believe that the initial appearance in another case will not
13 last that long, so we might start a little bit early, for instance 3:30
14 until 5:00, if the courtroom permits us.
15 Well, having said that, could we have the witness, please?
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE LIU: Good morning, Witness.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
19 JUDGE LIU: Are you ready to continue?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
22 WITNESS: VAHID KARAVELIC [Resumed]
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 Examined by Mr. Re: [Continued]
25 Yes, Mr. Re.
1 MR. RE:
2 Q. Good morning, Mr. Karavelic, yesterday I was showing you the order
3 from Sefer Halilovic, that was P161, of the 2nd of September 1993, asking
4 for the delta unit parts of the 9th and 10th Brigade and -- and then
5 Solakovic's unit. What was your response to receiving that order from
6 Sefer Halilovic? Firstly, do you need to see it again on the screen or do
7 you remember it sufficiently?
8 A. I remember it. There is no need to put it on the screen.
9 Q. What was your response to receiving the order?
10 A. I don't know. I can't say anything in particular about what the
11 reaction was. It was within the range of a normal reaction.
12 Q. What, yours or Mr. Halilovic's?
13 A. My reaction. I'm thinking of myself.
14 Q. What did you do?
15 A. We are talking about the moment when I received the order, the
16 last one that we were looking at yesterday.
17 Q. Not the very moment, but what did you do in response to receiving
18 it? Did you act on it? Did you -- did you obey it? Did you refuse to
19 obey it? Did you contact someone? Did you contact Mr. Halilovic? What
20 did you do?
21 A. I don't remember doing anything in particular. I think I got in
22 touch with Rasim Delic who also confirmed that I should act in accordance
23 with Sefer Halilovic's order and then after that, I started to implement
24 the order of the Chief of Staff of the main -- the Supreme Command Staff.
25 Q. Why did you contact Rasim Delic after having received
1 Mr. Halilovic's order?
2 A. Simply because of a basic military rule. The commander of the
3 Main Staff is a superior to the corps commander, and that is one of the
4 main reasons why I got in touch with General Rasim Delic.
5 Q. Mr. Halilovic was your superior in -- was senior to you in the
6 Bosnian army. Why did you feel it necessary to contact General Delic
7 after having received -- you having received an order from someone who was
8 senior to you in the army?
9 A. I think I was quite specific in my previous answer, if we
10 understand what military hierarchy means, and what command and control
11 means, and what the chain of command means.
12 Q. Well, what was it about receiving an order from Mr. Halilovic, who
13 was the Chief of the Main Staff that caused you to contact Rasim Delic to
14 seek his confirmation of that order?
15 A. Well, if you would like me to say anything more, well, I can say
16 that at that point in time, I did not have access to the order which I
17 only saw once I came to The Hague, which General -- in which General Delic
18 named Sefer Halilovic as the head of the team to carry out certain tasks
19 in the Neretva River valley to do some things relating to the 4th and the
20 6th corps. This was an order of the 30th of August. At that point in
21 time I was not quite sure why I was supposed to send units to the Neretva
22 River valley and this is the reason why I contacted Rasim Delic.
23 Q. Had you seen a copy of the order of the 30th of August at the
24 time, would you have sent the troops without contacting Rasim Delic?
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
1 MR. MORRISSEY: It's an objection because of a speculative
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I believe so. It's a hypothetical question.
4 MR. RE: I withdraw the question in that form.
5 Q. Mr. Karavelic, I just want you to clarify something from your last
6 answer in which you said that you saw that order when you came to The
7 Hague. Would seeing that order in 1993 have made any difference to
8 whether or not you would have called Rasim Delic in the normal course of
9 your response to receiving such an order from Mr. Halilovic?
10 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, it's exactly the same question just
11 twice as long.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
13 MR. RE: Your Honour, I'm pressing the question because the
14 witness has given an answer in which he has alluded to the fact that
15 seeing that order may have made some difference. I'm attempting to
16 clarify whether that order if he had seen that order it would have made
17 any difference to whether or not he felt the need to contact Rasim Delic.
18 That is if that order standing alone, if he'd had access to it, would have
19 conveyed information to him that he didn't need to get from Rasim Delic.
20 It goes to the whole question of subordination and where Mr. Halilovic
21 fitted in and why the witness felt the need to contact Mr. Delic.
22 JUDGE LIU: Well, maybe the final aim is justified, but this
23 question actually is not proper one because it's asking the witness to
25 MR. RE: Is it any more speculating than if you asked a witness,
1 "If you received this order from your commander, what should your
2 response have been?" "Within the normal military chain -- within the
3 normal military doctrine, that is had you seen this order appointing
4 Mr. Halilovic as head of the team, would you have needed to" --
5 JUDGE LIU: My suggestion is that you may ask a general question
6 without mentioning that particular order, just as a normal, routine
7 practice in the army.
8 MR. RE: Thank you.
9 Q. Mr. Karavelic, in terms of your experience and knowledge of
10 military doctrine and subordination within the Bosnian army, if a -- if
11 the commander, supreme commander, appoints a certain officer as -- to lead
12 a team allowing certain things, what would your response be -- what is the
13 normal response of someone in your position to seeing such an order?
14 A. There is a very often used rule. It existed in the Army of Bosnia
15 and Herzegovina and I believe that it exists in most of the world armies.
16 When a commander issues an order to a commander, a superior to his
17 lower-ranking officer, then there is no need to comment or double check or
18 anything like that. However, very often, we have a situation in which
19 specifically in the staff of the supreme -- in the Supreme Command staff
20 of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, some orders or types of documents
21 were issued by a deputy, Jovo Divjak, that was one deputy, or the other
22 deputy Stjepan Siber, and they issued also -- the chiefs of the
23 administrations of the Supreme Command staff also issued all kinds of
24 instructions, orders, and so on. All such orders which were issued by
25 members of the Supreme Command Staff are issued in the name of the
1 commander. It was quite often the case that the corps commanders, when
2 such documents would arrive from officers or generals who were members of
3 that staff, would check and ask the commander, specifically we're talking
4 about Mr. Rasim Delic in this case, is this so and so, are you backing
5 this particular order? Has this been coordinated or not, depending on the
6 matter involved, because the commander of the Supreme Command staff is a
7 superior to all the corps commanders.
8 Q. Do -- when you spoke to Mr. Delic, did he tell you what Mr.
9 Halilovic was doing, and why he wanted those particular troops?
10 A. I can't really remember the whole conversation, but the gist of it
11 was that, yes, I should act according to the orders and that was it.
12 MR. RE: Could the witness please be shown the next document which
13 is 65 ter number 40, 01831484?
14 THE REGISTRAR: That will be MFI 382.
15 MR. RE: It's a document dated the 2nd of September, an order from
16 Mr. Halilovic, or a request, to the 1st Corps Command, personally to the
17 commander. Have you seen that document before?
18 A. There were many documents, perhaps I did and perhaps I did not,
19 but most likely I did see it before.
20 Q. The time stamp on this one is -- I'm sorry, can you tell me when
21 your corps received it? I think if you look in the top left-hand corner.
22 A. It states here, Sarajevo, the date and the time, the 3rd of
23 September, so it was in the night between the 2nd and the 3rd, at 1 a.m.
24 Q. It says that "We request that you send an urgent response
25 regarding the order for your units to move into the Neretva valley,
1 indicate when a unit will move, and state its numerical strength so that
2 its reception and transport can be organised." What was your response to
4 A. I think that all the contacts after that talked about the fact
5 that preparations of my units were underway and that -- date and the time
6 when the units would move out. So to carry out all the preparations and
7 make it possible for the units to move out.
8 MR. RE: I move to tender that into evidence.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Morrissey?
10 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours this one raises an interesting
11 question of the way that Your Honours admit these documents because,
12 although the witness hasn't said that he specifically saw it, frankly, he
13 would have seen thousands of documents and he can't be expected to
14 remember each one. It seems to have been addressed to his corps and there
15 seems to be a sensible basis on which one can infer that it would have
16 passed through his hands and been seen. Therefore, although he doesn't
17 remember specifically seeing it, in this case, this is different to some
18 of the other orders and some of the other documents that have come along
19 where the people say "I know nothing about it at all." So it's really a
20 matter for the Tribunal but I would say the Defence doesn't strongly
21 oppose its being admitted because it's likely that he saw it so the
22 Defence doesn't oppose its admission but it remains a matter for Your
23 Honour of course.
24 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much indeed. I believe that your
25 position is very reasonable.
1 So this document is admitted into the evidence.
2 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution exhibit P382.
3 MR. RE:
4 Q. Having received those two -- the order and the request from
5 Mr. Halilovic, did you in fact order the soldiers he specified the Delta
6 Brigade the 2nd Independent Battalion and parts of the 9th and the 10th,
7 did you in fact order them to go to Bradina in accordance with the order
8 of the 2nd of September 1993?
9 A. Based on the order from the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command,
10 and also based on an order which came later from the chief dated the 20th
11 of September, when he also asked for more units, without actually naming
12 the specific units, I issued many orders to these units of mine that went
13 there and that were supposed to go there but did not actually go.
14 MR. RE: Could the witness please be shown Prosecution Exhibit 65
15 ter 43, 00585512?
16 THE REGISTRAR: MFI 383.
17 MR. RE:
18 Q. While that document is coming, were the orders you issued to the
19 subordinate units in writing or oral?
20 A. Both oral and written orders have the same weight. My rule, as a
21 military man, is to try to issue written orders and also to ask for such
22 orders from my superiors.
23 Q. Have a look at the document on the screen, MFI 383. It's an order
24 under -- with your name on it and your signature, of the 4th of September
25 1993, addressed to the motorised brigade, to Ramiz Delalic in person. Is
1 that an order which you issued on the 4th of September 1993 to Ramiz
3 A. As far as I remember, yes, unless I'm mistaken.
4 Q. Did you issue that -- was that an order you issued in response to
5 Mr. Halilovic's order to you, confirmed by Mr. Delic?
6 A. It is stated in the first paragraph, in the introductory paragraph
7 of this order.
8 Q. The first part of the order says, you order, one, the immediate
9 formation of a company of 50 soldiers, that's two platoons of 25 soldiers
10 each, all organisational preparations shall be undertaken and the company
11 shall be ready to move towards Bradina.
12 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours the translation that I have says that
13 the -- that the order says "immediately select men for a 50-strong
14 company." It doesn't suggest the formation of a company at all, which may
15 be technically quite a different thing. So I don't know if my friend has
16 got a different translation than I have, but the actual words ought to be
17 used if it's being put in that way.
18 JUDGE LIU: Well, at first glance, there is no major differences
19 between the two translations, but, however, we are doing a specific work
20 here so I believe that the translation issue is important. So would you
21 please allow the Prosecution to proceed and after this seeking we will
22 entrust the translation office to check the translation of this document.
23 Of course, during your cross-examination, you may use your own version of
24 this document.
25 MR. MORRISSEY: Could I just say Your Honours I certainly am far
1 from wanting to start another difficulty on that topic, and it may simply
2 be a translation problem. The witness himself, because he's got the
3 original document there, he can comment on what is said there better than
4 perhaps I can with my English translation. So I just alert the Tribunal
5 to the fact that I've got a different one. Anyway I've done what I have
6 to do.
7 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
8 MR. RE: Could I inquire whether Mr. Morrissey has an
9 interpretation, a translation which the Defence have obtained or a draft?
10 The one I'm reading from is the final translation. That may solve it. If
11 he has the draft one, that may solve it.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, but first of all you may ask the witness himself
13 to read the first sentence, to see what his understanding of that
15 MR. RE: Your Honour there is no issue about it. As Your Honour
16 pointed out, whether it's immediate, and if it's translated there had way
17 it's not going to be a proper translation, it's going to be an
18 interpretation. So we won't get it precisely.
19 JUDGE LIU: Of course. We quite understand that. But that's a
20 request put by the Defence.
21 MR. RE:
22 Q. If I can remember where I was -- excuse me for a moment. Just go
23 to paragraph 1 of that order, Mr. Karavelic. Relating to the translation
24 I have it says the immediate formation. I'm not so much interested in the
25 word "immediate." I'm more interested in why you asked or why you ordered
1 a company of 50 soldiers.
2 A. The answer to that question is very complex for a number of
3 reasons. When a small number of men from a larger unit is requested, as
4 is the case here, it is impossible very often to ask the brigade commander
5 to allocate an establishment company or a platoon, depending on the way
6 the work is organised in his area of responsibility, in terms of
7 maintaining the line of defence. If a company is divided into three
8 parts, a third maintaining the line, a third is resting, and a third is in
9 reserve, or actually a third is resting at home, it's difficult to disrupt
10 this organisation with requests. So very often we would just instruct the
11 brigade commander that such and such a number of men is required and to
12 organise a certain number of men who know each other anyway in order that
13 a certain task can be carried out. However as a soldier I have to admit
14 that the best way to do it is to send establishment units to implement
15 tasks. However, this was not always possible.
16 Q. Were you by that order intending Mr. Delalic to select the men
18 A. Probably before I drafted the order, I talked to the brigade
19 commander. Sulejman Imsirevic, and I can't be quite sure about it, but I
20 seem to vaguely recall that Sulejman Imsirevic said that Ramiz Delalic
21 would be responsible for that unit that would be sent to implement that
22 particular task. And this is why my officers who drafted this order -- I
23 didn't draft it myself but I signed it, and I stand by it -- addressed it
24 to Ramiz Delalic as deputy commander of that brigade.
25 Q. Within the normal military hierarchy, or chain of command, was it
1 normal for you as the corps commander to send an order -- such an order
2 addressed personally to the deputy commander of a subordinate unit?
3 A. Please, you need to pay attention that the first line states
4 "command of the 9th Motorised Brigade." The command, to the command.
5 And that command includes all of its organs headed by the commander, along
6 with the previous answer that I gave, it only formally states "for Ramiz
7 Delalic, personally," because he was probably entrusted by the commander
8 to carry out that task. A commander has much broader duties and tasks.
9 We are talking here about 50 if fighters but his brigade numbered probably
10 about 4.000 soldiers.
11 Q. Okay, but in terms of the normal military hierarchy, was it a
12 normal practice for a corps commander such as you to send such an order
13 noted on it to Ramiz Delalic as a deputy commander in person?
14 A. All my deputies in the command of the 1st Corps, the assistant for
15 legal affairs, for morale, for logistics, for finance, the Chief of Staff
16 et cetera et cetera, they, when they were drafting their documents, they
17 would prepare those documents and then bring them to me as the corps
18 commander for my signature, and I would sign the original just like this
19 document that I signed, and then they would address these documents to
20 their people according to the vertical line. For instance, if an
21 assistant for legal affairs made such a document, he would then address it
22 to the other counterpart, the 9th Motorised Brigade, the deputy for legal
23 affairs, and I would sign it as the corps commander. So this is the
24 military rule and it does not -- it is not in breach of the rules of
25 service in any way whatsoever or of the chain of command.
1 Q. Where is Bradina, which is referred to in the first order?
2 A. Somewhere midway between Sarajevo and Jablanica, or perhaps a bit
3 closer to Sarajevo.
4 Q. What -- was it your understanding that Ramiz Delalic was to
5 accompany that company to Bradina?
6 A. I cannot be specific about that. His brigade commander knew that
7 actually he was the one who knew that, whether he had actually assigned
8 him to that task or not. I don't know whether he was there in the Neretva
9 River valley all that time with the unit. It is quite possible that he
10 had permission from his brigade commander for that.
11 Q. Did he have your permission to go to Bradina?
12 A. I just told you I didn't give any permissions to Ramiz Delalic or
13 not. It was his brigade commander. He was his deputy. He was not my
14 deputy. So his assignment to any task would be decided by his brigade
16 I made a decisions when it came to the departure of brigade
17 commanders and that is the basic difference, and that is a strict military
19 Q. Did it require your permission for brigade commanders to leave
21 A. Yes, that's exactly what I just said. My previous replies in
22 answer to this question that you just put me. But this only applied to
23 the brigade commanders, to the next lowest in ranks -- in rank.
24 Q. All right. I move to tender that document into evidence.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
1 MR. MORRISSEY: No objection.
2 JUDGE LIU: Thank you, it's admitted into evidence.
3 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P383.
4 MR. RE:
5 Q. Now that's an issue -- P383 is an order you issued to Ramiz
6 Delalic in person. Did you also issue orders, similar orders, to the 2nd
7 Independent Brigade, the Delta Brigade, and the 10th Mountain Brigade?
8 A. I believe that I also answered this question in one of my previous
9 answers. The answer is yes.
10 Q. And again, in case we missed something, was it -- were the orders
11 issued in writing, sorry, did you issue the orders in writing to those
12 subordinate units?
13 A. Most often, it was -- they were in writing.
14 Q. Could we please move to 65 ter number 42, 02122410?
15 THE REGISTRAR: That will be MFI 384.
16 MR. RE:
17 Q. Having issued those orders, the written orders to the four
18 subordinate units, did you respond to Mr. Halilovic?
19 A. We have to make it clear when we talk about these four units, I'm
20 not sure whether up to that point, the Delta Brigade was subordinated to
21 me. We should -- we would need to check the documents. I really cannot
22 recall it myself. I'm not quite sure whether it was an organic component
23 of the 1st Corps at that time or not. That needs to be clarified.
24 Q. All right. Did you respond to Mr. Halilovic?
25 A. I think that I did. I replied to him on a number of occasions in
1 my documents. I'm not quite sure what document you are referring to or
2 what particular instance you're referring to.
3 Q. Hopefully there should be one on the screen now dated the 4th of
4 September 1993, order 5/10-48, under your hand, addressed to
5 Mr. Halilovic, chief of the Supreme Command, personally, and Vehbija Karic
6 in Jablanica.
7 A. Yes, I see it.
8 Q. Is that a response that you sent to Mr. Halilovic on the 4th of
9 September 1993?
10 A. Quite probably. This particular document does not mean anything
11 much to me because these are minor things. I see the document. It is
12 quite possible that it is. If it is a valid document, it means that it is
13 such a response.
14 Q. Look at paragraph 1 which says "between 180" -- sorry, "between
15 160 and 180 troops will be ready this evening at 2200 hours on 4th of
16 September, 1993, in accordance with your order which we have received."
17 Where did you receive the information from that there were -- that
18 you had that number of troops ready to go?
19 A. Please, these are questions that are beyond any conceivable --
20 where did I get them from? My inferiors.
21 Q. The second part of the order says that "the troops should report
22 to Nedzad Nadzic or Salko Muminovic at the IKM on Igman, 2200 hours." Was
23 that -- was that particular piece of information related to the earlier
24 order, part 3 of the earlier order in which you said they were going to
25 Igman? Is that a way of informing Mr. Halilovic that that was what was
2 A. That precisely can be seen from this document.
3 MR. RE: I move to tender that into evidence.
4 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, this is in the same category as that
5 other order. He can't remember it but he probably dealt with it. We
6 don't object to it.
7 JUDGE LIU: Yes. So it's admitted into evidence.
8 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P384.
9 MR. RE:
10 Q. Did those soldiers in fact leave that night? That was the night
11 in which the order or the response indicates they were ready to go.
12 That's the 4th of September, 1993.
13 A. Throughout the four years of the war, I extracted from Sarajevo
14 perhaps over 100.000, 100.000 soldiers. What I'm saying is that some of
15 them actually came in and went out four or five times from the city. So
16 to remember all these details in such a huge machinery, where the
17 commander is just a cog in this organisation, the kind of organisational
18 work that you have in a corps formation which has 75.000 people is just a
19 person who approves different actions and requires of his men to be
20 conscientious and responsible and not to actually create any situations
21 that would push him beyond the law or to act in contravention of the rules
22 of service. So it is hard for me to remember all these details at this
23 point. If this is the first such departure, and I believe that it is, I
24 believe that we had certain problems with the units sitting out because of
25 the inclement weather. As far as I can remember, from what I read in
1 another document, I believe that on that occasion, it was postponed by 24
2 hours on account of the bad weather.
3 Q. All right. Well, that's actually the shorthand way of answering
4 that, and can you please, please, answer in the shorthand way? We will be
5 here for a long time if you don't. I'm going to show that document now.
6 A. Yes. I apologise but I do not want -- I would not like to be
7 misunderstood. Four years of warfare and you're asking me whether on a
8 specific night 50 or a different number of people left the town, but I'm
9 telling you that I sent hundreds and thousands of men through Igman,
10 through Mount Igman, for days in and out, throughout the four years, and
11 you're asking me about a specific night. I cannot remember. I just want
12 to make that point. Because I don't want the Court to draw a mistaken
13 conclusion from what I'm saying.
14 JUDGE LIU: The proceeding in this Court, Witness, is that you
15 have to answer the questions put to you by the parties. If you are not
16 sure about the answer, you may simply say "No, I don't remember." If the
17 Prosecution needs some explanations, he will ask you the follow-up
18 questions. And we also will give you the opportunity to explain your
19 answer, if you feel you need to do so. However, it is -- the party asking
20 the questions leads you through those evidence.
21 Gentlemen, Mr. Re.
22 MR. RE: Can the witness please be shown P290? Is it on the
23 screen now?
24 Q. Mr. Karavelic can you please look at P290? You referred a moment
25 ago to seeing a document. I think you'll find this document bears your
1 name. It's dated the 5th of September 1993. It's addressed to the Chief
2 of Staff of the Supreme Command, Jablanica, to Sefer Halilovic personally.
3 Now, does that assist with your recollection of whether or not the
4 soldiers left on the night of the 4th of September, which was referred to
5 in the previous order, or information, that is Exhibit P384?
6 A. Possibly. I cannot recall with certainty.
7 Q. All right. Is this an order which was sent under your hand?
8 A. If it is a valid document, there is no signature here.
9 Q. All right. Let's go to the first part of the document. It's
10 addressed to Mr. Halilovic. And it says personally. And in Jablanica.
11 Was it your understanding that that's where he was at that time?
12 A. It is not mine as the inferior officer to know where my superior
13 is. That is a strict military rule. I received my documents from
14 Jablanica and I sent documents to Jablanica.
15 Q. All right. Thank you. Now, the heading is, "in connection with
16 your order, confidential, 015363-1-2/93 of the 2nd of September 1993 from
17 Jablanica, I hereby forward a response." The document bearing that number
18 was P383 which was the order of the 4th of September 1993. I'm sorry,
19 which was the order of the 2nd of September 1993. Let's go to the first
20 part, paragraph 1, "At 2200 hours last night, 4/5 September 1993, a
21 company from the 10th, 130 soldiers, and a company from the 9th, 60
22 soldiers were, ready for the task in question. All organisational
23 material preparations with these units had been completed. At 2230 hours,
24 when the vehicles arrived due to a major storm Caco and Celo personally
25 proposed to me that the departure be postponed for 24 hours. However,
1 after that in the course of the day today it was put off completely. I am
2 aware of the overall situation in a your area in the zone of the 4th and
3 6th corps [unfortunately such are the circumstances]."
4 Now, does that information recorded there accord with your
5 recollection of what happened? Was there a storm which delayed the
6 departure of these soldiers?
7 A. Yes, I think so.
8 Q. Did Celo and Caco personally propose to you that the departure be
9 postponed for 24 hours?
10 A. What do you mean when you say "personally"?
11 Q. Does the document in Bosnian say something different to personal?
12 I'm just relying on the translation I have. Please look at it.
13 A. Yes. I can see the document very well. Especially if I wrote it,
14 and it does say personally. But are you asking me whether they actually
15 did personally propose to me that this be done? So I'm asking you what do
16 you mean by that personally.
17 Q. Maybe there is a confusion. Did they propose to you, impersonally
18 or personally, that the departure be postponed for 24 hours?
19 A. If I may be allowed a minute more, we are now sitting here 12
20 years after the fact in this nice room. 12 years after.
21 Q. Before you go on, please be aware we do have an understanding that
22 it's a long time ago and as His Honour Judge Liu said, if you don't
23 remember --
24 A. You don't understand me.
25 Q. I'm trying to focus your answers to the questions I'm asking you.
1 If you don't remember or you're not sure, please just tell us.
2 A. This document would normally be prepared by my staff, and my
3 officers from my staff actually drafted this document. I as the corps
4 commander did not draft documents. That is why what the command and
5 the -- of a hundred people and the whole staff were there for. And they
6 put that there, that Caco and Celo had personally proposed this. Now, who
7 talked to them, it is possible that I did myself. I do not remember that.
8 Perhaps it was my assistants, the officers who drafted this document that
9 talked to them. And they proposed saying that the weather was bad during
10 that night, that we should not send the people there because of the
11 possible consequences and so on and so forth. This is why I asked you why
12 you -- what do you mean by "personally"? Because you're asking me a very
13 direct and concrete question. I can tell you I don't know, I don't
14 remember, I didn't see, but that is not what I want to do because I
15 respect this Court. I want to be as precise as possible, as clear as
16 possible, but my just responding, I don't know, I haven't -- I didn't hear
17 it or something to that effect, I am not clear enough and not precise
18 enough in my opinion.
19 Q. It is perfectly clear now. Move to the next part. "However,
20 after that, in the course of the day today, it was put off completely."
21 Is that correct? There was a storm and it was put off, it was postponed
22 and then put off? Is that correct?
23 A. Yes, probably. The way -- the way it is written in the document,
24 I myself do not remember that at all, that particular day, I cannot recall
25 that particular day at this point in time, today.
1 Q. Can you please look at the stamp on the document? Does that
2 indicate to you that the document was sent and received in Jablanica?
3 A. The stamp that we can see is the stamp of the communications
4 centre service, which, through communication parcels were -- would send or
5 dispatch or receive documents. So this is just a stamp which attests to
6 the fact that a document had been sent, i.e. received, as indicated, i.e.,
7 as addressed.
8 Q. Could you please move now to document P116. Have you seen this
9 document before coming to The Hague? That's a document dated the 6th of
10 September -- I'm sorry, the 5th of September 1993, from the Jablanica
12 MR. MORRISSEY: I'm sorry, Your Honours, just before we get to
13 that matter, I'm -- I -- I might have missed it. Did my learned friend
14 seek to tender the previous document or not?
15 JUDGE LIU: I believe that the previous document is admitted
17 MR. MORRISSEY: I'm sorry, yes.
18 MR. RE:
19 Q. The question is: Have you -- had you seen that document, P116,
20 before you came to The Hague to testify?
21 A. I think I have, if I'm not wrong.
22 Q. Where did you see it before coming to The Hague?
23 A. In the archives of the federation army.
24 Q. Paragraph 1, it's addressed to Sefer Halilovic personally, and
25 purportedly from SVK members, Amidza, Rifat, and Zicko -- paragraph 1
1 says, "We received a reply from Vaha, explaining that they will not be
2 able to send any soldiers due to recent developments. Sefer, we need to
3 find and pull out other soldiers from Sarajevo because we cannot do the
4 job without a reserve of 200 soldiers."
5 Were -- do you believe that you're the Vaha in question referred
6 to in that document?
7 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours I'm sorry to interrupt again here
8 I've got a different document on the screen. I know what's happened, I
9 think, here, but the English translation that my learned friend read out
10 is quite different to what I've got and it's not a different translation.
11 I think it's actually a different but similar document. There are two
12 documents very like this in existence, and I think my friend has read out
13 one and what's on the screen on my computer now, I'm guessing, is the
14 other one. We are not suggesting any sinister plot here; I think it's
15 just a confusion. But I think I better point that out because the one
16 I've got doesn't mention the figure "200 soldiers." I don't know what --
17 which one Your Honours have got on the screen there or which one the
18 Prosecutors have got on their screen, frankly. There is such a document,
19 I'm very familiar with what my learned friend read out, and I think it's
20 on another similar piece of correspondence. But we just better make sure
21 we are all looking at the right one before we go any further.
22 JUDGE LIU: Can you tell us what's the number of the other
24 MR. MORRISSEY: It -- it -- it hasn't been admitted yet.
25 JUDGE LIU: I see.
1 MR. MORRISSEY: We've got an internal Defence numbering system of
2 it, but I don't know if that would help the -- the Prosecutors in any way.
3 There -- there are two on the same day. I think the Prosecutors have
4 better find it. So far as I can help, I know there are two sent by the
5 same Amidza, Rifat, and it might be inferred that's Karic, Belajic
6 [phoen], and Suljevic. And that they sent two letters addressed to Sefer
7 Halilovic in Sarajevo concerning the news that they got from this witness.
8 So that's what I think it is. And I think the Prosecutors might have both
9 or might have -- but anyway the one on the screen is one and he -- I
10 don't think my friend's read from the other one. So we better just make
11 sure we've got the same thing.
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
13 MR. RE: My learned friend Mr. Morrissey is entirely correct. I
14 had stapled the wrong English translation to the -- I just switched them.
15 I apologise, Mr. Karavelic and to the Court, I should actually be
16 reading the English translation which says, "We have been informed by Vaha
17 that he won't be sending us the troops that we were -- that were deployed
18 to Hrasnica. We -- he promised that he would send us a more detailed
19 explanation as to the reason for this decision but we haven't received any
20 as yet." It's the same question: Do you believe that you're the Vaha in
21 question being referred to there?
22 A. This is not my document. This is a document that the three
23 persons who signed it, and in which they are sending this information to
24 Sefer Halilovic. How they acquired this information is known only to
25 them. They did call me Vaha often so I assume that it is me.
1 Q. And you had in fact sent them some information saying you
2 wouldn't -- the troops wouldn't be arriving that night, hadn't you?
3 A. I don't believe so. I don't remember.
4 Q. I think we just did that a few moments ago, looked at a document
5 you sent saying that the troops weren't coming because of the storm.
6 A. Then that's it. I thought that you meant something else, just
7 now, when you put the question to me. That is that document. It's a
8 document dated the 5th, and this document here is dated the 6th. So in
9 the first document, it says that they are not going to send anything, and
10 that's how I understand this document, that they will not send anything.
11 That's why I gave you the answer that I'm not sure whether I ever said
12 that I would not send them the units. However, the document of the 1st
13 states why the departure time was delayed, of the units.
14 Q. Do you know of anyone else in Sarajevo called Vaha who was sending
15 troops to the forward command post in Jablanica?
16 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, there is two things to raise there.
17 I'd object to cross-examining of this witness firstly, but secondly I
18 don't think it's it maybe a controversy about nothing. I don't think the
19 witness is contesting what's being said and I can indicate I'm not going
20 to oppose the tendering of this document, so my friend may not need to go
21 through these steps if he -- if he chooses not to. But in any event I
22 submit there shouldn't be cross-examining of the witness.
23 JUDGE LIU: But at least we have to know the answer from this
24 witness, who is the Vaha mentioned in this document.
25 MR. MORRISSEY: If it needs to be clarified, then I say no more.
1 JUDGE LIU: It's just a clarification.
2 MR. RE:
3 Q. My question is was there anyone else you know of called Vaha in
4 Sarajevo who was sending troops to the forward command post -- or at the
5 direction of the forward command post in Jablanica?
6 A. If you look at the transcript in my previous answer I answered
7 this, that probably it is me. The question is repeated.
8 MR. RE: Could the witness please be shown P122?
9 MR. MORRISSEY: I'm sorry just before we get to that one, is that
10 previous document going to be tendered?
11 JUDGE LIU: I believe they are already admitted into evidence.
12 MR. MORRISSEY: The previous one?
13 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
14 MR. MORRISSEY: My apologies. I apologise. I've done that twice
15 now and I'm just making sure. I've got a list which I thought was -- my
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
18 MR. RE:
19 Q. P122, is it on the screen there? It's an order of the 6th of
20 September 1993 from Mr. Halilovic. Now, have you -- had you seen that
21 document before you came to The Hague to testify?
22 A. I think that I saw this document for the first time when I was
23 giving you my third statement in Sarajevo at your offices in Nedzarici.
24 This was about a year and a half or two years ago. I did not see this
25 document during the war.
1 Q. While we are with this document, I want to ask you about
2 subordination. The order from Mr. Halilovic, P161, the order of the 2nd
3 of September, ordered you to send the soldiers to Bradina where the 1st
4 Corps command would take them over. In military subordination terms, what
5 did that mean about who was in control or command of the troops from the
6 time they left Sarajevo until they got to Bradina?
7 A. I think that you made a lapse when you said that they should be
8 taken over by the 1st Corps. I think it's supposed to be the 4th Corps in
9 Gradina -- Bradina.
10 Q. We are actually both wrong. It was actually the 6th, sorry. But
11 what was the effect of that -- of that order in terms of the
12 subordination? Who was in command and control of the troops from when
13 they left Sarajevo to when they got to Bradina?
14 A. In this specific case, I had the authority to command and control.
15 This was my chain of command. It's important to say my chain of command.
16 I did not directly command these companies, these two companies. On the
17 other hand, I did have command and control in accordance with the chain of
18 command. So as the corps commander, I did have command from the top down,
19 and as such, I had the authority of control and command over these
20 companies up until the point in time when they arrived at their
21 destination and reported to the Supreme Command group which was headed by
22 General Sefer Halilovic. After that, the chain of command which
23 functioned, which was established, in the course of the implementation of
24 the Neretva-93 operation, this chain of command had command and control
25 over them.
1 Q. And when did you receive command and control back over those
2 particular soldiers who went to Herzegovina? What I mean is, when were
3 they back under your subordination? At what point?
4 A. On their return to their home unit.
5 Q. You mean to Sarajevo?
6 A. It could be, but it could be at another point where the units were
7 handed over. It could have been in Bradina, it could have been in
8 Sarajevo, in Jablanica. It depends on the way the order is regulated.
9 But let's say that it would be Sarajevo.
10 Q. We started at 9.20. Do Your Honours want -- wish me to continue?
11 It's an hour and ten minutes.
12 JUDGE LIU: I'm entirely in your hands. If you finished with this
13 document, we might have a break but if you did not, you may continue.
14 MR. RE: Thank you. I'll continue with the document, then,
16 Q. You've just told us that from the -- that Mr. Halilovic's chain of
17 command -- chain of command had command and control over those soldiers
18 once they reached their destination and reported to the Supreme Command
19 group headed by Mr. Halilovic. I want you to have a look at this
20 document, and the paragraph that says, "units from the 1st" -- "units from
21 the 1st" -- I withdraw that. The first paragraph, it says, "With regard
22 to previous 6th corps units tasked combat operations in the 4th Corps zone
23 of responsibility and the engagement of the Zulfikar Reconnaissance
24 Sabotage Brigade on the axis Vrdi village, Goranci village towards Mostar,
25 the following units are," I think it says "resubordinated," "to this
1 brigade, Dreznica Battalion and units from the 1st Corps." Now, what is
2 the meaning of that in military terms?
3 MR. MORRISSEY: Just a moment, before that is dealt with,
4 Your Honours, there is an -- I've got a complaint to make here. My
5 learned friend took the witness back to commenting on a previous order.
6 That was the order back -- which directed the troops to go to Bradina.
7 And be taken over by the 6th corps. But then at all times this particular
8 document has been placed on the screen and it's not clear at what point my
9 learned friend moves from commentary on the previous situation under the
10 Bradina order to the situation under this order, if the witness has got
11 anything to say about this order, if he's seen it before or if he had
12 reason to know about it before. And there has to be clarity about that
13 because the original hypothetical or the original scenario upon which this
14 witness was asked to comment was that first order, the one which
15 effectively wasn't complied with. We've now moved to something that's
16 later in time so that has to be very clearly delineated because things can
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Maybe Mr. Re, first of all you have to establish
19 the relationship between the previous document and this one in clear
20 terms. Secondly, you may come to this document, you may test the
21 knowledge of this witness on whether he received this document before or
22 he ever saw this document before.
23 MR. RE: The witness has already said he saw it I think 18 months
24 ago when the Prosecution interviewed him. He didn't receive it at the
25 time. There is no question about him receiving it at the time. The first
1 document I was referring to was the order to send the troops to Jablanica.
2 I'm asking him to comment in military terms on what the resubordination
3 means. It was an introduction. I'm very confused by what my learned
4 friend was actually putting to Your Honour. But if clarification is
5 required, I'm very happy to assist. But I'm not quite sure what the
6 confusion is.
7 JUDGE LIU: Maybe you have to establish a sequence of the two
9 MR. RE:
10 Q. Mr. Karavelic, I've moved from the first document, which was the
11 one where the 2nd of September where Mr. Halilovic requested certain
12 troops. I just moved to your evidence where you said that they were
13 subordinated to you until they went to the Supreme Command in Jablanica
14 and then they were within Mr. Halilovic's chain of command. So now I'm
15 moving to this document dated the 6th of September and I'm asking you to
16 comment on what paragraph 1 means in military terms, based upon the order
17 Mr. Halilovic sent to you earlier, to send the troops there, your response
18 to him, the troops going there, if they did, and what that actually means
19 in terms of the subordination you've just given evidence about?
20 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, that exposes the reason why the confusion
21 occurred, Your Honour. Would Your Honour just look to line 15 of this --
22 sorry, line 14 of my learned friend's question. The question has this
23 lengthy preamble to it explaining that -- and at that line it says that
24 the -- Mr. Re is putting it to the witness that he says that the units
25 were subordinated within Mr. Halilovic's chain of command. Now, he hasn't
1 said anything like that, that they were subordinated within
2 Mr. Halilovic's chain of command. It has yet to be established that this
3 witness says that Mr. Halilovic had any chain of command at the moment.
4 Now the witness has got to give the evidence step by step in a
5 proper way and you can't have those preambles to questions particularly
6 when they contain material that in my submission is not accurate. The
7 witness has to be asked the questions in a step-by-step way. If he says
8 that Mr. Halilovic has got a chain of command, that's the evidence, but
9 it's got to be his evidence and not that coming from the Prosecutor in the
10 style of a question. And so I maintain my objection and I point out that
11 that's not what the witness said that's been contained in this preamble.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I understand where the confusion is.
13 MR. RE: Well, I'll quote back what the witness said,"So as" --
14 this is at page 26. "So as corps commander I did have command from the
15 top down and as such I had the authority of command -- control and command
16 over these companies up until the point in time when they arrived at their
17 destination and reported to the Supreme Command group which was headed by
18 General Sefer Halilovic. After that the chain of command which functioned
19 which was established in the course of the implementation of the
20 operation, Neretva 93 operation, this chain of command and command -- this
21 chain of command had command and control over them." Unquote. Now, if
22 that doesn't mean subordination, we shouldn't all be in this courtroom.
23 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, that's the Prosecutor's case. We
24 don't think we should be in this courtroom. But that's their case. But
25 it's no good coming from Mr. Re. It's got to come from the witness.
1 MR. RE: Is this a dispute over terminology, command and control
2 and subordination?
3 JUDGE LIU: Well, well, well. I believe the witness answered this
4 question, which is quite understandable. However, the Defence have some
5 difficulties with this, and Mr. Re, would you please ask a very direct
6 question to this witness, whether the troops is under the command of
7 Mr. Halilovic when they came to that place? Yes.
8 MR. RE:
9 Q. You heard the question, General. Was it your understanding -- or
10 what was your understanding of whether or not those troops were under
11 General Halilovic's control or command and control when they were to
12 report to Bradina or the general command -- or the Supreme Command in
14 A. In accordance to previous documents, and in particular the order
15 from General Sefer Halilovic which I received, I sent the units to
16 Jablanica according to that order. They reported at Jablanica to the
17 team, namely the team headed by General Sefer Halilovic, who was Chief of
18 Staff of the Supreme Command.
19 The Chief of Staff is not one to command one or two companies.
20 Such a person at such a high post does not directly command soldiers. The
21 corps commander either does not directly command the soldiers or the
22 commander of the division, operational group or a brigade, because these
23 are high functions. That is why General Sefer Halilovic wrote this order
24 which I didn't know about during the war. I wasn't -- it wasn't of
25 interest to me. As corps commander I was only interested in the order
1 that I received. I sent units out in accordance with that order, in order
2 to implement a specific task. I'm not interested in what kind of a task
3 it is because I'm a corps commander. I have my own duties, many other
4 duties. 75.000 soldiers, and I should not be dealing with 200 soldiers.
5 That is why General Halilovic wrote this order, whereby units from the 1st
6 Corps that arrived were resubordinated to the Zulfikar detachment or
7 brigade. So that he would not be directly in command of two companies
8 because there is no military logic to this, this is not proper, and it
9 cannot be done that way. What the further chain of command was, and how
10 it was established, and what it was as a whole during the course of the
11 implementation of the Neretva-93 operation, is very difficult for me to
12 say. I was not kept abreast of things. I found out and learned many
13 things after the war only, when I was looking at numerous documents. This
14 is a question that requires a much broader answer, and perhaps an expert
15 approach to this answer.
16 Q. Who was the general resubordinating?
17 A. This order, which was drafted by General Sefer Halilovic, at the
18 bottom of the document, if you can look, you can see that this order was
19 not given to the 1st Corps command or to myself.
20 Q. My question is: Who was he resubordinating the 1st Corps units
21 to -- from?
22 MR. MORRISSEY: Again I'm got an objection to this. If
23 Your Honours have regard to this particular document, you will see that
24 it's a document with a variety of purported resubordinations on it and at
25 the bottom of it, it says in the English version that it's from Sefer
1 Halilovic. It's dated the 6th of September in Jablanica. You'll notice
2 that it's not signed by Sefer Halilovic. You'll also remember the
3 evidence of Sefko Hodzic, the journalist who the Prosecution called
4 effectively to say where Mr. Halilovic was at all times. Now, this
5 document was not written by Halilovic and it can't be the Prosecution case
6 that it was. Because they are saying he went with Hodzic and was away
7 from Jablanica on the 6th. This document coming from the 6th has got the
8 name of Halilovic there but no signature.
9 For this witness to be asked to comment on it, as he says himself
10 he hasn't seen it before, in this way, he's doing a bit of an unfairness
11 to the witness, frankly, and in my submission it's doing an unfairness to
12 the Defence without it being at least clarified on what basis he's looking
13 at it. The witness at the moment appears to be trading this witness as a
14 genuine good-faith document which it may be or may not be. We don't
15 know. But at the moment it's just a document that's not signed by Sefer
16 Halilovic and comes from Jablanica where you and the Prosecution know he
18 And as a result of that, Your Honours, when my learned friend puts
19 as part of his question who was Sefer Halilovic resubordinating to, that
20 assumes that it was Sefer Halilovic doing the resubordinating rather than
21 some other person in Jablanica. And for those reasons, I object to that
22 question being phrased as it was.
23 And generally speaking I want to make this observation about the
24 current questions: I don't object to Mr. Karavelic being given the chance
25 to offer informed commentary on particular documents, but to mix it up
1 with the narrative evidence is dangerous. It's after 11 years it's
2 dangerous for a witness to be put in the position of saying, firstly what
3 he remembers, and then secondly what his expert comment is. Now I don't
4 object to the narrative. The Prosecution is fully entitled to get
5 everything he remembers and everything he did and they can show him as
6 many documents as are useful to achieve that end. I don't object.
7 Secondly I don't object to the Prosecutor showing him documents for
8 commentary if it's appropriate for him to comment. But it has to be clear
9 what the dividing line is, otherwise whether we come later on, to consider
10 what all this means, when we look at the transcript, it's going to be a
11 mixture, and it's going to be very hard to untangle it, and it will be
12 hard to see what use can be made of it. Of course, on the Sanction device
13 you might get a nice, cutout bit, but to follow the whole meaning of the
14 evidence is difficult. And frankly I'm finding it ditch myself now and
15 that may just be my intellectual shortcomings but in my submission it's
16 not appropriate to have mixture of narrative and expert evidence. It's
17 apt to confuse, and it's put the witness now of dealing with this
18 particular document, as if it's bona fides, whereas it's not proved.
19 So that's the long speech. I understand that and I apologise for
20 it. There is an objection to the specific but there will be other
21 objection of this nature. So now what the people know what the Defence
22 position is, it can be responded to.
23 JUDGE LIU: At this stage I have to remind you that this document
24 has already been admitted into the evidence and your objections that we
25 should bear in mind in the future stage. And as for the organisation of
1 the direct examination, I believe that is entirely in the hands of the
2 Prosecution. Maybe they should reorganise their questions and way of
3 presenting their evidence at a later stage. My suggestion is that we have
4 a short break and during which both parties will think it over, about how
5 to deal with this witness.
6 And we'll resume at quarter past 11.00.
7 --- Recess taken at 10.46 a.m.
8 --- On resuming at 11.16 a.m.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Re?
10 MR. RE: Yes, thank you, Your Honour. I just want to raise
11 something very briefly in the absence of the witness. I just wish to
12 place on the record - I didn't do it before because the witness was here -
13 the Prosecution's objection to the type of objection my learned colleague
14 Mr. Morrissey made before the break in which he discussed at some length
15 the evidence of other witnesses and the authenticity or otherwise of a
16 document which is already in evidence. In our submission it's not a
17 proper thing to do in front of a witness and if Mr. Morrissey wishes to do
18 it again the witness should be asked to leave the room so we can discuss
19 this and his evidence not be contaminated. I raise this now in the hope
20 that it doesn't recur.
21 JUDGE LIU: Well, yes, of course, as a rule that we should do
22 that. But, however, I believe that the objections from Defence has some
23 merit. So if the parties would like to have the witness absent, I believe
24 that both parties could raise that issue to the attention of this Bench.
1 And another matter, well, it's a housekeeping matter, that is, we
2 received a motion for the judicial notice on March the 1st, 2005, from the
3 Defence, and during this period, I remind the Prosecution for three times
4 to discuss with the Defence that very issue. This is a Pre-Trial matter
5 and we have to deal with it now, and we have some questions concerning of
6 the submissions from the Defence. The Defence claims that there is some
7 objections to that document, but we want to hear the parties on that
8 issue. Especially from the Prosecution, on their views, so that we could
9 make our decision as early as possible. So maybe this afternoon, in the
10 afternoon session, which will start from 3.30, I believe, we'll spend
11 about a few minutes to hear the Prosecution on their views on that motion
12 concerning with the judicial notice. I hope the parties will be prepared
13 for that. Yes?
14 MR. METTRAUX: We definitely would, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes, but mainly we would like to hear from the
16 Prosecution and all your positions are there already for two months, I
17 believe. Yes.
18 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, thanks. We will be ready this
19 afternoon for such limited help as we can give.
20 Your Honours could I just respond briefly to what my learned
21 friend said? Your Honours, I won't say much about it. Of course, if the
22 Prosecutors want the witness to go out of the room when objections are
23 taken, they can make that application. It has to be borne in mind,
24 though, that there is a couple of things that the Defence has to deal with
25 that the Prosecution doesn't. That is that we don't proof these witnesses
1 and generally speaking, the Prosecutor proofs them for many days.
2 Now, in -- in the case of this particular witness, as a result of
3 some matters that we were concerned about, we did speak to the witness,
4 and my objections here have been -- I mean if my learned friend wants to
5 open this up we will open it up entirely what our concerns about proofing
6 and so on are but I suspect it's probably best to leave it unless the
7 parties can't behave to each other with civilisation. But I can indicate
8 this: When my learned friend puts particular propositions to a witness,
9 I've got to respond, I've got to explain what my position is. It's no use
10 to simply say "I object." The next question will be from Your Honours,
11 well, "Why?" And then I'll explain why. So I don't think I have to
12 respond to some of the allegations made, but I just make it clear that
13 when I -- when I make an objection like that, when it's lengthy, it's
14 because of what's happened and, frankly, if we have to go further with
15 this I'll say -- we've got very grave concerns about these proofing
16 sessions and if we have to air them I'll air them. It's up to the
17 Prosecutor whether the want to take that further or not. I don't choose
18 to air them now. I think it's inappropriate to do so. Your Honour has
19 indicated what you have to say. But what I want to put on record is we've
20 got plenty more to say on this topic if we are called on to do so. And
21 that's all I've got to say at the moment.
22 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. Your position is registered in
23 the transcript.
25 MR. RE: Again Mr. Morrissey makes allegations against the
1 Prosecution. Again he makes allegations which are in an oblique sort of
2 way, an innuendo that there is something going on untoward in proofing
3 sessions that he doesn't want to really raise but will only do if he has
4 to. Well, that's not good enough. We are sick to death of these
5 allegations being made against the Prosecution without a shred of evidence
6 to back them up. He makes them against Mr. Mikhailov every day, and now
7 he turns against us personally. This has to stop unless he has something
8 he can put before the Trial Chamber.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes, of course, but if we engage into this kind of
10 argument, we will spend hours or days on those issues. We understand that
11 the procedure of there Tribunal is a combination of the common law and the
12 civil law legal systems, so it's not a perfect one. There are a lot of
13 problems that we have to have solved. But the main purpose for this
14 trial, especially for this week, is that this Bench is doing its utmost,
15 we sit for extra hours, to finish this witness within this week. I hope
16 the parties should bear that in mind and we don't want to leave this
17 witness half done for this week, because next week we will have two week
18 and a half break.
19 Yes, having said that, could we have the witness, please?
20 [The witness entered court]
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Re, please continue.
22 MR. RE:
23 Q. Still on the document P122, the order of the 6th of September
24 1993, with Mr. Halilovic's name at the bottom of it, my question is still
25 regarding what you've described as the resubordination, and I'm asking you
1 to comment, as a general who retired, as a brigadier general or a major
2 general, in the Bosnian army last year -- military service and a person
3 who has given expert testimony over several weeks in other proceedings
4 before this Tribunal, as well as based upon your knowledge of your troops
5 going to Herzegovina, I'm asking you to comment in -- as to the meaning
6 you see in paragraph 1 of that order, in terms of the resubordination.
7 What does it mean?
8 A. The concept of resubordination in the Army of the Republic of
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina and before that in the Yugoslav People's Army, and
10 I believe in virtually any army in the world, is understood to mean the
11 following. When a unit is resubordinated from one unit to another unit,
12 in connection with a specific task, the moment the unit leaves and joins
13 the other unit, and is placed under the control of that other unit, from
14 that time, from that moment, it is to execute all the duties and
15 obligations issued it by the new commander. Up to the time the
16 resubordination ceases as such, i.e., until the return of that unit back
17 to its parent unit.
18 I should like to remark that the -- in the process of
19 resubordination, the unit of that leaves and goes to this other unit, and
20 is resubordinated to the other unit and the other commander. This is not
21 to say that it is actually extracted from the organic establishment of its
22 previous unit. That is precisely why the term "resubordination" is used.
23 Resubordination as a rule is used for a specific, shorter period of time,
24 a couple of days, 15 days, a month, it may be longer, for several months,
25 but this is only very seldom. Precisely because it is very difficult to
1 work in this way over a longer period of time, namely when you have a unit
2 from elsewhere under your command. If such a unit is resubordinated to
3 this other unit, and this other commander. And these are the most
4 frequent reasons why this is resorted to only for shorter periods of time.
5 Q. Looking at that document, what was happening, or what was supposed
6 to happen to the units from the 1st Corps? Those were the units that were
7 under your command previously.
8 A. Well, you say that they were under my command previously. You
9 could also say previously under the command or subordinated to Rasim Delic
10 because that is absolutely the same thing. Because one has to properly
11 grasp the chain of command in the army. They are not directly
12 subordinated to me, but they are within my chain of command. And they are
13 also in the chain of command starting from the top, starting from Rasim
14 Delic or starting from the Supreme Command down. Item one of this order
15 means that the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command, then, resubordinated
16 1st Corps units in the -- to the effect of the meaning that I just
17 explained before, to a special unit.
18 Q. How was he able to do that?
19 A. He has a right to do that.
20 Q. Looking at that order, who is the special unit subordinated to,
21 that is the Zulfikar unit?
22 A. I do not know to whom it is resubordinated. According to some of
23 my sources, and having read some documents, up to that time, that unit had
24 been an independent unit at the level of our corps, which directly
25 reported to the Supreme Command Staff, and the -- judging by this
1 document, according to this document, it was not resubordinated to anyone,
2 but as I said, according to some documents which I have read, that unit,
3 the special Zulfikar detachment, was supposed to become part of the
4 organic establishment of the 4th Corps, if I remember correctly. Now,
5 whether that actually took place or not, I cannot say.
6 MR. RE: If Your Honour could just excuse me for one moment?
8 Q. Does this document indicate that the Chief of Staff, whose name is
9 on the document, was able to issue orders to the Zulfikar Reconnaissance
10 Sabotage Brigade?
11 A. The special detachment, the Zulfikar, directly reported to and was
12 directly subordinated to the commander of the Supreme Command Staff, just
13 like I myself was as the commander of the 1st Corps. It was absolutely at
14 the same level. How much was Sefer Halilovic able to command that
15 detachment, that depended on how much powers General Delic gave him.
16 Q. Can you comment from that order as to how much powers
17 General Delic had given General Halilovic?
18 A. I'd rather not comment on that, because in this entire situation,
19 I was subordinated to both of them, and as subordinated, I did not have
20 the right, one in that position actually has no right to think about
21 the -- or comment the actions of his superiors, but if this is a document
22 that was signed by General Sefer Halilovic, and sent it to the special
23 Zulfikar detachment, the document itself says everything.
24 Q. Meaning what?
25 A. Well, probably that Rasim Delic had actually invested him with the
1 right, given him the right to do that.
2 Q. What is the nature of this particular order, in military terms?
3 A. Well, the word "order" in itself is self explanatory, I believe.
4 An order which has the character of the grouping or forming of units, or,
5 rather, the better term to use is the grouping of units for a forthcoming
6 specific mission.
7 Q. Who is bound by that order?
8 A. This order is binding upon -- but first let me see to whom it is
9 submitted, at the bottom of the page. It is binding first of all on the
10 commander of the Zulfikar Brigade. I believe that its previous
11 designation was "special detachment," but at that time it was renamed the
12 Zulfikar Reconnaissance Brigade. So he was to receive these units that
13 were being resubordinated to him, and place them under his control. Then,
14 it was also binding on the commander of the 6th Corps, because some of
15 these units were probably also from the organic composition of the 6th
16 Corps as well as of the 4th Corps. Now, whether there were some units
17 from the 4th Corps or not, or whether some combat activities were to take
18 place in the zone of responsibility of the 4th Corps is something which I
19 cannot explicitly infer, conclude, from the part of it which refers to the
20 4th Corps. Then it was also submitted to the archives and the Dreznica
21 Battalion from the 47th Mountain Brigade.
22 And naturally, it was also binding upon the commanders of these
23 units from the 1st Corps that had come to the Neretva River valley.
24 MR. RE: All right. Can the witness please be shown the next
25 document, which is 65 ter 171, ERN 03634076?
1 THE REGISTRAR: That will be MFI 385.
2 MR. RE:
3 Q. There is a document of the 6th of September 1993, an order
4 addressed to the 2nd Independent Motorised Battalion Command which bears
5 your name and a signature. Is that a document which was drafted at your
6 direction, which you signed and issued?
7 A. Well, probably yes.
8 Q. We certainly appreciate you would have signed hundreds, thousands
9 of documents, over the course of your -- over the course of the war and
10 your duties as the 1st Corps commander. But just --
11 A. Many more, in fact.
12 Q. All right. You say "probably yes." Why do you say "probably
14 A. On the basis of the fact that I see the stamp of the 1st Corps, I
15 believe that this is my signature, and if this document was extracted from
16 the archives of the Army of the Federation, as an official document, and
17 did not come from some other sources, what have you, is not a forged
18 document, then there is no reason for me to doubt the authenticity of the
20 Q. Well, is there anything in it which causes you to doubt its
22 A. Well, there is nothing actually that I see in it that would induce
23 me to think that.
24 Q. The -- look at part 1 of the record which says "assignment." It
25 says "in cooperation with units of -- with the units of the 4th and 6th
1 Corps, in that area, carry out offensive combat operations with the
2 purpose of liberating the Jablanica-Mostar communication, combat
3 activities in that area are carried out under the command of a group from
4 the SVK led by NSRBiH, armed forces military command." Unquote. I want
5 you to comment on that information.
6 A. Comment how? I can only read it. That's all I can do.
7 Q. Read it first and I want you to comment upon the accuracy of the
8 information in this order that you signed. From where did you get this
9 information, for example?
10 A. If I do not doubt the source of this document, that also means
11 that I also confirm the entire content of the document, as I said a while
13 Q. Let's move to number 3. It says, quote "Company carries out the
14 stated assignment not longer than seven days after the day of reporting to
15 the SVKIKM." That's the Supreme Command staff, forward command post in
16 Jablanica. Unquote. What was the -- what is meant by "seven days"? Why
17 have you put "seven days" in this document?
18 A. Probably based on an agreement with somebody that the units would
19 stay there for a period of seven days, to implement that task.
20 Q. Well, who was the agreement with?
21 A. With Sefer Halilovic, I assume, but I'm not sure. I don't
22 remember. Or with Rasim Delic. But I don't remember.
23 Q. Are you saying you had communication with either Sefer Halilovic
24 or Rasim Delic in which the period of seven days was agreed upon but you
25 now cannot remember which one you spoke to or communicated with?
1 A. I was constantly in touch with General Delic and with Sefer
3 Q. Which one was it more likely that you were in contact with in
4 relation to the seven days' period agreement?
5 A. It's difficult to say anything.
6 Q. Is that a memory-related issue?
7 A. Yes, exactly.
8 Q. It's addressed to the 2nd independent motorised battalion command
9 to the attention of the commander, that's Adnan Solakovic. Do you recall
10 discussing his assignment to liberate Jablanica-Mostar communication with
12 A. I don't remember. It's possible, but I don't remember.
13 MR. RE: May that be received into evidence?
14 JUDGE LIU: Any objections?
15 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, yes, there is. We don't -- the
16 Defence doesn't necessarily accept the genuineness of this document here,
17 and we can put the arguments now if you like to or we can leave it to the
18 end. I'm not sure. We changed track on the practice we were using.
19 JUDGE LIU: Do you have any serious objections on that or do you
20 have any evidence pointing that it's --
21 MR. MORRISSEY: We just have the evidence of the witnesses who --
22 who indicate -- the base of the objection is this: Firstly, this witness
23 says quite clearly he doesn't remember the individual document. Well,
24 that's fine, that's not in itself enough to be an objection. But then you
25 have the evidence of other witnesses now - I'm not sure if this is going
1 to occasion an objection here, but there is the basis of my objection now,
2 so I'm going to put it before the Court - of these people from --
3 MR. RE: There will be -- there will be if it's in front of this
4 witness. Your Honour asked me -- invited me to -- to interrupt if that
5 was going to happen.
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Maybe we could defer the decision of this
7 document to a later stage.
8 MR. MORRISSEY: We could, Your Honour. There is a matter I want
9 to raise, actually, about -- no, no, it's not appropriate to do it now.
10 We'll do it later, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. Yes, we will proceed.
12 MR. RE:
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Karavelic, let's go back to the document. Just
14 have a look at the signature which is on the document. Does that appear
15 to be your normal signature?
16 A. As corps commander, I also had a signature, what do you call it, a
17 sort of stamp facsimile signature, a stamp. So I think that I didn't sign
18 this by hand but used the stamp signature.
19 Q. There is also -- to the left of that there is a stamp which says
20 IK -- well, 1st Corps, with the Bosnian coat of arms there. Is that the
21 1st Corps stamp?
22 A. That was the 1st Corps stamp, but there were two or three stamps,
23 at least two. There should be the number 1 here, if that was my stamp.
24 Number 2 if it was the stamp that was used at the forward command post of
25 the corps. I don't see the number 1 here but I don't necessarily have to
1 be right about that. I'm not sure, but I think that that is the stamp.
2 Q. We can -- can the stamp area please be enlarged for the witness?
3 We've blown it up pretty large now to cover the full screen. Does that
4 assist you?
5 A. The same answer. I think that that is the stamp. I know that
6 there was the stamp also bearing the number 2. I don't know if that means
7 that this main stamp had to bear the number 1, too. I'm not sure. This
8 was because of the forward command post. When I as corps commander set up
9 a command post, a forward command post, it had to have its own stamp and
10 that stamp would bear the number 2. This stamp, however, would not leave
11 the main corps command post.
12 Q. Now, this --
13 A. I don't have any doubts about that, but I don't know really.
14 Q. At the top of the document, there is a handwritten 333, and a 402.
15 402 is crossed out and there is a circled one in the top right-hand
16 corner. Can you comment on what those numbers mean?
17 A. It doesn't mean anything to me.
18 Q. There is also some handwriting, I think you'll find it on the back
19 of the document, which means you'll have to go to the second page. Can
20 you just read out what that says? Can you possibly blow it up?
21 A. If I read it correctly, it states here, "Sarajlic, Asmir, escort
22 of Nihad, Bojadzic; Tahirovic, Mirsad, private."
23 Q. Who are those people?
24 A. Of these three names, only one is known to me, Nihad Bojadzic,
25 that's the only one I know. I don't know who the other two people are.
1 Q. Who is Nihad Bojadzic?
2 A. One of the officers who was -- I don't know at which post in the
3 Zulfikar Brigade. I don't know whether he was in the staff of that
4 brigade or the deputy commander of the Zulfikar Brigade. For a while, in
5 1993, while I was at Igman, he was in that unit.
6 Q. Do you know whose handwriting that is?
7 A. I don't know.
8 Q. There is also some numbers over written above that handwriting.
9 0363-4076 A, then underneath that it appears to say 13B or BB, underlined.
10 Can you comment on what they mean?
11 A. No. I really cannot. It doesn't signify anything to me.
12 MR. MORRISSEY: It might be the Prosecution numbers, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE LIU: That may be.
14 MR. RE: Oh, yes, sorry.
15 JUDGE LIU: Do you have objections to this document?
16 Mr. Morrissey.
17 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, we do. I think I've already. This is still
18 part of the first document, I think, of the original document. In other
19 words, the order that we are critical of that we want to make a -- make
20 a -- or raise issues about later, this writing seems to be attached to the
21 second page to it, so it's going to be part of the objection, actually
22 speaking, that when we come to it that -- well, I don't want to raise it
23 now but yes that second page is just as much criticised as the first.
24 JUDGE LIU: Led wait to the later stage.
25 MR. RE: That was -- the ERN that was -- my mistake was that
1 the"A" -- "A" actually means -- I think it means -- it's written on the
2 reverse side of the page.
3 Q. All right. Can we please move to 65 ter number 49, which is
5 THE REGISTRAR: That will be MFI 386.
6 MR. RE:
7 Q. It's a document dated the 7th of September 1993, addressed to the
8 1st Corps Command under the hand of Adnan Solakovic, with a signature
9 coming from the 2nd Independent Motorised Battalion. Now, have you seen
10 this document before coming to The Hague?
11 A. I didn't see it during the war. I'm not sure whether I saw it
12 before I arrived at The Hague or whether it was once I arrived at The
14 Q. Is the information contained there, that is about the company of
15 125 soldiers being sent to Jablanica at 1900 hours to execute the required
16 tasks on the 6th of September 1993, went to the sector under the command
17 of the Chief of Staff, is that information accurate, to the best of your
19 A. It's difficult for me to say anything other than: If the document
20 is authentic, then it's true, whatever it says in the document. This is a
21 very small thing, so I cannot really remember anything in particular in
22 connection with that.
23 Q. All right. It's described as a daily operations report. Is that
24 something you would have -- you would have seen in the normal course of
25 your business as the corps commander?
1 A. I said yesterday that the 1st Corps, amongst other things, had
2 about 40 units linked with it. Each of those units had to -- its duty was
3 every day, in the evening, at 1800 hours or 2000 hours, to send such a
4 daily operative report to the 1st Corps command. All these reports were
5 summarised at the operations centre, and they would make an overview for
6 the corps commander. In the evening, when all the reports had arrived,
7 the most important things would then be reported to the corps commander by
8 the Chief of Staff. So the corps commander would not actually see most of
9 these reports. I could even say 99 per cent of the reports, with his own
11 Q. Does this document appear to you, from your knowledge of the means
12 of communication and the stationary used by the 2nd Independent Motorised
13 Battalion and the stamp and the signature and so on, does it appear to you
14 to be a genuine document?
15 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I object to that.
16 MR. RE: Well, is there an objection to the document? If there is
17 not an objection to the document I'll tender it. But it will take me a
18 long time, otherwise. There is a short way and a long way of tendering
19 these documents.
20 JUDGE LIU: Is there a reason for that question, I mean that
21 specific question?
22 MR. MORRISSEY: There is an objection to the document. There will
23 be an objection to the document. If my learned friend wishes to go
24 through any steps he wishes to, he can. We will object to the document,
25 that's true, but the objection wasn't about that. The objection was
1 putting in leading information about this witness's knowledge of the
2 stationary of the 2nd Independent Battalion. He has to prove he had some
3 knowledge first and not assume it in the question. And that's the
4 objection. We just ask that he go step by step.
5 MR. RE: We are going to be here for a very long time if we do
6 this with every document.
7 MR. MORRISSEY: I should indicate this, we have asked for chain of
8 custody in relation to a number of documents. In any event I'm not
9 concerned by us being here for a long time. I just have to take objection
10 to the question. The Tribunal can rule on it. Either I succeed or fail
11 and then we continue.
12 JUDGE LIU: Let's deal with one thing after another. The first
13 thing is about the question itself. I don't believe that there is any
14 problem for the question to put to this witness. So the -- we could not
15 accept that objection from the Defence. You may proceed.
16 MR. RE:
17 Q. I'm asking you based upon your knowledge of communications within
18 the corps and your knowledge of the 2nd independent stationary, the
19 signature of Mr. Solakovic, the stamp on it and so on, whether it appears
20 to you to be a genuine document.
21 A. In principle, I have no particular objections, but I cannot verify
22 its authenticity. I don't know off by heart the number of the military
23 unit. It's impossible to know that. A pentium would have to memorise how
24 many units I had in the corps and what their numbers were. It's probably
25 correct, but if it isn't and I confirm it, then what would happen then? I
1 cannot confirm it or deny it. And also whether this is the signature of
2 the battalion commander. As an example, it probably is. But what if it
3 isn't? If we are questioning that. As a witness, I would not really go
4 into that, if I don't have to.
5 Q. Is there anything on the face of the document to indicate whether
6 it was sent from the 2nd Independent Motorised Brigade and received by the
7 command of the 1st Corps?
8 A. At the bottom of the document, it says that it was sent to the 1st
9 Corps Command and that it was also archived in the operation centre of the
10 2nd Independent Motorised Battalion. This is most often the format used
11 in correspondence, but I cannot claim with 100 per cent certainty whether
12 it arrived at the command of the 1st Corps, whether a bomb fell and hit
13 the courier or something. There is no way that I can know something like
14 that. Excuse me, but in order to establish it, you would need to find the
15 register books of the operations centre and the 1st Corps Command. You
16 would need to find the record book of the operations centre of the 2nd
17 Independent Motorised Brigade to see who took the document, how it was
18 sent to the 1st Corps Command. You would need to find the signature of
19 that person, whether they sent it by Paket or took it personally. This is
20 something that you would find in the log books. It's just a mechanism.
21 That's how the service worked.
22 Q. I want you to tell the Trial Chamber about the departure of these
23 units for Herzegovina.
24 A. Could you please be more specific?
25 Q. You sent some orders, you said you sent orders to at least the 2nd
1 Independent Battalion, the 9th and 10th Mountain Brigades, to Caco and
2 Celo to gather men to send to Herzegovina and to report to Bradina or
3 Jablanica. How did they go? What was the mechanism? Did you see them
5 A. There is a lot in your question that needs to be clarified. I
6 sent the orders to the unit commands, or to the commanders. They, at
7 least I think, received clear instructions and clear tasks, based on those
8 orders. Namely, to prepare the unit, a certain number of men, and by the
9 time stated in the order send them to the destination, i.e. Jablanica. In
10 what manner, which transport means to use, which route, this was all
11 stated. In case of a delay or bad weather or something, perhaps that
12 would change but everything else was there, and the units did leave. The
13 reports did arrive at the 1st Corps Command once the units departed, and
14 one of such reports is probably this one from the 2nd Independent
16 When I issue an order, then it is up to the brigade commander, if
17 we are talking about a small unit, through his own chain of command, and
18 with his officers, to regulate and make sure that the unit reaches its
19 destination safely.
20 Q. You just said that the reports did arrive at the 1st Corps command
21 and one of such reports is probably this one from the 2nd Independent
22 Battalion. Just for clarity, that is the MFI 386, the order -- sorry, the
23 report of the 7th of September 1993 which is possibly still on the screen
24 in front of you. Is that correct? I'm just clarifying part of your last
25 answer. You said one of those reports. I'm just trying to tie it to a
1 document. Are you referring to the one on the screen in front of you?
2 A. Yes, probably, because that fits in; that's probably the document.
3 But I did not see it with my own eyes at the time, and so on and so forth.
4 Q. What was the normal process when a commander sent troops off to
5 participate in combat? What did you personally do? I'm specifically
6 asking you whether you personally -- was it a practice to personally
7 address the troops?
8 A. The duty of all in the chain of command, including even the
9 Supreme Command, or members of the Supreme Command, and not to mention all
10 the other lower-ranking staff in the chain of command, is usually to
11 appear in front of the whole unit, or a part of the unit, depending on the
12 situation, before more serious and more important combat assignments were
14 Q. Did you appear in front of the soldiers who were going to
15 Jablanica? Did you speak to them?
16 A. Of all the soldiers and all the units that went to Jablanica, I
17 think that I addressed the 1st unit that was sent from the 9th Motorised
19 Q. When was that?
20 A. I cannot give you the exact date. It was probably the day they
21 left or the day before.
22 Q. Where were you? Where did you address them?
23 A. I think that they were in front of the brigade command.
24 Q. Was Celo there?
25 A. It's hard to say who was there. It's possible but I'm not sure.
1 Q. What Mr. Colonel Imsirevic, do you remember whether he was there?
2 A. The same reply. I would give the same reply as I did on -- about
3 the one concerning Ramiz Delalic, Celo.
4 Q. What did you say to the troops?
5 A. Well, I cannot repeat it word for word. It's hard, so much time
6 later. But the gist of it was, and it was a very brief address, of
7 perhaps five or six minutes, that it was a very serious assignment and in
8 the way that they carried out all regular combat assignments in the 1st
9 Corps they should, in the same way, properly and consciously implement
10 this provisional combat assignment from -- away from the 1st Corps. That
11 was the gist of it. It was just a brief address, the same as when other
12 units or any other unit is sent to carry out any other combat assignment.
13 Q. Did you tell them where they were going?
14 A. I told them everything which is written in the order, which was in
15 writing, I told them orally.
16 Q. You're referring to Mr. Halilovic's order of the 2nd of September?
17 Which is Exhibit P38 -- I'm sorry.
18 A. Yes, precisely, that order and my own order that I had sent to the
19 motorised brigade.
20 Q. For the record, I meant P12 -- I'm sorry, 161.
21 Did you tell them that they were going to be subordinated to the
22 Zuka unit?
23 A. No. I didn't even know that at the time. There was not a
24 theoretical chance. I didn't know at the time that they would be
25 subordinated to Zulfikar's unit.
1 Q. Who did you tell them they were to be subordinated to when they
2 got there, if you did?
3 MR. MORRISSEY: I object to that. He didn't say.
4 MR. RE:
5 Q. If you did?
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
7 MR. MORRISSEY: The objection is that he hasn't said he told them
8 they would be subordinated to anyone.
9 MR. RE: I'll just withdraw the question. I'll re-ask it.
10 Q. Did you tell them that they were to be subordinated to anyone, and
11 if so, to whom?
12 A. This is not the kind of conversation that a corps commander has
13 with the men. The corps commander is also a very high post. And in such
14 addresses, he addresses nice words to the men, in order to motivate them.
15 And as regards this particular issue that you are referring to, this is
16 something that the corps commander sees to through his chain of command.
17 This is something that we should know, because this is a matter of
18 principle, when it comes to the functioning of the military system.
19 Of course, my written order contained all these details and my
20 written order actually provides the answer to your question.
21 Q. I want to move to -- I withdraw that.
22 JUDGE LIU: Well, maybe it's time for us to take a break.
23 MR. RE: Really? Of course, of course, I'm sorry, of course.
24 JUDGE LIU: We'll resume at quarter to one.
25 --- Recess taken at 12.18 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 12.45 p.m.
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Re.
3 MR. RE:
4 Q. You told us earlier that you sent orders to the brigades -- I'm
5 sorry, the units, in accordance with Mr. Halilovic's order which was P161
6 of 2nd of September, and we've gone through P383, which was your order of
7 the 4th of September to Celo personally. Did Caco and Celo go to
9 A. I had information that they had indeed been there, down there.
10 Whether they left at that time, I don't know.
11 Q. What about Adnan Solakovic? Did you approve of his going to
13 A. I do not remember. I may have. It is possible. I do not
15 Q. Did he go to Herzegovina?
16 A. I also think that he was there, had been there. When he went
17 there, I don't know.
18 Q. To clarify something from your evidence this morning, was he a
19 person who required your permission to leave Sarajevo and go to
20 Herzegovina, by virtue of his position?
21 A. It was customary for him and for the commander of the 9 Mountain
22 Brigade, because they reported directly to me, yes. However, it was not
23 always something which was strictly binding, which strictly had to be the
25 Q. I think your evidence earlier was that someone in Caco's position,
1 as the head of a brigade, required your permission to leave Sarajevo. Did
2 you give him permission to go to Herzegovina with parts of the 10th
3 motorised -- sorry, Mountain Brigade?
4 A. I do not recall him asking for any permission. I do not remember
5 that he asked me anything of the kind, and I never issued him any orders
6 to that effect.
7 Q. In military terms, what was the situation, if he left Sarajevo
8 without your permission?
9 A. Nothing. What would it be?
10 Q. Well, if your permission was required and he left without
11 obtaining your permission, what would that mean in military terms?
12 A. That would be a breach of discipline.
13 MR. RE: Could the witness please be a shown document which is
14 number 54 on our 65 ter list, 02196034?
15 THE REGISTRAR: That will be MFI 387.
16 MR. RE:
17 Q. There is a daily operative report from the 2nd Independent
18 Motorised Brigade, addressed to the 1st Corps Command and the operations
19 centre of the 2nd Independent Motorised Battalion, dated the 9th of
20 September 1993. Do you recall seeing this document in 1993?
21 A. The answer is the same as in reference to the previous document.
22 MR. RE: Could I obtain an indication from the Defence if they are
23 objecting to this document at the moment, just to see how far I have to go
24 with it.
25 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, Your Honours, my friend can obtain that
1 indication. The fact is, we do object to it, and I can indicate one of
2 the bases on which we object and that is that when Mr. Okovic was here,
3 who is the man who is mentioned, they didn't show it to him. And trying
4 to show it to this witness in my submission is not appropriate or proper.
5 There are all sorts of ways I could describe it, but it's -- it really a
6 matter of concern that when the witness, the person who actually knows
7 about it is called and they don't ask him, to then try to slip it in
8 through this witness, in my submission, is not appropriate and I object to
9 its tender. I object to its use, frankly, altogether because whether the
10 Defence is effectively -- all right. I've put it on the table. I won't
11 advance argument now. I'll just indicate that we object.
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
13 MR. RE: Look, I mean, I don't want to get into a slinging match
14 about, quote, "trying to slip it under the -- slip it through this
15 witness," unquote. If it wasn't put to Mr. Okovic, I don't know, I didn't
16 take the witness. I'm not in a position to comment on that. But I'm
17 entitled to show the witness a document which appears in the normal course
18 of it to be one addressed to his corps command. I might be able to
19 address the Court later on why it wasn't shown to Mr. Okovic. Maybe we
20 just forgot to. I don't know.
21 JUDGE LIU: Well, I believe that using of this document is allowed
22 and the objections from the Defence is partially denied. But as for
23 whether we admit it into the evidence or not, I believe that we could only
24 make the ruling after some questions put to this witness by the
1 Mr. Re, you may proceed.
2 MR. RE: All right.
3 Q. Mr. Karavelic -- excuse me.
4 All right. You answered earlier that -- I think your answer --
5 the earlier answer means that you don't recall seeing this in 1993; is
6 that correct?
7 A. Everything that I had -- that I said sorry in connection with the
8 previous document also applies to this one.
9 Q. What can you say about looking at the document, what sort of
10 document it is, and whether it appears to you to be a genuine document
11 issued from the 2nd Independent Motorised Battalion?
12 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I'll put it on record again. Again
13 I object to this. It seems to be an attempt to authenticate the document
14 and give the document some sort of weight when he's given his clear
15 indication as to whether he's ever seen it before. So it can't be done.
16 Your Honours, I don't object, and I've made this clear in the past, that
17 the witness can be asked about things he knows about. If he knows about
18 the information here, that could assist the Tribunal. But if he doesn't
19 know about, it won't. And I don't object to questions like that. But an
20 attempt to make the document look real when effectively the Prosecution
21 aren't proving that it's real is not permissible, and that's my objection.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I believe there witness has already said that he
23 did not see this document in 1993. It's very difficult for this witness
24 to say it's a genuine document or not.
25 MR. RE: In -- all right. As the corps commander, he must be
1 entitled to comment upon whether a document -- whether a document which is
2 issued or -- sorry, which is issued from subordinate unit within his
3 command, which is addressed to his corps command, bears the indicia of
4 authenticity based upon his experience as the corps commander and seeing
5 documents of this type. I mean -- I mean, that's as far as I can take it.
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Well, it seems to me that you are going to ask
7 this witness to make a conclusion on this document, but I believe that
8 you're entitled to ask the general question. For instance, whether this
9 document is within the format of the normal orders within his commander,
10 and whether this witness is familiar with whatever is said in this
11 document, et cetera.
12 MR. RE: May it please Your Honours.
13 Q. General, this document, does it appear to -- well, is it within
14 the format of normal communications within the 1st Corps in 1993?
15 A. There exist a multitude of different types of documents. It goes
16 without saying that this document is one of the documents that can be
17 categorised as falling under one of these many forms of documents. There
18 had been similar documents, that much I can say.
19 Q. Does it appear to be on 2nd Independent Motorised Battalion
21 A. There is no person that could confirm that or say anything
22 substantiated in connection with that question.
23 Q. I don't understand what you mean by that.
24 A. Well, as far as I could understand your question, you're asking me
25 about the type of paper and whether the document was authentic in terms of
1 the manner of writing and the type of paper and the document as shown to
2 me on the monitor. So if I can say this, it is not an appropriate
3 question to me. In order for me to be able to reply to such a question I
4 would have to have the original document in my hand.
5 Q. Unfortunately we don't have the original here but I can show you a
6 paper copy, if that might assist you. If it is easier to read it, I can
7 certainly show you -- show it to you on a piece of paper. Would that
9 A. I doubt it. I doubt that that would be of any significant help in
10 order for me to be more clear or more precise in my response.
11 Q. Look, if you look at the document.
12 MR. RE: Could you possibly blow up the logos in the top left-hand
13 corner, please? To the left, please. Thank you.
14 Q. There are two -- two logos there, one is the army and the other
15 one, to the left, is that the 2nd Independent Motorised Battalion's logo?
16 A. I have to say one thing, which is true. I have seen this only
17 very seldom, and I'm not quite clear as to what this particular logo is.
18 It is stated on the document itself, first of all, under tool, on the top
19 is 2nd, 2nd Independent Motorised Battalion and then the 1st Corps of the
20 Army of B and H. This is totally contrary to the rules of drafting
21 documents. This is not the way this is done. So my conclusion is that
22 this was done by an incompetent officer. Now, what this logo on the left
23 means, stands for, is something that I cannot say anything about. It
24 doesn't ring any bells, as far as I'm concerned. But it is on the
25 document. That I can see, of course.
1 This is very rare. This is perhaps a unique example that you
2 have, this order of units on the letterhead. I mean, of a thousand
3 documents, perhaps you will find one or none that look like that. I
4 guarantee you that. Of course, you can gain access to the archives of the
5 1st Corps and its command in the federal archives and you can be satisfied
6 of that for yourself.
7 Q. What about the army logo to the right of that? Is that the normal
8 army logo?
9 A. The logo to the right is a symbol which was quite customary and
10 was used.
11 Q. What about the stamp at the bottom?
12 A. All the stamps -- or, rather, the army had two types of stamp.
13 The first type of stamp was like this, with a coat of arms of Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina inscribed in it, but also with the full designation of the
15 unit in question. That was one kind of stamp. And this stamp that you
16 see now, that is a second, a different, type of stamp. The stamp is of
17 the same size. Inscribed in it is the coat of arms of Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina, but it only designates the unit and the number of the unit,
19 and the commander actually assigns numbers to all units by a special
20 directive. And this is something that is hard for one to know by heart.
21 It is in fact impossible. So probably this number, which is there, is the
22 secret number, the secret designation, on the stamp of the 2nd Independent
23 Battalion, but this is only a supposition on my part. That is, if I do
24 not doubt the document. And that of course doesn't have to be the case,
25 as far as the doubting of it is concerned, I mean.
1 Q. All right. The numbers, are they 5438?
2 A. Yes. I think so. I guess it is 5438. I cannot be sure.
3 Q. You're saying that you can't remember now but that may have been
4 the designation of the 2nd Independent Motorised Battalion?
5 A. Each unit had a numerical designation of this kind. Absolutely
6 each and every unit had to have such a numerical designation.
7 Q. All right. And Mr. Sakib Okovic, do you know who he was?
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. Who was he?
10 A. He was an officer in the command of the 2nd Independent Motorised
12 Q. Are you familiar with his signature?
13 A. No, I'm not.
14 Q. You said that the --
15 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honour, could I just raise a matter there.
16 Perhaps I should have objected to that question a bit quicker. The answer
17 didn't -- or, the answer happened in any event, but there was somebody
18 here who might have answered the question as to the signature. And there
19 is a question in any event as to whether this particular Okovic here is
20 the same person who came. But the Okovic who came is the person who
21 was -- who we know played a role down in Herzegovina, so --
22 JUDGE LIU: I agree with you.
23 MR. MORRISSEY: All right.
24 MR. RE: I don't understand. Is Mr. Morrissey saying that it's a
25 different Mr. Okovic? I'm not sure what he's saying.
1 JUDGE LIU: Actually, the witness has answered that question
2 already, so -- well, I believe that Mr. Morrissey just wants to register
3 his objections in the transcript on that particular matter. On that
4 issue, I believe that the author himself is the best person to recognise
5 his own signature. On this part, I agree with Mr. Morrissey.
6 MR. RE: I think the witness -- I think it was a different
7 witness. I think it was that a Mr. Zakija Okovic [phoen], not a Mr. Sakib
8 Okovic. I think there is two. There may be two different people. I'll
9 have to check this.
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes. But shall we proceed.
11 MR. RE: The original objection was that Mr. Okovic had actually
12 testified here, and he was the guy who should be authenticating. That was
13 the original objection. I think we might be on different levels here.
14 That's why I was confused before.
15 JUDGE LIU: You may proceed.
16 MR. RE: Thank you. All right.
17 Q. You said earlier that -- I'm just trying to find the passage it
18 was some minutes ago, you mentioned the competence it must have been
19 drafted by someone who was incompetent because the way the logos were
20 there or something to that effect. Are you making a comment on
21 Mr. Okovic's competence, by that answer?
22 A. Whoever is the author of the signature, whoever is the signatory,
23 yes, that is my opinion.
24 Q. All right. What about the -- I want to ask you about the
25 information in the document. Are you familiar with the information in the
1 document, about the order issued by the chief of the Supreme Command
2 headquarters, two couriers returning to the base, it was written in the
3 order we should find and deliver communications equipment, and then the
4 list of -- list -- 19 specific pieces or types of equipment are listed.
5 A. I do not remember any of that.
6 Q. Okay. Moving from that document, what communications, if any, did
7 you receive from the units who went to Herzegovina after they went there?
8 That's the 9th, the 10th, the 2nd Independent Battalion.
9 MR. MORRISSEY: Sorry, Your Honours there is just one matter that
10 arises from the previous passage of cross-examination that should really
11 be clarified here. This witness indicated that he knew and was familiar
12 with a particular person. Now that being the person who's named there,
13 Sakib Okovic, and that it ought to be clarified since the Prosecutors have
14 called another individual at a senior level, with the name of Zakir
15 Okovic, which one he knew, whether he knew Zakir Okovic the witness in
16 this case, Sakib Okovic, the person whose name appears on that document,
17 whether they are the same person in fact or whether they are two different
18 people. Now, I can ask it in cross-examination, of course, but because
19 the issue is now live, it's a matter that's arisen and there has been --
20 expressed some doubt about it on the Prosecution side in my submission
21 that ought to be asked before we leave that topic.
22 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Re, do you mind asking this question to this
24 MR. RE: No. I don't. I just need a copy of Mr. -- what's his
25 name? The other one. The one who gave evidence. I just need a copy of
1 his statement to get his name.
2 MR. MORRISSEY: Zakir, Z-a-k-i-r, and "Okovic" is spelled the
4 MR. RE: I just need a copy of his statement to get the personal
5 details to put them to the witness. It may just take a moment to find.
6 If I can return to that later -- I will get back to it but I just can't do
7 it right at this moment.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes, please.
9 MR. RE: What was my question. I've lost it.
10 JUDGE LIU: Did you receive from the units who went to Herzegovina
11 after they went there, that's the 9th, 10th and the 2nd Independent
13 MR. RE: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. That's my question.
15 A. Could you be more specific in putting that question, please?
16 Q. All right. At -- on Mr. Halilovic's orders you dispatched, at
17 least three sets of soldiers under your command or from your corps to
18 Mr. Halilovic. After they went -- after they got there, did you receive
19 reports back from them? Or any form of communication?
20 A. I don't remember having received any reports. I'm not aware of
21 any such reports. And I did not maintain any contact with my units until
22 the time they returned. Of all the contacts that I do remember, or
23 reports, there was just this one report by the commander of the 2nd
24 Independent Battalion, Adnan Solakovic, when once he spoke to me via a
25 Motorola and we had a very brief conversation, lasting perhaps one minute.
1 Q. What was it about?
2 A. He actually asked to talk to me. It was not I who talked to him.
3 And basically, he requested me that he be withdrawn from down there and
4 returned to the corps as soon as possible.
5 Q. Why did he want to be withdrawn? What did he say to you about the
7 A. He didn't give any reasons. He just said something to the effect
8 that the situation was serious, that it was confusing, and nothing else.
9 I think that at one point, that his unit is a bit specific and so on.
10 That's what he managed to say at the time. Nothing else in particular.
11 And I replied that I would see, and so on.
12 Q. Just to clarify, you said his unit "is a bit specific and so on."
13 I don't quite understand what you mean by "a bit specific"?
14 A. I didn't mean anything by it. It was he who meant something by
16 Q. How long after -- sorry. How long after their arrival in
17 Herzegovina did he contact you?
18 A. I don't know exactly. I would need to see the document to see
19 when he left and then when he called me, but I think it's a question of
20 four or five, six days, I'm not sure.
21 MR. RE: Can the witness please be shown P272?
22 Q. Is the document there?
23 A. Yes, I see it.
24 Q. Is that the document that you wanted to refer to?
25 A. I wasn't thinking of any particular document.
1 Q. A moment ago you said "I would need to see the document to see
2 when he left and then when he called me but I think it's a question of
3 four, five or six days." All right. Well, have a look at that document,
4 which is addressed to you. It's dated the 11th of September 1993. Is
5 that about the same time, which accords with your memory of when he called
6 you; that is, four, five or six days after he arrived?
7 A. First of all, I doubt that this document was sent to me. When you
8 say that this document was sent to me as the commander of the 1st Corps,
9 this is said by the commander of the 2nd Independent Battalion, Adnan
10 Solakovic, most probably. This document that you see on the screen right
11 now does not exist in the archives of the army of the federation or in the
12 archives of the 2nd Independent Motorised Battalion, because I looked for
13 it. Which means that the document was never sent to the 1st Corps
14 command, this document that's being shown right now. Actually, a copy of
15 it was given to me by the commander of the 2nd Independent Motorised
16 Battalion, Adnan Solakovic. I think also at that time or very close to
17 the time when I was signing a report with your people in Sarajevo, and I
18 think this was perhaps a year and a half or a year ago. This was the
19 third report. That was the first time that I saw this document, as it is.
20 I don't know whether my conversation via the Motorola with him coincides
21 with this document. I really don't know. I don't know when I spoke to
22 him. I can't really rule it out, but I can't confirm it either.
23 Q. What about the information in that document? Did he convey that
24 information to you?
25 A. Well, I said more or less what he told me when he called me in
1 this brief conversation. Here, if you have the translation, it states --
2 actually, this document was something that he had with him as a personal,
3 private document. If you need it, I can read it out.
4 Q. Sorry, read what out?
5 A. If necessary, I can read the document out.
6 Q. No, no, no. We have a translation here. What I'm asking you is
7 about the information in that. Does that assist your recollection of
8 anything that Mr. Solakovic told you when he communicated with you by
10 MR. MORRISSEY: Sorry, I've got to object to that. This one
11 sounds a bit technical but you can't refresh a witness's memory from
12 something that he didn't make or didn't see. He can comment on the
13 information in it, he can say what he remembers, but he's not to be asked
14 to refresh his memory from something that he didn't make.
15 MR. RE: That is just absolutely incorrect under common law, civil
16 law, or any legal system. A witness can refresh his memory from anything
17 which assists to refresh his memory. In America, they classically say
18 they could refresh your memory from a banana. It doesn't have to be your
19 own banana from which you can refresh your memory. It's something which is
20 contemporaneous or which may not even be contemporaneous, which may assist
21 to revive or refresh a memory. It doesn't matter whether it's his
22 document or another one. Someone else could have made a record of a
23 conversation which he took part in, and looking at the document which
24 someone else made to assist the recollection. So the objection is just
25 wrong in law.
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, I believe that a witness testified that he
2 received a call through the Motorola at that time, from that person, and
3 you may ask this witness whether the contents, in the conversation through
4 that Motorola, is corresponding to the contents in this document.
5 MR. RE: I think I asked that before. I'll ask it again. I don't
6 think I quite got an answer to it.
7 Q. Mr. Karavelic, you heard His Honour's question which I sort of
8 asked you before. Does what is written there accord in any way with what
9 Mr. Solakovic said to you in his conversation by Motorola?
10 A. I already answered that question earlier, when I said briefly what
11 was talked about. If you read the contents of this document, then you can
12 see the parts that correspond with the things that we talked about via the
14 Q. Which parts of the document are those? Okay. I'll take you
15 through it. "We arrived in Jablanica as it was ordered." Yes or no?
16 A. I don't remember.
17 Q. "We carried out reconnaissance for three days but it seems that
18 the agreement with the chief is off."
19 A. I don't recall.
20 Q. "The operation is being postponed more and more."
21 A. Perhaps a part of this was in this conversation, a small part, in
22 a different form and so on.
23 Q. "We have the order until Sunday but it seems that it is off."
24 A. Same answer applies as the previous answer relating to the
25 previous part.
1 Q. "Strange things are happening." Did he say that?
2 A. Also via the Motorola, that was the conversation. The
3 conversation between us was not coded. It was an open conversation. So
4 these words were not used. But, however, in some form, he might have
5 intimated some of this, but I cannot state that with certainty.
6 Q. "I am afraid for my soldiers who are of a different religion."
7 A. Also perhaps in a different form. When I said that word before,
8 because of the specificity of his unit, that would correspond with that.
9 Q. "Panic appeared in the unit."
10 A. I don't remember whether that word was used.
11 Q. "People are simply disappearing overnight."
12 A. This, too, is something that's very clear and quite emphatic. So
13 it's possible that in a different form, it would correspond to the
15 Q. "Send us back into the town any way you can."
16 A. Well, that's more or less what I said when I summarised my
17 conversation with him, that that was what he requested.
18 Q. "If it is necessary, go to the head."
19 A. I cannot be clear.
20 Q. "Let him make up a reason for the return."
21 A. I would give the same answer as my previous answer.
22 Q. "All in all, regular."
23 A. I would repeat the same answer.
24 Q. "The chief put us under the command of Zuka."
25 A. I don't remember.
1 Q. "I'm afraid that a conflict between us might occur which is most
3 A. It's perhaps possible that I remember something vaguely, but it's
4 not possible to remember exactly whether any of it was mentioned in the
6 Q. "Do that as soon as possible."
7 A. It's possible that something like that was said, because this is
8 something that he was asking for, amongst other things.
9 Q. "I do not want to take part in these dirty games and it is not as
10 you were told."
11 A. It's possible that a small part of that was said in a different
12 way, but not so directly.
13 Q. "I will tell you all about the danger when I return."
14 A. I don't remember.
15 Q. "PS, nobody should know this."
16 A. I also don't remember that.
17 Q. "Regards, or greetings, Adnan. Reply." Sorry, just disregard the
18 last one. There was something written over the translation.
19 Now, what I want to ask you was -- you had that conversation with
20 Mr. Solakovic by Motorola. What did you do when he contacted you and said
21 that he wanted to return to Sarajevo with his troops?
22 MR. MORRISSEY: Before that -- sorry, Your Honour, just before
23 that is answered, the last part that was read out was greetings from
24 Adnan, Zakir, and Pezo, and that should be made clear given the --
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, that's the nickname?
1 MR. MORRISSEY: Zakir is a name that's on that list and evidence
2 was given by -- by the witness.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I believe you have to ask that question, whether
4 this was the nickname or the full name.
5 MR. RE: What I'm asking him is whether the information in the
6 document is the same as what he said on the phone. I very much doubt that
7 the greetings at the end would have been said in a telephone call because
8 this is a written correspondence. That's why I didn't go to the last
10 JUDGE LIU: The point is not that. The point is we have to make
11 sure they are the same person.
12 MR. RE: Okay. I've just -- I have a real difficulty because I
13 have "unrevised" written across the bottom line and I was asking our case
14 manager to interpret for me what was written underneath. I don't have it
15 in English, those last few words. If Mr. Morrissey has a translation that
16 he could read onto the record I would be very happy.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Morrissey.
18 MR. MORRISSEY: Sorry, Your Honour, it's just what's on the
19 screen. Your Honours, greetings from Adnan, Zakir, Pezo, and then it has
20 the word "response" written after that. So it's really the names that
21 there that I was asking ought to be clarified, Adnan, Zakir, and Pezo. As
22 my friend did see fit to put the Adnan part of it, the whole lot should be
24 MR. RE: It's not a matter of seeing fit. It was a matter of what
25 I could read and I got to the point where it was no longer relevant for
1 my --
2 MR. MORRISSEY: Not suggesting cheating. Sorry, just -- I don't
3 want to seem like I'm suggesting something mean I'm just asking that the
4 whole lot be put. Relax.
5 MR. RE:
6 Q. On the screen, you can see Pradrav [phoen], Adnan, Zakir, Pezo;
8 A. I see that.
9 Q. All right. Now, --
10 JUDGE LIU: Who is that Pezo.
11 MR. RE:
12 Q. Who is Pezo?
13 A. Also one of the officers at the command of the 2nd Independent
14 Motorised Battalion, the same as Zakir Okovic.
15 Q. Now, what was your response to Mr. Solakovic's request of you to
16 return to Sarajevo?
17 A. I don't recall anything in particular. I don't think that I had
18 any specific response. I think that later, I don't know when, whether it
19 was the same day, in the next day, in a couple of days, I got in touch
20 with Rasim Delic or Sefer Halilovic. I don't remember. It's possible. I
21 cannot confirm that, when I requested the return and so on and so forth.
22 I have some idea that perhaps I received some information from somewhere
23 that everything was all right. Nothing else. What else could I do?
24 Q. Could you have ordered Adnan Solakovic to return to Sarajevo
25 without the permission of Mr. Halilovic?
1 A. No. I could have done, but that would be a gross breach of
2 discipline, and of the lines of subordination within the chain of command.
3 MR. RE: Can we please move to Exhibit D273?
4 Q. Now, this is a document dated the 11th of September 1993, headed
5 order to attack and bears the name and the signature of Alispago,
6 Zulfikar. Do you have the document there?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Had you seen this document before you were asked to testify in
9 these proceedings?
10 A. I saw this document only when I came to The Hague, now.
11 Q. I want you to comment in military terms upon a specific part this
12 document. First of all, I just want your general comment on the type or
13 the nature of document. Is it a combat order or is it something else?
14 A. With a heading like this, "combat order," this is then an order to
15 embark on combat operations.
16 Q. And what does it tell you about the subordination of the units
17 named in the order?
18 A. How do you mean, what does it tell me?
19 Q. Well, from reading this document, as a general, or a former
20 general, in the Bosnian army, what does it tell you about the
21 subordination of the units named and who were they subordinated to? That
22 sort of thing.
23 A. A document like this, when it's issued, and like it says here, on
24 this document, "combat order," everything that is stated in such a
25 document, it's final, it's binding. The units carry out final
1 preparations and then, under the item, "scheduling the start of the
2 attack," by that time all the units which are under the command of the
3 person who issues this order have to carry out the orders.
4 Q. The document names or refers to, under the heading, "axis one,"
5 and some directions, ABC, it refers, it says, "the above 60 to 80 men who
6 shall be brought in additional are members of Adnan Solakovic's unit."
7 Next paragraph says "the remaining 20 to 40 soldiers from the same unit
8 (Adnan Solakovic's), shall be deployed on the right wing of this axis from
9 Draga, (TT 5500.5) towards Vratca (TT 628)." Is that on your screen, the
10 entire passage? Or do you need the page moved?
11 A. I see it. I see it.
12 Q. I think it's on the first page in the B/C/S, which should be -- I
13 apologise, which should be on page 2 and 3 of the English. The first part
14 is on page 2 and then the specific reference is on page 3, the first
16 All right.
17 MR. RE: Have Your Honours seen the right passage?
18 Q. Mr. Karavelic, what does that tell you, having said it's a -- it's
19 a final, binding combat order, what does that tell you about the
20 subordination of Adnan Solakovic's unit when this combat attack was
21 order -- order was issued? And I'm asking you this in your expertise as a
22 general in the Bosnian army.
23 A. It tells me that the person who issued this combat order,
24 everything that's stated in this order, all the units that are mentioned
25 in this order should and must act in accordance with this order and its
1 elements and the times stated therein.
2 Q. All right. I want you to be specific about this. The document is
3 signed or purports to be signed by Alispago, Zulfikar and has his name
4 written on the end of it. And it refers to Adnan Solakovic's unit which
5 was from the 1st Corps. What does that tell you about the subordination
6 of Adnan Solakovic's unit at the point when that order was issued? Who
7 were they subordinated -- who was his unit subordinated to?
8 A. As per this document, which probably is derived from the document
9 in which all the units of the 1st Corps are resubordinated to the Zulfikar
10 unit, as per orders of General Halilovic, and so it means that the unit of
11 the 2nd Independent Motorised Battalion was resubordinated to the unit of
12 Zulfikar Alispago.
13 MR. RE: Is that -- is that time?
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will make a break. And we'll resume at 3.30
15 in the same courtroom.
16 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.44 p.m.
17 --- Upon resuming at 3.32 p.m.
18 JUDGE LIU: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and I just got
19 informed before the start of this afternoon's session that the Prosecution
20 is not ready for the reply to the motions for judicial notice filed on the
21 1st of March 2005. So we rescheduled that short hearing tomorrow morning
22 before we hear the witness. Is that agreeable, Mr. Morrissey?
23 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, it is, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. I believe that you have something to
1 MR. MORRISSEY: It's just two things, Your Honour. The first one
2 was that just basically a personal matter of mine, that I just in the last
3 couple of days have come down with a virus and, frankly, I notice myself
4 becoming a little short tempered this morning and I just want to apologise
5 to the Court and to my learned friend Mr. Re for showing a bit of
6 grumpiness and grouchiness in court. It really wasn't my intention to be
7 like that and I can say that I've got an excuse but it's not really much
8 of an excuse. At all events, Your Honours, I only see fit to mention the
9 illness side of things because of the tight schedule that we've got here.
10 At this stage I'm fine to go ahead and I mean to but I've got to go and
11 get some medical advice about this situation. But however, we are
12 pressing on now, I'll advise the Court if there is any troubles. Things
13 should be fine.
14 The second matter I wanted to raise was simply that about the
15 expert situation, that my learned friend Mr. Weiner mentioned that the
16 expert report was awaiting the conclusion of this particular witness.
17 Now, I'm not sure what the time lines are going to be, we have to give
18 some thought to it, and what I would ask is that we have a discussion
19 about this topic at the close of proceedings tomorrow because -- I mean,
20 there is no use jumping in right now, my learned friend is taking a
21 witness. But we do need to have some sort of time line set for that
22 because whether or not the Prosecution chooses to get an expert at all or
23 how that's going to proceed is a matter of interest and concern to the
24 Defence. So we just want to know what their plans are and perhaps they
25 could tell us that tomorrow evening and then we can make our plans, too,
1 because we would like to use the break. It's a break that's forced on us
2 by scheduling things, but both sides could probably use that break
3 constructively, but experts require preparation. And in a case like this
4 now, it might require us to consult our own experts or get a new expert
5 involved in the case as well.
6 In the past we have mentioned that Brigadier Dzambasovic who is a
7 team member is likely to be called and give some evidence. And that
8 remains the position. But at the same time we might also seek to get
9 somebody who is an entirely outside of the proceedings, and
10 Mr. Dzambasovic, of course, is a team member here so -- sorry,
11 Your Honours. Anyway those are some of the reasons why we would like to
12 have an idea of really where that's all headed. I don't call on my friend
13 to answer it now and I'm not -- I don't make any point now, really, just
14 having to say we should discuss this matter tomorrow because otherwise,
15 time will slip by and we won't be able to deal with it.
16 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. Well, this Bench is also worried
17 about time schedule issues, especially concerning with the present
19 Mr. Re, would you please shed some light on how long you're going
20 to still need for this present witness?
21 MR. RE: Well, it's very hard to estimate. My original estimate
22 was up to two days to complete his testimony, showing him the documents,
23 but progress has been much slower than we had hoped or anticipated. I
24 will go into tomorrow on present indications, on present pace. The areas
25 I need to continue covering are the documents with Neretva, the return of
1 the soldiers, the witness's involvement in Trebevic, in relation to the
2 9th and the 10th and the attempts to bring them under control, and the
3 relationship between those brigades and Mr. Halilovic. Those are the -- I
4 think the four discrete topics and of course I'll ask him to comment on
5 his military expertise and the inspection team order and the map. Now, if
6 I can get short, precise answers I could finish in the afternoon but I --
7 I'm not as hopeful as I was before we started. So I definitely will go --
8 on present pace we will go into tomorrow.
9 In relation to the expert report, I can very briefly answer.
10 Nothing has changed since Mr. Weiner addressed the other day. We were
11 awaiting the finalisation of there witness's evidence before we make a
12 final decision as to whether we get General Ridgeway to supplement his
13 report by, in effect, doing a new report. We can't do that until the
14 completion of the witness's evidence, which of course includes
15 cross-examination. When that happens we will make a decision and probably
16 travel to London to see the general and that will be over the break, and
17 if we do it we will produce something, in time for the Defence to have
18 time to assess it. It won't be -- it won't be a lengthy document. It
19 certainly won't be -- there won't be any surprises in it. It will just be
20 a reassessment in light of the different material which we provide the
21 general with this time, which has clearly changed since the material that
22 was provided to him some years ago because the witnesses weren't called.
23 Clearly we have to give him different material.
24 JUDGE LIU: Well, as for this present witness, how many sittings
25 or how many sessions do you still need? I want to -- more or less, you
1 know, specific answer.
2 MR. RE: Well, my wish list wouldn't be any more at all but I
3 think realistically, there is an hour and a half today and -- tomorrow
4 morning. I really sincerely hope I can finish in the first session
5 tomorrow morning.
6 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Mr. Morrissey? Are there lengthy
7 cross-examination for this witness? And would you mind telling us
8 approximately how long are you going to take?
9 MR. MORRISSEY: Oh, I --
10 JUDGE LIU: To be specific, how many sittings, how many sessions
11 do you need.
12 MR. MORRISSEY: I had in mind originally two normal days. I'm not
13 sure how things are going to play out here. I thought I needed two normal
14 days and we've prepared pretty thoroughly, we hope, so that's to be --
15 that's still to be attempted. Frankly, I think it's desirable, I fully
16 agree with the Tribunal's position about this. We should try to finish
17 him. It's very bad when a witness gets divided by a big break. It's not
18 fair on the witness, frankly, and it has all sorts of problems. I don't
19 know how late people can sit, I don't know what court staff attitude is or
20 the Tribunal's attitude is. I think it's appropriate to do everything we
21 can, and if that means sitting longer, well, we'll cooperate with that.
22 But I think -- I have to responsibly say that even before my
23 learned friend commenced, I thought about two days of normal sittings, and
24 now, I have to say that he's been asked to offer some comments on
25 documents that I -- they were on the list there but they have taken quite
1 a considerable amount of time. Now, how that proceeds I just don't know.
2 I was perhaps caught wrong footed a little bit there. What I'm saying is
3 I don't think we are doomed yet and I think it's worth continuing to try
4 hard and I would aim myself to finish with in that two days' period.
5 We've got a bit of extra time tomorrow so it may be, if my -- if my
6 learned friend is able to get through what he needs to get through by
7 tomorrow morning, we can do it and I think we should try. That's my
8 submission, anyway.
9 JUDGE LIU: Are there any solutions if the worst scenario
10 happened? Because on Friday afternoon, we did not book any sittings. I
11 don't know at this moment whether any courtroom is free Friday afternoon.
12 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, I think we would need one, if we could.
13 Your Honours, I --
14 JUDGE LIU: I don't know whether anybody of you made any
15 travelling plans --
16 MR. MORRISSEY: I did.
17 JUDGE LIU: -- next Monday.
18 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, Your Honours, I did. In fact what has
19 sustained me through this last couple of weeks is -- frankly was that
20 fact. Your Honours, look, you know, we'll fit in. I was to be with my --
21 there are personal details that don't matter, I suppose. You know,
22 obviously, but I have made a plan and I was going to fly away on Saturday
23 morning and come back in the middle of next week and then resume work.
24 That was my idea and I've -- we've arranged all of that.
25 Your Honours, if it has to be that we are interposed at sometime
1 next week, well, we'll just abide by what the Court says. What I'd be
2 reluctant is -- I don't want -- the only thing I'd prefer is that -- I
3 think the best thing to do is be brave and strong and just try. That's
4 the only thing I can think of, Your Honour, and we will do everything we
5 can to be -- be brief. That's what I'll try to do, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE LIU: As for the Bench, I believe this bench is brief enough
7 to sit morning and afternoon for the week. Well, but anyway, we will try
8 our best. Yes. Having said that, could we have the witness, please?
9 MR. MORRISSEY: I'll undertake that there should be no squabbles
10 between myself and Mr. Re in the course of -- of -- of the rest of this
11 witness, and that will speed things up too.
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE LIU: Good afternoon, Witness.
15 THE WITNESS: Good afternoon.
16 JUDGE LIU: Are you ready to start?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Re.
19 MR. RE: Can we please move to the next document. That will be 65
20 ter number 59, 01831486.
21 THE REGISTRAR: That will be MFI 388.
22 MR. RE:
23 Q. You see the document there, General?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. The document has your name on it. I'm only interested in the top
1 part of the document. It's dated the 12th of September 1993 and is
2 addressed to the Supreme Court -- sorry, Supreme Command staff, the chief
3 of the staff, attention Sefer Halilovic in Jablanica.
4 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, this document I think is the one
5 that's got two parts to it.
6 MR. RE: It is. That's why I said I'm only interested in the top
7 part of it.
8 MR. MORRISSEY: Sorry, Your Honours, it's just that in the Bosnian
9 version there's -- it's not just one document. It's two. Anyway, perhaps
10 the witness can comment about that, I don't know, but --
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
12 MR. RE: I'm only interested in the top half, the one that's got
13 your name on it. Do you see it there, Mr. Karavelic?
14 A. I see that.
15 Q. Now, is that a document you sent to Mr. Halilovic on the 12th of
16 September at about 0100 hours?
17 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I'll just have -- the term
18 "document" is going to have to be clarified here because the original, I
19 don't know -- Your Honours will have the English on the screen but the
20 original that we have has -- has got two parts to it. It's got a part on
21 the top and a part on the bottom, and if my friend is asking him whether
22 he sent this document, that's -- that's what probably -- then that had
23 better be clarified. If it's not this document that he's talking about
24 then he better say did you send some other version or some part of --
25 what's on the -- to use the term document -- I'm not suggesting it's
1 deliberately misleading, but it could be confuse because a document
2 usually refers to the original document. And that, what we have here -- I
3 don't know -- is -- if it -- perhaps it is the original. But it better be
4 clarified, though.
5 JUDGE LIU: I think, the document is used by the Prosecution is
6 just a general term which means that it might be a paper evidence. So I
7 believe as for the second half, the Prosecution will ask the witness to
8 make some clarification on that.
9 MR. MORRISSEY: Okay.
10 MR. RE:
11 Q. Still concentrating on the top part of the document, that is the
12 piece of paper which has been electronically transmitted to you on the
13 computer screen, and the part which bears your signature, not the order
14 below, which isn't yours, is the top half of that -- is the information --
15 can -- look, there are two documents there, one of yours and one of
16 someone else's?
17 A. The first document is mine, and part of the second document on
18 this same sheet which was probably pasted on to the same sheet by mistake
19 and only part of the second document was reproduced but the entire
20 document must be in the archives of the BH army.
21 Q. You said it's your document. Is it one that was according to that
22 stamp sent to Mr. Halilovic on the 12th of September 1993 at 1 a.m.?
23 A. That's what the document says.
24 Q. It starts off by saying, "The Chief of Staff of the 6th corps
25 informed me about a decision made by the Chief of the Supreme Command
1 Staff regarding" -- I'm sorry. I apologise, I've got the wrong one.
2 Start again. It says, "One, based on collected intelligence regarding the
3 aggressor activities in the zone of responsibility of the 1st Corps, I'm
4 asking you, sir [chief], to respect the orders and if possible to somehow
5 ensure the return of parts of the 2nd Independent Battalion, the 9th
6 Motorised Brigade and the 10th Mountain Brigade on the 12th/13th of
7 September 1993." Now, what was the collected intelligence -- I withdraw
9 Why were you asking Mr. Halilovic to respect orders? What orders
10 were you asking him to respect?
11 A. I think this is a reference to my orders saying that the units
12 should remain in the Neretva River valley for seven days. It is probable
13 that this date roughly coincides with the expiry of that time period. On
14 account of such intelligence as was gathered regarding enemy activity
15 around Sarajevo, the aggressor's activity around Sarajevo, I was
16 requesting that pursuant to that, the Chief of Staff return the units to
18 Q. Paragraph 2, you say, "If you still need the assistance of the
19 parts of the aforementioned units, then I am asking you to enable the
20 company from the 2nd Independent Battalion headed by Commander Adnan
21 Solakovic to return to Sarajevo." Why did you say in that request that
22 you were -- if the units had to remain there, could I please have back
23 Adnan Solakovic's? Why did you want his back instead of the other two?
24 A. I wanted him back for a fundamental military reason. The 2nd
25 Independent Battalion was a mobile unit in my corps that was in the
1 reserve. It had no area of responsibility and it was not in charge of any
2 section of the defence line. There was information that there might be a
3 new attack against Sarajevo by the aggressor. This was a mobile unit in
4 reserve and it was badly needed to carry out any acts of intervention.
5 That was probably the chief reason. We have spoken about those previous
6 documents, and the interviews with Adnan Solakovic. That may also have to
7 do with the call that Adnan Solakovic made to me.
8 Q. What was your preference for Adnan Solakovic's unit as opposed to
9 Celo's or Caco's men? Having them come back to Sarajevo? Why did you
10 prefer Solakovic to bring his men back in preference to Celo or Caco?
11 A. I've answered a minute ago. This was a mobile unit, a reserve
12 unit. That's why. The other two units were not.
13 Q. Did you contact Mr. Halilovic in relation to this request? Did
14 you have any communication with him about this?
15 A. I don't remember.
16 Q. Did Mr. Halilovic, to your recollection, respond to this request?
17 A. I don't remember.
18 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
19 JUDGE LIU: Well, I'm sorry for that. You may proceed.
20 MR. RE: I move to tender that into evidence.
21 JUDGE LIU: Any objections?
22 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, there is, Your Honour. But the witness has
23 identified it. He hasn't been asked, he's effectively said that was his,
24 but he hasn't really provided a basis for whether he means it or not or
25 whether it's just something that looks like -- like what he did. The
1 document itself is unusual. I have to say, Your Honour, it's the sort of
2 document that this objection would have to be treated a bit more weakly
3 than some of the other ones because he's indicated -- he hasn't said
4 anything about it at all. Perhaps I'll object at this stage now. Perhaps
5 if my learned friend asks the question whether he remembers it and so on
6 then I'll know what the objection is. At the moment it doesn't look as
7 if -- we are all a bit in the dark about it. So I do object but my friend
8 might be able to knock that on the head, frankly.
9 JUDGE LIU: To me, it's quite clear. This document was a witness
10 document he sent to Mr. Halilovic and he testified about the situation on
11 that part. So I have no problem on this document, so I believe that at
12 least the upper part of this document is admitted into the evidence.
13 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes.
14 JUDGE LIU: As for the lower part, well, I don't believe that
15 Mr. Re tendered the lower part also into the evidence.
16 MR. MORRISSEY: It's just --
17 JUDGE LIU: Unless we could establish connections between the
18 lower part and the upper part of the document.
19 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, Your Honours, I understand your ruling. I'm
20 bound by the ruling. I just have to make this comment generally so I'm
21 not seeming to be fussy about it. In a command responsibility case, of
22 course the Prosecution is going to tender many, many documents that
23 Mr. Halilovic may or may not have seen. That's natural. But it means I
24 have to be particularly cautious to protect his rights because I can't
25 have instructions on -- there are some documents that I can't, some
1 obviously I can. Some we are going to disagree about. But I have to be
2 very cautious about that because the chain of custody issue and the normal
3 way of proving a document is very important in a case like this where it's
4 command responsibility and where it can't be inferred that Mr. Halilovic
5 himself will have seen it. And that's the reason I'm very hypersensitive,
6 of course, about the document. It's got two documents on it, like that.
7 Particularly when the document at the bottom is one that we have expressed
8 our suspicions about and are intending to cast aspersions on whenever
9 we -- whenever it gets mentioned. But I understand Your Honour's ruling,
10 we are bound by it, so I say no more.
11 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. This document is admitted into
12 the evidence.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit P388.
14 MR. RE: Can the witness please be shown Prosecution -- sorry,
15 Defence Exhibit D157?
16 Q. Mr. Karavelic, have a look at the document which is dated the 12th
17 of September 1993 and bears the name of commander Rasim Delic at the
18 bottom and it's addressed to the forward command post in Jablanica and the
19 command of the 6th Corps. When did you first see this document?
20 A. I didn't see it during the war. It must have been at a more
21 recent time, perhaps just before I arrived in The Hague, just after I
22 arrived. I think it was following my arrival that I saw this document.
23 This is the document that constitutes the lower half of the document
24 you've just shown me, isn't it?
25 Q. Quite correct, yes. This one is different in that it actually has
1 stamps on it, whereas the one that was attached to the one I showed you
2 before appears to be an archived copy of some sort or there may be some
3 other explanation.
4 Now, what I want you to comment on is paragraph 2, which is "Check
5 the accuracy of information regarding the genocide committed against the
6 civilian population by the members of the 1st Corps, 9th Mountain Brigade;
7 if the information is correct, isolate perpetrators and take energetic
8 measures, do everything to prevent such actions. Order the 1st Corps 9th
9 Motorised Brigade deputy commander to return to Sarajevo immediately in
10 order to solve problems in the unit." Unquote. Now, were you given
11 information at that time about a "genocide" or any atrocities at all
12 committed against the civilian population by members of the 1st Corps, 9th
13 Brigade? When I say "at that time," I mean on the 12th of September or
14 very close to that period.
15 A. No.
16 Q. Do you know when Caco, who is the deputy commander of the 9th
17 Brigade, returned to Sarajevo? I'm sorry, Celo -- I meant -- I said
19 A. Not him personally, I don't know.
20 Q. When were you first -- when did you first hear about what happened
21 in Grabovica?
22 A. Much later, following the return of my units from the Neretva
23 River valley. You're asking me when I first heard about what happened in
24 Grabovica. What does that mean? When did I first hear about that? Does
25 that mean when I first heard about 1 per cent of the total information or
1 when I heard 50 per cent of the total information or 100 per cent of the
2 total information? Which of these are you referring to when you're asking
3 me when I first heard about what had occurred in Grabovica?
4 Q. Well, let's start with day 1. What is your memory of the first
5 time that you were told that there had been an incident in Grabovica
6 involving civilians?
7 A. Perhaps on the eve of the Trebevic operation, or just after the
8 operation. There were rumours to the effect that something bad had
9 happened during the Neretva-93 operation, or, rather, the combat activity
10 in the Neretva River valley. Then word spread that certain civilians had
11 been killed, Croatian civilians and so on and so forth. I have heard
12 nothing official to this very day, but I learned about it and I heard
13 about it once this case started to be tried by this Tribunal.
14 Q. When did Adnan Solakovic return from Herzegovina? Was it before
15 Operation Trebevic?
16 A. Yes, I think so, yes.
17 Q. You said earlier, before the break, that he had telephoned you --
18 sorry, called you by Motorola and expressed some concerns about remaining
19 in Herzegovina and he wanted to be returned. Upon his return, did you
20 discuss with him his concerns about why he wished to be returned from
21 Sarajevo -- from Herzegovina?
22 A. I don't think he returned right away. He returned much later.
23 I'm not sure about the day. We should go back and look at the documents.
24 I don't remember having talked to him or indeed that he filed a written
25 report in relation to that. If he has already appeared in this case as a
1 witness, perhaps you should take his story as the official one.
2 Q. Let's go back to the document, that's D157. Based upon your
3 military experience, or years as a general, what do you say about -- or
4 what should Mr. Halilovic's response have been to this order, if it had
5 been issued by Rasim Delic?
6 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, there is a number of difficulties
7 with that.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes, yes, yes, yes.
9 MR. MORRISSEY: First is the hypothetical one, I think,
10 Your Honours.
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
12 MR. MORRISSEY: The second is that -- as I've indicated the
13 defence impugns this document notwithstanding that we tendered it. We
14 tendered it with warts and all and we propose to raise that at all times
15 but I'm -- anyway, I've made my objection.
16 MR. RE: I'll rephrase the question.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, rephrase the question, please.
18 MR. RE:
19 Q. Based upon your military expertise and experience, what is the
20 response that a -- what is the correct response from a commander to
21 receiving an order in these terms? In military terms what should a
22 commander do?
23 MR. MORRISSEY: Once again, Your Honour, there is another matter
24 that has to be raised here. This is directed to two commanders.
25 MR. RE: Well, whichever one it's directed to, it's -- it's a
1 question the witness can surely answer as a retired general in the army,
2 what you should do if you get an order like this.
3 JUDGE LIU: Well, this is a general question. Let the witness
4 answer that question.
5 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honour could I just explain what it is that
6 I'm concerned about? There are a number of different instructions there
7 and they may or may not be directed to the same person. In other words,
8 it may be or it may not be that the Chief of Staff of the SVK was required
9 to comply with all three. It may be that the commander of the 6th Corps
10 was required to comply with one or others. It may be that the answer is
11 able to be given, maybe it's not, but it has to be clear, though. When my
12 friend puts that thing, "What should a commander do," when it's directed
13 to two commanders that issue has to be addressed. It can't be just put as
14 a hypothetical for one commander because it's not addressed to one
15 commander. It's addressed to two.
16 JUDGE LIU: I believe that the Prosecution is asking a general
17 question, in the general circumstances, what should a commander do rather
18 than concentrating on this specific document.
19 MR. MORRISSEY: If the general question is not attaching to the
20 order, then I've got no objection at all.
21 MR. RE: Well, it is attaching to this type of document, of course
22 it is.
23 JUDGE LIU: No, no, no, no, no. At first I believe that you have
24 to ask a general question. Then, if necessary, let's come to the details.
25 MR. RE: I apologise, I'm just looking for the question again.
1 Q. The question was based upon your military expertise and
2 experience, what would the correct response from a commander be to
3 receiving an order in the terms of this particular document?
4 A. Each commander at any level of command, generally speaking,
5 whether receiving an order from a superior officer, and even if this is
6 not the case, if no order is received from a superior, if there is
7 information that comes in from his subordinates or in a different way,
8 indicating that some units have perpetrated a certain type of crime,
9 criminal offence, first and foremost, this commander must ensure that some
10 sort of initial briefing takes place involving the commanders of the
11 subordinate units. At this initial briefing, the unit commanders would be
12 expected to report on the issue in hand, depending on how much information
13 is obtained by the commander from his subordinate commanders in relation
14 to a given crime, if that's what we are talking about. Depending on
15 whether information is satisfactory in terms of scope and in terms of
16 depth, the commander must then proceed and request his commander for
17 security to immediately initiate an investigation to set up a working
18 relationship with the civilian police, and to have a joint investigation.
19 That would be necessary. Then automatically, the security service must
20 initiate criminal proceedings. This would be all that a commander would
21 be expected and obliged to do.
22 Q. What about the lines, "Isolate the perpetrators and take energetic
23 measures"? How would a commander be expected -- or what steps should a
24 commander take to quote "isolate the perpetrators and take energetic
1 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, Your Honours, I just raise a matter there.
2 It has to be clear whether this is a general question or whether he's
3 being asked what steps should General Halilovic have taken or Salko Gusic
4 have taken in this situation because the difference between a theoretical
5 approach and what should have happened in the real case must be drawn, and
6 I made this objection before so that has to be clarified.
7 JUDGE LIU: Well, this time I would not say what is my
8 understanding. I would let Mr. Re to explain.
9 MR. RE: It's actually a general question but it leads to the same
10 result. I mean, the question of material ability is of legal submission
11 at the end of the day, but the theoretical is certainly a general and a
12 practical one, but it's a general question.
13 JUDGE LIU: If it's a general question, let's stick to it. Just,
14 you know -- ask your question.
15 MR. RE:
16 Q. It's certainly a general question, General.
17 A. Therefore, the unit commander, and I'm picking up where I left
18 off, following a briefing with his subordinate unit commanders, after it
19 has been ascertained that a crime occurred, at this point the unit
20 commander should make a decision as to what to do now. The investigation
21 must get off the ground immediately. It must be initiated by the security
22 service, as I was saying. However, I'm trying to say this: It's down to
23 the commander entirely to decide whether combat operations should continue
24 or cease. In order for combat operations to cease, he must first obtain
25 approval from his superior officer, needless to say. The commanders'
1 mission as it pertains to a given combat task or operation always comes
2 first. If an operation cannot be stopped, or, rather, an operation cannot
3 be stopped simply because an individual, civilian or not, has been killed,
4 or five individuals, or ten individuals, if we are looking at a large
5 scale operation or mission. The mission or the operation must go on until
6 all the tasks are completed. However, once it has been ascertained that a
7 crime has occurred, this should by no means stop the security service from
8 prosecuting any crime that has occurred.
9 Q. What role does the commander have -- sorry, if I've interrupted
10 you, please continue.
11 A. We are speaking in very general terms. But this very much depends
12 on the nature of the crime that has occurred and its scope. The commander
13 should accordingly take measures to put things under control, to reassert
14 control over what's going on, to stop the crime from spreading or from
15 recurring. He should isolate perpetrators. But then most of this is down
16 to the security service having first obtained approval from the commander.
17 Q. Is the security service obliged or expected to report back the
18 results of their investigations to the commander who has ordered them to
19 conduct the investigations?
20 A. This is a very complex question. Can you please repeat it? It's
21 a very serious question.
22 Q. The commander you've ordered an investigation, having been
23 informed of a crime -- I'm sorry, you've asked the security service to
24 investigate something and they go off and do it, is the chief of the
25 security service or whoever you've delegated it to obliged to report back
1 to you as a commander at the conclusion of the investigation?
2 A. The question is somewhat difficult. The reason is I'm not certain
3 that I have a full mastery of the book of rules applied by the security
4 service. What their authorities are, what their powers are, what their
5 tasks are, and what measures they are authorised to take. And that's why
6 I'm saying that this question requires a very thorough expert examination.
7 However, it would only be natural for the security service from the same
8 command, the commander's security service, to report back to him.
9 Nevertheless, in practice, and I believe this must be enshrined in the
10 rules governing the work of the security service, no matter what the case
11 was, the security bodies would always send their reports to their own
12 superior in the security service itself, and they would inform their
13 commander to the extent previously authorised by their own superior within
14 the security service, if you get my meaning.
15 MR. RE: Can the witness please be shown Exhibit P124?
16 Q. This is a document dated the 15th of September 1993, headed
17 "order," with the name Sefer Halilovic at the bottom of it and a
18 signature over the name, addressed to 317th Brigade commander, the 45th
19 Brigade commander and the Prozor Independent Battalion commander. I just
20 want you to look at that document. When did you first see that?
21 A. I first saw it after I arrived in The Hague.
22 Q. From your experience as a very senior, retired general, what can
23 you say about the type of order that that is?
24 A. In terms of its substance, it's much like one of the documents
25 that we looked at, the one that involves Zulfikar, except this does not
1 say, "Order for attack." But this kind of document talks about how to
2 organise a combat means.
3 Q. What can you -- can you comment upon the level of detail in this
4 particular order?
5 A. At the very least, I should go through the document thoroughly,
6 compare it to a military map, and then I could say something. This is a
7 very brief order that has to do with combat resources. It may or may not
8 be consistent with other, more thorough and more comprehensive documents
9 or it may stand on its own.
10 If you look at the document, you see that there is a list of tasks
11 that were given to various units.
12 Q. I'm going to give you the opportunity to look at a map, which is
13 D131. I'll ask you about the map, then I'll return to the document when
14 you've commented on the map. When was the first time you saw that
15 particular map?
16 A. When I arrived in The Hague.
17 Q. Now, I want you to comment upon the format of this particular map,
18 in terms of -- what I have here is just an identical copy for my own
19 purposes, so don't worry about this one here. Look at the coloured one
20 behind you, to your right. I want you to comment upon the map and the
21 format of the map. In military terms, in the Bosnian army, in 1993.
22 A. First of all, I only saw the copy of this map last week, and this
23 is the first time I've laid eyes on the original. It's a topographic map
24 to show how any type of combat operations were planned, specifically the
25 case before us is the Neretva operation. I can simply state that this is
1 the usual type of topographic map with the Neretva operation plan marked
2 on it. It contains all the basic and crucial details that a map like this
3 should show, or an operation plan like this, when it's shown on a map.
4 Q. All right. There are signatures on the map, or there are names on
5 the map. On the top left-hand of the map is Rasim Delic's and on the
6 bottom right, Sefer Halilovic's. What can you say about the positioning
7 of Rasim Delic's at the top left and Sefer Halilovic's at the bottom
9 A. There are two options. If you have a plan like this marked on a
10 map for a particular type of combat operations by a particular command,
11 regardless of the specific level of this command, then in the lower
12 right-hand corner, you should have the name of the Chief of Staff if it's
13 a comprehensive operation. This operation plan or combat operation plan
14 would normally be produced by a staff at any level in the chain of
15 command, and the upper left-hand corner you should have the first and last
16 name of the commander of the unit approving the plan, this combat
17 operation plan.
18 The other option is there is a subordinate unit or subordinate
19 command drawing up a plan like this and marking it on a map. And quite
20 specifically, if this is drafted by the corps, as I did a great many
21 times, then my signature would be where Sefer Halilovic's signature is, as
22 the commander of the 1st Corps, in which capacity I have drafted plans and
23 maps like this. And then in the upper left-hand corner, you would have
24 the name of my superior commander, Rasim Delic, followed by his rank and
25 specific position, because he is in this case the one who approves the
1 plan. This one specifically was produced by the Supreme Command Staff,
2 and, sure enough, this map meets the fundamental requirements applied when
3 a plan or a topographic map like there is produced.
4 It does have a number of minor faults which are of no consequence.
5 Up there it says Neretva operation, and the next thing that should be
6 marked is the type of map, the scale, the time when the operation is due
7 to commence, and that sort of information, but these are minor details.
8 Q. From looking at this map, can you say who was in command and
9 control of combat?
10 A. That too is a complex question. It is obvious on the map that the
11 chief of the Supreme Command Staff, Sefer Halilovic, authored the map, or
12 rather his officers drafted the map. Or, rather, his staff did.
13 Naturally, by his signature, he stands by the map on behalf of his staff
14 and to corroborate and confirm this decision. In the upper corner you can
15 see that it has been approved by the commander, which means that the
16 Supreme Command Staff is actually the body that drafted this decision.
17 However, I also have to give you at least two possible variants that might
19 The first variant or possibility is that Chief of Staff drafted
20 this decision, the commander approved the decision, and the Chief of Staff
21 then was charged with personally being in charge of control and command,
22 in terms of the execution of this particular plan of operations.
23 Then again, there could have been a second variant. Namely, the
24 Chief of Staff with his staff drafted this plan of operations on orders
25 from the commander. The commander approved it, and as to the question of
1 who will be the chief officer in command, who will be in command, which of
2 course is not that often the case, can be the kind of question that would
3 be dealt with subsequently, after the actual production of such a plan of
4 operations. Let me remark that along with a topographic map of this kind
5 which has drawn into it the plan -- the plan of operations, must
6 necessarily be accompanied by a combat order, written, the text of the
7 combat order, for the actual execution of the operation in question.
8 In its full scope an operation of this kind, which is quite
9 complex operation, should be accompanied by a written document of at least
10 50 or up to 100 pages, including the orders for all the arms of service,
11 and the combat orders for all the participants in the execution of such a
12 plan of operations.
13 What specifically is the situation here is something that I cannot
14 say because I would require more time for that in order to study many more
15 documents which pertain to this, especially many more documents. In
16 relation to the number of documents that I've already had occasion to
17 examine, I would also have to study numerous legal regulations. I would
18 have to speak to a much larger number of people and so on and so forth.
19 Namely this, as I've already mentioned, requires an expert approach in
20 order for me to be able to give you a more comprehensive reply in the
21 sense of an answer to the question whether General Sefer Halilovic was the
22 sole and genuine commander of this operation or not. Or perhaps things
23 evolved somewhat differently. Perhaps somewhere midway between these two
24 solutions or variants.
25 Q. Can we -- can you please return to the document on the screen,
1 P124? I think before I showed you the map you said you wanted to see a
2 map. Yes. You said "at the very least I should go through the document
3 thoroughly, compare it to a military map, then I could say something."
4 Now, what I want you to do is go through the document and compare it to
5 that military map and then say something. What I want to know is whether
6 that order, P124, relates to what you see on the map, D131, based upon
7 your extensive military experience and your retiring last year as a
8 general in the Bosnian army.
9 MR. MORRISSEY: Okay. Well, now I do object. Your Honours, what
10 the Prosecutor has asked here, I must be very precise about it, he's asked
11 him to go through that document and compare it to that military map.
12 "What I want to know," said Mr. Re, "is whether that order, P124, relates
13 to what you see and the map, D131." Now, Your Honours were present -- of
14 course, necessarily present whether I made the same point when my learned
15 friend Ms. Chana was taking a witness. It's just playing a -- I can't
16 think of a better term, than this, playing a card trick with the witness.
17 To get the witness to pick out that order which we know about and not to
18 refer to the other orders that relate to the particular episode at Uzdol,
19 which we also know about, in my submission, is very misleading and very
20 unfair to the witness. When I say misleading, I don't mean to cast
21 personal aspersion. I just mean it puts the witness in a position of
22 having to give an opinion based on little knowledge. So I object to this
23 question being asked in relation to this document, unless it be shown that
24 the witness has got -- has at least been acquainted with the relevant
25 other documents that concern that particular axis of attack.
1 JUDGE LIU: To my understanding, that's -- document P124, as well
2 as the map, D131, are already admitted into the evidence already. This
3 witness gives testimony to those two documents, and he said that he never
4 seen those two documents before he came to The Hague. So I wonder how
5 much we could get from the testimony of this witness, whether his
6 testimony will be any assistance to our case. Because I understand that
7 this witness is called as a fact witness, not as an expert witness, in our
8 particular case.
9 Mr. Re, I hone you could take my remarks into consideration.
10 MR. RE: I certainly do, but I certainly note that each of the
11 military people we've -- senior military people we have called have been
12 cross-examined at some length about matters that are basically of
13 expertise, asked to comment upon subordination, documents, what they mean
14 militarily, and I anticipate, and I hope I won't be disappointed because I
15 anticipate Mr. Morrissey will do exactly the same with this witness. And
16 what I'm asking is the retired general to comment, because his units were
17 involved in these particular operations, in what these documents mean. It
18 may obviate the need for us to call expert evidence if he can give an
19 opinion based upon his expertise of what they mean.
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, in this situation, you might ask some questions
21 related to the unit attached to this witness's command.
22 MR. RE:
23 Q. This particular order doesn't refer to the 9th or the 10th Brigade
24 specifically, but the question I'm after is -- the answer -- what I want
25 to ask him about is the meaning of resubordination there in terms of the
1 document, and relating that to the map which the witness asked to -- we
2 asked to see a military map. That's why I showed him the map. And I
3 asked him to comment in general terms upon the detail there. He said he
4 would need to look at a map. I was going to ask him how it that relates
5 to the map which is the map in question and about the resubordination and
6 how it relates to the order.
7 JUDGE LIU: Well, as I said before, the witness testified he never
8 saw these two documents before he came to The Hague. How could he give
9 some reliable testimony on the resubordination issues?
10 MR. RE: That didn't stop the Defence asking Mr. Gusic about the
11 inspection team order, for example, and he hadn't seen that either. I
12 mean, every witness who is of a certain level has been asked to comment
13 upon the meaning of something, and I will ask Mr. Karavelic about the
14 inspection team; I'm sure Mr. Morrissey will do exactly the same and put
15 his case to the witness because the witness is a general. He will ask him
16 what an inspection team is, and what this means, and what Mr. Halilovic
17 really in command or control or was it a coordinating role? These
18 questions have been asked of everyone. They will be asked of this witness
19 by the Defence.
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, as for the inspection team, I believe there is
21 some reasons and grounds for putting some questions to this witness, of
22 course, on the basis to know whether this witness is aware of that
23 inspection team or not. But as for this map, and the document, I have
24 serious doubts about that. In the meantime, the Defence has the
25 objections to this.
1 MR. RE: I'll move on.
2 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much for your cooperation.
3 MR. RE: Could the witness please be shown the next document. I
4 withdraw that.
5 I want to move now to the return of the 9th and the 10th Brigade
6 to Sarajevo.
7 Q. Are you able to say now: How long after they left that they
8 actually returned to Sarajevo?
9 A. I can't say with precision when they returned. I believe that
10 there is a report on when the 2nd Independent Battalion or some of the
11 units of the 2nd Independent Battalion returned.
12 Q. What about the 9th and the 10th? Are you able to say in days or
13 weeks how long after they left did they actually return to Sarajevo?
14 A. The only thing I can say is that they did not return within the
15 scheduled time according to my orders. They stayed much longer. But I
16 would have to track down the pertinent documents to check on the exact
17 dates of their return.
18 Q. Are you referring to a period of seven days there, are you?
19 That's scheduled time?
20 A. That is what I'm referring to, yes.
21 Q. Upon their return, did you have communication with Mr. Halilovic
22 in relation to these units?
23 A. Not that I can recall. I don't think so.
24 MR. RE: Could the witness please be shown document 65 ter 77,
25 which is number RR271562?
1 THE REGISTRAR: MFI 389.
2 MR. RE:
3 Q. Do you have the document there?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. It's an order of the 23rd of September 1993 from the name at the
6 bottom is Sefer Halilovic with a signature over it addressed to the 1st
7 Corps commander, 1st Corps command, I'm sorry, to the attention of the
8 commander. The order has number 02/1109-1. Now, is this an order that
9 Mr. Halilovic sent to you on that day?
10 A. Well, according to this document, that's it. I think this is what
11 I referred to the day -- yesterday or the day before yesterday, when I
12 said that an order had arrived asking for units. They did not designate
13 specifically what units but just a number of units that were required with
14 a specific number of men per unit.
15 Q. Do you remember actually speaking to Mr. Halilovic in relation to
16 this order, either before or after you received it?
17 A. I cannot remember any specific conversation or any element from
18 any such conversations. In fact I think that we did talk about it but I
19 cannot recall any details of such conversation.
20 Q. What was your personal reaction to receiving an order asking for
21 more soldiers from Mr. Halilovic? Not your response, but your personal
23 A. I don't know. I don't remember.
24 Q. What did you do when you received this order?
25 A. What was I supposed to do? I acted accordingly. I obeyed the
1 order. I proceeded to set up this unit.
2 Q. Where did you obtain the -- the soldiers from?
3 A. There must be other documents, follow-up documents, to this order.
4 I believe I tried to establish a battalion using three or four from other
5 brigades. I assigned Zijo Rujanac as commander and his deputy was
6 supposed to be Fuad Abadzic. There was a certain amount of trouble with
7 these two men, and I believe I then issued another document appointing
8 different people instead of those two, and so on and so forth. And unless
9 I'm mistaken, this unit never left due to some difficulties. And then
10 soon after, the Neretva operation was stopped.
11 Q. Point 4 of the order says "The battalion commander will lead the
12 unit from Sarajevo at 1900 hours on the 23rd of September 1993, transport
13 from Hrasnica is organised in a motorised vehicle, direction of march,
14 Sarajevo, Hrasnica, Pazaric, Bradina, Neretva River, Donja Jablanica.
15 Commander of the unit will in Donja Jablanica report within the unit
16 OSVKIKM," [sic] that's the Supreme Staff command forward command post.
17 Why have you said there that they should report to the Supreme Command
18 Staff forward command post?
19 A. I'm not sure what you expect me to tell you, because everything
20 was an option at the time. There was probably one of the documents that
21 had arrived from Jablanica that stated "forward command post," and I
22 followed that. I didn't make this up.
23 Q. What is a forward command post, in military terms?
24 A. Each commander from brigade level up, division, Corps, army, and
25 so on and so forth, is entitled to set up a forward command post according
1 to tactical and doctrinal rules. Forward command post? What does that
2 mean? And I'm speaking in general terms. In order to -- the basic
3 command post where you usually have the unit commander, the brigade or
4 corps commander, respectively, and the greatest part of the command of the
5 headquarters in its entirety. The entire staff, all the sectors, the
6 assistant commanders who report to the commander and so on and so forth.
7 Should the need arise, in a specific area under the control of that unit
8 on account of specific ongoing combat operations, whether because there
9 are too many mixed-type units because no good communication lines can be
10 set up or because the -- because of the requirements of the type of combat
11 itself that is going on, in order to be more effective and more successful
12 in carrying out combat tasks, or rather, the specific combat mission that
13 he must carry out within his own area of responsibility, a commander may
14 set up a group to be headed by one of his most experienced and responsible
15 officers. That is, an officer from his own command. Usually, you send a
16 deputy to the forward command post. If not a deputy then a chief. If not
17 a chief then the next officer in line, depending on the level of
18 difficulty of the task that this command post faces. Normally if you have
19 a forward command post you appoint a commander and a number of other
20 officers. When I say a number of other officers, what do I mean? I mean
21 that depending on the nature of the task in hand, the task to be carried
22 out by the forward command post, one appoints one or more officers, if
23 possible, from each of the different command bodies of the unit in
24 question. I believe I have been abundantly clear on this issue. If you
25 need any further clarifications, I'll be glad to provide them.
1 Q. You've been extremely helpful with that comprehensive answer. Why
2 would the Supreme Command staff have -- have a forward command post in
3 Jablanica, Donja Jablanica?
4 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, Your Honour, I have to object to that one.
5 There is a dispute as to whether what there was in that area was really an
6 IKM -- was really a forward command post or not. The term has been used
7 but the issue has been squarely raised in this case as to whether or not
8 that thing called an IKM is in fact a forward command post and functioning
9 as one. So when my friend asks that question, "Why should the supreme
10 court staff have a forward command post in Jablanica, or Donja Jablanica,"
11 the preliminary question is: Did they really have one there at all?
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, I believe that is a question put by the
13 Prosecution is within the scope of this document, because the forward
14 command post was mentioned in that document. The only issue is that what
15 is that forward command post mentioned in this document. Is that the
16 General Staff's IKM or not? So I don't think there is any problem for the
17 Prosecution to put this question to the witness.
18 MR. MORRISSEY: As the Court pleases.
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
20 MR. RE:
21 Q. You said earlier you weren't making it up when you sent this off
22 to the -- or you said in the order that they should report to the Supreme
23 Command staff's IKM in Donja Jablanica. The question is why would the
24 Supreme Command Staff have an IKM in Donja Jablanica?
25 A. First and foremost, I must say it would be much more logical to
1 ask General Delic, General Divjak or General Stjepan Siber about this. All
2 these were generals who were in top positions in the Supreme Command
3 Staff, and these people could provide the best answer. You're asking me,
4 as one of their subordinates at the time, including General Sefer
5 Halilovic. I'll try to give you an answer. In 1993, and I believe it
6 will take at least a couple of minutes for me to answer this question, was
7 the most critical year for Bosnia and Herzegovina and its armed forces.
8 There were three enemies, three serious enemies that joined forces in
9 1993, and tried, in a concerted effort, to coordinate their respective
10 forces to crush Bosnia-Herzegovina, to crush its legitimate government,
11 and to force the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina to capitulate. These
12 three enemies were: The Army of the Republic of Srpska; the Army of
13 Yugoslavia led by the Belgrade regime; the next enemy was the Croatian
14 Defence Council, and the Croatian army, led by the regime in Zagreb; the
15 third enemy was Fikret Abdic, himself a product of an agreement between
16 those two other enemies, Milosevic and Tudjman.
17 What was the gist of their agreement back in 1993? And then after
18 that, I would go on to explain the need to set up a forward command post.
19 In 1993, they distributed tasks among themselves. The army of the
20 Republic of Srpska said in 1993, we shall keep conquering parts of the
21 territory under the control of the BH army throughout the eastern part of
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, north to south, or rather from Trebinje to Bijeljina.
23 I assume that each and every one of us are able to imagine the map of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 1993, the Army of the Republika Srpska conquered
25 large chunks of territory in that part of Bosnia-Herzegovina thereby
1 turning Gorazde into an enclave, turning Zepa into an enclave, and turning
2 Srebrenica into an enclave. Failing by a narrow margin to place Sarajevo
3 in the second ring. Throughout the army of the Republic of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina in central Bosnia, around Banja Luka and in the broader
5 area carried out no offensive operations whatsoever, because it had
6 reached an agreement with the Croatian Defence Council that they would
7 carry out a huge amount of offensive operations in Central Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina. The Croatian Defence Council obliged in the spring of 1993
9 and launched offensive operations in Central Bosnia covering almost the
10 entire area of responsibilities of the 3rd Corps, including the 4th Corps
11 and including the 6th Corps. The objective of the Croatian Defence
12 Council was to achieve a military occupation of the territory which they
13 considered to be part of their three communities of the Croatian
14 Herceg-Bosna. The first Herceg Bosnia was established on the 18th of
15 November 1991, comprised 30 municipalities. The second one, Bosanska
16 Posavina comprised ten municipalities, and the third one, in Central
17 Bosnia, the central one, comprised four municipalities.
18 When the Supreme Command of Bosnia and Herzegovina felt the blade
19 of a knife at its throat, to be quite literal, it was only then that the
20 3rd Corps was allowed to go and clash with the Croatian Defence Council.
21 It was only a matter of days before the army would capitulate. The 3rd
22 Corps launched a number of operations and throughout June and July
23 improved their military situation. The Croatian Defence Council
24 experienced a degree of failure in central Bosnia, in military terms, and
25 they realised that there was no way they could achieve their objectives in
1 the summer of 1993. Then they decided to cleanse Herzegovina. They
2 launched an attack on Mostar and the entire Neretva River valley in
3 concert with the Army of the Republic of Srpska. I'm not saying this off
4 the top of my head now. All that I'm saying is based on specific
5 documents. The Neretva operation 93 was planned and was fully justified
6 from a purely military point of view, if you ask me. I'm not talking
7 about crimes. Crimes, of course, were not justified. I am talking about
8 the Neretva 93 operation from a purely military standpoint. Once the
9 Croatian Defence Council had failed to cleanse Central Bosnia, they wanted
10 to make sure they would cleanse Herzegovina, the Neretva River valley, and
11 whatever they managed to conquer.
12 Negotiations in Bosnia-Herzegovina were coming to an end, followed
13 by the Washington Agreement on the Federation. Now we are coming to our
14 old question: Why did one need to set up a forward command post if,
15 indeed, it was a forward command post? I'm not committing myself either
17 The reason was, precisely, the complex military problems that were
18 being faced, but we must never forget about the political problems faced
19 at the time. The greatest problem to the military officers of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina was how to establish some sort of communication with
21 the civilian bodies of government, and also how to establish coordination
22 between the 4th and the 6th corps and part of the 3rd corps. I believe
23 Bugojno and Gornji Vakuf were by this time already within the area of
24 responsibility of the 3rd Corps, and the central area around Konjic and
25 the broader area was under the 6th Corps, while Mostar and its
1 surroundings were under the 4th Corps.
2 If you look at this map and realise the extent of the area that
3 this operations plan covered, and I'm speaking from a purely military
4 point of view, it would have been natural to set up a body like that in
5 order to prevent plans devised by the Croatian Defence Council and the
6 Croatian army from coming to fruition in Herzegovina. I forgot to mention
7 the third enemy, namely Fikret Abdic. He tried to use his own army to
8 crush the 5th Corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Bihac area,
9 and in the broader area around Bihac. He failed in his intention to crush
10 the 5th Corps but he managed to take some of their territory and control
11 it for a period of time. This army was led by Fikret Abdic, the
12 self-styled president of the Autonomous Region Bosanska Krajina. He was
13 tried for this in Zagreb after the war and he was sentenced to 20 years of
15 MR. RE: I think we are over time, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes, yes. I think it's time for us to adjourn and
17 we'll resume tomorrow morning at 9.00.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.09 p.m., to
19 be reconvened on Thursday, the 21st day of April,
20 2005, at 9.00 a.m.