1 Tuesday, 9 November 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, would you call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Case Number
8 IT-01-47-T, the Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 I turn to the Prosecution for the appearances, please.
11 MS. BENJAMIN: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning, Your
12 Honours. Good morning to everyone. For the Prosecution, Mathias Neuner,
13 and myself Tecla Henry-Benjamin, and Ana Vrlic, our case manager.
14 [Realtime transcript read in error: "Daryl Mundis"]
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the Defence appearances
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. For
18 the Defence of Mr. Hadzihasanovic. Edina Residovic, counsel; Stephane
19 Bourgon, co-counsel; and Alexis Demirdjian, legal assistant.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The other Defence team.
21 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
22 For the Defence of Mr. Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and
23 Mulalic Nermin, our legal assistant.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Chamber would like to
25 welcome all those present in the courtroom, the representatives of the
1 Prosecution, the Defence counsel, the accused and all the other staff in
2 this courtroom, not forgetting, of course, the interpreters.
3 We're going to continue today with the testimony of the witness
4 from yesterday, so I'm going to ask the usher to have the witness shown
5 in, please.
6 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, if I may, in line 13, page 1, I
7 think the interpretation is wrong., it's Ms. Ana Vrlic, case manager, not
8 Mr. Daryl Mundis. He's missing.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. That would be
10 troubling indeed, yes.
11 [The witness entered court]
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning, Doctor.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I hope you had a good evening.
15 You're going to finish your testimony today. We're going to have the
16 follow-up questions. And without further ado, I'm going to give the
17 floor to the person who's going to ask you those questions.
18 WITNESS: ENES RIBIC [Resumed]
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 Cross-examined by Ms. Henry-Benjamin:
21 Q. Good morning, Doctor.
22 A. [In English] Good morning.
23 Q. My name is Tecla Henry-Benjamin and I am one of the
24 representatives of the Prosecution in this case. As the President of the
25 Trial Chamber stated to you yesterday, I am going to ask you a few
1 questions, and I must say to you that if at any time you appear confused,
2 or you need to have the question repeated, or you need any assistance,
3 please feel free and I'll oblige. Thank you.
4 Doctor, in response to my learned colleague yesterday, you said
5 that in your practice you treated both civilians and troops. Am I
7 A. Absolutely.
8 Q. Tell me, Doctor, is this the same thing as saying that you are an
9 army at -- or rather, at the time you were an army doctor as well as a
10 private practitioner?
11 A. Both civilian and military.
12 Q. Could you tell us for which army you worked for. Did you work
13 for all the armies or did you work for a specific army?
14 A. For the members of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
15 Q. Doctor, you gave us your name as Enes Ribic. But during that
16 period when you were in Mehurici, were you known by any other name or
17 were you called by any other name?
18 A. No. They always referred to me as Dr. Ribic, Dr. Ribic.
19 Q. Do you have an alias name by the name of Ribo, Dr. Ribo?
20 A. No. They're different surnames. There is a surname Ribo, people
21 living in a village in that area next to Mehurici. So they have the same
22 root. For those of you who don't understand our language. Of course the
23 root is R-i-b, but R-i-b-o is one surname and R-i-b-i-c is another
24 surname. So I was actually a refugee living in Mehurici. I was -- I
25 didn't originate for [as interpreted] Mehurici. The original population
1 there are called Ribe or Ribo. The genitive is Ribe in the plural, but
2 the nominative is Ribo.
3 Q. Thank you for that explanation, Doctor. Can you for the benefit
4 of the Trial Chamber tell us: How close was your clinic to the Mehurici
6 A. About a hundred metres, 120 metres perhaps. I never measured the
7 distance, but that would be at roughly 100 to 120, let's say, metres.
8 From 1996, I haven't been there, which means eight years, so I've lost
9 the sense of distance. But it's nearby.
10 Q. If I were to say to you that a witness who testified here would
11 have put the distance at about 50 metres -- your clinic at about 50
12 metres away from the school, would that be correct as well?
13 A. No. I don't think that would be correct. It's not 50 metres.
14 Q. Now, Doctor, did you ever practice at all in the Mehurici sports
15 hall? Did you go there to tend to patients at any time?
16 A. Not myself personally. I didn't go to give assistance there.
17 There was my younger colleague Menzel and the lady doctor. They were
18 closely connected. I was the primarius, that is to say higher up in rank
19 as a doctor, but if they couldn't solve a problem, they would come to me.
20 Although, if I remember correctly, as it's a long time ago, I wasn't
21 called in to intervene. I didn't have any need to, because the lady
22 doctor working with the civilians who were put up there had her
23 assistant, Menzel, who was a younger colleague of mine and saw to those
24 matters. If the two of them weren't able to solve a problem, then I
25 would be called in as the reserve doctor.
1 Q. You may not have practiced as you indicated to us, but you did
2 indicate to us that your clinic was pretty close by to the school. Would
3 you be able to assist the Trial Chamber as to whether the International
4 Red Cross was present at the school?
5 A. As far as I remember, I don't think it was there, although they
6 didn't show it to me. So I can't really say yes or no. I don't know
7 that there weren't. I can't be categoric in saying they weren't. But
8 they weren't introduced to me, so I really don't know.
9 Q. For clarification for the Trial Chamber, a witness in this court
10 indicated that there was a medical corps at the school. Would I be
11 correct in saying that the clinic -- the doctors you previously spoke of,
12 is that considered as a medical corps? Would that be what the witness
13 was referring to in the school?
14 A. In wartime, the conditions we were facing at time, it was
15 excellent, maximum medical assistance, because there were rare occasions
16 where you had three doctors at the same time at their disposal. So this
17 was the maximum amount of medical care that you could expect, given the
18 wartime conditions.
19 Q. Doctor, in the course of your practice, did you ever have cause
20 to attend to the sick at the Zenica hospital?
21 A. No. No, I didn't not. But I did cooperate with the Zenica
22 hospital, and I said yesterday that I asked them for some sanitary
23 material and medicines from time to time and some equipment, too. I
24 didn't need to because in the Zenica hospital there were 150 doctors, so
25 I would have just interfered. But I did have contacts from time to time,
1 especially with the director of the hospital and the orthopedics
2 department. Because the patients who came from my area were put up
4 Q. And you just answered my other question. I was about to ask you
5 if in fact you have referred patients to the Zenica hospital, but I think
6 you answered it all.
7 Have you -- during your tenure in Mehurici, did you ever know of
8 a building referred to as the blacksmith shop?
9 A. I think I heard of something like that. That's a part of the
10 facilities belonging to the forestry administration, forestry department.
11 Yes, yes. I think I can say that I did hear about the blacksmith shop.
12 Q. And would you be able to tell us how close was the blacksmith
13 shop, approximately, to your clinic?
14 A. Well, I don't know where the blacksmiths actually were, but part
15 of the blacksmith shop was adjoining the clinic itself. You have to go
16 behind the forestry administration building and then you would come
17 across the blacksmith shop. Actually, it's not just adjacent to the
18 clinic, some 30 metres away. I don't know why in peacetime it was used.
19 They were sort of small garages. They were being used as garages. I
20 don't know about the technology of forestry departments, I didn't know
21 why they actually used them for that. But during the war I did happen to
22 see from time to time through a window that was right up against the
23 clinic. People, faces would appear from time to time, people I would
24 note standing at the window, in that blacksmith shop.
25 Q. Did you treat any patients from that blacksmith shop?
1 A. No. They never asked for my assistance, so no, I didn't treat
3 Q. Yesterday in response to my learned colleague, you
4 testified - albeit differently to other witnesses - that the conditions
5 at the Mehurici school were good, given the conditions. Am I correct?
6 A. As I experienced the wartime Golgotha, I knew the kind of
7 conditions that other people were subjected to, civilians in wartime
8 conditions. I said that for wartime that was the optimum that you could
9 expect, the best conditions that you could expect to offer people given
10 the wartime conditions. So yes, I think that they were good conditions,
11 absolutely. Given the war that was on.
12 Q. Now, you not having a clinic at the Mehurici school, I take it
13 that -- however, from your previous answer that you were familiar with
14 the compound of the Mehurici school and the conditions which led you to
15 say what you just said.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, the Defence has the floor.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I object to the
18 question put in that way because the witness, regardless of saying he was
19 in the clinic, he did testify that he entered the sports hall several
20 times and did have contact with the civilians there. So the assumption
21 that he was just there is not the proper assumption.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Benjamin.
23 MS. BENJAMIN: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Q. In light of the previous question and your response, would you be
25 able to assist the Trial Chamber as to who, in your opinion, was in
1 charge of the detainees at the Mehurici school?
2 A. The system was, generally speaking, to have a civilian protection
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] My learned colleague mentioned
5 the word "detainees" in the music school, whereas the witness spoke about
6 people who had been accommodated there.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I would like to say that they
8 were absolutely not prisoners. It would be a crime to say they were
9 prisoners, detainees. They were people that were being taken care of.
10 Because a prison is something quite different.
11 MS. BENJAMIN:
12 Q. Well, Doctor, would you say that these people who were at the
13 Mehurici school, would you say that they were there of their own free
14 will, their own free choice?
15 A. I think that in a way it was salvation for them, given the war
16 situation and the conflict, because it prevented them from being in a
17 conflict situation and running the risk of being wounded or killed. So I
18 think only somebody who was not looking at it from the safety aspect
19 would say it was not a good place to be. I left my house as a refugee,
20 and in Bosnia we call it Muhadjir. So I really do know what a refugee is
21 when somebody is taking care of me. It was very important for me to have
22 somewhere to sleep, to lie down. All right; in prisons, yes. You had
23 conditions of that kind, that is to say you were given a place to sleep
24 and some food to eat.
25 But in wartime, I don't think that the people -- actually, I
1 don't think the people had ever experienced a war and you don't know what
2 the war experience and conditions mean. It's something that upsets your
3 comfort and the standards you have become accustomed so to. You have to
4 bring it down to basics. So it's not the best possible conditions, but
5 that's common knowledge. It's wartime, after all.
6 I do claim -- I was in school where there were refugees in
7 Travnik - there were Catholics and Muslims there, and Orthodox people too
8 - put up in a school in Travnik, as I say. Whereas in Mehurici, the
9 conditions were much better for these people there, for those civilians
10 of ours from the neighbouring village of Maline.
11 And if you were to compare those conditions - and I was in a
12 position to compare them, because I was also in Zenica, for example - at
13 that place, what's it called. They were called collection centres, yes.
14 With refugees from Jajce, Donji Vakuf, Prijedor, et cetera. So I did
15 have the opportunity of comparing the standard of living of the Jajce
16 refugees in Travnik and Zenica, for example, with the comforts of these
17 civilians that were being taken care of in Mehurici. And it would be a
18 crime to say that those people had poor conditions or worse conditions
19 than the other refugees that were being taken care of in those school
20 buildings. Usually they were sports halls, of course, in those schools.
21 Perhaps I am taking up too much time but I really would like to
22 bring that home to you. It would be a crime to say that they had worse
23 conditions, for example, than other refugees in other places, in other
24 towns, for example, as I say, and let me repeat in Travnik and Zenica
25 which are much larger centres and larger towns where there were several
1 thousand. I can't, of course, give you the exact number in Mehurici, for
2 example, in the sports school. There might have been 100 to 150 people.
3 I can't give you an exact number. But I think that they were provided
4 with satisfactory conditions and the basics, given the situation that
5 prevailed, of course.
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, objection. I did
7 not want to interrupt the witness. He gave an extensive answer in
8 response to my colleague's question. But I do have an objection to the
9 kinds of questions put by my learned colleague because the nature of the
10 indictment is not the unlawful incarceration of civilians, just
11 treatment. So I should ask the Trial Chamber not to allow the
12 Prosecution to continue putting questions along those lines.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the indictment, reference is
14 made to cruel treatment I believe, so ask questions that have to do with
15 Count 3 of the indictment, which sets out quite precisely what it says in
16 the preamble and indictment. But please go on, Madam Benjamin.
17 MS. BENJAMIN: Very well, Mr. President.
18 Q. Doctor, could you for the benefit of the Trial Chamber state for
19 us the type of injuries or illnesses that you commonly treated, both
20 civilians and troops during this period, the period of the conflict when
21 you were in Mehurici. Can you give us an idea of the type of injuries
22 and illnesses that you may have treated during that time?
23 A. Before the conflict of the HVO and the army, BH army, I catered
24 to all the civilians, as I said yesterday.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I would like to say that I'm
1 not receiving the interpretation anymore.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I was saying, before the
3 conflict between the BH army and the HVO, the health service and health
4 protection of the population functioned quite normally, those belonging
5 to the clinic. And I would like to see a Catholic patient who said he
6 was not well received. I really would like to see an example of that,
7 because there were Orthodox who were treated there, too. So they had
8 equal conditions, I'd like to repeat.
9 MS. BENJAMIN:
10 Q. Doctor, one second before we go on and on. My question was very
11 specific. Could you state for the Trial Chamber the kinds of injuries or
12 illnesses that you would have treated, either the civilians or the
13 troops, during the period of the conflict when you were stationed in
14 Mehurici. Just give us a breakdown of the types of injuries you saw.
15 A. Well, the type of injuries and diseases as they usually are.
16 They were colds, flu, pneumonia. Only once we had an epidemic of stomach
17 typhus but they were standard diseases. And I would see to the lighter
18 wounds that can be dealt with in clinics, traumas from, entrance/exit
19 wounds, from chance injuries that occurred. And yesterday I gave the
20 example of a wounded pregnant lady, in an advanced stage of pregnancy.
21 That sort of stands out. I remember the woman because I felt very sorry
22 for her.
23 Q. Thank you, Doctor. But if I may elaborate a little bit. Would
24 injuries such as broken bones, severe bruising -- were you faced with
25 those kinds of injuries?
1 A. Well, yes of course in wartime you have things like that, too.
2 There were fractures, broken bones, and I gave the example of the young
3 woman. But there were other fractures, too. If you mean bruising from
4 beatings, that didn't exist. I never saw any bruises as the effects of
5 somebody having been beaten up by someone.
6 Q. None of your patients, so to speak, from the Mehurici school who
7 may -- who you may have assisted the lady doctor with, none of your
8 patients so to speak, as far as you can recall, ever came into the clinic
9 with broken bones, bruises, as far as you can recall?
10 A. No. Absolutely not.
11 Q. And as to the blacksmith shop. Do you recall receiving patients
12 from the blacksmith shop?
13 A. No, never. I don't know that anybody ever said, This man is from
14 the blacksmith shop. I received everybody who was brought in, but I
15 wouldn't know where they were from. Nobody would have said this one here
16 is from the blacksmith shop.
17 And as I said yesterday in answer to the lady's question, the
18 Defence counsel's question, I said that if you are referring to any
19 mistreatment or abuse in the blacksmith shop, I'm not deaf. I hear very
20 well and I see very well. My eyesight is very good and I am a great
21 fighter for man and man's right. And I would never have allowed in my
22 presence or anywhere near me somebody to be beaten up, even if he was a
23 criminal or anything like that. I would stand up and ask for the man's
25 So I never heard any moans or cries, moans -- moans, I would say
1 -- I don't know how the English booth are going to interpret that, but
2 groans and moans. I never ever heard that. So that is something that is
3 completely fabricated, something that somebody has thought up. It's just
4 10 metres away and I would have heard that. You couldn't hide anything
5 like that. And I had sufficient authority and strength and the power to
6 go to a headquarters, for example, and tell them, Stop doing what you're
7 doing if they were doing anything like that. But no, I never had
8 occasion to see anything like that.
9 Q. Thank you, Doctor.
10 Now, there came a time as you said in response to my learned
11 colleague that you saw the emergence of foreigners in the area and after
12 a while, after a time, these group of people increased. Now, bearing in
13 mind of the oath you had taken as a medical practitioner to safe life and
14 limb, and of course not to differentiate from any ethnic background or
15 anything, could you state for the Trial Chamber if at any time at all in
16 your practice you had treated mujahedins, or the foreign fighters as
17 they're referred to.
18 A. I don't think I ever treated any of them, but I saw them in my
19 clinic too. Yesterday I said that I did come across these people because
20 they married local women, they brought their wives there, and because
21 they couldn't use their own medical service, that's why they brought
22 their wives to me. I did see them but I did not treat them. I saw them
23 because they were accompanying their wives.
24 Q. Did you on any occasion have reason to ever refer foreign or
25 foreigners as they were called, mujahedins, to the Zenica hospital? Or
1 did you at any time arrange for any mujahedin or mujahedins to go to the
2 Zenica hospital for injuries received?
3 A. I think that my previous answer excludes this possibility. Since
4 I didn't see any wounded men, I didn't treat them, it wasn't necessary
5 for me to refer such people to a hospital. It wasn't necessary for me to
6 take care of such people.
7 Q. Would you -- bearing in mind the fact that you had said that you
8 hadn't treated them but you knew of them, had you ever been to their new
9 surroundings? You indicated to us that they were in Mehurici first and
10 then you knew for a fact that they had moved to Poljanice. Could you
11 tell the Trial Chamber if you personally had ever visited the camp.
12 A. No. I never visited it, but I did pass by the camp. When I had
13 some free time, I went hiking and I passed by their camp, too. So I've
14 seen it, but I didn't enter the camp. It wasn't necessary, as I said. I
15 never asked them for anything. I asked for medical assistance from
16 Travnik. I asked humanitarian organisations for assistance. So I never
17 entered their compound from a distance of 50 metres -- at a distance of
18 about 50 metres, there's a road. You could see that they had a gate from
19 that distance. They had a place where guards would stand, but I never
20 entered the compound. I didn't try to enter it.
21 Q. If you had to describe the situation that prevailed in Mehurici
22 at the time of the conflict, if you had to use one word to describe the
23 situation, how would you have described it?
24 A. I'd say silly, unnecessary, really something that I would
25 condemn -- I would condemn the people who had provoked that situation,
1 and we know who they were.
2 Q. Would you agree with me if I say to you that the presence of the
3 foreigners, the mujahedins, aggravated the situation in Mehurici and
4 perhaps could be partly responsible for the deterioration that took
6 A. Well, look, I'm not a military strategist, I'm a doctor. I don't
7 think that made the situation deteriorate. Until the HVO units and the
8 HVO leadership started carrying out actions that affected the situation,
9 everything was calm. No one touched us. The mujahedin didn't touch us,
10 we didn't touch them, they didn't touch anyone else. They didn't
11 interfere with anyone else. I think this was an unnecessary conflict.
12 It was unnecessary in Bosnia and especially in Mehurici. I don't think
13 they would have touched or interfered with anyone. But I am a doctor,
14 after all; I can't provide you with an expert opinion. I can provide you
15 with an opinion about medical matters, but not really about military
17 Q. Well, doctor, I'll tell you why I chose that line of questioning:
18 because yesterday in response to my learned friend, in particular page
19 81, line 10, you stated, and I quote that: "The HVO was responsible for
20 the deterioration."
21 Now, I know that you were a doctor or I know that you are a
22 doctor, but it seems to me that you were expressing your opinion on the
23 cause for the conflict, hence the reason for the question that preceded.
24 So I'll ask you this now. Could you explain to us why you said that the
25 HVO was responsible for the deterioration.
1 A. Well, I mentioned a blockade. You can't leave a place under
2 blockade. You can't go to get medical aid. So whose responsibility is
3 that? I didn't see an army checkpoint limiting movement, restricting
4 movement. I don't know, but I can't really say there were no such
5 checkpoints. But on Ovnak there was an HVO checkpoint, and there was one
6 in Guca Gora as well. Half the civilians didn't even think of trying to
7 pass through and army members couldn't do this either. But it was
8 obvious that someone was creating a disturbance. Why impose a blockade?
9 We were allies. Then all of a sudden someone started doing something
10 that wasn't normal. This behaviour was the arrogant behaviour of a minor
11 military force. That's how I would describe it. I'm not a member of the
12 military, but I could assess the force of the respective parties and a
13 minor force started establishing order. So that's the main reason, the
14 main factor that indicates that something was wrong.
15 Q. Would you agree with me if I say to you that the Croats were in
16 the minority in Mehurici?
17 A. Absolutely.
18 Q. And would you agree with me if I said that their forces were less
19 in manpower than the ABiH? Would you agree with me?
20 A. Maybe you haven't understood me correctly. I was talking about
21 the Bila region. I think that even in peacetime the Muslim population
22 was in the majority. They represented 80 to 90 per cent of the
23 population. That's why I said that the balance of forces was very
24 different. The army was huge, there were a lot of people who joined the
25 defence, but I must say that it was well-known that the army didn't have
1 any logistics support. They weren't as well armed as the HVO. The HVO
2 was technically superior, I think. I don't know the details, but we know
3 that the HVO logistics support functioned very well in the war, which
4 wasn't the case for the army. The army really didn't have good logistics
5 support, not in any sense. The troops were hungry and thirsty and they
6 had to go barefoot. They didn't have any weapons. Nevertheless, it's
7 the troops that count in a war. And that's why I mentioned the balance
8 of forces and I said that as far as this balance of forces concerned, the
9 army and was more powerful because they had more troops than the HVO, far
10 more troops.
11 Q. Thank you, Doctor.
12 Now, on the 8th of June, 1993, you said to my learned friend that
13 the fighting was not necessarily in Mehurici but around about Mehurici.
14 Could you for the benefit of the Trial Chamber, could you state for us
15 who at that time was doing the shooting.
16 A. I really couldn't say. As I said at the time there was shooting.
17 As to who was doing the shooting, I couldn't say. I wasn't at the lines.
18 I said this is something you should ask others about. But I know there
19 was shooting and the shooting became more and more intense. On that day
20 there was a large-scale clash and there were wounded. As to who was
21 shooting, I don't know. I was at some distance. But you should be in
22 that area, in that valley, to hear how the shooting echoed. So it was
23 evident there was a conflict somewhere there.
24 Q. So then, Doctor, in light of what you have just said, would you
25 agree with me, then, that it would have been a very unfair statement on
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 your behalf to say that the HVO was fully responsible for the
2 deterioration, especially since you yourself didn't know who was doing
3 the shooting?
4 A. I would say that it's crazy behaviour, unreasonable behaviour, to
5 attack someone who is stronger. But that's what the command was like. I
6 think someone pushed them. This was an unnecessary act. These policies
7 were unnecessary, they were crazy, and these are the policies that
8 governed the HVO unit. As a man I would say that it was completely
9 unreasonable. And I can confidently say that I never saw any BH army
10 members threatening anyone. I didn't see any blockades, I didn't see
11 them preventing people from taking food to others, I didn't see them
12 preventing medical aid from being delivered. So the leadership was
13 unreasonable. What did they want to do? Perhaps they wanted to do what
14 we are discussing now. But the army really wasn't responsible for the
15 conflict in the Bila Valley.
16 Q. And just one final question, Doctor. Is it your evidence that
17 the ABiH didn't have any checkpoints in the area?
18 A. I can't say for sure. I was never stopped. I didn't have any
19 insignia on me. I was in civilian clothes. But I don't remember ever
20 being stopped by an army checkpoint. I drove around in my own vehicle
21 and I was controlled, that's true, but I don't remember any checkpoints,
22 any army checkpoints. People couldn't tell whether I was a Catholic or a
23 Muslim because I didn't have anything that would enable them to identify
24 me. So I never was stopped. I can't remember that. Some time has
25 passed, so I can't remember that. But I do remember being controlled by
1 the HVO. But as I said yesterday, they treated me fairly. I couldn't
2 say that that was not the case.
3 Q. Thank you, Doctor. You have been a most gracious witness.
4 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, this concludes the
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Before I give the floor
7 to the Defence for additional questions, with regard to the objection
8 raised by the Defence about the legal status of the people in the
9 Mehurici school, I'd like to remind the Defence of paragraph 28 in the
10 indictment. If you have a look at paragraph 28 in the indictment. I'll
11 read paragraph 28:
12 "Mainly Bosnian, Croats but also Bosnian Serbs, were unlawfully
13 imprisoned and detained in ABiH detention facilities. Imprisoned ...
14 Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Serbs were ... beaten, subjected to physical
15 and/or psychological abuse, intimidation and inhuman treatment, including
16 being confined in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, and suffered
17 inhumane deprivations of basic necessities such as adequate food, water,
18 and clothing. They were provided little or no medical attention."
19 That's what it says in paragraph 28 of the indictment. And as
20 far as cruel treatment is concerned, you can find it under paragraph
21 41 -- in fact, cruel treatment is under Count 4. And as far as Mehurici
22 is concerned in the indictment under paragraph 42, reference is made to
23 imprisonment and detention. And for Mehurici, it's from paragraph 42(C)
24 and (D). Under (C) it says:
25 "In the Mehurici elementary school, members of the ABiH 3rd Corps
1 306th Mountain Brigade kicked prisoners while detained. During
2 interrogation, prisoners were beaten and threatened by members of the
3 306th Brigade. The general food, hygiene and living conditions were
5 And that goes for the blacksmith shop. Because it says also the
6 food, hygiene and living conditions were poor there too. That's what it
7 says in the indictment.
8 Mr. Bourgon.
9 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Good
10 day, Mr. President. Good day, Your Honour.
11 Mr. President, the question raised by my colleague a little
12 earlier on concerning legal attention mention the fact that there is no
13 charge. The accused haven't been charged with the illegal detention of
14 people or for having failed to prevent their illegal detention or for
15 having failed to punish people who may have illegally imprisoned others.
16 In paragraph 28 in the indictment we have an introduction, and in light
17 of this paragraph we don't know who the people were, the people who were
18 allegedly imprisoned illegally.
19 Mr. President, perhaps it would be good to ask the Prosecution to
20 be more precise, because as far as I can remember, Mr. President, the
21 Prosecution has not been accusing people of illegal detention for reasons
22 that they know, but that's their choice.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Bourgon. You
24 may now proceed with re-examination.
25 Re-examined by Ms. Residovic:
1 Q. [Interpretation] Dr. Ribic, good morning.
2 A. Good morning.
3 Q. My colleague asked you whether you had the nickname Ribo and you
4 answered that question at length. Tell me, in Mehurici at the time, was
5 there a doctor whose name was Ribo who you did not know?
6 A. No. There was no such doctor called Ribo. There were civilians
7 called Ribo, but they weren't doctors.
8 Q. Given the similarity of these family names, would it be correct
9 to say that someone who may have testified about you might have been
10 mistaken as far as the surnames are concerned?
11 A. Yes. That's possible. The root is the same, the root of the
12 name is the same.
13 Q. In response to a question put to you, you also said that you
14 didn't know who was shooting. Yesterday you said that three shells fell
15 not far from your clinic. Tell me, do you know which positions they were
16 fired from?
17 A. I apologise. I didn't say three, I said two. One fell very near
18 the clinic and it damaged the building and wounded three nurses of mine.
19 The other fell about 100 metres from the building but in front of another
20 house and the damage wasn't so extensive. These shells came from Vitez.
21 I'm not a soldier, but we knew that these shells were HVO shells, since
22 Vitez was in that area, or rather Mehurici is north of Vitez and as a
23 layman I assessed that the shell or the shells had come from Vitez where
24 HVO units were positioned, but I can't say for sure.
25 Q. You said in response to a question put to you by my learned
1 colleague, you mentioned the population and you said that these were your
2 assessments because you, too, were a refugee in that valley. I would
3 like to ask you whether it would be correct to say that the population
4 was such as it's been represented in official documents. The structure
5 of the population corresponds to its description in the census of 1991.
6 A. I didn't have exact information. These were rough assessments of
7 my own. I would visit various villages, I knew which ones were Muslim
8 villages, which ones were Catholic villages, which ones were Orthodox
9 villages. And I knew that the majority of the population were Muslims in
10 those villages, or rather Bosniaks.
11 Q. To be more precise, you mainly visited the wider Mehurici sector?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You did not treat people in Guca Gora?
14 A. No. Guca Gora had their own medical corps, I think.
15 Q. You didn't go to Brajkovici either, or Grahovcici?
16 A. No, I didn't provide medical treatment there either.
17 Q. Thank you. With regard to the conflict on the 8th of June you
18 said there was shooting, and naturally you didn't know who was involved
19 in the shooting. On the previous days, given the position of Mehurici,
20 were you able to hear that there was shooting in some parts of the Bila
21 Valley? And at the time did you know anything about the situation in
22 Velika Bukovica, for example?
23 A. No, I didn't. There was shooting all the time and I was afraid
24 of this shooting because in wartime people were afraid of shooting since
25 this always heralds a large-scale conflict. So I was afraid of such
1 shooting. I know there were celebrations of some sort of Catholic
2 saints. I think that's when there was an attack on Mehurici. I was
3 getting ready for an evacuation. Later I found out it wasn't an attack.
4 I found out it was a celebration of a certain saint. I don't know the
5 date, but later I found out that the shooting was a result of the
6 celebration. But there was shooting at other times, too, and you really
7 could expect other conflicts.
8 Q. Thank you, Doctor.
9 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions, Mr.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 And the other Defence team.
13 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we have no
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
16 Doctor, I have a few minor questions to put to you.
17 Questioned by the Court:
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yesterday with regard to a
19 question on the mujahedin you said that the mujahedin formed a so-called
20 unit and you said that they were joined by some young refugees. Is that
21 in fact what you said? Could you confirm the answer you've provided to
22 the question put to you. You said that the mujahedin were joined by
23 young men who in your opinion were refugees. And you also said, and you
24 mentioned the Jajce town, you said that 25.000 refugees had arrived in
25 the area. What I would like to know is whether in your opinion, since
1 you were in Mehurici, were there some young local men who had also joined
2 the mujahedin.
3 A. I don't know whether any men from Jajce joined them. There
4 weren't many men from Jajce in the Mehurici region. There were ten of us
5 in total. So there weren't young men from Jajce. I mentioned 25.000
6 refugees. There were about 25.000 people in Jajce before the war, but
7 some of the population had evacuated before the conflict and the attack
8 on Jajce. So these are my assessments. I don't know the exact number of
9 the civilians, but the column that left the town on the 27th of October,
10 1992, I think there were between 15 and 25.000 people in that column.
11 They went to Travnik, to other big centres, to Zenica. Some of them went
12 to Vitez, others to Busovaca, others to Herzegovina and Croatia.
13 So in the mujahedin units, I don't think there were any men from
14 Jajce whom I knew -- but wait a minute, I have just remembered something.
15 From a village around Jajce there was someone but not in that unit, I
16 think someone from the family called Kokici was in a unit. I know he had
17 good logistics, that that family could get a little more food, little
18 more parcels than the army members were able to get.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So there were some young men
20 who joined the mujahedin and you mentioned the name of a family that you
21 could remember. And some of -- some members of this family joined the
22 mujahedin and you said that they received food from the mujahedin. You
23 were present at the site, as it was war -- as there was a war in country.
24 Weren't young men obliged to join the regular BH army? Shouldn't they
25 have been recruited? Can you explain how some young men could avoid
1 being recruited into the regular army. How would you explain that?
2 A. Well, I do have an explanation. The state wasn't functioning
3 under those conditions. The mobilisation was partial. Whoever would be
4 called would report. I don't know of any cases of someone being punished
5 for not having responded to the mobilisation. So the state wasn't
6 functioning properly. People who were part of the Territorial Defence,
7 they were Muslims, men of the Orthodox and Catholic faith as well. And
8 naturally since the Territorial Defence -- well, mostly the Muslims
9 joined the Territorial Defence but not all of the Muslims. There were
10 very few Catholics, Orthodox men who joined the Territorial Defence.
11 They joined national units. The army was supposed to be a Bosnian army,
12 a multi-national army. And I must say when the Jajce Brigade was formed,
13 I was in Mehurici at that time. I was told I would be mobilised into the
14 Jajce Brigade because I was a refugee from Jajce. However, I didn't
15 report but I did contact them over the phone to say that I was employed
16 in that area. I can't really say what the procedure was if someone
17 failed to respond to the call-up. When the state isn't functioning
18 properly, I don't think that failing to respond to the call-up was
19 punished. I don't know of anyone having been punished for failing to
20 respond to the call-up. So it was up to individuals to decide whether
21 they would free to Croatia or whether they would join army units or HVO
22 units. Or third alternative would be to join the foreigners who were
23 there. I don't know of any cases of someone being punished for not
24 having responded to the mobilisation.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 Could you please clarify your administrative situation in
2 Mehurici. According to what you said you left Jajce, you went to
3 Travnik, and there you were told Dr. Zenic in fact took you to Mehurici
4 where you took up your duties in the clinic. According to your answer,
5 you had two other colleagues, there were two other doctors. You were the
6 head doctor. What I would like to know is: When you worked in Mehurici
7 did you receive a salary, and if so who paid you? Unless you didn't have
8 a salary and we could understand that, too. But did you have a salary,
9 and if so who was your employer?
10 A. No, no, I did not receive a salary. I did not have any holiday,
11 annual leave. I was left to myself. Under such conditions, the state
12 wasn't functioning properly, there were no salaries. And so I did not
13 receive any remuneration. In 1994 some sort of payment or remuneration
14 started, but 1992, 1993, you weren't receiving anything for the work you
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. So you're telling
17 us that in 1992 and in 1993 you did not receive a salary from anyone.
18 Nobody paid you.
19 Now, when you visited individuals who were put up in the school
20 of Mehurici, for example, who asked you to go there? Who told you to go?
21 Was it the military authorities or yourself? Did you spontaneously
22 decide to go there and do a tour of duty and visit the sick and ailing?
23 So how did that work specifically?
24 A. Let me repeat. This accommodation of civilians did not come
25 under the competency of the army, it came under the civilian protection
1 organisation. So civilian protection had also policemen to provide
2 security. I noticed that. So I can't give you a reason when and why I
3 went, but I know that I went on three occasions to visit those people.
4 The first was to see the conditions they were being put up in, to assess
5 the conditions and whether they needed anything. And I had some people I
6 knew there whom I socialised with before the war among the refugees. As
7 I say, I had friends and acquaintances among the refugees. I went to
8 visit them before the HVO conflict. They were Catholics. And then I
9 went to see them. I used the opportunity to see and contact them.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you're saying among the
11 people who were in the school, there were some of your acquaintances?
12 Because you said you visited friends there. Is that right? Can you give
13 us any names, the names of people that you knew particularly well?
14 A. Well, not exactly. I think it was the Balta family, for example.
15 It was a long time ago and I'm not very good with names. I meet a lot of
16 people in the course of my work, so I'm not good a names. There's a word
17 or name called Zastinje or something, have to do with stinje, meaning
18 rock. It was a nice decent Catholic family and I know that I met the
19 woman and her son and her daughter-in-law. And she asked me, Where is my
20 Pero? So I remembered the name, my dear Pero. And I thought they had
21 escaped. They probably had something in Travnik. I don't know what
22 happened to them, their fate, but I know that the mother was very
23 worried. She asked me, Doctor, where is my Pero? She said this in the
24 friendly manner. I said I don't know, isn't he there? I said, well,
25 Probably he escaped. So that was this exchange. It was very touching.
1 I visited them a month ago, in fact I went to their home. I was
2 treated very well. She was a patient of mine otherwise and her sons
3 would bring her to see me so that I had closer contacts with them before
4 the conflict. And it was a sort of friendly relationship that I had with
5 the family and its members.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Doctor.
7 I myself have no further questions. Are there any additional
8 questions? First of all, the Prosecution. Madam Benjamin, following the
9 Judge's questions from the Bench, would you like to ask any supplementary
10 questions of the doctor? If you do, go ahead.
11 MS. BENJAMIN: [Previous translation continues]... with no
12 questions, thanks.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 What about the Defence?
15 Further examination by Ms. Residovic:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Dr. Ribic, you explained in detail that you
17 think that just the refugees from Jajce there were some members of a
18 family connected to the mujahedin. I'm asking you now, is it true and
19 correct that you said previously in the area there were refugees from
20 other parts as well whom you did not know?
21 A. Yes, of course. Certainly there were a lot of refugees not in
22 that area but Siprage, Kotor Varos, the nearby municipalities. There
23 were a lot of people from Banja Luka, and from Mrkonjic Grad, for
24 example, as well as from Prijedor, Sanski Most.
25 Q. Tell me Doctor, please: When you spoke about those young people
1 who were joining up with the foreigners, did you mean, did you have in
2 mind, precisely the members of those refugees from a broader region of
3 Krajina, not only from Jajce?
4 A. Yes, absolutely correct. Because I said a moment ago that from
5 the Jajce area and my own region around Mehurici as far as I knew there
6 might have been some ten people, ten people from the Jajce region.
7 Q. And my last question, Dr. Ribic, is this: Was there - how shall
8 I put this? - was it public knowledge or do you happen to know anything
9 about the fact that these young people went off with these foreigners and
10 that nobody knew where they were going and what they were doing?
11 A. Yes, that's absolutely correct. I didn't have an insight into
12 that. I just saw the -- these exercises and the training that these
13 young people underwent.
14 Q. Thank you, Doctor.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions, Mr.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] No questions, Mr. President,
19 from us.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
21 Doctor, this brings your testimony to an end. I should like to
22 thank you on behalf of the Trial Chamber for having to come to give
23 testimony in The Hague. You have answered the questions put to you by
24 the Prosecution as well as the Defence counsel and myself. I should like
25 to wish you bon voyage back home and our best wishes for the continued
1 success of your work as a doctor.
2 I'm going to ask the usher to escort you out of the courtroom.
3 [The witness withdrew]
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
5 I turn towards the Defence counsel and teams. Do we have a
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I should like to
8 suggest that we have an early adjournment, break. I do believe that the
9 next witness is here but I told him to come at around 10.00. I would
10 have to go and check to see whether the witness is indeed here and then
11 we could continue with the examination-in-chief of the witness, if that
12 is agreeable to the Trial Chamber as a proposal. Thank you.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No objection from the
14 Prosecution? Prosecution?
15 MS. BENJAMIN: No, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It is 10 past 10.00
17 and we're going to take a break, a technical break, and reconvene at
18 about 10.40.
19 --- Recess taken at 10.12 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 10.44 a.m.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Usher, may we have the next
22 witness brought in, please.
23 [The witness entered court]
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning. I should first
25 like to check and see if you are getting the interpretation in your own
1 language. Can you hear properly?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can hear you.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You have been named
5 as a witness by the Defence. Before you take the solemn declaration, I
6 would like to ask you to give me your name and surname, date and birth
7 and place of birth by way of introduction.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Munir Karic. I live in
9 Travnik at present, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And what is your date of birth
11 and place of birth?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was born on the 7th of December,
13 1964, in the Travnik municipality, in Visnjevo.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And what is your occupation at
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have my own private company.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And is it a company specialised
18 in any particular area?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Transport; and part of the company
20 is a farm.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In 1992 and 1993, did you
22 occupy a post of any kind, an occupation, and if so what?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1992 I worked as an engineer,
24 mechanical engineer, in the Avid Lolic [phoen] mine of Travnik. I was
25 head of the machine maintenance department.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And in 1993?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1993, I was a member of the Army
3 of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As a member of the army, did
5 you have a rank of any kind, and were you assigned anywhere?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As a member of the army in 1993
7 until the end of 1993, I was assistant commander for logistics. And
8 towards the very end of 1993, I was the deputy commander of the 306th
9 Mountain Brigade.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Have you already
11 time of day before an international tribunal or a national court of law
12 with respect to the facts that took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992
13 and 1993, or is this the first time that you're testifying in a court of
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Today's testimony is my first-time
16 testimony about these events.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Would you now take
18 the solemn declaration, please.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
20 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Please be seated.
22 Before I give the floor to the Defence for their questions, since
23 you are a Defence witness, and as you have just taken the solemn
24 declaration you are a witness of justice, I would like to give you some
25 information as how these proceedings will be conducted.
1 First of all, you will be answering questions put to you by one
2 of the two -- by the Defence counsel of one of the two accused. In
3 general, those questions take between 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
4 In exceptional cases, this examination can take longer. After that
5 stage, the other Defence counsel of the other accused, if they so deem,
6 may also ask you questions.
7 After that we enter the next stage of the proceedings, which is
8 the cross-examination conducted by the Prosecution. And they are seated
9 to your right. Within the frameworks of the cross-examination, as our
10 rules specify, rules of evidence and procedure specify, the questions are
11 designed to test your credibility and they also have as their object to
12 clarify some of the answers you gave to questions asked by the Defence.
13 After that stage has been completed, the Defence counsel can also
14 ask additional questions. The Judges sitting before you - and normally
15 we are three but one of us is absent for professional reasons - the
16 Judges sitting in front of you may also ask you questions at all times,
17 if they consider this necessary. And you will see that the questions
18 posed by the Judges are quite different to those asked by the two
19 parties. As a general rule, we wait to ask our questions after we have
20 heard the parties conduct their examination. So we ask questions
21 afterwards. And the parties are of course authorised to ask additional
22 questions, once you have supplied the Judges with answers to their
23 questions. So those -- that is how the proceedings shall be conducted.
24 Let us take a hypothetical. Questions might be complicated. If
25 at any time you don't understand a question you're being asked, ask for
1 the question to be reformulated and say whether you know or you don't
2 know. We have no written document about your testimony, the testimony
3 you're about to give, we don't know who you are, we don't know what facts
4 you might have been witness to. So it is up to you to give the answers
5 that will clarify matters for us. Everything depends on your answers, so
6 please try and be as clear as possible, as brief as possible, and
7 synthesise your thoughts in your answers.
8 I should also like to tell you two additional elements of the
9 proceedings. In addition to the fact that you were a member of the 306th
10 Mountain Brigade, for example, you took the oath to tell the truth and
11 the whole truth. And having taken the solemn declaration implies that
12 you will speak the truth and not lie. If there are any lies in the
13 course of your testimony, you must be aware of the fact that our Rules of
14 Procedure and Evidence provide for steps to be taken for false testimony.
15 And the penalty can go up to seven years imprisonment. In order to
16 facilitate your testimony and have it be a truthful testimony, we have a
17 specific rule which you will not find in other legislations and penal
18 codes in the world and it is this. Our rules provide for the following.
19 If you are answering a question and if in giving your answer there are
20 elements which could one day be used against you, you must know that what
21 you tell us here in court is covered by a form of immunity. You enjoy
22 immunity. In American law, immunity with this hypothetical situation is
23 granted by the Prosecution. In our Rules of Procedure and Evidence, it
24 is the Trial Chamber who accords you this right to immunity. Therefore,
25 I wanted to remind you of that right of yours. And this will help us
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 reach the truth and have as truthful a testimony as possible. It will
2 allow you to speak freely and answer the questions put to you in normal
4 If in the course of the proceedings there are any difficulties
5 that arise, please do not hesitate to draw our attention to them. We are
6 there to overcome any problems that might arise. So if at a certain
7 point you have a problem, please indicate it to us, don't hesitate, and
8 we shall resolve the issues.
9 So in general terms, having given you those considerations, and I
10 tell all witnesses the same thing, I hope we will have furnished the best
11 possible conditions to hear your testimony. And we also have time
13 So without further ado and wasting more time, I turn to the
14 Defence and they will commence the examination-in-chief.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
16 WITNESS: MUNIR KARIC
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 Examined by Ms. Residovic:
19 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Karic.
20 A. Good morning.
21 Q. In addition to the cautions that have been given you and the
22 information given you by the President of the Trial Chamber, I should
23 like to ask you something myself, and that is to make pauses between my
24 question and your answer to give the interpreters a chance to translate
25 my question. And I shall do the same. After I hear your answer, I will
1 pause to have your answer interpreted before asking my question which
2 will facilitate the work of the court and everyone in court will
3 understand what we're talking about. Do you understand, Mr. Karic?
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 Tell me, please, what is your profession?
7 A. I graduated from the mechanical engineering faculty.
8 Q. Can you tell us something about your education, where you went to
9 school, where you graduated, and when.
10 A. I went to primary school in Mehurici, secondary school, that is
11 to say the Gymnasium in Travnik, and the machine engineering faculty in
12 Zenica belonging to the Sarajevo university.
13 Q. Thank you. You've already explained to us that at the beginning
14 of the war you worked in Rudnik. Did you do your military service
15 anywhere before the war, and if so which army did you serve with?
16 A. Before the war I completed by military service in the Yugoslav
17 People's Army as a signalsman in Gornji Milanovac which is a town in
18 Serbia. And I was there for a full 15 months doing my military service.
19 Q. Did you gain any rank of any kind in so doing, Mr. Karic?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Mr. Karic, do you hold a rank today?
22 A. I was demobilised from the army of the Republic of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina with the rank of super -- captain 1st class, and that
24 was in the post -- and in the post-war period, I was put forward, my name
25 was put forward for the rank of major.
1 Q. Before the war did you become a member of any political party,
2 and if so did you hold a post with the party at all?
3 A. Before the war in 1990, in 1990 I joined the Party of Democratic
4 Action. And at the first multi-party elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina, I
5 was elected to the chamber of citizens as a delegate, as a deputy, in the
6 republican parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
7 Q. Mr. Karic, at that point in time as a delegate or deputy in the
8 assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina, were you a witness of a decision taken
9 about the future set-up of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
10 A. In the second half of 1991, when it came to the work of us
11 parliamentarians, I can say it was characterised principally by the
12 declaration that was adopted to our negotiating team led by Mr.
13 Izetbegovic, about attempts -- over attempts to retain the then Socialist
14 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, with all its republics and autonomous
15 provinces intact.
16 Q. As a member of the parliament, was it the position taken by the
17 assembly that in the case that the Socialist Federal Republic of
18 Yugoslavia could not be maintained, what the position of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina was to be?
20 A. Our position in the matter was quite clear. The only thing that
21 was possible was an integral Yugoslavia with all its republics and
22 provinces. And should any one of the republics proclaim its
23 independence, republics that made up the Yugoslavia of the day,
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina would follow suit; that is to say, it would proclaim
25 its own independence.
1 Q. As a member of parliament, were you exposed to threats at the
2 time by certain parties in the parliament?
3 A. I personally attended a session of the republican parliament when
4 Karadzic, the then-president of the SDS party, threatened us, not only us
5 individual parliamentarians, but when he threatened the entire Muslim or
6 Bosniak people with annihilation, should they decide to opt for
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina's independence.
8 Q. Tell me please, Mr. Karic, did Bosnia-Herzegovina ask for its
9 independence to be recognised, and was a demand to that effect made with
10 the Badinter Commission which had been established?
11 A. Yes, that's right.
12 Q. So what was the demand made of the Badinter Commission and did
13 the parliament respect it?
14 A. The request and demand of the commission and the entire
15 international community was that a referendum be conducted on the
16 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina about the republic's independence and
17 autonomy. And the referendum was indeed held, and more than two-thirds
18 of the population of Bosnia-Herzegovina voted in favour of an independent
19 multi-ethnic and indivisible Bosnia-Herzegovina.
20 Q. When was Bosnia-Herzegovina recognised as a state, in fact? And
21 do you know whether it became a member of the United Nations?
22 A. I don't know the exact dates of when the different countries
23 recognised Bosnia-Herzegovina, but I know that Bulgaria was the first to
24 recognise this and then Croatia in the month of April. We were given
25 recognition by the United States, Germany, and finally - something that
1 was very important for us - we were received into the United Nations
2 family as a full-fledged member.
3 Q. In view of all these facts, Mr. Karic, and in view of everything
4 that took place in parliament as you said, did you remain in Sarajevo or
5 at the beginning of the war, or rather at the beginning of April did you
6 leave Sarajevo? And if so, where did you go?
7 A. Well, prior to the outbreak of the war in the month of April, the
8 beginning of April, I was attending a parliamentary session of the
9 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina when an attack was launched on the city of
10 Sarajevo itself. So I managed to leave Sarajevo and reach Travnik. I
11 was lucky in that respect because all the checkpoints -- I passed through
12 all the checkpoints manned by the Serb aggressor and managed to return to
13 my native village of Visnjevo in the Travnik municipality.
14 Q. Did you join the Territorial Defence, and if so, when? The
15 Territorial Defence in Travnik.
16 A. Immediately upon returning from Sarajevo, I joined the Travnik
17 Territorial Defence, or rather I joined the Mehurici sector staff.
18 Q. When you joined the Territorial Defence, what equipment did you
19 have to perform your duties? Did you have weapons, barracks, et cetera?
20 A. Well, with your leave, I would provide you with a lengthy answer.
21 According to the laws of Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time, Defence should
22 have been organised. We were supposed to have weapons and we were
23 supposed to have a barracks. However, we had nothing, none of these
24 things, because the JNA was in the barracks. And in addition to the
25 regular units and -- many of its units from Slovenia and Croatia were
1 moved to Bosnia-Herzegovina. And at that time certain groups also
2 arrived from Serbia. Warehouses with weapons that belonged to the
3 Territorial Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina were mostly under the
4 control of regular JNA units or under the control of irregular units that
5 had started arriving at that time from Serbia and Montenegro.
6 Q. Have I understood you correctly? The Territorial Defence, and
7 that includes your sector staff, could not receive any weapons -- any of
8 the weapons that belonged to the Territorial Defence before the war? Is
9 that what you have just said?
10 A. Yes. We weren't able to obtain any of these weapons. We didn't
11 have such weapons at our disposal.
12 Q. Mr. Karic, could you say how -- could you tell us how you
13 equipped the men who reported to join the Territorial Defence.
14 A. Well, we didn't provide these men with equipment. These men
15 found equipment for themselves. They would buy personal weapons. They
16 would do this by selling their cows, sheep, by using some of their
17 savings. So men who would volunteer to join the Territorial Defence
18 obtained equipment and weapons in this way.
19 Q. Were weapons in -- openly sold or -- and if not, do you know
20 where these people obtained the weapons that they did obtain?
21 A. Weapons were bought on the black market on the whole, and even
22 from some Serbs who had received weapons from the Territorial Defence of
23 the JNA.
24 Q. Mr. Karic, when you joined the Territorial Defence, where was the
25 headquarters of your sector staff at that time?
1 A. The headquarters of the sector staff were located in the primary
2 school in Mehurici.
3 Q. Did you have any duties in that sector staff?
4 A. Yes. I was assigned as an assistant commander for morale.
5 Q. At that time and later on, did the Territorial Defence, or rather
6 the army take over control in your area and in the area of the
7 municipality? If that is the case, please say so; and if not, can you
8 tell me who exercised authority in that area.
9 A. The Territorial Defence did not assume power of any kind in that
10 area. The civilian authorities and the military presence functioned in
11 that area. This included all the bodies. There was a civilian
12 protection, schools, health care, the police, or rather the MUP. All
13 these bodies functioned at the time.
14 Q. Mr. Karic, since you left immediately -- you left Visnjevo and
15 you assumed your duties in the Territorial Defence, tell me whether at
16 any point in time you noticed foreigners arriving in that area, and if so
17 who were these foreigners?
18 A. Given that Travnik and that part of Travnik municipality was an
19 area that a lot of refugees came to from various areas, areas where the
20 Serbian and Montenegrin aggressor had established control, there were
21 foreigners, there were representatives of various international
22 organisations. I also noticed the presence of some uniformed men with
23 the insignia of the Croatian army. There were also foreigners who were
25 Q. When did you first see these Arabs in the area you were in?
1 A. I can't say when exactly, but it was towards the end of the
2 summer and the beginning of the autumn of 1992.
3 Q. At the time, did you know where these foreigners had come from
4 and do you know what their role was?
5 A. No, I didn't know exactly where these people had come from. We
6 knew that they were Arabs since they wore their traditional clothes.
7 Rumour had it that there were quite a few of them who had come from
8 England and Italy, from the West. And initially according to
9 the information I have, they said that they were representatives of
10 humanitarian organisations.
11 Q. You have already answered my following question when you said
12 that they wore traditional clothes. But tell me, how did you call them?
13 What did the people call them at the time?
14 A. Arabs and humanitarians.
15 Q. Mr. Karic, at some other period in time did the name used for
16 these people change?
17 A. Well, later they called them mujahedin, too.
18 Q. Mr. Karic, you're an engineer, you're an intellectual. Did you
19 know who the mujahedin were before the war?
20 A. I knew nothing about that.
21 Q. When you saw them, did you know where these foreigners first
22 found accommodation?
23 A. Well, I can't provide you with a precise answer since my duties
24 at the time mostly involved taking care of the lines facing the Serbian
25 aggressor on Vlasic. But according to certain information, I know that
1 they spent some time in the Mehurici primary school and they spent some
2 time in Poljanice. But as to where they were, the exact times they were
3 there, I can't tell you anything about that.
4 Q. Did you personally notice or did you find out from others about
5 the attitude these foreigners, these mujahedin, had towards the local
6 population, and who did they pay the most attention to?
7 A. Well, at the beginning as far as I know they really acted as
8 representatives of humanitarian organisations, and they helped the local
9 population. Later on, according to the information I obtained, they
10 extended the range of their activities and they started providing
11 religious instruction for people who had joined them, who had joined them
12 because of the material assistance offered to them.
13 Q. Mr. Karic, were there any organisational changes in the BH army
14 and if so, what was your position?
15 A. After the sector staff in Mehurici, detachments were formed and
16 then brigades. And of the detachments in that area, the 306th Brigade
17 was formed in November and December 1992.
18 Q. From which areas did the 306th Brigade mobilise its members?
19 A. The 306th Mountain Brigade recruited members from the former
20 detachments in Han Bila, Mehurici, Ljuta Greda, Hum, Krpeljici - I think
21 that's the name - and there was also a company of men who had come from
22 Siprage, that is to say from the municipality of Kotor Varos and Skender
24 Q. Mr. Karic, do you know whether any of the able-bodied men in that
25 area joined any other units that were not stationed in the
1 Bila Valley?
2 A. Well, as far as I know, the 314th Brigade and the 312th Brigade
3 and the 17th Krajina Brigade recruited men from that area. There were
4 also members of the 7th Muslim Brigade from that area. And naturally
5 there were also members of other corps units and operation groups.
6 Q. Although you have answered the Presiding Judge's question about
7 your position, could you tell me once more: When the 306th Brigade was
8 formed, what position did you hold?
9 A. The 306th Mountain Brigade was formed in December. They started
10 forming it at the end of November and finished in December 1992. And I
11 was appointed as assistant commander for logistics.
12 Q. Mr. Karic, you have already mentioned the problems you had at the
13 very beginning in the Territorial Defence as far as logistics is
14 concerned. Could you now tell me, Mr. Karic, what sort of problems did
15 you have as assistant commander for logistics in 1993?
16 A. As I have said, the units -- the detachments, or rather the men
17 from those detachments who joined the battalions of the 306th Mountain
18 Brigade mostly entered the brigade with the equipment they had. The
19 logistics supplied in the 306th Mountain Brigade were such that they
20 didn't have any vehicles, let alone clothing, uniforms, et cetera. They
21 didn't have everything that the logistics service of the brigade should
22 have. And as far as the functioning of the brigade command itself is
23 concerned, there were also problems in that it was impossible to recruit
24 adequate professional staff for the brigade. People were assigned to
25 certain positions in spite of the fact that they didn't have the
1 appropriate education or the appropriate military training.
2 Q. The equipment that you nevertheless obtained, ammunition and
3 perhaps other equipment needed for defence, who did the logistics service
4 of the 306th Brigade rely on when trying to obtain certain equipment?
5 A. We relied on the logistics service of the 3rd Corps. However,
6 according to the laws in force at the time, it was possible for us to
7 obtain equipment and supplies through the War Presidency in the Travnik
8 municipality. And I believe that in Travnik a logistics base was also
9 formed. But all this was very symbolic.
10 Q. In the brigade did you have an area or a barracks where members
11 of your brigade could be billeted?
12 A. We as a brigade didn't have a barracks. All we had were
13 buildings that had been commandeered by the department of the Ministry of
14 Defence in Travnik. This was for the needs of the battalion and the
16 Q. Mr. Karic, you have just said that buildings for the needs of the
17 brigade were mobilised by Travnik municipality and the secretariat for
18 national defence. Tell me, who mobilised other equipment, for example,
19 transport vehicles, livestock, and other items that are essential for a
20 brigade to function in wartime conditions?
21 A. Everything that was needed was mobilised via the secretariat for
22 defence. And only in exceptional circumstances were we able to mobilise
23 such equipment. But this occurred quite rarely.
24 Q. Since in response to my previous question you said that you were
25 a communications officer in the JNA, tell me: You or your staff in the
1 logistics organ of the brigade, did you have the essential knowledge
2 required to carry out these tasks?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Mr. Karic, did anyone - and if so who? - provide you with
5 training to enable you to carry out these tasks and were you providing
6 with training in the course of your work and your combat?
7 A. Our brigade had an internal plan for the training of command
8 officers and for subordinate units in their commands. And to an extent
9 we also relied on training provided by the superior command, the command
10 of the 3rd Corps. And we relied on our own organs, the logistics relied
11 on the logistics organ or the operations organ in Zenica. Security would
12 rely on the security department, et cetera. On the whole, the training
13 was provided within the 306th Brigade.
14 Q. Mr. Karic, tell me, you in the logistics organ, were you able to
15 provide the families of combatants with social aid, the families of
16 combatants who had been mobilised and sent into combat?
17 A. At that time, we didn't even have what our units needed on a
18 daily basis. I'm referring to the units at the lines facing the Serbian
19 and Montenegrin aggressor. And as far as reserves are concerned, food,
20 clothes, fuel, we didn't have such items for the soldiers at the lines.
21 And in the case of the families of these soldiers, the situation was even
23 Q. Given those problems, the fact that you couldn't provide the men
24 with the minimum they needed to carry out their combat actions and you
25 weren't able to provide any security for their families, given these
1 problems, did this affect the establishment of the chain of control and
2 command in relation to the subordinate units and troops? And if this
3 had -- if this did have an effect on them, how did you try to deal with
4 these problems?
5 A. Well, at the time from January 1993 and for the following three
6 or four months, there was certain problems with the HVO and members of
7 the 306th Mountain Brigade found themselves in a specific situation.
8 That was the case for most members of the armed forces at the time. We
9 would send troops to the lines, and I have already mentioned the
10 equipment we could provide them with, or rather the equipment we couldn't
11 provide them with. And on the whole their families were provided with no
12 food at all and with no clothes, no fuel, et cetera. So this is one of
13 the problems I am aware of. Usually we would then discuss the matter and
14 try to see how people go to the lines and carry out their duties there.
15 So I can't say that there was a system of control and command in place in
16 relation to the subordinate units, because in such conditions it was
17 almost impossible to establish such a system. And we had to defend
18 ourselves, naturally.
19 Q. Mr. Karic, tell me, apart from the BH army units in that area,
20 were there any other units that were present in the same geographical
22 A. In that area, apart from members of the BH army, there was the
23 MUP, the Ministry of the Interior; there were also HVO members; there
24 were HOS members; and there were members of the Croatian army.
25 Q. Mr. Karic, as the assistant commander for logistics, you knew
1 about the equipment your troops had. Were you able to observe the
2 equipment that members of the HVO had?
3 A. Well, as far as I could tell when passing through checkpoints,
4 they were as well equipped as NATO forces. That's what we said at the
5 time. They had complete uniforms, weapons, a pistol, rifle, combat -- a
6 full combat set, ammunition, et cetera.
7 Q. Mr. Karic, at any point in time in 1993 did a conflict break out
8 between the army and the HVO in the wider area? And if so, did that
9 affect relations in the Bila Valley area?
10 A. Well, according to the information that we obtained, a conflict
11 in Novi Travnik and Gornji Vakuf and in Busovaca and in Vitez broke out.
12 These conflicts broke out at various points in time.
13 Q. According to what you saw and experienced, did these conflicts
14 make part of the HVO in your area more extreme? And were there any
15 conflicts between the army and the HVO later on?
16 A. Well, as far as I understood the way in which the HVO was
17 organised at the time, the HVO was one organisation, one military unit.
18 And naturally, HVO units behaved in the same manner. It just varied
19 depending on the area and the time. And naturally at that time there
20 were no open-armed conflicts with the HVO. But there were quite a few
21 problems. As an example, HVO units became entrenched, control at
22 checkpoints intensified, people were maltreated, people were kidnapped,
23 intercepted, and in some cases some people were also killed.
24 Q. Beforehand, as a proclaimed ally in the struggle against the JNA
25 and Serb forces, in your area did the HVO in 1993 hold the front lines
1 and defend the lines towards the Serb forces? And otherwise, do you know
2 where their front lines were?
3 A. The members of the HVO, as far as I know, were in a part of
4 Vlasic, from Vlaska Gromila to the left to above the village of Velika
5 Bukovica. They did hold a short line towards the Serbian and Montenegrin
6 aggressor, and what could be seen already at that time was that they were
7 far behind our lines in depth towards -- on Vlasic towards the Serb
8 aggressors. They were far is behind our backs in depth, a long way
9 behind. And what caused great confusion and problems for us, and of
10 course fear as well, was the fact that those lines were set up for the
11 most part close to the villages inhabited by the Bosniak population. So
12 we found ourselves in a situation in which individual villages or two or
13 three villages, let's say, were completely encircled by those trenches of
15 Q. And where was your command, the command of the 306th Brigade, Mr.
17 A. The command of the 306th Brigade was located in Rudnik.
18 Q. In view of the fact that you spoke about entrenchment and
19 fortification on the part of the HVO forces around certain villages, tell
20 me now, please, in relation to your command, your HQ, where were the HV
21 [as interpreted] forces located exactly?
22 A. Well, I don't know whether they were the trenches that were dug
23 -- well, 10 to 15 metres as the crow flies, in a straight line.
24 Q. Although we have received answers to the questions I'm now going
25 to ask you have a number of previous witnesses, I'm now going to ask you
1 two since you were responsible for supplies. Which roads and
2 communication lines could you reach the towns and centres of Central
3 Bosnia in the Bila Valley, for example? How would you get there?
4 A. They were roads running towards Travnik. So the Rudnik-Stara
5 Bila road, Nova Bila; the Travnik junction; then from Mehurici, Guca
6 Gora, Mostar, Gostunj, Kanare, Travnik, Zenica. The Han Bila-Ovnak road,
7 Zenica. Cajdras, Zenica.
8 Q. On page 48, line 10, my question was: In relation to your
9 command where were the HVO forces, the Croatian defence council forces,
10 the HVO. Whereas in the transcript it says the HV which means the
11 Croatian army. But your answer was HVO?
12 A. Yes, HVO.
13 Q. I apologise for that interruption.
14 Tell me, please, what happened in 1993 with those roads, those
15 lines of communication. And how could the population and army
16 communicate with Travnik and Zenica?
17 A. In 1993, or rather in the first half of 1993 checkpoints were
18 erected along those roads, and I've already said that they were manned by
19 the HVO and HOS and sometimes members of the Croatian army, the HV as
20 well. And they would have insignia of the HV, the Croatian army. Now,
21 whether they were or not, I can't say. They had that insignia.
22 Q. Now, in addition to setting up these checkpoints, was there
23 anything in the conduct of the HVO which led to conflicts or humiliation
24 or what happened along those roads? Anything like that as a result of
25 the erection of those checkpoints?
1 A. Well, I can give you my own experience, what I experienced myself
2 passing through those checkpoints as a logistics man. There were
3 precarious situations. We would be searched, provoked. You never knew
4 when you would be allowed to pass a checkpoint and reach your superior
5 command with a vehicle carrying the goods you needed, both on the road to
6 Zenica and on the road to Travnik.
7 According to what I heard -- or rather I experienced one
8 situation. I was in the command when a group of our officers arrived and
9 I would say they had -- how shall I put this? It wasn't humiliation.
10 But let me use the term "humiliation," for want of a better one. They
11 were disarmed. They took their clothes off, anything that was of any
12 value. They took their trainers. I even heard that they were forced to
13 eat grass, to graze.
14 Q. So all these provocations --
15 A. May I be allowed to finish? All this happened perhaps 150 to 200
16 metres from the HQ headquarters, the brigade's headquarters, what these
17 people had experienced and been put through.
18 Q. So in addition to what you have just said witnesses testified to
19 a number of situations, but I'm asking you since you were a member of the
20 command of the 306th Brigade whether your own brigade had received any
21 orders to retaliate in equal force, or did you behave differently? Was
22 your conduct different trying to avoid a conflict? So can you tell me
23 what you know about that? What would you say?
24 A. What I can tell you is this: We -- as I was saying, what I can
25 tell you is this: We as the brigade's command had strict orders at all
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 costs to try to avoid any conflicts with the HVO and to try to establish
2 maximum cooperation through negotiations with their representatives, with
3 the representatives of their own HQ. So in that respect I remember that
4 some commissions were set up for permanent cooperation and contact with
5 representatives of their brigades. And they have the task of touring
6 their units as well as our own units so that the trenches and
7 communicating trenches were filled in.
8 Q. Where were you -- were you, Mr. Karic, faced with reaction on the
9 part of the fighters to this absolutely peaceful attitude and position
10 that was taken? Even when the greatest humiliations were inflicted,
11 there was always the desire to avoid conflict?
12 A. Everything that was happening both to our brigade headquarters
13 and command and everything that was happening in Vitez and Busovaca and
14 so on certainly gave rise to bitterness among the member of the 306th
15 Mountain Brigade.
16 Your Honours --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
18 The Prosecution just would like to intervene regarding the last
19 question. My learned friend has used the word "greatest humiliations
20 were inflicted." And insofar, this question was leading. The witness
21 has already answered but the Prosecution just wants to put this on the
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. The Defence has taken
24 note of that, I gather.
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you. I apologise for
1 my qualifications of the events that were recounted by the witness
2 himself. I will do my best to avoid any leading questions.
3 Q. Mr. Karic, the overall relationships that you have described and
4 recounted, did they and in what way, if so, affect the work of the
5 command and its deployment and distribution in the area?
6 A. Everything that was happening during that period of time had a
7 highly negative impact on the unit's development -- the unit's
8 organisation, the command, and the unit itself, the men -- so that our
9 brigade during this period of time, instead of moving forwards in the
10 military sense, it was faced with a situation in which it receded in all
11 respects. And we as the command were not in a position to rally our
12 forces, to gather in full strength.
13 Q. Mr. Karic, where were you at the beginning of June 1993?
14 A. At the beginning of June 1993, I was engaged in touring the area,
15 gravitating towards the Serb and Montenegrin aggressor.
16 Q. When you went on assignment, where were you in actual fact?
17 Which battalion? Where were you?
18 A. Upon my return from a tour of duty and touring the area, I wasn't
19 able to reach the command HQ and I was in Mehurici, the headquarters of
20 the 2nd Battalion in fact -- or rather, the 1st Battalion. I apologise
21 for that slip of the tongue.
22 Q. Do you know where the commander of the brigade was at that point
23 in time?
24 A. As far as we knew, he was in Krpeljici, the commander, in an
25 encirclement. And as we asked the commander to come out and with the
1 help of the UNPROFOR of the day, that was not -- just not possible, even
2 with UNPROFOR's help.
3 Q. So who stayed at Rudnik, at the brigade headquarters in the
5 A. As far as I remember, in the brigade command the assistant
6 commander for security stayed on, for security, signals, and part of the
7 military police.
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Karic. Let me go back a bit to a previous
9 question that we -- a matter that we discussed at the beginning of the
10 examination-in-chief, and that is the appearance of these foreigners.
11 And in answers one of my questions about them, you said that certain
12 problems arose principally because of the way they were being trained --
13 trained them in practicing their religion, in their religious rites.
14 Tell me, please, the position of these humanitarians, if I can put it
15 that way, who brought about -- who led to excesses with respect to
16 practicing religion. Did that have an adverse effect on the Bila Valley?
17 Did certain problems arise and whether and in what way did the 306th
18 Brigade confront these problems?
19 A. These problems grew from one day to the next. The way in which
20 they tried on our own terrain to introduce this new way of practicing
21 religion was for the vast majority of the population just unacceptable.
22 So that from that angle of vision we experienced problems everywhere --
23 with our places of religious worship, in the mosques, for example, in our
24 daily communication, daily lives. So this was an enormous problem which
25 really did upset the morale of our members.
1 Furthermore, we had situations in which a number of people whom
2 we were not able to mobilise even under state organs and place under our
3 own command [as interpreted]. And at that time, the people lived fairly
4 well. Their families were well taken care of. When I say "fairly well,"
5 their families had a means of livelihood, whereas our members in that
6 respect were in a very poor state, catastrophic in fact, just like their
7 families. So it was difficult to explain to members of the 306th
8 Mountain Brigade how people could behave that way without you being able
9 to do anything about it. And that people didn't want to go up to the
10 front line, whereas the members of the 306th had to spend several days
11 and perhaps several weeks up at the front line without knowing what was
12 happening to their families and what would happen to them.
13 Q. Mr. Karic, during that period of time were you witness to certain
14 family ties between those foreigners and certain families in the area,
15 whether they were the local population or the people who had come into
16 your area as a result of the war?
17 A. Well, already at that time, during that period, they expanded
18 their activities -- actually, they married our girls. They were very
19 young girls usually. And from our point of view and the way we lived our
20 lives in the area, this was quite unacceptable. Because if a girl of 13,
21 14 married somebody who was 30 -- you can imagine how bitter the
22 population was for the most part when they saw things like that taking
23 place. Then there were other situations, for example the sister or
24 relative of one of our members was married, for example, to a foreigner.
25 And that led to problems, too. So these were very serious problems and
1 problems that just couldn't be solved.
2 Q. Let us go back to June 1993 for a moment now, please. As you
3 happened to find yourself in the command and headquarters of the 1st
4 Battalion with some other member of the command, did you at some point in
5 time at the beginning of June receive demands from the commander, receive
6 a request from the commander? And what did you learn about what was
7 happening in other areas of the Bila Valley?
8 A. We did receive a request from the commander and members of the
9 command who were with the command in Krpeljici to the effect that we
10 ought to help the population of Velika Bukovica. And different
11 information was coming in, but according to all the information, the
12 situation was serious. The population seemed to have been killed, burnt,
13 that some of them had been taken to camps, and so on and so forth. And
14 it became clear to us at the time that in fact the HVO was applying
15 tactics which had been applied up until then. It was negotiating on the
16 one hand until it brought us into a situation where the brigade command
17 and the brigade itself was mostly disbanded and in 80 per cent of the
18 cases found itself in total isolation under siege. And when the brigade
19 found itself in a situation of that kind, the HVO then proceeded to
20 undertake ethnic cleansing of that part of the Travnik municipality in a
21 place called Velika Bukovica. And something similar happened in Busovaca
22 and Vitez.
23 Q. Tell me, please, did you try and reach those fighters and the
24 people of Velika Bukovica to help them out?
25 A. The wish was there. Once we received all that information, it
1 was our desire to help the people. And as far as I know some of our men
2 were supposed to go to Velika Bukovica. However, on the one hand we had
3 the HVO front lines and above us we had the Serb and Montenegrin
4 aggressor lines. We were surrounded. So we failed in that attempt.
5 Q. In view of the military situation that ensued and that the
6 situation you yourselves were in, nonetheless at a point in time were
7 some free units from Mehurici able to start out and undertake combat
8 activities and what happened?
9 A. Yes. We were faced with a situation like that. A number of men
10 from the 306th Brigade from Velika Bukovica reached Mehurici and broke --
11 breaking through the HVO lines. And then we received information as to
12 what was actually happening there. And what happened was what we were
13 told. Some of the people were killed, some elderly persons were set fire
14 to in their own homes. And all the rest who were there, all the other
15 people, were taken off. At that point in time we heard they were being
16 taken to Nova Bila. After that some of our units set out in an attack
17 towards the HVO lines.
18 What I want to say is this: Before that -- or rather, the night
19 before -- the night before the attack, the night before the fighting,
20 Mehurici was exposed throughout the night to shelling. And that had
21 never happened yet. The shelling came from the HVO lines and their
22 positions, their artillery weapons, and also from the Serbs and
23 Montenegrin aggressors, their lines. And this served to confirm the
24 thesis that the HVO units and the units of the Serbian and Montenegrin
25 aggressors were working in cohorts. They were coordinated and had been
1 for some time, and were preparing an attack on the area.
2 Q. Tell me please, Mr. Karic, in view of the fact that you yourself
3 happened to be in Mehurici during that -- if I can put it this way --
4 counterattack and the general fighting in the Bila Valley, what did you
5 yourself do? What were your tasks and assignments faced with that kind
6 of situation?
7 A. As assistant commander for logistics for the most part I did what
8 I could to take care of the wounded combatants who came in that day. We
9 were not able to see to our fallen fighters, those who had been killed.
10 We had a lot of problems in caring for the wounded and how to provide
11 transport for them to the Zenica hospital. We ourselves were not able to
12 transport them to Travnik. So the transport to Zenica didn't follow the
13 lines and roads against Ovnak. We had to drive them across the hill, so
14 that the journey lasted a long time. And if the person was lucky and was
15 transported in a motor vehicle, then it would take four or five hours.
16 If he had to be transported in a horse-drawn cart or something like that,
17 then it would take all day for a wounded person to reach the Zenica
19 Q. As a member of the command of the 306th Brigade, when did you
20 first encounter other members of the command? When did you meet up with
21 them first?
22 A. I met up with them first, with other members of the command --
23 well, as I set off in the afternoon against Hum hill, it was only towards
24 evening that I met the command of the 306th Brigade. In the meantime, I
25 received information that my uncle on my mother's side had died in the
1 fighting in the Travnik municipality, in Dolac. And then that night I
2 returned to Visnjevo.
3 Q. Mr. Karic, while you were going about your business and
4 assignments, tell me please, in Mehurici did you happen to notice or
5 learn that some civilians from Croatian villages had been brought in?
6 And if so, if you learnt about that, do you know what happened to those
7 people? And did you also learn of some other pieces of information about
8 a possible crime that might have taken place during those combat
10 MR. NEUNER: Your Honours.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, the Prosecution has the
13 MR. NEUNER: The Prosecution objects against this question. It's
14 a compound question. There are actually a couple of these questions.
15 And in addition, my learned colleague is leading the witness.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 Try and break the question up into several parts, please, because
18 if we look at that question and the lines, there are several
19 subquestions, if I can put it that way, within the overall question.
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Karic, you have understood the objections made by the
22 Prosecution. Let me ask you first: While you were in Mehurici on that
23 particular day, did you learn that people had been brought into Mehurici,
24 civilians from certain -- some Croatian villages?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Do you know or did you know what village they were brought in
2 from and why?
3 A. At that moment what I learnt was this: They were people,
4 according to information received from members of our brigade who were
5 bringing them in, they were from the village of Maline mostly. They were
6 brought in to Mehurici exclusively for security and safety reasons,
7 because the fighting during the day had become fierce, there was heavy
8 fighting, and different information was coming in and reports, not only
9 from our own terrain but from the broader area of the Travnik
10 municipality about the fighting. So that for safety and security
11 reasons, those people who were brought in -- well, that's the reason why
12 they were brought to Mehurici in the first place.
13 Q. Mr. Karic, did you have any obligations with respect to these
15 A. Since they had been taken to the 1st Battalion command, the
16 command of the 1st Battalion assumed responsibility for the people who
17 were taken to the Mehurici primary school.
18 Q. Do you know whose duty and obligation it was to provide them with
19 food and to provide them with conditions in which they could live?
20 A. Well, as I have said, as far as the living conditions and food
21 are concerned, it's the 1st Battalion command, or rather its bodies
22 cooperating with the bodies of civilian protection that were supposed to
23 take care of this.
24 Q. Tell me whether on that day before you went to Krpeljici you
25 found out that a crime might have been committed.
1 A. From the men who had escorted these inhabitants, I heard that
2 some of the prisoners had been taken from them. But at that time they
3 didn't know what had happened to them. That's what I was told.
4 Q. Did you later obtain any other information concerning these
5 people who had been kidnapped, the people who were being escorted by
6 members of the 306th Brigade?
7 A. Later at meetings of the brigade command, I obtained certain
8 information, just like all the other members of the brigade command,
9 according to which it was possible that a crime had been committed there,
10 and that the people who had been kidnapped from members of our brigade's
11 1st Battalion had perhaps been killed.
12 Q. Who provided that information at the meeting of the command?
13 A. I think it was the security organ.
14 Q. Mr. Karic, did the security organ mention any measures that had
15 been taken in order to shed light on the event?
16 A. Naturally, the security organ should have taken certain measures
17 in order to find out what had happened there.
18 Q. Mr. Karic, could you please tell me when you returned from
19 Visnjevo, where your uncle was buried after he had been killed, did you
20 find out anything about what had happened in Guca Gora, that is to say in
21 the monastery in Guca Gora?
22 A. I also obtained information as a member of the brigade command,
23 according to which there had been problems in relation to the protection
24 of the monastery in Guca Gora. And according to what was said at the
25 time, it appears that Commander Sipic and Commander Alagic as well as the
1 assistant commander for morale in the 306th, I think his name was Halim
2 Husic, it seems that they were able to protect the monastery in Guca Gora
3 from certain individuals. They prevented it from being desecrated and
4 destroyed, et cetera. That's what I heard.
5 Q. Tell me, given the threat to the monastery were any measures
6 taken within the brigade to ensure that protection was provided for the
8 A. At that time our military police platoon was securing the
9 monastery. Later on when I assumed the post of the command of the 306th
10 Mountain Brigade, we relocated the brigade command in order to protect
11 the monastery because as our duties increased, wasn't sure -- we weren't
12 sure that the military police would be able to protect the monastery at
13 all times. So we managed to protect this monastery because we were aware
14 of what it meant for our history, of its historical significance, and we
15 were aware the consequences of its destruction might have.
16 Q. Mr. Karic, how far away were the combat lines with the HVO? How
17 far away from Guca Gora and the monastery were the combat lines facing
18 the HVO? And I'm referring to the period after the event that took place
19 on the 8th of June.
20 A. Well, they were about 2 kilometres away as the crow flies, so
21 within the range of small calibre mortars.
22 Q. Did you witness the area of Guca Gora coming under the attack and
23 any buildings or facilities in Guca Gora?
24 A. Yes. I did witness a mortar attack on the monastery in Guca
25 Gora. This was an HVO attack. Luckily some of the military policemen
1 survived. These were policemen who were in part of the monastery -- who
2 were staying in part of the monastery.
3 Q. When that shell fell on the monastery, did the army take any
4 measures in relation to that act? And if so, what sort of measures did
5 it take?
6 A. To the extent that this was possible, we managed to repair the
7 roof and the walls and to make it look fairly normal.
8 Q. According to some of the witnesses, the monastery was handed over
9 to those to whom it belonged again, to priests -- to the priests from
10 that monastery. Tell me, do you know when this took place and how the
11 monastery was returned to these people?
12 A. I was personally present when the monastery was handed over to
13 these people, to members of the clergy. I know that at the request of
14 the church, we soon left the monastery. The command and its attached
15 units left and relocated. And when handing the monastery over to these
16 people, there were no problems.
17 Q. Was the monastery intact and what did members of the clergy tell
18 you at the time? Did they have any comments to make, any objections to
19 raise? Did they express their opinions on that occasion?
20 A. When the monastery was handed over to them, they didn't have any
21 objections to raise; on the contrary, they thanked us for what we had
22 done and they congratulated us. That's what they did, literally.
23 Q. Thank you. I just have a few more questions. You said that you
24 found out that these HVO members had been kidnapped, HVO members escorted
25 by members of the 306th Brigade. Did you find out who kidnapped those
1 HVO members?
2 A. Well, according to the information we had, the HVO members were
3 kidnapped by members of the mujahedin detachment. And perhaps there was
4 some local people accompanying them as well. That's a possibility.
5 Q. Was it possible to find out who these local people were? Did
6 they conceal their identity in some way or was it possible to find out
7 who they were?
8 A. If it had been possible, we would have discovered their identity.
9 As far as I know, although this was the duty of a different organ in the
10 brigade, in spite of all the attempts we made to find out about this, to
11 find out who these people were, we were unable to do so.
12 Q. Mr. Karic, since you were the assistant commander for logistics,
13 tell me whether the mujahedin provided logistics support for the 306th
14 Brigade and for you as the assistant commander of logistics.
15 A. No, never.
16 Q. As assistant commander for logistics, did you provide certain
17 equipment and logistics support for those foreigners who were in
19 A. We couldn't even provide our units with logistics support, let
20 alone anyone else.
21 Q. As a member of the 306th Brigade command, do you know whether at
22 any time in 1993 these foreigners were placed under the command of the
23 306th Brigade?
24 A. There were never any foreigners in the 306th Mountain Brigade.
25 I'm not aware of them ever being placed under the command of the 306th
1 Mountain Brigade.
2 Q. After these events and after the combat operations in June, did
3 you and in brigade come across incidents of looting? And if so, do you
4 know what measures were taken?
5 A. I can only tell you what I found out from other organs, at
6 meetings, et cetera. The brigade was in such a situation that its
7 defence lines were not only doubled but it had even more defence lines
8 than that. As I said, military police had certain duties, they had to
9 protect the Guca Gora monastery, they had to protect certain families
10 that had stayed on, families of Croatian nationality that had stayed on
11 after the fighting. People did speak about looting; I don't know how
12 extensive this was, but I do know that we all did everything we could at
13 the time to prevent such incidents from occurring.
14 Q. Mr. Karic, in such a vast and inaccessible area, the organs that
15 informed you about the measures that were taken, did they also inform you
16 and did you personally know what sort of difficulties these military
17 police organs faced when trying to determine the identity of the people
18 involved in looting?
19 A. As far as I know, according to the information I have obtained
20 from other organs at briefings, I know that there are many people in that
21 area who weren't originally from Travnik municipality but they had been
22 expelled from areas under the control of the Serbian aggressor.
23 Furthermore, some people came from municipalities that had been
24 ethnically cleansed by the HVO. And then in that area there were members
25 of many units, the 314th, the 17th, members of the 7th Muslim Brigade who
1 were on leave, members of units attached to the staff, and so on. So
2 when certain perpetrators were indicated, sometimes such perpetrators had
3 two or three identity cards. Naturally, we tried to establish the
4 identity of each brigade member on the basis of papers, but problems
5 occurred. I wasn't able to ensure that everyone had photographs and had
6 these identity cards. So there were problems; that's certain. But as
7 far as members of the 306th at that time are concerned, I assume that the
8 security organ was functioning properly and members of -- a lot of
9 members of the 306th Brigade were detained to the extent that this was
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Karic.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have no further
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's 20 past 12.00.
15 We'll have a break and we will resume at about 10 to 1.00.
16 --- Recess taken at 12.23 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 12.52 p.m.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm turning to the Defence to
19 see if they have any questions for this witness.
20 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We
21 have a few questions for this witness.
22 Cross-examined by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
23 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Karic, in the course of your testimony you
24 said in 1993 you were the assistant commander for logistics. And towards
25 the end of 1993 you were the deputy commander, in fact. Is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. When performing those duties at that period, I assume that you
3 had contact with and knew which BH army units were in the Bila Valley.
4 A. Well, I should have known.
5 Q. When you mentioned the formation of units and brigades and you
6 mentioned men from the Bila Valley who joined various BH army units, I
7 think it's page 42 of the transcript, you said that they were recruited
8 into 312th, 314th, the 17th Krajina Brigade, the 306th Brigade, and you
9 said that individuals also joined the 7th Brigade. Is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. When you said individuals, could you tell us what you meant by
12 individuals exactly.
13 A. Men who were liable for military service.
14 Q. Were there a few people who joined this brigade than men who
15 entered the 312th, 306th, et cetera?
16 A. Yes. This concerned a very small number of men.
17 Q. A very small number of men?
18 A. A very small number of men joined the 7th Muslim Brigade. I'm
19 referring to men from the Bila Valley.
20 Q. If I understand you correctly, there were no organised units in
21 the Bila Valley, in the establishment sense, there were no organised
23 A. As far as I know I don't think there was an organised formation
24 of the 7th Muslim Brigade in the Bila Valley.
25 Q. Let's now go back to the 8th of June, or rather to the beginning
1 of June 1993. You've already answered a question put to you by my
2 colleague Ms. Residovic, and at the time you said you were in the command
3 of the 1st Battalion in Mehurici. Is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. In response to a question put to you by Ms. Residovic, you said
6 that some of your units after returning from Bukovica launched a
7 counterattack in the direction of the HVO lines. You were referring to
8 units of the 306th Brigade, weren't you?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Mr. Karic, on the day we have spoken about, the 7th and 8th of
11 June, 1993, when you were in the 1st Battalion command in Mehurici,
12 according to the information you have there are no members of the 7th
13 Brigade in Mehurici at the time who may have participated in the combat
15 A. As far as I know, there were no such members.
16 Q. Thank you very much.
17 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we have no
18 further questions.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll turn to the Prosecution
20 now, who may conduct their cross-examination. We have another 45 minutes
22 MR. NEUNER: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning, Your
23 Honour. Good morning to everybody in and around the courtroom.
24 Good morning, Witness. My name is Mathias Neuner. I'm putting a
25 couple of questions to you and in case you don't understand the question,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 please ask me to rephrase it or ask it in another way and I will try to
2 do so.
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Neuner:
4 Q. Mr. Karic, you testified you were a member of the SDA. Is this
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You were also a member of the SDA main board; is this correct?
8 A. No, it's not correct. I was a member of the parliament. I was
9 in the Assembly of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And sometimes I
10 attended meetings of the main committee of the SDA. As a member of the
11 parliament, I wasn't a member of the main board of the SDA.
12 Q. I understand. As a non-member of the SDA main board you attended
13 meetings of the SDA. For example, in November 1993, did you attend such
14 a meeting in Zenica, a meeting of the SDA main board?
15 A. I'm not sure, but that's possible. I'm not sure, but perhaps I
16 did attend that meeting.
17 Q. Did you attend any meetings of the SDA main board in Central
18 Bosnia? Do you remember attending any of the meetings in Central Bosnia
19 in 1993, late 1992?
20 A. I cannot recall the dates and places, but if you have certain
21 knowledge as to when that was, what the topic was at the main board
22 meeting, then I can tell you whether I was there or not, because my
23 attendance at the main board meetings was not compulsory. However, if
24 you have any knowledge pointing to the fact that I was there, please go
25 ahead and ask.
1 Q. I'll switch the topic. If I may go to August 1993. In August
2 1993, were you attending a session of the RBiH Assembly? Do you recall
4 A. Whenever I was able to attend meetings of the RBiH Assembly I did
5 so. Now, it's the same as with the other case, records and minutes were
6 kept of the people attending the assemblies. I would be unless I was
7 prevented from doing so. Was that a session in Sarajevo? Is that the
9 Q. I have looked at a document indicating to me that in August 1993
10 you attended such a session. At this moment I cannot tell you exactly
11 where the meeting was. I just had your name mentioned on the -- on one
12 of the minutes of the assembly session. I'll switch to another topic. I
13 switch --
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. What objection do you
15 have, Counsel? Don't forget that the cross-examination is there to test
16 the credibility of the witness.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] We have no problems with that,
18 Your Honour. The witness would have to show documents or be shown
19 documents to refresh his memory. The Prosecution should show him
20 documents to refresh his memory, otherwise there's no point in checking
21 it out.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
23 The Prosecution, would they like to respond? Do you have a
24 document to present to this witness?
25 MR. NEUNER: Your Honours, I have a document to present to this
1 witness, but not in relation to his political career. I just thought as
2 an opening question I could ask this question. But as I indicated
3 earlier, I'm prepared to switch to questions relating to the military
4 career, which I will do now.
5 Q. You were appointed as assistant commander for --
6 A. If I might be -- I do apologise. But may I -- may I make a
7 comment? Sometimes I wasn't able to attend one parliamentary session or
8 three. I just can't remember the dates. But I did do my best to attend
9 parliamentary sessions regularly, because it was the parliament of my own
10 country, after all.
11 Q. I understand that. Thank you.
12 Turning to your appointment as assistant commander for logistics
13 for the 306 Brigade. You were appointed in March 1993?
14 A. I was appointed to assistant commander for logistics of the 306th
15 Brigade in the month of November or December, I believe.
16 Q. Just to refresh your memory, may I ask the usher to distribute a
17 new document, with the Trial Chamber's permission.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bourgon.
19 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Mr.
20 President, the Defence notes that this is a new document which is neither
21 on the list of documents put forward by the Prosecution at the beginning
22 of the case nor a document admitted into evidence during the presentation
23 of evidence. So we should like to address the Chamber without the
24 witness's presence.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
1 Mr. Usher, would you escort the witness out of the courtroom for
2 a few minutes until we deal with the matter.
3 [The witness stands down]
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have the floor, Mr.
6 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. The
7 question that we'd like to address is the use of documents by the
8 Prosecution during the presentation of Prosecution -- of evidence put
9 forward by the Defence, in the Defence case. Documents that can be used
10 by the Prosecution is regulated by Article 65 ter (E)(iii), Rules of
11 Procedure and Evidence. And according to 65 ter (E)(iii), the
12 Prosecution must supply the Defence first of all with a list of all the
13 exhibits that it intends to use during the case and to give a copy of the
14 same to the Defence.
15 We submit, respectfully, that this procedure is directly related
16 to Article 21, paragraph 4(A) of the Statute of the international
17 Tribunal, which states that it is the right of an accused to be fully
18 informed of the nature and details of the charges brought against him at
19 the earliest opportunity. And one wonders, Mr. President, whether this
20 was carried out and that on two levels: first of all, so that the
21 accused should not be taken by surprise in preparing his defence case;
22 and secondly, Mr. President, that the accused could have enough time and
23 the means necessary to prepare his defence.
24 The case before the international Tribunal is divided into two
25 parts. First of all, you have the presentation of evidence put forward
1 by the Prosecution, that is to say the Prosecution case; and then a
2 second stage, the Defence case where the representatives of the accused
3 put forward their case. The division of the trial into two parts is not
4 a question of common law or civil law, it is rather a question of the
5 Rules and Statute of the international Tribunal. And after the
6 Prosecution case has been put forward, we suggest, Mr. President, that
7 the accused has to know all the charges that have been made against him,
8 and that the Prosecution cannot divide its case in such a way by showing
9 certain documents during the Prosecution case and keeping back reserve
10 documents, additional documents, that it will bring out in due course,
11 because that will be in violation of the principle of a Prosecution case
12 recognised by the European human-rights court.
13 So, Mr. President, we once again ask ourselves what the purpose
14 was for dividing these two parts, as it is the right of the accused to
15 remain silent, and more importantly, if there is no proof at the end of
16 the presentation of the Prosecution case, the accused -- it is not up to
17 the accused to present a defence if a case hasn't been made. If there --
18 a case has been moved according to the Chamber's ruling on a motion
19 following Article 98 bis of the Rules of Procedure, the accused is then
20 required to present his defence case. And one asks what the position is,
21 of the Prosecution doing that Defence case presentation.
22 So one must understand the position of the accused during that
23 second stage, and it would be useful to look at the equality of arms
24 question in this regard. And I submit respectfully, Mr. President, that
25 the equality of arms before the International Criminal Tribunal, just
1 like before all other penal courts does not imply that the parties have
2 the same status or play the same role or have the same reason for being a
3 case before the international Tribunal. You have the Prosecution and its
4 role, which is to set forth a theory for accusing and charging the
5 accused. And the accused has to -- the burden of proof is on the part of
6 the Prosecution and not on the accused. So we must ask ourselves what
7 the role and status of the accused is. It is, first of all, the
8 presumption of innocence and the right to carry out a full defence case,
9 present a full defence case.
10 So the equality of arms, in our opinion, Mr. President, means
11 that the two parties should have the means to fulfil their respective
12 roles and differing roles. That is what we believe to be the substance
13 of the equality of arms, which brings us back to the position of the
14 accused -- and the Prosecution. The Prosecution has charges against two
15 accused. They have had five years to investigate and present all the
16 elements in the Prosecution case. In -- and if there are some new facts
17 that come to light in the course of the second stage of the trial, that
18 is to say during the Defence case, the rules provide relying on Article
19 85(A)(3)(i) that the Prosecution has the right to reply. And this right
20 to reply can mean calling new witnesses. The Prosecution can call new
21 witnesses and also present new evidence in rebuttal. So when the Defence
22 case goes ahead in the second stage, this is not the moment when the
23 Prosecution can bring up new documents.
24 And in conclusion, Mr. President, it is the position of the
25 Defence with respect to the principles I have just referred to that
1 during the cross-examination, we submit, Mr. President, the Prosecution
2 can of course utilise documents that have already been admitted into
3 evidence. Moreover, there is no obligation on the part of the
4 Prosecution to give us full notice of those documents because we already
5 have them all; they have already been tendered. However, we should like
6 to note that in order to have fair play prevail, we always like to inform
7 the Prosecution of the documents that we ourselves are going to use with
8 the witnesses that are to be heard in the Defence case.
9 And we would like to hope that we would be given the same
10 treatment by the Prosecution, because the obligations that rest on the
11 Defence are to supply all the documents to the Prosecution, which is
12 something which we have done in major part. It is an ongoing process, of
13 course, and every time we have a witness we inform the Prosecution of the
14 documents that we shall be utilising, which we are not obliged to do if
15 we follow the letter of the rules.
16 The second source of documents that can be used during a
17 cross-examination are documents which have not been admitted into
18 evidence but which existed on the original list of the Prosecutor, that
19 is to say the list presented during -- on the basis of the pre-trial
20 process and Rule 65 ter. Therefore, Mr. President, we feel that if the
21 Prosecution would like to use a document that comes under that section
22 they are free to do so, but they must inform us in advance. They
23 themselves have to prepare the document and we can discuss the document
24 with the accused.
25 The most important question, Mr. President, has to do with new
1 documents, ones that have not been exhibited and have not been included
2 on the Prosecutor's list. And those documents, Mr. President, we submit
3 cannot be utilised by the Prosecution during the Defence case unless, of
4 course, they have applied to the Chamber to do so and have the documents
5 added to their list, explaining why they were not able to come by those
6 documents earlier on. So the new documents that we referred to had to do
7 with the Prosecution's case and the motion that it has been pending for
8 five years, especially after the Prosecution case has been concluded.
9 And that is the Prosecution's prerogative.
10 We should also like to say, Mr. President, those documents should
11 be supplied in rebuttal, and when the Prosecution comes up with new
12 documents and when it knows that it would like to utilise those documents
13 at all stages of the Defence case, the document must be divulged,
14 disclosed, to the Defence teams.
15 Having said that, Mr. President, there is always an exception and
16 we can understand that an exception can be made. If a witness was
17 mentioned by the Prosecution, the Prosecution can then move to discredit
18 the witness, attack his credibility, and impeach him. And in order to do
19 so, perhaps they need a precise, specific, document, where a lie was
20 stated on the part of an individual. And in that case, we would never
21 prevent the Prosecution from shattering the credibility of the witness.
22 Of course, we always believe our witnesses to be credible, but we can
23 always be surprised in the opposite direction, as has been the case in
24 previous instances.
25 So I think that the positions of the Prosecution and the Defence
1 teams are different. It is the Prosecution who has the burden of proof,
2 and we have the presumption of innocence and rights derived from that
3 fact. So we should like to ask that if new documents are being utilised
4 that they should be presented to the Trial Chamber first in a motion
5 explaining why they were not able to be presented earlier on, as provided
6 for by the rules and regulations.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm now going to give the floor
8 to the Prosecution, but let me summarise. The problem which was raised
9 by the Defence is the following: The Defence has noted that the document
10 which the Prosecution wishes to produce was not disclosed to the Defence
11 in keeping with Article 66 or Rule 66 and Rule 68 of the Rules of
12 Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal. And that therefore it is a new
13 document and must be considered as such, a completely new document which
14 the Defence has suddenly discovered today.
15 Now, the Defence says that since it is a new document, the
16 Prosecution always has the possibility of introducing the document once
17 the stage of Rule 85 allows the Prosecutor to enter into rebuttal. And
18 then the Prosecution can bring in new witnesses and supply a new list of
19 exhibits containing new documents. But in the stage in which the Defence
20 has been disclosed the majority of the documents, it is no longer
21 possible for the Prosecution to bring up new documents, except, as the
22 Defence has said, given a hypothetical, in a hypothetical case where the
23 Prosecution has proof or elements allowing it to conclude that the
24 witness is lying. Now, in that hypothetical case, then it must inform
25 the Defence thereof and inform the Trial Chamber above all, so that we
1 can discuss the matter. So at this stage the Defence is assuming that
2 the document produced was not one that was on the list of exhibits
3 provided by the Prosecution and it objects to it.
4 So I think that I have precised and summarised the position taken
5 by the Defence earlier on. We should like to have a response from the
6 Prosecution with respect to the possibility on the part of the
7 Prosecution of producing a new document, what they have to say, and put
8 it to a witness during the examination of a Defence witness. I'm going
9 to give you the floor, and of course we should like to know -- you will
10 be hearing whether you can use the document or not.
11 If it is a complex matter, you might like to give your answer in
12 due course, at some later date.
13 MS. BENJAMIN: Well, Mr. President, you took the words out of my
14 mouth. I was just about to ask the Chamber to give the Prosecution some
15 time so as to review this matter. But I wish to say on behalf of the
16 Prosecution team and the Prosecution that I represent, the Prosecution is
17 in no way - and I would like to assure my colleagues - in no way intends
18 to ambush the Defence in any way. I think somewhere along the line there
19 might have been a misinterpretation with respect to the disclosure, and I
20 write it down to inexperience, perhaps on the part of this Prosecution
21 team. And in light of that I wish to apologise if in fact that is what
22 the Defence thinks the Prosecution has set out to do. And we would ask
23 the Trial Chamber to allow us some time within which to respond. Thanks.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I'll give you the
25 floor again in a minute. The Prosecution has said that they will respond
1 to this legal issue that you have raised, but they need time. The
2 Prosecution claims that they did not want to put the witness into any
4 Mr. Bourgon.
5 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Very
6 rapidly: I wouldn't want the Prosecution to have the impression that we
7 thought they were trying to lay an ambush for us. We just claim that
8 according to the rules, documents should be filed before the trial and if
9 new documents arrive in the course of the procedure -- in the course of
10 the trial, this should be dealt with then. There are certain rules to be
12 With regard to the Defence's arguments, you mentioned the Rules
13 66 and 68 of the rules. Mr. President, according to Rule 66, this is a
14 rule that concerns the pre-trial phase. And because of Rule 65, this
15 rule is no longer in force. Rule 65 concerns the exhibits that the
16 Prosecution wants to tender into evidence. Rule 68 is always applicable
17 as soon as the Prosecution has exculpatory documents. These documents
18 should be provided to us. This is done on a continual basis by the
19 Prosecution. Thank you, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 Defence counsel for the other accused, is there anything you
22 would like to say about the legal issue? Mr. Dixon.
23 MR. DIXON: Thank you, Your Honours. If I can support the
24 submissions that have been made by Mr. Bourgon, there's nothing further
25 to add on those.
1 Other than in respect to this particular document itself, which
2 is an order from the supreme command staff. It's another one of the
3 documents that comes from the command staff in Sarajevo. There was a
4 previous document a few weeks ago that fitted into the same category
5 which was not admitted into evidence, primarily because the witness
6 concerned at that stage wasn't able to identify the document in any way.
7 And our submission in relation to this particular document would be
8 precisely the same, that the witness concerned, mainly involved the 306
9 command, is not going to be in a position to comment on a document that
10 comes from the supreme command, which in fact was signed by the supreme
11 chief Mr. Sefer Halilovic. And the Prosecution might seek to suggest
12 that because there's certain information in the document or because the
13 witness is named in the document that he might have something to say
14 about it. In our submission, that is the wrong approach to take. If
15 there is something which the Prosecution wish to ask the witness about
16 which might be mentioned in the document, they can do that through their
17 examination. They needn't show a document to a witness simply because
18 his name is mentioned in it. If there are to be connections made between
19 what a witness says and a particular document, those can always be done
20 at the appropriate stage, which is when the Prosecution present their
21 closing argument. So if our submission the Prosecution should only put
22 documents to the witness where they are able to identify the document and
23 be able to comment on the contents of the document, but not simply
24 because there might be some connection to the witness concerned.
25 So our objection remains the same as for the previous document
1 and for all the more general reasons that Mr. Bourgon has outlined.
2 Thank you, Your Honours.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE SWART: May I ask the Prosecutor, do you want to submit the
5 document to test the credibility of the witness or has it a different
7 MR. NEUNER: Your Honour, the document was an appointment order.
8 This witness was, according to the document, being appointed on the 12th
9 of March, 1993, to the position of assistant commander for logistics in
10 the 306 Brigade. And the reason why I wanted to put it to him, and I
11 actually stated it on the record, was that I wanted to refresh his memory
12 with regard to the dates.
13 Secondly, this document in B/C/S and English had been disclosed
14 in advance to the Defence yesterday afternoon, and there is no procedural
15 unfairness, insofar that this was advanced notice. And the reason why
16 this document was or would have been put to the witness would just have
17 been to refresh him with regard to the actual appointment.
18 And that the appointments within the ABiH are made by the supreme
19 command is certainly true -- and since it was raised here by my learned
20 colleague. But the Prosecution believes that since our witness has been
21 appointed on the 12th of March, 1993, he must have received one way or
22 the other an appointment or a notification of this appointment order.
23 So for the very fact that -- so it was not intended to put the witness in
24 any embarrassing situation at all, just on the contrary: to refresh his
25 knowledge with regard to certain events which are -- which have been in
1 the past which are 11 years -- which have taken place 11 years ago. And
2 the Prosecution actually intended to help this witness in refreshing his
4 And the document, as I said, has been disclosed to the Defence
5 yesterday afternoon.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Given the issue
8 that has been raised, we will withdraw to discuss the issue and we will
9 return very soon.
10 --- Break taken at 1.31 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 1.33 p.m.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Chamber has discussed the
13 matter to see whether the Prosecution can show this witness the document
14 to refresh the witness's enemy -- memory. Since the Defence has raised a
15 legal issue that concerns the disclosure of new documents and since the
16 Prosecution wants time to respond to this legal issue, the Trial Chamber
17 believes that the Prosecution should not show this document to the
18 witness at this stage. And naturally, the Chamber will render its
19 decision on the issue raised once the Prosecution has informed us of its
21 We will now continue with the hearing. We'll call the witness
22 back into the courtroom and you may continue with your cross-examination,
23 but you should not show the witness this document which we will return to
25 MS. BENJAMIN: The Prosecution is obliged to the Chamber. Thank
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You may proceed.
4 MR. NEUNER:
5 Q. Can you please state again when you were appointed to the
6 position of assistant commander of this 306 Brigade, in what month.
7 A. Well, I performed the duties of the assistant commander for
8 logistics in the 306th Brigade from the time when the brigade was formed.
9 That was in November or December 2000 -- I apologise, 1992.
10 Q. And you testified that in April 1993 you were arriving from
11 Sarajevo -- no. Excuse me. In April 1992 you were arriving from
12 Sarajevo to the area of Travnik; is this correct?
13 A. I wasn't permanently present in Sarajevo. I resided in the
14 municipality of Travnik, where I had a full-time job. In April 1992 I
15 came from Sarajevo to the municipality of Travnik, to the village of
17 Q. As assistant commander for logistics in the 306 Brigade, to whom
18 did you report? Who was your superior?
19 A. My superior as assistant commander for logistics was the
20 commander of the 306th Mountain Brigade -- that's as far as commanding is
21 concerned. But I had constant contact with the logistics in the
22 3rd Corps, and mostly with the operations organ in the 3rd Corps.
23 Q. What was the name of your superior and your other superior in the
24 3rd Corps logistical organ in spring 1993?
25 A. I only had one superior, that was the commander of the 306th
1 Mountain Brigade. In November 1993, is that your question? Could you
2 please repeat the question.
3 Q. I wanted to know from you in spring 1993 to whom in the 3rd Corps
4 did you send reports? Who was the person in the 3rd Corps to whom you
5 sent reports?
6 A. Well, this question is a little different from the previous one,
7 at least the way in which I understand it. My request in terms of
8 logistics of the 306th Brigade were made to the logistics service in the
9 3rd Corps.
10 Q. You stated that outside your direct area of responsibility, there
11 was also logistical base in Travnik, if I remember correctly. Within the
12 3rd Corps area, were there other logistical -- logistic bases, do you
13 remember, in 1993?
14 A. I'd like to clarify this, too. In wartime conditions and when
15 there is an imminent threat of war, all state organs were obliged to do
16 everything they could so that units of the BH army, that is to say the
17 armed forces of the BH Republic, could be fully functional. And it's in
18 that sense that I spoke about the logistics base in Travnik. Whether it
19 was the War Presidency or whether there was some sort of logistics base
20 there, I wouldn't go into that now.
21 As for your own question you asked whether there was another
22 logistics base or any other logistic bases in our zone of responsibility.
23 What do you mean when you say "in our zone of responsibility"?
24 Q. I assume that you stationed supplies for your troops somewhere in
25 the area of responsibility of the 306 Brigade. Where were such
1 logistical posts or logistical bases within the 306 Brigade, if I start
3 A. During which period?
4 Q. In 1993.
5 A. Very well. Let me clarify a few things. As I have already said,
6 I've told you about the supplies we had when answering a question put to
7 me by Ms. Residovic. We didn't have a lot of supplies; we had almost no
8 supplies. This varied depending on the brigade concerned. The 306th
9 Mountain Brigade had a mountain post in Rudnik, and that is where I was
10 positioned. Each battalion command also had its command post and they
11 had warehouses there. And most of the supplies we had -- well, we had
12 very few reserve supplies and often we had no supplies, but these
13 supplies, the ones that we had, were on the lines, they were kept on the
14 lines. When we only had a front facing the Serbian and Montenegrin
15 aggressor, that's where these supplies were kept and that's the zone of
16 responsibility of the 306th Brigade. And when the problems arose with
17 the HVO, when a conflict broke out with the HVO, we then had all the
18 logistics supplies in the area of the lines.
19 So with regard to the 306th Brigade's zone of responsibility, you
20 can't say the command is in Rudnik and then there is a battalion in
21 Krpeljici, et cetera. You can't say that that's the zone of
22 responsibility of the 306th Brigade. That wasn't the zone of
23 responsibility of the 306th Brigade. Our zone of responsibility was the
24 front line, first of all. The front line facing the Serbian and
25 Montenegrin aggressor. We know where the 306th Brigade held the lines.
1 And later, when fighting broke with the HVO, our zone of responsibility
2 was the front line facing the HVO.
3 Q. The 1st Battalion of the 306 Brigade, where was the logistical
4 base? Was it in the school in Mehurici or was it somewhere else?
5 A. There are also a few things I'd like to clarify in response to
6 this question. The 1st Battalion of the 306th Brigade was called in that
7 way according to the establishment rules. But in fact, in terms of
8 establishment, it represented one company and it had some attached
9 battalion units. And these were our reserve forces in the case of an
10 attack. Or if there were any problems at the lines, these were the
11 forces we would use to resupply the line. So it wasn't a full battalion.
12 And since it was a sort of manoeuvre unit - it was supposed to be a
13 manoeuvre unit - the equipment that they had was on the whole kept at the
14 command post in Mehurici.
15 Q. And the command post in Mehurici, was this the Mehurici school?
16 Please say just yes or no.
17 A. As far as I can remember, yes.
18 Q. To your knowledge, in 1993 how many people were working there at
19 the logistical post in the school in 306, dealing with logistics?
20 A. One department at the most -- one squad at the most.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
22 MR. NEUNER:
23 Q. I want to ask you about the presence of the logistical treatment
24 of units in the 306 Brigade.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] How much more time do you need,
1 since it's a quarter to 2.00? Because we withdrew as a result of the
2 objection. But how much more time do you need?
3 MR. NEUNER: I could continue tomorrow, Your Honours, with this
4 line of questioning.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But how much time, how many
6 minutes do you need for this witness now?
7 MR. NEUNER: In this moment? In general?
8 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Presiding Judge, please.
9 MR. NEUNER: I note that the examination-in-chief took one hour
10 and 20 minutes by the Defence. The Prosecution would have questions for
11 this amount of time as well.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It would be best to
13 adjourn now and continue tomorrow.
14 Sir, you will have to return tomorrow morning since we cannot
15 continue; for technical reasons this is not possible. The courtroom is
16 not available, the interpreters are not available. So please return to
17 the hearing that will start tomorrow at 9.00. I will ask the usher to
18 escort you out of the courtroom now.
19 [The witness stands down]
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I am addressing the Defence
21 now. According to the schedule you have provided us with, this witness
22 should have been examined by the end of today. He'll continue on
23 Wednesday, though. Two witnesses were scheduled for Wednesday. One
24 might be examined on Friday. On Friday there will be another witness.
25 For the two days that remain, Wednesday and Thursday, we have three
1 witnesses. Will you be able to finish with the three witnesses in two
2 days' time?
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have already
4 said that on the list we have provided you with there was a mistake
5 because the third witness, Jusic Sejad, was added to it and we heard this
6 witness two days ago. So in fact we have two other witnesses in addition
7 to this one. And I think that we will be able to examine both witnesses,
8 finish the examination of both witnesses by Thursday.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 We will now adjourn and I will see you all at the hearing at 9.00
11 tomorrow. We will be continuing with the cross-examination then. Thank
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.50 p.m.,
14 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 10th day of
15 November, 2004, at 2.15 p.m.