1 Thursday, 28 October 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
5 the case number, please.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-01-47-T, the Prosecutor versus
7 Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
9 Could we have the appearances for the Prosecution, please.
10 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President, good morning, Your Honours,
11 counsel and everyone in the courtroom. For the Prosecution, Matthias
12 Neuner, Daryl Mundis and our case manager, Andres Vatter.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Presiding Judge, please.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Appearances for the Defence,
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President. Good
17 morning, Your Honours. On behalf of Enver Hadzihasanovic,
18 Edina Residovic, counsel; Stephane Bourgon, co-counsel; and
19 Mirna Milanovic, our legal assistant. Thank you.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And could we have the
21 appearances for the other Defence team, please.
22 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. On
23 behalf of Mr. Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and
24 Nermin Mulalic, our legal assistant.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On behalf of the Trial Chamber I
1 would like to greet everyone present, members of the Prosecution, Defence
2 counsel, the accused and everyone else present in the courtroom. As you
3 are aware, we will be hearing two witnesses today. Thanks to the
4 registrar, we will have a hearing this morning which will go on until 2.00
5 p.m.. We will have a one-hour break so that everyone can have a rest, and
6 we will resume at 3.00 p.m. and continue until 4.30. We expect to
7 conclude the hearing at 4.30, unless it's necessary to continue for a
8 little extra time. So roughly speaking, this is how we will proceed
10 If there are no issues to raise, we will call the witness into the
11 courtroom immediately.
12 Yes, Defence counsel.
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, before the witness
14 enters the courtroom, you've already said that we should deal with all the
15 documents that have to be admitted into evidence, and as a result, I would
16 like to tender into evidence the Defence documents that were shown to the
17 witness yesterday.
18 Yesterday, Defence counsel showed Mr. Mesanovic documents that had
19 to do with the relation between the army and the HVO and then there were
20 other documents and some documents that have already been admitted. We
21 now suggest that given that the witness has recognised the documents,
22 either as documents that he -- either as documents compiled by the
23 Municipal Staff or documents signed by his commander from the
24 Municipal Staff or recognised them as documents, the contents of which
25 were familiar to him or they were documents in which the events described
1 were familiar to him either because he participated in these events or was
2 familiar with these events given the position that he held, I therefore
3 suggest that documents from section 1, the following, be accepted,
4 admitted 0513, 0823, 0824, 0843, 0846, 0856, 0868, 0902.
5 Defence counsel didn't show the witness document 1032 because this
6 is a document which was put in the binder by mistake and has nothing to do
7 with the area of Travnik, which is why at this moment in time Defence
8 counsel won't be tendering this document into evidence.
9 In addition, we suggest the following documents be admitted into
10 evidence, documents from section 2 contained in our binder. These are the
11 following documents: 0530, 0656, 0708, 0853, 0880, 0912. Thank you.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.
13 MR. MUNDIS: No objection, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, we have 14
15 documents to deal with.
16 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. The
17 first document under section 1 is DH513, the English version will be
18 DH513/E; DH823, the English version will be DH823/E; the following
19 document DH824, and the English version DH824/E; DH843, the English
20 version will be DH843/E; DH846, the English version will be DH846/E;
21 DH856; the English version will be DH856/E; DH868, the English version
22 will be DH868/E; DH902, the English version will be DH902/E.
23 And now as far as section 2 is concerned: DH530, the English
24 version will be DH530/E; DH656, English version will be DH656/E; DH708,
25 the English version will be DH708/E; DH853, the English version will be
1 DH853/E; DH880, the English version will be DH880/E; and finally DH912,
2 the English version will be DH912/E.
3 And I'd also like to add that the document tendered into evidence
4 under DH931 yesterday will be DH931 for the English version.
5 Thank you, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. We are -- we have
7 dealt with everything. All the motions have been dealt with, all the
8 documents have been tendered, so we are entirely up-to-date. There are no
10 Could the usher now call the witness into the courtroom, please.
11 [The witness entered court]
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good day, sir. I would first
13 like to make sure that you can hear what I'm saying in your own language
14 since you should be receiving the interpretation. If so, please say so.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can hear you very well.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You have been called
17 here as a witness for the Defence. You will be testifying about events in
18 Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992 and 1993.
19 Before you take the solemn declaration, I'd like to ask you to
20 tell me your first and last names, your date of birth, and your place of
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Ribo Haso. I was born on
23 the 25th of February, 1956, in Kljaci village in the Travnik municipality,
24 in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. What is your current
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 profession? Are you employed at the moment or are you retired?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm the chief of the administration
3 for defence in Zenica canton. It's the Federal Ministry for Defence.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. In 1992 and 1993,
5 what position did you hold, or if you were a member of the military, did
6 you have a rank?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1992, I was a member of the
8 Territorial Defence in Travnik municipality. Up until the 1st of June, I
9 was the chief of staff, and afterwards, until the 18th of November, I was
10 the commander of the Travnik Municipal Staff. Afterwards, from the 18th
11 to the 20th of November, 1993, I was the commander of the 301st Mechanised
12 Brigade, and my rank was captain first class.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Have you already
14 testified before a national court or -- a national court about the events
15 in 1992 and 1993 or is this the first time?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the first time, here in this
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, but have you
19 testified before a national court?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I will now ask the
22 usher to show the text of the solemn declaration. Could you read it out,
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
25 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may sit down.
2 WITNESS: HASO RIBO
3 [Witness answered through interpreter]
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to
5 Defence counsel for their examination-in-chief, I'd like to supply you
6 with some information about the procedure that will be followed here.
7 This is what I do whenever a witness appears before the Chamber. This is
8 in order to clarify the procedure.
9 First you will have to answer questions that will be put to you by
10 Defence counsel. They are to your left. When they have concluded their
11 examination-in-chief, members of the Prosecution, over to your right, will
12 conduct their cross-examination. At the end of their cross-examination,
13 Defence counsel may ask you additional questions if necessary.
14 According to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the three Judges
15 sitting before you may ask you questions at any point in time if we feel
16 that this is necessary, either in order to clarify some of your answers or
17 because we believe that there are certain gaps that should be filled. As
18 a rule, we ask questions at the end of the examination and
19 cross-examination, but we can ask questions at any point in time. It's
20 also possible that we might not have any questions to ask you.
21 If a question is not clear to you or if you find that the question
22 is difficult, ask the person putting it to you to rephrase it to be sure
23 that you have understood the question well and to make sure that your
24 answer is a clear one. The procedure we follow here is an oral procedure,
25 and it is also based on the documents that will be shown to you by Defence
1 counsel and perhaps by the Prosecution, and sometimes if the Judges put
2 questions to witnesses, they may show the witness exhibits in order to
3 support the questions put.
4 Since you have taken the solemn declaration, you shouldn't give
5 false testimony. As you're well aware, giving false testimony is an
6 offence which could be punished by a prison sentence.
7 Since you are a former member of the military and commander of the
8 301st Mechanised Brigade, you should be aware of the fact that when
9 answering a question, if your answer contains elements that might be used
10 against you in some other case, you should be aware of the fact that you
11 have a form of immunity. You can say whatever you want to say. You are
12 protected, in a sense, when answering questions.
13 Roughly speaking, this is the procedure we will be following. If
14 you encounter any problems, please inform us of the fact. You will be
15 testifying this morning, and you should be able to leave at the beginning
16 of the afternoon.
17 Without wasting any more time, I will now give the floor to
18 Defence counsel who will start with their examination-in-chief.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Examined by Ms. Residovic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Ribo. Before -- I would first
22 like to draw your attention to the following fact: We speak the same
23 language, so when you hear my question you might want to answer it
24 immediately, but it is particularly important for the Chamber and for all
25 my colleagues in the courtroom to hear what is being said, and it is
1 necessary for the interpreters to be able to interpret the questions and
2 the answers. This is why when I have finished my question, I would be
3 grateful if you could pause and then answer the question.
4 Have you understood me?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Thank you. You've said where you were born and when. Tell me
7 about your educational background, please.
8 A. I completed secondary school in Vitez and the Military Academy for
9 the land forces from 1975 to 1979. This is a school I completed in
10 Belgrade, and I specialised in Banja Luka, in the field of armed
11 mechanised units.
12 Q. Where did you live after you were born or, rather, up until the
13 beginning of the war?
14 A. I lived in the village of Kljaci, all the time. That's where I
15 was born and after I went to the Military Academy, I no longer lived in
16 the territory of Travnik municipality. It was only on the 30th of March,
17 1992, that I returned to live in the municipality of Travnik.
18 Q. What was your profession before the beginning of the war, and in
19 what branch? In which service of the army were you engaged?
20 A. I was an active member of the military, a member of the former
21 JNA. I was the commander of the Mechanised Brigade in the field of an
22 armed mechanised units -- unit.
23 Q. You've already mentioned that you had the rank of captain first
24 class. What rank do you hold today?
25 A. The rank I have is that of a brigadier in the BH Federation army.
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 Q. Mr. Ribo, at some point in time did you leave the JNA and, if so,
2 could you please tell us briefly about the reasons for doing so.
3 A. I left the JNA on the 30th of March, 1992. I did so because the
4 JNA was no longer a people's army. It became a national army or, rather,
5 it became the Serbian army. There was, naturally, no room for me in such
6 an army.
7 Q. Where did you go when you left the JNA?
8 A. When I left the JNA -- well, before leaving it, I exchanged my
9 flat with a Serb, someone in Zajecar. I gave him my flat in Zajecar and
10 he gave me his flat in Travnik. This was on the 25th of February, 1992,
11 1992, when I returned with my family. And on that date, I arrived in
13 Q. When you arrived in Travnik, did you notice how the events of 1991
14 in -- in the former Yugoslavia reflected on the situation in Travnik, had
15 an effect on the situation in Travnik?
16 A. Well, they had a significant effect. What happened in Slovenia
17 had a significant effect. I'm referring to the war in Slovenia. And when
18 the army moved from -- from Slovenia and Croatia to Bosnia-Herzegovina,
19 that also had an effect. That was characteristic of that period.
20 Naturally there are many other events. For example, the
21 independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the 6th of April, the referendum
22 that was previously held, recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the
23 European Union, and naturally there was the attack on Bosnia and
25 Q. Thank you. In view of the situation in Travnik, tell me, did you
1 at any point in time join any military formations and, if so, tell me
2 which formations you joined.
3 A. Yes, naturally. I joined the Territorial Defence of Bosnia and
4 Herzegovina, because the Presidency of declared that this was the only
5 legitimate military force at the time, so naturally I joined the
6 Territorial Defence. That was a patriotic act on my behalf.
7 Q. Mr. Ribo, in response to a question put to you by the President of
8 the Chamber, you said that you were chief of the Municipal Staff and later
9 on the commander of the 301st Mechanised Brigade. Let's go back to 1992
10 in the municipality of Travnik.
11 Could you tell us how power and positions were divided in the
12 municipality of Travnik when you arrived there and assumed the duties of
14 A. Yes, naturally, because the two victorious parties in the
15 elections at that time were the HDZ and the SDA, naturally. In accordance
16 with the election results, certain positions were assigned bearing in mind
17 the -- the percentage of votes gained. I know that the SDA was able to
18 appoint the commander of the municipal defence staff, whereas the Croats
19 had the possibility of appointing the chief or the secretary of the
20 Secretariat for National Defence.
21 Q. When you arrived there, what sort of equipment did the
22 Municipal Staff have at its disposal? Are you aware of this?
23 A. Yes, of course. At the time the Municipal Staff didn't have any
24 equipment at its disposal. All we had as a staff were premises in which
25 we were located. We didn't even have resources. We didn't even have
1 food. We had to go to Hotel Orient in Travnik to eat.
2 Q. Since we have already seen on the basis of the evidence to date
3 that the Territorial Defence used to have equipment and weapons, tell me,
4 where were those weapons when you arrived there, since the staff didn't
5 have the use of weapons.
6 A. Well, I know that the JNA had been given the order to take all the
7 weapons of the Territorial Defence, not only in the Central Bosnian area
8 but in the Zenica region as well. So the Territorial Defence had to hand
9 over its weapons to the JNA. These were weapons that the municipality and
10 companies had paid for. They were in warehouses, and they were under the
11 full control of the JNA.
12 Q. At any point in time while you were chief or, rather, the
13 commander of the Municipal Staff, at any point in time was this equipment
14 returned to you?
15 A. No, never, because the JNA, in the early morning in -- on one day
16 in May, left the barracks and went to a nearby elevation called Vilenica,
17 having previously blown up all the facilities. So we weren't able to
18 obtain any of that equipment.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, my colleagues
20 inform me that on page 11, page 8, a part of the answer was not recorded,
21 namely when the witness said that these -- this equipment was located in
22 the Slimena depot, Slimena barracks. So I would like this to be entered
23 into the record.
24 Q. I'm sorry about this, Mr. Ribo. Sometimes we have to intervene
25 and take care of the transcript.
1 You have said that during the withdrawal of the JNA, the barracks
2 was mined. What happened to the equipment, to the assets?
3 A. A huge amount of equipment, the greatest part, if you want in
4 percentage 80 per cent of it was destroyed in the explosion, whereas the
5 part that wasn't destroyed was mainly ammunition and artillery shells for
6 105-millimetre guns.
7 Q. While you were commander, would you be able to tell us how many
8 weapons did the Municipal Staff in Travnik have compared to establishment
10 A. As of the 24th of July, I had 5.100 troops, mainly volunteers.
11 Out of those 5.100 troops, 50 or so per cent were mobilised on a voluntary
12 basis from the municipality of Travnik, and we had between 1.000 and 1.200
13 barrels – or guns for them.
14 Q. You just said that you had about 5.000 troops, mainly volunteers.
15 In what way were people mobilised at the time into the Territorial Defence
16 and into what units exactly of the Territorial Defence?
17 A. This was the time of the first skirmishes that happened in Turbe,
18 an area west of Travnik about 10 to 15 kilometres away from Travnik. At
19 first in these skirmishes the Patriotic League, the Green Berets, and
20 volunteers from villages offered resistance. At that point, the system of
21 mobilisation had not been developed yet. So with the departure of Serbs
22 from Travnik to territory held by Republika Srpska, the mobilisation
23 system fell apart and there was simply nobody left to carry out
25 Q. Mr. Ribo, you just mentioned that the defence of Travnik, relying
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 on volunteers and MUP members, that is policemen, began on the defence
2 lines of Turbe near Travnik. Tell me, while you discharged the duties of
3 commander of the Municipal Staff, what was, generally speaking, the combat
4 situation in the territory of your municipality?
5 A. The situation in the territory of Travnik was extremely complex,
6 primarily in terms of combat situation, because we had mainly established
7 a defence geared to defend us from the Serb aggressor, because before we
8 had managed to take certain key positions, elevations or features, the
9 Yugoslav People's Army, together with the Republika Srpska and its
10 reservists managed to capture key strategic features and thus made it
11 impossible to improve our position. So we were handicapped. We were at a
12 very disadvantageous position. We were forced to hold positions that a
13 soldier would normally never take.
14 This was aggravated by a huge amount of refugees, about 80.000 of
15 them, flowing in for whom we had to provide
16 transport to save them from the areas where they were at risk. We also
17 had to organise food for the refugees and for troops. All of this
18 made the situation in Travnik in 1992 very complex and very difficult.
19 Q. At that time in Travnik, did civilian authorities function, and
20 did they have any obligations or responsibilities towards the army?
21 A. Yes. The civilian authorities were fully in operation. As for
22 their competencies and responsibilities towards the army, they had two
23 main responsibilities towards members of the Territorial Defence. One,
24 logistical supply, logistical support; and two, mobilisation. I don't
25 remember that they had any other tasks or responsibilities towards the
2 Q. You as Staff Commander, were you a member of the War Presidency of
3 the Travnik municipality?
4 A. No, I was not.
5 Q. As -- let me rephrase this. In view of those responsibilities of
6 civilian authorities that you mentioned, can you tell me, did you face a
7 certain attitude on the part of political and civilian agencies that could
8 affect your position as commander of the Municipal Staff?
9 A. Of course. I had enormous problems and experienced huge pressure
10 on my staff because I did not belong to any party. Pressure was being put
11 on my personnel officers to cleanse the staff from communists and former
12 Partisans, and I personally was under pressure because I had never visited
13 the quarters of any party, I had never contacted any party. And in 1992,
14 except for the occasion when I was elected Joint Commander, I never even
15 entered the building of the municipality -- of the Municipal Assembly of
16 Travnik. I was completely dedicated solely to defence issues, and I had
17 so many problems, that I had no time for political talks with party
18 representatives, no time for political canvassing. And in that period, I
19 didn't even visit my own family more than, let's say, five times, although
20 they were only 300 metres away from the quarters of the staff.
21 And in view of all this pressure, in early July I had already
22 filed my request to the regional staff in Zenica to relieve me of my
23 duties. I was probably not in their good books and they did not see me as
24 politically reliable enough to lead the staff.
25 Q. Thank you. Which units on the territory of the Municipal Staff of
1 Territorial Defence were established at the time, namely during your
2 tenure as commander?
3 A. Those were units of the municipal staff of the Territorial Defence
4 divided into detachments and area staffs. We had an area staff, border
5 guard. We had an area staff of Kravlje, an area staff Travnik, area staff
6 Krpeljici, area staff Han Bila, Mehuric, and Ljuta Greda, plus detachment
7 1 and 2.
8 Q. A moment ago, you mentioned the enormous pressure you experienced
9 because of the problem of refugees fleeing areas held by Serb forces. Can
10 you tell me, did it happen at any point that some units were formed out of
11 the ranks of these persons, these refugees to be resubordinated to the
12 Municipal Staff?
13 A. No, not a single unit -- not a single such unit was formed and
14 resubordinated to the Municipal Staff.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] May I ask the usher now to show
16 the witness now a set of documents, and at the same time I would like to
17 have them submitted to the Trial Chamber, the registry, our learned
18 friends from the Prosecution, to the accused, and our colleagues from the
19 Defence team of Brigadier Kubura.
20 Q. Before I show you this document, let me ask you, did at any time
21 organised Krajina people come to Travnik, and what was their position?
22 A. I cannot remember the exact month, but the first Krajina battalion
23 came from Croatia, from Zagreb or Rijeka, I don't know exactly. But since
24 it had 520 troops armed with 250 automatic rifles, the most modern weapons
25 at the time, and all of them were uniformed properly, I placed them at the
1 barracks in Travnik after clearing it with the regional staff.
2 Q. Can you please now look at document number 3. It has a number 446
3 at the top. And document under number 4. Its number is 0457. Will you
4 please look at this document, 446, dated 18 August 1992. Can you identify
5 this document? Do you know it?
6 A. I am familiar with the document, but even then, back then when I
7 received it, and now I see the same shortcomings because it speaks of the
8 3rd Corps, whereas the 3rd Corps had not even been envisaged to be
9 established at the time. The time concerned here is August.
10 Q. Does this document speak of a unit being resubordinated? In other
11 words, does this document mention precisely the units that you just
13 A. Yes. That is that document referring to the 1st Krajina Battalion
14 which came from Croatia with 520 troops.
15 Q. Please look at document number 4, then. Its number is 0457. Do
16 you know this document, or do you know anything about its contents?
17 A. I know this document, yes, because it refers to the establishment
18 of the first independent infantry battalion. We call it
19 Siprazje Battalion, and at a certain point it found itself in the
20 territory of Travnik.
21 Q. Tell me now, Mr. Ribo, which units -- in fact, you've told us
22 which units were under the Municipal Staff. Who was your superior at the
24 A. At the time my superior command was the district staff, the
25 district defence staff of Zenica.
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 Q. You have told us about the general situation in Travnik, about
2 numerous refugees. Would you tell us what kind of property did those
3 refugees bring with them to Travnik?
4 A. Well, they couldn't come. They couldn't carry anything except the
5 most basic personal belongings, some clothing, nothing else.
6 Q. I would now like to move to a different topic with you. At
7 Travnik at that time, did Croatian people report to the Territorial
8 Defence at the time? Did they answer call-ups in their majority? And if
9 not, do you know if they organised themselves differently?
10 A. Right at the outset, the Croatian people had a totally different
11 approach. They organised themselves into the Croatian Defence Council,
12 which was simultaneously a political and a military organisation.
13 At the beginning of my tenure as commander and a bit later when I
14 was chief of staff, I would see Croatian men wearing insignia of the
15 Croatian army. But later, a decision was obviously passed that these
16 troops who had come from battlefields in Croatia, with experience and good
17 equipment, should be renamed HVO. That was widely publicised and covered
18 on television, in the media, analogously to what was going on in the BH
20 Q. How did you as Staff Commander view the fact that a new armed
21 force, much better equipped than yours, was suddenly appearing in your
23 A. Let me tell you, it was a very unpleasant situation. We expected
24 and made some assessments to the effect that under joint command we would
25 fight together against the Serb aggressor whom we saw as the only threat
1 at the time. And the appearance of those armed units called HVO did not
2 come as a surprise to me. We expected it in a way because we seemed to
3 act on parallel tracks. We seemed to be doing the same things separately.
4 So there was some indignation among the Bosniak population, and I
5 personally had a multi-ethnic staff. There were both Muslims and Croats
6 on the staff. And we were not hung up on the same things that they were,
7 namely they -- we did not insist on creating a monoethnic army, unlike
9 Q. Mr. Ribo, did you as a commander attempt to resolve this
10 situation? What steps did you take and what success did you have?
11 A. It was more the politicians who took some steps. One day we were
12 all invited into the Municipal Assembly to discuss the possibility of
13 creating a joint command. I remember clearly that I was elected at that
14 meeting joint commander of the armed defence forces of Travnik. However,
15 after lip-service was paid to that commitment and after general applause
16 and after the Croatian agreement to my appointment as joint commander, I
17 never actually managed to establish overall command over the joint forces
18 of the Territorial Defence and the HVO. I did not succeed for many
20 I met the HVO commander several times, but they wanted to have
21 everything of their own in parallel. They did not really want a joint
22 structure. In those negotiations, they insisted mainly on one thing.
23 They wanted our sparse equipment and resources to be placed from our
24 depots into one joint depot. And after my refusal, I thought again and
25 realised that I did well to refuse, because if I had agreed, we, the
1 Territorial Defence, would have been left stranded without a single round
2 or shell.
3 Q. In addition to this lack of willingness to place themselves under
4 joint command on their part, were there any incidents or skirmishes, minor
5 or major, between the TO and HVO units?
6 A. Let me tell you, there were no major incidents, but there was
7 certainly problems that made our life very difficult, especially my life
8 as commander. First of all, my staff headquarters is no bigger than this
9 room, which was an abandoned restaurant. At a certain point, they started
10 taking over one after another building in town. And the people of Travnik
11 came to me and sometimes threatened: Either we go to Hotel Orient and
12 retake it from them or I don't know what. And I would try to calm them
13 down and tell them, "We can recapture the hotel and even destroy it now,
14 but our main objective is preserve peace." Because that is a very
15 important building in Travnik. Everyone who came to Travnik used it.
16 We had huge problems with routes that went through Croatian
17 villages, especially with Dzelilovac village. We had to send troops to
18 the mount Sesic and some other positions, and these troops had to pass
19 through this village, and they would be disarmed there. We had to go
20 defuse tensions, demand our weapons back, et cetera. They had also set up
21 a vast amount of checkpoints. Whenever they saw their interest in putting
22 a checkpoint somewhere they would do so without our agreement or approval.
23 Once when I was going to the superior command in Zenica, the police force
24 of Mr. Blaskic disarmed me at the intersection in Vitez on the road
25 towards Vjetrenica, but I also took some steps, and I threatened that I
1 would arrest Blaskic in Travnik the next time you comes, because he had to
2 come to Travnik occasionally. And I cannot remember all the things I
3 said, but I demanded very firmly that my weapons be given back to me,
4 because it was an insult to my dignity. I had never attempted to do
5 something like that to them. My units never did such things to them. So
6 I was very hurt by this indeed.
7 When I told you at one point that there was no one left to carry
8 out mobilisation, I can also add that the secretary of the national
9 defence secretariat in Travnik was unable to discharge his normal regular
10 duties because he was busy stopping me at a checkpoint in Guca Gora. He
11 personally set up this checkpoint near his home. And when I had to pass
12 by his house, that man stopped me on the road. Instead of busying himself
13 with what was actually his job, dealing with mobilisation issues, he was
14 manning this checkpoint of his.
15 Q. Please have a look at document under number 1, 410 is the number
16 of the document; and document under number 5, 486; under number 7, 489, 5,
17 6, and 7, and 8. Document number 8 too. Document number 1 and then 5, 6,
18 7, and 8. Have a look at those documents. I will then ask you a couple
19 of questions about them.
20 These are HVO documents. Mr. Ribo, when you have a look at the
21 contents of these documents, would you say that these documents refer to
22 certain situations and events, the manner in which the HVO behaved and to
23 events that you experienced in Travnik in 1992.
24 A. I haven't seen such documents before. I didn't have access to
25 such documents. These are HVO documents. But when I see these documents,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 it's quite clear to me that they reflect the situation in accordance with
2 their orders. The most important thing for them was to set up
3 checkpoints. If you talked about a problem with them, they would say they
4 didn't have the authority to negotiate. They would say they were waiting
5 for the green light from a higher level, et cetera, et cetera. And on the
6 other page -- and on the other side, on the other hand, they acted
7 contrary to what was said, contrary to what had been agreed. So these
8 documents reflect the situation on our roads with respect to controlling
9 communications, roads, movement, et cetera. There was -- people were
10 humiliated, et cetera. These were all things that I experienced.
11 Q. Thank you. Mr. Ribo, could we now move on to another subject. As
12 commander of the Municipal Staff and at that time as a citizen of Travnik,
13 because if I've understood you well you didn't live in Travnik earlier on,
14 but on the -- upon returning from the JNA, as a citizen of Travnik and as
15 commander of the Municipal Staff, did you notice that at some point in
16 time in 1992 foreigners started arriving in Travnik, foreigners who
17 weren't from the area of the former Yugoslavia, nor were they members of
18 one of the peoples from the are of the former Yugoslavia?
19 A. There were a lot of foreigners who passed through. In my staff I
20 even had a commander who was a foreigner. Mihajlo Petrovic was from
21 Belgrade, a Serb. He was a commander of the Lasic detachment. His deputy
22 was a Slovenia, and all the other combatants in the detachment were
23 Muslims. There were UNPROFOR representatives. I personally spoke to the
24 first commander of BritBat. Bob Stewart was his name. There were
25 journalists who passed through, for example, Guardian journalists. There
1 were representatives of humanitarian organisations. There were many such
2 foreigners who were there for various reasons. There were journalists
3 from foreign countries, et cetera.
4 Q. In addition to those foreigners whom you saw -- well, first tell
5 me, what was the main reason for which those foreigners, the journalists
6 and the representatives of humanitarian organisations, what was the main
7 reason for them going to Travnik?
8 A. Well, my opinion is that they came because we would send a lot of
9 information to -- abroad from Travnik. Not via the Bosnian television or
10 Sarajevo television, but we would send our footage to Split, the vehicles
11 which would go to Split so that they could inform others of the
12 catastrophe in Travnik. There were thousands of refugees in Travnik. It
13 was impossible to know how to find accommodation for them. There were
14 people who were barefoot in the street. They were hungry. They would
15 turn to you to ask you to bury their child who had died in one of the
16 extremely arduous transports, et cetera.
17 So probably because of information that we sent abroad, the first
18 kind of information we sent was that the Serbs were firing on us with a
19 surface-to-surface missiles. There was a projectile that fell near the
20 church and near a settlement near the Vilenica mountain. So we were the
21 first to shoot such events, to make footage of such event and inform the
22 world of such events, to depict the humanitarian catastrophe. I won't
23 even mention the fall of Jajce and the fact that the population of one
24 town moved towards Karaula, and they were all within the range of fire of
25 Serbian soldiers. The valley was such that this was possible. Or you
1 would have a trailer lorry full of children and old people. It would then
2 be -- there would then be an accident. There would be lots of dead
4 Q. Thank you. I think you have provided a very clear description of
5 the foreigners who would come to Travnik and of people who would come to
7 Tell me, in addition to those humanitarian organisations and
8 journalists from the West, did you notice that there were individuals
9 coming from African or Asian countries or perhaps from Arab countries?
10 Did you notice the presence of such people, and if so, when?
11 A. I spoke to and met people who would come to my staff. I can't say
12 anything about others. I can only talk about those with whom I spoke in
13 my staff.
14 On one day, 40 journalists from Egypt appeared. They came, they
15 discussed the situation with me, and they wanted me to make a list of what
16 we needed for defence. I provided them with that list, and when they saw
17 it, they left, and I never saw those people again.
18 Then on one day, ten journalists from Turkey appeared, and there
19 were people with them who a hundred years ago were in the same condition
20 as Bosnians who had left Krajina. People came with them who had gone to
21 Turkey in similar conditions. I know that they met with the command of
22 the Patriotic League in Gluha Bukovica because they wanted me to be
23 present there. I know on that occasion they gave him 40.000 German Marks
24 to help with the resistance, to obtain weapons, et cetera.
25 A humanitarian organisation based here in the Netherlands also
1 appeared on one occasion. They came to ask us what we needed. On that
2 occasion they gave us about 12.000 marks, and they then left, and I never
3 saw those people again.
4 So these are the kind of people who would appear. For example,
5 there was the Guardian journalist who left with the refugees from
6 Banja Luka. He appeared in my staff, asked me to help him. I provided
7 him with accommodation and food and gave him a vehicle to take him to
8 Split so that he could return home because the Serbs had confiscated his
9 vehicle just before he entered the zone which we controlled, just before
10 he passed through the lines and entered the zone under our control.
11 Q. I've been informed that on page 23, line 24, there is a mistake.
12 The witness said that this money, these thousands of marks, I don't know
13 what the amount is, was given to the Patriotic League, and as far as I
14 say, it appears -- it seems that that money was given to the witness, but
15 you can see from the transcript that the witness was present at the
16 meeting. That's why he was aware of this fact.
17 Is that correct, Witness?
18 A. I was called to witness that. The money wasn't for me or the
19 Municipal Staff. It was for the Patriotic League which was from Zenica,
20 which was holding my right wing of defence. The man who was the commander
21 of the Patriotic League asked me to come and witness the fact that they
22 handed over that money to him.
23 Q. Thank you. In 1992, did you witness the arrival of armed
24 individuals in Travnik, individuals who were from African or Arab
25 countries, and did such people ever go to the Municipal Staff of the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 Territorial Defence?
2 A. Such armed individuals never appeared. I didn't notice them.
3 They never came to the municipal or Territorial Defence Staff in
5 Q. Did the Municipal Territorial Defence Staff, while you were its
6 commander, in any way plan any action with those foreigners, and did the
7 Municipal Staff ever provide logistical support for foreigners who might
8 have been present in Travnik?
9 A. First of all, I never saw such people in the staff. I never spoke
10 to them. And while I was the commander, I didn't participate in any
11 defence activities at the defence lines, which were 60 kilometres long in
12 mountainous terrain. And similarly, there's an order of mine stating that
13 all those who weren't part of the Territorial Defence had nothing to do in
14 the Territorial Defence Staff. Nor could they be provided with logistical
15 support on any grounds. So this was what was said at a briefing in my
16 staff when I assigned tasks to all unit commanders.
17 So while I was present there, none of their soldiers participated
18 in action, nor was logistical support provided to any of them.
19 Q. Mr. Ribo, where was the command of your Mehurici detachment
21 A. The command of the Mehurici detachment was located in the Mehurici
22 primary school, on the ground floor, and this included a number of
23 classrooms, the common room which was used by the teachers, and the
24 kitchen, the school kitchen.
25 Q. Mr. Ribo, who requisitioned facilities and buildings for the needs
1 of the Territorial Defence?
2 A. This was done and had to be done through the Secretariat for
3 National Defence in Travnik municipality.
4 Q. Mr. Ribo, in the early autumn of 1992, did you visit your
5 detachment in Mehurici, and if so, did you find any other individuals
6 there, apart from members of your detachment?
7 A. Yes. I would visit the detachments. I would visit their commands
8 and their defence lines as well, and I don't know whether that was towards
9 the end of August or the beginning of September, but I had a meeting in
10 Mehurici with my detachment. And then at that time while I was in
11 Mehurici, we also discussed certain Muslim forces, and the detachment
12 commander mentioned this was a problem. And during that visit, I didn't
13 notice any foreigners in Mehurici.
14 Q. Tell me, while you were commander, did anyone inform you that some
15 foreigners wanted to find accommodation in some military facilities in the
16 area of Travnik? And if you were informed of this, could you elaborate on
18 A. Some civilians came to see me, and they said that for the needs of
19 foreign humanitarian organisations, I should provide the Slimena barracks
20 which had been completely destroyed. But since I was responsible for
21 buildings of the former JNA, for example, the Travnik barracks or the
22 Slimena barracks, I didn't allow this for security reasons, above all,
23 because this was a mined area. And after the explosions, there were 18
24 seriously wounded individuals. They'd lost limbs. Some had died in
25 minefields around those barracks. So this was for security reasons.
1 Secondly, I couldn't provide a military facility for humanitarian
2 organisation. I didn't have this right.
3 And thirdly, when I asked who was concerned, I was told it was
4 some sort of Arab humanitarian organisation and I said that's out of the
5 question because the population was mixed, and I didn't want to provoke
6 incidents or cause problems. I tried to calm the situation down in an
7 appropriate way, which is what a commander should do. And I said that the
8 population there was mixed, and if there was an Arab humanitarian
9 organisation there, that would cause problems. I said it wasn't good, and
10 they shouldn't insist on this. I rejected this idea immediately.
11 Q. Mr. Ribo, you mentioned the Muslim forces awhile ago. Tell me,
12 did you ever take a decision on forming Muslim forces in Travnik, or did
13 you perhaps hear about the formation of such forces in Travnik?
14 A. To answer your first question, the first part of your question,
15 no, I never issued an order or document, nor did my superior command take
16 any decision on the formation of Muslim forces of any kind, on the
17 formation of any forces other than the Territorial Defence. That was the
18 only legitimate force. So no official decisions or documents were made.
19 Q. As commander of the Municipal Staff, did you find out that in
20 Travnik, towards the end of the summer or the beginning of the autumn,
21 such forces were being formed?
22 A. Yes. If I had an assistant commander for security who didn't know
23 what was happening in the situation in the field, that would be difficult
24 to understand. So the assistant for security in my staff provided
25 information according to which they were preparing to form certain Muslim
1 forces. I was especially angry about this, and members of the command
2 were, too, because I had Serbs and Croats in the command, and I reacted by
3 trying to find out who was forming those forces and to find out who these
4 people were, to find out where they were from and to find out who
5 appointed their commander. I wanted to know what they wanted. This was a
6 problem for me as a commander, because we were living in very difficult
7 conditions and fighting in very difficult conditions, and then you find
8 yourself in a situation which another force is being formed, and this
9 causes problems. We had various forces. We had forces from the Krajina.
10 We had the HVO. We had the HOS. There were the Handzar units. There
11 were units come from neighbouring municipalities, from Vitez, from
12 Travnik, or, rather, from Novi Travnik, from Zenica. They came to assist
14 I informed the Municipal Staff of the information my security
15 organs had provided me with. I informed them of what was happening in
17 Q. Did you know who commanded those forces when they were formed, and
18 when were they formed?
19 A. I knew that a certain Asim Koricic was the commander of those
20 forces, a man outside the territory of Travnik, outside of Central Bosnia,
21 for that matter. Later on, I learned that he was a native of Krajina. He
22 may have come together with the refugees. In any case, he was the first
23 commander of those Muslim armed forces that I learned about.
24 Q. So it was not you who established those forces. Did you disband
25 them, and do you know what happened to them later? But before you tell us
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 this, tell us first who was in those units? Because you had made your
3 A. Most of those troops of those units were refugees from Jajce, from
4 Bosnian Krajina, some from Travnik itself, especially young, inexperienced
5 people, not warriors at all. At that time, it seemed to be only important
6 to form the unit regardless of who's going to be in it. And as I had no
7 say in establishing it, I had no say in disbanding it. Since I personally
8 stayed on in the 3rd Corps, I know that they were disbanded in Travnik,
9 and they were added to the 1st Battalion of the 7th Mechanised Brigade.
10 Some of them went to their original units which were then located in
11 Travnik, whereas yet another part started wandering about.
12 I think these people were actually fakes, because what they really
13 wanted was to keep living in those buildings where they held their
14 religious rights and to receive humanitarian aid in money and food,
15 something that our troops did not enjoy. Our troops had a salary of four
16 Deutschmarks and had nothing to feed their families with.
17 Q. Just a minute, Mr. Ribo. You said you worked 20 hours a day. You
18 described the situation as very dramatic. Let me ask you, did all this
19 effort that you had to invest take a toll on your health eventually, and
20 did you have to leave your job for a while as a result?
21 A. It's not that I worked 20 hours a day. I was constantly in my
22 workplace. I didn't leave the staff quarters. I slept on chairs. We had
23 no decent accommodation. What I literally did was to put three chairs to
24 the and take a nap for an hour or two at a time.
25 We had a difficult situation when Karaula fell. It was captured
1 by the Serb-Montenegrin aggressor. And all these problems were problems I
2 had to deal with. Young men were dying. I had to tell their mothers,
3 their families. There were many families that had to be taken care of.
4 Very seriously wounded men sometimes needed to be send abroad for proper
6 And there was a point, I believe it was towards the end of my
7 tenure in Travnik, I had to be transported to Travnik, to the hospital
8 where I needed a drip, and I eventually received orders from my superior
9 commander, Sefer Halilovic to transfer to Zenica and to establish the
10 301st Mechanised Brigade.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have about ten
12 questions left for this witness, and since this seems to be the right time
13 for the break, I suggest that we take the break now maybe and finish
14 after. I think I need only about ten more minutes.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We will continue
16 about five to eleven.
17 --- Recess taken at 10.25 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You have the floor.
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,
21 Mr. President. Before I continue the question of the witness, I would
22 only like it on record that on page 29, line 25, which reads, "I didn't
23 work 20 hours a day," the witness actually said he worked much more, and
24 he was constantly in his workplace, and that bit where he actually
25 specified how much he worked is not recorded. We can go through it again
1 with the witness, but that's what I heard him saying originally.
2 And on page 30, lines 10 to 12, it says the witness was ill and
3 that he had an intravenous drip. The witness, in addition to that, said
4 that he had heart trouble, maybe a heart attack even. The witness can
5 specify, but that bit again is not recorded in the transcript. So I will
6 ask the witness again.
7 Q. What were the health problems that resulted in your
8 hospitalisation and the intravenous drip?
9 A. I was experiencing heart trouble at the moment, heart problems.
10 Q. Thank you very much. I would now like to ask you, Mr. Ribo, was
11 there a time in end 1992 when organisational changes occurred in the army
12 of Bosnia and Herzegovina? If you know, tell us what kind of changes, and
13 what position did you occupy afterwards?
14 A. I know that organisational changes occurred toward the end of
15 1992. Units became larger. In fact, units merged. Brigades and the
16 corps were established. And according to the order from the
17 Supreme Command, I came to Zenica and took over the command of the
18 301st Mechanised Brigade, which I knew had been established.
19 Q. All right. Please look at document under number 2 now. Rules of
20 service in the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Tell me, Mr. Ribo, are you
21 familiar with this document?
22 A. It certainly is, because from the very beginning, we insisted that
23 this kind of regulation be adopted as soon as possible so that the troops
24 would have a soldierly appearance and manner and act according to
25 regulations in the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1 Q. Please look at page 391. It deals with the issue of accommodation
2 and work. Tell me, please, was there any time in 1992 when you were
3 commander of the Municipal Staff and later in 1993 when you were brigade
4 commander that you had barracks and the terms and conditions envisaged by
5 this regulation for your troops?
6 A. No. I mean to say that we had no proper facilities for
7 accommodating our personnel. And in 1992, this 1st Krajina Battalion
8 which was accommodated in the Travnik barracks went straight from defence
9 lines on leave to their homes and back on the front line. So for the most
10 part, our units did not have, in 1992 or even 1993, facilities for proper
11 permanent accommodation.
12 Q. Where were your weapons deposited?
13 A. All our weaponry was on our defence lines, which means that we did
14 not have the possibility to deposit our weapons at the barracks or at the
15 depot. The weapons would change hands when shifts changed. The personnel
16 on the defence line would turn over their weapons and positions together
17 to the new shift who came to replace them.
18 Q. Despite that, did you in the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
19 attempt to turn such troops into real soldiers, to introduce discipline,
20 and how successful were you in these efforts in 1992 and in 1993?
21 A. Of course every soldier thrives on proper order and discipline in
22 the army, and that is why we took certain steps to build, consciously,
23 discipline among the troops, to promote proper conduct in keeping with the
24 regulations. And of course there were certain problems in command and
25 control. What do I mean? I mean that in 1992 or throughout that year
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 practically we didn't have any volunteers. And the greatest problem with
2 that is sometimes --
3 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: We had to rely on
4 volunteers throughout 1992,.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And the greatest problem was that
6 when you gave them an order to take up positions on defence line they
7 would sometimes refuse or if they would go they would on their own leave
8 positions or if they would hear somebody was ill at home or they had a
9 family problem.
10 For instance, once on Mount Sesic in the unit of
11 Commander Mesanovic, we didn't manage to supply bread in time and the
12 complete unit threatened to leave their position. In another situation,
13 they asked 25 kilos of flour to be supplied to their families, and they
14 threatened to leave their position its if we didn't do that.
15 So we had all kinds of problems. They would take food from the
16 canteens that belonged to specific enterprises for the personnel of these
17 enterprises exclusively. It was very hard to establish proper order and
18 discipline, because we did not have proper army personnel with superior
19 officers who were qualified and trained, commanders of brigades,
20 commanders of subordinate units, et cetera.
21 Q. Let me ask you another thing. As the commander -- as an officer
22 in the BH army, who did you have command over?
23 A. As commander of the Municipal Staff, I only had command over the
24 members of my own unit, nobody else.
25 Q. You said that while you were in the hospital, you assumed the duty
1 of the command of the 301st Mechanised Brigade. Through these attempts to
2 organise yourself and the circumstances under which you had to operate,
3 that up until the end of 1993, were you able to carry out the order? Were
4 you able to form the 301st Mechanised Brigade?
5 A. My answer is no, certainly not. Up until the end of 1993, I
6 wasn't able to form the brigade. I formed one battalion within that
7 brigade, one armoured battalion, and one mechanised battalion. But
8 because I wasn't able to carry out the work completely for various
9 reasons, because we didn't have sufficient materiel and equipment, for
10 this reason this brigade was disbanded in November 1993.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Would the witness kindly slow down a little,
12 please, when he answers.
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. So in spite of all these efforts, you weren't able to form that
15 brigade. Do you know whether similar difficulties were encountered by
16 other 3rd Corps units of the BH army?
17 A. Well, I can say that that's indisputable. There were problems in
18 all units, and none of the brigade commanders ever managed to complete the
19 formation of his brigade. This never happened. We had an order according
20 to which a sabotage unit in Zenica was to be formed. A commander was
21 appointed, and some members of the command were appointed, but this soon
22 came to nothing. This was the case in all units, not just in my brigade.
23 It was the case in all brigades. It was not possible to carry through the
24 work because of insufficient equipment, because of inadequate manpower.
25 It wasn't possible to form complete brigades in accordance with the
1 relevant establishment for our brigades, for battalions, and for other
3 Q. You didn't form it, but did you take any measures? Was there
4 anything else you could have done up until the end of 1993?
5 A. I did everything I could. There was nothing else that I as
6 brigade commander could have done.
7 Q. And finally, when you compare this mechanised battalion that you
8 formed at the end of 1993, when you compare it with the mechanised
9 battalion or a mechanised battalion in the JNA in which you were a
10 commander, would you say that there were any differences between the two,
11 and what were the differences?
12 A. Yes, naturally. Naturally there were differences. The
13 differences were enormous. At the beginning of the war, professional
14 members of the former JNA had problems with our subordinates for this very
15 reason, because when we assigned them units, they thought that I as
16 commander of the Municipal Staff had the warehouses of the former JNA
17 where ammunition for tanks, ammunition for artillery, fuel, lorries,
18 tents, et cetera. So they were confused. They even asked, the Mehurici
19 detachment asked for enormous tents for accommodation. I told them where
20 am I supposed to find such tents? The differences were enormous because
21 in these tanks I had 25 litres of fuel when we were to carry out a task.
22 And that's sufficient for one T-55 tank to work for one hour.
23 So in the former JNA we had a tank of fuel that would provide fuel
24 for the tanks. The tanks were always full. They had sufficient fuel.
25 Q. Thank you. I think you have answered all my questions, Mr. Ribo.
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have now finished
2 with my examination-in-chief.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You have taken up an
4 hour and a half, which is what had been planned. Are there any questions
5 for this witness from the other Defence team?
6 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We
7 would just like to ask this witness a few questions in order to clarify
8 some of his answers provided in the course of the examination-in-chief.
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ribo, in response to a question from my
11 colleague Mrs. Residovic, you mentioned the Muslim forces. I think it's
12 on page 28 and on page 29 of the transcript. If I have understood you
13 well, you said that these Muslim forces were mainly composed of refugees
14 from Bosanska Krajina, from Jajce. They were composed of refugees, et
15 cetera; is that correct?
16 A. Yes. On the whole they were composed of men from those areas, but
17 there were also men from Travnik municipality, and I did emphasise that.
18 Q. Would it be correct to say that these Muslim forces were composed
19 of men and young men who were Bosnians, and there were no foreigners in
20 these forces?
21 A. As far as I know, that was the case. I never inspected that
22 formation. As far as I know, it was composed only of citizens of Bosnia
23 and Herzegovina.
24 Q. When these Muslim forces ceased to exist, that's when
25 organisational changes were made in the BH army. That was October,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 November, December 1992. You said that at that time some of the members
2 of the Muslim forces joined the Travnik Battalion of the 7th Brigade, and
3 others joined the mother units. Would the mother unit be the
4 306th Brigade from Travnik, the 312th Brigade, and the 17th Krajina
5 Brigade from Travnik. Are those the units concerned?
6 A. Yes, you are completely right. Some of them became part of the
7 1st Battalion of the 7th, which was part of the 3rd Corps of the BH army.
8 Some of them remained within the 306th, and the 312th, and some of them
9 became part of the 17th Krajina Brigade.
10 Naturally these people made calculations, because this battalion
11 became part of the 7th with its headquarters in Zenica. So that would
12 mean leaving the Travnik municipality, and as a result they preferred to
13 remain in their territory, in the territory of their municipalities. So
14 this was the calculation that is some of the men made.
15 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We
16 have no further questions.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Mundis, you may
18 take the floor for your cross-examination.
19 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Cross-examined by Mr. Mundis:
21 Q. Good morning, Witness. My name is Daryl Mundis, and I represent
22 the Prosecution in this case. I'm going to be asking you some questions
23 that will probably take a little bit more than an hour. Before I do that,
24 I simply want to make sure that you understand that I'm not in any way
25 trying to trick you or put words in your mouth. If I ask any questions
1 that you don't understand, I would like you to simply tell me that and I
2 will rephrase the question. Do you understand that, sir?
3 A. Yes, I do.
4 Q. I'd like to start off by talking a little bit about - excuse
5 me - a little bit about the Muslim forces or the Muslimanske Snage that
6 you've talked about earlier this morning. You told us that when you
7 became aware of the formation of that unit that you became upset and asked
8 the -- your security chief to find out who these people were. Is that
10 A. That's not right. I had information provided to me by my chief of
11 security, who is a subordinate of mine in the staff. He said that he had
12 information according to which some sort of preparations were underway for
13 formation of Muslim armed forces. So this was previous information. This
14 information had been obtained prior to the establishment of the unit.
15 Q. Do you recall approximately when it was that your chief of
16 security informed you or provided you with this information? Do you
17 recall the approximate month or day, year?
18 A. Perhaps it was in July. I can't provide you with the precise
19 answer to that question. I have documents of my own in which this has
20 been recorded, but I can't remember now. I believe that it was in June or
21 July. Either in June or July.
22 Q. And again for the benefit of the transcript, that would be 1992?
23 A. Yes, of course, in 1992.
24 Q. Sir, you've just mentioned that you have some documents of your
25 own in which this might be recorded. Did you happen to bring these
1 documents with you to The Hague?
2 A. No, I haven't brought them with me, unfortunately.
3 Q. Based on the information that was provided to you by your chief of
4 security, what steps, if any, did you take or order the security chief to
5 take with respect to determining who these people were and what they were
7 A. Well, I remember that at one meeting I instructed my chief or,
8 rather, assistant commander for security to see which forces were
9 concerned and to find out who their commander was.
10 Q. Can I just ask you at this point, sir, the name of your assistant
11 commander for security at this point in time?
12 A. His name was Esad Sipic.
13 Q. Do you recall what information Esad Sipic provided to you after
14 you tasked him with determining who these forces were and who their
15 commander was?
16 A. Esad Sipic provided me with information. Well, first I had
17 requested information about the commander whose name was apparently
18 Major Tara. I don't know who this person was. He suddenly appeared in
19 that area, and I was informed of the identity of this person, Major Tara,
20 and the assistant commander for security also -- he provide immediate with
21 this information, and I relayed that information to the deputy commander
22 for security in the district. I think his name was Mr. Agic. So I
23 forwarded this information to him.
24 Q. In the period of June and July 1992, other than what you've told
25 us now, did you obtain any other information about the Muslimanske Snage?
1 A. No, I didn't obtain any other information. I don't remember
2 receiving any other information. Perhaps I did. But this was an
3 insignificant unit in my opinion, so I didn't pay much attention to it. I
4 had so many problems of my own that it just did not concern me.
5 Q. The person that you -- the name you've given us, Major -- can you
6 spell the name of that individual if you know?
7 A. Major Tara. The assistant for security found out that his name
8 was Redzic, Emir. Redzic Emir.
9 Q. And is the name Major Dara with a "d," or Tara with a "t"?
10 A. With a T.
11 Q. Let us move into later 1992 and into the autumn of 1992. During
12 that time period while you remained the commander of the Travnik municipal
13 TO, did you obtain any other information about the Muslimanske Snage?
14 A. If you're referring to the Muslim forces from Travnik, no. I
15 didn't obtain any other information because I wasn't particularly
16 interested in them, to be quite frank.
17 Q. Sir, if I understood what you said correctly earlier, and I
18 believe this is page 28, line 19, you also mentioned in connection with
19 the Muslim forces the name Asim Koricic. Did you tell the Trial Chamber
20 that Asim Koricic was a commander of the Muslim forces in Travnik?
21 A. Yes. He was the first commander. He was called commander, but
22 I'm not sure whether he really was a commander, but that's what he was
24 Q. And this Major Tara, what position did he hold within the Muslim
25 forces in Travnik?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 A. He took over from Commander Asim Koricic. Major Tara took over
2 from Asim Koricic.
3 Q. Do you know the approximate time period that Major Tara took over
4 from Asim Koricic?
5 A. No, I couldn't say.
6 Q. Do you know what Asim Koricic did following the time period he
7 commanded the Muslim forces in Travnik?
8 A. I don't know, because I had already left Travnik. So I really
9 don't know.
10 Q. From mid-November 1992 through I believe you've said November
11 1993, you were the commander of the 301st Mechanised Brigade; is that
13 A. Yes. From the 20th of November, 1992, until the 30th of November,
14 1993, I was the commander of the Mechanised Brigade.
15 Q. During the time period that you were the commander of the
16 301st Mechanised Brigade, on how many occasions did you have meetings with
17 the leadership of the 3rd Corps?
18 A. It's difficult for me to say, but I would estimate we had a
19 meeting every month. But if there were any extraordinary situations, then
20 these meetings would be held more frequently.
21 Q. Based on your answer, sir, would it then be correct that you would
22 have attended more than 12 such meetings during the time that you were the
23 commander of the 301st?
24 A. Well, I don't know whether we could say more than 12. Perhaps
25 more, perhaps less. I couldn't give you a precise answer. I didn't make
1 a record of that.
2 Q. At these meetings with the 3rd Corps Command, were other brigade
3 commanders also present?
4 A. These meetings were only attended by establishment commanders who
5 were part of the 3rd Corps Command.
6 Q. Would the subordinate brigades of the 3rd Corps Command be
7 included within the term "establishment commanders"?
8 A. I haven't answered your question. Could you repeat it, please?
9 Q. Certainly. I asked you two questions ago if brigade commanders
10 were also present at the 3rd Corps meetings, and you told us these
11 meetings were only attended by establishment commanders who were part of
12 the 3rd Corps Command. My follow-up question is: When you say
13 "establishment commanders who were part of the 3rd Corps Command," do you
14 mean commanders of the brigades that were part of the 3rd Corps?
15 A. I'm referring exclusively to the brigade commanders that were part
16 of the 3rd Corps, but in certain situations individual brigade commanders,
17 because of problems in the units or because of the situation in the
18 battlefield, they were not able to attend the regular meetings. They
19 would remain in their units, and the corps command would provide them
20 authorisation to do this. So in certain cases, not all the brigade
21 commanders would be present at these meetings.
22 Q. Sir, do you know or do you recall if at any of the 3rd Corps
23 meetings attended by brigade commanders Asim Koricic attended as the
24 commander of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade?
25 A. I can't remember, to be frank. I don't even know when he became
1 brigade commander. But I do know that the brigade commander of the
2 7th Mechanised -- of the 7th Muslim attended these meeting or was present
3 when tasks were being assigned, et cetera.
4 Q. And who was the commander of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade who
5 attended these 3rd Corps meetings?
6 A. I can remember Asim Koricic. I can remember Kubura. I can
7 remember -- there were two other commanders after them.
8 Q. That's --
9 A. I think there was General Brsine and one other commander whose
10 name I can't remember right now.
11 Q. I'm a bit confused, sir, because of a couple of the answers you've
12 given, so I'd like to try to clear this up.
13 Do you remember the time period in which Asim Koricic attended
14 3rd Corps meetings as the commander of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade?
15 A. Well, it's very difficult for me to answer that question, because
16 afterwards, in -- I continued to be a member of the corps command up until
17 the end of the war. So a lot of these commanders changed, and I wasn't
18 just paying attention to the commanders of the 7th. Many commanders in
19 other brigades were changed. So it's difficult for me to say exactly when
20 Asim Koricic was the commander since after my duties as a brigade
21 commander, I became a member of the 3rd Corps Command right up until the
22 end of 1993.
23 Q. Let me ask you this question, and again if you don't recall,
24 that's fine. In 1993, do you recall the last time you saw Asim Koricic?
25 A. No. No, I can't remember that at all .
1 Q. Okay. Let me move on to a different, slightly different topic. I
2 believe you told us in response to some questions concerning foreign Arab
3 or Middle Eastern fighters that you never met with such persons at the
4 headquarters of the Territorial Defence in Travnik.
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, could we just
6 correct something in the transcript? Line 44. Line to the witness in
7 fact said that he became a member of the 3rd Corps Command and was a
8 member of the 3rd Corps Command right up until the end of 1996, whereas
9 the transcript says up until the end of 1993.
10 MR. MUNDIS: I thank my learned colleague for that.
11 Q. Let me return to the question, sir. Do you remember saying
12 earlier this morning, I believe it's page 25, line 3, that you never saw
13 any armed Arab or Middle Eastern fighters at your TO headquarters in
15 A. That's correct. No such individuals appeared. No such armed
16 individuals appeared either. These individuals weren't in uniform. They
17 wore traditional clothes. So they didn't come to see me for any reasons.
18 They didn't come in uniform or carrying weapons.
19 Q. Okay. Did you meet with these or have any contact with these
20 individuals in any other locations? You said they didn't come to the TO.
21 Did you have any meetings or contacts with these people anywhere else?
22 A. No, I had no meetings with them. And we were great opponents, in
23 fact. I was not able to communicate with then, and I didn't want any
24 meetings with them. I'm talking about 1992.
25 Q. That's fine. That's what I'm talking about as well, the period
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 when you were the commander of the TO in Travnik. Are you telling us,
2 sir, that you had no contacts at any time with any Mujahedin
3 in -- anywhere?
4 A. No. No, I did not.
5 Q. You were aware, however, that persons who would fall within the
6 term "foreign Mujahedin" were present in Travnik, Travnik municipality
7 during this time period?
8 A. I don't know. Maybe it is the term used here in the Tribunal or
9 maybe in the OTP. Maybe you call them Mujahedin. We used derogatory
10 terms for them such as Mudzos, but we used the same term for people who
11 wore long beards and even members of the Muslim armed forces were called
12 Mudzos. I'm not familiar with this term Mujahedin.
13 Q. Okay. And just so we're clear, can you describe for us when you
14 use the term "Mudzos" who you are referring to?
15 A. I mean members of the Muslim armed forces, because they cultivated
16 this appearance with beards, et cetera. So we called them Mudzos.
17 In 1992 when I was commander, this term "Mujahedin" was not a
18 familiar one. I learned of it only later, maybe in 1993, or 1994 even.
19 Q. Let me ask you a follow-up question. You defined these people as
20 members of the Muslim armed forces. They cultivated this appearance with
21 beards. Were the people that you called or referred to as Mudzos local
22 Bosniaks or foreigners or both or neither?
23 A. Those were only Bosniaks.
24 Q. Let me focus, then, your attention on foreign-born fighters. Are
25 you aware of the presence, during the period from June through November
1 1992 when you were the Travnik TO commander, of foreign-born fighters
2 present in Travnik municipality?
3 A. Yes, I'm aware of that.
4 Q. How did you become aware of such persons?
5 A. That was the Croatian army. It passed through with two M-47 tanks
6 that were on their way to Jajce. They were foreign-born fighters with
7 clearly visible emblems, clearly visible to everybody who followed them on
8 the route from Gornji Vakuf to Jajce. They clearly wore emblems of the
9 Croatian army.
10 Q. I'll get to the Croatian army later this morning. I want to ask
11 you about persons from the Middle East, persons from North Africa, and
12 persons from the continent of Asia. Were you aware of any of these
13 persons being present in the Travnik municipality from June through
14 November of 1992? And I mean these persons being armed fighters, not
15 humanitarian workers, not members of BritBat, not members of UNPROFOR, and
16 not members of the Croatian army, the HOS, et cetera.
17 A. I am not aware that such persons were there. I'm not aware of the
18 presence of such troops.
19 Q. Okay. In October of 1992, while you were the commander of the TO
20 in Travnik, were you aware of allegations or rumours that the leader of
21 the Arab Mujahedin in Bosnia had been captured by the HVO?
22 A. This is the first time I'm hearing about this, really.
23 Q. During the month of October 1992, then, I assume that you will say
24 that you were not contacted by any newspapers from London asking you about
25 the capture of an Arab Mujahedin leader by the HVO?
1 A. I never had such a contact with any journalist, any reporter, or
2 anyone else. I never had such a discussion.
3 Q. Okay. Let me ask you about an individual by the name of
4 Abu Abdel Aziz. Have you ever heard the name "Abu Abdel Aziz"?
5 A. I heard of that name. I heard of the name.
6 Q. When, to the best of your recollection, did you first hear that
8 A. I cannot tell you exactly, but I think it could have been perhaps
9 towards the end of 1993, because I really had no communication with those
10 people. I just heard from some fellow townsfolk. They were talking about
11 some Sheik Abu Abdel Aziz, but I can't remember in which period I heard
12 about it.
13 Q. You mentioned earlier, sir, a journalist from the Guardian
14 newspaper. Was that Ed Vulliamy?
15 A. No. First of all, I didn't mention the name of the journalist,
16 and to this day I haven't learnt his name. All I know is that he was a
17 journalist writing from the -- for the Guardian. He asked me to borrow my
18 vehicle to go back to his press house because the Serbs had seized his
19 vehicle on Mount Vlasic. But there is a book that this journalist wrote
20 about the expulsion of Bosniaks from the Bosnian Krajina, and there is a
21 reference to my name in that book and some of the things I have mentioned
23 Q. Let me ask you about a different journalist. Do you recall at any
24 point in time in 1992 meeting or speaking on the telephone with or having
25 any contact with an individual named Andrew Hogg of the Sunday Times of
2 A. I never spoke to that journalist, not even on the phone. The only
3 two Englishmen who came to my command headquarters while I was commander
4 were the commander of the SFOR and this journalist from the Guardian. I
5 never spoke to this other person, nor did I give him any statements.
6 Q. Do you recall at any point in time from June through November 1992
7 whether any journalist sought your assistance in finding the location of
8 any of the foreign-born fighters who were present in Travnik municipality?
9 A. No, never. Not then and not later. I didn't talk to that man.
10 He didn't call me. Quite simply, I didn't have any contact.
11 Q. Before I move on to a different topic, I just have a couple of
12 final questions on this subject. You told us that you were not aware of
13 any foreign-born fighters present in Travnik municipality from June
14 through November 1992. I take it then, sir, you didn't see any such
16 A. That's correct, because I spent very, very little time outside the
17 staff headquarters. I just told the Defence counsel in response to her
18 question that I spent 24 hours a day at the staff headquarters. There was
19 a canteen there where I took my meals. I barely ever went to see my
20 family once a month, even though they were only 300 metres away from the
21 staff headquarters. So I didn't see any such thing.
22 Q. Did you -- did you receive any reports from any of your
23 subordinates, including your chief of security, Esad Sipic, to the effect
24 that such foreign-born fighters were present in Travnik municipality
25 during the period June through November 1992?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 A. As far as I can remember, no.
2 Q. Let me move on -- well, let me ask you a different question. Do
3 you know Jozo Pokrajcic?
4 A. No.
5 Q. I'm probably botching the name. Family name is
6 P-o-k-r-a-j-c-i-c, first name Jozo?
7 A. No. No. I don't know that person.
8 Q. Do you know a person with a similar name who was the HVO commander
9 in Travnik in 1992, 1993?
10 A. No, no one with a name like that. No one of that or similar name.
11 Q. Let me return, then, to the subject that you mentioned just a few
12 moments ago, and that was the Croatian army. What can you tell us about
13 the presence of the Croatian army, as you put it, in the period 1992 and
14 1993 in Central Bosnia?
15 A. What I know from the time when I was commander of Municipal Staff
16 is all I know about it, because later on when I moved to Zenica to assume
17 another position I was no longer in Travnik. But what I know from that
18 time, Croatian troops wore HV emblems. Croatian army, HV. And as I said
19 before, two tanks, M-47, passed through on their way to Jajce. They also
20 wore Croatian army signs and emblems. And there were some soldiers
21 accompanying the tank, not on the tank but on foot. I don't know whose
22 units these two tanks belonged to, but I also know that HOS forces,
23 Croatian Armed Forces, were also present in this area.
24 Q. Do you know, sir, whether the HV, that is the army of the Republic
25 of Croatia, was supplying manpower to the HVO?
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I object, since the
2 previous questions and those before it have nothing to do with
3 examination-in-chief or the subject of the indictment. I don't think they
4 are relevant, and I don't think they should continue.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Will you respond to this
6 objection, Mr. Mundis, based on the fact that the examination-in-chief did
7 not refer to the Croatian army, the HV? And secondly, the question of the
8 Croatian army presence does not feature in the indictment. And the
9 Defence is asking why you are pursuing this line of questioning and what
10 is the relevance to this witness.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, you will -- you will recall --
12 actually, if I could do this in the absence of the witness, I would
13 greatly appreciate that, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. We will lose another
15 couple of minutes then.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.
17 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. The Chamber will be aware
18 that in response to a question about the presence of foreigners, this
19 witness answered that he was certainly aware that there were foreign
20 fighters and they came from Croatia. The Prosecution would like to
21 explore this a bit further with this witness. This witness has previously
22 provided a statement to the Office of the Prosecutor with respect to a
23 different case and in a different investigation. In his statement, he
24 provides a number of details concerning the presence of forces and
25 military equipment from the Republic of Croatia present during the
1 indictment period in this conflict that was between the Bosnian Croats and
2 the Bosnian Muslim forces or the ABiH.
3 Moreover, Mr. President, as the Chamber is well aware, the
4 Prosecution throughout the course of its case consistently, in the early
5 phases, objected to the Defence position with respect to contextual
6 evidence. The Chamber's rulings are quite clear that the Defence is
7 entitled to provide a very broad political, military, and historical
8 context in which these crimes or alleged crimes in our indictment
10 The Prosecution, although we, with all due respect, don't believe
11 that this broad contextual approach is merited in this case, will
12 certainly -- we have certainly respected the Chamber's rulings in this
13 respect. It seems to us, however, that by putting on a defence that
14 brings in the broadest possible context in which the crimes were allegedly
15 committed would certainly include, for the sake of completeness, any
16 evidence to the effect that the Republic of Croatia may have been involved
17 even in a limited way in this conflict. And it is our position that when
18 witnesses such as the present one, we believe, have information or are
19 witnesses to events concerning the presence of forces, equipment, or
20 manpower of the Republic of Croatia that we should be allowed to put that
21 information before the Trial Chamber, again so that Your Honours have the
22 broadest possible understanding of the context in which this -- the
23 alleged crimes in our indictment occurred.
24 This was not the initial approach to be taken by the Prosecution.
25 However, in light of the Trial Chamber's rulings during the initial phases
1 of the Prosecution's case and in light of the fact that this witness
2 apparently has some of these events, we respectfully suggest that this
3 line of questioning, and it's not -- it won't take very long, should be
4 allowed so that you -- that Your Honours have the fullest possible picture
5 of the entire context in which the alleged crimes occurred.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I will give the floor again to
7 the Defence, but I would like to summarise two pages of the transcript.
8 The Prosecution tells us that on a particular issue the witness himself
9 said there had been foreigners, and he said, yes, there was the Croatian
10 army, the present of the Croatian army. So it was the witness himself who
11 referred, who brought up the Croatian army. He described two tanks with
12 insignia of the Croatian army.
13 Proceeding from there, the Prosecution tells us that they are in
14 possession of a written statement of this witness that the Trial Chamber
15 does not have before it but which the Defence certainly is entitled to
16 see, because it comes from another case but it should have been supplied
17 by the Defence. And in this statement, the witness brought up certain
18 information on the Croatian army and its presence on the territory of the
19 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992/1993, the period of the
20 indictment itself. And the Prosecution corroborates this position by
21 saying that it is the Defence who wanted to introduce in this trial a
22 broader contextual approach involving the political, military, and general
23 context. At the beginning, the Prosecution was opposed to this approach,
24 but it was, nevertheless, sanctioned by the Trial Chamber. And now if we
25 approved this broad contextual approach, the Prosecution does not see why
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 they would not be allowed to do so themselves.
2 Now, the second page of the transcript. Can the Defence now
3 present what they have to say?
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the Defence
5 believes that this is not an appropriate way to demonstrate the rights and
6 obligations of the parties to the proceedings as regulated by the
7 Rules of Procedure and Evidence.
8 In the indictment, the Prosecution assumed a certain approach on
9 the armed conflict. In the original indictment, this approach was
10 different, and it was modified in the amended indictment. So in it's own
11 case, the Prosecution takes a very narrow approach to events, totally
12 opposed, totally different to the approach of the Defence. Therefore, the
13 questions now being asked by the Prosecution are not linked to their own
14 case and cannot be tied in with Rule 90(H)(ii), because one, count --
15 cross-examination can rely on examination or, alternatively, it can rely
16 on facts that would be relevant to the party conducting the examination,
17 and neither of these two alternatives applies here, because this
18 questioning does not rely on the arguments presented so far by the
19 Prosecution or the facts brought up in the Prosecution case.
20 Since the Defence has proceeded from the indictment in the context
21 of which the Prosecution says that army forces carried out a frontal
22 attack on Croatian villages, the Defence has exercised its rights from
23 Rule 90(H)(ii) and relied on the events in which these took place. This
24 context follows the theory and the position of the Defence. It is
25 diametrically opposed to the position of the Prosecution. And the
1 Prosecution, by pursuing this line of questioning, is now putting itself
2 in the place of the Defence and we have a total shift in the legal
3 situation here.
4 So this context that has been just brought up by the Prosecution
5 is something that falls in with the theory of the Defence, not of the
6 Prosecution. I believe, therefore, there is no legal basis to pursue this
7 line of questioning. If the witness is asked any more of these questions,
8 it can only serve for the purpose of disqualifying, discrediting the
9 witness. Thank you.
10 I apologise. I believe that this wasn't quite correctly
11 interpreted. I said that if the witness is not telling the truth, then in
12 order to discredit him or to prove the opposite of what he is saying, the
13 Prosecution can possibly show him his written statement.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Would the other Defence team
15 like to make any comments?
16 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we don't have any
17 comments to make.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The Prosecution will
19 respond, but I will summarise the debates. We'll be discussing the
20 matter. We will withdraw to discuss the issues raised. I will now
21 provide you with a summary.
22 The Defence has stated that in a certain sense the Prosecution is
23 taking over Defence's arguments with regard to contextual issues. Defence
24 counsel argues that the context is part of their strategy, not part of the
25 Prosecution's strategy. You added that these statements could add to
1 discrediting the within. That's what you said.
2 So, Mr. Mundis, what would you say?
3 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Just three very brief
4 points, if I might. First, we're not relying on Rule 90(H)(ii) in this
5 case. But as we indicated earlier and as Your Honour pointed out in
6 summarising our position. It was the witness himself who first mentioned
7 the term Croatian army, and our view is simply if the witness in
8 responding to a question even during cross-examination brings up an issue
9 we should be permitted to explore that issue, otherwise cross-examination
10 could be meaningless.
11 In the second point, let me just address briefly the issue of
12 strategy, Prosecution strategy or Defence strategy. The Prosecution's
13 strategy, Mr. President, is simply to assist the Trial Chamber in finding
14 out what the truth is. Given the Trial Chamber's previous rulings that
15 it -- that the context is important, we believe it's important for you to
16 have this information as well. And again, the line of questioning I was
17 going to put to the witness would have been over several minutes ago had
18 we been allowed to continue, but it's not a question of strategy here,
19 Mr. President. It's a question of the Chamber has indicated in its
20 previous rulings that context would be important and helpful, and this is
21 simply one more bit of the context that we believe is -- is helpful for
22 the benefit of the Trial Chamber.
23 That's actually it. I'll skip the third point. I don't have much
24 more in terms of cross-examination. We'll hit on this subject and perhaps
25 one or two others, but I should be able to finish relatively quickly with
1 this witness. Thank you.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bourgon, you're on your
3 feet, because we want to withdraw. Would you like to add something?
4 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] I would like to add something,
5 Mr. President. I think it is important to make further submissions before
6 the Chamber withdraws. With your leave, Mr. President. Thank you,
7 Mr. President.
8 The issue we're debating, we can argue about this but that's not
9 the point. The point is that the Trial Chamber rendered a decision with
10 regard to certification, and in this decision the Chamber said that the
11 Trial Chamber cannot declare itself about the nature itself of the
12 conflict, whether it's international or national. The Trial Chamber also
13 adds that if it would be concluded that the conflict was internal, then
14 the question of context would be extremely important for the Defence.
15 Now, Mr. President, the Prosecution has been trying to prove that
16 the conflict was international. My colleague said that in the indictment,
17 in the first indictment, there was the notion of an international armed
18 conflict. This notion was voluntarily withdrawn by the Prosecution. For
19 two years now this idea of an international or internal conflict as a
20 result of an erroneous policy on the part of the Prosecution is making us
21 waste a lot of time. We're now having to deal with a witness who has
22 nothing to do with this, and we're trying to prove that the Croatian army
23 was present there.
24 If the Prosecution wants to change its thesis yet again - and it
25 has done this on numerous occasions in the course of these
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 proceedings - they can do so in the course of the rebuttal phase. When
2 the Defence has finished its case the Prosecution can do this. If they
3 think it's important they can go back to the issue and say we want to
4 prove the existence of international armed conflict. So they can do at
5 that moment. But we shouldn't be drawn into this. We shouldn't be
6 deceived by the Prosecution saying that all we want to do, all the
7 Prosecution wants to do is to help the Chamber determine the truth. We
8 have to respect the rights of the accused. We have to ensure the
9 integrity of the proceedings and of this Tribunal. We mustn't allow the
10 Prosecution to pursue another line of questioning, to move to another
11 subject which will result in the waste of a lot of time and will violate
12 the rights of the accused.
13 Please take into consideration our objection and do not allow this
14 line of questioning. Thank you, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We have lost another
16 ten or 15 minutes now because we've been debating about this since noon.
17 Mr. Bourgon, you raised the issue of the fundamental rights and
18 the necessity of establishing whether it was international or an internal
19 conflict. You said that in the decision rendered the Trial Chamber ruled
20 on certain issues contained in the indictment relating to the nature of
21 this conflict, relating to whether it was international or an internal
22 one. You said the Prosecution would be able to raise this issue after the
23 presentation of the Defence case.
24 Mr. Mundis, as this is a legal issue, which may not be clear to
25 those who are not familiar with it, could you make some comments and then
1 we will withdraw, and we will tell you whether we will allow you to follow
2 this line of questioning. Please respond. This is an important legal
3 issue raised by Mr. Bourgon. Tell us your position and then we will
5 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. As the Trial Chamber is
6 aware this has arisen on several previous occasions primarily in the form
7 of written pleadings. Our position has been clearly articulated that the
8 Office of the Prosecution does not characterise armed conflict. We don't
9 take a position on whether it's an international or internal,
10 non-international armed conflict until the completion of the case, at
11 which point we will then be in a position to argue the law based on the
12 evidence that the Trial Chamber has heard.
13 So our position is that we do not make such characterisations, and
14 our position will remain as it has remained based on the written pleadings
15 that have been filed since this case has begun. So the Prosecution
16 believes that the proper time for making these type of determinations is
17 at the end of the trial based on the evidence that's been heard.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's quarter past twelve. We'll
19 have the break now, and we will resume at about quarter to one, and then
20 we will continue until 2.00. After the break, we'll inform you of our
22 --- Recess taken at 12.18 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 12.53 p.m.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The Trial Chamber
25 will now render its oral decision with regard to whether the Prosecution
1 will be allowed to follow its line of questioning about the presence of
2 the Croatian army in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
3 The Trial Chamber notes that the witness voluntarily, at page 17,
4 line 12, mentioned the presence of the Croatian army. The Chamber,
5 without prejudice to the parties, in relation to the nature of the
6 conflict will allow the Prosecution to put questions concerning the
7 presence of the Croatian army in Bosnia, that is to say in Central Bosnia.
8 The Trial Chamber does not intend to render a non-oral decision
9 stating whether the Prosecution has the right to ask a question that has
10 to do with the nature of the conflict in the course of the Defence's case.
11 The Chamber will not declare its position at this point in time.
12 If the Defence believes that such questions should be excluded in
13 the course of the presentation of its case, Defence counsel may submit a
14 written motion to the Trial Chamber in which -- to which the Prosecution
15 may respond in writing so that a written decision may be rendered.
16 Mr. Mundis, I will now give you the floor, and you may continue,
17 if you so wish, to put questions to the witness we have.
18 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Q. Witness, before the break I was asking you questions about the HV,
20 that is the Army of the Republic of Croatia. Can you tell us, based on
21 your experience in Central Bosnia in 1992 and 1993, the full extent of HV
22 activity in that region during that time period?
23 A. All I can do is repeat what I have already said. At the
24 beginning, when the presence of the Croatian units were noticed, you could
25 see HV, the sign HV on the vehicles. I also noticed two tanks that were
1 heading in the direction of Jajce. But I can say that the 1st Krajina
2 Battalion that we are discussing, when this battalion arrived in Travnik,
3 Filip Filipovic immediately requested that there be discussions with
4 the -- this command. He wanted it to be said that they'd been sent from
5 Croatia and that they were Croatian soldiers who were being sent to assist
6 the HVO. However, after he said this, this same unit was lined up in the
7 Travnik barracks, and I said that Colonel Filip Filipovic was not right.
8 The role of the HVO there was quite different, and I said that the
9 Territorial Defence wanted to liberate territory that had been occupied by
10 the Serbian and Montenegrin army. They then agreed not to be part of the
11 HVO. They agreed to be part of the Territorial Defence. And this was the
12 case for all 520 men in the battalion.
13 Another example is the HMP units, Croatian Muslim units were sent
14 from Croatia also in the direction of Travnik. This unit was also armed
15 by Croatia. That's where the weapons came from. Of those weapons taken
16 to Travnik, out of those weapons -- we had to distribute them -- we had to
17 distribute half of them to Territorial Defence members and half of them to
18 the Croatian Muslim unit. So this also shows that certain units did come
19 from Croatia, but as far as I am aware, since I spoke to the wife of my
20 brother who died in Ahmici, I also found out in this way that these people
21 weren't local people, they had come from outside.
22 Q. Are you aware of any logistical support provided by the Republic
23 of Croatia to these units in Central Bosnia, and if so, can you tell us
24 about that logistical support?
25 A. Well, I know for a fact that they received support in arms from
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 Croatia, because if we in the Territorial Defence did not have any weapons
2 because all of the weaponry had been destroyed in Slimena, they got
3 perfectly good infantry weapons, and they got it from Croatia. As for
4 other materiel and equipment, they had no problem in receiving it from
5 Croatia. The equipment didn't have any problem in passing through to
6 them. In other occasions, we could not get equipment because it was
7 seized on the way. Food supplies sometimes couldn't get through.
8 I sent trucks that went to Croatia, to Zagreb, so that they could
9 bring humanitarian supplies to us. I know, on the other hand, for a fact
10 that they were extremely well-armed. Every soldier had state-of-the-art
11 weaponry, the best that was available in those parts at weaponry, the best
12 that was available in those parts at the time.
13 Q. And this state-of-the-art weaponry came from Croatia?
14 A. Certainly.
15 Q. What about any type of support with respect to airlifts or
16 helicopter transport?
17 A. Correct. Correct. Such support existed, especially in the area
18 of Vitez, that is, in the area of Mosunj, or as we called it, the Sand
19 Desert. Helicopters landed all the time carrying support, but it's true
20 that in Central Bosnia some helicopters engaged in combat activity. I saw
21 that personally.
22 We received an assignment during the night to train all our
23 weapons to target those helicopters bringing weapons to Central Bosnia,
24 but we were not successful at all. We didn't manage to bring even one of
25 them down. I was personally present when those helicopters landed with
1 logistical support for the HVO, and I can show you exactly the location
2 where it happened.
3 Q. Well, let me just ask you two follow-up questions. These
4 helicopters, they were from the Croat army or Croat air force?
5 A. Croat air force.
6 Q. And the time period we're talking about is 1992 and 1993?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Are you also aware, during 1992 and 1993, of the presence of any
9 senior HV commanders?
10 A. In 1992, I had a meeting with General Tole, T-o-l-e. That was his
11 name. And General Praljak as well. I personally met with them at the
12 headquarters in Travnik, at the staff in Travnik, where General Tole had
13 come to convince me and the commander of Novi Travnik, Mr. Lendo, to
14 proceed with some kind of new scheme of defence organisation, the
15 so-called Central Bosnia command. But we rejected it out of hand because
16 we didn't want to join this or that unit. We had our own superior
17 command. Nevertheless, I talked to Mr. Praljak and Mr. Tole.
18 Q. For the benefit of the Trial Chamber, can you tell us who
19 Mr. Praljak and Mr. Tole were at that time during 1992?
20 A. I don't know which position Tole occupied, but he had the rank of
21 general. He introduced himself as general. He had received an assignment
22 to establish a command for Central Bosnia. I don't know what was his
23 official position. It's not a detail that he shared with us on that
24 occasion. Neither did General Praljak. So I really couldn't tell which
25 positions they occupied.
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes?
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] We absolutely accept the decision
4 you have taken, but we would kindly appreciate it of our colleague,
5 because his questions are wide-ranging and do not really relate to a
6 subject, if he would indicate if these questions relate to our case or he
7 is investigating on an entirely different matter.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Mundis.
9 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, the questions have been limited to the
10 period 1992 and 1993, and I believe it's clear to the witness that we're
11 talking about Central Bosnia. I haven't heard the witness indicate that
12 he's confused by any of the questions. It certainly again goes to the
13 very issues we discussed prior to the brief previous recess. I believe
14 the questions that have been asked comply with the oral decision that was
15 just rendered by the Trial Chamber ten or 12 minutes ago.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Do you have a lot
17 more questions on this issue?
18 MR. MUNDIS: I just have one question remaining pending the
19 answer, of course, of the witness.
20 Q. Sir -- sir, you told us that you weren't aware of what positions
21 held by General Praljak and General Tole, but again for purposes of
22 clarity, in 1992 when you met with them, in what armed force were they
24 A. I couldn't say that either. I don't know.
25 Q. Okay. Let me just move on to a couple of final questions that I
1 have for you, sir.
2 In the period from June through November of 1992 when you were
3 serving as the commander of the Territorial Defence in Travnik, who was
4 your chief of staff?
5 A. In that period, my chief of staff was Zijad Cabar.
6 Q. Thank you, sir.
7 MR. MUNDIS: The Prosecution has no further questions,
8 Mr. President.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The Defence, in view
10 of the questions asked on the Croatian army, would you like to ask
11 additional questions, because you have well understood that the right to
12 ask them is granted.
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, my learned friend
14 has in his cross-examination referred to a fact that I want to question
15 the witness on.
16 Re-examined by Ms. Residovic:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Please, Mr. Ribo, tell us, did you at any time
18 earlier give a statement to the OTP?
19 A. I don't know in which case, but I did.
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, first of all,
21 concerning the transcript or, rather, for the record I wish to note that
22 the OTP has, during the break, provided the Defence with a copy of this
23 witness's written statement, and having reviewed it, we notice that the
24 OTP had the obligation to disclose this statement to us earlier in keeping
25 with Rule 68. Now, Your Honours, if you would allow me to show the
1 written statement we just received to the witness to verify whether it is
2 indeed the statement that he gave and signed. It is the English version
3 bearing signatures. We also received a partial translation into B/C/S.
4 So I will only show him the statement so that he can identify his
6 Q. Is that your signature, Mr. Ribo?
7 A. I think it is.
8 Q. Thank you very much.
9 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, now in keeping with
10 Rule 89(F), since the witness has identified his signature on the
11 statement that he has given, in the interests of justice and to confirm
12 the credibility of this witness, I would like to tender this statement
13 into evidence.
14 I'm sorry. Before tendering the document, I would like to ask
15 this witness only one more question.
16 Q. Mr. Ribo, when you were giving this statement to the Prosecution,
17 did you speak truthfully as you did today of the events you were familiar
19 A. Yes, of course.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Now in keeping with Rule 89(F), I
22 would like this document to be tendered as a Defence exhibit.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. On the admission of
24 this document, do you have anything to say on the part of the Prosecution?
25 But I would like to say also that we are now faced with a statement
1 concerning a certain witness. This statement is used by the Prosecution
2 in a certain way during their examination. The Defence tells us we didn't
3 know about this statement. The Prosecution should have disclosed it to us
4 earlier. Now, the fundamental question is to find out whether the
5 Prosecution is duty-bound to disclose all its material once it has the
6 list of witnesses from the moment the Defence has disclosed its list of
7 witnesses, the Prosecution should conduct a search of all its material and
8 disclose everything that pertains to those witnesses. Obviously this is
9 not the way the Prosecution works.
10 Mr. Mundis, could you clarify the situation with this material
11 that appears sporadically, on the spot.
12 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. The Rules of Procedure and
13 Evidence, in their disclosure provisions, do not, in our respectful
14 submission, require us to provide material that our searches come up with
15 with respect to Defence witnesses unless that material, of course, falls
16 within the scope of Rule 68, in which case it should have been turned up
17 by the electronic searches done prior to trial.
18 The Prosecution is, quite frankly, at a loss to understand what in
19 this statement might constitute Rule 68 for purposes of disclosure to the
20 Defence. But leaving that point aside and perhaps my learned colleagues
21 can point me to something that is Rule 68 and which would have fallen
22 within the search terms that we use to electronically search the millions
23 of pages we have our possession to determine what it is Rule 68, perhaps
24 we can do that at a slightly later point, but the fact is, Mr. President,
25 we do our searches, as I've informed the Chamber previously, and those
1 search results quite often come shortly before, perhaps the day before the
2 witness actually testifies.
3 These -- this material quite often is contained in a binder or
4 several binders, simply because we at that point do a search on the names
5 of the witnesses. Due to the fact that we get the Defence witness list
6 shortly before the Defence began its case, it's not possible for us to
7 have these searches done on all the witnesses. We only do them with
8 respect to the witnesses coming for the next week, or we prioritise them
9 in terms of that, which is why it's been a problem as we get relatively
10 late notice as to the witnesses.
11 But there is, pursuant to our reading of the rules and the
12 jurisprudence of this Tribunal, no requirement for us to disclose those
13 search results at all to the Defence unless it falls within Rule 68. And
14 as I previously said, I -- looking at this statement now, it's not clear
15 to me that it would -- that it would have been captured by the search
16 terms that we used for purposes of Rule 68.
17 As this Chamber and the Defence are aware, given the fact that we
18 have conducted a number of so-called flip-side cases, Blaskic, Kordic and
19 Cerkez, Furundzija, et cetera, there is a huge, huge amount of material
20 concerning the conflict in Central Bosnia, and for us to disclose that in
21 its totality to the Defence would mean this trial would have to grind to a
22 stop so that they could review all of that material.
23 Our obligations are limited by Rule 68; we believe we have
24 complied with that. Now, if the Defence can point us to something in here
25 that should have fallen within the parameters of our Rule 68 obligations
1 then we can address that problem and perhaps take whatever steps need to
2 be taken, but the point of the matter or the fact of the matter is I
3 generally get these search results shortly before the witness comes. We
4 don't believe we are entitled or required to provide that to the Defence.
5 If the Chamber, however, rules otherwise, we will take whatever steps are
6 necessary, but that could result in a huge amount of information being
7 disclosed to the Defence shortly before, the day before, or perhaps even
8 the day the witness testifies. I can't predict when we actually get this
9 search material into my own hands, let alone be in a position to disclose
10 it to the Defence.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to give you the floor,
12 but there -- is there an objection to the admission of this document into
13 evidence? The Defence has asked for this document to be admitted.
14 MR. MUNDIS: Sorry, Mr. President. No, there is no objection.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A few seconds if you want to say
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, just before I do,
18 can I ask this witness one question, and then I will respond to my learned
20 Q. Mr. Ribo, regarding what you said before this Trial Chamber and
21 what you stated in the written statement, could you tell us, did HVO, in
22 1992 and 1993, dispose of forces that far outnumbered and out-powered the
23 forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole?
24 A. In view of their level of equipment and their materiel and
25 supplies, it is certainly the case that they were much better equipped
1 technically, and they were far superior to the army whose equipment,
2 especially weaponry, were extremely scarce.
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the statement that
4 we have tendered confirms precisely what the witness just said.
5 The Defence has from the outset pointed out the balance of power
6 in the context of the conflict in Bosnia, and the Prosecution has,
7 therefore, known that it had in its possession statements of officers of
8 the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina which support this theory of the
9 Defence. Therefore, Rule 68 does not relate only to the appearance of
10 Defence evidence. It obliges the Prosecution to disclose before the trial
11 such statements of officers of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina so
12 that -- so as to enable the Defence to investigate, to locate, and
13 identify those officers. Fortunately, we located this witness through our
14 own efforts and brought him to this courtroom.
15 It is, therefore, our opinion that Rule 68 can by no means be
16 linked to the lists of witnesses we supply to the Prosecution. It is
17 connected with the facts that impose certain obligations on the OTP from
18 the moment of issue of the indictment. Thank you.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have now entered a discussion
20 on Article 68.
21 Mr. Mundis, I can give you a few more seconds to reply if you
22 wish. However, I'm looking at the clock, and I am aware of the fact that
23 we have another witness waiting. Mr. Mundis, I'm not going to deprive you
24 of the time if you wish to say something.
25 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. I'm also aware of the time
1 and I'm trying to do the best I can. Let me just say one thing, though,
2 with respect to what my learned colleague has just said about the Defence
3 position and the applicability of Rule 68 to that position.
4 With all due respect, Mr. President, virtually, if not every,
5 member of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina will say exactly what this
6 witness just said with respect to the HVO having superior weaponry and
7 logistical support. The phrase that she just put to the -- or the
8 question she put to the witness and the underlying information that's
9 contained in this witness statement is by no means unique to this witness.
10 You could find any, any soldier who served in the ABiH in Central Bosnia
11 and every single one of them will tell you the same thing, that the HVO
12 had far more resources in terms of weaponry and equipment. There is
13 nothing in this statement that particularly is Rule 68 with respect to
14 this case.
15 And second of all, as the Defence knows we conduct our Rule 68
16 searches electronically, and the concept, the notion she just put to the
17 witness is not something that can be easily searched electronically in
18 terms of the concept of who was superior to whom.
19 Thank you, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The other Defence counsel, do
21 you have any questions to put which would arise from the
23 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Mr. President. We do not
24 have any questions.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Judges are going to ask you
1 a few questions, sir.
2 Questioned by the Court:
3 JUDGE SWART: Witness, I would like to put you one or two very
4 simple questions on a document in relation to what you said this morning
5 about the Muslim forces in Travnik. You told us that the Muslim forces
6 were founded in August 1992, that you were surprised to hear that, and
7 that you were also angry to -- of that fact, because that did not
8 apparently make your duties easier.
9 I have a document relating to the establishment of these forces in
10 August in Travnik, 1992, and I would like to put you some questions about
11 it, and I would like to ask the registrar to give you the original text.
12 It's a Prosecution document, P695.
13 Would you please have a look at it. You may note that on the
14 first page in the original document, and there is a date, 15th of
15 September of 1992, and at the end of the document there is a signature of
16 Emir Redzic, whose name you mentioned this morning. And the document is
17 about a list of soldiers of the Travnik Muslim forces. Please look at the
18 document before I put you a few detailed -- questions of detail on it.
19 Have you been able to look at it?
20 A. Yes, I have.
21 JUDGE SWART: Is this the same Emir Redzic you spoke about earlier
22 this morning?
23 A. He is.
24 JUDGE SWART: If I look at the first page, I have a little bit
25 uncertitude about who is sending what to whom. I suppose that Mr. Redzic
1 is sending a list of names of soldiers of the Travnik Muslim forces to the
2 Travnik armed forces staff, but since I do not know your language, I would
3 like to verify that. Is that the purpose of the letter, to send something
4 to the Travnik armed forces staff?
5 A. Yes. Yes, it is.
6 JUDGE SWART: Okay. Thank you. And my next question would be:
7 The Travnik armed forces staff, is this something different from the
8 territorial municipal organisations you spoke about this morning or is it
9 the same body or -- please explain to me whether there is a difference or
10 whether this is in fact the organisation you were the head of in 1992.
11 A. It's the same body that I headed once.
12 JUDGE SWART: Did you ever receive the document?
13 A. I may have. I'm not sure. There are many bodies within my
14 command. It could have been sent to one of those bodies. These bodies
15 were independent. Logistics people could write certain instructions,
16 orders, et cetera. Even the chief of security could do that, especially
17 the officer in charge of personnel could draft such documents, affix
18 stamps, request certain data. So this list didn't necessarily pass
19 through my hands.
20 JUDGE SWART: Thank you. Now, if you look again at the first page
21 of the original document, it's something that surprises me given the
22 comments you have made this morning on the establishment of this unit.
23 If I'm not mistaken, but please correct me if I'm mistaken, the
24 person who sends this letter or this list to the Travnik armed forces
25 staff, Mr. Redzic, is making use of the name of the army of Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina. Is that right, or do I interpret the text in an incorrect
3 A. Let me tell you, there were no rules about the cover letters, and
4 there were no rules concerning the drafting of these letters. The heading
5 is the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I don't know whether
6 this was already legalised. We still had Territorial Defence. I don't
7 know whether the army existed at the time or not. However, I can only
8 tell you that we did not have any rules as to how to word the -- the
9 covers, and every unit had its own rules. Letterheads were not uniform.
10 JUDGE SWART: But it gives the impression by using the name of the
11 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the left top side, followed by Travnik
12 Muslim forces and then a date, he gives the impression to the reader of
13 this letter that he belongs to the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or am I
15 A. They didn't belong to me. I did not make a decision to send the
16 formation. My superior command did not make a decision to establish it,
17 so they could have put anything they wanted.
18 The stamp that you see here was the same thing that was on
19 uniforms. They could have put whatever they wanted to. However, there
20 was no single enactment directed either by myself or my superior command
21 that would say that they would have been established by the territorial
22 staff or anybody else.
23 JUDGE SWART: [Previous translation continues] ... Proper way of
24 sending a letter. He had no right to refer to himself as part of the
25 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That's your answer. Okay. Thank you.
1 A. That's correct. Precisely that. I can confirm what you have just
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have one more question to put
4 to you. This morning you spoke about the first conflict that started in
5 Turbe, and you said that there were some troops on the ground, and I quote
6 you, you said that you saw the MUP, the Green Berets, the
7 Patriotic League, and volunteers from the village. What are you tell us
8 about the Green Berets? Who are they?
9 A. In -- let me -- let me put it simply. I don't know who they were.
10 They just wore green hats. They were volunteers, to my mind, and I don't
11 know anything else about them, to be honest. This Defence line was
12 attacked by the Serbians and Montenegrins, and it was defended by the
13 Croatian people together with these other people. So I really don't know.
14 I wouldn't be able to tell you. I wasn't in Bosnia at the moment when the
15 Patriotic League forces were formed and when Green Berets were
16 established. There was always a gap between us, between us in the staff
17 and the Patriotic League and the Green Berets. They claim that they are
18 the ones that organised the resistance, but I wouldn't be able to tell you
19 anything else about them.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. After the two
21 questions put to the witness by the Judges, do you have any questions to
22 clarify any matters?
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I would just like to ask the
25 Further examination by Ms. Residovic:
1 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ribo, Judge Swart has shown you this document
2 and you said that the signatory is Emir Redzic, for whom you've heard that
3 he was their commander. Do you know who the people in the letter are, and
4 did the Municipal Staff ever issue orders to them?
5 A. I don't know who these people are. I don't know who the people on
6 the list are. I never issued any orders of any sort to these people.
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. The other
8 Defence counsel.
9 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] We don't have any questions,
10 Mr. President.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecution?
12 MR. MUNDIS: No further questions.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ribo, your testimony hereby
14 finishes. We would like to thank you for having come to testify, for
15 having answered the questions put to you by the Defence, by the
16 Prosecution, and the Judges. We wish you a happy journey back home, and
17 we wish you luck in your present profession. I'm going to ask the usher
18 to accompany you out of the courtroom.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
20 [The witness withdrew]
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And while the usher is
22 accompanying the witness out of the courtroom, I'm going to give the floor
23 to the Defence and ask them to tender the eight documents that they have
24 presented today.
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we would like to
1 tender the following documents as Defence exhibits: 0410, 0440, 0446,
2 0457, 0486, 0487, 0489, and 0490. I would like to point out that document
3 number 0440 can be found within the Prosecutor's exhibit P120. This
4 exhibit is the entire of the Official Gazette. However, this document has
5 not been translated and has not been marked for identification. That's
6 why the Defence believes that this document should be also admitted as a
7 Defence exhibit under number 0440.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.
9 MR. MUNDIS: No objections.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. Mr. Registrar,
11 can you please give me eight numbers for these documents.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Mr. President. The first document is
13 going to be DH410, and the English version will be DH410/E; The
14 second -- the second document will be DH413; the third document will be
15 446, and the English translation will be 446/E; the fourth document is
16 DH457, and the English translation 457/E; the next one DH486, English
17 translation DH486/E; the next one DH487, and the English translation
18 DH487/E; the next document is DH489, and the English translation 489/E;
19 and the last document, DH490, and the English translation 490/E. And
20 finally, the witness's statement is admitted as DH343.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
22 [The witness entered court]
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you please hear me?
24 MR. DIXON: I don't know the witness was going to come in so
25 quickly. But we were going to ask as the Defence, I know time is pressing
1 but if we might have simply a five-minute break before this witness
2 starts, there's one matter we need to address with the Defence and also
3 with my learned friend from the Prosecution. I think it'll help the
4 testimony thereafter. I'm sorry to interrupt but I would be grateful for
5 five minutes.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You want a five-minute break.
7 MR. DIXON: Yes, Your Honour, that's our request before the
8 witness commences.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The witness may be seated. We
10 will just leave the courtroom for five minutes and then we will continue.
11 Is that what you desire, Mr. Dixon?
12 MR. DIXON: Yes, I would be grateful.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, you may be seated we are
14 coming back in a few minutes.
15 --- Short break taken at 1.41 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 1.46 p.m.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, can you please hear me?
18 If yes, can you say so? Can you say, I understand, I hear you and I
19 understand you?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I can hear you and I can
21 understand you.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have been called as a
23 Defence witness. Before you take the solemn declaration, I need to find
24 out your name. Can you please give us your name, your family name, and
25 can you tell us where and when you were born?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am Halim Husic. I was born on 25
2 September, 1958, in Dub near Travnik.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current profession?
4 What do you currently do?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Currently I am a history teacher in
6 the religious school in Sarajevo.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In 1992 and 1993, what is your
8 profession? If you were a military, can you please tell us what unit you
9 belonged to and what rank did you have at the time?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1992 and 1993, I joined the army
11 of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a foot soldier. Then I was appointed
12 assistant commander for moral guidance, information, propaganda, and
13 religious matter in the 306th Mountain Brigade.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Have you already
15 testified before an International Tribunal or before a national court on
16 the events that took place in 1992 and 1993 in Central Bosnia?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I have never testified.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is a new question that I
19 ask the witnesses from now on: Have you ever given a statement to the
20 Prosecution of this Tribunal? Have you ever signed a written statement
21 for them?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I have not given a written
23 statement. However, a year ago - I can't remember the exact date - a
24 gentleman whose name I cannot remember asked to talk to me. We had an
25 interview in Sarajevo, and this is all that happened.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And this gentleman belonged to
2 the Prosecutor's office? He was one of their investigators?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] His name was Michael Koehler. I
4 believe so, but I can't be sure of that.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. I'm now going
6 to ask you to read the solemn declaration.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
8 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. You may be
11 WITNESS: HALIM HUSIC
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We still have ten minutes before
14 the break that we have to make for technical reasons. We have been
15 sitting since 9.00, and after the break we will resume at 3.00. I would
16 like to make the most of these ten minutes to give you some information
17 about how your testimony is going to take place.
18 You're going to answer the questions put by the Defence counsel,
19 who are on your left. After that, you're going to be questioned by the
20 Prosecution seated on your right. Once the Prosecution is finished with
21 their cross-examination, the Defence will be given the floor for
22 re-examination. The Prosecutor may reply and put some additional
23 questions to you after that.
24 The three Judges who are seated before you can ask you questions
25 at any moment. As a rule, they prefer to wait until the end, after all
1 the questions have been put by both sides for them to ask questions.
2 However, if they need clarification immediately, if they need to fill a
3 gap, the Judges may ask you questions at any point in time.
4 The questions may be complicated. The questions may rely on your
5 memory of the events that took place over ten years ago. If you do not
6 understand a question or if you do not remember, can you please indicate
7 that? Can you ask the person who put the question to rephrase it?
8 If there are any other difficulties, do not hesitate to ask for
9 our assistance and we'll try to deal with the issue.
10 I would like to inform you of two other elements that are very
11 important and that may have an impact on your testimony. You have
12 declared that you will tell the truth and nothing but the truth, which
13 means that you are not allowed to give a false testimony. If it appears
14 that you have not told us the truth, you may be liable for false -- for
15 punishment for false testimony, and the punishment for that may be up to
16 seven years in prison.
17 The other element that is important and that may have a bearing on
18 a member of the military in 1992 or 1993 is as follows: It may happen
19 that while replying to a question, you may feel like you might incriminate
20 yourself. At this moment, I would like to tell you that your words used
21 here today ask not be used against you, because you will be given a sort
22 of immunity by this Tribunal. I'm telling you this just to encourage you
23 to tell us the whole truth.
24 And this is in very general terms how the testimony is going to
25 develop. But since we are coming to the break, I would like to ask you to
1 come back after the break. We don't want to break the rhythm of your
3 We are going to make a break of one hour for technical reasons and
4 to give the opportunity to everybody in the courtroom to have a little
5 rest and recharge their batteries for the afternoon session. So we will
6 now break and resume at 3.00.
7 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.55 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 3.03 p.m.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to the
10 Defence, I would like to say to the parties that the interpreters have let
11 me know that they cannot stay longer than 5.00. Theoretically, we
12 have -- so that the interpreters can stay no longer than 6.00. We have
13 three hours. We're going to have a 20-minute break, but I would like to
14 ask both parties to be very economical with the time, because we don't
15 want the witness to stay over the weekend. So I want both parties to
16 understand that we want to be economical with the time.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. The
18 Defence will try and respect that.
19 Examined by Ms. Residovic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Husic, good afternoon?
21 A. Good afternoon.
22 Q. I'm going to ask you to try and answer my questions as precisely
23 as possible, and if there is anything you don't understand, can you please
24 ask me to rephrase my question.
25 Tell me, please, you've already told us where and when you were
1 born. Can you now tell us, please, what schools you finished and what you
2 did before the war.
3 A. After the primary school in Dub, I went to Gazi Husrev Beg's
4 medresa in Sarajevo. That is a secondary school. And then I went on to
5 study at the religious university in Sarajevo. And then I started working
6 at the same address where I graduated from. I started teaching history,
7 and this is where I was until the moment the aggression was launched
8 against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 Q. So I would say that you are a teacher of theology, is that
10 correct, of religious education?
11 A. Yes, that is correct.
12 Q. Where were you at the beginning of April 1992? Where did you
13 reside before the war and where were you at the moment when the war
14 started at the beginning of April 1992?
15 A. Before the war I resided in Sarajevo, where I worked. And when
16 the aggression was launched against Bosnia-Herzegovina, I was away on
17 business in Umag, a little town in Croatia not far from Trieste. I stayed
18 there for 40 days and this is when the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina started,
19 and that is why I was prevented from returning. It took me over a month
20 to go back home.
21 Q. Mr. Husic, after the 40 days that you spent there, did you return
22 to Sarajevo?
23 A. I couldn't go back to Sarajevo because Sarajevo was completely
24 blocked. I got as far as Kiseljak near Sarajevo. I spent some ten days
25 there because it was not possible to -- for me to go either to Travnik or
1 to Sarajevo from there.
2 After those ten days or so, I used some channels. I was helped
3 with -- by some people. One of them was a Croat, and they helped me to
4 get to my parents' house, which was in Han Bila, a place near Travnik.
5 Q. Mr. Husic, at any point in time did you become a member of the
6 armed forces, and that is the case, what armed forces were those and when
7 did this happen?
8 A. On the 16th of May, the same day when I returned, I became a
9 member of the armed forces. That was in 1992. When I arrived in my
10 parents' house where my brothers also lived, and I hadn't seen them in
11 months before that, my brother was at school in Han Bila. He was at that
12 moment lined up, and he was supposed to go to the lines on Mount Vlasic,
13 on the lines facing Serbians and Montenegrins.
14 I made the most of that moment to say hello to him before he left.
15 I met with some of my friends there, and I stayed with them. We talked
16 about the situation in Bila. I volunteered, and five days later, I was on
17 the front line as a member of the BH army.
18 Q. Mr. Husic, what arms did you have, and what about the other
19 members of the Territorial Defence, and where did you get the weapons
21 A. At the beginning there was very few weapons. Some of those
22 weapons were obtained and purchased through -- through smugglers,
23 channels. This came from the Serbian population that had been armed by
24 the JNA. The rest of the weapons in our area was taken from the JNA depot
25 that had been burnt down by the JNA as they were leaving. While the depot
1 was still burning, people went there. Some people even lost their feet
2 and hands. They went there to collect weapons. Some of the weapons were
3 reclaimed from the burnt depot, so some of the machine-guns exploded in
4 our faces because they had been heavily burned. And there was also some
5 handmade weapons. For example hand grenades were made of cans that were
6 used for Coca-Cola and beer.
7 Q. In 1992, at any point in time from Han Bila or from the defence
8 positions that you were sent to, did you go to Travnik, and did you get
9 acquainted with the initiative on the establishment of other forces which
10 were not Territorial Defence?
11 A. After my return to the area where I was born, after having spent a
12 lot of time on Vlasic, when I returned home, I wanted to obtain a uniform
13 because my clothes were not suitable. At that time, there was very little
14 by way of uniforms. I went there to purchase a uniform. I met a lot of
15 friends of mine and my acquaintances that I knew from before, and we were
16 talking about the establishment of some other forces because -- there was
17 a lot of talk about the establishment of some groups that called
18 themselves the MOS, the Muslim Liberation Forces. However, when I saw
19 that these groups were made up of very young people, people who very often
20 or at least some of them were my former students, some of them had
21 graduated only that year, which means that they had not been trained as
23 When I spoke to my friends and my acquaintances, I would tell them
24 that this was not a good situation, that I am not very sure, but
25 their -- that their willingness to fight should be put to a bad use and
1 that whatever we wanted to do we should do within the scope of the
2 organisation that already existed in Travnik municipality, and that these
3 young boys should take part in the fighting by joining those units.
4 Q. Mr. Husic, what did your acquaintances and friends mention as
5 their reasons for which they wanted to establish those so-called Muslim
7 A. Before that, in their -- in that area there were units that were
8 called HOS. Because of the fact that in Bosnia everything functions
9 proportionally, the Croatian forces initiated the establishment of the
10 Muslim forces. And similar things happened with other things like
11 insignia, the hanging flags on buildings, certain emblems and symbols that
12 were worn on uniforms. This was all based on the so-called principle of
13 proportionality, and a lot of units were formed in that way.
14 Q. Were you offered at that time to join the initiators of this, and
15 what was your training?
16 A. Some of these people invited me to join them, and that's why they
17 mentioned the initiative in the first place. However, we disagreed on the
18 basic concept, because my view was that these young people isolated into
19 separate units would probably be killed very quickly. And some of them,
20 as I said, were my students. And as their former teacher, I could not
21 agree to such an offer, and that's why I returned to the
22 Territorial Defence.
23 This decision of mine bothered my parents, for example, because
24 the experiences in Central Bosnia with -- with the Second World War and
25 the participation of Muslim population in the Second World War were not
1 positive, and it was expected, yet once again, that the Territorial
2 Defence, which would later on become the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
3 would become something that Partisans were in the Second World War.
4 Q. Thank you very much for your very extensive answer. Mr. Husic,
5 can you now please tell us did you at any point in time in 1992 met or
6 see -- meet or see some foreigners that had arrived in Travnik? If that
7 is the case, can you tell us what foreigners were those, and especially
8 can you tell us whether you had some encounters with foreigners from
9 Arabic or northern African states?
10 A. At that time, Travnik was swamped with foreigners for a simple
11 reason: A lot of refugees came to Travnik from all other the place, so
12 among those foreigners there were members of the UNPROFOR, European
13 Monitors, journalists of all nationalities. But I spent a lot of time on
14 Mount Vlasic. However, there was a small group of people of Arabic
15 origin, and you could actually tell who they were by the clothes they
16 wore. They were later on located in at a place called Mehuric. We use to
17 call and refer to them as Arabs, and later on they would become known as
18 the Mujahedin.
19 Q. Mr. Husic, you have just told us that all that time you were on
20 the defence lines on Mount Vlasic. When and where was it that you first
21 saw such individuals, the individuals that you referred to as Arabs? Did
22 you and where did you see these persons?
23 A. The first time I saw them was in Mehurici where the principal of
24 the primary school was a cousin of mine, Muradif Husic. When he was given
25 the task to accommodate Arabs, and there was also the command of the
1 detachment there, he called me, hoping that I would help him interpret
2 into -- into the Arabic, and he wanted my help. However, when I arrived,
3 I couldn't communicate with these people. A dozen of them were then
4 accommodated in the school in Mehurici, and from then onwards when I
5 occasionally arrived in Mehurici where I had to go quite often, I could
6 see that a number of them still worked and lived in that place.
7 Q. Mr. Husic, can you please tell the Honourable Chamber what these
8 people looked like? How did they differ from other foreigners who arrived
9 in your area? And also, you as an imam, as a theologist, as a religious
10 official, what did you in 1992 know about these so-called Arabs or
12 A. My education took me to the Arabic world on several occasions, and
13 I was well acquainted with the Arabic people, the way they were dressed
14 and they spoke, and they looked like. I knew much more than the villagers
15 of Mehurici or any other locals.
16 As far as their arrival and accommodation in Mehurici is concerned
17 and which was very certain is that they delivered a lot of aid,
18 particularly food, because already at that time a lot of people were on
19 the verge of starvation because of the lack of food.
20 The second part or other Arabs were engaged in education, and in
21 almost all the villages around Mehurici they opened schools. I was also
22 offered to work in one of those schools together with my wife who had been
23 trained in the same way as myself. However, our condition was that this
24 education should use Bosnian textbooks. They didn't accept this, so we
25 refused to be engaged.
1 The third segment of that group was engaged in the organisation
2 and -- of the delivery of weapons and military uniforms. And later on
3 they started training other people, because the population of that area,
4 because of the assistance that had been extended to them and the trust
5 that they gained in these people, started sending their children to those
6 schools and later on for training that was occasionally organised. It was
7 military training.
8 Q. Mr. Husic, you have just told us that they offered you to join
9 them. What did they offer you in more specific terms?
10 A. They asked both my wife and myself to work in their schools that
11 they opened. We refused to do that. Later on as a member of the
12 306th Mountain Brigade, in a conversation with them, I was again offered,
13 although our salary in the Bosnian army was 4 convertible marks a month, I
14 was offered 2.000 German marks to join them, to join their ranks. Again I
15 turned the offer down. And this was one of my last conversations with
16 them, because again I was not very happy with their behaviour, and I did
17 not agree with the way they acted in the Bila valley. I told them that.
18 And because of that, our contacts became few and far between.
19 Q. Let me just go back to one part of the answer that you have just
20 given us. You told us that they provided assistance and later on that
21 they even distributed weapons. Who did they provide assistance to? Who
22 did they give money to? Who was it that they invited for these training
23 exercises in their camp?
24 A. Like any other humanitarian organisations, Arabic organisations
25 also delivered assistance to people personally. They didn't go through
1 the official channels. To a large extent, they were engaged on the
2 delivery of food to the entire population of the area, especially to those
3 who were in very dire straits. As far as the military equipment and weapons
4 are concerned, since the military equipment and weapons were smuggled all
5 over the place, you could obtain weapons everywhere at very high prices.
6 They used some people as mediators to obtain weapons, and the training that
7 they organised involved volunteers who volunteered to stay with them and
8 undergo such training.
9 Q. Mr. Husic, did you at any point in time take over a certain duty
10 or position in any of the units of the BiH army? If that is the case, can
11 you please tell us what position it was and when you took it?
12 A. Having spent some time in Ljuta Bila, when the 306th Mountain
13 Brigade was established I became assistant commander for moral guidance
14 and religious affairs in the 306th Mountain Brigade. From then on, from
15 the month of November 1992 up to November 1993, I performed those duties
16 and tasks. Up to the end of November 1993.
17 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Husic, what was the area from which the
18 troops were recruited into the units of the 306th Brigade?
19 A. People for the 306th Brigade were recruited from the area of the
20 Bila valley. This is what we called this part of the Travnik
21 municipality. That was the order at the beginning, which came from the
22 3rd Corps. We were ordered to establish the 306th mountain brigade from
23 the forces that had already existed in the Bila valley. Those were the
24 1st Detachment, which was deployed in the Mehurici school, the so-called
25 Siprage Detachment;then the Ljuta Greda Detachment and the Han Bila
1 Detachment and a detachment which later on became the 2nd Battalion in the
2 area of Krpeljic.
3 Its name was the LG Detachment.
4 However, at the time when this order was supposed to be executed,
5 some problems arose. Certain individuals, for personal or some other
6 reasons, did not want to be recruited in that way. They did not want
7 to -- the brigade to be established in that way. Some other individuals
8 who also were active in the valley managed to have some of the population
9 which was from Gluha Bukovica, Zagrdje, and Skomorje, joined the
10 314th Brigade that was headquartered in Zenica.
11 The departure of some of the population that should have been
12 recruited for the 306th Mountain Brigade caused a certain reaction against
13 other units. So despite the order and the deadline for establishment of
14 the 306th brigade, we had this brigade on paper only for months, and it
15 was very difficult to establish it.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, can I please show the
17 witness a binder of documents that I will be using in the rest of my
19 Q. Mr. Husic, can you please look at this document under number 1 in
20 the first part of this binder. Mr. Husic, in December 1992, did you know
21 about this request? Were you aware of it? Does it reflect the things
22 that you have just testified about?
23 A. I was aware of this request. Because of the problems that I've
24 mentioned, I visited every village. I talked to the members of these
25 detachments and the request forwarded by the Mehurici squadron to the
1 corps was their reaction in disagreement to the things that were being
3 Q. Thank you very much. A little while ago, you told us that that
4 the 306th Brigade should have been replenished from the Bila valley but
5 some of the population joined the 314th Brigade and other brigades. Tell
6 me, please, this fact that more than one brigades were replenished from
7 one area and their commands were not in the area but in some other areas,
8 did this fact cause certain problems for the 306th Brigade? Did this
9 cause some confusion, impossibility to identify people, and similar
11 A. Yes. The fact that some of the population that resided and/or
12 originated from the Bila valley joint other units, particularly units whose
13 commands were not in the vicinity, were not within an easy reach, enabled
14 a number of prospective conscripts to evade military service. Their excuse
15 would be that they belonged to another unit, and that's how for months
16 they managed to avoid any engagement. All that time, they behaved in a
17 way which the rest of the population found revolting.
18 In addition to that, the movement of these groups in the -- in the
19 area where we resided caused problems among the Muslim population. But
20 also when the checkpoints were put up by the HVO every time that they
21 moved to and from the Bila valley there were incidents. On the other
22 hand, in our area there were a lot of refugees, some of whom --
23 Q. Mr. Husic, can you please slow down so that the interpreters could
24 follow you. Thank you.
25 A. Some of the combatants who had previously been in the units where
1 they lived after they had been expelled arrived together with their
2 families in the Bila river valley, and that is how a large number of armed
3 population who moved around this entire area was outside of any control,
4 in particular, at the time when HVO would mount a blockade, because all
5 three potential exits from the valley, from as early as New Year's, I'm
6 referring to New Year's 1993, HVO held under their control all of these
7 access routes, and every passage had to be announced in advance with all
8 the details in terms of number of armed individuals and so on and so
9 forth. We, who held the line against Serbs and Montenegrins, we knew
10 about their cooperation, and the fact that our men would be in advance
11 counted together with the weapons was a significant problem for us.
12 Q. Let me go back to the problem concerning the individuals who
13 appeared from time to time in your area but were not members of your
14 brigade. The 306th Brigade and its organs, could it establish with any
15 amount of certainty who these individuals who were moving around the area
16 were, and did you encounter identification and investigation related
17 problems, and were there also cases of false identification?
18 A. Those were very common problems for the 306th. Very often, we
19 would wrongly establish the identity of certain individuals. We would
20 inform the command of the corps thereon, and after the investigation, we
21 would learn, for instance, that the members whom we had considered to be
22 members of the 7th Muslim Brigade were not members of that brigade, as was
23 the case with many other individuals because of the fact that the
24 7th Muslim Brigade had been replenished from a very wide area and their
25 headquarters were not in our vicinity, so we were not able to check.
1 Those individuals would introduce themselves of that unit where in actual
2 point of fact they were members of some other units, and many of them were
3 not members of any unit at all.
4 Q. In light of that very difficult problem, were any measures taken
5 at any point in time in 1993 in order to carry out adequate identification
6 of combatants and establish whether they were actually members of armija?
7 A. Since the negotiations with the HVO took place, we tried to
8 convince them that with the help of the corps, we were able to establish
9 control over the movements of our members but also the movement of any
10 other armed individuals. Very often, long-barrelled weapons, we insisted
11 that they be on the line, on the front line, which was rarely -- which
12 sometimes was not accepted.
13 We also had the problem with identification of uniforms and the
14 insignia. The insignia were simply not enough for the purposes of
16 So it was on the basis of both weapons and insignia that we did
17 this work. But this was all manipulated, because the uniform was worn by
18 a number of civilians as well who were not members of any other unit. And
19 we also had a large number of combatants who did not have uniform, and
20 that is how it was not -- and that is why it was not possible for us to
21 conduct identification.
22 We insisted on this further, and we wanted to have adequate
23 military cards to be created. But because of the problems with
24 communication, we were very limited, and this all took very, very long.
25 Q. Thank you. In order not to discuss other problems that the
1 brigade was facing at the time, tell me simply what was the communication
2 of your brigade with subordinate and superior commands?
3 A. Unfortunately, due to the configuration of the terrain of
4 Central Bosnia, the altitude of Vlasic is over 1.900 metres, our defence
5 line on the mount Vlasic were located at the average altitude of 1.500
6 metres, and Vlasic is infamous for its climate. Bad weather is often the
7 problem, even in the summer, let alone in the winter.
8 Our units were replenished from about 30 inhabited places, and the
9 communication was intersected by HVO units who were able to control the
10 system of communication and the movement at any point in time.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Page 94, line 10. The witness
12 indicated that the problem with the identification also was taking
13 photographs and not communication. So I would like to -- this to be
14 corrected, please.
15 Q. I believe you have answered also this part of the question.
16 You -- in terms of communication, it was the configuration of the terrain
17 that made the communication difficult.
18 A. The communication lines were often severed, but what is from a
19 military point of view a particular problem is the fact that our
20 communication lines were completely covered at all times. It was possible
21 to listen to our communication for them at all times, and we knew that.
22 Q. Thank you very much. The Chamber is aware of the fact that
23 Sarajevo was encircled, that it was under siege. And in light of what you
24 have said so far, I should like to know whether you had any direct
25 communication with the staff of the Supreme Command or the Presidency of
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.
2 A. Of course not. Very often we didn't have any communication at all
3 with Travnik and Zenica let alone with Sarajevo.
4 Q. Thank you very much. Let us please go back to the issue of
5 foreigners whom you encountered in 1992 in the school that you mentioned.
6 Tell us, please, as a member of the command of the 306th, do you know
7 where these foreigners are now? Are you aware of their current
8 whereabouts, and can you tell us whether they are creating problems for
9 your brigade?
10 A. I'm not. I don't understand your question. Are you referring to
11 the present time or --
12 Q. No, no. I'm referring to 1993 because you said in 1992 your
13 cousin called you and it was at that time that they went to the upper
14 floor on that school. After the brigade was established, did you know
15 where those foreigners were, the Mujahedin or the Arabs, whatever you call
16 them. And did their presence create problems for your brigade?
17 A. I was confused with the word "now." So after the 306th Brigade
18 was established, one of their battalions, the 1st Battalion, was billeted
19 in the elementary school in Mehurici. They were very arrogant. Their
20 behaviour was arrogant. Those were young men who had been expelled from
21 their villages. They didn't know what the situation was with their
22 families. They had seen terrible things happen to their families. There
23 were still large quantities of alcohol going around in the area. They
24 created problems very often, and that's why these Arabs moved out of the
25 school and took up quarters in abandoned houses in the village of
1 Poljanice in the immediate vicinity of Mehurici.
2 Q. You testified a moment ago that they approached the local
3 population in various ways and gained their favour. Tell us, please, is
4 there anything that you would like to add and that you consider to be
5 important, to have been important for you as a member of the command, in
6 connection with the fact that these individuals had certain influence and
7 exerted certain influence on the local population in the area where your
8 brigade was located?
9 A. The situation in Bosnia at that time was very difficult. The
10 population was on the brink, and any form of aid or assistance was more
11 than welcome. People waited for a very long time for the international
12 community to recognise what the real situation in Bosnia was and to put a
13 stop to a situation which was amounting to a genocide. When this did not
14 happen, the attitude towards those who provided this type of assistance
15 was getting more positive. And that is how the population became attached
16 to these people. After all, these people were bringing food to the area.
17 They were educating their children in cooperation with our people. So
18 there was this link with the local population which for us as members of
19 the brigade who were not able to provide any help not only to the civilian
20 population but also to the members of the 306th, this brought us in a very
21 difficult situation, and that is why we had all these problems.
22 Q. Their way of life, their religious education, and the fact that
23 they were actually taking your youth who were supposed to join the
24 Territorial Defence, was that something that led to conflicts amongst the
25 population, amongst the local residents themselves?
1 A. As far as the strength of the 306th Brigade is concerned, we had a
2 lot of problems. And even if we would have had three times as many
3 people, it would have been difficult to accomplish all the tasks. Part of
4 the population because of the age groups, because of the age of the people
5 who were members of the 306th, made it very difficult for them to
6 withstand the situation, and that's why it was difficult for us to
7 replenish all these units, and this is why we experienced these problems.
8 Q. You have heard the request of our interpreters, so I kindly ask
9 you to speak slowly, please.
10 Witness, you are an imam, a theologist. Tell us, please, as far
11 as the religious community is concerned, the religious community of the
12 area, were there any problems because of the way the religion was
13 practised, the problems which also affected your brigade?
14 A. Islam has been present in Bosnia from the 15th century. The way
15 of practice, the Bosnian way, was something our population has been used
16 to for very long. So certain novelties which were being introduced by
17 these foreigners created a lot of confusion and a lot of problems. And
18 then the official organs of the Islamic Community often reacted because
19 this conduct was disturbing, was a disruption in a long-established way of
20 practising religion.
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Husic. I believe I have finished this.
22 Were there any other military formations deployed in the area? So
23 will you please first tell me, were there any such formations there, and
24 if so, which ones?
25 A. It is difficult to enumerate all the formations who were there or
1 who were in contact with our area. Ever from the beginning of the armed
2 resistance in the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the units that were
3 created, most of them were just self-armed units from the local area.
4 They had various names, and they would later on constitute the basis from
5 which the staff of the Territorial Defence would later on replenish and
6 establish units which were then officially formed by the relevant
8 Moreover, the individuals who had been previously engaged in
9 weapons smuggling and were now smuggling food and obviously had money
10 would, from time to time, obtain weapons, equip certain groups, and thus
11 create units.
12 Q. Tell us, please, we discussed this, I think, a moment ago. I
13 would like to know now whether there were any other organised military
14 forces in the area, and I think I can ask directly.
15 A. In addition to the HOS, from the New Year's of 1993 in all of the
16 areas inhabited by the Croat population and acting pursuant to an order
17 issued at the time, home guard units, HVO home guard village units were
18 being established. In April they all joined one single brigade. The
19 Frankopan HVO Brigade whose seat was in Guca Gora. And that is how the
20 Bila river valley actually consisted of two HVO brigades. One part was
21 under the Zenica HVO Brigade, and the other part under the Frankopan HVO
22 Brigade which was headquartered in Guca Gora, which further complicated
23 the situation that I talked about a moment ago.
24 Q. Mr. Husic, tell us, please, how and in what way it was possible to
25 get out of the Bila river valley, and did a problem arise at one point in
1 time, a problem concerning the communication of people, of population and
2 the military with other parts of the state.
3 A. The Bila river valley is a dead-end street in Bosnia, in
4 Central Bosnia. The three roads leading to Travnik and Zenica from the
5 Bila river valley, from January 1993, were continuously under blockade and
6 under the control of the HVO. In some situations, it was possible to pass
7 through with prior notice and authorisation. However, these passages
8 often involved humiliation, harassment and mistreatment, and that is why
9 people hesitated to go through. There were even cases of women giving
10 birth at those passages because they wouldn't be allowed passage.
11 As for the military, every passage had to be announced in advance
12 with detailed description of manpower, equipment, weapons, and so on and
13 so forth.
14 Q. In this set of documents, I would like you to have a look at
15 document number 6 and also document number 7 from this first batch. And
16 in the second part, you have references at the end, at the bottom,
17 documents 1, 2, and 3 from the second -- from the second batch. And I
18 will have some questions in relation to that.
19 Document number 6 is Defence number 1010, number 7 is Defence
20 document 1043.
21 A. Yes, I have found all these documents.
22 Q. Sir, let's have a look at the document of the 14th of May. It's a
23 document emanating from the 3rd Corps, and it talks about an event which
24 concerns the command of the 306th. Are you familiar with this event?
25 A. Yes. I was one of the captives here, one of the members of the
1 command who were taken prisoner on this occasion. I think I indicated a
2 moment ago that in addition to regular checkpoints and the complete
3 blockade of the Bila river valley, there were also unofficial irregular
4 checkpoints, because armed groups entered the area we moved around, laid
5 ambushes, and engaged in mistreatment, plunder, and various forms of
6 harassment not only against soldiers but against civilians as well.
7 This document concerns the incident where a large number of people
8 from the command of 306th Brigade were taken prisoner. They were
9 ambushed, taken prisoner on a road that we were mistreated. Our van and
10 our lorry were requisitioned. They also took everything, all the
11 equipment that was of any value that we had. Although we didn't have any
12 uniforms, they even took civilian clothes from some of us. So -- and the
13 event took place only one kilometre and a half from the house where
14 I -- where I live and where my family, my children, and my parents lived
15 at the time.
16 Q. Mr. Husic, would you please have a look at document number 7.
17 Tell us, please, if you can skip -- skim through this document, whether
18 you witnessed the events described in this document. Did you know in 1993
19 that these events had taken place in the way described here?
20 A. This is a report of the 306th Mountain Brigade on the events that
21 had taken place in our area of responsibility. You have a list of events
22 that I am -- that I've been talking about here.
23 From New Year's 1993, not a day passed without an incident. The
24 situation got exacerbated from the 10th of April. The 10th of April is
25 the day of NDH, the Independent State of Croatia. And from there, from
1 that date, until the final showdown between the HVO and the BH army, as I
2 said, not a single day passed without an incident, without a wounded
3 person or without a fatality.
4 Q. I think the document speaks enough for itself, and I can only
5 thank you that you can confirm that you can bear witness to the events
6 that took place.
7 Now I have to apologise but the Trial Chamber appealed to us to
8 use the time as efficiently as possible, so I have to ask you to move to
9 the exhibits in the second part, Exhibits number 1, 2, and 3.
10 Tell us, please, do you recognise these documents as well?
11 They're actually three documents. Do you recognise the events described
12 in these documents as the events that took place in 1993 and the events
13 that you were aware of in 1993? This is the document -- the documents
14 listed after the title "Exhibit."
15 A. Yes. These documents refer to regrouping of forces, and the
16 document under number 3 talks about the same event in connection with this
17 command, and we have a list of items that were requisitions.
18 Q. Thank you very much. Mr. Husic, I would like to discuss the
19 events which took place in late May, early June. Tell us, in connection
20 to that, where you were on the 1st of June, 1993.
21 A. The events which took place between the 1st and the 8th cannot be
22 separated in that way, because intensive fighting had been going on for
23 some time. However, on the 1st of June, after the negotiations in
24 Guca Gora had fallen through, the conflict intensified, and part of the
25 command of the 306th, the commander, assistant commander for moral
1 guidance, assistant commander for finance, who were later joined by the
2 chief of staff who had been brought from Travnik by UNPROFOR, we found
3 ourselves in a complete blockade and cut off from the rest of the world in
4 the village of Guca Gora.
5 Q. Which part of Guca Gora?
6 A. The village of Krpeljici. We were there in a house conducting
7 negotiations, but the actual blockade was in the village of Krpeljici near
8 Guca Gora.
9 Q. Who was with you in Krpeljici who from the command?
10 A. Mr. Sipic, the commander, Mr. Siljak, chief of staff, assistant
11 for financial affairs, Mr. Mujo Husanovic and myself. The seat of the
12 2nd Battalion was also located in this village, and therefore the
13 commander of the 2nd Battalion was also present when the area was blocked,
14 as was the case with a dozen other villages in the area.
15 Q. That was the first news that reached you on the events taking
16 place in your area?
17 A. Since some of the villages had been under a blockade for over a
18 month, Radojcici, Ricice, Velika Bukovica, when this new wave of violence
19 occurred, all ten villages at this part of the Bila river valley where
20 Bosnian and Croat population was mixed were encircled and blocked, and it
21 was impossible for these villages to have any form of communication, and
22 the blockade in some of the villages such as Radojcici, Ricice and
23 Bukovica had been going on for over a month. It was not possible to do
24 any form of agricultural work. It was not possible for the population to
25 leave their houses. The movement was not possible. And for the past ten
1 days, some of the villages were also being shelled. And the intensity of
2 the conflict was increasing by the day, and Krpeljici also came under
3 heavy shelling from the area --
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter missed the name of the area.
5 A. Shelled from rocket launchers.
6 Q. Did you receive news at any point in time about the attacks of the
7 HVO? In which area, and with what consequences?
8 A. The blockade of the part of the command in Krpeljici meant the
9 beginning of a new wave of very violent fighting, which included, apart
10 from shelling and sniping, machine-gun fire which was opened on all of
11 these villages, including Krpeljici where we were. However, the most
12 intensive fighting took place in the village of Velika Bukovica where the
13 local population who were defending themselves against ten times stronger
14 HVO forces, there was a large number of fatalities and casualties, and the
15 population kept asking us, the command, for help. It was not possible to
16 provide them with any assistance. They were running out of ammunition,
17 and their fate was uncertain.
18 As for Ricice, their population fled towards Han Bila. Request
19 for help with an emphasis on food and not ammunition came from the village
20 of Radojcici.
21 Q. Can you tell us, please, what is your personal knowledge of what
22 was happening on the 8th of June?
23 A. On the 8th of June, at one moment the whole Bila valley, one can
24 say, was aflame. The shooting that one could hear from all other the
25 place and from time to time became more intense. And on that particular
1 day, it was very intense. We didn't know what was going on. And like on
2 the previous days, we cried for help. We sent requests for help to the
3 3rd Corps, but we did not receive any reply. And as a matter of fact, the
4 only thing we could do was to instruct every village to defend themselves
5 with what little strength they have. After that, we received information
6 that our forces, which we kept in reserve because of the intense
7 cooperation between the Serbians and Montenegrins and the HVO which
8 started at that day, around that time, warned us that an attack could come
9 from Mount Vlasic which we could not be able to repel or sustain,
10 because we did not have ammunition.
11 As a result of that, these forces which from the area of Mehurici
12 via Konska [phoen], which is in the direction of Mount Vlasic, started
13 moving and linked up with the 2nd Battalion, and that meant that Velika
14 Bukovica, that the blockade was lifted from Velika Bukovica.
15 Q. Mr. Husic, where were you, on which combat axis? Actually, did
16 you join the combat activities? Did you engage in combat, and what axis
17 did you move on in the next following days?
18 A. These forces that I have just mentioned, they linked up with the
19 2nd Battalion from Krpeljici, and after that happened, in front of us was
20 Guca Gora from which there was an intense fire being opened on Krpeljici
21 and other places. This was the seat of the Frankopan Brigade. The
22 shelling lasted four days before that. So our next target was Guca Gora.
23 However, it turned out that the population had fled Guca Gora during the
24 previous night so our forces were able to enter Guca Gora without any
25 problems. But what happened next was because of the combat activities
1 that were taking place on the other side, we were left without any
2 ammunition. On the other side from the direction of Zenica, Selo, Cukle
3 sent us dramatic warnings that two-thirds of the village had already
4 fallen, that they had a lot of wounded and dead, that they had very little
5 supplies, and that we could expect any time that the village of Cukle
6 fall completely. However, since we had established a line below Guca
7 Gora, the village of Radojcici which is immediately below Guca Gora was
8 still completely blocked, and there was a fierce fight taking place for
9 this village.
10 When the Croatian forces were pushed and when the village of
11 Radojcici was deblocked, we tried to establish a defence line. However,
12 it turned out that the quantity of ammunition that we had at our disposal
13 was only ten bullets per one fighter. So with a huge effort and against
14 all odds, we finally managed to establish that line.
15 Q. Mr. Husic, when did you, as a member of the command,
16 meet with the part of the command after these combat
18 A. For days there were 24-hour operations. We had been broken up as
19 a command, and we were split amongst various villages. And although we
20 didn't see each other very frequently, we did not have any communication.
21 The command post in Rudnik, in the meantime, on the 2nd of May, was
22 shelled, and the only vehicle that we had -- that we had at our disposal
23 had been destroyed, and any form of communication was totally disrupted.
24 For the first time that we met but only half of the command on the 12th of
25 June, 1993, and it was then that we got some informal information about
1 the possible consequences of the combat activities and the
2 developments that took place in Maline, Bikosi
3 and the adjacent area….
4 Q. Let me ask you about some other events. I'm going to go back to
5 Maline. Tell me, are you familiar with what happened in the Croatian part
6 of the village of Miletici towards the end of April 1993?
7 A. Yes. At that time, we had problems as the brigade command with
8 the movement across our area of responsibility. This happened immediately
9 after the part of the command had been taken prisoner.
10 We learned that in Mehurici after the wounding of an Arab, a group
11 of Arabs from Mehurici started moving towards the village of Miletici and
12 they captured some of the population. This was our initial information.
13 However, among the captives there was the father and the uncle of one of
14 the members of the command, who was a member of the command at the time.
15 This person went up there, and later on we learned what had exactly
16 happened. We learned what the general public knows today about these
17 events that took place in Miletici.
18 Q. Can you please look at document number 4 and document number 5.
19 Mr. Husic, this document, number 0915, is a document which originates from
20 the Bosanska Krajina OG. Under item 2, does this document reflect your
21 information, the information that you had at the time about the incident
22 that took place in the village of Miletici?
23 A. It does reflect that. This is a very succinct document. The --
24 the incident itself involved the Muslims and the Croats that were in
25 Miletici at the time. Both these populations were captured. However,
1 our -- after our intervention -- intervention, they were accommodated in
2 Muslim houses.
3 Q. Can you please look at document number 5, a document which
4 originated from the HVO.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Does this document describe the same incident?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. The HVO document in this specific case, does it mention the
9 persons who entered the village of Miletici exactly in the same way you
10 were aware of the events according to the information that you received
11 about those events?
12 A. In this document, in the last sentence, it says: "There is
13 knowledge that the ABiH forces are securing the village because the
14 Mujahedin and -- various knowledge that ABiH forces are securing the
15 village because allegedly the Mujahedin and Muslim extremists intended to
16 burn all the houses and property in the villages." This is what it says
17 in this HVO document. However, this does not reflect the truth, because
18 nobody intended to burn anything, because very soon the Muslim population
19 protected the other villagers themselves, even before the ABiH forces
20 started protecting them.
21 Q. And finally, who is -- who created this event in Maline? What did
22 your final -- what was the final result of your investigation? Were there
23 any members of the 306th Brigade or BH army members amongst the
25 A. This is a document that's about Miletici and you asked me about
2 Q. I apologise. I'm asking you about Miletici.
3 A. The perpetrators of the -- this incident were exclusively
5 Q. And now, Mr. Husic, can you please tell us about your knowledge
6 with regard to what happened in Maline. In other words, when did you
7 learn about these events and what did you learn about these events?
8 A. My first information about the incidents on Bikose in Maline, I
9 arrived on the 12th of June at a time when one part of the command met.
10 However, the information I received at the time was that a large number of
11 Croatian fighters were killed in the area of Bikose. At that time, the
12 figures mentioned differed hugely. There were 10, 20, and even 30 persons
13 mentioned. So the information was not confirmed, and we only had the
14 complete information after the investigation that was carried out by the
15 security organs at the time when there was already a cease-fire in place,
16 and this was on the 14th of June.
17 Q. So what did you learn at the time? What was the result of the
18 investigation? Who were the perpetrators of these acts?
19 A. Unfortunately, we learned from the population, which we moved out
20 from the area of responsibility in order to protect them, we knew from
21 previous experiences that it was very difficult to secure the civilian
22 population, and therefore, the members of our units took some of the
23 people to Mehurici in order to protect them there. This is where the seat
24 of one of the battalions was, and this is where they would have been
1 However, there were very few military policemen who were in charge
2 of that task. They were intercepted by a group and by force, at gunpoint
3 with the barrels of their rifles in the policemen's mouth, they took some
4 of the Croatian population from that group. They took these people in and
5 you known direction. It turned out that they took them from pole notes a
6 to Maline. And at one point in time there was an incident. An incident
7 took place. There was crying and yelling and fire was opened, and that's
8 how these people were killed by the perpetrators still unknown to us.
9 Their identity is still unknown.
10 Q. So this is your information, but I'm asking you --
11 A. These men were not able to identify the persons who had
12 took -- taken these people away from them. They couldn't recognise them.
13 They couldn't identify them.
14 Q. After the investigation what did they tell you? Were they
15 foreigners or were they some other people?
16 A. According to all the investigations and information, it seems that
17 they were foreigners. However, in some reports it says that some of them
18 were masked. And when masked persons are mentioned, then there is a doubt
19 that these people were hiding behind their masks. We could not establish
20 there was a single member of our unit amongst them or a member of the army
21 to the -- for that matter, although some of the reports mentioned an
22 interpreter. Later on when UNPROFOR investigated the incident, they
23 established that they had a Bosniak or a Muslim among them who served as
24 an interpreter.
25 Q. In line 16, page 102, it says that they were taken to Maline, and
1 I believe that the witness said from Poljanice towards Bikose. Did I
2 understand you correctly?
3 A. I told -- I said that they were take from the direction of
4 Poljanice towards Maline and the incident took place in Bikose which is
5 midway between Maline and Poljanice.
6 Q. Thank you. And now just a few more questions. You have told us
7 that members of the military police, a few members of the military police,
8 in order to provide security for the population from Maline brought these
9 people to Mehurici. Can you please tell us whether you know where these
10 people were accommodated? How were they treated? Who looked after them?
11 And whether you were in any way involved and whether you monitored their
13 A. Yes, of course. At the time when this was happening, I was
14 engaged in combat activity. However, in the evening, I found out that a
15 number of persons were accommodated in the primary school in Mehurici.
16 Two persons who were members of the body for moral guidance whom I
17 was -- to whom I was the immediate superior, who were in charge of the
18 social and status affairs of the fighters, they informed me about that,
19 and they were ordered to continue coordinating all the activities between
20 the civilian protection and members of the 306th Mountain Brigade which
21 needed to be undertaken in order to protect the population.
22 these activities were supposed to be taken to –
23 From then on, throughout their stay in that school, they were in
24 charge to look after them, and they kept very meticulous record of their
25 needs, requests, food, and everything else that was necessary. And all
1 this time I was engaged in very intense combat activities that were taking
2 place at the time up until the 14th. And after that, after the 14th, a
3 special problem in the Bila valley was the destiny of the captured
4 civilians from the village of Velika Bukovica who had been taken in an
5 unknown direction. Their sons put a lot of pressure in order for these
6 people to be located and returned to the area from which they had been
7 taken. I was mostly engaged in the rescue operation.
8 Q. In addition to what you thought was necessary and in addition to
9 you being aware of the fact that the army took these people to Mehurici in
10 order to protect them, do you know how these people felt? Did they
11 themselves ask for protection? Did you have any information about that?
12 A. Some of them asked not to be left in the village because they were
13 afraid. We know what was -- what the war was like in Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina, and. Every time after the combat activities, groups and
15 individuals who were unruly and could not be placed under any control, and
16 especially in the situation when the population was hungry, on the brink
17 of starvation when there was a well known fact that there was a lot of
18 food in Croatian villages, if civilians were to stay in such villages and
19 disturb such groups in their rampage would put such civilians in jeopardy.
20 That's why they asked for protection.
21 Q. Thank you very much. And finally, I would like to ask you whether
22 you received any information for -- from your subordinates about bad
23 treatment of these civilians. Did you receive any such information from
24 an international organisation?
25 A. No, to the contrary. When they were leaving Mehurici, I came to
1 Mehurici and since I knew some of them as my former colleagues from
2 school, they thanked me for the care and the kindness extended to them
3 because they were aware of the fact that they had a much better treatment,
4 a lot more food than we ourselves had who were members of the BiH army.
5 Q. Did they have the means to go back to their villages, and did they
6 have a free choice to join the international organisations and go back?
7 A. At that time they did have a choice, however they decided what
8 they decided. Their decisions were communicated. For example, they at
9 one point in time asked from us protection to go back to their homes, to
10 take certain valuables from their homes. We were not in a position to
11 provide that protection because we had a very dire situation on the
12 defence line. However, whatever request they made, we honoured those
13 requests. One of those requests was for them to leave the area. They
14 were escorted by UNPROFOR and went to Nova Bila.
15 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Mr. Husic.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions,
17 Mr. President.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The other Defence counsel?
19 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] We don't have any questions at
20 this point in time, Mr. President.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Presiding Judge, please.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are going to make a break.
23 It is 20 past four. We are going to make a 20 to 25-minute break, and we
24 will resume in 25 minutes, at five to 5.00, and we will proceed until
1 --- Recess taken at 4.23 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 4.55 p.m.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I said five to 4.00, but there
4 was an error in the transcript. Can you please finish your
5 cross-examination in about half an hour, because the Judges have some
6 questions which will take ten to 15 minutes. Can you do it in maybe
7 three-quarters of an hour?
8 MR. NEUNER: Your Honours, I will attempt to finish within 45
9 minutes. I hope this is possible.
10 Cross-examined by Mr. Neuner:
11 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Husic. My name is Matthias Neuner. I am
12 appearing here on behalf of the Prosecution, and as you just heard, there
13 is limited time available. I will try to formulate the questions as
14 precise as possible, and I would kindly ask you to answer not very
15 lengthy, but really go to the focus at the very heart of the question. Do
16 you understand this, please?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Mr. Husic, you were in May 1992 in the MOS, you testified. Can
19 you, for the benefit of the Chamber, explain what the MOS stands
20 for? Is this the Muslimanske Snage?
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the witness said he
22 was never a member of the MOS.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Prosecution.
24 MR. NEUNER: I have written here down on page 85 "some other
25 forces" and it then appeared on the transcript, "MOS".
1 Q. That's actually why I'm asking. Could you clarify for everybody
2 around the courtroom in May 1992 you were a member of which forces,
4 A. I was never a member of either HOS or MOS or any other forces save
5 for the forces that were a legitimate continuation of the former armed
6 forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was the Territorial Defence.
7 Q. So I understand, you were a member of the Territorial Defence in
8 May 1992?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Moving on to November 1992, you said you were assistant commander
11 of morale, information, propaganda, and religious issues in the
12 306th Brigade.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you briefly describe the main function such assistant
15 commander performs? What's the main duty?
16 A. The main duties of the assistant commander for moral guidance,
17 information propaganda and religious affairs are to provide for the
18 functioning of combat morale in the unit. He has to provide the unit with
19 information. He has to inform the combatants about political issues and
20 to organise religious life. The assistant commander does that through the
21 bodies that he has across the brigade down to the squadron level. And
22 this is what I did. One of the most important parts of the information
23 and training was to inform the unit about the international law and all
24 the other principles that were to be respected in the functioning of a
1 Q. You just said that you perform your activities through bodies
2 across the brigade. Can you clarify what body or bodies you're referring
3 to, please?
4 A. Assistant commander for morale in the command of the brigade had a
5 team of people who were in charge of social affairs, social problems in
6 relation to the combatants, the care for the wounded and the families of
7 the killed, and also the information that was provided to the combatants.
8 So these people, together with the assistant commander, were the team in
9 charge of moral guidance. At the level of the battalion, the commanders
10 also had assistant commanders for morale who were subordinate to the
11 assistant commander for morale in the brigade. Together with a number of
12 officials in charge of that, they functioned as a team.
13 A -- company commanders also had people in charge of morale who
14 had to convey down to the level of individual combatants whatever was
15 necessary in terms of information, training that was conducted in those
17 Q. Do you -- did you yourself go into combat?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So part of your function was to stay with the troop while the
20 troop is engaged in combat; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you also speak to the troops before it is leaving into combat?
23 You give them some advice?
24 A. Every fighting involved a number of preparations whenever it was
25 possible, including preparation in terms of morale. Unfortunately, we
1 were too often in the situation to defend ourselves and were not in a
2 position to actually prepare ourselves for that. But whenever it was
3 possible, we did that during the lull in fighting or during preparations.
4 I would go from trench to trench, and I spent most of my time with my
6 Q. You said you spent most of your time with your soldiers. Does
7 this mainly include talking to them, finding out what the status of the
8 morale is? So is a core function of your duty talking to people within
9 the brigade or the battalions?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And based on the information you find out by talking to people, do
12 you later on write reports?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And these reports, do they go primarily to your brigade commander
15 or do these reports also go to the 3rd Corps organ for information,
16 propaganda, and religious morale?
17 A. They went into -- in both directions. We had to submit a report
18 on our work to our superior command and to inform them on the situation in
19 the unit and so on and so forth. As for the other direction, towards the
20 fighters and lower-level units, we had to inform them to the extent they
21 needed certain information. We would inform them of that. So we did that
22 in both directions.
23 Q. Do I understand that in the majority of the cases -- that's
24 actually a question. In the majority of the cases you're reporting to
25 both channels, to your brigade commander and to the 3rd Corps organ you
1 just mentioned?
2 A. I would submit a report to the commander of the brigade as his
3 assistant, the report on the situation in the units. And then as a unit,
4 via an integral report relating to the brigade or a separate report sent
5 to the morale organ within the corps, we would send -- we would report to
6 the superior command, that is, the corps.
7 Q. You testified that in November 1993, you were deployed with the
8 3rd Corps and there the organ for information, propaganda, morale, and
9 religious issues. Is this correct?
10 A. On the 30th of November, 1993, I left the 306th Mountain Brigade,
11 and after that for a while, for about three months, I was at the forward
12 post of the Supreme Command of the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
13 whose seat was in Kakanj. After that, I arrived in the 3rd Corps and
14 became part of the morale body within the 3rd Corps Command, and this is
15 where I stayed until the end of the war.
16 Q. For how long did you remain in the forward command post in Kakanj
17 of the Supreme Command? You said on the 30th of November you went there.
18 For how long did you perform that function, please?
19 A. After I reported there, I was dispatched to take care of things in
20 the 3rd Corps. So physically I stayed actually less, for a shorter period
21 of time than is stated in the report, because while I was doing certain
22 things for the command of the 3rd Corps, I was still registered with the
23 Supreme Staff in Kakanj. But I stayed for a total of three months.
24 Q. Being then employed with the 3rd Corps in the organ for
25 information, religious issues, propaganda, would you report there also to
1 your commander in the 3rd Corps and also to the Supreme Command, the organ
2 for religious affairs, morale, and propaganda there?
3 A. Yes. I was responsible, first of all, to the command of the
4 3rd Corps. As the assistant commander, I took part in all corps-related
5 activities. The commander of the corps was responsible to the commander
6 of the staff of the Supreme Command, and the morale organ had his superior
7 in the staff of the Supreme Command to whom he was answerable.
8 Q. Coming back to the issues you would normally report, you report
9 what you have read somewhere or especially what you have heard while
10 visiting your troops. If I put you again in the feet of the 306 assistant
11 commander for propaganda for information and religious morale, you would
12 in this position report what you have heard while talking to other
14 A. At times this would be the information that we heard from the
15 combatants. At other times it would be just information on the events,
16 where we were in the greater area of the Bila river valley, that we heard
17 from civilians. So to the commander, he would convey this type of
19 As for the other direction, we would inform the fighters on a
20 general situation about the events taking place in Bosnia and Herzegovina
21 and the international community, including the attitude of the
22 international community towards the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
23 Q. How many assistant commanders were in the 306th Brigade during the
24 time you were working there?
25 A. I don't understand your question. The commander had assistant
1 commander for morale, information, propaganda, and religious affairs. For
2 financial affairs. He had assistant for logistics. Six assistants
3 altogether so far as I can remember.
4 Q. And one of the six commanders was the assistant commander for
5 security affairs?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. His main responsibility was to conduct investigations if crimes
8 occurred; is that correct?
9 A. Yes. Not only when crimes occurred. He was in charge of the
10 overall security situation within the brigade.
11 Q. So the main information sent upwards relating to security and to
12 crimes and investigations would come from this commander or this assistant
14 A. Not necessarily, because the report that was sent daily from the
15 brigade contained separate reports on all aspects of the combat situation.
16 Q. But the person who would be running any investigation would be the
17 assistant commander for security affairs in the 306 Brigade?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. He would have specialised staff to do this investigation, and this
20 staff would report to the assistant commander about the results of the
21 investigation? The assistant commander for security appears.
22 A. [No audible response]
23 Q. I want to ask a few questions about the school in Mehurici. You
24 said Mujahedin were accommodated in the school in Mehurici. In what time
25 period were Mujahedin accommodated there?
1 A. They were accommodated there in the fall of 1992 for a while, but
2 when the arrival of the 1st Battalion of the 306th Brigade arrived in that
3 school, they left it. However, a certain number of rooms and some food
4 was left for them even after that period of time, because the building
5 itself had been requisitioned for purposes of accommodating the army. The
6 battalion -- actually, initially it was a detachment and then this
7 battalion arrived, but I don't have the exact dates with respect to that.
8 I don't know how long it lasted.
9 Q. You said the Mujahedin moved out of the school to a suburb. If I
10 understand correctly, the suburb's name of Mehurici was Poljanice.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. How far away from the school is this camp or this place where the
13 Mujahedin moved to? Is it a kilometre away, further, or less?
14 A. The term "Mujahedin" came into existence and started being used
15 with respect to these people much later. As I have already indicated, we
16 initially referred to them as Arabs. The largest number of them were
17 humanitarian workers. They left to Poljanice, located only two to three
18 kilometres from the Mehurici school.
19 Q. You also testified that at some point in time in 1993, Mehurici or
20 the part held by the ABiH was hardly accessible. So basically that three
21 sides were not accessible, but it was only possible to move out through
22 one side. Is that correct? If so, just confirm it, please.
23 A. I'm afraid we didn't understand each other. Mehurici simply could
24 not be under that control. They were under [Realtime transcript read in
25 error "wanted"] the control of the civilians. The Mehurici school had
1 been commandeered for the needs of the BH army, and we controlled the
2 school. The shelling of Mehurici by HVO, just like the shelling of all
3 other villages, a dozen citizens, had nothing to do with BH army. We were
4 shelled by the members of the HVO.
5 Q. Sir, I wasn't asking for the shelling, I was just asking -- you
6 had received that --
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, just a small
8 correction. Line 121 -- or, rather, the page 121, line 12. The text
9 reads, "They wanted the control," and so on. However, the witness said
10 that the control of the village was with the civilians or, rather, that
11 the civilians controlled the village.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Please continue.
13 MR. NEUNER:
14 Q. On page 92 of the transcript, you testified that the exits were
15 blocked and only one -- meaning three exits. Only one exit out of the
16 valley - not out of Mehurici, out of the valley - was basically accessible
17 so that the population, the Muslim, mainly Muslim population could move
18 out basically through one exit only. Is this correct?
19 A. No, it is not. I spoke about three exits from the Bila river
20 valley, that is the overall territory of the area where both Bosniak and
21 Croat populations lived. It's a geographically separate area.
22 There were three exits, the road via Guca Gora to Travnik, the
23 road via Zabilje towards Vitez and the road via Ovnak leading to Zenica.
24 All three of them were blocked. So the entire valley was blocked for the
25 free movement of the Muslim situation. Parallel to that, the Croat part
1 of the population in 1992 while we were deployed on the line against the
2 Chetniks had built the roads that they were able to use freely throughout
3 that period of time.
4 Q. That's exactly what I meant. So basically the mainly Bosniak
5 population was in this valley, couldn't move out except for one access.
6 Is this correct?
7 A. It wasn't possible for that population to use any of the route to
8 leave the valley.
9 Q. And I take it if it's difficult to come out of this valley - we're
10 talking about 1993 - everybody gets to know each other very well; is that
11 correct? The problems are shared problems in this valley?
12 A. Again I have to repeat what I already said. The Croatian
13 population in the villages where Croatian population lived built new roads
14 which could not be controlled by the Bosniak population.
15 As for the Bosniak community, including both civilians and the
16 military, in the entire valley were completely cut off from the rest of
17 the world. They could not go through the HVO checkpoints if they didn't
18 have permission. So it was not possible for them to move either in and
19 out of that area.
20 Q. I understood this already. I just wanted to ask if such a
21 situation exists as you just described, this means a problem of -- doesn't
22 this mean that the problems of the group or of some individuals are
23 becoming problems of the whole group because the interests, the problems
24 are shared basically? Everybody knows everybody since the only person
25 you're depending on is the person which is in your valley.
1 A. Of course, but in all of the talks and negotiations, the civilian
2 population, because the talks or negotiations were often mixed,
3 negotiators were both such and military, the attitude was completely
4 different. Their attitude was different from the attitude of the HVO.
5 In dozens of cases they were against these blockades against us,
6 because they were perfectly aware of the fact that that would cause major
7 plight of the population. So Croatian civilian population in many cases
8 opposed this activity of the HVO for the sake of the co-existence with the
9 other community.
10 Q. But the units stationed in that valley knew each other since they
11 were in the same, the ABiH units, the Mujahedin units and so on, they were
12 in the same valley and as you said access was only possible through one
14 A. Again, I think I have to correct you. Without the permission of
15 the HVO, no one was allowed to either move in or out of the Bila river
16 valley. No one had the authorisation to pass through.
17 As for the units located in the Bila valley or the groups or
18 members of other units, after all, I had been living in Sarajevo from
19 1973, I didn't know many of the members of these units. They didn't know
20 me either. So we had to identify ourselves on the basis of our uniforms
21 and the insignia, on one hand.
22 On the other hand, members of the HVO, in particular after the
23 establishment of the Frankopan Brigade, to be precise, after the 15th of
24 April, in their territory had a significant number of individuals who had
25 come from elsewhere and about whom they never wanted to talk. They never
1 wanted to say who they were, where they had come from, but they were
2 talking about them as their members. But for the actual members of the
3 Frankopan Brigade, the majority of the members of the 306th knew them, and
4 we also could tell who they were on the basis of their accent and how they
5 spoke. And we knew who the outsiders were.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Defence.
7 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, there is a minor
8 mistake but which might be significant. It's off the screen now because
9 the witness has spoken for a while. Page 123, line 22. The transcript
10 says "the Mujahedin units," and the witness mentioned no Mujahedin units
11 in his testimony.
12 MR. NEUNER: May I ask the usher to show the witness the document
13 P664, please.
14 Q. Could the witness please look at page 2, in the middle of the
15 first paragraph.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. First of all, can you look at the very end, at the third page,
18 please. Did you sign that document?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you look now at page 2, the middle of the second paragraph,
21 and --
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Read briefly the passage dealing with Miletici. The middle of the
24 second paragraph, just to speed up.
25 A. "But in addition to that, an unfortunate event took place in the
1 village of Miletici where after the wounding of one Arab with three
2 gunshot wounds caused by 84-millimetre calibre, a group of Mujahedin,
3 together with several people from Mehurici, quite suddenly and on their
4 own undertook an action in which they killed five Croats and took prisoner
5 a larger number of both Croats and Muslims."
6 Q. Thank you very much. Who, according to this document drafted by
7 you, who were the perpetrators? Can you please repeat this for the
9 A. The perpetrators of the crime were foreigners who were in this
10 village. This document which I drafted in my capacity as official in
11 charge of morale, on the basis of information that I received through
12 unofficial channels is one thing. However, after the investigation, the
13 report which was submitted later on and which can be found in the
14 306th Brigade gives a more precise description of the event.
15 Q. Sir, you just mentioned unofficial channels. Can you elaborate on
16 this, please?
17 A. The way we informed the Supreme Command and the units in the other
18 direction was based on the knowledge that we were able to gain from
19 individual members of the units. What I knew about this event, because I
20 was not in charge of the investigation, was based only on the information
21 that I received from the organs from lower-level units such as battalion
23 You must know that the educational level of the members of these
24 organs was such that very few of them had completed secondary school,
25 which was the case with the majority of the population in the Bila river
2 Q. Just to clarify, you said you received the information from a
3 lower-level unit such as a battalion command. Are you referring to the
4 306th Brigade or do you want to say that this is -- first of all, I don't
5 understand. Is this an unofficial channel, a lower-level brigade command?
6 A. No. Assistant commander in the battalion had information,
7 received information on the basis of what was talked about in the village.
8 He never went to the scene of the incident, which was not my case either.
9 He was not involved in the investigation, neither was I, but we were
10 duty-bound to inform our superior command about the event, which was
11 likely to have adverse effect on the units and the attitude of the units,
12 generally speaking, in this area.
13 Q. What was the name of the assistant commander, please, you were
14 just referring to?
15 A. I'm not sure who it was at the time, but I believe it was
16 Gamal Husic. In lower-level units, the commanding officers would change
17 quite often, so I can't be sure of the name.
18 Q. You just said that you conveyed information which was talks about
19 in the village. Are you referring to the village of Mehurici or in the
20 village of -- to the village of Miletici or to another village? Which
21 village do you mean?
22 A. Mehurici and Miletici is almost one and the same thing, because
23 there's no distance between the two of them. The headquarters of the
24 battalion was in Mehurici. I also said, however, that later on we
25 received more complete information in the brigade from a member of the
1 brigade command whose father and whose uncle had been captured. They were
2 among the prisoners. This was the assistant commander for intelligence in
3 the brigade.
4 Q. Can you state his name for the record, please?
5 A. Dervis Suljic.
6 Q. On 6 May - that's the date of the document - you sent this
7 information up to the 3rd Corps Command; is that correct? 6 May 1993.
8 A. Yes.
9 MR. NEUNER: I would like to ask the usher to show the witness
10 another document, a new document.
11 MR. DIXON: Your Honour, before this document is shown I think I
12 know what document it is, the Prosecution was kind enough to give us the
13 document beforehand, I do wish to check if it is the same one, but we have
14 an objection that this witness is shown that document and that the
15 Prosecution seek to introduce that document through this witness. I will
16 try and be as quick as possible, Your Honour, but it is an important
17 objection to consider.
18 Your Honour, it is the document that was shown to us at an earlier
19 stage. If Your Honours do wish to have copies of the document so that I
20 can address Your Honours on the matter.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Dixon, proceed please.
22 What is your objection about? What are the reasons for your objection?
23 MR. DIXON: Your Honour will immediately recognise that this is a
24 document of a new type. We haven't had any of these kinds of documents
25 before. They originate from the security service of the Supreme Command
1 of the --
2 MR. NEUNER: Your Honours. Sorry for the interruption, my learned
3 friend. If I may just ask that the witness be withdrawn so that he
4 doesn't hear all that information.
5 MR. DIXON: Yeah. We have no objection if the witness stays in
6 the interests of time.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But the Prosecution would like
8 the witness to leave the courtroom, so I will grant that.
9 The Defence and the Chamber believe that this is the first time we
10 see this type of document. Can you please indicate the origin, the source
11 of this document?
12 MR. NEUNER: Your Honours, this document comes from the ABiH
13 collection which has been -- or this particular document has been
14 disclosed to the Defence on the 22nd of September, 2004, and the source of
15 this document is the Supreme Command of the ABiH armed forces. The reason
16 why the Prosecution intends to show this document is that as the witness
17 has just testified, he was at some point in time a member of the forward
18 command post of the Supreme Command. He himself has sent on 6th of May a
19 report upwards to the 3rd Corps, and this Supreme Command document dates
20 from the 8th of May, 1993, meaning two days after the witness has sent up
21 his report to the 3rd Corps. And the reason for showing this document to
22 the witness would be that it also refers to Miletici, and it contains
23 information which is partially identical with the document the witness
24 himself has produced and partially not.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Dixon, you've heard the
1 explanation provided by the Prosecution. This document is an official
2 document because it comes from the Supreme Command. This is a report on
3 the situation, it seems, and we see here a chapter dedicated to the
4 incident. And it is indicated here that there is a relation to -- there
5 is reference to what happened in Miletici. What is your objection,
6 Mr. Dixon?
7 MR. DIXON: Your Honour, it's absolutely correct, this is an
8 official document. However, this is not the witness, in our submission,
9 who can comment on this document or who should be permitted to be the
10 witness through which such a document is admitted.
11 It is correct that he sent a report to the 3rd Corps, but there's
12 no connection as to whether that report then went up to the security
13 administration. But more importantly, he's not part of the Supreme
14 Command Staff at the time. It is correct that in November, much later,
15 this document is dated in May, much later he does become part of the
16 command staff. But at the time, he would have had absolutely nothing to
17 do with the preparation of this particular report. It may be that other
18 witnesses are more appropriate to comment on what are very crucial
19 allegations contained in this particular report, and in our submission it
20 would be wrong for this witness to be the witness to comment on such a
22 In addition to that, Your Honour, I do wish to indicate that this
23 document was disclosed to the Defence under Rule 68 in September of this
24 year, so after the close of the Prosecution case, and it is one, together
25 with a number of other security service documents, high-level documents,
1 that we are still investigating. These documents were not introduced
2 during the Prosecution case. It wasn't expected on our part that Rule 68
3 material would be used in cross-examination. However, we are making, at
4 the moment, investigations into these documents, because some of them
5 appear to have inaccuracies in them, and it might well be that we wish to
6 present evidence about those documents during the Defence case.
7 So in addition to this being the wrong witness, in our view it is
8 premature at this stage to introduce these kinds of documents, especially
9 since they were disclosed at a very late stage to us and under Rule 68.
10 They came in a group of documents; there were 427 of them altogether, Your
11 Honours, totally over 1.600 pages in electronic format, and those are
12 documents that we've only really had a month to look at and are currently
14 In our submission, this document should not be, at this stage, put
15 before Your Honours. It may be that it is appropriate at a later stage.
16 That is our application, Your Honours. I'm grateful for the time.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. The Defence
18 has a fundamental issue to raise, and this is whether this witness
19 recognises -- may recognise this document since he didn't belong to the
20 Supreme Command. And in addition to that, in the chapter dedicated to
21 this event, there is no mention of the 306th Brigade.
22 Have you made a note of that objection? The Defence says that
23 this document might be introduced but not through this witness. What do
24 you have to say to this? This witness is not in the position to recognise
25 this document. It is beyond his authority level, and I'm -- I would like
1 to add to that that there's no reference to the brigade to which the
2 witness belonged at the time.
3 I give the floor to the Prosecution.
4 MR. NEUNER: Your Honours, the Prosecution herself has acquired
5 that document at a very, very late stage, so from the moment these
6 documents arrive in the building, they still have to be scanned in. And
7 it was virtually at the time when we got notice about this document that
8 we were preparing for another disclosure.
9 I can just inform you that while we are speaking, there have been
10 more documents from this collection arrived, and the Prosecution herself
11 had no time to look herself into these documents. They arrive on a -- I
12 don't want to say daily basis, but in massive -- in massive batches.
13 I note the time. It's the Prosecution's position that we have
14 laid the foundation. We have asked the witness had the chain of command,
15 and the witness has testified repeatedly in this section of our
16 cross-examination that he himself had sent reports upwards or had received
18 There is, for example, one document, the Prosecution believes it's
19 P318, which is a document which also implements on the 3rd Corps level SVK
20 orders. So there was obviously an interplay between the two organs.
21 For reasons of time, I just want to say that the Prosecution has
22 compared both documents, and nine out of ten -- this is just a guess, 90
23 per cent of the facts are identical. They even appear to come from this
24 document, but only in one crucial point this document -- both documents
25 deviate, and that's the exact reason why the Prosecution wants to shed
1 light on this. Maybe this witness can explain why.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. We're going to
3 withdraw for a few minutes to discuss this issue.
4 --- Short break taken at 5.46 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 5.47 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Chamber has considered the
7 issue presented by the Defence and has decided that it cannot authorise
8 the presentation of this document because this document has to do with the
9 presence of the 7th Brigade in Miletici. You cannot put your questions
10 save for the possible presence of the 7th Brigade in Miletici.
11 Please bring in the witness.
12 Very well, then. You may proceed.
13 MR. NEUNER: So has the Prosecution understood it correctly, the
14 document can be used but the one question mentioned cannot be asked? Is
15 that correct.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The only questions you may put
17 are with regard to the presence of the brigade which is mentioned in the
18 document. Let me resolve this. The Chamber is going to take over and ask
19 the question.
20 Witness, at your level, only at your level, are you aware of the
21 fact that the supreme command of the army drafted this bulletin that had
22 to do with the situation? Were you aware of that? Were you aware of this
23 bulletin that was drafted by the Supreme Command?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't understand what bulletin do
25 you have in mind? We received some information from the Supreme Command
1 regarding the situation in the general area of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and
2 we would forward that information to the lower-level units. Is that the
3 bulletin that you have in mind?
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me just show you the first
5 page of the bulletin. Can you please tell us whether this is the type of
6 document that you -- that you ever saw? This is the bulletin. Can you
7 please look at the first page only.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. No.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. So you have
10 never seen this bulletin. You do not know of its existence? You're not
11 aware of the existence of a document of this type.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the first time I've seen of
13 document of this type now you've shown it to me.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. If in a
15 document of this nature there is the reference to the presence of a
16 certain member of the 7th Muslim Brigade in the area of the village of
17 Miletici, that is of Gornji Miletici, this is the exact name that is
18 mentioned, inhabited by the Croatian population where five villagers had
19 been killed, what would you say to that?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that this is not possible.
21 It could not have happened, for a simple reason.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Tell us the reason.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Members of the 7th Muslim Brigade,
24 at that time, could not have been there save for some individuals who may
25 have been at home on leave.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. Your rational
2 explanation you have given us is that if this is the case, the only
3 explanation could be that some individuals of the 7th Brigade may have
4 been there on leave.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, but only very few of them
6 because members who hailed from that area were not that numerous.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The witness has answered the
8 question, and I am giving the floor again to the Prosecution.
9 Very well. The Prosecution, please. I think that you need
10 additional time. Unfortunately, we will not have finished by 6.00. If
11 interpreters cannot work longer, if they cannot work for additional 30
12 minutes, then we will have to work tomorrow afternoon. I would like the
13 usher to go and see the interpreters and see if they can perhaps work for
14 additional half an hour, and then depending on their answer, we will see
15 whether we will have to continue tomorrow.
16 In the meantime, I will give the floor to the Prosecution to
17 resume their examination.
18 MR. NEUNER:
19 Q. Just to follow up what you have just responded to the Judge's
20 question. You said there were members of the 7th on holiday. In general,
21 was the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade or unit of such a brigade stationed in
22 Mehurici in 1993, in April 1993?
23 A. In 1993, they couldn't have been stationed there possibly, save
24 for a battalion of the 306th Mountain Brigade, the Siprage Battalion, nor
25 any other unit as such. However, there were armed groups with respect to
1 which it is very difficult to establish to whom or to what they belonged.
2 I'm referring to individuals who during that transformation period somehow
3 stayed behind and did not become members of any specific unit.
4 Q. Just for clarification, where were you based in April 1993, in
5 Mehurici or somewhere else?
6 A. The headquarters of the command was located in Rudnik, in the
7 village of -- in a mine in the village of Baja. My family, my wife and
8 children, were in the village of Dub. So Mehurici was the place that I
9 often went through on my way to see the family but also on my way to see
10 the units located on Vlasic.
11 Q. So how often did you visit Mehurici from -- either coming from
12 Baja or from Dub? How often a month did you visit Mehurici?
13 A. At least once a week I must have passed through, but very often it
14 was more often than that.
15 Q. How many kilometres are the two locations away from Mehurici? I'm
16 referring to Baja and Dub.
17 A. Dub is located just several kilometres away in the direction of
18 Vlasic. Baja, I couldn't tell you the exact number of kilometres.
19 Anywhere between, I don't know, three and four. Perhaps a little more.
20 Q. You said there were members of the 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade
21 groups. Do you know any names of individuals?
22 A. The 7th Muslim Brigade is not a mountain brigade, first of all.
23 Second, speaking of the individuals, we're not talking about the groups,
24 members of the 7th Brigade, no. There was a certain number of members of
25 the 7th Brigade who originated from the area, who were born in the area of
1 the Bila river valley, who were perhaps members of the 7th Brigade but who
2 were on leave at their homes. They did not constitute any groups. They
3 were simply individuals who were on leave for three to four days at home
4 and who were going to go back to their unit to receive their assignments
5 at the unit.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We see a counsel on his feet.
7 You have the floor.
8 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I
9 believe the witness has clarified in his answer the issue of groups,
10 because the answer of the Prosecutor was not phrased clearly. But I
11 believe we have received clarification from the witness.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. Interpreters
13 have informed me that they can work for additional half an hour. They
14 have been working since this morning, and we know how exhausting the task
15 of interpreters is.
16 Prosecution, how much longer do you need?
17 MR. NEUNER: I believe not longer than five minutes, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In that case, please continue.
19 MR. NEUNER:
20 Q. Mr. Husic, you were mentioning individuals who were on leave in
21 the Mehurici area. Do you know any names? Were these characters, these
22 individuals known to you?
23 A. No. Well, I did know some of them by sight, but at the time it
24 was impossible for me to know who and for how long had been a member of a
25 particular unit. One of my very good friends, Hamid Suljic, for instance,
1 was a member of the 7th for a while. As for others, frankly I don't know,
2 because from 1973 until 1992, I did not live in that area. I lived in
3 Sarajevo, a hundred kilometres away from the area in question.
4 Q. So apart from your friend Hamid Suljic, how did you know that
5 these individuals were members of the 7th?
6 THE INTERPRETER: We didn't hear the witness.
7 MR. NEUNER:
8 Q. Can you please repeat your answer? The translators didn't get
9 your answer.
10 A. You're asking me how it was that I knew that these individuals
11 were members of the 7th. The individuals who were or were not members of
12 the 7th or any other unit are unknown to me. I don't know them. However,
13 generally speaking, I know that a certain number of conscripts from the
14 Bila area were members of the 7th. As to who they were, where exactly
15 they were located, and for how long they had been members, I don't know.
16 I couldn't possibly know that.
17 When incidents took place, we sometimes received complaints which
18 we then transmitted to the corps. The corps would then order the
19 investigation that was then carried out by the 7th, and it was only after
20 that we would become aware of fact that individuals who had introduced
21 themselves as members of the 7th were actually not members of the 7th.
22 As for the area of Kljaci, Alihodze, Zolote we knew that there was
23 a certain number of members of the 7th, but as for the names, no, I
24 couldn't give you have any of the names. I don't know their names.
25 Q. I switch to my last topic. You mentioned training given by
1 foreigners or by the Mujahedin. Will you please clarify this? What do
2 you mean -- what did you mean by "training"?
3 A. I was never present at any such training. However, I heard that a
4 certain number of young men who were not of age, who had not been
5 mobilised, or who had not been recruited reported to them for training.
6 Their essential motive was to obtain a uniform and sometimes even a weapon
7 if they became members of a specific unit.
8 At the time this training was conducted, these young men would get
9 food, obviously, and sometimes even small compensation, so I heard. But
10 as I indicated, the issue of bread was crucial during those months in this
12 Q. So local Bosniaks were being trained?
13 A. A small portion of them, yes. However, this training was not a
14 high-quality, specialist training. The individuals in question were
15 children who had never held a weapon in their hands before that. So the
16 training that was conducted in this camp consisted mainly in handling of
17 weapons. You couldn't call it a specialised or very professional
18 training, no.
19 Q. You mentioned training in a camp. What camp are you referring to?
20 A. It was just a meadow in the vicinity of Mehurici, not far from the
21 houses where those who had moved out from the Mehurici school were
22 billeted in the hamlet of Poljanice.
23 Q. And the training, was it conducted by local Bosniak people or was
24 it conducted by foreigners?
25 A. I think by both of them. I don't have any precise information as
1 to who conducted the training. We in our units were busy with our
2 training, because you must know that a large number of our members had not
3 done their military service with the former JNA. So every unit
4 experienced daily problems with self-inflicted wounds, with inadequate
5 handling of weapons, the problems with the range of weapons, and that is
6 why we had all -- the whole range of problems involving lack of ammunition
7 and so on and so forth. So we all had to conduct some sort of training.
8 And even us who had been civilians not long ago had to have some training.
9 But I was not aware of their training. I didn't know where and when it
10 took place.
11 Q. Sir, you said training by both, locals and foreigners. How could
12 the foreigners talk to the local Bosniak population? Were there
14 A. Depends on which particular individuals are in question. When you
15 talk about the individuals who had arrived in the area in the meantime,
16 they didn't speak the language, but some of them learned quickly.
17 However, they still needed translation from time to time. Others were
18 born in these countries, were Arabs, but had arrive at one point in time
19 before the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina to study there. They knew the
20 language, and they knew the area.
21 In addition to that, a large number of Bosniaks studied the Arabic
22 language in school and could manage a decent conversation. Were able to
23 make themselves understood. But there were not many of them who were able
24 to act as professional interpreters at the time, especially in the area of
1 Q. You said some of the translators had arrived at some point in time
2 before the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and were performing as translators
3 during the training. Do you know anybody who -- by name who did this?
4 A. I did not say what you just quoted. First of all, I never
5 indicated that any of them had arrive as interpreters before the war. I
6 just said there had been people of Arabic origin who studied in Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina, who lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who started a family in
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina before the outbreak of the war. That is what I was
9 talking about.
10 Second -- now, I forgot what the second part of your question was.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Prosecution, please have a look
12 at the clock.
13 MR. NEUNER: No further questions, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Defence, following the
15 examination by the Prosecution, do you have any additional questions, need
16 to clarify issues?
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Just two questions, Mr. President.
18 Re-examined by Ms. Residovic:
19 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Husic, tell us, please, if you have any
20 knowledge as to which particular armed force was on leave on the 24th of
21 April anywhere else.
22 A. I cannot have that kind of knowledge, not even with respect to
23 members of the 306th.
24 Q. My second question is the following: The foreigners in question,
25 did they ever train members of the 306th, and did you ever visit the camp
1 where the training was conducted?
2 A. No. I never went to that camp. I was never involved in the
3 training of the members of the 306th. And they could not be involved in
4 the training of any members of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I
5 indicated several times that the young men in question were between 16 and
6 18 years of age, young men who could not be drafted according to the laws
7 of the country.
8 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, no further questions.
9 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. No
10 further questions.
11 Questioned by the Court:
12 JUDGE SWART: Good afternoon, Witness. I have a few questions at
13 the end of this long day for you.
14 You said that you were not involved in writing or -- the report on
15 the events of Miletici, that you were not involved in an investigation.
16 Is this also true for the report that has been made and the investigation
17 that has been carried out for Maline? Were you also not involved in that
19 A. The report in question was written by me based on the information
20 that I had received from people who were not involved in the event. It
21 was not our obligation to have reports containing all the elements that
22 might confirm that the events happened in this or that way. And when it
23 comes to Maline, there was combat going on. The combat went on for 20
24 days at the time. And the first information I received about Maline, as
25 I've already said, arrived on the 12th of June. In the course of that one
1 day I received different sorts of information involving different numbers
2 of people, different locations. Only later on the investigation carried
3 out by the military security services did define everything and provided
4 more details. However, I did not follow the course of this investigation
5 because I was prevented from doing that by the combat activities.
6 JUDGE SWART: So there has been an investigation also by the
7 security service, notably the assistant for security matters, I think.
8 This was Mr. Delalic at the time?
9 A. In the 306th Mountain Brigade, from the very beginning Mr. Delalic
10 was assistant commander for security.
11 JUDGE SWART: We had a witness before you came, Mr. Siljak, who
12 was also of the 306th brigade, and he said that the investigation into the
13 events on -- that may have occurred in Maline was done by Mr. Delalic. Is
14 that right?
15 A. He was assistant commander for security, and it was his obligation
16 to do that. He reported to the commander on the events that had to do
17 with the overall security and disruptions that may have impaired security.
18 Now, who it was, with whom and to what extent conducted that investigation
19 I am not able to tell you because I wasn't there.
20 JUDGE SWART: After these reports were completed, did you have any
21 chance to read them at the time in 1993?
22 A. If I had made an effort, I believe that I would have had an
23 occasion to read them, but I didn't, because later on when I spoke to
24 Mr. Delalic, I received from him oral information that undesired things
25 had happened. However, such things sometimes cannot be prevented during
2 JUDGE SWART: Did you by any chance -- I don't know whether you
3 would do this, but did you by any chance read these reports before you
4 came here in preparation for your testimony?
5 A. What documents are you actually referring to?
6 JUDGE SWART: The two reports, the one that has been made on
7 Miletici, and you name the author, potential author of that document, and
8 the other report that has been made on the events in Maline. My question
9 is: Did you by any chance prepare yourself for your witness statement
10 today by reading these reports?
11 A. I have never read a report drafted by the military security.
12 JUDGE SWART: So I take it you can't confirm whether these reports
13 still exist, which would interest me to know. Do they still exist, these
14 reports? Can you say anything about that?
15 A. I don't know. I'm not in the position to know.
16 JUDGE SWART: Well, turning back to Miletici very briefly, I would
17 quote from a document, but because there is very little time, I will not
18 show it to you but just summarise what it says. It is a document of 27th
19 of April, 1993. It is P576. It's a document by the HVO, and they
20 say -- they write on page 3 in my translation the following: "The
21 massacre in the village of Miletici was perpetrated by Mujahedins and
22 local Muslims." And they go on to give some details on that. And then
23 they say the following: "Osman Tahirovic brought Mujahedin's to the
24 village in a tractor. After that, the massacre happened."
25 My question to you is: Do you by any chance know who this person
2 A. I don't know this person.
3 JUDGE SWART: He was not a member of the 306th Brigade as far as
4 you know?
5 A. I'm sorry. I am not in the position to know the names of all the
6 members of the 306th. I didn't know them then, let alone ten years later.
7 But since I don't know the person, I can't say anything about him.
8 JUDGE SWART: [Previous translation continues] ...
9 A. Now, it doesn't make sense in that person came in a tractor, how
10 many people drive a tractor.
11 JUDGE SWART: [Previous translation continues] ... Names are
12 mentioned, and I have the same question, whether you by any chance, I
13 don't know, remember those names. One is the name of a certain
14 Vahid Jasarevic. Does that ring a bell or nothing at all?
15 A. I don't know Vahid Jasarevic. I know a number of people whose
16 family name is Jasarevic, but I don't know anybody by the name of
17 Vahid Jasarevic.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Judge Swart. Microphone for
19 Judge Swart.
20 JUDGE SWART: The last name I found here is the name of
21 Vahid Jasarevic -- oh, no. I said that already. Lutvo Malanovic. Does
22 that say anything?
23 A. It can only be Malanovic because Malanovic is a family name that
24 exists in Mehurici. I do know a man by Lutvo Malanovic, but he is over 70
25 years of age today, so I don't believe that this is the same person. Now,
1 if there is any other Lutvo Malanovic in addition to that person who is
2 very old today, I really don't know.
3 JUDGE SWART: Let's go to Maline now. I have a few questions on
4 what you said about Maline. Are you aware that after the investigation
5 you told us about in June, there was a new investigation in October of the
6 same year? Do you know anything about that, about the same events?
7 A. I don't know.
8 JUDGE SWART: You don't know? Have you heard, by any chance, that
9 in October, in response to a request from the United Nations, the whole
10 matter was taken up again and that the deputy commander of the 3rd Corps,
11 Mr. Merdan, wrote a letter in response to the United Nations summarising
12 an official inquiry into the same events.
13 A. I was not aware of the investigation being carried out. From the
14 time when the combat took place involving this incident as well, this
15 incident and a lot of other details and this for a long time remained
16 something that had an impact on the state of morale in our units. We did
17 our utmost to perform our task which was to train the troops continuously
18 to -- to explain the aims of our fight and the need for the army of Bosnia
19 and Herzegovina and the civilian structures have peace and order, that
20 there should be control in particular units, that members of other units
21 should be prevented from moving about in the zones of responsibilities of
22 other units.
23 JUDGE SWART: [Previous translation continues] ... Now, let me
24 simply quote a phrase from this report without showing you the documents.
25 I apologise for the sake of time, but it's P174, and I quote the third
1 linea of that report to you. It says the following: "Soldiers of the
2 306th Brigade and armed citizens who were not members of the BH army units
3 and who obtained weapons through some private channels took part in the
4 combat actions in the region of the village of Maline."
5 I think you have said to us this afternoon that there was no
6 participation in the fighting by Mujahedin, and I ask you also by not by
7 other member persons who were not members of the army? Is that
8 your -- what you're saying to that?
9 A. I can't confirm this. Now, what the members of the 306th did and
10 what was under our control is what I was talking about. However, after
11 such a long blockade and everything that happened throughout the conflict
12 and immediately after that, everything that was perpetrated by the
13 Mujahedin and armed individuals who cannot be placed in many of the units
14 because they were individual civilians from the ranks of the refugees or
15 the locals, they would in huge numbers follow the army scurrying for food.
16 Many of them were armed, and the problem of our police when facing such
17 individuals lie in the fact that they had to engage in new combat, so to
19 JUDGE SWART: Now, we really have no time to discuss this. I
20 don't want to prolong the stay of the interpreters today. It has been a
21 very long day. But let me simply say that I was struck by your testimony
22 in comparison to this document P174, which is signed by the deputy
23 commander, Merdan. And if I understand him well, he is saying these
24 people have been killed in action, which is quite a different version of
25 the events than yours.
1 A. This is by no means a different version from mine. What was under
2 our control and what was in operation via Simulje toward Radonjici,
3 Velika Bukovica and Maline were the forces of the 306th Mountain Brigade,
4 members of its 1st and 4th Battalions, parts of the 1st and 4th
5 Battalions. In parallel with that, villagers of a number of villages,
6 especially the village of Mehurici, Suhi Dol, Poljanice, and Jezerci, set
7 off to wage a fight of their own, and the fighting didn't take just one
8 day. They -- the fighting lasted over ten days.
9 JUDGE SWART: [Previous translation continues] ...
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And now I'm turning to the
11 Defence. Any other questions?
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Just two questions, Your Honour.
13 Further examination by Ms. Residovic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Husic, in 1993, were you in a position to
15 see, read, or receive a document that the Croatian Defence Council would
16 be sending to its Main Staff?
17 A. There was no way for me to see any document drafted by the
18 Croatian Defence Council.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions,
20 Your Honour.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The other Defence counsel?
22 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We do
23 not have any questions, but we believe that the -- the answer that witness
24 gave to the Judge Swart's question was not complete. The witness
25 mentioned some villages.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, but in parallel with that line.
2 The reminder of the village and Maline from the east side or maybe not
3 east, from the direction of Suhi Dol-Poljanice, there was a number of
4 armed individuals moving. They were civilians that had never been members
5 of any army.
6 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. This is
7 the clarification I was asking for.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. Thank for very
9 much for having come to testify. We have made an effort to finish your
10 testimony today. I thank you. I wish you a happy journey back home.
11 I'm going to ask the usher to accompany you out of the courtroom.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 [The witness withdrew]
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. We have to
15 deal with the issue of exhibits, but maybe this can wait until Monday. If
16 there are no other issues to raise at this point in time, I would like to
17 ask all of you to come back on Monday at quarter past two, and we're going
18 to have the expert witness on history. Thank you very much.
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.31 p.m.,
20 to be reconvened on Monday, the 1st day of November,
21 2004, at 2.15 p.m.