1 Tuesday, 30 November 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, will you please
6 call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Case
8 IT-01-47-T, the Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 Can we have the appearances for the Prosecution, please.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning, Your
12 Honours, counsel, and everyone in and around the courtroom. For the
13 Prosecution, Stefan Waespi and Daryl Mundis. We are assisted today by our
14 intern Lisa Hartog and our case manager Andres Vatter.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can we have the appearances for
16 the Defence?
17 Mr. Registrar, what are we going to do about this noise?
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President. Good
19 morning, Your Honours. On behalf of Enver Hadzihasanovic, Edina
20 Residovic, lead counsel, Stefane Bourgon, co-counsel, and Muriel Cauvin,
21 legal assistant. Thank you.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 The other Defence team?
24 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. On
25 behalf of Mr. Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and Nermin
1 Mulalic, legal assistant.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Chamber bids good morning to
3 everyone, but I'm afraid we can't go on like this.
4 [Technical difficulty]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It seems to be working now. The
6 Chamber bids good morning to all those present. I didn't have time to say
7 this because we were having technical difficulties. Good morning to the
8 Prosecution, counsel, and the accused, as well as all the personnel of
9 this courtroom, without forgetting the interpreters who are behind the
11 In view of the fact that we had this problem, I would like to ask
12 the registrar that we go into private session.
13 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in private session,
14 Mr. President.
15 [Private session]
12 Page 12568 – redacted – private session.
13 Page 12569 – redacted – private session.
11 [Closed session]
12 Pages 12571 to 12578 – redacted – closed session.
19 [Open session]
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll give the floor to the
21 Defence counsel now.
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, before I start
23 examining the witness, I think it would be customary to give the witness a
24 sheet of paper on which he will note down his name, family name, and his
25 initials HB. This document will later be sealed. This is in order to
1 know the identity of the witness.
2 THE WITNESS: [Marks].
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The Trial Chamber
4 will have a look at the document. Could you also write down the date.
5 It's the 30th of November, 2004.
6 THE WITNESS: [Marks].
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Show the date to the Defence,
8 and to Mr. Mundis, too.
9 Mr. Registrar, could we have a number for this document.
10 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] The number will be DH349, under
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may proceed,
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Examined by Ms. Residovic:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness HB.
17 A. Good morning.
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, could we go into
19 private session again as I want to ask the witness some questions that
20 relate to his identity.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll go into
22 private session.
23 [Private session]
16 [Open session]
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We can't see the
18 little logo anymore, so we are in open session.
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. HB, tell me, where were you when the JNA and the Serbian army
21 attacked Bosnia-Herzegovina in April 1992?
22 A. I was at home, in Banja Luka.
23 Q. Did you ever leave Banja Luka, and under what conditions?
24 A. Yes. I left Banja Luka around October 1992. I was in the prison
25 in Banja Luka before that. The authorities at the time in Banja Luka had
1 imprisoned me because allegedly I didn't have a permit to move around
2 freely. And so I spent some time in the prison in the former police
3 station in Banja Luka, and then in the Kozara barracks. Finally I went to
4 Rakovacka Bara. That was a collection centre where they sent people to
5 the army. Some captain released me there and gave me 24 hours to leave
6 Banja Luka.
7 Q. Mr. HB, did you leave Banja Luka within 24 hours? If not, why
8 not? Or rather, did you leave Banja Luka at all?
9 A. No. I didn't leave Banja Luka within 24 hours because it was
10 impossible to do so. I had problems with my health, as I had been beaten
11 up. I was bleeding. And it was necessary to obtain a lot of permits.
12 But I left Banja Luka three or four days later.
13 Q. Where did you go after that?
14 A. I left Banja Luka by bus. I went to Zagreb.
15 Q. Did you stay in Zagreb, and if so, where?
16 A. When I arrived in Zagreb, the authorities that were receiving
17 refugees in Croatia received me. As they saw that I had problems with my
18 health, they placed me in the hospital where there were wounded Bosnians
19 from the war. It was in the building of the tobacco factory Sarajevo.
20 But I'm not sure of that.
21 Q. In response to a question already put to you, Mr. HB, you said
22 that sometime in October you went to Bosnia again. Who did you go to
23 Bosnia with, and where did you go?
24 A. I told the people in the hospital that I wanted to go to Bosnia
25 because I considered myself a patriot. And there was an organised convoy
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 consisting of a number of buses that was going there. I was put on a bus
2 together with combatants, HVO combatants from Doboj, from the Kotorsko
3 village. I was in the bus with them. I didn't know where I was going.
4 Q. Mr. HB, did you arrive in Zenica, and did you stay on in Zenica?
5 A. Yes, I arrived in Zenica. The buses arrived there. We stayed in
6 Zenica for one day. The soldiers were part of the Doboj corps, and they
7 were going to Tesanj to find accommodation there. They asked me to go
8 with them.
9 Q. Did you accept their invitation? Who did you join? And how long
10 did you stay there?
11 A. Yes, I accepted an invitation. Because I had arrived in Bosnia, I
12 didn't know anyone. I got to know them on that trip to a certain extent.
13 I went to Tesanj with them and became a member of the 203rd Brigade.
14 Q. How long were you a member of the brigade? Did you leave it, and
15 if so, why?
16 A. Well, I was a member of the brigade up until about mid-January
17 1993. Then there was some sort of an announcement, according to which all
18 the people from Krajina were to gather in Travnik and organise themselves
19 to form a Krajina or Banja Luka Brigade. I received permission from the
20 commander to leave, and I said I wanted to join up. I reported.
21 Q. Did you arrive in Travnik, and when, if you did?
22 A. Well, as I said, I arrived in Travnik in mid-January, but when I
23 arrived there, this so-called Banja Luka Brigade, well, it came to
24 nothing. There weren't enough men. So the Territorial Defence sent me to
25 Mehurici, where this brigade should have organised itself, since there was
1 a unit in Mehurici at the time, near Banja Luka, Siprage, Kotor Vares.
2 Q. Did you then go to Mehurici?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And did you find that unit there, which was mainly composed of men
5 from Krajina?
6 A. Yes, I did. And that's where I joined them.
7 Q. Which brigade was that unit from Mehurici a part of?
8 A. That unit was part of the 306th Brigade; it was the 1st Battalion
9 of the 306th Brigade.
10 Q. And where were the headquarters of the 1st Battalion of the 306th
11 Brigade when you first arrived in Mehurici?
12 A. In Mehurici. That's where the headquarters of the 1st Battalion
13 were located.
14 Q. Where were the soldiers and the command billeted? Do you remember
15 which building you were billeted in?
16 A. Naturally. I spent a lot of time there. It was the only primary
17 school in Mehurici. That's where the command was and that's where the
18 unit was, at least the units that had arrived from Kotor Vares, Siprage,
19 Mrkovici. It was fairly mixed. The compensation of the unit was fairly
21 Q. At the time were you assigned any duties, and if so, what kind of
22 duties were you assigned?
23 A. Yes. After a certain period of time, I became the commander of
24 the military police within that unit.
25 Q. Who was your immediate superior in the 1st Battalion of the 306th
2 A. My immediate superior was the chief of security. His name was
3 Hasan Zukanovic.
4 Q. Mr. HB, how many of you were there in the military police unit at
5 the very beginning?
6 A. Well, at the very beginning, there were between eight and ten of
7 us. But sometimes when we had a lot of work to carry out, older
8 combatants from units from Siprage and Kotor Vares, et cetera, would come
9 to assist us.
10 Q. When you say that older -- when you refer to older combatants, are
11 you referring to their age, and if so, how old were these men who, in
12 certain situations, joined your military police unit?
13 A. Yes, I'm referring to their age. On the whole, these men were
14 about 50 years old, or over 50.
15 Q. What sort of tasks did your military police unit have?
16 A. Well, its main tasks were as follows: We had to investigate
17 errors made by combatants; we had to guard the command; and we had to
18 carry out investigations if, for example, men left the lines, abandoned
19 their positions, sold weapons. In some cases, they would even steal the
20 livestock that belonged to the inhabitants.
21 Is it all right now?
22 Q. Mr. HB, what sort of measures were taken against soldiers who
23 violated the rules, or rather, who behaved in the manner that you have
24 just described?
25 A. Well, if we discovered that someone had violated the rules, we
1 would take, on the whole, disciplinary measures. At the time we could
2 only take disciplinary measures.
3 Q. If you found out that a crime had been committed, what sort of
4 authority did the police, or rather, the security organ have? What should
5 you have done in such cases?
6 A. Well, if someone had committed a crime, then we would send a
7 record of the event to the command, to the CSB and the brigade command.
8 And they would then take further action.
9 Q. Against whom could you take measures, or rather, who did you
10 investigate? Over whom did your military police have authority?
11 A. Well, the military police was responsible only for army members.
12 We would only carry out investigations into army members.
13 Q. Mr. HB, if certain offences were committed at the time by
14 individuals who were not army members, in such cases, who would
15 investigate these offences?
16 A. Well, the civilian police would conduct the investigations into
17 such cases.
18 Q. Do you know whether at the time, in Mehurici, the civilian police
19 was present, and do you know how many men it had?
20 A. Yes. I know the military police was near the school, and there
21 were some professional policemen. I think they were policemen before the
22 war, too. And they had some men from the so-called reserve police force
23 who worked with them. We were on good terms. We even cooperated.
24 Q. Mr. HB, when you arrived in the school in mid-January 1993, as you
25 said, were there any other individuals staying in the school who were not
1 members of your battalion?
2 A. No. When I arrived there, when I arrived in the school in
3 Mehurici, there were only members of the 306th Brigade staying there. On
4 the whole, they were from Kotor Vares and Siprage, Mrkonjic Grad; there
5 were a few men from Jajce, and so on. This is where the police were --
6 this is where the men were accommodated.
7 Q. When you arrived in Mehurici, and while staying in Mehurici, did
8 you notice the presence of foreigners in Mehurici, specially foreigners
9 from Afro-Asian countries?
10 A. Yes. I would see them every day. They would pass by in cars. I
11 would see them; they were present there.
12 Q. Do you know who these people were? Do you know where they had
13 come from? And what do you call them at the time?
14 A. Well, I don't know, they looked like Arabs. It seems as if they
15 were from Arab countries. They spoke a different language. The people
16 called them Mujahedin, and I think that was an appropriate name for them.
17 Q. When you arrived in Mehurici, where were they staying?
18 A. They were staying on a hill above Mehurici, about 200 to 300
19 metres away. On a hill, there's a place there where they had some sort of
20 a camp up there, but I never went there.
21 Q. Was that place, where they set up that camp, was that place
23 A. Yes. There was some sort of a wire fence. There were some sort
24 of guards up there, too. And it was only later, when there was an
25 incident of some kind, that I noticed that there was some kind of a hedge
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 around the camp.
2 Q. Mr. HB, was it possible to gain free access to the camp, or
3 rather, do you know whether men from your battalion and brigade had access
4 to that camp?
5 A. Well, no, I don't think that there were any of us who knew what
6 was happening in the camp, nor did any of us ever approach the camp.
7 Q. While you were in the 1st Battalion of the 306th, do you know
8 whether these foreigners, these Mujahedin, trained men from your
10 A. No.
11 Q. Did they provide you with logistic support? Did they provide you
12 with food, weapons, et cetera?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Tell me, did you notice that these foreigners were establishing
15 relations with some of the population in Mehurici and its surroundings,
16 and were there any Bosnians who joined these Mujahedin and stayed in the
17 camp with them or cooperated with them in some other way?
18 A. Well, yes, there were such people. The situation in the village
19 was divided, because there were members of that unit who were from the
20 village. And let me explain something. There was a mosque where the
21 Mujahedin organised prayers or something like that. I don't know what
22 they're called, but they organised an event. They had children going to
23 the mosque, and they would instruct the children there. And I heard this,
24 and I was also present on such an occasion. I heard that some of the
25 older Mujahedin would marry young girls, 13- or 14-year-old girls.
1 Q. Mr. HB, thank you. I would like to talk about the event that you
2 referred to when answering one of my questions. Where were you at the
3 beginning of June 1993?
4 A. At the beginning of June, I was in Mehurici.
5 Q. Could you tell us whether you know what the situation was like in
6 the Bila valley and in your brigade at the time? Were there any problems
7 as far as relations with the HVO are concerned?
8 A. Well, at that time, perhaps at the end of May, the relations
9 between the BH army and the HVO were very tense. I don't know the exact
10 dates, but I can remember certain events. Our villages and the
11 surroundings had been encircled. And on several occasions we received
12 requests for assistance. We received requests to assist a village that
13 had been attacked. I think the name of the village was Bukovica. I can't
14 remember the name of these places very well now, but I think the name of
15 the village was Bukovica.
16 They asked for assistance, but our unit had been broken up. There
17 weren't enough men. Some men couldn't return because the roads had been
18 closed; there were blockades. And at that point in time, we couldn't
19 provide any assistance. And the brigade command was also dispersed. It
20 was in two or three places.
21 So the situation was a bit chaotic, and it wasn't possible to
22 organise ourselves in the way we should have been organised.
23 Q. Mr. HB, nevertheless, at some point in time, did fighting break
24 out, and could you tell us where you were on the 8th of June, 1993?
25 A. Well, I really don't know whether this happened on the 8th of
1 June, but fighting did break out. We weren't able to help Bukovica
2 because we believed that there were a lot of HVO troops up there. And I
3 think that the command issued an order or decided to break through in the
4 direction of Maline and Guca Gora. And it was then decided to carry out
5 this breakthrough.
6 Q. Mr. HB, did you set off to carry out this breakthrough with the
7 units in the morning, and if not, where were you?
8 A. No, I didn't participant in this attempt to penetrate the lines.
9 The command gave me a task as a member of the military police. They said
10 that if they were to managed to penetrate the lines, the military police
11 was to protect the civilians and the civilian population to try to
12 establish some sort of order in the villages that we took or liberated.
13 Q. Did you receive an assignment at some point in time to leave
14 Mehurici, and where were you told to go?
15 A. Yes. I was told to go to Maline, because we had already heard
16 that our troops had broken through the defence lines, that they had
17 entered, and they had to go towards Guca Gora. So our assignment was to
18 assist in the evacuation, or to assist the civilians who were there.
19 Q. Can you remember, Mr. HB, when, roughly, this took place?
20 A. We got there while the fighting was still continuing, but I know
21 that it was about 9.00 or 10.00 in the morning when we reached the
23 Q. And who did you find in the village once you arrived?
24 A. When we arrived in the village, about midway, we came across our
25 soldiers. There was still some shooting, but in the center, in the middle
1 of the village, we found quite a large group of people who had gathered,
2 as well as several members of the HVO who had surrendered. They were
3 simply waiting there, and the troops were waiting for the police to arrive
4 to deal with them.
5 Q. How many of you military policemen arrived at the village at the
7 A. About 10 of us, because many others who were our members had left.
8 We were short of men so that there were about 10 of us.
9 Q. Tell me, Mr. HB, what did you do when you saw this group of
10 villagers and members of the HVO who had surrendered and who were standing
11 in the center of the village?
12 A. There were many civilians - women, children, old people - as well
13 as a number of HVO members who had surrendered. The people were scared;
14 they didn't know what to do, and they were afraid of something. It was
15 difficult to explain and to make a decision in such a situation. People
16 were coming out of their houses. There was even a woman who was wounded,
17 and there were people who could not be moved.
18 Q. Did anyone make a suggestion, who was it, and how did these people
20 A. As it was hard to explain things, because there was shooting, the
21 people were crying, the women were crying, they didn't know what to do,
22 they didn't dare stay in their homes, and I suggested that I take them all
23 because I thought I could put them up in the school in Mehurici where they
24 would be protected. And then the police would make sure that their
25 property was intact and that nobody looted it.
1 Q. These people who had gathered in the center of the village, how
2 did they react to your proposal?
3 A. There were different reactions. Some were in favour of going to
4 Mehurici; others were against it. They didn't want to leave behind their
5 homes, their property, their sick members. Some of them were bedridden;
6 some were elderly, that couldn't walk. So the solution we found was to
7 try and assist the older people and transport them to Mehurici by truck,
8 including a wounded woman who was pregnant, she was transported by truck,
9 whereas the others were to go on foot to Mehurici.
10 Q. How far is Mehurici from Maline?
11 A. I really don't know. I can't be precise, especially after so much
12 time. But if you took the road and you went by car, I think it would be
13 about 13 or 14 kilometres. But if we used the path that we took, it was
14 about 5 or 6 kilometres; that would be my rough estimate.
15 Q. Was the length of the route the only reason why you decided to
16 take a shortcut instead of the road?
17 A. No. The length of the road was one reason, because it's difficult
18 to walk such a distance. However, there was fighting still going on in
19 the valley. We didn't know who we could come across. There were very few
20 of us escorting them. And the lines that our troops had broken through
21 and that had been held by the HVO around the village were mined, so that
22 the route we took to Mehurici was, in my view, the simplest for all of us
23 to reach Mehurici.
24 Q. In view of the fact that you took a shortcut, tell me, how did
25 those people move? What was the formation?
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 A. Well, it was a column. People went freely, three or four in a
2 row. I'm not quite sure, but I think that there were three boxes of hand
3 grenades that we had found in the village, and the HVO members who had
4 surrendered, the prisoners of war, were carrying those boxes, two each.
5 Otherwise, the women, children, and the elderly moved in rows of three or
7 Q. Tell me, how many of you policemen went with those people to
9 A. I think, apart from me, there was another five policemen. I left
10 the rest of them down there to take care of the houses and the property,
11 to look after it.
12 Q. Can you remember, Mr. HB, when it was that you set out towards
13 Mehurici from Maline?
14 A. This could have been about 2.00 or 2.30 or 3.00 in the afternoon.
15 I don't know exactly.
16 Q. You told me how those people were moving, but could you give an
17 estimate, how many locals there were in addition to the HVO members?
18 A. In my estimate, about 200 of them.
19 Q. Mr. HB, did you reach Mehurici without any problems?
20 A. No, we didn't. As we were moving along this path with the column,
21 we were chatting. I would call it a friendly column. We were talking
22 about why all this had happened, that it was a fine country before the
23 war; was it the politicians who were to blame for all this. And, I don't
24 know, it may have been about a kilometre before we reached Mehurici, from
25 a thicket, two masked men jumped out. They demanded that I stop, and they
1 said that they would take over the column. I told them that that was not
2 possible, that we were members of the army and that we were taking the
3 column to Mehurici, to the school there, where I thought they would
4 probably be exchanged for some of our people held by the HVO, and that
5 this would probably be resolved by the Red Cross. No, they demanded that
6 they take them over straight away.
7 Q. Mr. HB, apart from those two men, during this conversation, did
8 you notice anyone else arriving?
9 A. Maybe five or six metres behind these two men were three
10 Mujahedin. But later, when we were really quarrelling quite loudly, they
11 cocked their guns and so I did the same. I don't know whether I was brave
12 or a fool, I don't know, I really don't know. I thought that somehow we
13 would resolve it.
14 Then, from the wood, quite a number of men jumped out with their
15 weapons pointed at us. All of them had some kind of hoods over their
16 faces. And they said that they would kill us all. Whether we give them
17 those people or not, they would kill us all.
18 Q. You said that they cocked their guns. How did they do that with
19 respect to you?
20 A. When these others had jumped out, this tall man, who demanded I
21 surrender the people, he put his automatic rifle into my mouth and told me
22 to drop my weapon. When I turned my head around, I saw that the others
23 were pointing their guns at everyone, and one of them was pointing his gun
24 at my brother, who was also a member of the police.
25 Q. After this reaction on the part of the Mujahedin and the masked
1 men, did you have any chance of resisting or surviving?
2 A. No, I didn't.
3 Q. What happened next?
4 A. I dropped my gun. And the people to the side, I couldn't really
5 see everybody, but they took those people who were carrying the boxes. I
6 don't know how many people they took. Maybe 15, maybe even 20, I don't
7 know. But this was very brief. They just ran into the column, seized
8 some men, and then they went off and let us pass. Everyone was terrified.
9 I was scared and furious. And I ordered that we run as we were passing by
10 the camp, and all of us ran to reach Mehurici.
11 Q. When you reached Mehurici, where did you go with those people you
12 had escorted to Mehurici?
13 A. We first entered the school yard, and then from the yard, in a
14 column, through the corridor, they all went to the sports hall of the
15 elementary school in Mehurici.
16 Q. Let's retrace our steps a little. When you said that they had
17 put -- that one of the men had put his rifle into your mouth, were you
19 A. I was, but not very seriously. They just cut my lip from the
20 barrel of the gun, so I bled a little. But it's not really worth
22 Q. Let us go back again to the time when you left Maline. You said
23 that at first, there were some people who were saying they wanted to go
24 and others who found it hard to leave their homes. At the end, when you
25 moved out, did everyone agree to move, or did you force some people to
1 move with you?
2 A. No. All those who left, left by agreement, because many who
3 didn't want to leave just then, their main reason was that they had
4 somebody old or sick in the family whom they would have to leave. And
5 when we managed to get hold of a truck going to Mehurici, I think five or
6 six old people were evacuated by truck, and a pregnant woman, who was also
7 wounded, she was also evacuated to Mehurici. And that was when the rest
8 of the people all moved out with us.
9 Q. You told us that you reached Maline around 9.00 or 10.00, that you
10 were informed at 9.00 so you got there at about 10, and that you left
11 sometime in the afternoon; you're not sure whether it was 1.00 or 2.00.
12 What happened in the meantime in Maline itself? Did you spend all that
13 time in discussion, or were there any other activities by the military
14 police, preparing the population to move out?
15 A. This is not a small village. It is quite a large village. And
16 having 10 men in the police, it's hard to tell who one could come across.
17 There were soldiers. People were mixed. There was shooting on all sides.
18 And we took care, if we came across a wounded man or somebody, we feared
19 for our own lives, but we assisted. If there were wounded and sick, we
20 tried to prevent any looting or any inappropriate treatment of the
22 Q. While you were in Maline, did you come across a lady doctor and
23 some wounded people, or had they already left Maline?
24 A. When I reached Maline, I didn't find them there. But this lady
25 doctor is someone I met later at the school in Mehurici.
1 Q. When the first two jumped in front of you behind whom there were
2 three Mujahedin, as you explained, these people who spoke to you, were
3 they speaking in their own name or on behalf of the Mujahedin who were
4 with them?
5 A. They were speaking in the plural, and I quote: "We will now take
6 over the care of these people." So this means in the plural, "we." And
7 these two men, this tall one who put his gun in my mouth, he spoke Bosnian
8 or Serbo-Croatian, our language anyway.
9 Q. While you were gathering the population in Maline, did you notice
10 that the houses had been destroyed, or did you see anyone setting fire to
11 those houses?
12 A. No. While we were there, no one did that. There were some houses
13 that had been hit, in the operations perhaps, but there was no torching by
14 soldiers. There was only a few houses from which smoke was coming, but
15 nothing more than that.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's half past 10.00. We're
17 going to have our technical break, and we will resume work around five to
19 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll give the floor to the
22 Defence now.
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Q. Mr. HB, before the break, you said that the population from Maline
25 was placed in the primary school, you placed them in the primary school.
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13 French transcripts correspond
1 Did you provide them with anything to enable them to have accommodation in
2 that sports hall in the primary school?
3 A. Well, when we arrived in the school, there were some mattresses --
4 some mats, rather, that were in the school, and from the place in which --
5 in the place where I slept, and other policemen, we had some mats and some
6 blankets which we provided them with.
7 Q. Did anyone make a list of the people who had arrived then who were
8 placed in the sports hall, and if so, what did you do with that list?
9 A. Yes. I personally made a list of all the people who were there,
10 and I provided the command with this list.
11 Q. Mr. HB, tell me, after their arrival, did anyone come to see these
12 people immediately, and if so, who came to see them? And were any
13 measures taken to provide these citizens with care?
14 A. Well, yes. In the evening, Dr. Ribic came; I think that was his
15 name, or perhaps it was his nickname. He spoke to the lady doctor who was
16 there, for the most part. I don't know what her name was. But he offered
17 all the help he could offer, all the help they needed.
18 Q. You said that there were women, children, and elderly people. Did
19 anyone try to provide these people with food?
20 A. Yes, but I don't know in what way. That evening, as night was
21 falling, I don't know whether the inhabitants noticed them as we were
22 passing through the village, or whether this was organised by someone from
23 the civilian protection, but the inhabitants would bring what they had.
24 Some of them would bring some pie; some of them would bring some cheese,
25 et cetera. They provided them with some food. And the people who were in
1 the school, the Croats, they had all brought some food with them. They
2 had some food of their own with them.
3 Q. When these people were brought to the primary school, did you
4 inform anyone about what had happened on your way to Mehurici?
5 A. That very same night, my superior, the chief of security, well, he
6 wasn't there, and none of the members of the command were there. They
7 were at the forward command post. There was ongoing fighting. And it was
8 only at dusk, when they had returned, that I provided the commander with a
9 report. I think his name was Mrsa, but there was someone else called
10 Fazlic there. I don't know what Mrsa's family name is.
11 Q. Did you tell those people that Mujahedin and masked men had
12 intercepted you and had taken some of the people from the column?
13 A. Well, I wasn't able to tell them anything at the time because I
14 really was concerned with the fighting, et cetera, and I was waiting for
15 my superior to arrive. And he did, in fact, arrive two days after the
16 incident. I told him about everything in great detail, and I provided him
17 with a report. This is what all the policemen in that group also did. He
18 was provided a report on everything that had happened.
19 Q. As far as I can remember, on the basis of what you had said, your
20 superior's name was Zukanovic.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did he carried out a detailed investigation, and did you provide
23 written reports -- did you all provide written reports on what had
25 A. Yes. There was an investigation. We all gave written statements,
1 which we left with him.
2 Q. As someone who was responsible for taking the people there in
3 safety, in a secure manner, how did you feel, given what had happened?
4 A. How did I feel? Well, it was difficult for me. I kept wondering
5 whether I was responsible for everything that had happened, and I kept
6 asking myself what the purpose of war was, what was the purpose of that
7 war, since we Bosnians had no rights in our own country.
8 Q. Mr. HB, on that day, on the first day, did you know anything about
9 what had happened to those people, apart from the fact that they had been
10 taken from the column?
11 A. No, I knew nothing about them. But on the following day, I went
12 to replace the policeman who had stayed over in Maline that night. And
13 when we returned to Mehurici, I found out that a group of our soldiers had
14 brought a wounded HVO member, and he was also placed in the hall in
15 Mehurici. I entered the hall because I wanted to see how badly he was
16 wounded, I wanted to see why he had been wounded, and I wanted to register
17 him. I think his name was Zeljko. And I recognised one of the men from
18 the group taken away by the Mujahedin.
19 Q. Did you speak to him, Mr. HB?
20 A. Yes. I approached him. He was afraid. I don't know whether you
21 can hear me.
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. He was afraid. The doctor who was dressing his wounds was there
24 at that time. I asked him about what had happened, and he said that he
25 managed to survive the execution. And I said, because at the time
1 everyone would turn up, the Red Cross was supposed to turn up too, but at
2 the time I didn't trust anyone. And I told him that it would be better
3 for him to remain silent while he was there. That it would be better for
4 him not to speak about that to anyone, not to tell anyone that he had
5 survived the execution. I told him that once he was exchanged, he could
6 then open up and say whatever he wanted.
7 Q. Mr. HB, since this is what you suggested to the wounded man you
8 saw, the man who told you how he had been wounded, could you tell me why
9 you made this suggestion? Was it because of your meeting with the
10 Mujahedin, or was there some other reason for which you felt that
11 something might happen if it was discovered that he was there?
12 A. Well, after that meeting, that close encounter, as I call it, with
13 the Mujahedin, there was fighting. If there had been a full unit from the
14 army in the school, perhaps I wouldn't have made such a suggestion. But
15 since the unit was engaged in combat and there were only a few of us there
16 in the school, if they had descended and come down from the hill -- well,
17 this is what was on my mind at the time, perhaps my assessment was
18 erroneous, but at the time I believed that it was best that that be kept
19 secret, and I thought it would be best for them not to speak about what
20 had happened until they were exchanged. To this very day, I'm not sure
21 whether I was right or not in making this suggestion. But if the
22 Mujahedin had found out about what the situation was, all of them would
23 have probably been killed.
24 Q. Mr. HB, you said that a doctor came and provided them with the
25 treatment that could be provided at the time. Could you tell me what sort
1 of sanitary conditions were provided for these people from the very first
3 A. Well, the sanitary conditions, it was a village school, and there
4 was -- there were two toilets down by the hall, down by the sports hall,
5 and there was a toilet with a shower. And that evening, when they were
6 all there, I placed a table in the corridor which separated the shower
7 with the toilet from the other part of the corridor. I did this so that
8 the people detained there could use it, only the people kept there could
9 use it. And the door to the shower and the toilet wasn't working; it
10 wasn't possible to lock it. So we found a temporary solution so that it
11 was possible to lock the door from the inside.
12 Q. At that point in time, was it possible for you to provide those
13 people in the school, or was it possible for you to provide the people in
14 Mehurici with better conditions than the ones you have just described?
15 A. No. In Mehurici, there was just the primary school building.
16 Mehurici is a village. There's a small police station there, but the
17 conditions couldn't have been better than they were. The conditions were
18 the best in that school in Mehurici.
19 Q. Tell me, from the very first day who provided security for the
20 place where the civilians were kept, and were they locked up in that
21 sports hall?
22 A. No. In the corridor which I had separated, there were my
23 policemen, myself. The door to the corridor wasn't locked, but the door
24 to the school yard was locked for security reasons, in order to make sure
25 that no one arrived from that direction at night. I could say that we
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 were friends, in a sense, because every morning they thanked me; and if
2 they had something to eat, they would ask me to sit down and eat with
4 Q. Tell me, after the first day, do you know who assumed the
5 responsibility to feed the people who were in the sports hall?
6 A. Well, I think that on the following day, after I had returned, and
7 when I met -- when I saw this wounded man - I think his name was Zeljko -
8 on the following day, I saw that the local civilian protection had already
9 started bringing some food and other items; that they needed some
10 blankets, et cetera. The civilian protection had already assumed the
11 responsibility to help them; they had assumed the responsibility to ensure
12 that sanitary conditions were adequate.
13 Q. For how long did members of your military police unit provide
14 security for that hall? Did anyone else take over that responsibility at
15 any point in time?
16 A. Well, we secured the hall for three, four, five days, I don't know
17 how long exactly, and later on, the civilian police assumed the
18 responsibility for securing it, together with the civilian protection.
19 Q. Mr. HB, while you were still in Mehurici, did the Red Cross come
20 to visit, and if so, what did they do there?
21 A. Yes, I saw them on one occasion. I was in the hall at the time; I
22 think I was even speaking to this wounded person when they said that the
23 Red Cross had arrived. I think two women and two men entered. I went out
24 because I thought I had nothing to do there. On the whole, they spoke to
25 the doctor, because she was some -- because she was some sort of a chief
1 there. I don't know what they talked about.
2 [Technical difficulty]
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have a problem.
4 Mr. Registrar, the stenographer cannot follow the proceedings.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Is that better? One, two, three.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, it's working now. Please
8 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Did any of the representatives of the Red Cross make any remarks
10 to you, or to your command, if you are aware of it?
11 A. They didn't say anything to me. I don't know whether they had any
12 objections conveyed to the command, but had they, I would probably know
13 about it.
14 Q. When you said that you spoke to this wounded man, whose name you
15 remember as being Zeljko, did he describe the event in detail for you, or
16 was it just simply that he said that he managed to survive the execution,
17 as you said?
18 A. He just told me that he survived the execution. He didn't give me
19 any details. For me, it was sufficient that he had survived, and I was
20 fearful as to what next, because there weren't many soldiers around and I
21 believe to this day that I was right.
22 Q. This fear, was it fear for the man's life, if people knew that he
23 was there?
24 A. Yes. For his life, as well as the life of the others, the women,
25 the children, and the elderly, and probably for our own lives as well,
1 because in such an event, there would be a conflict between us and them.
2 Q. Tell me, please, did you include in your statement to your
3 superior what the wounded man told you?
4 A. Yes, I did.
5 Q. After performing your duties for four or five days, as you said,
6 did you, Mr. HB, receive another assignment, and if so, what was it?
7 A. Yes. There was fighting in that period of time in Guca Gora. I
8 think that our people had entered Guca Gora, and I was tasked to go with
9 several policemen, because we already knew that in Guca Gora, there was a
10 military police unit from Zenica, that we should go and assist them, to
11 try and protect Guca Gora, the monastery, and everything else, against
12 looting, torturing, et cetera.
13 Q. How long did you spend on that assignment, you personally, and did
14 you go anywhere else, and why?
15 A. I stayed in Guca Gora for about two or three days, and after that,
16 I went to Travnik, because there was still a chance to form this new
17 Banja Luka brigade. And the War Presidency of Banja Luka was in Travnik.
18 And I went there for talks, and we tried to work on the formation of such
19 a brigade.
20 Q. After taking over this new assignment, did you return to the
21 306th Brigade?
22 A. No, I didn't.
23 Q. Today, as a citizen of Sweden, when thinking about this event that
24 you have just described to this Honourable Court, can you tell us whether
25 this event had a permanent effect on you due to the fact that you were
1 unable to help those people?
2 A. Yes. For a long time I would dream a recurrence of all those
3 events, and I still don't know whether I could have done more. And all
4 this time I have been suppressing this deep in my mind; however, as I look
5 back, memories return. I'm still not sure, but I do believe that I did
6 everything in my power.
7 Q. Mr. HB, could you have entered the Mujahedin camp at the time and
8 continued an investigation to see who was behind it? Was there any
9 possibility of the army doing that?
10 A. No. That was simply impossible. All we could do was to compile a
11 report, which we did. But for us to investigate, that was not possible,
12 because we were the military police. We investigate events and actions by
13 soldiers; however, those men were not members of our army, and we had no
14 instructions to investigate anything. And I think that the chief of
15 security, Hasan, sent this report to the Security Services Centre of the
16 brigade. Now, whether anything was done, I really don't know.
17 Q. Mr. HB, two more brief questions. You said that those Mujahedin
18 did not assist your battalion in any way. Tell me, did your battalion or
19 your brigade provide any kind of assistance to those Mujahedin in the
21 A. Certainly not. We didn't even talk to them. We would only see
22 them, speeding in a car along the road by the school and crying out in
23 Arabic, as if they were yelling at us, because we would sometimes have a
24 drink. Sometimes we would take a walk with some women and they didn't
25 like this. It bothered them.
1 Q. And my last question: Did your battalion ever take part in any
2 combat operations with the Mujahedin?
3 A. No. As far as I know, or at least while I was there, we did not.
4 And I don't believe that that ever happened.
5 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. HB, for answering my questions.
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have no further
7 questions for this witness.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The other Defence team.
9 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We
10 don't have any questions for this witness.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.
12 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Cross-examined by Mr. Mundis:
14 Q. Good morning, witness. My name is Daryl Mundis, and along with my
15 colleagues here, we represent the Prosecution in this case. I'm going to
16 ask you some questions for the next hour or so. I want to reiterate what
17 the Presiding Judge and my learned colleague told you earlier in the sense
18 that if you don't understand any of my questions, I would just ask you to
19 inform me of that and I'll rephrase or restate the question so that you do
20 understand it. It is not my intention in any way to confuse you with the
21 questions that I ask.
22 Do you understand that?
23 A. Yes, I do.
24 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I would ask, with the assistance of
25 the usher, if he could perhaps move the ELMO so I could better see the
1 witness. It's blocking my line of sight. Thank you.
2 I would also ask if we could briefly go into private session so
3 that we can ask the witness a few questions.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Let us go into private
5 session, please.
6 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in private session,
7 Mr. President.
8 [Private session]
12 Pages 12614 – redacted – private session.
2 [Open session]
3 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you.
4 Q. Now, sir, in a few moments I'm going to show you a map and ask you
5 if you can make some markings on the map, including the routes that you
6 took both to and from Maline on the day that you had, as you described it,
7 that close encounter with the Mujahedin. But let me ask you first: You
8 told us about the presence of some minefields in the area; is that
10 A. Yes, it is.
11 Q. How did you become aware of the presence of these minefields?
12 A. The day before our troops had left for the lines in Maline,
13 there's a small locality, I don't know what its name is, it's on the road
14 towards Mehurici. From the center of Mehurici, it may be a kilometre
15 away. And there's a small bridge and a big house, which used to be some
16 sort of a warehouse. And I think the owner of that house was Veso Balta.
17 And there was some skirmishes there. And as the police, we arrived and we
18 found on the bridge itself some explosives that were tied with wire to the
19 generator, or to the battery in a car that was about a hundred metres from
20 the bridge. One of those people, where he released the -- untied the
21 explosive, he came across two mines, a tank mine and a trip mine, which
22 were visible. So we didn't dare take that route because we feared for our
23 own safety. And that is why we assumed that the area was mined.
24 Q. Other than this bridge in the immediate area where you observed
25 these mines, were you aware of any other minefields in the area of Maline,
1 Bikosi or Mehurici?
2 A. No.
3 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, with the assistance of the usher, I
4 would ask that the witness be shown a map which is, again, an enlarged
5 version of the map we've been using throughout these proceedings. And I
6 do have sufficient copies for everyone in and around the courtroom.
7 Q. Sir, I would ask you to take a look now, if you would, please, at
8 the map that is to your right on the projection machine. I know you can
9 also see it in front of you, but if you could look at the paper copy of
10 the map to your right, I would ask you if you recognise what's depicted on
11 this map.
12 A. I'm just trying to do that. If I'm right that this is the bridge
13 in Mehurici, this here, then I think I could find my way. If somebody
14 could tell me whether this is where the bridge in Mehurici is.
15 Q. Sir, it's not really appropriate for me to tell you what's on the
16 map. Let me first ask you if you recognise what's depicted in this map,
17 the area that's depicted on this map.
18 A. Not too well. Not too well.
19 Q. Sir, is it your testimony that it would not be helpful for us to
20 use this map? You don't recognise of the features on this map?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Okay. Let me then ask you some additional questions that don't
23 necessarily relate to the map.
24 You told us earlier that you left the school in Mehurici between
25 0900 and 1000 hours, is that correct, on the day where you had the close
1 encounter with the Mujahedin.
2 A. Yes. No, not the school. I left the school in Mehurici -- I said
3 I reached the village of Maline between 9.00 and 10.00.
4 Q. What time did you leave Mehurici?
5 A. It might have been around 7.00, because the soldiers went in front
6 of us. We went behind our front lines. So as the combat operations
7 approached the village, we went behind the troops. We waited for the sign
8 to enter the village, once the troops had captured it.
9 Q. And where did you wait for this sign to enter the village?
10 A. There's a small hill on the road we took. We were going on foot
11 by the Mujahedin camp, and there's a stream there and a path which can
12 take you to a little hill, with two big rocks, and you have a view of the
13 whole area of Maline from there.
14 Q. Do you know, sir, if there are any settlements or hamlets at the
15 top of the hill where you observed Maline?
16 A. I can't remember now. Really, it was a long time ago.
17 Q. At the time of -- on this day, by the time you went to this hill
18 overlooking Maline, approximately how long had you been with the 306th --
19 the 1st Battalion of the 306th Mountain Brigade?
20 A. I don't understand the question. Do you mean all in all, or just
21 that day?
22 Q. All in all, sir. How long had you been with the 1st Battalion of
23 the 306th Mountain Brigade on or about the 8th of June, when these events
24 took place?
25 A. Approximately five months. Five, six.
1 Q. During the five or six months prior to this date that you were
2 with the 1st Battalion of the 306th Mountain Brigade, how familiar had you
3 become with the terrain in the area around Mehurici?
4 A. Well, I could say well, but only if you took the road. I know
5 Mehurici quite well, because there's a hamlet; there are several houses
6 behind the police station where we would go to take a bath in the stream.
7 There's another settlement belonging to Mehurici; I think its name is
8 Jezerci, where there were several soldiers, members of the brigade, and
9 while I was a policeman, I would go to fetch them personally, because they
10 didn't respond when given assignments. And above Mehurici, there's a road
11 leading to Gluha Bukovica. Below Mehurici, you can take the road to
12 Travnik; you turn right to go via Maline, Guca Gora, to Travnik. If you
13 go straight ahead, you're going towards Zenica. So those would be the
14 roads that we used.
15 Q. Sir, you told us earlier today a little about the Mujahedin camp.
16 I'd like to know if you can tell us when you first became aware that this
17 camp was in the vicinity of Mehurici?
18 A. I think as soon as I arrived there, as soon as I arrived in
19 Mehurici, because I would come across these people on a daily basis,
20 driving by in cars, and they were going some place. And that is when I
21 learned that up on the hill there was a Mujahedin camp.
22 Q. Do you know, sir, during the five or six months that you were in
23 Mehurici, approximately how many Mujahedin were in this camp in total?
24 A. We would wonder ourselves how many there might be. My rough
25 estimate would be up to 150. But these people, when they put on those
1 scarves and robes, they all look alike, so there may have been more or
2 less of them.
3 Q. And, sir, can you give us a rough estimate as to the size of the
4 camp near Mehurici that the Mujahedin were in?
5 A. I'll try, because only on two occasions did I pass by the camp;
6 once on my way to Maline and a second time on returning, when this
7 incident occurred. And I believe that the camp, as such, may have been
8 200 metres by 200 metres, so a circle with a diameter of about 200 metres.
9 I may be wrong, I don't know, but that would be a rough estimate.
10 Q. And I believe, sir, you told us that this camp was approximately
11 200 metres from the school; is that correct?
12 A. Not from the school, from the bridge in Mehurici.
13 Q. From the bridge.
14 A. About 200, 300 metres away from the bridge. Perhaps 300 or 400
15 metres from the school, I really don't know. A lot of time has passed
16 since then.
17 Q. Okay. Prior to the day when you had the close encounter with the
18 Mujahedin, can you tell us about your knowledge of what activities they
19 were undertaking, if you knew anything about what they were doing from the
20 camp near Mehurici?
21 A. To tell you the truth, I knew very little. When we saw them, we
22 saw them driving by in cars. They kept driving by in cars, going to and
23 fro. They had a Toyota; they had some kind of a Jeep too; a van as well.
24 They were constantly driving by in these vehicles. They would sometimes
25 open fire. I had a girlfriend in the village, and I would sometimes go
1 for a walk with her. And when they turned up, if she wasn't dressed
2 according to the rules, they would open fire and they would ask that she
3 cover herself. As to what they did, I really don't know.
4 Q. You told us earlier, sir, that the -- let me ask you a couple more
5 questions about the unit.
6 You were assigned as the commander of a military police unit
7 within the 1st Battalion of the 306th Mountain Brigade; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, as commander of the police.
9 Q. And you told us that you had, as a rough estimate, approximately
10 10 military policemen, but occasionally you would get older combatants who
11 would assist you with special tasks that you were assigned; is that fair?
12 A. Yes, it is.
13 Q. And you told us earlier that part of your duties included
14 conducting investigations.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. At any point in time prior to the day on which you had the close
17 encounter with the Mujahedin, were you or the military policemen of the
18 1st Battalion of the 306th Mountain Brigade involved in any kind of
19 investigative work concerning any activities undertaken by the Mujahedin?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Would you describe, sir, or how would you describe how -- or how
22 would you characterise these Mujahedin in terms of what kind of reactions
23 they prompted within yourself? How did you feel when you saw these
25 A. Well, I saw them as foreigners, and I always asked myself what
1 they were doing there. I don't know. We didn't have any contact, nor did
2 we speak a common language that would enable us to communicate. I would
3 only see such people on occasion on TV, in Arab countries or in poor
4 countries. There were rumours according to which they had come in order
5 to provide assistance. I don't know who they assisted. They didn't help
7 Q. Prior to the 8th of June, or thereabouts, 1993, were you afraid of
8 these Mujahedin?
9 A. I wasn't afraid, but I didn't like seeing them, because they
10 didn't seem friendly. I don't know. Perhaps I grew up in the wrong
11 environment. To be afraid, well, it wouldn't be the right way to put it,
12 but I felt uneasy when I saw them.
13 Q. Sir, on how many occasions, if any, did you discuss the Mujahedin
14 with the local civilian police prior to the 8th of June, 1993?
15 A. Well, did I speak about the Mujahedin with the local police?
16 Perhaps I did, but I can't remember. But in the village, there was a
17 cafe, and sometimes we would have coffee there and some plum brandy. A
18 policeman and I would sometimes go there; we'd have a chat. Perhaps we
19 discussed this on one occasion, because on one occasion the Mujahedin
20 captured the owner of the cafe that we went to, and an inhabitant and even
21 a combatant. But I can't really remember what happened afterwards.
22 Something happened, but I don't know whether it was the civilian police
23 who dealt with the matter or the civilian authorities, I really can't
24 remember. But I know that there were problems with the owner of that
25 cafe. Perhaps they didn't want to allow him to serve alcohol, because the
1 cafe was close to the mosque, which is where they would go and gather.
2 Q. Sir, do you recall any specific instances in which you discussed
3 any type of security concerns about the Mujahedin with any of the civilian
4 police in Mehurici?
5 A. I don't remember that. But the situation in the village was such
6 that there was some individuals that the Mujahedin went after. They
7 wanted to recruit some local inhabitants, and I think some local
8 inhabitants were even trained in the camp. And some of the Mujahedin had
9 wives from the village whom they had married. In that part of Mehurici,
10 the population was divided, to a certain extent, because there were some
11 that had religious convictions. I myself am not much of a believer, but
12 if conflict had broken out, it would have divided the population.
13 Q. Well, sir, I wasn't specifically asking about conflict, I was
14 simply asking if you had any specific discussions with the local civilian
15 police, in your role as commander of the military police unit, concerning
16 the security situation with respect to this Mujahedin camp just outside
18 A. I didn't have any discussions. I don't know whether my chief of
19 security did, because my position wasn't such that I would take those
20 decisions. I was just the police commander. It would be the chief of
21 security who would get involved in discussions. But as to whether he
22 actually did this, I don't know.
23 Q. Let me ask you a few questions about the school. During the time
24 period that you were with the military police unit of the 1st Battalion of
25 the 306th Mountain Brigade, where did the military policemen sleep? Where
1 did you and your military policemen sleep?
2 A. In the second classroom from the right. On the ground floor, I
3 think there were three classrooms, and we were in the middle one. In the
4 first classroom, I think there were some people from Siprage. The members
5 of my military police unit were in the middle classroom. And there were
6 some members from Kotor Vares who slept classroom number one.
7 Q. And during the five to six months that you were with the military
8 police unit of the 1st Battalion of the 306th Mountain Brigade, is it your
9 testimony that there were no Mujahedin upstairs in any of the upper floors
10 of that school?
11 A. Well, I would have known about that. No, they weren't up there .
12 All the men from Siprage slept on the floor with the commander with the
13 two toilets. I went to wash up there. They weren't up there. They
14 weren't in the school at all.
15 Q. And the time period that you were with the military police
16 battalion was from approximately January through June of 1993; is that
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, sir, in response to a question from my learned colleague, you
20 said that these persons that you initially called Arabs and then
21 Mujahedin, you said, "In my opinion, that was an appropriate name for
22 them," referring to the name Mujahedin. Can you tell us why you thought
23 that was an appropriate name for them?
24 A. I had never heard of the term "Mujahedin" until the war broke out.
25 I myself called such people Arabs. But the word "Mujahedin" means armed
1 men, it means -- well, how would I put it, something terrible. And when I
2 saw the way they looked, that they had those scarves and those long tunics
3 and those beards, well, the word itself means something terrible, in my
4 opinion. And that word is one that is very appropriate for them.
5 Q. Okay, sir, I'd like to turn now to the time period of
6 approximately the 8th of June 1993, the day you when you had the close
7 encounter with the Mujahedin. You told us that you arrived at a hill
8 overlooking Maline sometime between 0900 and 0100?
9 A. Yes. At about 9.00 or 10.00, we had already entered the village.
10 The people had gathered in the center of the village by the hospital.
11 There were troops of ours there. There was ongoing shooting. We were
12 planning how to go and pass through those houses to see what was
13 happening. We weren't sure whether there was anyone in the village.
14 Q. Let me take you back a little bit earlier. You told us earlier
15 that you only passed by the Mujahedin camp on two occasions during the
16 five- to six-month period that you were with the 306th Mountain Brigade,
17 and the first time was that morning.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Do you know approximately what time you passed by that camp?
20 A. 7.00 or 8.00, half past 7.00, that was the time period. We went
21 on foot and passed by the stream. That's the first time I found out that
22 there was this path about the camp, and that was the quickest route to use
23 to get to Maline.
24 Q. You told us also that you were on a hill overlooking Maline,
25 waiting for a signal to enter Maline. How long did it take you to get to
1 this hill overlooking Maline?
2 A. I don't know. Perhaps an hour or an hour and a half, because you
3 had to be careful. There was shooting. You might come across a soldier
4 of ours. You might not be sure whether he was one of our soldiers. But
5 we waited there to see whether everything was safe. When we saw our
6 troops, those troops gave us a sign and we knew that we could go on.
7 Q. This hill that you were on waiting for that sign, were there any
8 houses on that hill?
9 A. I know there were rocks there. I can remember these rocks. But I
10 was only there on two occasions, 11 years ago.
11 Q. This position that you were on, approximately how high above
12 Maline was this location with the rocks where you were awaiting the
14 A. There's a path from Maline that leads to those rocks. There was a
15 path that we took. As to how high it was, I don't know. Perhaps -- well,
16 you can see Maline from that position. Perhaps 50 metres above. I don't
17 know. I couldn't really say.
18 Q. Sir, do you know if the location where you were awaiting the
19 signal from your unit in Maline, do you know if that was known as Bikosi?
20 A. I don't know. Bikosi is a village. As far as I can remember,
21 it's a village in the vicinity. There weren't any houses there. The
22 place where you have these rocks was probably part of Maline. It's just a
23 little hill, perhaps 100 metres from Maline.
24 Q. Okay, sir, can you then please describe your -- well, let me ask
25 you this first: How many military policemen were with you as you entered
2 A. About 10. About 10.
3 Q. What kind of clothing were you wearing, and what kind of arms, if
4 any, did you have?
5 A. We had automatic weapons on us. I had an automatic rifle and a
6 pistol. We had white insignia that said the police. We had camouflage
7 uniforms. I don't know whether everyone had uniforms. Some, perhaps,
8 wore jeans or jackets. But we all had white police insignia on us.
9 Q. Can you please describe for us, as you entered the village, what
10 you saw with respect to the people, the civilians and any HVO soldiers
11 that you saw?
12 A. When we entered the village, I saw a group of women, children, and
13 old people who were standing in front of a house. There was a yard there,
14 too. They were standing in the road. Our troops were passing by as well,
15 because shooting was still ongoing. I didn't know whether our troops were
16 shooting, whether the HVO was shooting. And other people - women,
17 children, and old people - were leaving, were coming out of their houses
18 and asking themselves what they should do and where they should go,
19 because among the civilians there was a lot concern. They were afraid.
20 They kept asking if there were any Mujahedin present. They were spreading
21 fear among themselves.
22 Q. So, sir, as you arrived in the village, there was shooting that
23 was continuing, and as this shooting was taking place, the people were
24 coming out of their houses and gathering in the village of Maline; is that
25 correct? Is that what you observed?
1 A. Yes. Yes. Because when I arrived there, the HVO members who had
2 surrendered, they were standing there without their weapons. Our troops
3 were guarding them, or they had already disarmed them. And family members
4 probably approached them and stood by them. There were other people
5 coming out of their houses; some of them were crying, some were concerned.
6 Q. Can you tell us how intense the fighting and shooting was that you
7 heard as you entered the village and saw these people gathering in front
8 of their houses? Can you characterise the intensity of that fighting?
9 A. There was sporadic shooting in the village, but up in the hills,
10 there was more intense shooting. Our troops had already set off in the
11 direction of the hills. You could hear shooting among the houses, and one
12 couldn't know whether fire was opened by HVO members who had remained and
13 hadn't surrender. We didn't know whether our troops were shooting,
14 because the village wasn't really a small one, it was quite big.
15 Q. And approximately how many surrendered HVO soldiers did you
16 observe in this group when you arrived?
17 A. Well, there were quite a lot of them. There were old people, too.
18 I don't know if they were HVO members, but there were four or five
19 individuals in uniform, in camouflage uniforms. Perhaps I'm mistaken.
20 Perhaps there were six or seven of them. But that's more or less the
21 number of individuals in uniform. One person, I believe his name was
22 Zeljko, he was in uniform.
23 Q. And approximately -- well, I believe you testified earlier that
24 you remained in the village for approximately three to four hours before
25 deciding to return to Mehurici with these people.
1 A. Yes, more or less.
2 Q. During the three to four hours that you remained in Maline, did
3 the fighting and gunfire continue during that period?
4 A. Yes, the gunfire continued, but it wasn't as intense. And you
5 could even hear shells exploding. But during that three- or four-hour
6 period, someone would open fire from a house. And since the troops was
7 there, we would run up to the house to see what was happening, to see
8 whether it was an HVO member shooting, to see whether someone was trying
9 to commit a crime against the civilians. There was a lot of work to do.
10 We only had 10 policemen. Two, three, or four policemen were standing by
11 the civilians. Some people would be crying. You'd run to see what was
12 happening, to see whether anyone needed any help. The situation was
13 really difficult.
14 Q. And throughout that period, while you could still hear gunfire and
15 even shells exploding, the people remained in front of their homes in this
16 area, in Maline?
17 A. Yes. Yes.
18 Q. And then at some point in the early afternoon, you decided to take
19 them to Mehurici; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And you've already told us that a small number of people were put
22 in a truck because they were elderly or were otherwise unable to walk.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Now, sir, when you departed Mehurici with this column of
25 individuals, the civilians and the surrendered HVO, were they in any way
1 segregated in this column or were they co-mingled together?
2 A. No. We all left together. There were probably family members who
3 were present, and the families would stick together. But I believe that
4 there were six HVO members, because we found three cases of shells in the
5 village and we gave these shells to them so that they could carry them.
6 There were three cases of shells. And these six went in three rows, two
7 by two. We even spoke about certain things.
8 Q. What, if you know, sir, can you tell us what type of shells these
9 were? Were these shells for an artillery weapon or for a mortar, or were
10 they hand grenades? Or what type of shells were they?
11 A. I don't know. I believe they were hand grenades, but I can't be
13 Q. Other than these three cases of what you believed to be hand
14 grenades, did the surrendered HVO soldiers have any weapons with them?
15 A. Not at the time. They had already surrendered to our army. They
16 had surrendered before I arrived, so they had no weapons on them. But
17 when we were forming the column, I, first of all, told everyone that it
18 wouldn't be wise if some of them had weapons. So I said that if anyone
19 had a weapon, they should surrender the weapons. If they found a weapon,
20 we would have to take action. So we searched them all to make sure that
21 they didn't have any weapons, and then we set off in the column, because
22 there were only five policemen.
23 Q. And I take it, then, from that answer, sir, that you left the
24 other five, approximately five, policemen in Maline?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, you told us earlier, I believe, that you estimate there to be
2 approximately 200 people in this column, including civilians and the six
3 surrendered HVO.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And you set off in the early afternoon back towards Mehurici.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. At any point after you left Mehurici did any other persons join
8 the column, whether civilians or other surrendered HVOs?
9 A. I don't understand the question. After leaving Mehurici?
10 Q. I'm sorry, after leaving Maline. I'm sorry. When you left Maline
11 with approximately 200 people, including civilians and the six HVO
12 soldiers, as you left Maline but before you got to the Mujahedin camp, did
13 any other civilians or surrendered HVO soldiers join the column that you
14 were leading?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Approximately how long did it take this column to go from Maline
17 to the Mujahedin camp?
18 A. In my judgement, two to two and a half hours.
19 Q. Let me take you, then, to the time you arrived by the Mujahedin
20 camp. To the best of your recollection, approximately what time was that?
21 A. About 4.00, 4.30, something like that.
22 Q. And, sir, at the time you approached that camp, where were you in
23 relation to the column of people?
24 A. At the front of the column. I was talking to someone in the
25 front, because the men carrying the cases with the grenades or the shells
1 were going in front, and I was also up front. There was a policeman next
2 to me, another one a little further away in the middle, and there was one
3 on the other side and one at the end.
4 Q. And as you approached the camp, how far away from the camp was it
5 possible to see the camp, if you understand? As you're coming down the
6 path, could you see the camp from a distance, or was the terrain or the
7 vegetation such that you couldn't see the camp until you were right upon
8 the camp?
9 A. You couldn't see the camp, because it's a wooded area. A stream
10 had formed a path, the water had made the path. But the camp couldn't be
11 seen. It was full of foliage, and the vegetation was such. And then
12 midway, where you can see, in a visible area, these two emerged who
13 demanded that we hand them over. And on the hill, on the slope above the
14 path, there were these three Mujahedin.
15 Q. Let me ask you about the two that you first encountered. What
16 were they wearing?
17 A. They were wearing black masks, you could only see their eyes, and
18 camouflage uniforms. They had automatic weapons. I don't remember
19 whether they had anything else.
20 Q. So these two individuals with black masks and camouflage uniforms,
21 did they each have one automatic weapon?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And I assume it was some kind of automatic rifle or long-barreled
24 automatic weapon?
25 A. Yes, it was.
1 Q. And approximately how far, when you first saw these two men, how
2 far away from you -- how far away were you from them? What was the
3 distance between you and these two men who appeared?
4 A. We were about a metre or two near each other. At some point I
5 thought that there were troops coming, and only when we approached, they
6 stopped and said that they wanted to take these men. I didn't expect any
7 such thing to happen.
8 Q. So you initially believed that they were some of your troops, you
9 say, coming? "At some point I thought that there were troops coming."
10 You thought that they were part of the ABiH?
11 A. I could see two men approaching. I didn't know who they were. I
12 had a weapon; I held it to the ready. I thought they were normal people,
13 our men. But as it's a bit dark there because of the leaves, and you're
14 going down along the stream, and only once I approached they removed these
15 socks and told me to stop. And that is when they started demanding these
16 people. At first, I thought that there were just two of them, so I
17 thought I could deal with them alone. And then these three appeared
18 behind them, about five or six metres away. They just stood there and
20 Q. So if I understand what you're saying, you saw these two men and
21 they were walking towards you?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. At first you thought they were soldiers of the ABiH, and then you
24 saw that they were wearing masks?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And then you said, "Only once I approached them, they removed
2 these socks and told me to stop." Is that correct?
3 A. Yes. Yes.
4 Q. So at the time they spoke to you, they had removed the masks?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Did they remove the masks at any point in time when you were
7 speaking to them?
8 A. No.
9 Q. And I assume, sir, that they were speaking to you in the Bosnian
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did they have any type of accent that might tell you where they
13 were from, either in Bosnia or perhaps somewhere else, or did it seem to
14 you to be a relatively common Bosnian accent that they had?
15 A. They simply had these masks on their heads. Whether they had an
16 accent or not, I can't remember. But I don't think it was pure Bosnian.
17 Q. How much of their face could you see, given that they were wearing
19 A. Eyes, their eyes. You could see their eyes.
20 Q. Could you see any other part of their body or skin through their
22 A. No. No. They had gloves with the fingers cut off.
23 Q. During the time that you were having the conversation with these
24 two men, or this discussion that you had with these two men, how far away
25 from them were you?
1 A. Two metres.
2 Q. Two metres. At any point in time did you move closer to them?
3 A. Yes. I had my weapon pointed at them.
4 Q. Can you explain to us, sir, how, if you were standing two metres
5 away from this masked man, with your weapon pointed at him, he was able to
6 put his automatic weapon into your mouth?
7 A. I don't know whether I can explain the situation to you fully.
8 People, men, standing two metres away from me, and five metres from them,
9 another three Mujahedin with their guns pointed at us but not saying
10 anything. It's only these two that were talking to me. And I was holding
11 a weapon pointed at them in one hand. And they are telling me that they
12 want to take over care of the column, and I say to them that they can't,
13 that I have to take the column to the school. And then they start coming
14 out from the sides. From the thicket, other men appear. And then I turn
15 around to look, and they approach me with weapons. I do have an automatic
16 rifle, but they're approaching me with rifles. And as I see all these men
17 coming out with masks, they all have their guns pointed. I could have
18 reacted; I could have opened fire. I don't know what I would have
19 achieved had I done that. I thought that this could be dealt with in a
20 different way. And then they approached me and put the barrel of a rifle
21 in my mouth, and I've already told you about that.
22 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I note the time. I have, I would
23 anticipate, another 15 to 20 minutes of questions for the witness, but I
24 believe it's time for the next break.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. We will resume work at
1 five to 1.00.
2 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 12.58 p.m.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, you may continue.
5 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. Sir, right before the break, we were talking about the encounter
7 you had right next to the Mujahedin camp in the vicinity of Mehurici. Let
8 me ask you, sir, as the person put the automatic rifle into your mouth,
9 where were the -- where were your fellow military policemen, and what was
10 their reaction?
11 A. One of them was close to me. The others were as follows: One was
12 at the back of the column, my brother was somewhere in the middle, about
13 10 metres away, and there was another policeman on the other side, roughly
14 the same distance. That would be how we were distributed.
15 Q. Did you observe, or do you know what any of their reactions were
16 as this soldier, or this person put this rifle into your mouth?
17 A. I didn't see anything, but I did hear what their reaction was when
18 we returned to Mehurici. When I was actually quarrelling with them,
19 saying that I wouldn't let them take over - this was before they put the
20 rifle in my mouth - their weapons were on the ready. However, when these
21 others jumped out of the woods from the side, they lowered their weapons.
22 That is what they told me.
23 Q. Now, I'll ask you in a moment about the persons who jumped out of
24 the woods, but let me ask you a couple of questions about the three people
25 standing behind the two men with the masks. You told us there were three
1 people behind them; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. What were those three people wearing, what type of clothing?
4 A. A camouflage uniform, and on that uniform, they had like a long
5 scarf and camouflage uniforms and weapons on the ready. They were
7 Q. How do you know they were foreigners?
8 A. They had beards and a different colouring. They were darker in
10 Q. So those three men were not wearing any kind of mask.
11 A. No.
12 Q. Now, as your column was approaching the Mujahedin camp - you told
13 us earlier that the two people with the masks were walking towards you -
14 where were those other three people? How did they come to be standing
15 behind the two masked men?
16 A. As I was going down the stream, the stream makes a bend, and at
17 that bend I saw those two men first, who were approaching me. And they
18 were perhaps some 10 metres away. So my instinct was to hold the weapon.
19 And as I approached them, I saw these three behind them, standing there at
20 the bend. And I got -- as I got closer, I could see them quite well.
21 Q. Were the three that you saw standing at the bend also walking
22 towards you, behind the two masked men who were walking?
23 A. They were walking, rather, as if they were waiting for us to
24 approach. They were walking but slowly. They were waiting for us to come
25 up to them, whereas the three were just standing there.
1 Q. And how far away were you from the two masked men when you first
2 saw them?
3 A. Five, six metres, maybe 10 metres away.
4 Q. Let me ask you now, sir, about the two -- the group of people that
5 you say jumped out of the woods. Approximately how many individuals came
6 out of the woods once the whole column had stopped?
7 A. When the column stopped, no one came out of the woods. It was
8 after this dispute with them, whether they would take these people over or
9 not. And as the dispute became more aggressive, and when weapons were
10 pulled out, then these men came out. At least five of them came up there.
11 I couldn't see beyond that, whether there were more, because by then the
12 barrel was in my mouth.
13 Q. And how many -- excuse me. What were the people who came out of
14 the words wearing?
15 A. I think I saw five men who were also wearing masks and camouflage
17 Q. Were those five wearing the masks and the camouflage uniforms also
19 A. They were all armed.
20 Q. And how did it come to be, if you can explain to us, how the
21 people that they took away were taken out of the column? How did that
22 happen? How did that transpire?
23 A. It was very hard. When these jumped out of the woods, just then
24 this tall one came up to me and pushed his rifle into my mouth, and he
25 forced me to turn around to see behind the column. I just know that those
1 three cases of hand grenades had been lowered to the ground, which means
2 they took from the column those men in uniform. And some older people
3 picked up those cases, and even a policeman helped in carrying those
4 cases, because when they let us go, we started running.
5 Q. Sir, when you told us that he forced you to turn around to see
6 behind the column, I take it at that point he had to remove the rifle from
7 your mouth in order to allow you to turn around?
8 A. No. No. With the rifle in my mouth, I turned around and I saw
9 that they were pointing their weapons at my brother and all the others.
10 And they just entered into the column. And how they took people out, I
11 don't know. They would simply put them to one side.
12 Q. I believe you testified earlier, sir, that they took away 15, or
13 perhaps as many as 20 people out of the column; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, as far as I was able to see. Because I counted that there
15 were six of them in uniform, where there were others who had camouflage
16 pants or civilians. Anyway, I think it was between 15 and maybe 20. I
17 don't know.
18 Q. And, sir, where were you standing when you made the assessment
19 that 15 to 20 of them had been removed from the column?
20 A. I was half turned towards the column to see the column. With the
21 barrel in my mouth, I was afraid it would go off. I didn't know what to
23 Q. Do you recall, sir, hearing any instructions being given to the
24 people in the column that resulted in 15 to 20 of the men being taken out
25 of the column?
1 A. I don't know. I think that they simply entered and simply picked
2 people out of the column, but I don't know, because those from the bushes,
3 they entered among the column, they passed through the column. Now,
4 whether they picked out individuals or what, I don't know.
5 Q. To the best of your recollection, though, you don't remember
6 anyone saying anything or yelling instructions or giving instructions to
7 the people in the column.
8 A. I didn't hear anything.
9 Q. And it's your testimony that after these people were taken out of
10 the column, you and the four other military police ran with the column to
12 A. Yes. They turned me around again, they took out the weapon from
13 my mouth, and they went to one side and said that we could now proceed.
14 And they let us go.
15 Q. And you and the -- and you and your fellow military police and the
16 column then ran in the direction of Mehurici.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, can you tell us how far away from the Mujahedin camp this
19 encounter took place?
20 A. A hundred metres. This hedge, this thicket, these woods, bordered
21 on the camp. But it may have been about a hundred metres from the
22 entrance to the camp.
23 Q. Now, sir, approximately what time did you arrive at the school in
25 A. I don't know exactly. About 5.00, 6.00, 5.00, something like
2 Q. Upon your arrival in Mehurici, did you make any attempts to report
3 what had happened to the civilian police authorities in Mehurici?
4 A. I didn't. I didn't see them then even, because there were a lot
5 of people there. It was necessary to put them up. And my lip was
6 bleeding. I had to put a bandage on it. And you had to somehow put up so
7 many people. And once they had all entered the hall, we tried to find
8 something to accommodate them. I was under stress. I didn't know what to
9 do. There wasn't any command member around to whom I could complain. I
10 just simply didn't know whom to address.
11 Q. So, sir, when you arrived back at the Mehurici school, is it your
12 testimony that there was no one from the 306th Mountain Brigade present in
13 the school?
14 A. No one from the command. There were only a few policemen on duty.
15 These older people who didn't engage in active operations, we had these
16 elderly people there.
17 Q. Sir, do you know if any of the other military police who, along
18 with you, escorted this group made any immediate report to the police, the
19 civilian police, in Mehurici?
20 A. I don't know, and I don't believe so, because they would have
21 probably addressed me first.
22 Q. At any point in time, sir, after this event on or about the 8th of
23 June, 1993, did you or, to your knowledge, any of your military police
24 lodge any kind of complaint with the civilian police authorities about
25 what had happened on that day?
1 A. Yes. When my superior, the commander, the chief of security,
2 arrived, all of us gave a written report, which he took down, both the
3 policemen who were there as well, and I think he sent this report to the
4 brigade command, that is, the command of the 306th Brigade, the security
5 service of that brigade.
6 Q. And, sir, do you recall the approximate day and time when you
7 first spoke to your superior, the chief of security for the brigade, about
8 this event?
9 A. I think it was two days after the event, because he was in Zenica.
10 And because of these operations, he couldn't get back to Mehurici as
11 communications were interrupted.
12 Q. And on or about the 8th of June, do you know where your brigade
13 commander was?
14 A. I think that he was at some forward command post. I really don't
15 know, because I was a military policeman and he took part in the action,
16 the operations of liberation, or whatever, that were going on.
17 Q. And, sir, did you participate, or were you aware of any
18 investigations carried out by the 306th Mountain Brigade into what
19 happened to the people that were taken out of the column that you were
21 A. No, I don't know anything about that.
22 Q. And, sir, do you know what happened to the people that were taken
23 out of the column that you were escorting?
24 A. Not at that time, but on the following day. And I set out to
25 Maline to replace the policeman who was securing the houses in Maline.
1 When I returned, I heard from the duty officer that some soldiers of ours,
2 who were returning from the field, had found someone who had been wounded
3 and they had taken him to the school. So I went to the school to make a
4 note of this person's identity, because I was keeping a record of all the
5 people kept in the school. And that is when I recognised this person,
6 whose name I believe is Zeljko. I don't know why I think his name is
7 Zeljko, but that's what I remember. I recognised him immediately, since
8 he's the person I spoke to the most as we were at the front of the column
9 and he was carrying one of those cases I have mentioned. He told me that
10 he had survived an execution.
11 The doctor was with him, the doctor who was dressing his wounds,
12 and that is when I told him that it would be best, in my opinion, if he
13 didn't speak about the incident to anyone. I said that when he was
14 exchanged, he could say whatever he wanted to say.
15 Q. Thank you, Witness.
16 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, the Prosecution has no further
17 questions at this time.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Defence counsel?
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Just a few questions, Your Honour.
20 Re-examined by Ms. Residovic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Could you tell me, since the Prosecution has
22 shown you a map you couldn't comment on, at any time before 1993, did you
23 ever go to the area of Travnik, or rather, to the area of the Bila valley?
24 A. No, never.
25 Q. How far is Banja Luka from this area?
1 A. I don't know exactly. It's not far. Perhaps a hundred kilometres
2 or more. I don't know exactly.
3 Q. Although, when answering questions from the Prosecution, you
4 answered this question, I'd like to know whether, at any point in time
5 from the time that you saw these two men who affronted you, at any point
6 in time did one of them take these masks or stockings off their faces?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Thank you. I did this for the sake of the transcript, because it
9 seems as if you had said that they had taken these masks off. I don't
10 know which line this is. It's page 60, line 16 and 17. I think that we
11 have now clarified the interpretation of the answer you previously
13 Could you please tell me, when the column was practically stopped,
14 you said that there were about 200 men. Were these -- 200 people. Were
15 these people in an extended column, or was the column not that long? Was
16 it sort of a concentrated column?
17 A. Well, I wouldn't know what to say. I couldn't really say whether
18 the column had become more concentrated.
19 Q. And could you clarify something else. In response to an answer to
20 the Prosecution as to where the brigade commander was, you said that he
21 was engaged in combat action somewhere. But could you tell me whether you
22 knew where your battalion commander was? And did you know where the
23 brigade commander was at that time?
24 A. The battalion commander was probably at some forward command post
25 with the troops, and the brigade commander, well, I think that he was in
1 Rudnik or somewhere where the brigade command was located. But I didn't
2 have any contact with the brigade and the command. That wasn't my
4 Q. One more question. You said that you gave a detailed report to
5 your superior, and there was a written report on the investigation he
6 conducted two days after the event. Tell me whether this was the first --
7 this was done on the first occasion that you could fully inform your
8 superior about what had happened to you.
9 A. Yes. Because at the time he couldn't be reached.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have no further
13 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] We have no questions,
14 Mr. President. Thank you.
15 Questioned by the Court:
16 JUDGE SWART: Good morning, witness. I would like to ask you a
17 few supplementary questions on what you told us today. There have been
18 questions about the nature of the column, whether it was a long, extended
19 column or a concentrated one, and I've been putting these questions myself
20 also in the past because some witnesses have told us that when they went
21 to Mehurici, on their way they met other people who came back from
22 Mehurici, the direction to Maline, so this might suggest that the column
23 was quite long; and that when the first people, among them you, were
24 confronted with the Mujahedin, not the whole group was already there.
25 Could that be a possibility? I think you don't really know, but please
1 tell me if you know.
2 A. Well, I'm not sure that the entire group could be seen. There was
3 a sort of bend. As to whether everything could be seen, I don't know. I
4 can tell you about what I witnessed.
5 JUDGE SWART: You didn't have a good view on what was happening
6 behind you, so to speak, or beside you, because you thought you were
7 threatened --
8 A. Perhaps a view of about half of the column.
9 JUDGE SWART: The second question I would like to put to you is on
10 this person you met in the music school. You told us you spoke to a
11 person whose personal name was Zeljko, as far as you remember. You don't
12 remember a family name.
13 A. No. I'm not even sure that Zeljko is his name. But that's what I
14 remember. I seem to remember his name being Zeljko.
15 JUDGE SWART: And he was a witness to the events in Bikosi, and he
16 was found a day later in the field by your soldiers, or by someone else.
17 A. I suppose that's how it was. I heard that our troops had found
18 him and taken him to the school.
22 JUDGE SWART: Another point in his witness statement, in his
23 statement before this Court, is that he said he was transported from
24 Maline to Mehurici in a car and was not a member of the -- in the walking
25 column to Mehurici. Do you have any explanation for that, or would you
1 comment on that?
2 A. No. Some people, a number of people who had already been wounded,
3 who had been wounded before I reached the civilians, a group was
4 transported in a vehicle from Maline. Later I found out that the doctor
5 was there, too. I wasn't present, but some of the soldiers or the
6 commanders who entered the village must have done that before I arrived.
7 JUDGE SWART: Let's go to another matter and to another witness
8 who has testified before this Court. This is a written statement that we
9 have received in evidence in July. It's under seal also.
10 This witness is describing the following event. He is in a column
11 that has been stopped, and he is one of the persons that has been taken to
12 Bikosi, among other people. And what he says about the meeting with the
13 Mujahedin is the following: "Approximately half of them were Mujahedins
14 and the other half were local Muslims."
15 Is that your impression also, or could you tell -- could you not
16 tell this.
17 A. I couldn't say because the people were masked. As to whether they
18 were locals, as to the reason for which they had masks on them, I don't
20 JUDGE SWART: This witness, incidentally, is also one of the
21 witnesses who said, "while we were escorted, we saw a different group
22 coming from another direction," escorted by these people. What matters to
23 me is the following, what he said: "I can recall that all of them," and
24 he means the Mujahedin and the local Muslim, "I can recall that all of
25 them had insignia with some green and black on it."
1 Is that also your recollection, or didn't you see anything like
3 A. I can't remember.
4 JUDGE SWART: And he said also the following: "Three or four of
5 the Muslim soldiers had a mask on their face, mostly green or black.
6 Those with the masks were Bosnian soldiers. I was able to tell that when
7 I heard them talking."
8 My question is the following: "Three or four of the Muslim
9 soldiers had a mask on their face, mostly green or black." Do you
10 remember these colours, green or black masks?
11 A. Black ones. The men standing in front of me were wearing black
12 masks. You could only see their eyes.
13 JUDGE SWART: Other people have also talked about ribbons around
14 their hats. Do you have any recollection about that?
15 A. Yes. There were some sort of ribbons, and there was some sort of
16 an inscription on these ribbons.
17 JUDGE SWART: Could you read the inscription of those ribbons?
18 Was there a text on it or a particular ...
19 A. There was something inscribed on them. They were wearing them
20 on -- around their foreheads.
21 JUDGE SWART: If there was something inscribed on it, on them,
22 could you read it?
23 A. It was some sort of Arabic script. It wasn't in our language.
24 JUDGE SWART: My last question is related to what another witness
25 said in his statement to this Court. He is describing the situation in
1 Maline in his statement, so at the very beginning of the day -- of the 8th
2 of June. He said the following: "I went with a BH army soldier to
3 another house, and he asked me whether there were any weapons in the house
4 and I showed him a hunting rifle. He hung it over his shoulder and
5 ordered me to lock the house. My wife was in the house at the time and
6 she asked where they were going to take us, and the soldier said they
7 would take us to Mehurici so that the Mujahedin would not kill us."
8 Could you explain to me this story? The fact that the Mujahedin
9 were somewhere in the neighbourhood of Mehurici, was that a fact the
10 Croats came up with that made them scared, or was it something you took
11 into account already before going to Maline?
12 A. I'm not aware of that event. This isn't something I have referred
13 to. I don't remember such an event. But there was fear of such events.
14 People were afraid that such forces might commit certain acts.
15 JUDGE SWART: Let me put to you a related question. Before you
16 went to Maline, before the evacuation took place, was there already an
17 idea among your police force, or in the army itself, to evacuate the
18 persons from Maline.
19 A. Well, at that time, no, because I think that the command didn't
20 want to go further than Maline. But as there was ongoing fighting there,
21 I did this on my own initiative, because the command wanted me to protect
22 the civilians. While there was fighting, I couldn't protect these people,
23 so -- I couldn't protect these people in the village, so I decided to
24 protect them in Mehurici. And I did this on my own initiative.
25 JUDGE SWART: But you also mentioned this morning that one of your
1 motives was that they could be exchanged against other prisoners taken by
2 the HVO, isn't it?
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE SWART: So how does this square, then?
5 A. Well, because I had already heard about this system of exchange.
6 When they'd already arrived in the school, I heard about the system of
7 exchange. I heard about this from the people who were in the school.
8 That's the first time that I found out that the civilian population would
9 be exchanged for HVO members and for BH army members.
10 JUDGE SWART: This is something different from what you told us
11 this morning, I guess, but I'm not sure I have a remembrance of what you
12 were saying, that the exchange of prisoners was one of your motives for
13 taking them away from Maline. But I'm not able to check it.
14 My last question, then: It has already been alluded to by others
15 this morning, I think, and let me question you -- let me put the question
16 more squarely to you.
17 Are you familiar with the fact that in April of the same year, so
18 let's say two months before these events, people were killed by the
19 Mujahedin in the neighbourhood of Mehurici, or are you not aware of that?
20 A. I had heard about that.
21 JUDGE SWART: You heard the full story, or only some accidental
23 A. No. I think it was in April that I heard about it. We were
24 guarding some positions when we returned. I think it was when the
25 Mujahedin captured and took to prison -- took away to prison the owner of
1 the cafe. Well, on that occasion, there was a rumour, according to which
2 they had killed someone in a Croatian village, I think. But I really
3 don't know whom they killed.
4 JUDGE SWART: Is that all you know about the previous incidents
5 with the Mujahedin, the cafe holder?
6 A. Yes, that's the only incident that I witnessed. And it was only
7 when we returned to Mehurici that I heard that they had taken this person,
8 Alija, away and some other people as well, because they served alcohol.
9 But later on these people were released. I don't know anything about
10 other incidents.
11 JUDGE SWART: So you didn't hear that in the month of April some
12 five or six people were killed in Miletici as a result of military action
13 by the Mujahedin in Poljanice? That is an unknown story to you?
14 A. No, I didn't hear about that.
15 JUDGE SWART: Thank you.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I have two very
17 short questions.
18 When you went from Mehurici to Maline, when you went to Maline in
19 the morning, did you have an order to go there, and who gave you the order
20 to go to Maline with men from your unit?
21 A. Well, the brigade command told me that if the action was
22 successful, if our troops were able to reach Maline, I should protect the
23 civilians and their property with my men.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you were in Maline, the
25 column that was taken to Mehurici, was this something you did on your own
1 initiative, or were you carrying out a specific order?
2 A. It was my personal initiative. And my order was to protect the
3 civilians, and I thought that I couldn't do this with 10 men, because the
4 village is a big one.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To protect them. But to protect
6 them from whom, from what?
7 A. I was afraid, because there was fighting, there was shooting, and
8 I was afraid that the men from the camp, the Mujahedin, might reach those
9 people in the village. That was what I was afraid of. And I think that
10 the command also had this in mind, and that is why they sent the police
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To your mind, when the attack on
13 Maline took place, did the Mujahedin participate in the attack, too?
14 A. No, they didn't.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So why did you think the
16 Mujahedin might go to Maline?
17 A. Well, do you know why? Because in my assessment, they were
18 vultures of a kind. They would engage in looting. They would go to those
19 villages. After combat, I was afraid that they might camp, and I thought
20 that that camp near Mehurici might pose a threat. Maybe I was mistaken,
21 but my order was to protect the civilians, and in my opinion, I acted
23 Further Cross-examination by Mr. Mundis:
24 MR. MUNDIS: I have, sir, just a couple of questions in follow-up
25 with those questions put to you by the Trial Chamber.
1 Q. Sir, if you were afraid of the Mujahedin reaching the people in
2 Maline, why did you take that column consisting of those 200 civilians
3 within a hundred yards of their camp, on the outskirts of Mehurici?
4 A. Because I thought that they couldn't seize men from us, from the
5 Bosnian army, from the police, because we passed along that route going to
6 Maline. We passed by the camp and nothing was happening; we didn't see
7 anything. We felt that we could pass by. However, things happened
9 Q. Sir, if you went to Maline to protect the civilians from the
10 Mujahedin, I suggest to you that it was not a reasonable step for you to
11 take to take those very people that you were sent to protect from the
12 Mujahedin right past the Mujahedin camp.
13 A. That route was taken by civilians, by our troops, and I -- we
14 never had any conflict with them. To the extent of armed exchanges, there
15 had been no clashes. So I thought that if the police was escorting the
16 people, that none of them would do anything. That was the only and
17 shortest route for us to reach Mehurici. I did not expect them to seize
18 those men from us, because that hadn't happened until then. They could
19 have come in the dark, and with 10 men, I cannot watch over the whole
20 village. They could have come under cover of darkness. And I thought
21 that the best idea would be to take them all together and to guard them
22 and to save their lives. However, what happened happened.
23 Q. Thank you, witness.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Defence.
25 Further Re-examination by Ms. Residovic:
1 Q. [Interpretation] Sir, when you were describing you were assigned
2 to the village after combat operations, was that assignment to protect the
3 civilian population living in that village?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did you understand that assignment, or rather, how did you
6 understand it? Was it protection against all dangers that accompany
7 combat operations, including the possible appearance of Mujahedin?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. With a group of 10 men in a large village, was it possible to
10 protect those people from all the risks entailed when the front line is
12 A. I still believe that I couldn't protect them all.
13 Q. Answering some questions before about this protection, you said
14 that when you saw the villagers, they were in different moods; some of
15 them were afraid, some were crying, and some were asking you whether there
16 were any Mujahedin around. This reaction of the civilian population, did
17 it make you have second thoughts about leaving the villagers in the
18 village, if they were so afraid?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. His Honour asked you a question about exchanges. I will remind
21 you that on page 26, lines 21 to 25, and on page 27, lines 1 to 3, you
22 described your conversation with the Mujahedin who intercepted you. And
23 as it says in this line, you said: "I told them that it was not possible
24 for them to take those men," that you were members of the army and that
25 you have to take the whole column to the school in Mehurici.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You then said that there was a possibility of an exchange. This
3 exchange that you mentioned, in answer to one of the questions, and that
4 you referred to when talking to the Mujahedin, was that actually an
5 attempt to persuade the Mujahedin to let you go?
6 A. Of course.
7 Q. And my last question linked to your knowledge about this event in
8 Miletici; this was April, or end of April, 1993. You said that you were
9 on some front lines. Could you tell me where the 1st Battalion was
10 stationed, which lines, and how far were they from Mehurici?
11 A. I don't know exactly what the names of those villages are. It was
12 a long time ago. But I know that quite a way from Bila, from a mine, you
13 went through a wood, near a stream, but I can't remember the name.
14 Q. Was this linked to any -- well, not significant, I can't call it
15 significant when criminals are involved. Were they defensive actions
16 linked to a terrible event that occurred in the Lasva Valley?
17 A. Possibly. I think we were there for four or five days, holding
18 our positions. We were in trenches. There was no fighting. We were just
19 holding on to our positions.
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have no additional
22 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President, just
23 one question for this witness.
24 Re-Cross-examination by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
25 Q. [Interpretation] In answer to a question from the President, you
1 said that you received your order from the brigade command. You said that
2 should our troops succeed in Maline, that you should go there. You used
3 that expression,"our troops," a few other times. When using that
4 expression, you were referring to members of the 306th Brigade; is that
6 A. Yes.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Sir, you have just
8 completed your testimony. Thank you for coming to The Hague and for
9 contributing to the establishment of the truth by the answers you gave to
10 all the questions put to you. I wish you a safe journey home, and best
11 wishes for the future.
12 I will adjourn the hearing immediately because we have overstepped
13 our time limit by 10 minutes. I thank all the participants, and I invite
14 you to come back here for the hearing beginning at 9.00 a.m.
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.55 p.m.,
16 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 1st day of
17 December, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.