1 Monday, 5 April 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.14 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case
8 number IT-01-47-T, the Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 Could we have the appearances for the Prosecution.
12 MR. WITHOPF: Good afternoon, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
13 Your Honours. Good afternoon, Counsel. For the Prosecution, Chester
14 Stamp, Ekkehard Withopf, and Ruth Karper, the case manager.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And could we have the
16 appearances for the Defence.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. President. Good
18 day, Your Honours. On behalf of General Enver Hadzihasanovic, Edina
19 Residovic, counsel; and Muriel Cauvin, my legal assistant. Thank you.
20 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honours. On
21 behalf of Mr. Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and our legal
22 assistant, Mr. Mulalic.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. The Trial Chamber
24 would like to greet everyone present in the courtroom, the members of the
25 Prosecution, Defence counsel, the accused, the registrar, who has joined
1 us for this hearing, the usher, and everyone else present in the
2 courtroom. And I wouldn't want to forget the interpreters either.
3 We have a witness scheduled for today, but I will first give the
4 floor to the Defence, who have had the opportunity to reflect on the
5 matter over the weekend and are now in a position to tell us about their
6 position with regard to our decision rendered last week, which concerns
7 the documents and documents that were contested. The Prosecution may make
8 comments after the Defence has taken the floor, but could the Defence tell
9 us what the situation is at present.
10 MR. DIXON: Thank you, Your Honours. On behalf of both Defence
11 teams, we wish to thank Your Honours firstly for the opportunity you have
12 given us to consider your decision over the weekend.
13 Our requests today, following in-depth discussions about the
14 matter, is that Your Honours consider varying to some degree the decision
15 that Your Honours rendered on Friday last week.
16 Our proposal is, Your Honours, that we as the Defence teams are
17 not required to give our detailed reasons why we object to the documents
18 at this stage. The date which Your Honours gave was the 8th of April
19 or -- or one week later but that we are given until the end of the
20 Prosecution case to outline what our objections are.
21 In the interim, Your Honours, we propose that all of the
22 documents are marked for identification - that's the contested documents -
23 that they are available to the Court and to the parties, and that in the
24 two months that remain of the Prosecution case, the Prosecution seek to
25 introduce as many of those documents through witnesses who do attend. In
1 addition, the expert witness, General Reinhardt, will have an opportunity
2 to refer to those documents that are relevant that are marked for
3 identification. And at the end of that process, we then reassess how many
4 documents have still not been admitted and that the Prosecution then have
5 an opportunity to address Your Honours on which documents they still wish
6 to rely upon and tender into evidence.
7 It is correct, Your Honours, that the jurisprudence of the
8 Tribunal does not require a witness to be available to introduce each and
9 every document. There are many examples from other cases where documents
10 have been admitted without the presence of a witness. But at the same
11 time that the jurisprudence does indicate that where possible, and as far
12 as possible, documents should be introduced through witnesses, and if not,
13 then the practice has been, Your Honours, for the Prosecution to outline
14 to the Trial Chamber which documents they wish to rely upon, making legal
15 arguments as to their relevancy and their reliability, with the Defence
16 then being given an opportunity to respond and the Trial Chamber rendering
17 its decision thereafter.
18 And our proposal would be that with the remaining documents which
19 haven't been tendered through witnesses at the end of the Prosecution case
20 some time is set aside for the parties to address Your Honours on which
21 documents should still be admitted. The Prosecution would then have a
22 chance to go through the documents category by category, which has been
23 the -- the practice in other cases, not to admit documents wholesale but
24 for the Prosecution to be required to explain category by category - for
25 example, if documents came from a government office, to explain the source
1 of those documents, the relevance of them, why the Prosecution believes
2 they are reliable, and for the Defence in light of those submissions to
3 then respond, and for Your Honours then to rule on which documents should
4 be admitted.
5 So the -- the net result, Your Honour, our proposal is that we
6 not be required to state what our objections are now because many
7 witnesses might still be coming who can introduce these documents and we
8 then have the opportunity to cross-examine them and set out our
9 objections, and that at the end of the case, when we know exactly what is
10 left over, the Prosecution can outline what is the relevance of the
11 remaining documents, the reliability of those documents, if they to
12 introduce them, and we can then respond, in accordance with Your Honours'
13 ruling that we then set out what are our particular objections.
14 Your Honours, we will, if you so request, set out our arguments
15 in writing and indicate what the jurisprudence is, if that could be of
16 assistance to Your Honours. We don't wish to delay the matter any
17 further. But if Your Honours are not in agreement with the proposal that
18 we are putting forward - and further motivation is required - we can in
19 the next few days, certainly by the end of our session on Thursday, submit
20 our arguments in more detail in writing. The Prosecution could also
21 submit their arguments in response at the same time or be given some
22 further time to -- to respond. And then a decision could be rendered.
23 But we've outlined our basic proposal today, so Your Honours are aware of
24 what consideration we have given to the matter.
25 In our submission, such a proposal would be a much more practical
1 way, firstly, of resolving a situation which involves many hundreds of
2 documents, and not just a handful, but hundreds of documents; and
3 secondly, and most importantly, it would ensure that the rights of the
4 accused are properly protected in that, firstly, the Defence would be
5 given an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses who are introducing
6 documents. And if witnesses cannot attend, be given an opportunity to
7 respond to what the Prosecution is submitting regarding the relevance and
8 reliability of those documents. And the burden would remain on the
9 Prosecution to present its case, with the Defence having to respond, which
10 is the way in which proceedings are conducted before this Tribunal.
11 Your Honours, lastly we wanted to -- to point out for the record,
12 because this was mentioned last week, that it is correct that the
13 Prosecution has indicated in their pre-trial brief which documents they
14 seek to rely upon and what the relevance of those documents is. We have
15 looked at the pre-trial brief carefully and have calculated that only 222
16 of the documents mentioned in the pre-trial brief are in the consolidated
17 list of documents, and of those we have already admitted 95, leaving 127
18 documents which the Prosecution have given the Defence proper notice of
19 regarding how they seek to use those documents to prove their case. So
20 that's 127 documents of the over-600 documents that we are on notice as to
21 how the Prosecution seeks to rely upon them.
22 But doing the calculations, Your Honours will see that that
23 leaves over 500 documents which we do not know what reliance the
24 Prosecution wishes to place on them. We also in many instances are not
25 aware of what the source of those documents is and how those documents
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 were gathered. They are not even, in many instances, basic chain of
2 custody statements as to who obtained the documents, when they were
3 obtained, and how they were handed to the Prosecution.
4 So we would be in a position, Your Honour, to respond to that
5 small number of documents, the 127, but not the bulk of the documents,
6 over 500. And in our view, it would be a much more practical solution to
7 look at all of the contested documents together by, first of all, seeing
8 what witnesses can introduce them, and then dealing with the remaining
9 documents category by category thereafter.
10 We should also not forget, Your Honours, that the Defence, when
11 it presents its case, might well refer to many of these documents as well,
12 which could allow them to be introduced that way, depending on the nature
13 of the Defence case. And, of course, Your Honours have the opportunity to
14 call witnesses who might be relevant to these documents at the end of the
15 case. So it is a process that can continue beyond the Prosecution case if
17 Your Honour, those are our submissions. It's an oral application
18 for Your Honours to consider varying the order that has been made. But as
19 I have mentioned, it can be formalised in writing with all the arguments
20 if Your Honours would prefer that method and if that could be of
21 assistance in resolving this matter.
22 Thank you, Your Honours, again for the opportunity to revisit the
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to
25 Mr. Withopf, there is something I would like to Defence to clarify for me.
1 You said that in their pre-trial brief 222 documents were mentioned.
2 There are 95 documents which are not problematic, in your opinion, and
3 there are 127 documents which raise certain issues. As far as the 95
4 documents are concerned, the ones that you say are admissible, have those
5 documents already been included in the list of documents that you have
6 approved of, or are these 95 new documents? Are these different
7 documents? Or have these 95 documents already been included among the 200
8 documents that are not being contested?
9 MR. DIXON: Your Honour, the 95 documents are already included in
10 the 286 documents that the Defence is prepared to admit at this stage, so
11 they are already included in that -- that number. And 127 are documents
12 that are not included, that are still contested.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Dixon.
14 I'll now give the floor to Mr. Withopf to hear what his position
15 is, and then the Trial Chamber will assess the matter.
16 Mr. Withopf.
17 MR. WITHOPF: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
18 Mr. President, Your Honours, the Prosecution's response to the
19 submission of the Defence will be comprised of three sections. It appears
20 to be necessary to very briefly summarise what has happened in the past in
21 order to show where we were on Friday last week. I will then address the
22 legal principles and the legal considerations of motions for
23 reconsideration. And even if Defence phrases it differently, the today's
24 motion is a motion for reconsideration of the Trial Chamber's decision of
25 last Friday. Then, Your Honours, Mr. President, I will provide the
1 Chamber with a number of additional facts which may help the Chamber to
2 determine on the motion for reconsideration, as put forward today by the
4 Where were we on Friday, Friday last week at the point the Trial
5 Chamber made it decision? The Prosecution has a consolidated exhibit
6 list, and the consolidated exhibit list has 966 documents on the list.
7 663 of such documents are contested by the Defence, meaning more than 65
8 per cent.
9 In respect to the reasons why they do contest such documents,
10 Defence has given very general reasons in their filing of 13th of March,
11 Tuesday last week, mainly outlining - and I'm referring to paragraph 3 -
12 that there are two reasons, authenticity or relevance, and in some cases
13 both of such reasons, and Defence is then providing the Prosecution and
14 the Trial Chamber with additional 12 criteria which may impact on these
15 two reasons, and they are emphasising that these are criteria inter alia.
16 The Chamber has decided on Friday the Defence at the very latest
17 by 15th of April should provide the Chamber and the Prosecution the
18 grounds for contesting the documents and that the Prosecution has to
19 respond a week later. This decision, Your Honour, was based on the Trial
20 Chamber's consideration that - and I quote - that: "Introducing documents
21 solely through witnesses would result in a considerable extension of the
22 time needed for hearing witnesses and would have adverse effects on the
23 efficiency of the process of the proceedings."
24 The Defence on Friday has asked to readdress this issue after a
25 number of different indications were given as to how they wish to
1 readdress this issue. It turned out, as the Prosecution has already
2 anticipated on Friday, that it is a motion for reconsideration. What
3 Defence want is not varying the decision in the one -- in respect to the
4 one or the other minor issue. They wish to have the motion being
5 reconsidered and being reconsidered along the lines they had addressed
6 earlier on in these proceedings.
7 Motions for reconsideration, Mr. President, Your Honours, motions
8 for reconsideration do not form part of the Rules of Procedure and
9 Evidence of the International Tribunal. They have no basis in the Rules
10 of Procedure and Evidence. And I refer to the Celebici Appeals Chamber
11 decision of 1st of June, 1999 in which this issue has been addressed in
12 some length. That means, Mr. President, Your Honours, that only in
13 very -- in very particular circumstances a Trial Chamber can be asked to
14 reconsider one of its decisions. Such particular circumstances,
15 Mr. President, Your Honours, have been detailed by the jurisprudence of
16 this International Tribunal as, "A change of circumstances," number one;
17 and number two, "A change of circumstances resulting in the previous
18 decision being erroneous and causing prejudice to the accused."
19 These principles, Mr. President, Your Honours -- this principle
20 applied to the present case show -- this principle shows that the Defence
21 motion for reconsideration has no basis in law. There is no change of
22 circumstances, Mr. President, Your Honours. The Prosecution exhibit list
23 is very well known to the Defence. The exhibits themselves are known to
24 the Defence. The majority of these exhibits has been disclosed many
25 months ago. Many of them actually have been disclosed more than two years
1 ago. And the issue has been discussed repeatedly and in each and every
2 detail since the beginning of these proceedings. The Defence has had
3 ample -- has had ample opportunity to address all the issues they
4 addressed today in oral -- in both in oral and in written submissions.
5 Secondly, the Trial Chamber's decision is not erroneous. The
6 procedure applied by this Trial Chamber - namely, the tendering of the
7 documents into evidence from the bar table and not via witnesses - this is
8 not only a well-established procedure in civil law jurisdictions and a
9 well-established practice in such jurisdictions; it has also been applied
10 repeatedly -- it has been applied repeatedly before this International
11 Tribunal. And I'm referring to the cases of the Prosecutor versus Simic
12 and the Prosecutor versus Galic.
13 As a result, the Defence motion has no basis in law. The motion
14 for reconsideration has no basis in law. Already for this reason, the
15 Prosecution submits that the Defence motion should be denied.
16 In the event, however, Mr. President, Your Honours, that the
17 Trial Chamber doesn't share this view, as just detailed by the
18 Prosecution, I wish to provide the Chamber additional facts to finally
19 determine this issue. Defence has identified, as already mentioned, two
20 main criteria: Authenticity and relevance. And they had identified,
21 inter alia, as they are saying, additional 12 factors which impact on such
22 criteria. They did not show which of these two criteria apply to which
23 document. They even said that in some cases both criteria may apply, and
24 of course and consequently, they did not inform which of the 12 factors
25 may apply to the different sorts of documents.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Since the Defence, Mr. President, Your Honours, were able to
2 identify the two reasons and they were even able to identify the 12
3 factors, one would have thought that they have carefully considered the
4 issue document by document and that they would have been able to inform
5 both the Prosecution and the Trial Chamber what the problems and what the
6 challenges to the documents may be. They haven't done so.
7 On Friday after the Trial Chamber rendered its decision - and I
8 really wish to emphasise that last week this issue prior to rendering the
9 decision has been again and in great detail discussed - Defence counsel
10 informed both the Trial Chamber and the Prosecution - and that's now a
11 quote; and I'm referring to page 111552 and 111559 of the Friday's
12 transcript - that: "It would require more than two weeks of work to make
13 our first assessment without drafting anything." That means it would be
14 the first assessment. This statement, Your Honours, Mr. President, leaves
15 the Prosecution with the question how were they able -- how were Defence
16 able to identify the documents which they were contesting and which they
17 were not contesting if Defence hasn't made even -- hasn't even made its
18 first assessment?
19 In respect to the facts, I wish to draw the attention of the
20 Trial Chamber of a number -- on a number of issues. 375 documents which
21 were contested stem from the so-called Sarajevo collection.
22 Mr. President, Your Honours, the Sarajevo collection is a collection of
23 documents seized as a result of a consensual search of the ABiH main
24 archive in Sarajevo. These are official documents that were kept in the
25 official ABiH main archive in Sarajevo.
1 The Chamber, Mr. President, Your Honours, you may be interested
2 to know that 72 per cent out of these documents have been contested by the
3 Defence; 308 of the Sarajevo collection exhibits are 3rd Corps documents;
4 204 are contested; 148 of such documents are 7th Muslim Brigade documents;
5 138 are contested, meaning 93 per cent; and there are many more. More
6 than 300 of such documents actually stem from the ABiH 3rd Corps, and
7 these are documents that are relevant to the time period of the
8 indictment. More than 100 of such documents - namely, 104, Mr. President,
9 Your Honours - show that the accused Hadzihasanovic is the originator of
10 such documents. More than 50 of such documents show that the accused
11 Kubura is the originator of these documents.
12 Mr. President, Your Honours, taking into account that these
13 documents stem from the official ABiH main archive, they were seized as a
14 result of a search operation which was done in consensus with the Bosnian
15 authorities, and that they show both of the accused as the originators of
16 these documents, it would be very helpful for the Prosecution and for the
17 Trial Chamber to get to know the reasons why Defence are contesting these
18 documents. And in this context, Mr. President, Your Honours - and I'm
19 coming to the end of my oral submissions - I wish to draw the attention on
20 two of these 12 factors which have been detailed by my learned colleagues
21 from the Defence side, which are, just an example, since I don't want to
22 waste the Court's time -- which are just an example, what would it mean if
23 the Court were to reconsider its decision from last Friday. There is the
24 issue of signature, and there is the issue of problems with translation.
25 If the signature on a document is challenged by the Defence, this
1 of course would involve a number of efforts - and everybody in this
2 courtroom is knowing what I am talking about - would involve a number of
3 efforts which would significantly delay the court proceedings, which would
4 delay this trial, since we would need an expert if there are issues with
5 the signature. And the expert would need to get examples, and he would
6 have to compile his report, and he would have to submit the report, and
7 the report would have to be translated. Obviously this would cause a
8 serious delay of the proceedings.
9 Even more of concern, however, Mr. President, Your Honours, is
10 the factor which is identified by the Defence as problems with
11 translation. As already mentioned earlier on, Defence, since a
12 substantial period of time, is in possession of most of the vast majority
13 of the documents themselves which are on the exhibit list, and they got
14 the translations and they were able to assess any translation problems.
15 And Defence is the only party which is able to assess translation
16 problems, since we are not speaking B/C/S we have to rely on what we get
17 from CLSS, and there's no reason for the Prosecution to have any doubt
18 that what we get from CLSS is the absolute correct translation.
19 What Defence is asking for - and I really wish to emphasise this -
20 would result in the following situation: There is a witness the
21 Prosecution wishes to -- wishes the witness to comment on a certain
22 document. The document is shown to the witness. Defence raises an issue
23 in respect to problems with translation. Nobody in the courtroom other
24 than Defence is in a position to identify where the problems are. The
25 problems - and I do appreciate the position of the Defence, that sometimes
1 it may be very necessary to have a 110 per cent accurate translation -
2 that would mean even the best qualified translator in the courtroom may
3 not be in a position to translate it on the spot. It would have to be
4 re-given to CLSS, the concerns of the Defence would have -- would have to
5 be taken into account, the witness would have to be sent home, the witness
6 would have to be recalled at a later point in time, and the document would
7 have to be shown to the witness again.
8 Since Defence is not volunteering to us at this point in time to
9 give an indication which documents are concerned and which documents --
10 and what are the problems with translations, such a situation we may face
11 with each and every witness in the near future. We don't know, since
12 Defence is not telling us. And the Prosecution doesn't want to speculate
13 on the reasons why not.
14 The burden of proof has been addressed by my learned colleagues
15 from the Defence side. If the Defence follows the procedure as
16 established by the Court decision of last Friday, the burden of proof
17 isn't touched upon at all, since it's obviously still the Prosecution who
18 has to address the issue of authenticity, who has to satisfy the Trial
19 Chamber about the relevance of the documents, and it's still the
20 Prosecution who has to show that the other 12 factors are met.
21 To summarise the Prosecution's submission, Mr. President, Your
22 Honours, number one, Defence had ample opportunity over the past months,
23 and they did so, to address all related issues in order to inform -- to
24 give the Trial Chamber a chance to make an informed decision. The motion
25 for reconsideration as such has no basis in the Tribunal's law, nor in the
1 Tribunal's jurisprudence. And number three, if the motion for
2 reconsideration would be granted for the reasons I outlined - and I really
3 wish to emphasise that I don't want to waste the Court's time; I could
4 make such submissions in respect to each and every of the 12 factors
5 Defence mentioned - if the Trial Chamber would grant the Defence motion
6 for reconsideration, it can be anticipated that this trial -- that the
7 duration of this trial will be substantially - will be substantially -
9 Thank you very much, Mr. President, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Withopf.
11 I give the floor once again very briefly to Mr. Dixon, and then
12 we will stop the discussion on this issue.
13 MR. DIXON: Thank you, Your Honours. I will take it very
14 quickly. Thank you.
15 The main point that we wish to make, Your Honour, is that we are
16 not trying to avoid making our objections known on these various
17 documents. It's only in the interests of the accused to make sure that
18 our objections are conveyed and clearly stated for the record.
19 Our position is that at this stage it would not be practical for
20 us to be putting forward our objections in detail when it's not clear from
21 the Prosecution side how they wish to rely upon many of these documents.
22 My learned friend very successfully outlined the way the
23 procedure could work when he, for example, started addressing the Sarajevo
24 collection, setting out which documents are part of that collection, how
25 were they collected, how were they to be relied upon. I don't wish to in
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 any way suggest how the Prosecution could address this matter further, but
2 it would be open to the Prosecution to call a witness or witnesses
3 regarding that collection, and many of the documents could then be
4 addressed through such a witness, giving the Defence an opportunity to
5 cross-examine as to how documents were collected, how were they sent to
6 this archive. And in that way, to test the reliability of those
8 As my learned friend from the Prosecution has indicated, the
9 burden does rest on the Prosecution, and our simple request is not to
10 change Your Honours' decision. We of course have to respond by indicating
11 what our objections are. But in our view, it would be a much better
12 course for the Prosecution first to outline through their witnesses and
13 through their oral submissions, like my learned friend has done, what
14 relevance they place on these documents and at a minimum to show what are
15 the indicia of reliability, and then the Defence, as Your Honours have
16 ordered, would be in a position to respond. And at that point, at the end
17 of the Prosecution case a ruling can be made as to what documents would be
19 Thank you, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Residovic.
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
22 I would just like to refer to some of the arguments submitted by
23 my learned friend, drawing attention to the legal situation with regard to
24 the request for the reconsideration of the ruling.
25 Reviewing your decision of Friday, the Defence was confronted
1 with a problem that we presented before you, Your Honours, and that is
2 that the consistent implementation of such a decision within the deadlines
3 you have set could result in the basic rights of the accused being
4 infringed upon, and that is one of the arguments that colleague Withopf
5 referred to, that is, that it was in accordance with the jurisdiction of
6 this Tribunal, that one of the grounds for reconsideration is based on the
7 rights of the accused.
8 The Defence relies on Articles 20 and 21 of the Statute. It is
9 true that Article 20 of the Statute draws attention to the importance of
10 expedition and fair trial for the accused. The arguments presented by my
11 learned friend Withopf draws attention to only one of the two elements,
12 and that is the problems that would be provoked by such a decision
13 regarding expeditiousness. However, we wish to draw attention to the
14 other aspect, that is, the fair trial and respect for the rights of the
15 accused, as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Statute.
16 As my learned colleague Mr. Dixon has said, we believe that one
17 of the basic rights of the accused is the right to cross-examine. That is
18 why the jurisdiction of this Tribunal, fully acknowledging the need that
19 the Prosecution may tender documents without necessarily using a witness
20 to do so, the general practice has been for a witness to be brought for
21 the purpose of tendering documents so that the Defence can, of course,
23 Secondly, which we consider to be very important, we looked at
24 your decision of the 24th of February, and we reviewed the procedure we
25 have applied in the past four months, and it is our submission that the
1 objections of the Prosecution to Defence exhibits prompted your rulings,
2 which meant that only 26 Defence documents were identified -- marked for
3 identification only. Also on the basis of our objections, only 13
4 Prosecution documents have been marked for identification, because it was
5 your opinion, Your Honours, that documents needed to be tendered in an
6 appropriate manner.
7 The next argument proffered by the Prosecution in challenging our
8 right to have documents tendered in the way suggested by my colleague is
9 that the Defence has had in its possession most of these documents for
10 more than two years. For clarification purposes, I wish to say that it
11 was through a request for access to the archives that the Defence obtained
12 access to these documents, but this was access to the archives and not
13 through disclosure. The total archives of the 3rd Corps of the Supreme
14 Command and the 7th Muslim Brigade were exempted from the State of Bosnia
15 and Herzegovina and were no longer to be found there but were in the
16 possession of the Prosecution of this Tribunal. For this reason, the
17 Defence was granted access to these documents.
18 I also wish to remind you, Your Honours, that the Prosecution was
19 duty-bound to provide us with a consolidated list on the 10th of October
20 together with their pre-trial brief; however, you are aware that we
21 received that list much later, following repeated insistence by the Trial
23 I wish also to go back to one of the basic rights of the accused,
24 and that is to be informed in his own language of all the charges against
25 him. That is why it is our position that the Prosecution should be
1 obliged to state how each document relates to the case and the charges,
2 and the grounds for tendering them, explaining also their authenticity and
4 As colleague Dixon has already said, on the consolidated list,
5 there are more than 500 documents for which the Prosecution has not linked
6 them to the case in the indictment. And now the Defence is being asked to
7 take a position on these documents, which means that we would have to
8 state our views on documents in advance before knowing the significance
9 that the Prosecution attaches to them and their relevance to the case.
10 Furthermore, in connection with the translations, we never had in
11 mind the translations which contain minor errors. As we have already
12 informed the Prosecution, we today have about 40 documents on the
13 consolidated list which were never provided to the Defence in translation.
14 And one of the basic rights of the accused, according to Article 21 of the
15 Statute, is that he has to have all those documents in his own language.
16 For these reasons, Your Honours, it was our view that we
17 shouldn't spend your time and the time of all of us here in the courtroom
18 to set out all these arguments in detail, as well as the jurisdiction and
19 jurisprudence of this Tribunal. If we had been asked to do so in writing,
20 we would have done so if that were to be of any use to you. If you are
21 going to render a decision today about our oral motion, our final
22 proposition would be that we admit 286 documents not contested by the
23 Defence, that we continue to admit into evidence other documents through
24 witnesses in the same way that we have been doing so far, and that
25 eventually the Prosecution, as in many other cases, should, depending on
1 the needs of its own case, set forth the arguments, the grounds, on the
2 basis of which they need other documents, and only then, upon receiving
3 such reasoned explanation, would the Defence be able to respond. I think
4 we would not only gain in terms of expeditiousness, but also this trial
5 would meet the other basic criterion, and that is respect for the rights
6 of the accused and a fair trial.
7 Thank you, Your Honours.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As we envisaged, that you
9 should only have the right to respond once - you have responded twice - so
10 the Prosecution will also be given the floor to respond to what you have
11 just said, and then we will stop there.
12 I would just like to ask the Prosecution to provide us some
13 additional information regarding two points that were raised by the
14 Defence, and that is that 40 documents have still not been translated; and
15 secondly, regarding the totality of the documents on the consolidated
16 list, I counted more than 800. 860. And out of the 860 documents, only
17 222 apparently will be -- were included in the pre-trial brief. That is
18 what we are told by the Defence. And proceeding from there, there would
19 be about 600 documents which are not referenced in the pre-trial brief.
20 So, Mr. Withopf, just in a few minutes I give you the floor, and
21 after that we will hear the witness. The Chamber will make its ruling and
22 let you know tomorrow.
23 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, just very briefly
24 answering the Court's questions.
25 Defence has submitted to us a list containing 40 out of the 966
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 documents which are not yet translated. The Prosecution is taking care of
2 this issue. We will examine the list. It can be anticipated that most,
3 if not all of these documents, are actually not yet translated. The
4 Prosecution will take care of this issue and will provide Defence with
5 translations of such documents at the very earliest opportunity.
6 I wish, however, in this context to emphasise that Defence
7 counsel are speaking both languages, English and B/C/S, and that they are
8 able to provide the two accused with a translation of documents if they
9 are in English into B/C/S. However, if there's a problem, the Prosecution
10 will take care of it.
11 The Prosecution has also examined how many documents are referred
12 to in the Prosecution's pre-trial brief. The Prosecution's pre-trial
13 brief is actually exceptionally detailed in making reference to documents
14 and it has done so in great detail, far beyond the usual practice before
15 this Tribunal. The Prosecution has counted the referenced documents as
16 well. The number is similar to the number as put forward by the Defence.
17 This is certainly not at issue. We counted some 254 documents.
18 However, Defence was in possession of the exhibit list three days
19 after the filing of the Prosecution's pre-trial brief, and the delay was
20 actually caused by an agreement Defence and the Prosecution had for the
21 reason the Defence wanted to have the exhibits in an electronic version.
22 It was an agreement by both parties. Again, this is certainly not at
24 My learned colleague from the Hadzihasanovic Defence was
25 emphasising the issue of the consolidated exhibit list. This is, again,
1 not an issue because Defence had two exhibit lists. The consolidated
2 exhibit list is nothing else but having merged two exhibit lists in one
3 list. It doesn't mean that there were many more additional documents.
4 Defence knew by mid-October about the vast majority of the documents the
5 Prosecution is relying upon as evidence in this case.
6 The Sarajevo collection, if I may address this issue - and again,
7 this issue has been discussed at length in the course of the many Rule 65
8 ter meetings and Status Conferences. And I refer to the transcripts of
9 such meetings and conferences. The Sarajevo collection was earlier on
10 provided to the Defence in its whole; meaning, more than 50.000 pages of
11 documents in electronic version. The Prosecution has done far more than
12 it was required under the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. Under the
13 Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Prosecution was only required to
14 disclose Rule 68 materials and to disclose Rule 66(A)(i) and (A)(ii)
15 materials. The Prosecution has done everything to enable the Defence to
16 have the Sarajevo collection very early on in electronic version, the full
18 At the very end of my submissions, Mr. President, Your Honours, I
19 think that many of the arguments put forward by the Defence distract from
20 the focus of the Chamber's decision of last Friday. The focus of the
21 Chamber's submission [sic] of last Friday was to keep the proceedings
22 focussed and to allow both parties to proceed in the same pace, in the
23 same quick pace as they did in the past. The Prosecution again expresses
24 its serious concerns that in the event the Defence motion for
25 reconsideration is granted, this will result in a serious delay of
1 proceedings. My learned colleagues have already indicated - and that's
2 certainly correct - that the Prosecution would be forced to call
3 additional witnesses, and then -- for example, for the Sarajevo
4 collection, that would mean that more than 350 documents would have to be
5 put to this one witness, and Defence may raise objections in respect to
6 each and every of the documents. It's hardly to imagine how many days, if
7 not weeks, such a procedure would need to be finished.
8 It appears to be far better to proceed as has been decided by the
9 Trial Chamber on Friday; namely, to stick to the decision, to not
10 reconsider the decision, and to order the Defence that they have to come
11 forward with their challenges. It's a bit odd that they say to us, "At
12 the very end of the proceedings we will explain what the challenges are
13 about, and now Prosecution, at the very end of the Prosecution case, now
14 you are obliged to bring additional witnesses to address issues of
15 authenticity, to address issues of signature, and to address the many
16 other issues which have been detailed in the Defence written submission of
17 30th of March this year."
18 Again, the Prosecution wishes this oral motion for
19 reconsideration -- for reconsideration being dismissed. Thank you very
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will render our decision at
22 the hearing tomorrow, with respect to the oral motion asking the Chamber
23 to reconsider its oral ruling of last Friday.
24 We have a witness planned for today. Before bringing the witness
25 in, I should like to say that tomorrow the hearing will begin at 2.15,
1 simply for reasons linked to a plenary that will be held at 5.00 p.m. So
2 we will have a break at 5.00 p.m., and then we will resume at 6.00 p.m.
3 So tomorrow there will be a break between 5.00 and 6.00 in the
4 afternoon, because there is a plenary meeting of the Judges of this
5 Tribunal at that time.
6 Mr. Usher, will you go and bring the witness.
7 [The witness entered court]
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir. Let me
9 first check that you can hear what I am saying in your own language. If
10 so, please tell me so.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can hear you.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Chamber welcomes you, and
13 we wish to tell you that you have been called as a witness by the
14 Prosecution and because you're going to testify, you need to take the
15 solemn declaration. But before you do that, I need to identify you, so
16 will you please give me your first and last name.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am Sead Zeric.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And when were you born, please?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 31st of July, 1957.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am a graduate lawyer, and I work
23 in the judiciary.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As a lawyer in the judiciary.
25 But more specifically, what is your exact position? Are you working in
1 the Ministry of Justice or in a court? Will you tell us what your exact
2 position is now.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am deputy district prosecutor for
4 Banja Luka.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And in 1993, more than ten
6 years ago, what was your position in 1993?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was district military prosecutor
8 in Travnik.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you already testified in
10 an international or national court on the events of 1993, or is this the
11 first time that you are being asked to testify in court?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Today is the first time.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 Will you be kind enough to read the solemn declaration, please.
15 Mr. Usher will give it to you. Please read it.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
17 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may be seated.
19 WITNESS: SEAD ZERIC
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. As you are a
22 prosecutor, you are surely familiar with the way in which proceedings are
23 conducted before this Tribunal. I'll provide you with certain information
24 about the procedure that will be followed here.
25 Initially you will be examined by the Prosecution. The
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 representatives of the Prosecution are to your right. They represent this
2 Tribunal's OTP.
3 Once they have completed their examination-in-chief, Defence
4 counsel, who are to your left, will conduct their cross-examination.
5 Perhaps you know them. They are to your left.
6 In addition, the three Judges sitting before you may at any point
7 in time, if they believe that it might be useful, ask you questions that
8 relate to the questions put to you by the Prosecution or the Defence, or
9 we may ask you questions if we believe that it is necessary to obtain
10 additional information, to fill in any gaps that there may be in your
12 As you have made a solemn declaration, this means that you should
13 speak the truth. And in the case of giving false testimony, and witness
14 may be prosecuted for having given false testimony. This is a purely
15 academic question, given your position.
16 A second matter that has to do with the procedure that is
17 followed in this Tribunal concerns the fact that if a witness provides
18 information that could at a subsequent date be used against that witness,
19 in such a case the witness may refuse to answer the question. This is a
20 procedure followed in common-law countries, but it also exists in
21 countries where continental law is in force. But if the witness refuses
22 to reply, the Trial Chamber can compel the witness to answer the question.
23 In such a case the witness has a certain form of immunity, in that the
24 information that the witness provides can't be used against the witness.
25 So this is the manner in which the proceedings will be conducted.
1 Given your position, you will be answering the questions fully and
2 precisely. There will be questions that you will have to answer,
3 questions that will be put to you by the Prosecution. You will have to
4 provide them with detailed answers. And then the Defence will ask you
5 questions. And very often when the Defence conducts its
6 cross-examination, the answers might simply be yes or no. When the Judges
7 ask you questions, the questions put to you will be very precise, and you
8 will provide the appropriate answers in such a case.
9 Roughly speaking, this is how the proceedings will be conducted.
10 Without wasting any more time - because we only have a half an hour before
11 the break - I'll now give the floor to the Prosecution.
12 MR. STAMP: Thank you very much, Mr. President and Your Honours.
13 And good afternoon. And good afternoon to you too, Mr. Zeric.
14 Examined by Mr. Stamp:
15 Q. First, could you tell us, please, when were you appointed the
16 district military prosecutor for Travnik.
17 A. I became the district military prosecutor on the 22nd of
18 December, 1992.
19 Q. And can you briefly, by way of introduction, just outline your
20 professional career up until that point.
21 A. When I graduated in 1980 at the Faculty of Law, after graduating,
22 I worked in an educational institute for four or five years. And then
23 from -- and then from 1995 until the beginning of the war, I worked in
24 Travnik municipality. I performed various duties and held various
25 positions. I spent the largest period of time as the main inspector in
1 the sector for protection -- defence and protection in Travnik.
2 On the 22nd of December, 1992, I was appointed as the -- as I
3 have already said, district military prosecutor.
4 Q. As district military prosecutor for Travnik, which court did you
5 work in and when was that court established?
6 A. I didn't work in a court, because the prosecutor was a separate
7 organ. It was independent of the court. And that organ was founded in
8 1992 for the first time -- or rather, in December 1992.
9 Q. And that was the district military court for Travnik?
10 A. The district military prosecutor's office. The district military
11 court was a separate organ.
12 Q. Now, the district military court in Travnik had jurisdiction for
13 which geographical areas?
14 A. Well, the geographic area corresponded, roughly speaking, to
15 canton number 6, the Central Bosnia canton. That's from Kiseljak,
16 Fojnica, Busovaca, Vitez, Novi Travnik, Travnik, Bugojno, Gornji Vakuf,
17 and Jajce. That would be the area that it covers.
18 Q. And what was the subject matter jurisdiction? And by that, I
19 mean what types of offences or crimes did the district military court in
20 Travnik have jurisdiction over?
21 A. Well, it had jurisdiction -- the district court in Travnik or the
22 district prosecutor's office had jurisdiction for all crimes, all
23 first-level crimes committed by military personnel.
24 Q. And the -- your office, the district prosecutor's office, to
25 which government agency did it belong? That is, which ministry or
1 government agency was it subordinated to?
2 A. I think it was to the Ministry of Justice at the time, and we
3 were directly linked to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Bosnia
4 and Herzegovina, in terms of organisational structure.
5 Q. Thank you. The criminal cases that the court had a jurisdiction
6 over, how were these cases initiated? In other words, tell us about the
7 system, how a case came before the prosecutor's office and before the
9 A. Well, the procedure was the usual one followed according to our
10 criminal law. All organs, all persons could file a criminal report
11 against anyone who had perpetrated a crime. Naturally, natural persons
12 were in a position to file such reports too. Most frequently reports were
13 filed by the civilian police, by the military police, by individual
14 brigades, corps, et cetera. It was very seldom done by natural persons;
15 although, such cases did exist too. Having received a criminal report,
16 the Prosecution would examine it and decide whether they should institute
17 proceedings or not if -- or continue with proceedings or not. If there
18 was sufficient evidence to continue with proceedings, we would follow the
19 law on criminal procedure at the time, and we would take measures provided
20 for by the law. In individual cases, if the law so allowed, we'd carry
21 out direct -- we'd issue direct indictments for crimes which were not so
22 serious, naturally if we had sufficient evidence. But in the case of
23 grave crimes, we would institute investigations or, rather, we would
24 suggest that the court conduct an investigation.
25 At the time, the court -- or rather, the investigative judge
1 conducted an investigation upon receiving a suggestion from the
2 prosecutor's office.
3 Q. That distinction between grave crimes that would cause you to
4 request an investigation, could you elaborate on that a little bit more.
5 What types of crimes would you have to request an investigation of an
6 investigative judge and what types of crimes would you yourself institute
7 or proffer an indictment?
8 A. Well, it depended on the -- the sentence envisaged for individual
9 crimes. For example, in the case of crimes which could be given a
10 sentence of between three and five years, I couldn't tell you precisely
11 now, because the law was amended on number of occasions and it was made
12 more severe at the time, in relation to the law in force in peacetime, but
13 we ourselves could decide in such cases whether we would accuse a person
14 or not. For other crimes, which were subject to a sentence of over three
15 or five year, we had to carry out an investigation. And a full
16 investigation would be launched by the court that had jurisdiction in the
18 Q. You indicated that reports were sometimes made to your office by
19 brigades sometimes, by the military police and -- and from the corps.
20 Which corps are you speaking of and which brigade -- brigades and which
21 military police?
22 A. Well, I have to say that from the beginning of the war in Bosnia
23 and Herzegovina and up until the end of the war there were numerous
24 organisational changes implemented in the BH army. In fact, we only
25 received reports from units that were part of the BH army. At the
1 beginning, as far as I can remember, right up until the time when a
2 transformation was implemented in 1993, there was the 3rd Corps and the
3 brigades that formed part of the 3rd Corps, and there was the Zapad, or
4 west operative group. After the transformation was made, the 7th Corps.
5 was established, and we no longer had any points of contact -- we no
6 longer had any contact with the 3rd Corps. As far as the corps is
7 concerned, that's all I could say. But we most frequently received
8 reports from the units in the Travnik municipality and the other
9 municipalities that I have already mentioned. At the time, there was the
10 312th Brigade, then the 306th Brigade, the 17th Brigade, and brigades from
11 neighbouring towns. For example, Jajce Brigade, the Novi Travnik Brigade,
12 the Vitez and the Fojnica Brigade, et cetera, et cetera. There were seven
13 or eight brigades that would file criminal reports with the district
14 prosecutor's office in Travnik. This is what happened most frequently.
15 Q. These brigades that you just mentioned were parts of which corps?
16 Can you recall?
17 A. Well, for the most part of the war they were part of the 7th
18 Corps. I think that at the beginning of the war, up until the beginning
19 or mid-1993, I think the corps concerned was the 3rd Corps. I can't
20 exactly remember when the situation was transformed and when a new corps
21 was established.
22 Q. Just for clarification, your answer is that the -- you received
23 reports from the 3rd Corps and some of its brigades up until the point
24 when the 7th Corps was established, but you can't remember exactly when
25 the 7th Corps was established. Is that what you are saying?
1 A. Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.
2 Q. Thank you. Now, what was the official position, military
3 position, of the persons in the brigade or the various brigades and the
4 corps that you would usually receive reports from? And to clarify that,
5 may I put it this way: Were there any military officials in the brigades
6 or in the corps that had responsibility to forward to your office reports
7 of criminal conduct by ABiH personnel?
8 A. Well, yes. There were special sectors. There were so-called
9 security services. And they would file criminal reports against people
10 who had perpetrated crimes. There were also assistants in the brigades
11 for legal affairs, and we would coordinate our activities with them. We'd
12 cooperate with them in order to discover the perpetrators of various
13 crimes in order to prosecute them. We would provide them with
14 instructions and advice, since these were mostly young lawyers. We would
15 tell them how to prepare a criminal report for further processing and how
16 to provide all the relevant documents.
17 Q. After you received a report of a criminal offence from a brigade
18 or from the corps, what was the role, if any, of the brigade or the corps
19 in any future proceedings?
20 A. Well, it didn't have any particular role in the proceedings,
21 unless the report was not quite complete. If its quality was poor, in
22 such cases we would ask for further clarifications and for additional
23 information, or we would contact the persons who had filed the report in
24 order to clarify certain issues and to obtain additional information that
25 would allow us to institute the criminal proceedings in a satisfactory
2 Q. During your tenure as district prosecutor for Travnik,
3 particularly in the years 1993 and 1994, or focus solely on the year 1993,
4 approximately how many reports of criminal offences or cases did you
6 A. Well, it's difficult to say exactly now, given the amount of time
7 that has passed. I've been a prosecutor from that time right up until
8 today, and I work on various reports on a daily basis. But on average,
9 during the wartime period we would receive between 700 and 900 reports
10 against individuals, and I am referring to individuals, not cases. Those
11 are the records that we had. But to be more precise with respect to 1993,
12 I really couldn't be more precise with respect to the year 1993.
13 Q. And can you give us an approximate breakdown as to how many of
14 these cases would be cases that would have to be forwarded, as it were, to
15 the investigative judge for further investigations and how many -- or what
16 proportion you would institute indictments?
17 A. Well, to provide you with percentages now would be very difficult
18 without having access to certain reports and to other relevant
19 information. As far as I can remember, I think that it was about -- the
20 proportion was about 50/50. I would say that about 50 per cent of the
21 cases -- for 50 per cent of the cases direct indictments were issued;
22 whereas for another 50 per cent the matter would be referred to the
23 investigative judge in order for further investigations to be conducted.
24 But I really couldn't provide you with very precise information.
25 Q. Can you tell us what types of cases were -- withdrawn. Of the
1 cases that your office had to deal with, what were the major crimes or
2 what crimes constituted a major proportion of the reports that you had to
3 deal with?
4 A. Do you mean in terms of the number of persons reported?
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. Well, on the whole, the largest number of persons reported were
7 reported for crimes against the armed forces. There were over 40
8 per cent -- they constitute over 40 per cent of the people concerned.
9 Then there were crimes that had to do with property, theft, aggravated
10 theft, burglary; they accounted for 15 to 20 per cent of all the criminal
11 reports. Then there were criminal reports that concerned crimes against
12 natural persons. For example, murder. And then there were various other
13 types of crimes from all the various fields.
14 Q. Briefly, if you can in a sentence, tell us what you mean when you
15 say, "There were crimes against the armed forces." What are those crimes?
16 A. Well, this concerned desertion, not obeying officers, not
17 responding to summonses, and the like.
18 Q. Now, in respect to crimes against property, could you just
19 elaborate on that a little bit. What did those crimes involve?
20 A. Theft, aggravated theft, burglary, deceit, et cetera.
21 Q. And the persons that were accused, did they generally speaking
22 belong to any particular organisation? Or may I put it this way: Did
23 they generally speaking belong to any particular unit or formation?
24 A. Yes. In 99 per cent of the cases, they were part of the BH army.
25 Q. The victims, with respect to the crimes against property, can you
1 remember if they were from any one or more ethnic group?
2 A. Well, they were members of various ethnic groups; although, I
3 would say that most of the victims, most of the injured persons were
4 Bosniaks. They belonged to the ethnic group of Bosniaks or the ethnic
5 group of Muslims.
6 Q. How about crimes against a person? Can you say anything about
7 the ethnic origin of the victims that you -- in respect to the reports
8 that you received?
9 A. Well, as far as crimes against persons are concerned, this
10 concerned Bosniaks mostly, with the exception of one or two cases. In
11 these cases, the persons concerned were Serbs or Croats. But in all the
12 other cases, the persons concerned were Bosniaks.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stamp, it would be best to
14 have the break now, since it is quarter to 4.00.
15 We'll have a 25-minute break and we will resume at ten past 4.00.
16 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 4.10 p.m.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stamp.
19 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Q. The Travnik district military court you said was set up in
21 December 1992. For how long was it operational?
22 A. It was operational throughout the war, that is, until the
23 beginning of 1996, when it was abolished by a special law; that is, both
24 the district military court and district military prosecutors throughout
25 the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that is, the area controlled by
1 the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2 Q. Do you know where the records relating to matters that it had
3 dealt with were kept?
4 A. The legal successor of the district military court was the higher
5 court in Zenica, and then later, with the establishment of cantonal
6 prosecutor's offices and courts, these courts and prosecutor's offices
7 took all the records over. In the case of Travnik, it is the canton
8 district court and the canton prosecutor.
9 Q. Can you recall whether the Travnik district military court
10 prosecuted any ABiH soldiers for the burning of Croat houses during 1993,
11 1994, 1995, 1996?
12 A. As far as I can remember, it did not.
13 Q. Can you recall if you received any reports from ABiH military
14 units about ABiH soldiers being involved in burning Croat homes?
15 A. I never received any such report.
16 Q. Did the district military court prosecute any ABiH soldiers for
17 any war crimes or crimes against humanity, and did you receive any report
18 against any ABiH soldiers for those offences?
19 A. As far as I can recall, for such offences or crimes I did not
20 receive criminal reports from anyone.
21 Q. More specifically, did your office or the district military court
22 receive reports of crimes of murder committed against Croat civilians or
23 HVO soldiers by ABiH troops?
24 A. To the best of my recollection, I think that there were very few
25 such reports against members of soldiers of the ABiH because of killing
1 HVO soldiers, but I think we did receive a report against three soldiers
2 who killed a Croat civilian in the area of Turbe in the Travnik
4 Q. Can you recall any report that you received in respect of ABiH
5 soldiers killing prisoners of war or any prisoner at all?
6 A. We never received any such report.
7 Q. Did you receive any report alleging that ABiH soldiers mistreated
8 HVO prisoners of war?
9 A. I never received any such report.
10 Q. And did you receive any reports of -- alleging that ABiH soldiers
11 mistreated civilian prisoners in custody in any particular place?
12 A. As far as I can recollect, I never received any such report, nor
13 am I aware of any civilians being held in any place within the territory
14 of the prosecutor's office for which we had authority.
15 MR. STAMP: Thank you very much, Mr. President, Your Honours. I
16 have nothing further of this witness.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I now give the floor to the
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Cross-examined by Ms. Residovic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Zeric.
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, in connection with
23 your oral ruling regarding the duration of the cross-examination, I should
24 kindly request that we be allowed longer time for this witness than used
25 by the Prosecution for this witness, as this is a witness who can provide
1 the Court with important information on measures taken, and those measures
2 taken are an essential element of command responsibility. So I think that
3 the Defence has a special interest in cross-examining this witness about
4 those matters.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As you know, there are two
6 Defence teams plus -- which means that you have 50 per cent more than the
7 time envisaged. If you go beyond that, we will see. In any event, the
8 Judges may also have questions for this witness, but you may begin.
9 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 Q. Mr. Zeric, my name is Edina Residovic, and I am Defence counsel
11 for General Hadzihasanovic. Let me start immediately with questions so
12 that we can make the best of the time that we have at our disposal.
13 In answer to a question from my learned friend you said that you
14 were prosecutor of the district military court in Travnik from the 22nd of
15 December, 1992; is that right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And you held that position until those district prosecutor's
18 offices were abolished, and that was in February 1996; is that right?
19 A. Yes, that's right.
20 Q. After the district military prosecutor's office was abolished in
21 1996, you performed the duties of municipal prosecutor; is that right?
22 A. No. After that, I was deputy of the higher prosecutor in Zenica,
23 until September -- or rather, until the end of 1996. And after that, I
24 was appointed Deputy Minister of Justice in the government of the Central
25 Bosnian canton in 1997 and 1998. As of 1999 until the end of 2003, I was
1 municipal prosecutor in Vitez.
2 Q. Thank you. For the record, as during the examination-in-chief it
3 was noted in the record that from 1995 until the beginning of the war you
4 performed various duties in Travnik. Would it be correct to say that it
5 was from 1985 until the beginning of the war that you held various duties?
6 A. Yes, roughly. That is the period I meant. I don't remember the
7 exact dates.
8 Q. I just made the correction because of the transcript, where the
9 year was incorrectly noted.
10 You said that you were elected deputy district prosecutor in
11 Banja Luka. Is it true, Mr. Zeric, that for the last two years a major
12 reform of the judicial system is underway so that all the personnel, both
13 prosecutors and judges, have been subject to detailed review?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. The election to positions of prosecutors and judges was done by a
16 special commission; is that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Those commissions, in addition to domestic lawyers, international
19 lawyers, judges, prosecutors, and other prominent international experts
20 are members; is that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. The presidents of the independent commissions are also
24 A. Yes, that's right too.
25 Q. Actually, you applied for the position of deputy prosecutor in
1 Banja Luka, and after the procedure you were nominated to that position;
2 is that right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You were appointed, rather.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. As for a number of years you were a prosecutor, I believe that
7 you are very familiar with criminal law and legal proceedings, so that I
8 have a few questions for you in that area.
9 Is it true to say that district military prosecutor's offices
10 were formed by a decree with a force of law in August 1992? That
11 decree --
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone.
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry.
14 Q. So these district prosecutor's offices were formed on the 13th of
15 August, 1992 but that decree did not envisage the existence of a military
16 prosecutor's office in Travnik, so that it was amended in November 1992
17 when this particular prosecutor's office was established; is that right?
18 A. I can't confirm that with certainty, but I do know that the
19 district prosecutor's office -- military prosecutor's office and court was
20 formed in the autumn of 1992 and that I was appointed on the 22nd of
21 December. I know that for sure. Now, whether the actual wording of the
22 law envisaged this or was it through subsequent amendments, I'm not sure.
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown the
24 decree with the force of law on military prosecutor's offices. We have
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is probably a copy that is
2 authentic and identical with the original, I assume.
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. This decree, item 4, did not make provision for a district
5 military prosecutor's office in Travnik; is that right?
6 A. That is what the article says.
7 Q. However, the decree did regulate the main competencies of the
8 prosecutor and his legal position; is that right?
9 A. Yes, in items 5 and onwards -- Article 5 and onwards.
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, in view of the
11 fact that we haven't managed to translate the amended decree of the 10th
12 of November, 1992, which regulates the existence of the district court in
13 Travnik, we believe that it is of interest for these proceedings for the
14 B/C/S version to be shown to the witness, as it is brief. He can read it
15 out. And we will provide a translation of that decree subsequently.
16 Could the witness be handed a copy in the B/C/S language, that
17 is, the amended decree on the district military prosecutor's office, which
18 provides for the formation of a district prosecutor's office in Travnik.
19 Q. Mr. Zeric, would you be kind enough to read Article 1, as it only
20 has two articles, so that the amendment to the previous-mentioned decree
21 on district public prosecutor's office may be recorded.
22 A. "Decree with law of force are being added two paragraphs: The
23 district military court in Gorazde and Livno, as well as Travnik to cover
24 the territory of the district military court in Travnik."
25 Q. Mr. Zeric, do you recognise these decrees with the force of law
1 on the basis of which the public prosecutor's office, of which you were
2 the prosecutor, was formed?
3 A. Yes. Those are the decrees on the basis of which we operated.
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, as the witness is
5 familiar with these laws, and they were published in the Official Gazette,
6 I should like to tender both documents into evidence as Defence exhibits.
7 And the Defence promises to provide an English translation of the
8 amendment to the decree.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stamp, regarding this
10 document, which might have been tendered by the Prosecution as well, which
11 should have been tendered, actually, what are your remarks regarding the
12 Defence request for the admission of this document?
13 MR. STAMP: We have no objections.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
15 Mr. Registrar, will you give these documents exhibit numbers.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the decree on the law on military
17 prosecution -- military prosecutor's offices will have the exhibit number
18 DH115, and the English version DH115/E; and the exhibit titled, "Amended
19 decree on the military district prosecutor's office," dated 10th November
20 1992 will have exhibit numbers DH116 and the English version, when
21 tendered, will be DH116/E.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please continue.
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Zeric, is it true that the competencies of your prosecutor's
25 office covered the municipalities of Travnik, Gornji Vakuf, Jajce, Vitez,
1 Novi Travnik, Busovaca, Fojnica, and Kiseljak, which corresponded to the
2 competencies of the district military court in Travnik?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Is it also true that already by the end of 1992 most of the
5 municipalities of Donji Vakuf and Jajce fell into the hands of the Serb
6 forces so that you were not able to perform your prosecutor's duties?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Is it also true that at the beginning of 1993 and in accordance
9 with the request of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna on the
10 formation of parallel organs of authority, that courts and prosecutor's
11 offices of the HVO were formed which were operational in Travnik until
12 June 1993, upon which they moved to Vitez? Is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Is it true that in the first half of 1993 there were two
15 prosecutor's bodies, that is, the district military prosecutor's office,
16 which you headed, and the prosecutor's office of the HVO?
17 A. Yes, that is true. But also there was the basic public
18 prosecutor's office for civilian affairs that was housed in the same
20 Q. Is it true, Mr. Zeric, that by the spring of 1993 the HVO had
21 full control over the municipalities of Kiseljak, Busovaca, Vitez, and
22 most of the municipality of Novi Travnik, parts of municipality of Fojnica
23 so that you were not able to perform your prosecutor's duties in the
24 territories of these municipalities?
25 A. It is true that they had control over these -- parts of these
1 territories. To what extent, I really don't know. But wherever the HVO
2 had control, we were unable to perform the duties of prosecution.
3 Q. So you will agree with me, Mr. Zeric, if I say that the military
4 police and its security organs and the prosecutor's office, as a part of
5 this institution, could not undertake any measures in the territories
6 under the HVO?
7 A. No civilian or military body had any authority in territories
8 controlled by the HVO in that time period.
9 Q. You have already said, if I understood you correctly, that the
10 district military prosecutor's office and the military court in Travnik
11 had real competence for the prosecution of members of the army for all
12 kinds of criminal offences; is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. A moment ago, in answer to another question I put to you, you
15 said that there was also a basic prosecutor's office in Travnik as well as
16 a basic prosecutor's office in Bugojno; is that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Both these prosecutor's offices, in accordance with the law,
19 prosecuted perpetrators of criminal offences that envisaged a sentence up
20 to ten years; whereas for worse crimes, the higher prosecutor's office in
21 Zenica was responsible.
22 A. Yes, exclusively for civilians.
23 Q. Before the war, the basic and higher prosecutor's offices had
24 competencies over all persons but with the passing of this decree on
25 district public prosecutor's offices there was a separation of
1 competencies in view of the nature of the perpetrators; is that right?
2 A. As far as I can recall, yes. But before the war, there were also
3 military tribunals attached to the former Yugoslav army, and they were
4 competent for certain offences.
5 Q. Quite right. They were competent for military personnel who
6 committed acts against the armed forces; is that right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. However, the procedure in district military courts and the acts
9 of the prosecutor's offices were guided by the Law on Criminal Procedure
10 of the SFRY, which Bosnia and Herzegovina took over as its own in 1992.
11 A. Yes. We worked fully in accordance with the Criminal Code and
12 the Law on Criminal Procedure of the former SFRY.
13 Q. When talking about the Criminal Code, which regulated material
14 criminal offences, that is, stipulated the criminal offences for which
15 persons may be prosecuted, you applied the criminal law of the SFRY, which
16 was taken over by Bosnia and Herzegovina as its own, and which contained
17 certain general elements of responsibility and crimes and specific crimes,
18 and in addition, you applied the law of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia
19 and Herzegovina, which regulated the remaining criminal offences; is that
21 A. Yes. We acted in accordance with the laws you have mentioned,
22 which were taken over by decree and became the laws of Bosnia and
24 Q. In the course of 1992, the Presidency on a number of occasions,
25 as you noted a moment ago, took certain decisions to amend the existing
1 laws; however, not one of those amendments changed the position of the
2 prosecutor in the criminal proceedings. Is that right?
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. In that period of time, like the other judicial entities, you
5 were in a rather difficult situation because Sarajevo was under siege and
6 legal regulations and acts from Sarajevo and towards Sarajevo couldn't
7 really travel. It was not possible to deliver them.
8 A. This was partially true. But we managed using various channels
9 and fax machines to receive certain regulations with a great deal of
10 delay. That is true.
11 Q. However, to ensure the unhindered functioning of the judiciary,
12 in Zenica in mid-1993 a department of the Supreme Court was set up to deal
13 with appeals against rulings of courts outside Sarajevo; is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In view of the fact that you already told me that military
16 prosecutor's offices had certain competencies, as stipulated by the Penal
17 Code and the decree on public prosecutor's offices, I should like to ask
18 you to assist the Chamber in a better understanding of your role to
19 confirm for me whether I am right in saying that your competencies were to
20 be an organ of the judiciary, rather than an organ of the armed forces.
21 A. Yes. We were an organ of the judiciary, and this is corroborated
22 by the fact that regular courts at the second instance also prosecuted the
23 same crimes as we did.
24 Q. The material obligations toward the district military
25 prosecutor's office and the district court was in the hands of the
1 Ministry of Justice; whereas, administrative affairs were regulated by the
2 Ministry of Justice.
3 A. Nobody performed any -- had any financial obligations towards us,
4 though the decree with the law -- with the force of law did say that. But
5 organisationally we were directly linked to the Ministry of Justice.
6 Q. With regard to your main function of prosecution, your superior
7 body, though you were independent within the framework of the law, but the
8 superior body to you was the republic prosecutor's office. That could
9 give you instructions and assignments?
10 A. Yes, certainly. That is the system that was applied at the time.
11 Q. The competence of military prosecutor's offices was identical
12 with the competencies of public prosecutor's offices and was specified by
13 Article 45 of the Law on Legal Procedure and Article 5 of the decree on
14 district public prosecutor's offices.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Those duties and functions of public prosecutor's offices were to
17 prosecute perpetrators of criminal acts and within that framework the
18 prosecutor was duty-bound to take steps to discover crimes, find the
19 perpetrators, and to prosecute them; also, to request an investigation, to
20 issue indictments or proposals for indictments, and finally, to deal with
21 appeals against court decisions.
22 A. Yes. Everything that is stipulated in Article 5 of the decree
23 with the law on force -- with the force of law on public prosecutor's
25 Q. The military public prosecutor, like the public prosecutor, in
1 order to conduct these criminal proceedings, could start such proceedings
2 upon receiving a criminal report or upon discovering a crime; is that
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You already told my learned friend that criminal reports could be
6 filed by various bodies, military bodies, then the civilian police, and
7 also by citizens directly. Is it true that in accordance with the law
8 such reports could be filed orally and in written form?
9 A. Yes, and also if the prosecutor should learn of such an act on
10 his own.
11 Q. You also said that according to your -- to the best of your
12 recollection in 1993 the most frequent bodies to file such reports were
13 the military police, brigades, the security bodies of brigades and
14 operational groups, and other military bodies; is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Is it true, Mr. Zeric, that when you receive a criminal report or
17 when you learn of the commission of a criminal act before instituting
18 criminal proceedings you needed to take certain preliminary steps
19 envisaged by Article 153, paragraph 2 of the Criminal Code so as to
20 discover an unknown perpetrator or to collect elements or clues to
21 elucidate the existence of a criminal act?
22 A. Yes, we had the authority to undertake certain investigating
23 steps in the pre-trial proceedings and to provide additional information
24 attached to the criminal report itself.
25 Q. Actually, when you passed on such a request for verification to
1 the security body or to the military or civilian police, you were the
2 so-called dominus litis, and these bodies had to act in accordance with
3 your instructions; is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Mr. Zeric, would it be correct to say that when you would find
6 out that a crime had been committed, and in particular a crime that
7 required the evidence in the field to be secured, in such cases the
8 investigative judge, before conducting the proceedings, had to take up
9 certain measures; for example, an on-site investigation, and after that it
10 was his duty to inform the prosecutor concerned?
11 A. Yes, of course. In particular cases, the police or the security
12 services would contact the investigative judge, who would carry out the
13 investigations for which he had authority in accordance with the law.
14 Q. Mr. Zeric, I will now show you a record of an on-site
15 investigation so as to demonstrate to the Trial Chamber the manner in
16 which the Prosecution and the court proceeded in accordance with the law.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we will be showing
18 the witness a number of documents. And to make it easier to follow this,
19 when we have a number of documents, the legal status of which is the same,
20 in such cases we will ask them to be given just one number. So for all
21 these documents, we have a list of the documents that we will be tendering
22 into evidence. In this case, it's -- we just have one document.
23 MR. STAMP: [Microphone not activated]
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 MR. STAMP: I'm sorry. May I just inquire from the Court if
1 these documents are related to the indictment. I see they're in B/C/S --
2 oh, there's a -- there's a question whether or not the documents are
3 related to the indictment or these are just some documents selected
4 randomly and proffered to us for whatever purpose my learned friend might
5 wish to use it.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. This record that we don't
7 have, is it being shown to the witness in order to illustrate his duties
8 as a military prosecutor, or does this document have to do with an element
9 contained in the indictment? I think that that is the first part of the
10 question. Could you answer the question, Mrs. Residovic.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, showing this
12 document to be witness has two purposes. Firstly, it's in order to have a
13 better understanding of the procedure that the witness was involved in, in
14 accordance with the law. But it's far more important to use this document
15 to show the measures that were taken when a crime had been discovered
16 during the time period referred to in the indictment. And this directly
17 concerns command responsibility.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So the first
19 document, what is it exactly, the document that you want to show the
20 witness? We don't have it.
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we have provided a
22 sufficient number of copies for the Trial Chamber too.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, that's right.
24 Very well. Go ahead with your question.
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Zeric, is this the situation that we have just discussed:
2 When an investigative judge, even before criminal proceedings were
3 instituted, went to the site of a crime given that a crime had been
5 A. Yes, this is one of the numerous records of an on-site
6 investigation carried out, compiled by the investigative judge from the
7 district military court. And it was made before the criminal report was
8 filed, because usually the investigative judge would go to carry out an
9 on-site investigation when the police would request him to do so -- or
10 rather, when the Prosecution would request him to do so.
11 Q. Could you please have a look at the last sentence on the first
12 page, where reference -- where it is said that a person who had a military
13 identity card of the BH army participated in this action. It was issued
14 by the 17th Brigade, and it shows that this person was dismissed from the
15 unit on the 1st of April, 1994. With regard to this, my question to you
16 is: Was it quite frequent for certain crimes to be perpetrated by
17 people -- by persons who weren't members of the army -- or rather, by
18 persons who had deserted from the army or by persons who wore uniforms and
19 falsely claimed to be army members?
20 A. Well, there were such cases too. But I couldn't say that this
21 occurred frequently. Nevertheless, such cases did occur, and people who
22 weren't members of any units in the area under our control participated in
23 the commission of crimes.
24 Q. Thank you very much.
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the witness didn't
1 draft this document, and in accordance with the practice of this Trial
2 Chamber to date I shouldn't tender this document into evidence. As a
3 result, I only suggest that this document be marked for identification.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, the Prosecution, do you
5 have any objections to raise? The Defence is requesting that the document
6 be marked for identification.
7 Mr. Stamp.
8 MR. STAMP: No objections at this point, Mr. President. However,
9 I have some reservation. I hope to read the document by the time the
10 re-examination -- the cross-examination is over. And when I do so, I
11 might have a submission to make.
12 Thank you very much, Mr. President.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. But in any event, we will
14 mark the document for identification.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that document will be Defence
16 Exhibit DH117.1 ID, and the English version DH117.1/E ID.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness now be shown
18 Defence Exhibit DH55. This will enable me to put certain questions to the
20 Q. Mr. Zeric, you have before you a decree on the establishment of
21 district military courts. A while ago, in response to a question put to
22 you by my colleague from the Prosecution, you said that district military
23 courts and district military prosecutor's offices had jurisdiction to
24 prosecute perpetrators of crime if they were members of the army.
25 Mr. Zeric, would it be correct to say that in accordance with
1 Article 9 of that decree when military personnel committed crimes together
2 with civilians they couldn't be prosecuted by military courts? In such
3 cases, they would be prosecuted by the regular courts, rather -- or
4 rather, the regular prosecution offices would take over the prosecution?
5 A. Yes. According to Article 9, paragraph 1, if civilians and
6 military personnel committed a crime, then it was the regular court that
7 had jurisdiction.
8 Q. In such cases, gathering evidence and investigations would be
9 carried out by the civilian police.
10 A. In certain cases, yes, the civilian police would be involved.
11 But sometimes the military police would get involved. It depended on
12 where the crime was committed, because quite frequently the crime was
13 committed in the vicinity of the lines and the civilian police couldn't
14 gain access to such a location.
15 Q. Mr. Zeric, would it also be correct to say that the military
16 prosecution and the courts in certain situations also had competence to
17 prosecute civilians if civilians committed crimes against the armed
19 A. Yes, that's correct. That is also contained in the decree.
20 Q. Thank you very much.
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] You can return the document that
22 has already been admitted into evidence.
23 Q. Mr. Zeric, I'll now ask you some questions that have to do with
24 the conditions in which you worked and the organs for the detection of
25 crime, as they provided you with most of the criminal reports. Would it
1 be correct to say that the military prosecutor's office in Travnik and the
2 criminal organs from the BH army in 1993 were facing many problems when it
3 came to performing their duties?
4 A. Yes, absolutely. Because we didn't have conditions of any kind
5 which would allow us to work.
6 Q. You personally, as the district military prosecutor, addressed
7 the Ministry of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the organs of the
8 Travnik municipality on a number of occasions in order to be provided with
9 the minimum conditions for your work.
10 A. Yes, that's correct. I addressed them both orally and in writing
11 on a number of occasions.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I'll now ask for two documents to
13 be shown to you. We could have one number for these documents, because
14 they are of the same kind.
15 Q. Mr. Zeric, my first question is as follows: Would it be correct
16 to say that you signed document number 24 through 93, dated the 20th of
17 July, 1993 addressed to the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Bosnia
18 and Herzegovina as well as a document dated the 14th of September, 1993,
19 number 34/93, which you addressed to the executive -- to the district of
20 Travnik, to the executive committee in Travnik?
21 A. Yes, to the Travnik district. It's true to say that I signed
22 these two documents, but it went to the district of Travnik, because at
23 the time in the canton the Travnik district was in function.
24 Q. Would it be correct to say that these are only some of the
25 numerous documents that you forwarded to these bodies in connection with
1 the same subject, given that your financial resources were almost
3 A. Yes, that's correct, because the conditions we lived in and
4 worked in together were almost impossible.
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, given that the
6 witness himself has drafted these documents, he has recognised them as
7 such, I suggest that these two documents be given one number and that they
8 be admitted into evidence.
9 MR. STAMP: No objections. May it please you, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Registrar,
11 could we have an exhibit number, please.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that would be Defence Exhibit
13 DH117.2; and the English version, DH117.2/E.
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Zeric, would it be correct to say that in 1993 in the area
16 covered by your prosecution's office a large number of refugees who didn't
17 have a permanent place to live in and didn't have papers passed through
18 your area, and it was very difficult to determine who had committed
19 certain acts?
20 A. It's true to say that throughout the area of Krajina and the
21 municipality of Jajce many people passed through Travnik. There were many
22 refugees, and a lot of crimes were committed and the perpetrator of the
23 crime was not identified, was not known. I couldn't provide you with an
24 exact number.
25 Q. Would it also be correct to say that in many places where crimes
1 had allegedly been committed these places were quite far from the
2 prosecutor's office and it was very difficult to gain access to many of
3 the sites concerned because of the lie of the land on the one hand, but,
4 on the other hand, because of the fighting that was ongoing throughout
6 A. Yes, absolutely. It's true to say that we had very limited
7 access to various areas for security reasons, and the area of our
8 jurisdiction was affected by fighting. There were minefields in that
9 area, et cetera. And we and the investigative judge found it very
10 difficult to collect evidence of any kind. Although, in a larger number
11 of cases we actually had to go into the field, where we instigated
12 investigations. For example, in Bugojno and Vitez, we instigated
13 investigations in the immediate vicinity of the front line.
14 Q. Would it be correct if I said that the military police and
15 brigades and operative groups and the security bodies were -- consisted of
16 mobilised persons who didn't have the relevant professional experience in
17 many cases, so it was necessary to make a special effort in order to train
18 them and allow them to carry out their duties?
19 A. Yes, that is absolutely correct. Very few brigades and security
20 organs had professionally trained personnel and lawyers. All the other
21 persons were mobilised, and we gave them instructions and advice on a
22 daily basis in order to try and ensure that they could perform their
23 duties in accordance with the law and so that they could provide us with
24 the appropriate documents which would allow us to continue with the
25 criminal proceedings.
1 Q. Mr. Zeric, would it also be correct to say that given the
2 constant fighting in your area in the course of 1993 units of the military
3 police often had to participate in the fighting at the front line, so they
4 were not in a position to carry out their basic tasks?
5 A. Yes, that's absolutely correct. And that didn't only concern the
6 military police. The civilian police would also quite frequently
7 participate in the fighting.
8 Q. Would
9 Q. Would it also be correct to say that your duties had to be
10 performed in conditions that made it impossible to permanently control the
11 area, given that it was a vast mountainous region which had been abandoned
12 by property owners? So many of the buildings and facilities had been
13 abandoned. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes, that's absolutely correct. Because in most of the areas
15 over which we had jurisdiction, in most of these areas no one had control
16 over them. The lines changed on a daily basis. The battlefields changed
17 on a daily basis. And this was particularly evident in the area of Gornji
18 and Donji Vakuf, and in Fojnica, Kiseljak, et cetera. In Travnik, the
19 situation was somewhat better and to a large extent we were able to
20 control the situation, apart from areas where the Serbian army had its
21 units and where the HVO was present.
22 Q. Given the performance of your duties in the course of 1993,
23 Mr. Zeric, could you confirm that a large number of crimes perpetrated in
24 such a vast area were confirmed -- were perpetrated at night, so it was
25 very difficult to discover who the perpetrators of the crimes were?
1 A. Well, if those crimes had been committed during the daytime, we
2 would have continued to prosecute them. But most of the crimes were
3 committed at night, mostly crimes such as theft, et cetera, so that we
4 were not in a position to prosecute the perpetrators of those crimes, even
5 when we found out about them.
6 Q. Mr. Zeric, would it be correct to say that in 1993 there was
7 widespread hunger and this was quite frequently a reason for which various
8 individuals, civilians and members of the military, decided to turn to
9 crime and to steal other people's property?
10 A. Yes. What you have just said is absolutely correct, because most
11 of the population was starving, and there were very noticeable cases. For
12 example, for half a bag of flour we would give individuals a sentence of
13 four, five years in prison. So that year was extremely difficult,
14 especially when there was a direct conflict between the BH army and the
16 Q. In response to a question put to you by my colleague from the
17 Prosecution, you said that you didn't receive certain criminal reports for
18 certain crimes. Could you tell me: Would it be correct to say that many
19 of the Croats who could have been injured by crimes left the area that you
20 controlled and you couldn't gain access to them in order to obtain
21 information or in order to check whether a crime had been committed in a
22 given location?
23 A. Yes, it's correct to say that most of the Croatian population
24 fled in the course of the conflict between the army and the HVO. They
25 fled to the area controlled by the HVO. So entire villages and entire
1 neighbourhoods in towns remained abandoned.
2 Q. In spite of the problems that I have mentioned, would it be
3 correct to say that the police, the military police and you as the
4 prosecutor, paid particular attention to the policies implemented when
5 prosecuting perpetrators of crimes against ethnic minorities and
6 perpetrators of crimes when this involved abandoned facilities?
7 A. Well, I don't know what you mean when you say, "Particular
8 attention." To the extent that this was possible for us, we tried to
9 prosecute all the perpetrators of crimes. But as far as the courts and
10 the prosecutor's offices are concerned -- well, I can confirm this. But
11 as far as the police and the security organs participated in this, in
12 abandoned parts of towns and villages, I really couldn't say. I wasn't
13 there. And we didn't receive regular and daily reports about the
14 situation in such places.
15 Q. In accordance with the decree on district military prosecutor's
16 offices, you together with the BH army -- or rather, its police force, you
17 worked together; you cooperated. Is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Could you say -- could you tell the Trial Chamber what the nature
20 of this cooperation was. Would you say that you cooperated successfully
21 when carrying out a task?
22 A. On the whole, I would say that the cooperation was good,
23 especially when these units became, so to speak, serious units. At the
24 beginning, there were grave problems because certain units were not under
25 anyone's control. But when the corps and brigades had been established --
1 or rather, when the security organs were established, I think that the
2 cooperation we had was quite good, in view of our real possibilities and
3 in view of the personnel we had at our disposal.
4 Q. Given everything that you have just said, the numerous problems
5 that you faced when performing your duties and because it was impossible
6 to determine who the perpetrators of certain crimes were, in many cases
7 all you had were criminal reports against unidentified persons; is that
9 A. Yes. There were a lot of criminal reports, but I couldn't tell
10 you how many exactly because I don't have such information.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I would now like
12 to show the witness a few examples of criminal reports filed against
13 unidentified perpetrators. They were forwarded to the witness's office,
14 to the prosecution's office. So could these criminal reports be shown to
15 the witness.
16 Mr. President, from the archives of the cantonal court in
17 Travnik, which is where these reports were found, we have only taken four
18 reports. And if the witness recognises the reports, we suggest that only
19 one number be given to them when admitting them into evidence.
20 Q. Mr. Zeric, as you can see, there are four criminal reports here.
21 They were filed against unknown perpetrators. Two are filed for the crime
22 of aggravated theft; one for the crime of armed robbery; and one for
23 aggravated robbery. My question is: Are these criminal reports that we
24 have just spoken about, reports filed against unidentified perpetrators,
25 because in spite of all the efforts made by the police forces it was not
1 possible to determine who the perpetrators of these crimes were?
2 A. Are you asking me whether these reports were filed with the
3 prosecutor's office? Yes, these reports were filed with our office, and
4 we took certain measures in accordance with the law. But we weren't able
5 to perform all our duties because we weren't even able to prosecute the
6 perpetrators of crime who were known, given the conditions we were working
8 Q. If you have a look at the names of the injured parties, you will
9 see that in all these cases these criminal reports concerned the damage
10 done to ethnic minorities. On the whole, this concerns Croats.
11 A. Yes, on the whole, it concerns villages inhabited by Croats.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, since the witness
13 has recognised the criminal reports forwarded to the prosecutor's office
14 and on the basis of which he took certain actions, I suggest that one
15 number be given to these four criminal reports and that they be admitted
16 into evidence.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Microphone not activated] [In English]
18 Mr. Stamp, no objections?
19 MR. STAMP: No objections, subject to the previous reservations
20 that we need to have a good look at these documents.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let us have a number, please.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this would be Defence
23 Exhibit DH118.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. DH118, and a number
25 for the English translation, as we have copies in B/C/S and in English.
1 THE REGISTRAR: I apologise, Your Honours. The English version
2 would be marked DH118/E.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation].
5 Q. Mr. Zeric, answering questions from the Prosecution, you already
6 said that in this time period you received a large number of criminal
7 reports against a large number of perpetrators. True enough, you were
8 unable to give a precise number. You said it was between 700 and 900. Is
9 it true that every year you drafted an annual report which you submitted
10 to the republic prosecutor's office and the defence ministry, indicating
11 all the acts undertaken by the prosecutor's office?
12 A. Yes, we did. Like all the other public and military prosecutor's
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I would like to ask the witness
15 to be shown the annual report for the year 1993.
16 Q. Mr. Zeric, is this an annual report that you filed for 1993?
17 A. Yes, it is the report that we sent to the competent body.
18 Q. On page 2, under paragraph 2 you will find that in this period,
19 that is, 1993, you received a total of 823 criminal reports against 1.000
21 A. Yes, the figure is correct.
22 Q. Under paragraph 3, it says that you filed 83 requests for
23 collecting necessary information. Is that true that that means that out
24 of the total of 823 criminal reports 83 did not provide sufficient grounds
25 for a decision so you requested additional information from the entities
1 who filed the reports to amend those reports or to check out the
2 information they had provided you with?
3 A. What is written in this report is correct.
4 Q. In paragraph 5, the structure of the perpetrators, you have said
5 that out of the total number 627 members of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina were charged; is that right?
7 A. Yes.
8 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, since the witness
9 has recognised this report as being his own and since the report contains
10 all the activities undertaken by the prosecutor's office in 1993, under
11 conditions described by the witness, and they are significant for taking
12 steps against members of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I would like
13 to tender this document into evidence as a Defence exhibit.
14 MR. STAMP: No objections.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Registrar, can
16 we have an exhibit number, please.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document will be Defence
18 Exhibit DH119, and the English version, DH119/E.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Zeric, is it true that you also sent to the Ministry of
21 Defence and other bodies monthly information on the activities of the
22 military prosecutor's office and that every six months you filed a
23 semi-annual report?
24 A. We did send those reports, but remember -- but please believe I
25 can't remember whether this was every six months or at larger intervals,
1 but I really can't remember exactly what was happening in that time
3 Q. To remind you, I should like to give you a number of monthly
4 reports and a semi-annual report for 1994, which covers some activities
5 for 1993, so as to be able to ask you a few more questions.
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] There are six documents in this
7 pile, Mr. President. And if the witness recognises these documents, we
8 would like to tender them as a single exhibit.
9 A. Yes, these are brief reports that we sent to competent bodies
10 regularly. I've just remembered that we did this every month in
11 abbreviated form simply to have -- for those competent bodies to have
12 insight into the situation.
13 Q. You signed all these documents, didn't you?
14 A. Yes, I did.
15 Q. These monthly reports contain the number of measures that you
16 took on the basis of reports received, requests for investigation, the
17 number of indicted persons, and other acts undertaken by the prosecutor
18 during that month.
19 A. All the acts that we undertook in that month were contained in
20 the report.
21 Q. The report also contains a breakdown of the criminal offences for
22 which certain persons were indicted for that month; is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] In view of the fact that the
25 witness has confirmed that these are his reports and that these reports
1 have a breakdown of the indicted persons, members of the Army of Bosnia
2 and Herzegovina and their number, as well as the breakdown of the offences
3 for which those persons were charged, I would like to tender these reports
4 into evidence as an exhibit.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stamp.
6 MR. STAMP: No objection.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. A number, please,
8 Mr. Registrar.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will be Defence Exhibit
10 DH11 -- 120, and the English version, DH120/E.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please continue.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Mr. Zeric, is it true that in our criminal proceedings certain
14 acts are reported that are significant for the offence; whereas the legal
15 assessment of those acts is actually made by the court?
16 A. Yes, that's true. The court is not bound by the legal
17 qualification given by the author of the report.
18 Q. So you as the district prosecutor or your deputies, once you
19 received a criminal report from military security organs or the military
20 police, you were bound only by the description of the act and not by the
21 legal assessment given of that act; is that right?
22 A. We just studied the act committed by the perpetrator without
23 attaching much significance to the way they qualified it.
24 Q. So you've just said that, and we have provided the Trial Chamber
25 with abstracts from the law on criminal proceedings. Article 346 clearly
1 says that the court was not bound by the legal assessment given by the
2 prosecutor in his indictment. Even that was not binding.
3 A. Yes, that was the rule that was always in force.
4 Q. Actually, the court was bound only by the factual description,
5 the facts, and the facts relating to the perpetrator; is that right?
6 A. Yes, that is absolutely correct.
7 Q. Answering questions from my learned friend as to whether you had
8 received any reports of war crimes, your answer was no for 1993. Is it
9 true that criminal acts against international law were stipulated by the
10 Criminal Code of SFRY, which our state took over as its own?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Is it true that the war crime against the civilian population
13 included ordering killing, inhuman treatment, a violation of a body of
14 integrity, looting of property, arbitrary destruction of property, or
15 appropriation of such property on a large scale? Does this remind you of
16 some of the basic characteristics of war crimes against the civilian
18 A. As you are quoting from the provisions of that law, as far as I
19 can remember that is quite correct.
20 Q. In answer to a question from the Prosecutor, you said that you
21 had criminal reports for killings, theft, and burglary. Is it true to say
22 that on the basis of a preliminary assessment of such a report you did not
23 feel that such an act could be qualified as a war crime against civilians
24 because the circumstances of such an offence were specific acts such as
25 murder, theft, burglary, et cetera?
1 A. Yes, that is quite right. I've already said that we could not
2 qualify such descriptions as being such criminal offences, as far as I can
4 Q. Similarly, criminal reports -- or rather, your indictments for
5 thefts from abandoned Croat homes, burglary or armed robbery against
6 Croats, aggravated robbery or murder of Croats were not qualified even by
7 courts as war crimes against civilians, even though all those acts were
8 described in your indictments.
9 A. What -- are you talking about crimes against civilians or about
10 killing or about robbery with injury of body and limb? I didn't quite
11 understand the context of the question.
12 Q. I apologise. I'll repeat myself. A moment ago you told me that
13 stealing private property can be part of a criminal offence. And if a
14 certain military person stole a piece of property, a fridge or a horse or
15 something like that, from the house of a Croat inhabitant who had
16 abandoned the area, that description of an act was not qualified by you as
17 a war crime but as an aggravated theft. And when you indicted somebody
18 for this aggravated theft, as the court is not bound by your
19 qualification, even the court never qualified such an act as a war crime.
20 A. There wasn't a single element that would justify being qualified
21 as a war crime in those reports or those that were processed by the
22 prosecutor's office.
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, perhaps now would
24 be a good time for the break. And I wish to inform you that my learned
25 friends from Mr. Kubura's Defence have told me that they will have no
1 questions for this witness, so I would like to ask you kindly to give me
2 some additional time for this witness, to whom I should like to show some
3 more documents.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. After the break, we only
5 have three-quarters of an hour left. How much more time do you need?
6 Because Judges have questions too, and I think that the Prosecution will
7 have some re-examination. So how much time do you need?
8 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have about ten
9 questions, but I have a number of documents too, four groups of documents
10 which I should like the witness to look at, and that would be the end of
11 my cross-examination. So I don't have many questions, ten on the outside.
12 MR. STAMP: In any case, Mr. President, it is probable that we
13 might request the benefit of a long break or the overnight break before we
14 re-examine, having regard to the quantity of documents which the Defence
15 is putting to the witness. It's very difficult to make any comments upon
16 them, even to formulate an objection if one is appropriate, because of the
17 amount of documents that we're receiving. But may I just say that we
18 probably might not have any questions in re-examination in regard to what
19 has happened, but we need to have a look at these documents a little bit
20 more carefully.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You wish to look at the
22 documents straight away, during the break, or afterwards, overnight?
23 MR. STAMP: We'll go as far as we can during the break; however,
24 I see that there are quite a number of other documents that would be
25 coming after the break.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Residovic, you told us
2 you had four sets of documents. To gain time, during the break couldn't
3 you communicate your documents to the Prosecution, which would certainly
4 save time.
5 Very well. So we'll resume work at five to 6.00.
6 --- Recess taken at 5.35 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 5.58 p.m.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before giving the floor again
9 to Defence counsel, the Chamber would like to indicate the following: In
10 view of the number of documents produced and in view of the fact that the
11 Prosecution has also asked for time to study them, we believe that in the
12 40 minutes left to us the Defence will complete their cross-examination
13 and that the hearing of the witness will be continued tomorrow with the
14 re-examination and the questions of the Judges. So the witness will stay
15 until tomorrow. Therefore, the Defence has another 40 minutes, because we
16 will adjourn in about 45 minutes' time, so continue with your questions
17 and take your time, especially in view of the documents that you have.
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Q. Mr. Zeric, you just said that the military police and the
20 security organs of the army, the law enforcement organs, in their criminal
21 reports described the acts committed. And I would now like some documents
22 to be shown to you, a number of criminal reports that you received. Of
23 the more than 900, we have selected only a few so that we could assist the
24 Trial Chamber in seeing the kinds of acts reported by the Army of Bosnia
25 and Herzegovina to the district prosecutor's office in Travnik.
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown these
2 documents, that is, eight criminal reports, together with attachments
3 given to the military prosecutor's office by the security organs of the
5 After asking the witness some questions, I should like to ask all
6 these documents to be given a single exhibit number as a Defence exhibit.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before giving an exhibit
8 number, we will hear your questions and then the position of the
9 Prosecution and then we can give the documents an exhibit number.
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Zeric, the best idea would be to follow the same order as the
12 documents. The first you have is the report of the military police of the
13 312th Motorised Brigade against an army member for the criminal act of
14 murder; is that right? This report was sent to your office, and your
15 office received this report; is that right?
16 A. Yes, it is.
17 MR. STAMP: Just -- not to interrupt, but just to keep the thing
18 properly recorded. This is a report of the 23rd of March, 1993? So if we
19 could just get the date of the document so we know exactly what we're
20 talking of.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Madam Residovic, give the
22 Chamber a moment to read the document before putting the question to the
23 witness. The witness must also read through the report. As this was more
24 than ten years ago, he can hardly be expected to remember.
25 A. I remember --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I remember this first report. I
2 also know the person involved. The person is from Travnik, so I remember
3 it very well.
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation].
5 Q. Will you now look at the second criminal report, number
6 03/580-16, dated the 6th of September, 1993, addressed to the district
7 military prosecutor's office. The report is against two members of the
8 Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, members of the 306th Brigade for the
9 criminal offence of theft. Did you receive this criminal report and was
10 this one of the ways in which the military police described the acts it
11 reported to the military prosecutor?
12 A. Yes. I can't remember this document, but I think that it was
13 received. I can't see why it wouldn't have been received. Actually, yes,
14 I see my handwriting on the bottom.
15 Q. The third criminal report I wish to show you is dated the 13th of
16 July, 1993. It has the number 09/6-1/KU-4/93. It is a report against
17 three members of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the criminal
18 offence of aggravated theft. It describes the theft of a washing machine
19 and a refrigerator from an abandoned house in Dolac.
20 A. Yes, yes, I received this criminal report.
21 Q. Please look at the criminal report dated the 12th of July, 1993,
22 09/6-1KU/93. It is a report against a member of the 312th Motorised
23 Brigade of the BH army for committing a theft from the house of an unknown
24 owner, and this report has also been qualified as a criminal offence of
25 theft. Is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now, please look at a criminal report of the 8th of July, 1993,
3 09/404/3, against two members of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina for
4 the criminal offence of aggravated theft and for provoking a general
5 danger, public -- causing public danger. You said a moment ago that you
6 don't remember having any reports of burning houses. Is it true that
7 actually you qualified such reports as the criminal act of causing public
8 danger? Is this one such criminal report?
9 A. I remember this case well. Proceedings were instituted against
10 this person who died later on, Mujicic Serif [phoen]. I think it was
11 proven that he was not a member of the armed forces and that we passed on
12 this report to the civilian prosecution. If there were burning of houses,
13 we qualified such acts as causing public danger.
14 Q. In connection with this criminal report --
15 A. I really cannot specify how we qualified this, because there's no
16 prosecution file except for the criminal report sent to the prosecutor's
17 office. How we qualified it, I really cannot remember from this document,
18 nor how we described this act, because from what I have here it doesn't
19 follow what measures we undertook and how we undertook them.
20 Q. Within the framework of this criminal report, under the date of
21 the 28th of August, there's a decision on the extension of detention. Is
22 it true that in such and similar cases you also proposed remand on
23 custody? Is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. If the court should, as it did in its decision of the 28th of
1 July, 1993, pass -- take a decision on release from detention, you could
2 appeal such a decision and should your appeal be accepted, the person
3 would be sent back to detention; is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Will you please look at the criminal report dated the 21st of
6 November, 1993.
7 MR. STAMP: [Previous translation continues] ... If I may just
8 indicate, just -- not an objection, just to make sure that we're
9 proceeding together in an orderly way. The last one that was just
10 referred to, is there another document at the back of it that -- should
11 that document be a part of it or should that document be removed from the
12 batch? It's a document dated the 30th of September, 1993.
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] This document is a criminal
14 report against two persons, and it consists of two parts, 5A and 5B. 5A
15 is the actual criminal report, and 5B is the decision to return the
16 reported person to detention on the basis of the prosecutor's decision.
17 So this is all one document.
18 MR. STAMP: Can I ask: Do you -- through the Court, of course:
19 Among that batch, is there a document dated the 30th of September, 1993?
20 It seems -- may I just hand it to counsel. This is what I have. It seems
21 to relate to the same parties, but the witness was not asked about that
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes. This is the same person who
24 was arrested. I haven't put my question yet to the witness about it. So
25 under 5B, there are two documents. One is a court decision accepting the
1 appeal of the prosecutor, and the second is the order to arrest this
2 person immediately. I think the witness has already answered the question
3 that on the basis of his appeal the person was sent back to detention. I
4 have no further questions about that.
5 Q. Now, please look at the criminal report of the 21st of November,
6 1993 against the three army members. In this criminal report, acts are
7 described committed to the detriment of a member of the Croat people, and
8 the -- it has been qualified as aggravated robbery and armed robbery. Is
9 that what -- is that the report that you received?
10 A. Yes. Now, how we qualified it, I am not sure. I think that we
11 kept the same qualification of the act.
12 Q. Will you now look at the report of the 14th of July, 1993. This
13 is a criminal report against a member of the army for aggravated theft and
14 theft of a motor vehicle, committed in the period from the 3rd to the 10th
15 of June, 1993. You received this report too, and there's a qualification
16 of the act contained in the criminal report which you were bound by.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. The next criminal report is dated the 26th of November, 1993,
19 against five members of the army for committing the criminal act of
20 aggravated theft. And in the report itself, the crime is described and
21 qualified as aggravated theft. This was also at the expense of a member
22 of the Croat people, that is, the damaged party was a Croat. Thank you.
23 In addition to this criminal report, can you confirm that if the
24 court was unable to find the reported person, he would -- the court would
25 issue a search, a wanted warrant, and on the basis of that warrant the
1 military police would act, and should they detect the perpetrator, he
2 would be surrendered to the court. Is that right?
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, in view of the
5 fact that the witness has confirmed that these are all criminal reports
6 that he received in the prosecutor's office and that they contain a
7 description of the offences for which criminal reports were filed against
8 members of the army, I would tender these documents into evidence as
9 Defence exhibit, as one Defence exhibit.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stamp.
11 MR. STAMP: [Microphone not activated] No objections with the --
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
13 MR. STAMP: I'm so sorry. No objection, with the usual
15 May I just inquire though -- and again, this is just an inquiry,
16 not an objection. The last document my friend asked about was a
17 document dated the 26th of November, 1993. In the batch I have here, the
18 last document is a document dated the 7th of December, 1993. So I just
19 ask so that the matter could be clarified from now that what my friend
20 proposes to put in evidence is exactly what the registrar has as evidence.
21 It will not do if the registrar has more than the witness is asked about.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Residovic.
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes. The registrar has all the
24 documents that Their Honours have and the Prosecutor. This is a criminal
25 report of the 26th of November. It is under number 8, and it consists of
1 8A and 8B. Under 8A is the criminal report with the description of the
2 offences, and other documents filed by the military police and attached to
3 the criminal report; and under number B is the second group of questions,
4 and that is when a person reported is not accessible to the court, the
5 court issues a wanted notice. So 8B relates to two reported persons that
6 are not to be found, and the court issued a wanted notice and the military
7 police acted on the basis of that notice and took into custody the
8 reported persons. So these are all one set of documents under 8A and 8B.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can we have a number, please.
10 Yes. But, witness -- Witness, you heard the lawyer who said that
11 8A is a document relating to several persons. Among those there were two
12 that were not found, and there was a wanted notice under 8B. Are you
13 confirming that that is how it was?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that is how things happened in
15 practice. Persons who were not accessible and they committed a crime and
16 especially if they were accomplices, some were taken into custody and
17 others were sought after through a wanted notice.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
19 Mr. Registrar, can we have an exhibit number please.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, all the documents are -- number 1
21 to 8 are in my possession and they will be given Defence Exhibit number
22 DH121, and the English version is DH121/E.
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. You said earlier on that once you receive a critical report from
25 grave offences you had to ask for investigation.
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I would like the witness to be
2 shown a number of these requests for an investigation which he submitted
3 to the investigative judge for an investigation to be carried out against
4 the suspected persons. These documents we also intend to tender as a
5 single exhibit, as they refer to the same kind of documents; that is, they
6 were all requests for an investigation.
7 Q. Witness, will you please now look at the documents to see whether
8 you or one of your deputies signed them, and then I will ask you a couple
9 of questions related to all these documents together, because there's no
10 need for us to go document by document.
11 Have you had time to look through these documents, Mr. Zeric?
12 A. Just a moment, please.
13 Yes, these are documents that I or my deputy signed and we sent
14 to the court as requests for an investigation or as proposed indictments.
15 Q. Is it true that in all those requests you provided detailed
16 information about the perpetrators who were members of the Army of Bosnia
17 and Herzegovina?
18 A. Yes. That was our duty.
19 Q. Is it true that in each of these requests you described the acts
20 that you considered contained elements of a criminal offence?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Is it true that among these 14 requests some acts were qualified
23 as aggravated thefts, others as robberies, aggravated robberies, murder,
24 manslaughter, abuse of official position, and other acts as stated in each
25 of these individual requests?
1 A. Everything that emanated from the description of a criminal
2 offence was qualified as such.
3 Q. Your qualifications could not be affected by the qualifications
4 contained in the criminal reports.
5 A. Certainly not.
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Since the witness has recognised
7 all these documents as being documents of the military prosecutor's
8 office, some of which were signed by him and others by his deputies, and
9 that all of them contained acts committed by members of the army and who
10 because of that were prosecuted and the damaged party were members of the
11 Croat people, I would like to tender all these documents as a single
12 Defence exhibit.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stamp.
14 MR. STAMP: No objections, subject to reservations.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, an exhibit
16 number for 14 documents, please.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will be Defence Exhibit DH122,
18 and the English version DH122/E.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 Please continue.
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness now be shown
22 the last document that the Defence wishes to show this witness as part of
23 its cross-examination so that I can ask him some questions about it.
24 Q. Mr. Zeric, in connection with this document, I have a few
25 questions for you. Is it true that every case that you receive in the
1 prosecutor's office, that is, every criminal report, is numbered according
2 to the year when the report was given to the prosecutor's office?
3 A. Yes, that was the rule.
4 Q. And this prosecution number doesn't change, regardless of when
5 the proceedings will be terminated on that case.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Is it true that because of all these circumstances that you have
8 testified before this Honourable Court, it would happen sometimes that the
9 investigation would last for quite a long time so that the indictment may
10 be issued the next year or even the following year after a request for an
11 investigation was filed?
12 A. Yes, there were cases when the investigation took a year and even
13 two years.
14 Q. Is it also true that due to all these difficulties the judgement
15 may be passed several years after the event? Is that right?
16 A. Yes, there were such cases, so that some persons would be held
17 accountable for certain criminal acts after the end of the war even.
18 Q. On page 2 now, it's the first sentence after the word, "Statement
19 of reasons."
20 A. Yes. The indictment -- or rather, the prosecution was taken
21 charge of by --
22 Q. No, it's on page 2. It's on page 2. It says: "The district
23 military prosecutor's office in Travnik issued the indictment KT -- number
24 490/93." This number, 490/93, does this number mean that you received the
25 criminal report in 1993?
1 A. Yes. And that is when we issued the indictment too.
2 Q. In fact, as it says here, you issued the indictment on the 28th
3 of January, 1994; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. As you have already said, after the war there were numerous
6 changes, as far as the competence of the judicial bodies were concerned,
7 so that this document of yours was sent to the higher court in Zenica; is
8 that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Is it correct to say that the judgement in this case was issued
11 on the 21st of February, 1997 and no sooner?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So this judgement shows that it was sometimes very difficult to
14 conduct a case and that a number of years could pass until the judgement
15 was actually rendered?
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. Have a look again at this first paragraph.
18 A. The question of qualification.
19 Q. You qualified these acts as aggravated crimes. Would it be
20 correct to say that?
21 A. Yes. Pursuant to Article 148, paragraph 1.
22 Q. The court that dealt with this case determined that this was a
23 crime of wilful action according to Article 209, and this is a far less
24 serious crime than the one that you had qualified; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Is this judgement proof that the court wasn't bound by the legal
2 description of the act that you provided?
3 A. No, they were never bound by our legal description.
4 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Zeric.
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I suggest that this document be
6 admitted into evidence.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stamp.
8 MR. STAMP: No objections.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that would be Defence Exhibit
11 DH123, and the English version, DH123/E.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Mr. Zeric, given that throughout the year 1993 you were a law
15 enforcement organ and you performed the duties of the district military
16 prosecutor, on the basis of your personal experience and work would you
17 accept my assessment in those conditions that were very difficult for all
18 the law enforcement bodies and all the prosecution bodies, the organs of
19 the law enforcement bodies and all the prosecution bodies, organs of the
20 civilian police and the military prosecution, they did all they could and
21 they reported all persons if they had any information according to which
22 they committed crimes [as interpreted]?
23 A. In my personal opinion, and as far as we were aware, I think that
24 on the whole we found out who the perpetrators of the crimes were and we
25 prosecuted them when we knew about their identity. But given the overall
1 situation and the fact that two or three parties were involved in a
2 conflict, many cases weren't processed and many perpetrators of various
3 crimes weren't discovered.
4 Q. Thank you, Mr. Zeric.
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have no further
6 questions for this witness.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. And the other
8 Defence team?
9 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We
10 don't have any questions for this witness.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We said that we would continue
12 tomorrow once we had reached this stage.
13 Mr. Stamp, are there any issues you would like to address now, or
14 would you prefer to wait until tomorrow? Are there any questions you
15 would like to ask now?
16 MR. STAMP: I'd prefer, with your leave, Mr. President, to wait
17 until tomorrow, because it doesn't appear as if we could have a good look
18 at the documents before then.
19 But before I sit, may I just inquire through the Court of my
20 friend if this batch of documents that I received, if it was dealt with
21 and if there is an intention to deal with it.
22 Mr. Usher, if you could hand this -- it might have been dealt
23 with, but there were just so many of them we didn't put a number of that
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. If we will be
1 continuing tomorrow -- well, there's a batch of documents that I haven't
2 shown the witness yet. So the decision on conducting an investigation on
3 the basis of a request as submitted by the prosecutor. That's the
4 document concerned. But I think we have shown the Trial Chamber a
5 sufficient number of documents so that I won't insist on this additional
6 document being shown to the witness.
7 MR. STAMP: Very well, Mr. President.
8 May I just ask the witness one question?
9 Re-examined by Mr. Stamp:
10 Q. The documents that you have been shown, where are they stored or
12 A. In the high prosecutor's office in the course of 1996. They took
13 over the documents in an official capacity in 1996. But throughout the
14 year 1996, these documents remained in Travnik in the building where they
15 had previously been kept. Afterwards, all the documents, the archives,
16 were taken over by the cantonal prosecutor's office in Travnik, which
17 still exists to this very day.
18 Q. Very well. And when was the last time before today that you saw
19 any -- any one of those documents?
20 A. When I received them in 1993 or 1994, and then as it says at the
21 top of the document, on the date that the document contains.
22 MR. STAMP: We will, with your leave, Mr. President, continue
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Witness, you will
25 return tomorrow. The hearing will start at 2.15 p.m. tomorrow. It won't
1 be in this courtroom; it will take place in Courtroom number I, as this
2 courtroom is needed for other purposes. So tomorrow we will be in
3 Courtroom I.
4 I'll now ask the usher to escort the witness out of the
5 courtroom, and we will see the witness again tomorrow afternoon.
6 [The witness stands down]
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to
8 Mr. Withopf, I'd like to say that we will be seeing the same witness again
9 tomorrow. Mr. Stamp will certainly have further questions to ask the
10 witness, and this will also be the case for the Judges. Perhaps the
11 Defence will also have other questions to ask. So we should expect the
12 hearing to last until at least 15.15 in order to finish hearing this
14 Mr. Withopf, the witness who has been scheduled for tomorrow,
15 will he be appearing before the Trial Chamber tomorrow?
16 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, the witness who is
17 scheduled for tomorrow will be made available tomorrow.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We will start
19 hearing the witness scheduled for tomorrow tomorrow, and we will continue
20 hearing this witness on Wednesday.
21 Mr. Dixon.
22 MR. DIXON: Your Honour, if we could go into private session so
23 that I could address one matter relating to the witness for tomorrow.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, let's go into
25 private session, please.
1 [Private session]
12 Page 5577 redacted, private session
12 Page 5578 redacted, private session
24 [Open session]
25 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As we are now in open session,
2 this hearing is now adjourned. We will resume tomorrow at 2.15 p.m.
3 Thank you.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.50 p.m.,
5 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 6th day of
6 April, 2004, at 2.15 p.m.