1 Tuesday, 26 October 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.24 p.m.
5 [The accused entered court]
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Registrar, would you call
7 the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Case Number IT-01-47-T, The Prosecutor versus
9 Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [No Interpretation]
11 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
12 Your Honours, counsel, and everyone in and around the courtroom. For the
13 Prosecution, Tecla Henry-Benjamin, Daryl Mundis, and Andres Vatter, case
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Mundis.
16 Appearances for the Defence, please.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
18 Edina Residovic, counsel, Stephane Bourgon, co-counsel, and
19 Mirna Milanovic, legal assistant, representing General Hadzihasanovic.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the other Defence.
21 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
22 Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and Nermin Mulalic, legal assistant,
23 on behalf of Mr. Kubura.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. The Chamber would
25 like to greet everybody present in the courtroom, especially the new
1 Madam Registrar who is here temporarily with us. I would like to welcome
2 everybody else in the courtroom, representatives of the OTP, the Defence
3 counsel, the accused, as well as the interpreters in their booths.
4 According to our schedule, we should be finished with this witness today.
5 I hope, sir, that you had a good weekend. Unfortunately, although your
6 testimony was supposed to be finished last Friday, it had to be continued
7 today. I know that the Defence wanted the floor, and that's why I'm
8 turning towards the Defence counsel and I am giving them the floor. Maybe
9 it's going to be Mr. Bourgon who wants to say something?
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we just wanted to
11 inform you that in keeping with your decision, the witness has marked the
12 map again in the presence of the registry and the interpreters. In view
13 of the fact that the map will still be continued, we would like the
14 witness to sign the map, and we will tender this map into evidence. We
15 also wanted to inform you, Mr. President, that we are still awaiting your
16 decision with regard to the expert historian so as enable us to inform
17 this expert when he's supposed to arrive. He is a full-time professor at
18 a university, so he needs to be informed. The only thing that we
19 emphasised with regard to the witnesses for the next three weeks is the
20 fact that the schedule may be changed in case one or the other witness
21 cannot obtain their passports in due course.
22 At noon today, we were informed that the witnesses which were
23 scheduled to follow the expert Cehic are supposed to obtain their
24 passports tomorrow. Should this not be the case, we are going to inform
25 the Trial Chamber about the change of the order in the scheduling of the
1 witnesses. So some of the witnesses which were scheduled for later would
2 replace the first two witnesses. The only thing that we are certain of is
3 that Dr. Menzel is not going to be able to obtain his passport because he
4 was not able to obtain the necessary documents. Instead of Dr. Menzel, we
5 are going to call Sead Jusic. We will have full information tomorrow, and
6 we will advise the Trial Chamber and our learned friends from the OTP
7 accordingly. Thank you very much.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Ms. Residovic. As
9 far as the expert is concerned, expert who is supposed to arrive on
10 Monday, the 1st of November, the written decision was rendered this
11 morning, and it's going to certainly be delivered to the Registry. So in
12 accordance with this decision, we're awaiting this expert witness. You're
13 going to have an hour and a half for your examination-in-chief, and the
14 Prosecution is going to have an hour and a half for their
16 As far as the other difficulties are concerned, we hope that they
17 will be resolved in due course. As you have already informed us, on
18 Friday, the 29th, nothing has been scheduled. So maybe on Friday either
19 in the morning or in the afternoon, in keeping with the availability of
20 the courtrooms, maybe you can have some of the witnesses arrive on that
21 day. According to the schedule for Thursday, Friday, if all the witnesses
22 arrive as scheduled, maybe there won't be a need to have a session on
23 Friday. Today, Mr. -- the witness is supposed to finish. We have only
24 one witness that is supposed to follow on Wednesday. Another witness that
25 is scheduled, and on Thursday we have the next witness. For the moment,
1 nobody's scheduled for Friday. Is that correct?
2 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President. Since we were
3 informed that on Friday will be regular court maintenance and therefore
4 the courtrooms won't be available, that is why we have cancelled a witness
5 that was scheduled for this week. So bringing a new witness in lieu of
6 that one would pose some difficulties to us.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well then. Sir, I hope
8 that you had a good rest. I understand that you marked the map in the
9 presence of the OTP, the Registry, and the interpreter. Your testimony is
10 going to continue with the questions put to you by the Prosecution. And
11 after that, you will be examined by the Judges.
12 Mrs. Benjamin or Mr. Mundis, I don't know who is going to lead
13 this witness. Mrs. Benjamin, you have the floor.
14 MS. BENJAMIN: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon to
16 WITNESS: REMZIJA SILJAK [Resumed]
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 Cross-examined by Ms. Benjamin: [Continued]
19 Q. When we broke on Friday, I was just beginning the
20 cross-examination about your role as chief of staff. I would just like us
21 to clarify a few points before we move on. Firstly, could you tell
22 me -- could you relate for the Trial Chamber, the hierarchy, how it
23 operated. Who was first? Was it the commander first? Who was at the
25 A. The brigade commander was at the head of the brigade. And there
1 is a chief of staff, his assistants for security, the assistant for moral
2 guidance and religious affairs, the assistant for logistics, the assistant
3 for financial matters and business matters are attached to him.
4 Q. Okay. And that is with respect to the brigade. Now, I'm talking
5 about the 3rd Corps as a whole. The first senior position in the
6 3rd Corps, would it be the commander?
7 A. I was a member of the brigade. However, I was supposed to know,
8 and I knew, that a commander was at the head of the corps.
9 Q. And below the commander would be the chief of staff. Am I
11 A. The chief of staff in the brigade was also the deputy commander of
12 the brigade on such occasions when the commander was absent from the
14 Q. Thank you. Now, would I be correct in saying that the chief of
15 staff was responsible for disseminating orders given by the commander?
16 A. I can't confirm this statement fully because the chief of staff
17 was responsible for disseminating orders of the commander which were
18 relative to the officers who were in the brigade staff. And the assistant
19 commanders for logistics, security, and moral guidance and other
20 assistants were in direct communication with the commander.
21 Q. Now, if I were to ask you who were you subordinated to, who was
22 your superior?
23 A. It is very simple. The commander was my superior, and I reported
24 directly to him.
25 Q. Thank you. And your subordinates would have been who?
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 A. If you are referring to my subordinates, I can tell you. But I
2 got a wrong interpretation. Are you referring to those that reported to
3 me directly?
4 Q. That's correct.
5 A. In the staff, the chief of staff had his assistants. So the --
6 his immediate subordinates were the assistant chief of staff for
7 operations and education, who was also the deputy chief of staff. At the
8 beginning in the staff, there was also the assistant for organisation and
9 mobilisation, the assistant chief of staff for intelligence, the chief of
10 communications, the chief of artillery.
11 Q. But overall, you would have been superior to all these people?
12 You were in charge of all of these people?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And similarly, the commander is in charge of everyone?
15 A. In the military hierarchy of the former JNA and the Army of the
16 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the commander was superior to the
17 entire command, to all those persons who were members of the command and
18 his command function was exercised via his assistants in the brigade
19 command or in some other command.
20 Q. So as you quite rightly said in response to my learned friend on
21 the 22nd, the commander is the commander of everyone. The commander holds
22 responsibility for all in the army.
23 A. I'm afraid I did not understand your question fully.
24 Q. I asked you a while ago who were your subordinates, and you
25 illustrated a few positions. And then you said you were superior to all
1 of these people. Then I asked you who was your superior, and you said the
3 So I'm saying to you now, and correct me if I'm wrong or if you
4 agree with me, please say so, but the commander is responsible for
5 everyone per se?
6 A. You're right. The commander is responsible for the entire unit.
7 Q. Thank you. And you, in fact, qualified that to my learned friend.
8 You said that the commander is responsible for everyone.
9 In your position as chief of staff -- in your position as chief of
10 staff, you would have to relate --
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, maybe -- there is
12 either a mistake in what I heard or what I can read in line 7. As far as
13 I understood, in line 7, 8, the witness answered properly that the
14 commander is responsible for the entire unit. My learned friend in 710
15 does not mention the entire unit. She alleged that he said that he was
16 responsible for everybody. This is not precise because this does not
17 reflect what the witness has just said before the Trial Chamber.
18 MS. BENJAMIN: With all due respect, I think the witness
19 understood because he does answer in line 8. He says the commander is
20 responsible for the entire unit. So he did understand what I said to him:
21 Is the commander responsible for everyone per se from chief of staff,
22 right down.
23 Q. Am I correct?
24 A. For the subordinates in his unit, for all the subordinates in his
25 unit. I'm not talking about anybody outside the unit.
1 Q. We can only talk about the unit that he's in control of. And
2 we're talking now about the 3rd Corps, the commander of the 3rd Corps.
3 Who was he responsible for?
4 A. I was not in a position to be aware of the entire situation.
5 However, looking at the entire hierarchy and the principles of the use of
6 the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the corps commander, and this is only my
7 opinion, was responsible for all the subordinate commands, units, and
8 staffs within the 3rd Corps.
9 Q. Thank you. Sir, could you give us an idea of the size of the
10 306th Mountain Brigade. Can you give us an idea of how many soldiers were
11 in your brigade.
12 A. It depended on the period. The 306th Brigade had a different
13 number of troops and different quantity of equipment. The 306th Brigade
14 was supposed to be a mountain brigade with four battalions and the other
15 units attached to the staff. However, this brigade was never replenished
16 to the full as far as the troops are concerned. And as far as the
17 equipment is concerned, the situation was even worse. Before the
18 conflict, on the eve of the conflict.
19 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, Your Honours, at this time could the
20 witness be shown Prosecution Exhibit P239, please.
21 Q. And I wish to draw your attention to B.
22 A. I can see very well what it says here. The 312th Brigade under
23 item C was supposed to be a motorised brigade. And according to its
24 formation, it was supposed to have 4.000 troops. The 306th Brigade,
25 according to the formation, was a mountain brigade, and I suppose that the
1 person who drafted this document, this information did not have enough
2 information or the information was incomplete when it came to
3 replenishment of these two units.
4 Q. I am particularly dealing with B, not C, for the moment. We're
5 just dealing with B. And is it your evidence that this is incorrect?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. What about paragraph 1, line 4. Is this also incorrect?
8 A. Just give me a moment to read it.
9 Q. Sure.
10 A. According to the information that I had, I knew how many troops
11 the 306th Brigade had at that time. At that time, the Frankopan Brigade
12 had still not been established. Only the Travnik Brigade had been
13 established from the HVO troops. And I can speak based on that. I don't
14 know how many troops the other BiH army units in Travnik had. According
15 to my estimate, as I speak here today, I could say that this information
16 is incorrect.
17 Q. Would you be able to say, then, whether the 306th Brigade was a
18 larger army than the army that operated in that area for the HVO?
19 A. I believe that at that moment and at that time, there were still
20 no conflicts. The number of troops in the 306th Brigade, there were more
21 troops than members of the HVO in the area from which the 306th Brigade
22 was replenished. And here, look at this item where it says that the
23 officer for exchange also mentions the 306th Brigade located in
24 Mali Mosunj. Mali Mosunj is a village, a completely Croatian village, and
25 it is surrounded by Croats. And not for a single moment could one unit
1 enter a village, let alone be deployed there.
2 Q. But if you want to look at it, too, look at B now. And he
3 specifies a particular figure, three to four thousand, and he specifies
4 where it was reporting from, from Krajina. And is it your evidence still
5 that that is incorrect at that time? January 1993.
6 A. When I was talking about the 306th Brigade, I said that there was
7 an order which regulated the establishment of the 306th Brigade from the
8 troops of the Biljanska valley, the detachments which had existed in the
9 area of the Biljanska valley. One of such detachments or battalions had
10 existed, and its name was the Siprage Battalion. On its strength, it had
11 some hundred troops who were armed. So it was not a battalion. There was
12 a tendency, however, that this should develop into a battalion. It was
13 replenished from the sector of Kotor Varos Municipality and Siprage
14 village, from the territory of the population that had been expelled from
15 Skender Vakuf and Mrkonjic Grad. The total number of such groups from
16 this area which we do not call Krajina, for us Krajina extends from
17 Sanski Most to Bihac, this is what we call Bosanska Krajina. And this
18 area closer from which this battalion was replenished was almost next to
19 Travnik Municipality, and there could not have been than a battalion of
20 them. And the 4th Brigade, according to the list, never had more than
21 2.400 people, according to the list of troops.
22 Q. Okay, let's for argument --
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I apologise for the
24 interruption. I believe that there has been a mistake in the
25 interpretation, page 10, line 9. It says that the 306th Brigade was
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 replenished from the troops in the Biljanska valley. The witness said
2 from the people, from the population in the Biljanska valley. Can this be
3 taken into consideration, please.
4 MS. BENJAMIN: Thank you.
5 Q. And I would make it simple for you and for everybody else. For
6 argument's sake, let's say this document is wrong. You tell the
7 Trial Chamber in your opinion which was the stronger army in Travnik at
8 the time, prior to the conflict in January and during the conflict? Which
9 in your opinion was the stronger army?
10 A. [No Interpretation]
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] There's no interpretation.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, would you please repeat
13 your answer since we weren't receiving any interpretation.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was saying that I was more
15 familiar with the situation in the Bila valley because I was a member of
16 the 306th Brigade. And to the extent that I was familiar with the
17 situation in Travnik, and if you only evaluate the strength on the basis
18 of number of men, in such a case you could draw the conclusion that the BH
19 Republic Army was stronger in terms of manpower. So it was stronger in
20 that sense. However, if you take into account the equipment that the HVO
21 had at its disposal, then the relationship, the balance of force, is quite
23 MS. BENJAMIN:
24 Q. And if you were to give us an estimate in figures so we could
25 balance this thing for ourselves, what would you say?
1 A. Travnik Municipality formed two brigades, the 312th and the 306th.
2 At that time, the HVO had one brigade, the HVO Travnik Brigade. And it
3 had formed some sort of reserve battalion. I don't know what it was
4 called exactly. And if we only took manpower into consideration, then
5 naturally -- well, I don't know how many men the 312th had. But according
6 to what I heard, the 312th Brigade never had over 3.000 men. So there
7 were 2.000 in the 306th. I'm just taking into account there. And the TO
8 municipal staff in Travnik never managed to form detachments which were
9 regulated by orders. So in the municipal staff, there was an
10 insignificant number of men. And if you put this into relation with a
11 brigade, then one could say that there were -- the ratio was 5.000 to
12 2.000 or 2.500. And that concerns the number of men in units. In terms
13 of men, in terms of manpower, the BH Army was twice as strong.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 With respect to the foreigners, as we call them, and I deal
16 particularly now with the mujahedin, not the journalists, not the other
17 foreigners, specifically the mujahedin, would you be able to tell us where
18 they were based first?
19 A. As I said, at the beginning, I don't know exactly when, it was
20 either late summer or the beginning of autumn, at that time, I saw these
21 people moving around town. And later on, when visiting the
22 Mehurici Detachment which was part of the municipal defence staff in
23 Travnik, I found out from the commander of the detachment that some of the
24 mujahedin were located in the Mehurici school on the floor. The commander
25 of the detachment of -- the Territorial Defence in Mehurici was located in
1 the premises, just the command. And that's where they were on duty, where
2 they maintained channels of communication. And the mujahedin were located
3 on the floor in that school.
4 Q. So if I have understood you correct, perhaps the 1st Battalion
5 command was located in the Mehurici school on one floor, and the mujahedin
6 were in that very school on other floor?
7 A. No. You have misunderstood me. I said that when I worked in the
8 TO staff in Travnik Municipality, at that time there was a
9 Mehurici Detachment. There were no brigades. This was in 1992, in
10 autumn. And I was saying that the command of that detachment, not the
11 command of the 1st Battalion, the command of that detachment was located
12 there. It was perhaps in October 1992.
13 Q. Do you know if any other brigade from the 3rd Corps was located in
14 the Mehurici school? Do you know if there was any other?
15 A. As far as I know, when brigades first started functioning, well, I
16 have to talk about the existence of detachments before the formation of
17 brigades. I was talking about the period before the formation of the
18 brigades --
19 Q. Can I interrupt you. Can I interrupt you. I don't think we need
20 to go that far. Let me just cast your mind back to something that you
21 said to my learned friend on the 21st. And she says to you, and she was
22 speaking in particular to the problems that you said you were having with
23 the mujahedin, and this is what she says: "As to other problems, as far
24 as other problems were concerned, where were your men located? The 306th
25 have the facilities for billeting these men in listed barracks [sic]."
1 Now, here we go, here's your answer: "The 306th Brigade -- well,
2 first of all I could talk about the commands. They didn't have any
3 facilities for accommodating the commands, but they found facilities in
4 the premises of the Bila mine. We didn't have any barracks anywhere but
5 the commands of the battalions usually use schools as premises --"
6 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please slow down for the
7 interpreters. Thank you.
8 MS. BENJAMIN: Sorry.
9 Q. "The schools that were in the area. So the 1st Battalion command
10 was located in the school in Mehurici."
11 A. Yes, that's what I said. I can confirm that. But when you asked
12 me a question a minute ago, I thought you were asking me about where the
13 mujahedin were when I first saw them. And I'm telling you that before the
14 306th Brigade was formed, I saw them for the first time in October 1992
15 when I was visiting the commander of the detachment. But as far as the
16 306th Brigade is concerned, the commander of the 1st Battalion was there.
17 It wanted to locate itself in the school with the men. They had nowhere
18 to sleep. There were a lot of refugees. So at that point in time, the
19 mujahedin had to move out of that school, but they kept two to three
20 offices on the first floor of that school.
21 Q. So my question to you, then, was: One battalion operated one
22 floor of the Mehurici school. Am I correct? The mujahedins operated
23 another floor in the Mehurici school. Am I correct? And I speak of the
24 base you indicated to us. I'm not speaking previously when you first
25 found them. I speak of where they were based, we just want to deal with
1 where they were based at this point. Now, according to you, they were
2 based in the Mehurici school. And I'm trying to establish the positions,
3 the mujahedins were based there, the command was based there. Am I
5 A. I don't know if there is a misunderstanding as a result of the
6 interpretation, or perhaps I'm not being sufficiently clear. I said that
7 in the basement of the school, there were several premises, and that's
8 where the command of the 1st Battalion was located with some of the men
9 who didn't have any houses. The classrooms were used as a barracks and as
10 a home. And on the first floor, the mujahedin kept two to three offices,
11 and they left their materiel and equipment there. But they themselves had
12 already moved to Poljanica where they would spend a fairly lengthy period
13 of time.
14 Q. Now, I think you sort of understand what I'm trying to achieve,
15 and that is that the presence of the mujahedins was there along with the
16 presence of people from the 1st Battalion command. Whether or not they
17 were there for a while and then they moved, or whether they moved and just
18 left offices. The presence of the mujahedin, along with the presence of
19 the 1st Battalion. Some were in the basement as you said; some were on
20 another floor. Correct?
21 A. As I said, men from the 1st Battalion of the 306th Brigade were in
22 the basement. There were offices used by the mujahedin on the first
23 floor. But they themselves weren't there. They would just appear
24 occasionally to take their possessions. That's the information I received
25 when I visited my subordinate units and commands. This is the information
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 that they provided me with.
2 Q. So this is my question to you, then: You had no connection
3 whatsoever with the mujahedins?
4 A. At the time, we didn't have any connection with them.
5 Q. At the time and after the time, did you at any time at all have
6 any connection with the mujahedins?
7 A. The first time I had some sort of connection with them, the first
8 time there were official documents or connections with the mujahedin was
9 at the end of August 1993. From the 3rd Corps command, we received an
10 order according to which -- an order to carry out combat operations, the
11 El Mujahid detachment would be resubordinated to the 306th Brigade. I
12 can't remember the exact date; I think it was towards the end of August.
13 But in order to implement this resubordination and plan combat operations,
14 the command of the 306th Brigade tried to establish contact with the
15 command of the El Mujahid Detachment. The command of the El Mujahid
16 Detachment at that time did not agree to being resubordinated to the 306th
17 Brigade. And as far as that order on the resubordination of the
18 El Mujahid -- of the resubordination of the El Mujahid detachment to the
19 306th was concerned, it was never implemented. This order was never
21 Q. Would you be able to assist the Trial Chamber with the numbers of
22 mujahedins. Could you tell us about how much made up this group? Would
23 you be able to assist us with that?
24 A. Haven't I been sufficiently clear? We weren't able to establish
25 contact with them, or rather they didn't want to be resubordinated. So at
1 that time, and I'll repeat this: At the end of August 1993, we did not
2 establish contact with them. Later on, perhaps later when I wasn't in the
3 306th Brigade, we may have been involved in certain activities that had to
4 do with the El Mujahid Detachment or linked to that detachment.
5 Q. A while ago you said to us that they had left the Mehurici school
6 and took up quarters in Poljanica, am I right? Not far from Mehurici. Am
7 I correct?
8 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear the witness's
10 MS. BENJAMIN:
11 Q. Could you please repeat your answer.
12 A. Well, yes, I can. I said that the 306th or the 1st Battalion of
13 the 306th Brigade used the basement of the school to billet the battalion,
14 to locate the commander of the battalion and its men there.
15 Q. Not so far back. I said to you, and this is what I said to you:
16 That you had indicated to us that the mujahedins had left the Mehurici
17 school and had taken up quarters in Poljanica, which is not far from
18 Mehurici. And I was asking you if I was correct.
19 A. Yes. I said that they held on to two to three offices on the
20 first floor in order to keep their materiel and equipment there. And
21 occasionally, they would go to these offices of theirs.
22 Q. And it is your evidence that even when they were in the Poljanica
23 area, that you had absolutely nothing to do with the mujahedins?
24 A. As far as I know, we didn't have anything to do with them. On the
25 basis of the information I had at my disposal, no, we had nothing to do
1 with them.
2 Q. Did you at any time feel that the mujahedins were a source of
3 embarrassment to the 306th Brigade?
4 A. So far, in the course of my testimony, I have said that mujahedin
5 represented a certain problem for the entire population. As far as I am
6 concerned, I can tell you about a problem because my wife had a problem
7 with the mujahedin. My wife is a teacher. And in 1993, in a village in
8 which I was a born, she taught children. Followers of those mujahedin
9 arrived in my village, and they drove my wife away from the village
10 because her name is Snjezana. My wife comes from a mixed marriage; her
11 father is a Muslim and her mother a Croat.
12 Q. Sir, I sympathise. But I need to clarify this: And I will refer
13 you to a question that my learned friend asked you on Friday. And it
14 said: "Did you know or did the brigade command know who they are" - refer
15 to the mujahedins - "what their names were? Did you have any precise
16 information that would enable you to report in detail to your superior
18 And your response was: "I am not sure that anyone at any time had
19 precise information about them" - referring to the mujahedins - "and to
20 tell you the truth, we were not even interested. They were not within our
21 field of competence. We did not seek information about them. We did not
22 know who they were or who their commanders were. They were not strictly
23 established as a combat group. And to me, they were some sort of
24 passersby that I avoided because all I could expect from them was
25 inconvenience and embarrassment."
1 And my question to you now, why, if you had absolutely nothing to
2 do with the mujahedins, why would they be a source of embarrassment to
3 you? When I say "to you," I mean to the 306th.
4 A. Well, when I say a source of embarrassment, as far as the 306th is
5 concerned and the civilian population, I could provide you with numerous
6 examples of mujahedin approaching women who didn't have veils on them and
7 who weren't behaving in accordance with Islam regulations such as they
8 were interpreted by the mujahedin. Furthermore, they would appear in
9 cafes, break things up, open fire in cafes. They wanted absolute power.
10 They wanted to be in control of everything, and they wanted everything to
11 be done in accordance with their ideas. They tried to establish certain
12 standards of behaviour. Members of the 306th Brigade were maltreated as
13 well, and this is why I said that we avoided them, and they were only a
14 source of embarrassment for members of the 306th Brigade and for the
15 civilian population who weren't respecting their rules and regulations,
16 who weren't behaving in accordance with them.
17 Q. And that is precisely why I asked the question, because to me,
18 sir, the mujahedins could only be a source of embarrassment to you because
19 you represented them in some particular way, and that is why on account of
20 their behaviour you were embarrassed.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Yes.
23 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, at this stage, there is a document
24 that I would like to show the witness. It is not a Prosecution exhibit,
25 but it has been disclosed to the Defence, and I just wish to show the
1 witness. I have provided my learned friends with a copy.
2 Q. Sir, I do not want you to read the whole document because I don't
3 think we have enough time for that. But I want you to tell me who signed
4 this document, if you can see.
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could you please tell us which
6 document we provided you with so that we can follow.
7 MS. BENJAMIN: It's 01855653, the one that we said was just
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have a document, and the end
10 of the number is 652. 652.
11 MS. BENJAMIN: 652, 653, 655 in Bosnian.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I thought that my
13 learned colleague was saying that this was a document that we had given to
14 the Prosecution. However, we received this document from the Prosecution
15 on Friday. And in accordance with the practice today, this document
16 should also be provided to the accused so that everyone can follow. This
17 is an entirely new document provided by the Prosecution. It was provided
18 on Friday.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Do you have two
20 copies for the accused?
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] And could the Prosecution tell us
22 what the relevance of this document is? Because in relation to
23 General Enver Hadzihasanovic, as far as I can see, this does not pertain
24 to the charges leveled against him.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Could you tell the Chamber
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 where this document comes from, from which archives, how did you obtain
2 it. And secondly, as far as its relevance is concerned, could you inform
3 us of the relevance of this document?
4 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, I think at this stage it would be
5 advisable if we take the witness out of the room, please, so that we can
6 give a thorough explanation as to the source of the document, when it was
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Benjamin, we are in open
9 session. Can you please tell us about the origin of this document.
10 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, this document comes out of the ABiH
11 archives. It was disclosed to the Defence in January 2002. And it comes
12 out of the compilation of the seven CDs. It's included -- that document
13 is included in the seven CDs.
14 In addition to that, the Defence was served with the documents
15 since Friday. And as to relevance, I think my friend just has to look at
16 column 1, and she will be able to see exactly where -- or follow the trend
17 of what is taking place. My friend quite rightly put to the witness on
18 Friday that they had no control over the mujahedins, they didn't know
19 anything about the mujahedins, the mujahedins had no business with them.
20 And this document surely says something else or speaks to something else.
21 And it is an order that is done by this very witness.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Actually, yes, there is his
23 signature on page 3.
24 Very well, then. Let me summarise. The Prosecution tells us that
25 this document is relevant. It is relevant because in one of the columns,
1 there is a reference to the 306th Brigade. It was signed by the witness,
2 and it is -- it refers to the question of the mujahedin because in line 4,
3 we have it here. The commander of El Mujahid is mentioned in line 4. So
4 this document should have been sent to the mujahedin unit. What does the
5 Defence have to say?
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, first I would like
7 to repeat my procedural objection. This document should have been on the
8 OTP list of additional documents, and for any other document that they
9 wish to tender, that the OTP would have to seek permission from the
10 Trial Chamber. As for the relevance, it is correct that I asked the
11 witness to tell me whether the 306th Brigade ever had any connection or
12 subordination or connection with the mujahedins. And the witness
13 responded that the 306th never had the role of superiority over the
14 mujahedins. I am claiming that this document is not relevant because
15 General Hadzihasanovic left the duty of the corps commander on the 1st of
16 November 1993. Then it is clear from the document that this document was
17 drafted in December 1993. Secondly, the witness said that while he was in
18 the 306th Brigade, he never had any contact with the mujahedin, and the
19 signature that we see on this document speaks of the chief of staff of the
20 operations group, Bosanska Krajina, during the time when this witness had
21 a completely different position in the BH Army. For that reason, this
22 document does not have any relevance, and it shouldn't be shown to the
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] However, the establishment of
25 the mujahedin unit that are mentioned in the document, this unit was
1 established in August 1993. So during the period of when the -- he was
2 the commander of the 3rd Corps because he asked for the integration of
3 that unit into Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it was established in August.
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] That is correct, Mr. President.
5 And you have heard the witness, General Garrod and General Williams, who
6 testified, and there are also documents testifying to the meeting between
7 General Garrod and General Hadzihasanovic. The commander of the 3rd Corps
8 and the 3rd Corps itself attempted to place the El Mujahid unit on their
9 control. The witnesses that I've just mentioned testified before this
10 Trial Chamber that this happened when the corps commander was
11 General Alagic. There's a difference between the two issues. One issue
12 is the issuance of an order, and the second issue is the effective control
13 of that unit while General Hadzihasanovic was the commander of the corps.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let me summarise.
15 The Prosecution would like to put some questions to the witness with
16 regard to the fact whether the 306th Brigade had any relations with the
17 mujahedin or the El Mujahid unit.
18 With regard to the question put by the Prosecution, the witness
19 responded no, save for the fact they were in the Mehurici school. But
20 apart from that, we didn't have any connection with them. The Prosecution
21 now would like to show the document to the witness in order to ask the
22 witness for his point of view and to ask the witness whether he could
23 confirm whether there was a problem. Or we have a problem here. Either
24 the witness lies or he did not have any relation with the mujahedins and
25 El Mujahid unit. And if that is the case, how could he draft this
1 document in which the commander of the El Mujahid unit is mentioned?
2 In any case, this witness should be able to clarify this. As far
3 as the questions are concerned and the time reference, and the time scale,
4 the two accused were not members of the 3rd Corps because they left the
5 1st of November. General Alagic left. So he was no longer the commander
6 of the 3rd Corps. But we shouldn't forget that this unit was established
7 in August, and that it was functioning in August, September, and October.
8 So during the three months when he was in command of the 3rd Corps.
9 We should ask the witness to give us his explanation about the
10 paragraph 4 on page 1. Can you please fetch the witness, Mr. Usher,
11 because it is already half past 3.00.
12 Ms. Benjamin, you may put your questions to the witness.
13 MS. BENJAMIN: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Q. Sir, first I would like you to indicate to the Trial Chamber whose
15 signature is that at the back of the document. Do you recognise it?
16 A. Yes. This is my signature.
17 Q. And then I would like you to turn to the front of the document.
18 It says "order number," "number 1." "Contents of work." And if you can
19 read the first paragraph under 1 for us, and could you explain to us what
20 you meant by that.
21 A. Under item 1, it says: "Hold a meeting with commanders of the
22 units taking part in the operation. The 17th Glorious Krajina Mountain
23 Brigade, the 27th, the 306th, 308th, 312th, 325th Mountain Brigade, the
24 El Mujahid Detachment, and Manoeuvre."
25 Q. Could you explain to the Trial Chamber what was your reason for
1 writing this and what's this all about, please.
2 A. I don't know whether the Honourable Chamber is aware of the fact
3 that during all this time of conflict between the BH Army and the HVO, in
4 Stari Vitez, there was an area of 500 by 1.000 metres where a Muslim
5 minority was encircled. And this was part of the plan for the operation
6 to rescue these people who were encircled. So this is just one of the
7 documents testifying to the preparations of the BH Army in December 1993
8 to help the encircled population which cried for help.
9 Q. So then, sir, what you would have said to us previously would be
10 inconsistent to this. Am I correct?
11 A. I would kindly ask you to look at the transcript again, and you
12 will see that I said that the first time I saw a written document about
13 the El Mujahid Detachment was towards the end of August. This is not the
14 first document where the El Mujahid Detachment is mentioned. And I even
15 said that this may even originate from a later period when I was no longer
16 on duty in the 306th Brigade. I did not say that I never cooperated, that
17 we never had contacts with the El Mujahid Detachment, but during that
18 period we did not have contacts between them and the 306th Brigade. The
19 first contact between the 306th Brigade and the El Mujahid Detachment was
20 toward the end of August when we received an order for the resubordination
21 of the El Mujahid Detachment for some operations. We received that order
22 from the corps command, and the El Mujahid Detachment did not want to be
23 resubordinated to the 306th Brigade. But this dates from a later period.
24 This document dates from a later period.
25 Q. When you gave your evidence on Friday in chief, and correct me if
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 I'm wrong, the impression that the Prosecution got, and I think the
2 impression that the Court may have gotten, is that you had absolutely
3 nothing to do with the mujahedins. They were a source of embarrassment.
4 In fact, you said you thought it was out of your competence --
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, firstly, I believe
6 that it is up to the Trial Chamber to receive information and to interpret
7 the witness's answers. But I believe that it is my right to ask my
8 learned friend not to paraphrase, but to quote the transcript. So if she
9 wants to quote the transcript, she can do that, but I don't think she
10 should be allowed to paraphrase the witness's words.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Ms. Benjamin, the
12 Defence would like you to quote the witness, mentioning the page of the
13 transcript where the witness said something. Where is it that he said
14 that he never had any contacts with the El Mujahid unit or the mujahedin
15 themselves? You have 25 minutes to do that, to locate the page, because
16 it is the time for a break.
17 We shall resume at 4.00. At 4.00, the Prosecution will give us
18 the exact number of page and the place where the witness stated that he
19 never had any contacts with the El Mujahid unit.
20 MS. BENJAMIN: Much obliged.
21 --- Recess taken at 3.34 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 4.02 p.m.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Benjamin, I give you the
25 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, at the break -- before the break, I
1 think the Defence wanted us to actually quote the paragraphs rather than
2 paraphrase in the interests of time. So I would have to go through
3 different paragraphs. One was the -- the first paragraph was one that we
4 already dealt with, and it was page 41, lines 8 to 14 on day 22. Day 22,
5 page 41, lines 8 to 14. And I don't know if my friend wants me to read
6 out all, but I can. "I'm not sure that any one at any time had precise
7 information about them, and to tell you the truth, we were not even
8 interested. They were not within our field of competence. We did not
9 seek information about them."
10 THE INTERPRETER: Please slow down.
11 MS. BENJAMIN: "We didn't know who they were or who their
12 commanders were. They were not strictly established as a combat group.
13 To me, they were some sort of passersby that I avoided because all I could
14 expect from them was inconvenience and embarrassment."
15 The second one would have been page 34 and 35, day 22. And at the
16 bottom of page 34, lines 21, in answer to a question, he says: "I cannot
17 tell you they are the same persons but they are from the same group
18 because there were frequent movements of this group. And at a distance, I
19 did not recognise them."
20 Page 35: "Neither then or the entire duration of my stay with the
21 306th Brigade did our brigade have a superior position to the mujahedins.
22 We had no control over them."
23 Page 54, lines 8 and 9: "I believe that in my earlier testimony,
24 I have noted several times that we had no such authority. We never did or
25 even attempted to."
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. You may put
2 your question to the witness.
3 MS. BENJAMIN:
4 Q. Mr. Siljak, before the break and before the interruption, I want
5 to ask you, please, if you could explain to us exactly what column 1, the
6 first one entailed, what it was all about.
7 A. Your Honours, if you will allow me just a few words of explanation
8 with regard to the transcript passages that have just been read out.
9 Whatever I said then was relative to the period when the El Mujahid
10 Detachment was still not established as a unit. What I was saying about
11 the mujahedin is relative to the period up to the establishment of the
12 El Mujahid Detachment. Towards the end of August, the 306th Brigade
13 received an order to place the El Mujahid Detachment to their command in
14 order to carry out an action. I never said that during my tour of duty or
15 during my position as an officer of the BiH Army, I never had contacts
16 with the El Mujahid Detachment. I was referring to the mujahedins who
17 were an informal group and who were never in practical terms
18 resubordinated to the 306th Brigade while I was its member.
19 And as far as the question is concerned, the column 1 represents
20 the contents of the work relative to the preparation for the operation to
21 help the Bosniaks encircled in Stari Vitez. Under number 1 here, a
22 meeting should have been held with the commanders of the units which were
23 supposed to participate in this operation. This is the plan of
24 preparations for the operation. The entire document is the plan.
25 Q. And according to your statement, the El Mujahid would have been
1 one of the units which were supposed to participate in the operation. Am
2 I correct?
3 A. You are.
4 Q. Now, I noticed on page 28 of the transcript, line 16, if you could
5 still see it on your screen, your response was "I was referring to the
6 mujahedins who were an informal group and who were never in practical
7 terms resubordinated to the 306th Brigade while I was a member." Now
8 "resubordinated" tells me they were subordinated before.
9 A. No, no. In the military terminology, if somebody is subordinated,
10 that means that that group is a member of that unit. Resubordinated means
11 that its command attaches a certain group for a period of time in order to
12 carry out a task. On a number of occasions, I have mentioned the units
13 which were subordinated to the 306th Brigade. Those were the units which
14 were on its strength. The mujahedins were never either subordinated or
15 resubordinated to the 306th, I believe. The resubordination which was
16 ordered at the end of August was never executed, and the El Mujahid
17 Detachment never accepted to be resubordinated to the 306th Brigade.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to ask you a
19 linguistical question. In English there is the word subordinated and
20 resubordinated. You are saying that these terms should be understood as
21 subordinated and attached to or resubordinated. Can you please explain
22 what distinction do you make in military terms between subordinated and
23 attached to or resubordinated?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Every unit has its prescribed
25 formation or establishment which regulates the number of command staff,
1 the number of units, their strength, and the troops. According to that
2 establishment, the resubordinated units are those which are attached to a
3 different unit from a different command, and their attachment or
4 subordination is of a limited period just for the execution of a certain
6 MS. BENJAMIN:
7 Q. Page 29, line 14, "the resubordinate which was ordered at the end
8 of August was never executed, and the El Mujahid Detachment never accepted
9 to be resubordinated to the 306th Brigade." That's what you just told us.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And that's -- look at the date of the document you have before
13 A. The stamp tells me that it was processed on the 7th of December
14 1993. That is when it was entered into files.
15 Q. Yes. And higher up opposite to the one, "time from/to," 712/712.
16 Now, if I were to follow you, according to you, the resubordinate
17 which was ordered at the end of August was never executed, and the
18 El Mujahid Detachment never accepted to be resubordinated to the
19 306th Brigade. If we were to accept that, why were you having a meeting
20 with them then?
21 A. In this case, according to this document, I was not the chief of
22 the staff of the 306th Brigade. At that moment, I was the chief of staff
23 of the Bosanska Krajina operations group. And the El Mujahid Detachment
24 was resubordinated to the Bosanska Krajina operations group command for
25 the purpose of carrying out this particular task. It was not
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 resubordinated to the 306th Mountain Brigade.
2 Q. Okay. Could you for the benefit of the Trial Chamber tell us who
3 exactly was in the El Mujahid Detachment? What was this detachment made
4 up of, of who?
5 A. I personally was never in the barracks, in the camp of that
6 detachment. And I never visited the parts afield where the El Mujahid
7 Detachment was involved in combat operations. But I do know that there
8 were foreigners in the detachment, and there were some members of the
9 local population who had agreed to abide by the code of conduct of that
10 detachment or they had joined this formation for some other reasons.
11 There were foreigners, mujahedin, and there were some local
12 Bosniaks who had joined the detachment.
13 Q. Hence the reason why you indicated to us on page 41 of the
14 transcript, and correct me if I'm wrong, that it was a source of
15 embarrassment. Isn't that the reason why, why they were a source of
16 embarrassment, because they were included in the mujahedin detachment,
17 were they, the mujahedins?
18 A. No. I was speaking about the period during which the El Mujahid
19 Detachment hadn't been formed. Now, we have mostly been speaking about
20 the period during which certain criminal acts were committed. We're not
21 talking about the period during which the El Mujahid Detachment was
22 formed, although there are numerous examples that when the El Mujahid
23 Detachment was formed, there was maltreatment again, and the members of
24 that detachment behaved inappropriately towards the civilian population,
25 towards members of the 306th Brigade.
1 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, may the witness be shown Prosecution
2 Exhibit P679, please.
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, could the document
4 be placed on the ELMO so that we can see it and so that the accused can
5 see it as well.
6 MS. BENJAMIN: My apologies, but the Defence was served a copy, so
7 I thought...
8 Q. Could you please turn to the second page. And do you see the
9 signature of the commander?
10 A. I signed this document on behalf of the commander.
11 Q. Well, that is even better because you're more familiar with it.
12 So could we look at paragraph (c) on the first page. And this document
13 was dated the 16th of March 1993. And shall I read it?
14 A. Should I read it?
15 Q. I can assist you so that we can move on. "Frequent cases of all
16 forms of crime in our zone of responsibility recently have damaged the
17 combat readiness of units. And for that very reason, the security
18 situation is visibly undermined. The Muslim units which are stationed in
19 our zone of responsibility contribute to this significantly, but they are
20 financed by people from Arab countries, so they have purchased plenty of
21 MTS/technical equipment and materiels." And we can go on, but I think
22 that is sufficient for you to explain to me and to the Trial Chamber what
23 was really the relationship between the mujahedins, what role did they
24 play? Could you help us?
25 A. Well, look, when the brigades were formed in the BH Republic Army,
1 the men from the previous Muslim forces which wanted to join the army
2 joined the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade of the BH Republic Army. But some
3 of those Muslim forces didn't want to enter the 7th Muslim Mountain
4 Brigade, and they weren't part of the BH Republic Army. They were in
5 contact with these people from Arab countries. And when they refer to the
6 Muslim forces in a document of this kind, when they talk about being
7 linked up with people from Arab countries, the reference being made is to
8 the men who didn't join the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade, or as I said,
9 they're referring to men who were out of control and acting together with
10 these foreigners. And in this document, we are providing information
11 according to which this represents a problem in the zone of responsibility
12 of the 306th Brigade.
13 Q. It is your evidence, after you've looked at the report that you
14 said was signed by you, and after you have looked at your worksheet that
15 you drew up, that the mujahedins had absolutely no involvement at all in
16 the 3rd Corps. That is your evidence as far as you know?
17 A. Well, so far I have tried to avoid saying that while the
18 El Mujahid Detachment existed and while the 3rd Corps existed, well, I try
19 to avoid saying this. I meant -- I was referring to the period up to the
20 formation of the El Mujahid Detachment. Up until that time, the mujahedin
21 didn't participate together with the 306th Brigade in action, and they
22 weren't resubordinated to the 306th Brigade. And I said that the first
23 time they attempted to resubordinate them was unsuccessful. That was
24 towards the ends of August, and they didn't succeed in doing this later on
25 either. So I don't want to say that the El Mujahid Detachment was
1 never -- I don't want to say that the El Mujahid Detachment was part of
2 the BH Army or part of the corps. Because there were problems, and there
3 were other problems because the 3rd Corps commander ordered that they be
4 resubordinated to the 306th Brigade. They refused this, and this shows
5 how they carried out tasks. But as to the earlier period, this is the
6 period I'm talking about, they never participated in combat action with
7 the 306th Brigade and under the command of the 306th Brigade.
8 Q. And I am talking about the entire period relative to the period in
9 the indictment. And I am talking about the fact that you have a document
10 drafted by you in December referring to meetings with the El Mujahid
11 Detachment. I'm talking about that. Now, I'm also going to ask you, in
12 light of the fact that you told us there were foreigners in the El Mujahid
13 Detachment as well, I'm going to ask you this: I take it that during your
14 tenure that you had been to Mehurici before? During the conflict and
15 before the conflict.
16 A. I don't understand the question.
17 Q. During the conflict, prior to the conflict, subsequent to the
18 conflict, did you personally ever go to Mehurici?
19 A. I went to Mehurici before the conflict and in the course of the
20 conflict. From the 8th to the 15th, or perhaps the 20th, perhaps I didn't
21 go to Mehurici, but I did go after the clashes, and naturally I did
22 examine the situation in the units that were part of the 306th Brigade.
23 But I never went to the camp where the mujahedin were.
24 Q. You said to me from the 8th to the 15th, or perhaps the 20th.
25 Could you indicate perhaps what month that would have been?
1 A. In June, when there was an open conflict in the Bila valley area.
2 Q. Okay. Now, I want to ask you this question: The 7th Muslim
3 Mountain Brigade, do you know where they were based?
4 A. At that time, we had problems. We were involved in various tasks.
5 I know that one battalion command was located in Travnik because I lived
6 in Travnik, and I saw them there and had contact with them. But as to the
7 location of the other battalions -- well, I also knew that a battalion
8 command was -- brigade command, correction, was somewhere in Zenica.
9 Q. I am going to put this to you now. You have been to Mehurici
10 before the conflict, after the conflict, and during. Do you know that the
11 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade was based in Mehurici in 1993?
12 A. When I arrived in Mehurici, as far as I know, it was never located
13 in Mehurici.
14 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. It's
15 not an objection to my colleague's question. But in the transcript, I
16 don't think it says that the battalion command was located in Zenica. I
17 wanted to avoid any confusion. It's page 35, line 9.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
19 MS. BENJAMIN:
20 Q. What about battalions of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade? Do you
21 know if any such battalions were based in Mehurici?
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Defence counsel.
23 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. But
24 the witness has just answered the question. He said that as far as he
25 knew, there was no 7th Brigade battalion in Mehurici. And I'd like to
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 point out that the witness is the chief of the 306th Brigade, not of the
2 7th Brigade.
3 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, may the witness be shown Prosecution
4 Exhibit 661, please.
5 Q. Sir, does this order look familiar to you?
6 A. Could you just let me have a look at it. I haven't seen this
7 document before, but I remember the assistant commander for morale drafted
8 this. He was from the 306th Brigade. And in one of the meetings of the
9 brigade, he provided a briefing. This is why I remember this exchange
10 with the 7th Muslim Brigade. I know that we also informed the superior
11 command and the 7th Muslim Brigade. But I remember that we received an
12 answer from the 7th Muslim Brigade, and they informed us in that answer
13 that they had forwarded to their subordinate commands orders according to
14 which such things should not occur. And according to their statements,
15 according to their investigations, their members were not responsible for
16 the acts in question. As to what happened to my wife later on in the same
17 village referred to, it is obvious that on this occasion and on the second
18 occasion, this was the responsibility or this act was committed by those
19 who had joined the mujahedin in Mehurici. I can't recognise the document,
20 but I remember all these events. I remember the letter from the
21 7th Muslim Brigade. And to a certain extent, I'm linking up these two
22 events that have to do with the village of Kljaci, in April and in
23 October. These acts were probably committed by members of the same unit.
24 Q. It would seem to me, and correct me if I'm wrong, that as chief of
25 staff, you were sidelined most of the time. Am I correct?
1 A. It's not that I was sidelined as the chief of staff in relation to
2 this document because this was drafted by the assistant commander for
3 morale who was in direct connection with the brigade commander. It wasn't
4 necessary for me. Maybe I didn't see the document, but I remember that at
5 a meeting of the brigade command, this is a document that we discussed.
6 This is something that we discussed.
7 Q. And do you remember discussing at one of those meetings the
8 lawlessness and the outrageous behaviour of the mujahedins in your
9 presence, in your area in particular?
10 A. This was frequently discussed because the mujahedin caused
11 problems to rise in our area. We informed our superior command of these
12 criminal acts perpetrated by the mujahedin. We informed them of this
13 because our combat readiness was being disturbed. It had an adverse
14 effect on our combat readiness and on morale in the unit. Insecurity
15 could be felt in the territory from which the 306th Brigade recruited men.
16 Q. And you personally and your unit felt helpless, did you?
17 A. Well, we weren't responsible for taking any measures. That wasn't
18 our mandate. And I think that in such cases, since some of the Bosniak
19 population had joined the mujahedin, as a result it was necessary to find
20 some sort of a political solution. This problem should be resolved at a
21 political level because for a commander to take the decision to deal with
22 a given problem would involve having a lot of information, if he was to
23 take the right decision. And on the basis of what we observed in the
24 field, they had the support of some of the Bosniak people. We didn't know
25 how many troops they had, and the politicians hadn't made us responsible
1 for dealing with this problem. And perhaps this is why there was a
2 feeling of helplessness as you have said.
3 Q. And in addition to that, they, and correct me if I'm wrong because
4 I'm only quoting from the order of the 16th of March 1993, these
5 foreigners, as we call them, or mujahedins financed or these people from
6 the Arab countries, they were able to finance the BiH and help the ABiH
7 with respect to equipments and things like that in the early days. Am I
9 A. Well, this information, it was obtained by intelligence in the
10 field. So that's the opinion of this intelligence officer providing the
11 information. But I'm not in a position to come to such a conclusion. I
12 wasn't so high ranking to be able to come to a conclusion as to how the
13 army was financed or by whom. We relied on the legitimate bodies of
15 Q. Yet, they continued to embarrass you. Am I correct?
16 A. [No verbal response]
17 Q. Even though the army had absolutely nothing to do with them, they
18 continued to embarrass the army, they continued to be a source of concern
19 to the army, an army that you said in evidence was larger than the HVO, an
20 army that was bigger than them, and they couldn't do anything. Could you
21 explain why? Why were they untouchable?
22 A. I just tried to explain to you that we didn't have a mandate to
23 enter into a conflict with them. This would have required a solution on
24 the political level. We informed the authorities of the problems, but the
25 306th Brigade wasn't charged with entering a conflict with them. We
1 didn't have such a mandate, and for the following reasons: As I said,
2 they had the support of some of the population, some of the Bosniaks from
3 the Bila valley, which is where they were located. In the villages,
4 people started dividing mosques into two parts, and you would have
5 religious rites of one kind in one part and of another in another part.
6 The introduction of new norms of behaviour meant that it was necessary to
7 deal with this issue at a higher level, and the 306th Brigade didn't have
8 the authority to deal with this problem. It wasn't our responsibility.
9 Q. But according to you, they were in your area of responsibility at
10 some point in time, one; you were the chief of staff, two; and you
11 indicated a while ago that they were part of the El Mujahid Detachment,
12 there were mujahedins in there. Now, to me, if they were part of the
13 detachment and if they were in there, surely somebody had to have accepted
14 them in there and had to have responsibility for them. And that's the
15 reason why I come -- I agree with what you say when you said that they
16 became a source of embarrassment. So can you tell me, how do we analyse
17 this? Because in one breath, they weren't a part of the organisation. We
18 had nothing to do with them. We didn't concern ourselves with them. For
19 some reason, we turned a blind eye and we just stayed stiff where the
20 mujahedins were concerned. We didn't want to have anything to do with
21 them. In another breath, they were included in the detachment.
22 Now, whoever was responsible for the mujahedin detachment had to
23 be responsible for the members in it. Agreed? Agreed? So could you
24 explain to me why --
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, my colleague is
1 misquoting the witness who spoke about the mujahedin on a number of
2 occasions up until late summer when they became the El Mujahid Detachment,
3 and he spoke about the first time he had information about the detachment.
4 According to my colleague's question, my colleague is putting words into
5 the witness's mouth, saying something that the witness never said.
6 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, the witness was shown P679 as early
7 as March 1993, and it talks about the mujahedins, and he said he was aware
8 of the order of the mujahedins, and these people financing the army,
9 people from the Arab countries. And it's just a simple question.
10 Q. I'm asking in light of all of this, what was the reason for the
11 hands-off attitude towards the mujahedins? It's a simple question, and he
12 can answer it.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you understood the
14 question? Do take your time before you answer it because it is an
15 important question. So please, think about it and try to answer it if you
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To help you to understand this
18 subject, it's necessary to start in 1992 before any kind of corps, any
19 kind of brigades were formed, the mujahedin appeared. Foreigners appeared
20 in the territory of the Travnik Municipality. This was before the
21 establishment of units. It's not as if the commander of the 3rd Corps or
22 the command of the 306th Brigade received them and billeted them there.
23 Then, in the subsequent period, and as I said, the first time I
24 heard about the El Mujahid's detachment was at the end of August when we
25 received the order I mentioned. So this period, from the time they
1 arrived right up until the end of August, during this period, they were
2 these unofficial groups which caused problems. They weren't under army
3 command. Because it's quite logical if the mujahedin imprisoned 30
4 inhabitants of Miletici, and if they were under the command of some army
5 unit, in such a case, the command would have ordered them to release them.
6 But what happened? People had to go and beg the mujahedin to release
7 them. The father of a member of my command had to go there. If they had
8 been within the system of command, they would have been given orders.
9 From August and afterwards, they appeared in various areas. And there
10 were units to which certain tasks were assigned. As to how they carried
11 out the tasks, well, we have seen. And in this example, they refused to
12 be resubordinated to the 306th Brigade.
13 Later on, I came across the El Mujahid Detachment as a unit. This
14 was in December when I moved into the Bosanska Krajina OG and when I had
15 to perform the duties of chief of staff. And this is when I received a
16 task to draft a plan to assist the population that was under threat in
17 Old Vitez, in Stari Vitez.
18 MS. BENJAMIN:
19 Q. I don't intend to continue much further with this, but I would
20 want to ask you this, and I think you keep missing the question. And the
21 question is just this: Why were they hesitant in disciplining them,
22 whether they came in after in the mujahedin unit or before? Why was there
23 that hesitancy in disciplining this group of people, a small group of
24 people that was much smaller than the army, a group of people that was
25 terrorising everybody? And here with an army, a force of - you told us
1 how much your unit alone had - 5.000, whatever. Why is it that nobody saw
2 it fit to discipline this unit or this body of people, more so when they
3 became embodied into the Mujahid unit?
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Again, take your time before you
5 reply. The question that has been put to you is attached to an incident
6 that concerned you because it involved your wife. Your wife who was a
7 teacher was forced to leave the village where she was teaching school
8 because of the mujahedin. And the Prosecution now asks you to explain how
9 come that a situation like that could occur, and there were other
10 witnesses who testified to that. And how come that the 3rd Corps,
11 somebody even mentioned that the 3rd Corps had 30.000 troops. You, in
12 your zone of responsibility, there is a document saying that there were
13 about 11.000 of you. At the moment, when you were there, there were 5.000
14 troops. How can you explain the fact that 5.000 soldiers could be
15 terrorised by a dozen or so individuals? And this is what the Prosecution
16 has just asked you. Try to respond, please.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I have been talking about the
18 mujahedin, I have tried to explain on several occasions what this was all
19 about. I don't know whether I have to go over the same ground again. In
20 a nutshell, let me repeat. I don't know what else to say. Some of the
21 local population joined the mujahedin for various reasons. So they
22 enjoyed their support. The conflict or the solution to these problems
23 would have led up to terrible consequences, and the commander of the
24 306th Brigade could not make such decisions. He would have had to have
25 all the relevant data on the possible consequences of this possible
1 conflict. This surpassed his means. And since these people enjoyed the
2 support of some of the civilian population, he would have had to have had
3 political consent to deal with this situation. And this went beyond me or
4 beyond the brigade commander.
5 When I was talking about the strength of the army in that area, I
6 was talking about the number of troops. And I said that at the moment
7 when the conflict began, the number of men did not correspond to the
8 number of weapons, only 50 per cent of the troops had arms, were armed. I
9 was talking about the strength when I was responding to a question. And I
10 said that the technical capabilities of the HVO when the Frankopan Brigade
11 was established, the balance of forces was changed in their favour
12 significantly. And if you will allow me one more thing, when we're
13 talking about the incident that happened in October, I know, because my
14 wife was involved, I'm familiar with the case, this person who was a
15 member of the El Mujahid Detachment, he was tried and sentenced or
16 punished. I don't know how he was punished. However, I know that he had
17 to appear before the court in Travnik for this incident that took place.
18 MS. BENJAMIN:
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Siljak. Would you be able to assist us with the
20 name of that person, that mujahedin.
21 A. He was a local Muslim whose name was Sabahudin Adilovic. He was
22 born in Kljaci village, in my village where I was born. And he was the
23 one who forced my wife out of the village. And she only wanted to teach
24 the kids there to write and read in those times of adversity. He was not
25 a mujahedin, but he joined the group of mujahedins.
1 Q. And this would be my last question on that topic: With respect to
2 combat activities, could you -- would you be able to assist the
3 Trial Chamber as to the role the mujahedins played with respect to combat
4 activities. Perhaps you could enlighten us as to who they were fighting
5 against, you know.
6 A. I can only speak about the planned activities in December when I
7 was the chief of staff of the Bosanska Krajina OG. At that time, the
8 El Mujahid Detachment like all the other units was assigned certain tasks
9 within the overall mission of the BiH Army.
10 Q. As to the middle of 1993, do you know what they were doing, what
11 was their role?
12 A. In mid-1993, they were informal groups. We did not have any
13 information as to how they carried out combat activities or what they did.
14 Their camp, as I've already said, was in Poljanica. Their camp was very
15 close to the sector where combat activities took place. And most often,
16 they would get involved in plundering. When the BiH Army units liberated
17 an area, they would come in to take the loot, so to speak.
18 Q. And I take it that the BiH Army was helpless? They couldn't stop
19 them from looting, could they?
20 A. The 306th Brigade at the time had the main task to reach Bukovica
21 as soon as possible, to reach Bandol as soon as possible because Bandol
22 had come under attack. After the BH Army, and I'm sure that everybody
23 from that area can confirm that, there were civilians, there were
24 mujahedins, everybody started looting, people were hungry. There were a
25 lot of refugees. We were engaged in combat activities. Or at least
1 according to my information, we were engaged in combat on this axis that
2 led to Bukovica, and we tried to get there as soon as possible. We didn't
3 have much time for anything else.
4 Q. Thank you. And I'd just like to go into the areas that my learned
5 friend dealt with with respect to the crimes committed in Miletici and
6 Maline. And in your evidence in chief, you indicated that most of it you
7 said you weren't aware about; the information you had is what was relayed
8 to you. So in light of that, my question to you is this: On learning
9 what had happened in these different areas that you said you personally
10 wasn't aware of, did you inform your superior, and could you tell us what
11 action was taken, if any?
12 A. I said that at the time I had been ill, and I learned from other
13 members of the command, amongst others, the brigade commander who had been
14 informed even before me. And I was talking about the measures that were
15 taken. The joint command of the BiH Army and the HVO went to the spot.
16 The members of the joint command were Merdan and Nakic, Merdan on behalf
17 of the BH Army and Nakic on behalf of the HVO. There were also members of
18 the international community. And they went to inspect and they stated
19 this had been done by the mujahedins and their supporters from the ranks
20 of the local Bosniak population. And with that having been done, the
21 306th Brigade discontinued any further investigation because it had been
22 confirmed that no member of the 306th Brigade was involved in all that.
23 Q. And that is for Miletici as well as Maline and all the areas that
24 my learned friend took you through. That applied in each case to each
25 incident. Am I correct?
1 A. When it comes to the measures that were taken, the chief of
2 security of the 306th Brigade took measures in order to investigate the
3 incident once he had learned about it. And once the investigation was
4 carried out and once it was confirmed that the incident involved the
5 mujahedins and not members of the 306th Brigade, the chief of security
6 discontinued any further investigation because it had been confirmed that
7 the incident did not involve members of the 306th Brigade.
8 Q. And as usual, the mujahedins, untouchables, were left alone. Am I
10 A. We informed our superior command about the problems that we had
11 with the mujahedin. I don't know what our superior command did following
12 that, and I would suspect that the establishment of the El Mujahid
13 Detachment was the result of all these activities in order to place these
14 people under the control of the same body that controlled the other units
15 of the BiH Army.
16 Q. Well, I was about to ask the last question, and this is going to
17 be the last question. According to the response you've just given, if
18 these people were under the control or were uncontrollable, sorry, and if
19 nobody could control them, and it would appear nobody could discipline
20 them either, why then was an effort made to integrate them? Why would the
21 army want to align themselves with a group like that?
22 A. I can only talk from the point of view of the chief of staff of
23 the 306th Brigade. And I can tell you that we had problems with them,
24 that we informed our superior command of these problems, and we asked them
25 to deal with the problem of the mujahedin. How the problem was solved,
1 why it was solved goes beyond my knowledge.
2 Q. I'm putting it to you, and you can disagree - feel free - I'm
3 putting it to you that the mujahedins were untouchable to the 3rd Corps
4 and to the army as a whole; the mujahedins were not disciplined as we had
5 seen, and we could have seen, and you said so, too, that they weren't
6 disciplined; and I'm putting it to you that this was because the
7 mujahedins -- there was some nexus between the mujahedins and the ABiH
8 Army. There was some nexus because from your evidence, you have shown the
9 Court that the mujahedins were untouchable.
10 Now, you haven't given us the reason why yet. But you've shown
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, before the witness
13 responds, I would like to notice that my learned friend is arguing. She
14 is not putting the questions. She is rather presenting statements.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Benjamin, was that a
16 question that you put to the witness?
17 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, it was a question premised by a
18 statement at first. And for him to give his opinion now based on the
19 statement that was made. I sort of left it open for him to tell us, based
20 on what we have gathered from his evidence, what is his last statement on
21 it. Thanks.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you understood the
23 question, sir? The Prosecution puts a theory to you, a theory of their
24 own, the theory which consists of the following: The mujahedins in
25 reality, there was a nexus, there was a link between the mujahedins and
1 the army; that is the Prosecution case, this is their theory. If you have
2 understood the question, and the Prosecution asks for your personal
3 opinion because you were the chief of staff of the 306th Brigade, and you
4 later on held different positions, so you were an officer of a high rank,
5 who could have -- who might have a reply to this question. So what is
6 your response to this question?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was first talking about the level
8 from which I could draw conclusions. When it came to the 306th Brigade,
9 we informed our superior command of the problems that we had with the
10 mujahedin. I don't know how many reports we sent. However, whenever
11 there was a problem with the mujahedin, we informed our superior command,
12 and we had the impression at the time, the time leading up to the
13 establishment of the El Mujahid Detachment, that in the 306th Brigade,
14 they were not subordinated to it or resubordinated to it. My feeling,
15 based on what was -- happening on the ground, they were not under the
16 command of the 3rd Corps. I told you that it would have been normal in
17 military terms for the corps commander to order its subordinated unit to
18 release the captured civilians. However, the command could not do that.
19 Instead of that, we had to go and beg the mujahedin to release family
20 members of the command members and the Croats from Miletici.
21 Based on that, it is my conclusion that the mujahedin were not
22 under the control of a single army unit. From the moment the El Mujahid
23 Detachment was established, I can't tell you much because I was no longer
24 in the 3rd Corps. The El Mujahid Detachment was resubordinated to the
25 Bosanska Krajina OG for the execution of a task. This was for just a
1 limited period of time. And that is why I told you that my impression
2 was, based on the order for resubordination, when they did not accept to
3 be resubordinated. It is my impression that they did not carry out tasks
4 like other units of the BH Army. And now, when you ask me about the
5 problems and why they were not disciplined, why a solution was not found
6 for that problem, I told you that it was not my responsibility. I would
7 like to learn why this problem was not dealt with. I had a lot of
8 Croatian friends. There's this village where I had very good friends, and
9 I'm really sorry. I don't know what else to say, especially when I talk
10 about my friends and the neighbours that I socialised with.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I didn't want to
12 interrupt the witness. I would just like to correct the transcript. Page
13 48, line 16, it says here that he had the impression, and the witness said
14 that "it is with certainty at that time." So it was not just the
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much for this
18 Ms. Benjamin, do you have any other questions, or was this really
19 your last question?
20 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, this ends the cross-examination.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Presiding Judge.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Is there any re-examination on
23 the part of the Defence? Any questions that might arise from the
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I would like to put
1 just one question to the witness. The witness gave very elaborate answers
2 to my questions. He explained the difficulties that the 306th Brigade
3 faced. And he also replied to the questions put to him by my learned
5 Re-examined by Ms. Residovic:
6 Q. [Interpretation] I would now like to ask the witness the follows:
7 When he looks back on the time now, when he goes back to 1993 and all the
8 things that they did at the time, can he confirm before this Trial
9 Chamber, under oath, that he and members of his command did everything
10 they possibly could --
11 MS. BENJAMIN: With all due respect to my friend, Mr. President,
12 that, one, is as leading as we could get it; and two, that does not arise
13 out of cross-examination. That does not arise. The time for my friend to
14 do that was before now.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But the question is interesting
16 for the Judges, for the Judges to better understand the situation. You
17 were asked by the Defence counsel whether according to you, you and the
18 command, did you do everything that you possibly could that was possibly
19 there to be done?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Under the conditions that prevailed
21 at the time on the territory where the 306th Brigade held a line on the
22 Vlasic plateau facing the Serbs and the Montenegrins, when we were
23 replenished by men who were not trained to perform tasks in the units, in
24 the detachments, in the commands, in the platoons, when we did not have
25 enough weapons, we did not even have enough food when we were on the move,
1 and when we take all that into consideration, I sometimes wonder whether
2 we could do more or whether we couldn't. I am a very judgemental person,
3 and I judge myself the harshest. And I always put the most strain on
4 myself in order to carry out the task as best as I possibly can. However,
5 when I go back to that time and when I analyse the situation, I believe
6 that we did all we could as far as the mujahedin are concerned. Again, I
7 repeat, this was not the problem that we could deal with or solve.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Any other
9 questions, Defence?
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] After the cross-examination, I
11 don't have any re-examination that would arise from the cross-examination.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
13 The other Defence counsel?
14 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,
15 Mr. President. We have only one question.
16 Cross-examined by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Siljak, to my learned friend's question, you
18 said toward the end of August, you received an order from the 3rd Corps to
19 have the El Mujahid Detachment resubordinated to the 306th Brigade. Is
20 that correct?
21 A. Yes, it is.
22 Q. This order was never carried through. Is that correct?
23 A. I said that it was never executed because they refused to be
24 resubordinated to the 306th Brigade.
25 Q. At the moment when you received that order, towards the end of
1 August 1993, at that moment, was there the 7th Brigade in Travnik, or the
2 1st Battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade? Did this battalion exist in
4 A. There was the battalion command in Travnik, but I can't remember
5 who was there at that moment. I really don't know where the battalion was
6 and in which combat activities they took place at the time.
7 Q. My question was whether the battalion of the 7th Brigade was in
9 A. The command of that battalion did exist in Travnik.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The Judges have some
11 questions for you. Without wasting any time, I will give the floor to the
12 Judge who is sitting on my left. I also have some questions for you, as
13 well as the other Judge.
14 Questioned by the Court:
15 JUDGE SWART: Good afternoon, Witness. I have a few minor
16 questions to ask you. The first question is about Miletici. I'm not
17 asking you about how the events occurred and what happened afterward. But
18 I've always had one question that has never been answered before, and
19 maybe you have the answer. The question is very simple: Why did the
20 mujahedin go to Miletici? Was there any reason for it?
21 A. Again, I can answer this question on the basis of reports I
22 received and on the basis of what I found out at the time. According to
23 the information that I have at my disposal now, or rather according to the
24 information that command members, members of the 306th Brigade command
25 provided me with, the reason for this is one group of mujahedin went to
1 carry out reconnaissance in the territory above the camp where they were
2 located. In that area, the HVO had already established lines. And there
3 was a minefield. One of the mujahedin was wounded in that minefield. And
4 in order to take retaliation, they set off in the direction of Orasac, the
5 village of Orasac according to the first report from the 306th Brigade.
6 However, it turned out that they set off in the direction of
7 Miletici, but Miletici never was at the front line. There were never any
8 problems there. And one would not have expected that they would do
9 anything to those people who were on very good, neighbourly terms with
10 those Bosniaks. So according to what I heard, this was the reason, and I
11 think that that is the information that we provided our superior command
13 JUDGE SWART: So they were taking some military actions in
14 relation to what Croats did, what Croat forces did. Is that the right
16 A. I don't know whether I'd call those actions military actions, but
17 they were in the vicinity of the camp. That's where they went. And in
18 the course of that action, one of their mujahedin was wounded, and they
19 set off in the direction of that village to take retaliation.
20 JUDGE SWART: Miletici is on the other side of the River Bila,
21 isn't it? Their camp in Poljanica is on the left side, the west side, and
22 Miletici is on the eastern side. This is why I always wondered why did
23 they, so to speak, cross the river and go to a place that was not in the
24 immediate neighbourhood of the camp?
25 A. All I can say -- all I could say now would just be guesswork or
1 some sort of an assessment. But I cannot tell you anything on the basis
2 of knowledge I had or documents I obtained. All I could do is tell you
3 what my opinion is. Miletici is a small village, and it doesn't have many
4 Croat inhabitants. I assume that they were aware of the fact that they
5 wouldn't meet with much resistance. It was easier for them. It was
6 easier for them to go there than to set off in the direction of the lines
7 where a defence had been organised or it was easier than going towards HVO
8 lines facing the Bosniak villages, for example, in the direction of
10 JUDGE SWART: Would this be an example of the mujahedin taking
11 their own military actions, making their own military plans and following
12 their own military goals or something like that?
13 A. I don't know if it's an example, but that's what happened. They
14 entered that village, and later on in Maline, they captured those
15 prisoners from army members. They used their weapons to do so. And let's
16 say that's how they were conducting their war - let's call it that - at
17 the time.
18 JUDGE SWART: I suppose they were not doing nothing there. They
19 must have had a goal for themselves, and you say now they were, so to
20 speak, conducting their own private war unconnected with what your army
21 did or what the 306th Brigade did. This is my question. Was this the
22 only action they took independently, or was this a regular occurrence?
23 What did they do in other weeks, in other months?
24 A. I personally never saw them, and according to the information we
25 obtained at briefings from assistants for morale, assistants for security,
1 assistants for intelligence, they were training their men, that is to say
2 foreigners, and they trained local Bosniaks who had joined them. And I
3 have mentioned the reasons for which they had joined them. So they
4 provided these men with some sort of training. They said they were
5 providing them with military training, and also with religious
6 instruction. They were instructing them how to celebrate those religious
7 rights, these new religious rights.
8 JUDGE SWART: Thank you. My second and last question on Miletici
9 and also on Maline is the following: You said there were investigations
10 on behalf of the 306th Brigade, and when they showed that the brigade was
11 not involved itself, the investigation stopped.
12 Did you as far as you know, maybe you don't know, but did the
13 306th Brigade send the results to, for instance, the public prosecutor in
14 Travnik or any other judicial body?
15 A. At the briefings, the assistant for security provided information
16 about that investigation. I know that he said that the commander ordered
17 him to send a report to the superior command. I don't know whether he did
18 so. And I don't know whether a criminal report was filed against someone
19 for the acts that were committed.
20 JUDGE SWART: I was looking in the binder that has been given to
21 you last week. Do you still have it? I would like to put you a few
22 questions on two of the documents that are in this binder. And they
23 relate to the 306th Brigade.
24 A. I have the binder before me.
25 JUDGE SWART: Okay.
1 A. Yes, I have.
2 JUDGE SWART: The first document is at the end of the binder. It
3 is the last part. It is a document of 2 August 1993, and it mentions your
4 name in the beginning.
5 A. This is a report on visiting the 306th Mountain Brigade, if I have
6 found the right document.
7 JUDGE SWART: Yes, this is the report by Jusuf Spajic on behalf of
8 the 3rd Corps visiting your brigade. And he says in the first sentence of
9 his report that you assisted him in the inspection. Now, the second linea
10 of this report talks about difficulties. Some members of the brigade
11 would like to be part of other brigades, and then you mentioned -- or
12 Jusuf Spajic mentioned something else. He says, "a communication was also
13 sent to all villages from the Muslim forces stationed in Mehurici village,
14 summoning soldiers for a 40-day training."
15 Now, a few minutes ago you talked about training of the local
16 population by the mujahedin. I take it this is also an offer done by the
17 mujahedin to the 306th Brigade, but maybe I am mistaken. Could you
18 explain me what is the background of this observation on your part.
19 A. You mentioned a number of elements here. And I don't know whether
20 to answer you in order or whether to just answer the specific question. I
21 don't know whether I should take things in order. But I think that it
22 might be good to clarify what is stated in this document.
23 JUDGE SWART: Please go ahead.
24 A. In addition to other problems, in the 306th Brigade, there was the
25 1st Battalion composed of men from refugee municipalities. They were
1 refugees from neighbouring municipalities. And we had problems with that
2 battalion because they wanted to join some unit that belonged to Krajina
3 in a sense. They wanted to go to a Krajina unit.
4 Soon afterwards, the 27th Krajina Brigade was formed. And this
5 battalion from the 306th Brigade moved to that brigade. So the 306th lost
6 this battalion. As far as the other problems are concerned,
7 Commander Lubenovic informed us about them because his battalion command
8 was in Mehurici, and he was in the best position to observe what the
9 mujahedin and their followers were doing in that area. So instead of men
10 joining the 306th Brigade, they didn't turn to 306th Brigade. But in
11 mosques, at various meetings in the villages, they promised that these
12 members would benefit. They organised training for these men. They went
13 after them. It wasn't for members of the 306th Brigade. They didn't
14 organise this for members of the 306th Brigade.
15 JUDGE SWART: If you -- if this documents speaks about Muslim
16 forces, is this a reference to mujahedin, or is this a reference to other
18 A. In my previous answer to Madam Prosecutor, I said that after the
19 7th Muslim Brigade had been formed, the Muslim forces and some of the
20 forces that wanted to enter the BH Army did enter the army. But some men
21 remained outside of that system, and they were together with the
22 mujahedin. And a reference to the -- here, they're talking about the
23 local Bosniaks who joined the mujahedin, and they're talking about the
24 mujahedin themselves. These are the people they are referring to here.
25 JUDGE SWART: So then I come back to my first question. Is the
1 mujahedin here in this situation offering the brigade, the 306 Brigade
2 training of its soldiers? Or is something else happening here?
3 A. As I said, the mujahedin never offered to provide training for the
4 306th Brigade as a brigade. But on their own initiative, they went after
5 local inhabitants. They wanted to recruit young men who would go to their
6 camp for training. The 306th Brigade provided training to a planned
7 manner, according to plan, and this is a matter I've already spoken about.
8 JUDGE SWART: So the brigade was never offered training of its men
9 and the brigade never accepted training of its men by the mujahedin. Is
10 that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 JUDGE SWART: The second thing that is mentioned on the next page,
13 and that is two times, you again or the report again refers to the
14 difficulty of recruits or young soldiers being inclined to join other
15 parts of the army than your brigade, if I understand what you are saying
16 there. There is here mentioned two times on the second page of the
17 El Dzihad in Mehurici? Is that how they named themselves? Is that how
18 you called them? Is that a standard expression for this group of persons?
19 A. This group of men was given different names, so no one knew what
20 they were called or what they were. For one period of time, we had the
21 name "the Muslim forces," and then there was the name "El Dzihad," and
22 there was even said that another brigade would be formed out of these men.
23 So there were several names, and one of them, and this is what we called
24 them at the time, since someone gleaning information in the field must
25 have heard that's how they called themselves, so that's why we called them
1 the El Dzihad, but it's not as if this was a name for some sort of
2 organised unit.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll have to have
4 our break now since we started at 4.00. We have been going on for over an
5 hour and a half, and for technical reasons, we have to adjourn. We will
6 resume at 6.00.
7 --- Recess taken at 5.36 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 6.02 p.m.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will now resume, and we have
10 further questions to put to you.
11 JUDGE SWART: Witness, my final set of questions relates to
12 another document in your binder. It's Document Number II, number 17.
13 That is at the end of part 2. I hope you can find it. It's the report of
14 24th of May 1993. Are you able to find the document?
15 A. Yes.
16 JUDGE SWART: You see it's a report of the 24th of May 1993, and
17 it is signed or this name, Izet Sipic [phoen], is on the end of it. I
18 would like to ask you a few questions about the second linea of that
19 report on the page 1. It is related to the HVO activities. And in the
20 third sentence of the text, it says the following: "Around 2000, the
21 Frankopan Brigade command informed us that the mujahedin had attacked the
22 village of Podstinje. The incident took place when seven members of the
23 7th Muslim came to Simulje to demine a minefield. HVO units noticed them
24 and fired infantry weapons and rifle grenades at them. Later, they fired
25 two 82-millimetre shells which fell on Mehurici village and Poljanica."
1 That is the part of the text that I would like to discuss with you.
2 Before we start discussing this, before the break, you talked
3 about a mining operation, a demining operation. Now, this is an example
4 of a demining operation. I wondered whether you might have confused the
5 two incidents, but I'm not sure about it. Could you answer that question
7 A. In this territory, there were such cases on a number of occasions.
8 The mujahedin would go to reconnoitre those lines on their own initiative.
9 They would reconnoitre the lines established by the HVO. So this occurred
10 in April and in May.
11 JUDGE SWART: So these are two different examples of mujahedin
12 mining, searching mines in the front line. Okay, thank you.
13 Now, tell me what happened on this occasion? Because if you read
14 this, you may have all kinds of questions and ideas about what happened.
15 Could you tell me, do you remember the situation, the incident?
16 A. When I read this report, I can see that it's part of a series of
17 documents that refer to the problems in that area. And I remember this,
18 too: The 306th Brigade, and the Frankopan HVO Brigade had a joint
19 operations team which went into the field and dealt with conflictual
20 situations. We were very often in touch over the phone or we established
21 a line between the command of the 306th Brigade and the command of the HVO
22 brigade in Guca Gora. And we provided information about any incidents
23 that might occur.
24 This report quotes a duty officer from the Frankopan Brigade. And
25 by exchanging this information, we were attempting to resolve the problem
1 and to intervene with the 17th and the joint command to deal with the
2 problems. What is stated here is what was reported by the duty officer in
3 the Frankopan Brigade, and this is why we have these, let's call them
4 problematic words. He says that the incidents occurred when seven members
5 of the 7th Muslim Brigade were there. He says here that they were
6 mujahedin. And later, that they were members of the 7th Muslim Brigade.
7 This shows a lack of knowledge because members of the HVO and of the
8 Frankopan Brigade called them the mujahedin, and the Muslim forces and
9 7th Brigade, they didn't always distinguish the groups. They didn't
10 always make a distinction between the units and these, let's say,
11 unofficial groups.
12 JUDGE SWART: So your explanation is, I take it, is these were not
13 mujahedin, these were simply members of the 7th Muslim Brigade? If I'm
14 mistaken, please correct me.
15 A. No. On the contrary: They were the mujahedin and not members of
16 the 7th Muslim Brigade.
17 JUDGE SWART: But if I read "the incident took place when seven
18 members of the 7th Muslim Brigade came to Simulje to demine a minefield,"
19 I take it this is your language, not the HVO language. Is that my mistake
20 then? Is this the HVO speaking in this sentence, or is it you speaking?
21 A. As I said, these are words of the duty officer from the HVO
22 Frankopan Brigade. These words were being quoted. At the time in
23 Mehurici, the 7th Muslim Brigade didn't have a unit there, so it couldn't
24 refer to the 7th Muslim Brigade.
25 JUDGE SWART: Well, that's another discussion I don't want to
1 enter into now. But -- so your explanation is this is the HVO saying that
2 mujahedin were attacking the village of Podstinje, and that they were also
3 demining a minefield. That's correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE SWART: Although to attack a village of Podstinje and to
6 demine a minefield somewhere else in Simulje, which is in the
7 neighbourhood, I know, but these are different things I would say. Do you
8 remember as a military man - this is a difficult question - whether there
9 has been an attack on Podstinje or not?
10 A. If fire was opened and only a little ammunition was used, the
11 other side would immediately lodge a protest, behave as if an attack had
12 been carried out. I can't remember everything. But when you have -- I'm
13 sure that Podstinje wasn't attacked in the normal sense of the term. Fire
14 was opened, that's all. And as far as demining is concerned, yes, I
15 remember the period when this report was provided, and through the command
16 of the 17th we reported on a situation to the joint command. It was in
17 our interest to solve all problems and to avoid a conflict from breaking
18 out between the army and the HVO.
19 JUDGE SWART: When it is said, "later they fired two 82-millimetre
20 calibre shells which fell on Mehurici village and Poljanica," who is
21 speaking there? The HVO or you?
22 A. I don't know. I assume that these were our words, but I can't say
23 for sure.
24 JUDGE SWART: Before the break, you told us about mining
25 operations or demining operations by the mujahedin in the months of April.
1 This occurs in May, months later also a demining operation, if we follow
2 your interpretation, by the mujahedin. These would be -- could be
3 examples of their military activities in the area of Mehurici, and I have
4 already asked you whether you have more examples of the same sort of
5 activities or slightly different activities. Could you tell me more about
6 this, or is this the only thing you may be able to tell me?
7 A. This is more or less what we had available at the time in terms of
8 the information about their activities. I can say that they attacked
9 catering establishments, bars. They would enter a bar. They would dispel
10 guests from the bar. Alija Delalic was imprisoned and tied because he had
11 a bar. Also, in Suhi Dol, the owner of another bar, the bar was
12 demolished. That's the way they acted, and I also mentioned how they
13 behaved towards civilians and members of our unit. One typist, a lady who
14 worked in the brigade command, was ill treated because she did not wear a
15 veil, a head scarf. As far as their military activities are concerned, we
16 can talk about their opening fire of their own will independently, and
17 then they would withdraw. And the impression would be that it was the
18 regular units of the BiH Army who opened fire and caused incidents. This
19 is the way they acted, and this is what we reported about, and these are
20 the problems that we wanted solved, the problems that involved them.
21 JUDGE SWART: Did they, as far as you know, have heavy weapons or
22 mortars or something even bigger? Cannons?
23 A. During the initial stages, I don't know what they had. I don't
24 know what weaponry they had. I was not in a position to see that. The
25 only thing that we heard made us believe that they had only infantry
1 weapons. The HVO never complained that artillery fire was opened, that
2 mortar fire was opened on them. That is when we had the exchanges of
3 information. They never complained of heavy artillery fire.
4 JUDGE SWART: You said they sometimes opened fire and caused
5 incidents, and we got involved by the reaction of the HVO. How often did
6 this happen?
7 A. I can't be sure of that. However, it happened on several
8 occasions. The Frankopan Brigade intervened on several occasions. They
9 lodged protests on account of their behaviour, and these protests also
10 referred to their behaviour when they trained young Bosniak men because
11 these young men shouted when passing through the villages using
12 inappropriate words. They also lodged protests about fire being opened.
13 I really can't say how often that happened. However, there were a number
14 of such protests and complaints.
15 JUDGE SWART: Did it also occur - now you talk it about it I would
16 pursue what you said - young Bosniak men trained by them became members of
17 your brigade because they left the mujahedin and preferred to be in the
18 regular army or whatever?
19 A. The majority of these people who had been trained, the young men
20 who had been trained, remained with them. Some of the young men, however,
21 left them because in the meantime, they had changed their minds. And a
22 few of them, not many of them, however a few did join some of the regular
23 units, some of them joined the 306th Brigade as well because it was
24 everybody's obligation to defend the state. So when they left the
25 mujahedin, they would join some of the regular units of the BiH Army.
1 However, this was not a common case.
2 JUDGE SWART: And the mujahedin or the individuals that came from
3 them and later joined your brigades, did they have a sort of influence on
4 the behaviour of your soldiers in the sense that your soldiers also began
5 to grow beards or that kind of thing, to become more Muslim in appearance?
6 A. There was a rule that applied to every member of the brigade,
7 irrespective of when they joined. According to these rules, they had to
8 behave in a certain way. The influence of those who joined the brigade
9 later was not felt because the ones who joined the brigade were the ones
10 who experienced this change of heart, who had realised that they had made
11 a mistake when joining the mujahedin. So these people adapted very easily
12 to the conditions that prevailed in the brigade because this behaviour in
13 the brigade was more suited to the natural behaviour of the local Bosniaks
14 in that area.
15 JUDGE SWART: My final question, but I think you may already have
16 answered it. There is a possibility, given these two documents, that
17 mujahedin sort of conducted their own war at the same time as you had your
18 war. Was there any form in such a situation, if they existed, of
19 coordination, or was there any military advantage in their -- in what they
20 did for your troops?
21 A. I believe that I have already answered that, but I will repeat.
22 The mujahedin, up to the establishment of the El Mujahid Detachment, in
23 other words, in August when we received the order on resubordination never
24 took part in the combat activities of my brigade, and my brigade did not
25 have any contact with them. So there could not have been any mutual
1 influence. They did create a problem, a lot of problems in the area. And
2 one particular problem was the incidents that took place in those areas
3 from which members of the 306th Brigade were recruited.
4 JUDGE SWART: Thank you very much for your answers.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.
6 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I hesitate to rise to my feet, but I
7 think for the benefit of the transcript, perhaps we should note that the
8 series of questions that the learned Judge Swart was asking relating the
9 document dated 24 May 1993 is Document Defence number 1053 which may avoid
10 some future confusion when referring to the document since I don't believe
11 the bundle cover sheets will be admitted into evidence. And I simply
12 waited until the end to call that to our attention. Thank you.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a few questions. I'll
14 try to put them quickly because we have another 35 minutes, but since we
15 don't wish to keep you any longer, we would like to finish today.
16 In the indictment, it is mentioned that the 306th Brigade, of
17 which you were the chief of staff, ill treated and detained Croat
18 prisoners either in the primary school of Mehurici or in the blacksmith's
19 shop in Mehurici between the period starting with the 6th of June to the
20 24th of June 1993. In the indictment, it is mentioned that these persons
21 who were detained, there were even young children - that is, civilians in
22 other words - they were kept in very adverse conditions, and that the
23 soldiers came to interrogate them and that some of the prisoners were
25 I would like to be very clear on one thing: You told us that in
1 the primary school of Mehurici on the ground floor, there were mujahedin
2 who had a few offices on the first floor. My first question, according to
3 your information, were there any prisoners, any detainees, in Mehurici as
4 from the 6th of June onwards?
5 A. I understand your question. I believe that it was a mistake. I
6 said that on the ground floor, there was the command of the 1st Battalion
7 and its troops, and that on the first floor there were two or three
8 offices that were retained by the mujahedin. So the mujahedin were not on
9 the ground floor. The second question was whether I am aware of the
10 existence of the prisoners. When I answered the Defence counsel's
11 questions, I told them that I was never in Mehurici, but that I learned
12 from other members of the command that civilians and able-bodied men from
13 Maline for security reasons were taken to Mehurici because Mehurici was
14 the only place where they could be protected and guarded from anything
15 unpleasant that may have happened to them due to the war activities and
16 the sense of such unofficial groups that were present in the area.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are saying that these people
18 were guarded in that area for protection, that they were kept there to be
19 protected, and that was the only reason why they were there?
20 A. This is what I heard from the reports of the assistant commander
21 for security. The persons who were --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But you as the chief of staff
23 were not obliged to go there and see how civilians were treated? And
24 there were even young children, I repeat. It never occurred to you as
25 number-two person in the brigade to go and check the conditions under
1 which these protected persons were kept? It never occurred to you?
2 A. My commander was there, and the commander gave me tasks that were
3 relative to combat activities. We still had not had the chance to help
4 the people of Bukovica and Bandol.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On the 6th and 7th of June and
6 8th of June, where were you? Were you ill? Where were you on the 6th,
7 7th, and 8th of June?
8 A. I was in Krpeljici together with the commander. On the 8th of
9 June, I was in Krpeljici, and I said that on the 8th of June on the
10 arrival of the commander of the platoon from the 17th Krajina Brigade who
11 had informed us that he had arrived via Vlasic and that our forces had
12 conducted an attack, at that moment I was given the task to go out and
13 establish contact with the officers from the brigade who were in Mehurici.
14 So I went up above Radonjici village, and I met with my assistant for
15 operations and training. That was on the 8th. And then I continued
16 towards a hill, the name of which is Hum, next to Radonjici village, and
17 my task was establish a contact with the one of the units of the 4th
18 Battalion which had reached this feature earlier on.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] During their
20 examination-in-chief, the Defence put to you that starting with the 6th
21 and 7th of June, it was the HVO that launched all the attacks. There are
22 documents - I can show you one of them - which speak to the contrary. How
23 do you analyse the things that happened starting with the 6th and 7th of
24 June? Was that an offensive launched by the BiH Army or an offensive
25 launched by the HVO? How would you analyse that?
1 When I put a question to you, this implies that I could show you a
2 document that would support my question. Before I show you this document,
3 can you please tell us how did you see this period starting with the 6th
4 and 7th of June? Did you perceive that as an offensive being launched by
5 your army or an offensive being launched by the HVO?
6 A. Your Honour, on the 4th of June, a cry came from Velika Bukovica
7 village and they let us know they were attacked by the HVO.
8 Velika Bukovica is one of the villages from which able-bodied men are
9 recruited for the 306th Brigade. It was our obligation to help that
10 village. From the place we were deployed at the time, we did take
11 measures to extend help. We ordered the commander of the 2nd Battalion to
12 send help to that village because the population of that village was also
13 on the strength of his battalion. However, he could not extend assistance
14 because the axes were not open and he was undermanned. He didn't have
15 enough power. Later on, we sent a telegram to some of the officers of the
16 command of the brigade which was deployed in Mehurici. In that telegram,
17 we ordered them to send all the free troops to Velika Bukovica. At the
18 beginning, on the first day, they wanted to break through via
19 Mount Vlasic, but they returned. They failed. That's what they informed
21 We were desperate. And I told you that on the morning when the
22 combat activities started on the 8th of June, our impression was that we
23 had come under general attack from all sides. Those of us who were in
24 Krpeljici were encircled by the HVO from all sides.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have a document
1 here, P225, which is -- Prince of Wales regiment drafted this document,
2 and this document, the title is "the Bila valley," and it says "the
3 offensive launched by the BiH started in the region, and the Muslims are
4 pushing in order to traverse the Bila valley towards Travnik, Guca Gora,
5 Zarkovici [phoen], Bukovica, Kravici [phoen], Maline, and other villages
6 were taken by the BiH. It is estimated that the BiH force inside Travnik
7 and Zenica are trying to establish a communication line."
8 So the observer makes this analysis. What do you have to say to
9 that? Was that an offensive? Is it possible it was an offensive? It was
10 not just an action or a siege. We are going to show you a document in
11 B/C/S. The document is originally in English, but it has been translated
12 into B/C/S. And the number of the document is P225. What is your
14 A. I said that our main task was to help Bukovica village. On that
15 morning, artillery fire was opened on the place where we were located.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Presiding Judge. Microphone
17 for the Presiding Judge, please.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are going to show you the
19 document which originates from the Prince of Wales regiment. Look at
20 paragraph 2, the Bila valley, and it says here that an offensive was
21 underway. And it is indicated that the reason for the offensive was to
22 connect the two towns and to secure the route that goes through Guca Gora
23 and Boskovici. This is what the Brits say. You may see the whole thing
25 A. I am telling you how I felt, and I am sharing with you the
1 information that we had at the time. We asked the command of the
2 3rd Corps to provide us with assistance because we believed that we had
3 been attacked from all sides. We did not have any information on what was
4 going on.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to show you another
6 document, P420. And this is a document that mentions Amir Kubura as the
7 commander, and the regiment -- the document was drafted two days before
8 the 5th of June -- of the 7th of June, and it says who is going to
9 participate in the attack, who is going to be present on the spot, which
10 localities are involved, Grahovcici, Cukle, and the troops will be
11 composed of the 7th Brigade, the MUP Detachment that we have already seen,
12 the 314th Brigade as well. Look at this order.
13 On page 2, paragraph 3, you're going to see the mention of the
14 306th Brigade as a unit where the lateral contact is going to be
16 A. Page 1 or page 2?
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Page 2 of this order, paragraph
18 number 3. The 306th Brigade is on the axis, Jezerci-Zaselje, and on the
19 left-hand side is the 314th. And the order is dated the 5th of June. And
20 the last page indicates that the attack would commence on the 7th of June
21 at 3.00. What is your comment? Are you saying that you defended
22 yourself, whereas there was actually an attack that had been launched,
23 large-scale attack?
24 A. I'm talking based on the information that I had available. On the
25 8th of June 1993, we sent a telegram to the command of the 3rd Corps in
1 which we asked for assistance and our proposal was to launch an attack
2 from the Zenica-Ovnak axis in order to lift the burden from our forces.
3 We did not have any information that this was going on. We did not have
4 this order. I'm sure that there are documents, but I remember that we
5 were the ones who sent a telegram from the 306th Brigade asking for
6 assistance from the command of the 3rd Corps and proposing that an attack
7 should be launched. We could not know about this. If we had known about
8 all this, we wouldn't have asked for any assistance.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I thank you. It is 20 to 7.00.
10 I'm going to give the floor to the Defence for any additional questions
11 because we need to finish with you today. I have other questions, but I
12 will give the floor to Defence for their questions.
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, before I put
14 questions to the witness, I would like to draw your attention to the fact
15 that in the English transcript, your question on page 68, line 15 was not
16 recorded. The question was: "We have a feeling that every time when
17 something happens, you were either ill or you were not present. You were
18 not there." This question has not been translated into English; likewise,
19 I believe that there was another misinterpretation. It says here that we
20 allegedly put to the witness that they were launching a counterattack. We
21 did not conduct cross-examination, so we could not have said anything like
22 that. Can this please be corrected.
23 With regard to the questions put to the witness by the
24 Honourable Judges, my question -- my first question is about the document
25 that the Honourable Judge Swart showed to the witness. The document
1 speaks about several incidents when the mine-clearing operation was
2 underway of a minefield.
3 Further examination by Ms. Residovic:
4 Q. [Interpretation] My question to you, sir, is as follows: You were
5 talking about manpower. How did the manpower of the 306th Brigade reflect
6 the accuracy of your reports? Could some of the unclear parts of the
7 reports have to do with that problem?
8 A. When I was talking about the manpower of 306th Brigade, I started
9 with myself and the commander. I don't consider myself, especially at
10 that time, a professional, and not well equipped to perform the duties
11 that I had. The commander, I wouldn't talk about, because if wouldn't be
12 fair. However, the chief of security of the 306th Brigade was a military
13 policeman. He became the chief of security because there was nobody else
14 to perform those duties. He had served in the former JNA, in the military
15 police, and as such, he was appointed the chief of security. He was
16 probably not professionally trained to perform these duties. I can give
17 you hosts of such examples, and this could be the origin of a number of
18 mistakes in these documents in terms of the professionalism in drafting
19 those documents.
20 Q. Mr. Siljak, tell me, you have been shown a document from BritBat.
21 Have you ever seen this document before?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Could you tell me, from the 4th to the 6th of June, did you see
24 any members of BritBat? Did they go to the command? And did they speak
25 to you about what was happening in the area?
1 A. I didn't see them. I know that we forwarded requests to them for
2 UNPROFOR representatives to come and help with evacuating the civilians
3 from Velika Bukovica. I know that these requests were forwarded. I don't
4 know whether anyone met them, though, nor do I know how information was
5 obtained according to which they said they couldn't go to that village
6 without the presence of European Monitors. I don't know whether they
8 Q. The President of the Chamber showed you this document. Do you
9 have it before you now?
10 A. No.
11 Q. For the sake of the transcript, I would like to read out this
12 sentence that you asked to have a look at. In fact, there is a comment
13 here. Did you see in the document that you examined the word "comment" in
14 capital letters?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And after that word, it says, "we assume that the Bosnia and
17 Herzegovinian forces in Travnik and in Zenica are trying to take control
18 over the roads." My question is: Did you come across any assumptions or
19 assessments earlier on which did not reflect the situation in the
20 territory of the 306th Brigade?
21 A. On the whole, the assessments were based on information obtained
22 from the other side. And when the Prosecution was showing one of the
23 documents, I think that the documents stated that the 306th Mountain
24 Brigade was located in the village of Mali Mosunj. That was never the
25 case. So there were such conclusions in other documents, too.
1 Q. Thank you. And with regard to the last document, an order to
2 attack, I have a few questions about this document. Could you tell me,
3 who attacked Velika Bukovica and when?
4 A. Members of the HVO Frankopan Brigade attacked Velika Bukovica in
5 the afternoon. This is the information we received from the inhabitants
6 and troops who were in Velika Bukovica.
7 Q. Who attacked Bandol?
8 A. I don't know which brigade was involved, but the HVO also attacked
9 Bandol. I don't know which unit did this. But they carried the attack
10 out in the morning when we were under the impression that we were under
11 attack from all sides. That was on the 8th of March.
12 Q. Who attacked Krpeljici and when? You were there as part of the
13 command and the commander.
14 A. That would be the HVO, but I don't know from which positions, nor
15 do I know which unit was involved.
16 Q. What -- with regard to the situation in Velika Bukovica, what was
17 the first information that you received about this?
18 A. The first report that we received about this was a very alarming
19 report. It was a small village with about a hundred inhabitants. And
20 according to the first report, there were 18 dead and 6 wounded.
21 Q. Did you forward this information to your superior command?
22 A. We did, and we requested assistance.
23 Q. How often did you request assistance from superior commands?
24 A. Well, I don't know. I think whenever we had the opportunity to do
25 so, we did so because there were problems with communications. We
1 requested assistance on the 5th and 6th, and then on the 7th and 8th.
2 Q. I apologise. It seems that we have a mistake here. Instead of
3 the 8th of June, it says March. This should be corrected. It's page 75,
4 line 18. Tell me, when on the basis of the task you had been assigned by
5 the commander, you left on the 8th in the afternoon, and then in the
6 subsequent days you also visited Bukovica and the Bandol. What did you
7 see there? What was the result of the HVO attack there?
8 A. In Velika Bukovica and in Bandol, almost all the houses had been
9 burned down to the ground. But in Bandol, more houses had been burned to
10 the ground than in Bukovica. The mosque had been razed to the ground, as
11 they say. In one house, we found the carbonated body of a man in that
12 house in Bandol.
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I have no
14 further questions.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Does the other
16 Defence team for any questions for this witness?
17 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I
18 have just one question.
19 Further cross-examination by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Siljak, you have shown this document dated
21 the 24th of May 1993. It's marked 53. And it has to do with demining a
22 field, demining a territory. Do you know where these villages are
23 located, the villages of Podstinje and Simulje?
24 A. Yes, and it's indicated in the map. Simulje isn't a village, it's
25 a feature, whereas Podstinje is a village. Simulje is above Mehurici, and
1 the HVO had established its line there and had laid a minefield.
2 Q. Is the village of Podstinje also in the vicinity?
3 A. Podstinje is near the village of Bila. Downstream on the right
4 bank of the river Bila. They're both on the right bank of the Bila, but
5 Simulje is further away.
6 Q. Are these villages also in the zone of responsibility of your
8 A. When I was pointing to the territory from which the 306th Brigade
9 recruited men, yes, that part is also in that territory.
10 Q. On the 24th of May 1993, as far as you know, were there any
11 members of the 7th Brigade in those villages?
12 A. There were no members of the 7th Brigade, but there were some men,
13 a few men who were there because of the blockade imposed on the territory.
14 They were at home. They weren't there as members of the unit. But they
15 were members of the 7th Brigade who were an leave at home.
16 Q. During this period, was there any combat activity?
17 A. During this period, there was no combat activity. But the
18 territory was under a blockade. The roads were blocked. It wasn't
19 possible to pass through. As I said, I couldn't get from Travnik to
20 Krpeljici, or I couldn't get to the mine where the command was. But when
21 I left, I was given special authorisation with the agreement of the
22 commander of the Frankopan Brigade according to which I could go to
24 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I have no
25 further questions.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Does the Prosecution have any
2 further questions to arise in light of the questions that we put to the
3 witness, Ms. Benjamin?
4 MS. BENJAMIN: I just have one question, Mr. President.
5 Further cross-examination by Ms. Benjamin:
6 Q. This is based on the question and the document that was given to
7 you by the president. I'm going to ask you this question: Am I correct
8 if I understood you to say that the reports that were written by "the
9 international organisations," BritBat, Prince of Wales, that those reports
10 were basically based on information from the other side?
11 A. I assume that the reports were based on information obtained. But
12 quite frequently, information was compiled on the basis of a report
13 concerning one day. BritBat members or international observers would
14 visit one side and compile reports on the basis of the information
15 obtained for that day. So sometimes, it was possible for such a report to
16 be drafted on the basis of information obtained from the other side.
17 Q. But with all due respect to you, sir, how would you know -- how
18 would you know that's how the report is compiled?
19 A. As I said, I don't consider myself a fully professional soldier; I
20 don't have military particular knowledge. But we also made assessments
21 about the forces on the basis of the information that we obtained at a
22 given point in time. We also drafted reports and made assessments, and
23 it's on that basis that I would see what was contained in the report, I
24 claim that you can see whether such information was compiled on the basis
25 of an overall analysis and on the basis of all the information obtained in
1 the field, or whether it was just based on partial information.
2 Q. Because I noticed that many of the orders that were shown to you
3 you had said you had not seen those. So it leaves me to wonder, did you
4 have the time to read all these reports that were written by these
5 international organisations, so to speak?
6 A. As I said, I didn't see the orders, and I didn't really see. The
7 order from the 7th Muslim Brigade was never accessible to the 306th
8 Brigade, and I was never in a position to see it.
9 MS. BENJAMIN: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President.
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have no further
11 questions. But given that the witness has marked the map today, I would
12 be grateful if the witness could sign it and make a note of today's date.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Could you sign the
14 map and indicate today's date on the map, too.
15 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Siljak, the Trial Chamber
17 would like to thank you for having come to testify here, for having
18 answered the questions put to you. You have been answering questions for
19 a three-day period, and you have been here for almost a week because of
20 the weekend. We wish you all the best, and we wish you a good trip back
21 home, and we wish you all the best now that you have just retired. I will
22 now ask the usher to escort you out of the courtroom.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 [The witness withdrew]
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as the documents that
1 have to be tendered, we will deal with our matter tomorrow with our
2 Registrar who is usually here, so we will have the map plus the documents
3 that you have placed in the binder. Similarly, the Prosecution produced
4 some documents, but there's only one new document. We will deal with this
5 matter tomorrow, though.
6 I think that the hearing will be held tomorrow at 9.00. So we
7 will commence tomorrow at 9.00 with the witness scheduled for tomorrow.
8 Thank you. And I will see everyone tomorrow at 9.00.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.02 p.m.,
10 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 27th day of
11 October, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.