1 Thursday, 7 April 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
6 JUDGE LIU: Call the case please, Mr. Court Deputy.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is Case Number
8 IT-01-48-T, the Prosecutor versus Sefer Halilovic.
9 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
10 Well, good morning, Witness.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning. Good morning.
12 JUDGE LIU: Could you make the solemn declaration in accordance
13 with the paper Madam Usher is showing to you.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
15 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.
17 Well, just for the issue of all the parties that this afternoon
18 we'll sit from 3.30 until 5.00, instead of 7.00.
19 Yes, Ms. Chana, are you ready were your direct examination?
20 MS. CHANA: Thank you, Your Honours.
21 WITNESS: WITNESS G
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 Examined by Ms. Chana:
24 Q. Good morning, Witness.
25 A. Good morning.
1 Q. I'll get the usher to show you a piece of paper. Is your date --
2 your name and your date of birth reflected on that paper and would you
3 please confirm that these are your details?
4 A. Yes, the details are correct.
5 MS. CHANA: Your Honour, one minute. I don't seem to be getting
6 the translation. I don't know what the problem is, if you would give me a
7 moment please, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
9 MS. CHANA: This doesn't look like it's working, Your Honour.
10 Would the --
11 JUDGE LIU: Maybe you could repeat your question to this witness.
12 MS. CHANA: Pardon, Your Honour?
13 JUDGE LIU: Maybe you could repeat your question to this witness
14 as a test.
15 MS. CHANA: [Microphone not activated].
16 Q. Once again, Witness, I think there was a technical hitch. I think
17 it's working now.
18 Could you look at that paper and confirm to this Court, would you,
19 that that's your name and date of birth written on that piece of paper.
20 A. Yes, the details are correct.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MS. CHANA: Your Honour, I would like to admit that into evidence
23 JUDGE LIU: It's admitted into the evidence.
24 MS. CHANA: Obliged, Your Honour.
25 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P337 under seal.
1 MS. CHANA:
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, Ms. Chana.
11 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE LIU: If you go through the background information of this
13 witness, I believe the best way is for us to go to the private session for
14 a short while.
15 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour, I just realised that. I'm not going
16 to touch on his background anymore.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Please continue.
18 MS. CHANA:
3 JUDGE LIU: Well --
4 MS. CHANA: Yes.
5 JUDGE LIU: I think we should go into private session.
6 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour, can we go into private session.
7 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll go to private session, please.
8 [Private session]
11 Page 5 redacted. Private session.
2 [Open session]
3 MS. CHANA:
4 Q. Yes, I was asking you what was the composition of the Prozor
5 Independent Battalion?
6 A. The Prozor Independent Battalion for the most part comprised
7 Bosniaks from the areas covered by the three towns and villages. Further,
8 it also included Bosniaks who had fled from what we used to refer to at
9 the time as the temporarily occupied territories of the Prozor
10 municipality, mostly Bosniak Muslims. Sometimes persons from some other
11 group would be included. There was, for example, a Bulgarian volunteer.
12 I'm not sure how he came to be in the area; he just appeared there one
13 day. But it was mostly made up of Bosniak persons from the area of Prozor
15 Q. And can you specify which particular places would they come from,
16 these soldiers?
17 A. Those were soldiers from the following villages: Here, Kute,
18 Scipe, Skrobucani, Donja Vast, Klek, Lapsanj, Prozor town, those places
19 mainly. The first three or four villages I have just mentioned accounted
20 for the majority.
21 Q. So what was their familiarity with the terrain of the area of --
22 their area of responsibility?
23 A. The people who made up the battalion at the time, with the
24 exception of the commander who is not a native of Prozor himself, he came
25 from elsewhere, so these people who made up most of our unit were fully
1 familiar with the area.
2 Q. And what about the people living in the area?
3 A. I'm not sure I understand your question.
4 Q. They were familiar with the area. And the population, were they
5 equally familiar with the population?
6 A. I'm sorry, but I'm not sure what you're driving at. What people
7 are you talking about? If I'm talking about the people who made up the
8 Independent Prozor Battalion, then I can tell you they were from Prozor
9 municipality and they were familiar with the lie of the land.
10 Q. And obviously if they came from that particular territory they
11 would also know the people who reside in that territory. Would that be an
12 accurate assessment?
13 A. In part, yes.
14 Q. What kind of reputation did this -- these soldiers have, the
15 soldiers of the Prozor Independent Battalion?
16 A. I believe they were good soldiers, good fighters. I believe all
17 their actions were determined by their commander. They obeyed their
18 commander with no reservations.
19 Q. Who was the commander of the Prozor Independent Battalion?
20 A. There was several and there were frequent changes, but in the
21 period under consideration it was Enver Buza. I heard that he was a
22 native of the Visoko area. Visoko is a town near Sarajevo.
23 Q. And when did he join the Prozor Independent Battalion, Enver Buza?
24 A. I can't give you the exact date, but I believe it was sometime
25 around May 1993.
1 Q. And what impact did it have on the Prozor Independent Battalion
2 when Enver Buza took over its command?
3 A. We drew a comparison between the previous commander and the one
4 who is now there. At the outset, we were more than happy with his work
5 and the way he ran the battalion. As compared to the previous commander,
6 the improvement that he brought was mostly about improving the
7 communications system. What used to be territorial units were now blended
8 together. There were companies pertaining to each of the villages, Here,
9 Kute, and Scipe. He detached the battalion command and moved it out of a
10 settled area, thus making it entirely independent of what we referred to
11 as the influence of the village locally.
12 These were the good things he did. However, after that he started
13 seeing his role in such a way that he believed he had absolute power and
14 that he no longer answered to anyone; thus, to my mind at least, exceeding
15 his authority and the powers that he had in actual fact.
16 Q. So what kind of relationship would you say he had with his
18 A. He had two of his friends in the battalion command, and he was
19 only open to whatever suggestions came from those two. He ignored
20 everyone else and refused any suggestions that came from elsewhere.
21 Q. And what was your relationship with him?
22 A. At the beginning, the relationship was very good, but towards the
23 end it was rapidly deteriorating until it came to a head.
24 Q. And what do you mean it came to a head?
25 A. There was a clash of opinions. There was a verbal clash. We
1 couldn't go on working together. I requested to be relieved of my duties,
2 which -- and he obliged with great pleasure. I was relieved of my duties
3 in early 1994.
10 Q. Where was the Prozor Independent Battalion based?
11 A. First the command was based at Scipe, the headquarters. Later it
12 was moved to a different house in the same village. And it was in spring
13 or summer of 1993 that the command of the battalion was moved to
14 Dobro Polje, a place called Dobro Polje. There was a hut there in the
15 forest, and that was where the battalion commander and our communications
16 centre were based.
17 Q. Just to orient Their Honours to the exact location, I'd like you
18 to see this photograph, please. It's 0299-2279. It will come up on your
19 screen in a minute, Witness.
20 While that's coming up, perhaps I'll take this opportunity to
21 remind you that since you are a protected witness, would you be careful
22 about saying anything that you feel may identify you in the course of your
24 THE REGISTRAR: That will be MFI 331.
25 MS. CHANA: Thank you. May the photograph --
1 Q. Could you tell us what this picture is of?
2 A. This photograph shows the hut. There was an outbuilding. There
3 was an annex, which was torn down once the war was over. You can see the
4 road leading to Prozor down the valley. The distance between the hut and
5 Prozor is about 22 kilometres if you take the road that you can see in the
6 photograph. If you take the opposite direction, it takes you to a
7 mountain. If you go on down that road, you eventually reach Fojnica. And
8 if you go past Fojnica, you reach a town that is already on the outskirts
9 of Sarajevo.
10 Q. Witness, can you please mark for me the hut which was your
11 command. And what was this area called where this -- your command post
13 A. This is the hut.
14 Q. And that was your command post?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And what's the area called itself where this command post was? Is
17 it Dobro Polje?
18 A. Everything you can see here is called Dobro Polje.
19 Q. It's in Dobro Polje --
20 A. But this area over here is called Rizak. There's a creek running
21 here. You can't see it in the photograph, but it's there, and that's it.
22 Q. Would you go with me for a minute. Where you draw your circle,
23 would you draw -- would you write command, C, or C and PID, which means
24 the command post for the Prozor Independent Battalion.
25 A. [Marks].
1 Q. Where that arrow is, can you tell us which that's the direction
2 towards? Would that be towards Here and Uzdol? Where you've drawn the
3 arrow going --
4 A. It's all the same. The entire building was in fact the command
5 post, the place for the commander, and the communications centre.
6 Q. Yes. If you'll bear with me, please, Witness, this arrow that
7 you've drawn, can you please generally -- so that Their Honours can follow
8 your testimony as to where this arrow is pointing, which direction. So if
9 you wanted to go to Uzdol it will be that arrow. So can you write there
10 for me, please, to Uzdol.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you write on that arrow, please.
13 A. [Marks].
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MS. CHANA: Your Honour, can I please tender that into evidence.
16 MR. MORRISSEY: There's no objection, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE LIU: It's admitted into the evidence.
18 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P331.
19 JUDGE LIU: I believe the marked one and the original one are all
20 admitted into evidence.
21 THE REGISTRAR: And the original is P330 as well as.
22 MS. CHANA: Yes, thank you.
23 The original, Your Honours, is 331, and this marked one will
24 be 332. If that's helpful.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Correct, Ms. Chana.
1 MS. CHANA:
2 Q. Now, would you tell us what kind of military actions would the
3 Prozor Independent Battalion undertake mostly.
4 A. The Prozor Independent Battalion mostly engaged in defensive
5 combat activities. It defended the area of Here, Scipe, Kute, and the
6 territory of other small places in that area. However, it would
7 occasionally also carry out reconnaissance and sabotage activities. This
8 mainly involved infiltrating the enemy's rear in order to attack certain
9 key features or to obtain information. Or sometimes the Bosniak civilian
10 population in the summer of 1993 was withdrawn from that territory. They
11 were wandering around the woods in that area and they were withdrawn and
12 brought to our territory.
13 Q. Would they mostly engage in inhabited areas or uninhabited areas?
14 A. These actions, these activities, were mostly carried out in open
15 fields apart from a number of actions. But usually these actions were
16 carried out in open fields.
17 Q. Now, can you please tell us, if you can cast your mind back to
18 about October of 1992, and very briefly tell Their Honours what was
19 happening at that time in Prozor.
20 A. In the week that started on the 22nd of October, 1992 -- well, I
21 don't know which day is Monday, I don't know which date Monday would be
22 during that period. But on that day, on that date, tension suddenly
23 escalated in Prozor because HVO units or Croatian army units that we
24 weren't familiar with, we didn't know who was there, encircled Prozor.
25 And at all the access routes to Prozor, they set up checkpoints at which
1 they checked people and vehicles. You could feel this increased tension
2 up until Thursday when a session of the War Presidency was scheduled in
3 order to attempt to obtain an explanation from the Croatian side as to
4 what was happening. At that meeting, certain explanations were provided,
5 explanations that we found unacceptable. They said that this was
6 happening because of certain problems in Novi Travnik and because of
7 certain problems in Jajce. And we couldn't understand why it was
8 necessary to encircle Prozor because of what I have just mentioned.
9 And secondly, the beginning of the school year 1992/1993 was an
10 issue that was raised because the Croatian side insisted that the school
11 year should commence in accordance with the educational plans in force in
12 the Republic of Croatia. At that meeting held on the 23rd of October they
13 issued an ultimatum. They requested that the Bosnian side accept the way
14 the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna be organised, accept its existence,
15 and we couldn't accept it. It was a parastate. In addition, there was
16 some sort of agreement that was reached at the meeting, an official
17 agreement, according to which the checkpoints should be removed and to
18 according to which the military units should be sent back to where they
19 had come from. And all this was to be made official at a break that
20 occurred at 1500 hours after the meeting.
21 However, when the record was to be compiled after -- during the
22 break, the president of the HDZ arrived and he said, You are negotiating
23 but you are already killing people as a result. And he left as well as
24 the entire delegation from the place where the meeting was being held.
25 And five minutes later, the artillery started pounding the entire town
1 very intensively.
2 That was on the 23rd of October. And by 1200 hours on the
3 following day, the HVO or the Croatian army, I don't know which units,
4 some units from the outside, entered the town and certain -- some sort of
5 an armoured unit consisting of 13 or 14 tanks also entered the town. The
6 Territorial Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina then lost control of the
8 Q. Now, by September 1993, how much of the territory was occupied by
9 the HVO?
10 A. By September 1993, the HVO had occupied perhaps 85 or 90 per cent
11 of the territory of the municipality of Prozor. There was only a pocket
12 that remained in the north-eastern or eastern part of the municipality.
13 The places of Here, Kute, and Scipe were concerned.
14 Q. What happened to the Bosniak population in Prozor after the HVO
15 occupied it?
16 A. The Bosniak population was gathered, was assembled, in collection
17 centres. Certain investigations were made. People were forced to sign
18 certain statements, claiming that extremists, Muslim extremists, were
19 responsible for certain conflicts, et cetera. During that time, the
20 territory under the control of the HVO was a territory in which the
21 Bosniak population had been completely destroyed, because of out of 7.400
22 Bosniaks living in the municipality in 1991, 128 Bosniaks remained in an
23 area in Prozor itself. Six individuals remained in Duge, and the Delic
24 family remained in the Orasac settlement. Those are the only people who
25 remained out of the 7.000 people by September 1993.
1 During that time -- at that time, we had a list of 181 people who
2 had gone missing. 968 military-able men were in camps at the time.
3 Q. Now, can you tell us about an incident which happened in July of
4 1993 in respect of some Bosnian prisoners.
5 A. Could you please repeat the date.
6 Q. In July of 1993. Could you tell us about an incident which
7 happened about Bosnian prisoners.
8 A. In the town of Prozor, there was a collection centre in which
9 there was several hundred prisoners; that was in the building of the
10 secondary school. Upon the 31st of July, 1993, the ABiH carried out an
11 action in the Crni Vrh area. That is a mountain to the north-east of
12 Prozor. Members of the Prozor Independent Battalion and other units
13 participated in that action, other units of the ABiH. On that day, the
14 defence lines of the HVO were practically destroyed. Our units advanced
15 towards the Makljen pass, which is an important position because the main
16 road from Mostar and Banja Luka and Zagreb comes to a junction there. And
17 after those lines had been broken through, there are about 90 camp inmates
18 from the secondary school in Prozor were assembled. And three chains of
19 them were formed and they were used against the ABiH. Two chains were
20 used in the Crni Vrh area, and one in the direction towards Gornji Vakuf.
21 One of those chains of inmates, 24 Bosniaks, 24 able-bodied Bosniaks, were
22 killed. According to the statements of the survivors, they were shot in
23 the back; that's how they were killed.
24 The second chain of inmates managed to pull out and moved over to
25 our side in the course of those actions. I saw those people and I spoke
1 to them. None of them had footwear. They were all barefoot. When
2 fleeing, they had lost their footwear.
3 The third chain of inmates was used in the following way: One man
4 who had been imprisoned in the secondary school drove a bulldozer, and
5 behind him this live shield, this chain of inmates, progressed and ABiH
6 members opened fire and wounded them. He then fled somewhere and that's
7 how the action ended. Although a military policeman threatened to kill
8 them all if they survived once he returned. That's what I could tell you
9 about the incident on the 31st of July.
10 There's one other important thing. On that day, an HVO member
11 went to the village of Lapsunj, which is about two kilometres from the
12 town, and he killed a nine-month-old child and the child's mother. His
13 name is Haris Pilav, and his mother's name was Semsa.
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. -- I'm sorry, but thank you, Witness.
15 To be quite clear, what do you mean by a chain, very briefly,
16 please? When you referred to a chain, what exactly did you mean?
17 A. I meant that on that day the HVO used a live shield formed of
18 individuals who had been captured in the course of combat. One such human
19 chain was killed. They were buried in a mass grave and then moved to
20 another village, and when exhumed they were found in that place. They
21 were all identified -- not all of them in fact. 20 of them were
22 identified; four of them could not be identified because this was not
24 Q. Yes, that's fine.
25 Now, did some of these prisoners, these Bosnians who had been used
1 as human shields escape and join the Prozor Independent Battalion?
2 A. The second human shield, the second human chain, that survived,
3 most of them all volunteered to join the Prozor Independent Battalion.
4 Q. And can you please tell us, these soldiers who had been used as
5 human shields and who joined the Prozor Independent Battalion, what was
6 their general attitude?
7 A. I spoke to some of them. I spoke about the tragedy that had
8 struck them. Their position, however, was that they would fight to the
9 very end against the HVO because the human shield is not the only
10 experience they had had. Many people had been taken away from that
11 secondary school. Some were executed at a rubbish dump, and they were
12 never found because the rubbish dump is not an orderly one and it's always
13 on fire. Many people were humiliated. Many women and girls were raped at
14 the time. That was their position -- not only their position but it was a
15 position shared by it was an opinion shared by all of us.
16 Q. By "all of us" you mean the entire Prozor Independent Battalion?
17 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, what happened on that particular date?
23 Yes, I would like to remind you, Witness, that since you have
24 asked for protective measures and if you say certain things, it would be
25 very easy to identify who you are. So I would remind you once again to
1 please -- if -- not say what you just said about your position.
2 MS. CHANA: If that could be redacted, Your Honour.
3 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, the witness shouldn't be put in a
4 position of having to sculpt his evidence. If there's sensitive evidence
5 to be given, he should be given the chance to say what he has to say, and
6 therefore we don't object to the matter going into private session. If
7 sensitive material is going to be elicited, then the Witness should be
8 given the full chance to answer properly. That would be an appropriate
9 course if that's going to happen.
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes. But on that occasion we haven't come to the
11 sensitive part yet; it's just beginning.
12 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, Your Honour, frankly I agree -- I agree with
13 what Your Honour says, and I'm not objecting to what my learned friend
14 just said there; it was quite proper. But if we're going to come to an
15 area where it's likely that some parts of his evidence will be sensitive
16 and some parts not, and the witness is here to say what he saw and what he
17 knows, so let him say it and --
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, of course.
19 MS. CHANA: Your Honour, just to give an indication to counsel,
20 and I think I know what he's referring to. The Prosecution has no
21 intention of leading such evidence. The witness is available to the
22 Defence to lead the evidence they want, irrespective of these sensitive
23 issues. That's about as coded a message as I can give, Your Honour,
24 without betraying what we are saying, but....
25 JUDGE LIU: Well, we'll see.
1 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour.
2 Q. Witness, can you tell us on that day, 5th September, 1993, what
4 A. I was in the command of the Prozor Independent Battalion on that
5 day. I couldn't really say whether it was on the 5th, 4th, or 6th of
6 September, since a lot of time has passed since then, but I think it was
7 around that time.
8 General Halilovic came to our command post with some other
9 commanders, and they held a meeting with our commander, Enver Buza. We
10 walked around that building and waited to see what would happen. They had
11 that meeting. General Halilovic came on that occasion. And on that
12 time -- on that occasion he -- or during that period he came twice or
13 perhaps three times. And I remember during one of his meetings that area
14 was shelled by the artillery. I don't know whether that was during his
15 first visit or during his second visit.
16 Q. Yes. But can we take this a little slower, if I may. Could you
17 tell us who accompanied General Halilovic when he arrived on that first
18 time he came, as you said around the 5th sometime?
19 A. On that occasion, he had his escort with him. There was the
20 journalist, Sefko Hodzic. There was some commanders. I think Haso
21 Hakolovic was there, the commander of the 45th Brigade. And I think there
22 were some commanders of certain brigades. I can't remember which
23 brigades, but there were those commanders. Perhaps Selmo Cikotic, the
24 commander of an operative group, was also there. But I'm not sure. I
25 know there were all of them.
1 Q. Was the commander of the 6th Corps there, Salko Gusic?
2 A. I think so. But he also came during that period; that's certain.
3 I don't know whether he came on the first visit or the second one, but he
4 came for sure.
5 Q. Now, on this particular time, was this the first time you had seen
6 General Halilovic?
7 A. In person, yes. I had seen him before that time on television
8 when we had electricity in 1992 and 1993. I knew him, as I had seen him
9 on television, and I recognised him immediately.
10 Q. Were you present at this particular meeting that he held with your
11 commander, Enver Buza?
12 A. I wasn't present at that meeting. I wasn't in the room where the
13 meeting was held. But afterwards, we were summoned by the commander. He
14 summoned his assistants and provided information about what had been
15 discussed at the meeting.
16 Q. And what did your commander, Enver Buza, say about what had
17 transpired at the meeting?
18 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours -- sorry. May I just intervene here.
19 Your Honours, I haven't risen up until now. There is no objection
20 to hearsay as such at this Tribunal, of course. But I should mention this
21 once again. The Prosecution have made a specific decision to withdraw
22 Enver Buza from the witness list, so therefore I object to evidence being
23 given about what Mr. Buza said.
24 I should indicate that, Your Honours, I've made a similar
25 objection in the past in relation to one witness. Your Honours ruled
1 against me on that occasion, and I've got nothing different to say in
2 justification this time. So effectively I just want to put that on the
3 record that generally, as a matter of policy, we object to such questions,
4 not just with this witness, of course, but across the board.
5 But having made the objection, I understand what the answer is
6 likely to be.
7 JUDGE LIU: Yes, yes. And I think in this Tribunal the hearsay
8 evidence is admissible. Of course we'll consider your objections when we
9 evaluate this piece of the evidence.
10 You may proceed, Ms. Chana.
11 MS. CHANA: I'm obliged, Your Honour.
12 Q. Yes. Can you tell us what Enver Buza said to you after the
13 meeting with Halilovic and crew?
14 A. On that occasion he told us that the time had come to finally
15 liberate Prozor, that the time had come for the state to assist us in some
16 way. He said that everyone in our vicinity would be assisting us. Our
17 units in the vicinity would also assist us to finally liberate Prozor, and
18 the time had come for us to go swimming in the Rama lake, which is on the
19 other side of the municipality. These are the sort of things that he
20 said, and he said that it would be a large-scale operation led by General
21 Halilovic, the Chief of Staff. That was the exact position that he had at
22 the time as far as I can remember.
23 Q. Now, when he said that General Halilovic was to lead this
24 operation, what did you understand by that?
25 A. Well, I took that to mean what I have just said. General
1 Halilovic was, in my opinion, a figure of authority at the time because
2 until recently he had practically been the commander of the ABiH, and he
3 was the highest-ranking officer from your army and he was with us. And he
4 gave us hope. We hoped that everything would unfold in the way that they
5 had said things would unfold. So he really was a figure of authority for
6 us. There was no doubt about that.
7 Q. And what was Halilovic's position in the army as you understood it
8 at that time?
9 A. We received information perhaps a month or two previously - I
10 can't remember exactly when - according to which commander of the General
11 Staff had been appointed or commander of the supreme command; I can't
12 remember the exact name because the name changed. However, the Chief of
13 Staff was General Halilovic; he remained the Chief of Staff.
14 As far as official explanations are concerned, we received an
15 explanation according to which the Main Staff of the army was finally
16 being established that no one was being replaced, no system was being
17 replaced. It was a matter of strengthening the organisation and of
18 establishing the final structure and bringing it up to strength,
19 establishing the final structure of the Main Staff. So even without such
20 an explanation, we considered Sefer Halilovic to be a figure of authority.
21 Q. And was this news that you were to participate in the operation to
22 liberate Prozor good news for yourself and the soldiers?
23 A. It was good news for us, yes. We were happy about it and we very
24 much supported this.
25 Q. Now, later on did you -- what was your understanding of the
1 relationship between Halilovic and Delic vis-a-vis these -- this
2 restructuring of the army?
3 A. At the time these changes occurred, we knew nothing. We only had
4 whatever official information was available; that was all we had. We
5 accepted it as such. It was later, however, that I learned that there had
6 been other reasons for the appointment of a commander whose remit was to
7 restrict the powers of the Chief of Staff. The word was there was a clash
8 between the Sandzak and the Bosniak factions in the Army of Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina and their diverging policies. This, however, was mere
10 hearsay; this was never corroborated. And all of this needs to be taken
11 with more than just the proverbial grain of salt.
12 Q. So was Halilovic's authority ever questioned in your -- in your
13 presence at any time?
14 A. No, no.
15 Q. Now, were you told what the main goal of this operation was going
16 to be?
17 A. The main goal of the operation from our point of view was to
18 regain Prozor; that was our local objective. Secondly, I think people
19 were saying at the time that the HVO had exceeded the extent to which
20 their armed units could be tolerated in Bosnia and Herzegovina, generally
22 Attacks had started mounting by the HVO on that day. There had
23 been orders for the army to be disarmed and resubordinated to the HVO. We
24 knew about this. This made it impossible to avoid this unfortunate war,
25 the operations that ensued, and the domino effect that was triggered.
1 Q. Now, can you tell me whether General Halilovic came to your
2 command post again sometime later, and when that was?
3 A. He came on the eve of the action. I think he only stayed briefly.
4 We were told at the time that he was just passing through on his way to
5 Voljevac, a village in Gornji Vakuf municipality. The units in that area
6 were on the right flank neighbouring the Prozor Independent Battalion.
7 Final talks were under way on the exact modality that the operation was to
9 Q. Yes. Can you -- I want to ask you if you could try to, please,
10 pinpoint a date. I know it's been sometime. But if the first meeting
11 happened at about 5th, how many days after did Sefer Halilovic come to
12 Dobro Polje again? Was it a few days? Five days? Six days?
13 A. Something like that. I believe six or seven days later.
14 Q. Right. And what happened when he came at that time? Who did he
15 meet with?
16 A. Needless to say, he met with the commander. I don't remember all
17 these details very clearly. It's been over 12 years since. I know that
18 there was an ongoing debate in our command about the axis down which the
19 Prozor Independent Battalion would be moving.
20 What I can tell you about that is: Once I entered the commander's
21 office - I said this in my statement about six months ago, and that's
22 exactly how it happened - I saw an order to attack. This order was signed
23 by General Sefer Halilovic. The order precisely defined the axis of
24 attack of the Prozor Independent Battalion, and that's what I wanted to
25 know about. The axis was Crni Vrh, Makljen. I don't think there was any
1 reference whatsoever to the village of Uzdol in that document. Although I
2 was in no position to study the document, I looked through it briefly and
3 quickly. This was a highly confidential document, and by rights I should
4 not -- I should never have had an opportunity to even see it.
5 Q. Why did you look at it?
6 A. Human curiosity, that's all. I wanted to know where our unit
7 would be going. I couldn't resist the urge to have a look.
8 Q. Yes. Now I want to show you a document and then I'll ask you some
9 questions. This is P124; it will come up on your screen in a minute.
10 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, can I just --
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
12 MR. MORRISSEY: -- inquire whether this is the document that's the
13 order dated the 15th of September that's being brought up?
14 JUDGE LIU: I believe so, because it appears on our screen.
15 MR. MORRISSEY: That's very well. Well, I might have something to
16 raise about this in a minute, but we'll see what occurs. But we received
17 proofing notes, Your Honour -- anyway, I'll -- I'm obliged.
18 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
19 You may proceed, Ms. Chana.
20 MS. CHANA: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. Can you look at this document and see whether you recognise it.
22 First of all, what kind of a document is it?
23 A. This is an order.
24 Q. By whom?
25 A. Well, it's stated in the upper left corner. The document clearly
1 indicates that. Secondly, 12 or 13 years have gone by. It's difficult
2 for me to confirm that this is the document that I saw at the time. If it
3 is not the same document, then it is very much like it.
4 I told you about the circumstances under which I saw the document.
5 I can't be entirely certain that I was able to go through the entire
6 document nor am I able to remember the entire document now. It might have
7 been something like this one. I took that document to be an attack order
8 or an order defining the axis of attack.
9 Q. Now, if you look the task part, is that what you understood at
10 that time what the Prozor -- what the Prozor Independent Battalion was
11 going to be -- and the line of attack for the Prozor Independent
13 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, I'll object to that. Your Honour, this is
14 now -- the purpose of this particular line of questioning is quite clear,
15 but the witness has said that he can't say that this is the document that
16 he looked at. I've got no objection to my friend asking what this witness
17 understood to be Buza's instructions, if there were any, at the time. But
18 by doing it with reference to this document now it's not proper, now that
19 the witness has given the answer that he's given about this document.
20 He's not saying it's the document he saw. So that he shouldn't be asked
21 questions about that document in the way it's being done.
22 JUDGE LIU: Well, the witness is not a hundred per cent sure about
23 this document, whether it is that document that he saw at the time, but
24 the witness testified that he saw a similar document to this aspect. I
25 believe the Prosecution is entitled to go along this line. First of all,
1 we'll come to the contents of this document, and them later on we'll see
2 how much weight we should put to this document.
3 MS. CHANA: Thank you, Your Honours.
4 Q. Witness, could you look at the task part and see whether that was
5 the line of attack as you understood it after looking at the document at
6 the time that the Prozor Independent Battalion was going to take?
7 MR. MORRISSEY: Just a minute. Now, Your Honours, that question
8 has now contained --
9 I'm sorry for interrupting, Witness. There's a legal objection
10 I'm taking to the question.
11 Your Honours, if you look the question there it says: "As you
12 understood it after looking at the document at the time."
13 Now, that's the very thing that the witness hasn't agreed that he
14 did. So I object to that question.
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes. I think this objection has merits.
16 MS. CHANA: Your Honour, I was simply asking the witness to
17 clarify what he --
18 JUDGE LIU: Well, I believe that this witness said that he was not
19 sure whether this is a document he saw at that time.
20 MS. CHANA: Yes, quite sure -- yes, Your Honour. If I -- let's
21 see if I can ask the witness this.
22 Q. At the time you said you looked at this document, which was a
23 combat order from General Halilovic, you wanted to know the line of
24 attack. That was your main interest. Is that correct?
25 MR. MORRISSEY: No, sorry, again I object. There's a couple of
1 assumptions built in there. There's a number of objections.
2 I wouldn't object -- I can indicate this: I wouldn't object to
3 the witness being asked about the document he did see at the time. That's
4 fine. As long as there's no things like combat order built into the
5 question. The witness could just be asked what did he see in that
6 document and what he understood. How -- well, I won't design the
7 question. But my objection is really to building in those extra clauses
8 into it. So perhaps that would assist.
9 JUDGE LIU: Maybe, Ms. Chana, you could establish your case step
10 by step.
11 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour.
12 Q. Now, when you said you saw a document in Enver Buza's office, what
13 kind of a document was it? Don't look at this document now. Just tell us
14 what kind of a document was it? What was the nature of that document?
15 A. I told you that I had only seen the document in a hurry and I
16 didn't go through the entire document. I can't say anything about its
17 specific nature. All I was looking for was the section that pertained to
18 the Prozor Independent Battalion. Everything else mattered a great deal
19 less. I realised that the Prozor Independent Battalion was to move down
20 the Crni Vrh-Makljen axis, and that was all I wanted to know. As soon as
21 I saw that, I stopped reading the document.
22 Q. Now, clarify this for me when you say that you were interested to
23 see -- I want to be quite accurate here so I don't get an objection, was
24 to move down. Can you define "move down," please?
25 A. Moving where? What exactly do you want me to define?
1 Q. You said "move down," Witness, that you were interested to have a
2 look at that document to see move down, where the Prozor Battalion was
3 going to move down. We just want the Court to understand what you mean
4 by "move down."
5 A. When I said that, I meant that the Prozor Independent Battalion
6 would use this axis that I mentioned to carry out an attack and that the
7 superior command would determine who would be on the battalion's left and
8 right flanks. When I use the word "to move," that's to mean moving in
9 combat, and the reference is to an axis along which troops advanced to
10 take a certain area.
11 Q. And this was in respect of the military operation?
12 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honour, once again I have to object; this
13 time it's to a leading question.
14 JUDGE LIU: Well, the witness said that to move, that is to --
15 that is to mean moving in combat.
16 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes. Well, Your Honours, I --
17 JUDGE LIU: So -- which, you know, implies the military
19 MR. MORRISSEY: Of course it does.
20 JUDGE LIU: So I believe that this question was not a leading one.
21 MR. MORRISSEY: It's really the term "operation" that concerned me
22 there, bearing in mind it's not this witness's evidence directly, but you
23 have to decide other matters with reference to the word "operation."
24 Military actions, I don't have any objection to that. I'm not trying to
25 suggest that they were going there for a picnic, Your Honour. So that's
1 not my objection. It was really the use of the word "operation." It may
2 be that it's not crucial to my friend's question anyway. But that was
3 what the objection was. It was that word "operation."
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Maybe -- at this stage I don't see the
5 difference between operation and action.
6 But if possible, Ms. Chana, you can use action instead of
8 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour. But the witness has already stated
9 earlier that there was a defensive plan to liberate Prozor, and I call
10 that an operation. I'm not giving it a name. I'm just saying it's a
11 military operation.
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, that is kind of military or legal
13 characterisation of that act. So at this stage we may use quite a neutral
15 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour.
16 Q. Witness, when you were looking at that document to see where your
17 line of combat was to be, were there other units or was yours the only
18 unit reflected in that particular order that you saw lying Enver Buza's
20 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I object to the term "order" being
21 used, frankly. The witness has indicated he's not sure of precisely the
22 nature of this document. Now, I don't want these assumptions to be built
23 into questions. So I object to that on the basis of using the
24 term "order."
25 JUDGE LIU: Well, now we'll come to this document and first of
1 all, Ms. Chana, you have to establish whether this document is an order or
3 MS. CHANA: Your Honour, the witness has indicated previously, and
4 I will quote from his evidence, which is just given, "this order was
5 signed by General Sefer Halilovic," this order that he saw. He did use
6 the word "order," Your Honour. This is going to confuse the witness.
7 He's used the word "order."
8 JUDGE LIU: I understand. I mean that the document -- the witness
9 was referring the document he saw at that time. Here we come to this
10 piece of document and document 214.
11 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE LIU: So we have to establish whether document 214 is an
13 order or not in the view of the witness, of course.
14 MS. CHANA: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. Now, can you look at the document, Witness, this document now on
16 your screen. What would you categorise this document to be, if you just
17 look at it with your knowledge of military affairs? If you look at the
18 beginning it says -- does it say "order number"?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. What is it? Can you please -- to be quite clear for the Chamber,
21 what would you categorise this document to be, the one on your screen?
22 A. I believe the document reflects its own substance in no uncertain
23 terms. I believe it would be superfluous for me to comment on that.
24 Q. Superfluous or not, Witness, would you please comment on it.
25 A. This document shows in the upper left corner, and it was produced
1 by the supreme command Main Staff. It was produced in Voljevac on the
2 15th of September, 1993. It speaks about some tactical plans as I see in
3 the second half of the document. It's in reference to a number of units,
4 the Prozor Independent Battalion, the Sutjeska Battalion, parts of the
5 elements of the 45th Brigade. There you have it.
6 Q. Is it -- is it a document entitled "order number"? Does it say
7 that? Can you read that, please, at the front of the document?
8 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, again -- well, no, perhaps I'll just
9 let the witness answer. I'm sorry.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. What I know based on my
11 experience with administration is that this document was dated. But I
12 have no idea about this reference number. I can't tell you what it means
13 exactly. It is clearly stated that this document is an order containing
14 all the relevant elements.
15 MS. CHANA:
16 Q. And the relevant elements, what are the relevant elements,
17 Witness? Is this a combat order?
18 A. Can I have a minute to go through it a little more carefully?
19 Q. Yes, of course. Please take your time.
20 MS. CHANA: Perhaps, Your Honour, we can give a break at this time
21 and the witness can read it at the break?
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I think that's a good idea.
23 Any objections, Mr. Morrissey? I saw you --
24 MR. MORRISSEY: No, Your Honours. There's an objection -- there's
25 something I'm going to raise later on, but I think if the Prosecutor wants
1 to proceed this way, she's entitled to proceed as she chooses. I don't
2 have any objection to the witness being given any documents he chooses to
3 look at properly so that he can be -- give his answers after 12 years in
4 full knowledge.
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll have a break now and we'll resume at 11.00
7 --- Recess taken at 10.26 a.m.
8 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Ms. Chana, please continue.
10 MS. CHANA: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Witness, before the break we were looking at this document P124,
12 which I think you have the Bosnian version before you because it was given
13 to you during the break to study. Have you now had a chance to look at
15 A. I had a look at the document, and I thank you for allowing me to
16 think about it a little during the break.
17 Q. And what have you thought about it? Would you like to tell us?
18 A. When compared to the usual form of correspondence between the
19 higher- and lower-level commander in the ABiH, there are certain
20 differences. It differs from a textbook example of an order, such as it
21 is issued to a subordinate commander. So I can say that an order issued
22 in the ABiH didn't contain a reference to the person sent to in the
23 middle. And in this part which -- where it says order, you don't -- it
24 doesn't say "order," it says "I hereby order." When this term is used in
25 our language, it has far greater binding force. So when compared with the
1 standard types of orders issued, these are the differences that I can
2 observe. But this document does contain all the other elements, because
3 in the lower left-hand corner it says who it was addressed to; it was
4 addressed to the person concerned by the order. So this document does
5 contain all these relevant elements.
6 Q. Now, I want to go back to when you first went into Enver Buza's
7 office and you saw a piece of paper lying on his desk. You said you were
8 curious, human curiosity, and you wanted to know where the Prozor
9 Independent Battalion was going to attack.
10 Now, what made you see that piece of paper on Mr. -- Enver Buza's
11 desk and know that this document is going to give you that information?
12 What was it?
13 A. Well, there are a lot of rumours about what would happen during
14 that period of time. We were expecting an order to arrive, an order
15 issued by someone, or we were expecting instructions to arrive. We were
16 expecting something to happen, so these things were expected. And
17 secondly, I don't know how this document arrived. I don't know whether
18 someone delivered it personally or whether it was forwarded through the
19 communications equipment that we also had. This equipment was fairly
20 reliable and well-protected. As I said, I don't know how the document
21 arrived. I don't know whether it was delivered by someone personally or
22 whether it was forwarded through the communications equipment that we had.
23 When I saw this piece of paper on the desk, I knew what it was
24 immediately. I read through it and I tried to see whether Prozor
25 Battalion had to engage in action. To tell you the truth, in this first
1 part of the document you have certain tactical axes that are indicated but
2 the task mentioned below -- well, perhaps I didn't even read through the
3 entire document at that time because all I was interested in was the
4 Prozor Battalion. So I could not say for certain that this is the
5 document I saw. There are a lot of details that I cannot even remember.
6 Q. Right. But in respect of the Prozor Independent Battalion and
7 their task during this offensive, is it the same that you recall then as
8 you see in this document now which I've shown to you in court? Was it the
9 same task that you observed?
10 A. I can only tell you about how I understood the task on the basis
11 of what I read in that document and in comparison to what subsequently
12 transpired. I cannot compare this document with the other document.
13 During that period of time, certain alternatives were discussed and the
14 possibility of changing the axis that the Prozor Independent Battalion
15 would use to break through. These matters were discussed in our command,
16 but in the end the final decision in an army is always taken by the
18 Q. So when you looked at the document at the time, what was your
19 understanding as to where your unit was going to go?
20 A. On the basis of that document, I thought that the entire Prozor
21 Battalion had to take the Crni Vrh-Makljen axis. I believed that was the
22 axis they had to attack along. That's a mountainous chain to the
23 north-east and to the north of the town of Prozor.
24 Q. And is it consistent with this document that you see now, that
1 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, with the greatest respect, this is
2 impermissible. It's not a question for this witness to say whether it's
3 consistent or not. It's a question for you, the Tribunal, to draw an
4 inference at a later time on that topic.
5 I'm going to make it quite clear now that I'll cross-examine this
6 witness on what documents he's been shown and whether he's been given a
7 proper chance to consider all the documents that are relevant to this,
8 whether there's something funny going on in the court right now. So I
9 make that clear so my friend has every opportunity to deal with the issue
10 in evidence in-chief because it is a matter that I'm going to deal with.
11 But in any event, I object to that opinion being sought of the
12 witness here. Whether it's consistent or not consistent, that's your job,
13 with respect, not that of the witness..
14 JUDGE LIU: Well, Ms. Chana, we could read the document ourself
15 and compare it with the testimony of this witness at a later stage.
16 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE LIU: I think this issue is self-evident.
18 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour, I'm obliged for your guidance and I
19 will seek the protection of the Court in respect of the remark just made
20 by the learned friend. That there's something funny going on is an
21 innuendo which I must not allow to remain unanswered. I mean, I am not
22 quite aware as to what he is alluding to that there is something funny
23 going on.
24 MR. MORRISSEY: I'll explain it if you want me to explain it.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
1 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, very well.
2 Well, Your Honours, at the moment it appears that the witness is
3 being asked to comment upon this document, in spite of the clear date
4 that's on it, with a view he's now given his answers on three or four
5 occasions and so I would submit that he's now fully answered the question.
6 He can't say this is the document that he saw.
7 The Prosecutor wants you to draw an inference, obviously, that
8 that is the document he saw, despite the date that's on it. Now despite
9 the fact that my learned friend hasn't yet asked him what the date of the
10 Uzdol attack of course was.
11 Now, Your Honours, I've got a lot to say about this. But Your
12 Honours -- and I don't want to make the objection a speech in front of the
13 witness, frankly.
14 Perhaps I can do it this way. Your Honours have seen a number of
15 other documents that have been tendered in this case. One of them was a
16 document very similar to the one that is now before the witness, and on
17 one view it may have been a draft of it, but it's a different document;
18 it's the document produced by Vehbija Karic, and -- but with Halilovic's
19 name on the bottom. That was tendered as a separate exhibit, got the same
20 date on it, 15th.
21 There are other orders, which I'll put to this witness myself,
22 concerning who was issuing orders and in respect of which orders Enver
23 Buza said he was acting when he produced that combat report that's been
24 tendered in evidence Now, I don't know whether those were shown to the
25 witness yet or not. That's why I mention it now to give the Prosecutor
1 fair warning that I'm going to raise it. Because again, the witness is
2 here, I don't wish to go into the specific criticisms I have to make. But
3 I hope that clarifies what I'm pointing to what when I say that there's
4 something funny. That's what I'm getting at, that there's been a --
5 Do you want me to go on with the witness here, Your Honour? I'm a
6 bit --
7 JUDGE LIU: I think I've heard your positions already. And I
8 believe that you will have the full opportunity to cross-examine this
9 witness on all those documents related to that.
10 Ms. Chana, maybe you could establish the relevance of this
11 document to our case which mainly happened in Uzdol. So from the date of
12 this document, this document was issued after what happened in Uzdol. Am
13 I right?
14 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour, this is the purported date. There
15 is going to be evidence, Your Honour, that this is not the correct date.
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, you have to present your evidence to show us --
17 MS. CHANA: Not necessarily from this witness, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE LIU: But at least at this stage you have to establish a
19 certain relevance on that, to that effect.
20 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour. I will certainly ask the witness
21 about the date and see -- we'll hear from what he says, but I still feel
22 that the words used by my learned friend were unfortunate.
23 JUDGE LIU: I quite understand that.
24 MS. CHANA:
25 Q. Now, Witness, this document that you can see on the screen, this
1 P124, what is the date of this document?
2 A. I can't see the date on the screen, but I have the paper copy and
3 it says that the date is the 15th of September, 1993.
4 Q. And can you tell us when was the first -- the attack? Just the
5 date for now, please, because we are trying to establish date here.
6 A. The attack on Uzdol was on the 14th of September, in the morning.
7 It was on the 14th of September.
8 Q. Now, having said that and after having looked at the document,
9 would you say that this is a correct date?
10 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, how could the witness possibly
11 answer that question? He has said that he doesn't know if this is the
12 document that he saw or not. That's his clear evidence. And if he's then
13 asked if that's a correct -- if that's the right date on the document,
14 then, in my submission, it's asking him to give a guess on something that
15 he has already said that he can't know.
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, but the witness certified that he saw a similar
17 document, if not this one. I believe that the witness was someone in that
18 battalion and the incident was -- happened before that date, and that
19 battalion took part in that --
20 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes --
21 JUDGE LIU: -- Operation or action.
22 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, of course.
23 JUDGE LIU: So I believe that the witness could give us his
24 opinion on that. But we'll bear in mind your objections on this very
25 issue and see how far we could go.
1 MR. MORRISSEY: [Microphone not activated].
2 MS. CHANA:
3 Q. Yes, Witness, given the content of this document, would you say
4 that was a correct date, given that the combat itself started on the 13th?
5 A. All I can say is that one might say that on the 15th of September
6 there was still ongoing combat. Combat only ceased a couple days later,
7 but combat commenced on the 13th; I can confirm that. These are facts.
8 This document is dated the 15th of September, and that's what I
9 can say. I don't know what else you could expect of me in relation to
10 this matter because these are the facts.
11 Q. Yes. Well, thank you, Witness, for that assistance. Now I will
12 move on from there.
13 Can you tell us what happened immediately afterwards? This is
14 now -- we -- just to remind you, this is after you have seen this order
15 from Enver Buza. What happens next?
16 A. After that we had certain discussions and spoke to unit commanders
17 to see what our axes of attacks might be and to see what some of our
18 officers had proposed to try and determine which axis would be the most
19 suitable one to break through. Since our units had previously carried out
20 combat activities along this axis and they had a certain amount of
21 experience and it was difficult for them in -- the most resistant defence
22 lines of the HVO were there, their attempts to change the situation, and I
23 said that the commander took the final decision. And I don't know to whom
24 he could have forwarded such a proposal to have it accepted and adopted.
25 Afterwards, there was some other agreements that I can't remember exactly.
1 I know that the final plan for action was one we became familiar with, not
2 before the 12th of September. Then that is when we knew our exact axis of
3 attack, perhaps a day before the action itself was carried out.
4 Q. Now, just to be clear, originally your understanding of the axis
5 was the direction of Makljen and Crni Vrh. Is that correct? That was
6 your first information about your axis.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Then it apparently changed to Uzdol and Gradina. Is that correct?
9 A. No, not quite. Because -- this is what finally happened because
10 part of our units were engaged along the Crni Vrh-Makljen axis, but not
11 fully. That is something that had been changed.
12 Q. And then finally, what was your main target of attack? Which axis
13 were you, the Prozor Independent Battalion, supposed to engage?
14 A. The Independent Prozor Battalion was supposed to provide a company
15 of assistance along the Crni Vrh-Makljen axis, that unit. It was sent to
16 carry out its task. The second axis was Uzdol, and objective was to
17 destroy the military capacity of the HVO in that village and its immediate
18 surroundings. The military capacity of the HVO, if I need to mention
19 this, consisted of one battalion which was in that area, a command post in
20 the building of the primary school, a communications centre, a mortar
21 battery of various calibres. The mortars were deployed at several
22 locations, but there was an entire battery by the primary school building.
23 There were also two tanks, one by the primary school building and another
24 at another location called Kranjcici. That objective was excluded at the
25 very last minute. Those were the targets, the objectives. And another
1 objective was to break through at the front line, at the HVO front line,
2 where they had entrenched several locations or they had fortified
4 Q. Now, in order to assist you and to explain to Their Learned
5 Judges, I will show you some photographs. And I will first show you
6 0299-2306. There will be a photograph coming up.
7 THE REGISTRAR: That will be MFI 333.
8 MS. CHANA: Thank you.
9 Q. Do you see that photograph?
10 A. Yes, I do.
11 Q. Now, can you tell us from which direction this photograph has been
12 taken? Perhaps we will use Here as the point. Can you tell us where Here
13 is there, please. Would you put a circle around it and then you can write
14 on it -- you'll be assisted in a minute.
15 A. [Marks].
16 Q. And under whose control was that?
17 A. That place was under the ABiH -- under the control of the ABiH,
18 under the control of the Prozor Independent Battalion.
19 Q. Right. Now, can you tell us where -- which side would be Kriz,
20 which is part of Uzdol? Can you please draw a circle there.
21 A. Kriz would be here.
22 Q. And can you drew an arrow as to where -- which -- where was the
23 school, which direction from Kriz was the school where the HVO military
24 base was?
25 A. [Marks].
1 Q. So you would be having -- you would have to come from Here, across
2 Kriz, to Uzdol? Was that the line? I'll show you another photograph in a
3 minute to make it clearer, but this is just to orientate Their Honours.
4 Yes. Where you've written "Here," can you please write "ABiH," so
5 we know whose control that was under.
6 A. [Marks].
7 Q. That's right. And would you please mark there "Kriz" in the other
9 A. [Marks].
10 Q. Can you also circle for us the hill of Krstiste.
11 A. [Marks].
12 Q. Can you write there K -- KR would be sufficient.
13 A. [Marks].
14 Q. And under whose control was that?
15 A. [Marks].
16 Q. Would you speak it out for the record, please.
17 A. It was under the control of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 It was in fact a hill.
19 Q. Yes. I'd like you to see -- put --
20 MS. CHANA: Sorry, Your Honour, can that be introduced into
21 evidence, the original and the marked.
22 MR. MORRISSEY: No objection, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
24 It is admitted into the evidence.
25 THE REGISTRAR: The original will be Prosecution Exhibit P333, and
1 the one that is marked will be Prosecution Exhibit P334.
2 MS. CHANA:
3 Q. Now I would like to show you 0299-2292. Again, is this the same
4 photograph from the other side.
5 A. I can see the same photograph.
6 Q. Sorry. Can you see the photograph?
7 A. Yes. This photograph was shot from the direction of Here towards
9 Q. Would you circle Here.
10 A. [Marks].
11 Q. Would you write in there "Here," please.
12 A. [Marks].
13 Q. And if you could circle the Krstiste hill again, please.
14 A. [Marks].
15 Q. Can you also put in there Gradina hill.
16 A. [Marks].
17 Q. Under whose control was Gradina hill?
18 A. Under the control of the HVO.
19 Q. Would you -- yes.
20 Yes. Where you've put GR it would be mixed up with Kriz. Can you
21 put a T next to the KR so we know it's not Kriz.
22 A. [Marks].
23 Q. Now, can you tell us from that road, if you can do an arrow, as to
24 where -- which direction the PIB was, the Prozor Independent Battalion.
25 A. [Marks].
1 Q. Could you put PIB there, please.
2 A. [Marks].
3 Q. How many kilometres would you have to go down that road before you
4 reached your command post?
5 A. About 10 kilometres.
6 Q. You -- where there's -- where you've put KR, can you put a T
7 there, please, that Krstiste hill, can you put a T there, please?
8 A. I just have.
9 Q. No. You put it in a wrong place when you put Gradina hill. I
10 want you to put it where the Krstiste hill is, KRT.
11 A. [Marks].
12 Q. Thank you. And in fact if you can blank out the T of the Gradina.
13 A. How do you do that?
14 Q. If the assistant can do that. Just rub it out. Yeah, just
15 squiggle on it. Thank you. We'll come back to these pictures in a
16 minute. Now --
17 MS. CHANA: Yes, I would like to tender these two photographs,
19 MR. MORRISSEY: There's no objection.
20 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
21 They are admitted into the evidence.
22 THE REGISTRAR: The original is Prosecution Exhibit P335, and the
23 one that's marked Prosecution Exhibit P336.
24 MS. CHANA:
25 Q. Now, can I take you to the night of the 12th to 13th September,
1 please. What happened in that night?
2 A. The night of the 12th to 13th September, based on information that
3 we had, the operation commenced. We heard sounds of fierce fighting along
4 the Crni Vrh-Makljen axis. We were far enough, or rather near enough to
5 hear the sounds of battle clearly. However, the units of our battalion
6 did not move. There had to be an order by the commander personally to
7 start moving, and I mean Enver Buza himself. He simply didn't do that.
8 We just stuck around anxiously awaiting his orders.
9 Q. Do you know which units started this attack that you heard?
10 A. We know that units of the 317th Brigade from Gornji Vakuf and the
11 45th Brigade were in those positions where the sounds of fighting were
12 coming from. We had also received word that units of OG West had
13 commenced an operation along their own axis successfully and that they
14 were then redirected.
15 Q. And when you saw that you were not -- you hadn't been given an
16 order to go into battle yourself, did you ask Enver Buza what was
17 happening, what was the position of all the soldiers?
18 A. We asked no questions; we just awaited our orders.
19 Q. Now, on 13th September, did anyone come to visit your command post
20 in Dobro Polje?
21 A. General Halilovic himself came. I believe this was sometime in
22 the afternoon. It was certainly past noon. He was disappointed and angry
23 that we were even there, so angry and disappointed in fact that he walked
24 into our commander's office and started yelling at him. He made threats,
25 saying that -- I'm not sure how I should put it. What the commander was
1 doing was an act of idiocy, that he should have joined in the action at
2 the same time as everyone had set off.
3 Q. You were present at this -- at this time. How many others were
4 present when General Halilovic was angry at Buza?
5 A. There was several people from the command. I believe five or six
6 of our people were there. He made some excuses, which we didn't
7 understand to be quite honest.
8 Q. Who is he?
9 A. He said we had not been given fuel and gave that as the reason why
10 the battalion had not joined the operation -- I mean Commander Buza. He
11 was the one who provided explanations to General Halilovic. In our eyes,
12 he could not have fallen any lower. This was a flimsy excuse. He was
13 just looking for an excuse, but we in fact knew that that could not have
14 been the reason.
15 Q. Yes, Witness, I know it's been sometime since this happened, but
16 could you please try to remember exactly what it was that Commander
17 Halilovic said to Buza.
18 A. He said he would kill him unless he finally sent his battalion
19 into action.
20 Q. Anything else?
21 A. He must have, but I can't recall exactly. This is something that
22 is lodged in my memory. I can't remember anything else. Our commander
23 answered back. He gave some reasons. He talked about fuel. I believe he
24 mentioned food as well. But we certainly weren't short of food, so that
25 can't have been a proper reason.
1 Q. What do you think was the reason that Enver Buza didn't engage his
2 unit in battle?
3 A. I think the chief reason was that he was not up to scratch. He
4 wasn't able to deal with the situation. He had lost it and was scared.
5 He was no soldier, not in terms of his talent, not in terms of his
6 professional training. I believe that was the chief reason he failed to
7 do anything.
8 Q. So what did Halilovic do next?
9 A. He requested the commander to gather all our units. We assembled
10 in front of the hut that you could see in that first photograph that was
11 shown. He gave a brief, a rather measured speech. I can say now he
12 seemed an entirely different person, bearing in mind how he had treated
13 the commander previously. He gave a brief speech lasting perhaps about
14 five or ten minutes. I can't remember every single thing he said, but I
15 can say what I remember. First of all, he said we were late and that this
16 was impermissible. He said the chief objective was to crush the HVO and
17 to liberate Prozor. He said we were expected to do our utmost and fight
18 to regain Prozor, as all the others were doing as we spoke. And we could
19 hear sounds of fighting around Crni Vrh.
20 He said we would be entering a settled area, which required a
21 different method of combat. He said this was a far more dangerous type of
22 combat. He said we should be careful, but he said we should be - and I'm
23 quoting - sharp and soldierly, that we should behave in a sharp and
24 soldierly way. He said brave, too. And he told us again to be very
1 That is more or less what he said. Once he finished speaking, we
2 realised the -- how serious the situation was. He left soon after. But
3 perhaps about an hour later our own commander summoned our units and gave
4 an emotional speech, yelling and shouting. He was out to regain his
5 reputation in our eyes, I suppose. He gave a speech. It was an emotional
6 speech. I can't recall precisely what he said. He was saying something
7 about us taking a swim in the Rama lake, saying we should liberate Prozor.
8 We had to be brave and resolute in order to reach our objective, and that
9 then perhaps others eventually would help us, too.
10 Q. Now, I just want to go back to that speech that he made for a
11 minute. He -- so -- the first thing he mentioned was that it was going to
12 be an inhabited area. Is that correct? This military operation was going
13 to take place in an inhabited area.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did he mention anything about any -- how the civilians were to be
16 treated in this area of combat?
17 A. I don't recall those details. I'm not sure what was said about
18 civilians, but I do know that in those days and in those conditions, very
19 few people took civilians into account at all. Even if he had said
20 something, I don't think it would have amounted to anything in practice.
21 You have to bear in mind the situation in Prozor municipality, and
22 this is something I spoke about in the first part of my testimony.
23 Q. So why -- why were they not giving a thought to the civilians?
24 Could you please very briefly tell us what was it about the culture that
25 nobody cared about civilians?
1 MR. MORRISSEY: The first part of the question was a legitimate
2 part, and perhaps my friend should restrict herself to that part.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I agree with Mr. Morrissey.
4 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour, I find myself agreeing with
5 Mr. Morrissey on that.
6 Q. Could you elaborate on that, please. Can you tell us why nobody
7 was giving a thought to civilians?
8 A. It's difficult to say whether a thought was spared for the
9 civilians or not. It's just that there was mounting frustration among us
10 at the time. On the 28th of August, we had received 2.800 Bosniak
11 refugees. They came flooding into our area. And that was in a single
12 day. It's a ballpark figure that I'm giving you, but it could not have
13 been less than two and a half thousand.
14 We had also heard about what had been going on with the Bosniak
15 civilians elsewhere. There are so many who are still listed as missing.
16 Even as we speak, I think there's still 54 or 56 of those. It's difficult
17 for me to recall the exact figure. That was the sort of atmosphere that
18 prevailed. First and foremost one had to take into account the fact that
19 the Bosniak population was facing extinction in September 1993 in Prozor
21 As for what we could actually see from our actually positions,
22 Uzdol was half deserted. There were far more soldiers around than
23 civilians, but we were aware of the fact that there were still some
24 civilians left and this was later confirmed.
25 Q. Now, when General Halilovic said about the different methods to be
1 used in this combat, what was your understanding of that?
2 A. I took that to mean that we were supposed to be extra careful and
3 to look after ourselves. We were being exhorted to think back to our
4 military training and think about what it meant to fight in an inhabited
5 area. Potentially each house could be a point of resistance. The task
6 itself is a lot more complex than any task we had been given up to that
8 Q. Was the Prozor Independent Battalion - and you have touched upon
9 this in your testimony this morning - accustomed to fighting in inhabited
11 A. No.
12 Q. Were you given any guidance as to what rules have to be followed
13 when you are engaging in an area of a theatre of war which has civilians
14 intermingled with the soldiers?
15 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I'm going to have to object at this
16 point. I haven't objected until now because some of this evidence is
17 relevant as to general context. But the fact of the matter is that of the
18 ways Mr. Halilovic is charged, the duty to prevent the crime at Uzdol is
19 not part of the indictment. I haven't sought to deal with it, I haven't
20 cross-examined people upon it, and I'm not planning to because it's not
21 here. So that although my friend -- I didn't objected up until this point
22 because it's part of the narrative, frankly, this question now goes
23 directly to one thing only, and that's failure to prevent Uzdol. And in
24 that respect it's just an irrelevant question to the indictment that is
25 before this Court and this Tribunal, and I object to it.
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, at this moment I don't have the indictment at my
2 hands. Maybe Ms. Chana could brief me on this point.
3 MS. CHANA: Your Honour, this point was addressed at some length
4 in my opening speech in respect of why evidence of failure to prevent,
5 although it is not charged in the indictment against General Halilovic, he
6 is only charged with failure to punish in respect of Uzdol, it
7 nevertheless, Your Honour, goes to the heart of the matter of his
8 knowledge of the propensity of violence and thereafter to -- failure to
9 punish. It goes to the very mens rea of his failure to punish, Your
10 Honour. So it's extremely relevant, and I -- this objection of learned
11 counsel is not well-founded.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
13 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, when you look to the question that
14 was asked, it's got nothing to do with the -- it's going to slip off the
15 screen because I'm talking.
16 When you look at the actual terms of the question that was asked,
17 it had nothing to do with any alleged criminal tendencies of the
18 Independent Prozor Battalion, it had to do with the question of whether
19 Halilovic offered guidance. My learned friend may ask, of course,
20 anything she wishes to about the battalion and about what Sefer Halilovic
21 knew about it. I don't object to any of those questions. But this
22 particular question was directly focused upon that issue, upon what
23 Halilovic did, and that can only be relevant to the part of the indictment
24 that's gone.
25 So with respect to that, I maintain the objection and say that it
1 is well-founded, although I hear what my friend says in response. That
2 may be a justification for some questions, but not this one. And that's
3 my response.
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, I believe that this piece of the evidence is
5 related to the charges of the failure to punish the offenders. And this
6 is a kind of sequence of the actions which will show the case of the
8 So at this stage, these questions are allowed.
9 MR. MORRISSEY: As the Court pleases.
10 MS. CHANA: I'm obliged, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE LIU: You may proceed. But I believe that you have to bear
12 the objections from the Defence in mind that the failure for prevention is
13 not charged in the indictment in the case of Uzdol.
14 MS. CHANA: I stand guided by the Court, Your Honour.
15 Q. Witness, can you tell us -- I've actually forgotten my question.
16 MR. MORRISSEY: What guidance were they offered in terms of
17 dealing with combat-inhabited areas.
18 MS. CHANA: I'm most obliged to learned counsel.
19 Q. What guidance, if any, was issued to the soldiers about how to
20 treat the civilians in an inhabited area where -- as I said, they were at
21 the theatre of war and the combat activities were to take place?
22 A. I said what General Halilovic had told us when he had us lined up
23 outside the command, when we were assembled there rather. There were no
24 clear and precise instructions given, nor was there any time for that, at
25 least not the way I saw it. After that our own commander, Enver Buza,
1 gave a speech, giving no instructions on how civilians were to be treated,
2 or at least none that I recall.
3 As I've said already, we had no experience to speak of in treating
4 the civilian population during combat operations. However, we had
5 Croatian civilians in our own territory and our experience with them was
6 different. Those were just ordinary people living there, and I think I
7 could go as far as to say that even the command of the Prozor Battalion
8 did their best to serve those people, to help them, to offer assistance.
9 As for civilians in the middle of combat operations, if you have this type
10 of combat operation no man alive can predict what exactly will happen with
11 the civilians. That's by way of commenting on your question.
12 Q. Yes. To your knowledge do you know that Sefer Halilovic was aware
13 that the Prozor Independent Battalion had some elements within it which
14 were part of this earlier -- what you mentioned about the abuse and the
15 detainees? Was Sefer Halilovic aware?
16 A. I believe General Halilovic was aware of the general situation
17 that prevailed in Prozor. We had sent a letter to him detailing the
18 situation. In view of Prozor's importance and the importance of the
19 broader area, in terms of how it bore on the general outcome of the war
20 and in terms of our strategic views concerning the Republic of Croatia and
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina and their relations, the HVO-controlled enclave in
22 Central Bosnia had to be linked up with Kresevo and Kiseljak. The link
23 ran through our territory.
24 The way the HVO treated our Bosniak civilians and any able-bodied
25 men was a matter of general knowledge across Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1 There were very few people who didn't know about that, particularly in
2 view of the fact that we had issued a large number of public
3 announcements. We regularly informed the military leadership and the
4 government of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We kept them informed about what
5 was going on in the Prozor area. We were disappointed by the government's
6 failure to deal with it. It had already been six months and the Prozor
7 issue was never even raised. No one asked the question: What's going on
8 there and why? That is why 1993 we felt rather isolated in our struggle
9 to preserve Bosnia and Herzegovina in that area.
10 Q. And you said you wrote a letter to General Halilovic. And can you
11 remember what date that letter was, where you drew his attention to these
13 A. I think it was sometime in April or possibly May 1993. We
14 addressed our letter to him in his capacity as Chief of Staff of the
15 supreme command. Our Territorial Defence staff and I were the ones who
16 signed the letter.
17 Q. Right. Now, moving on from there, can you tell me when you went
18 into battle -- and I'm going to show you a picture to assist you so you
19 may explain to Their Honours as to how the battle unfolded. I don't know
20 whether I've used this one already. Perhaps Ram will tell me.
22 MS. CHANA: Have I already used this.
23 THE REGISTRAR: It's Prosecution Exhibit P335.
24 MS. CHANA:
25 Q. I'll show you P335, and the other one which I would like you to --
1 which I'm going to show next is 2992290. Using these two. Let's look at
2 the first one which is P335. Would you look at it.
3 Now, if you can tell us exactly -- as you talk, you can perhaps
4 refer to that photograph. So where did you go? And you can use this
5 picture to describe your movements of your unit.
6 A. Our units assembled around midnight. That was between the 13th
7 and 14th of September above the village of Here. In this photograph it
8 might be here, at this point.
9 Q. As you go along just -- when you mention a place, put a circle
10 around it and write the name down so Their Honours can follow your
11 testimony with some comfort.
12 A. Between the 13th and the 14th of September we assembled at night
13 in this area above the village of Here. It's a very large stretch of
14 territory, an open stretch of territory. You can't see it in this
15 photograph. After having obtained logistics supplies, ammunition medical
16 supplies, and food, our troops headed off in this direction.
17 Q. Let's take it slowly, Witness, if you don't mind.
18 Can you tell us where Here is, can you just mark it, as to where
19 you assembled, in Here you said. Can you circle it again, please. This
20 is Here --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
22 MS. CHANA: Sorry.
23 Q. Can you write "Here."
24 A. This is Here.
25 Q. Did you assemble in Here, did you say?
1 A. No, we didn't assemble in Here. We assembled in an area before
2 Here, perhaps 3 or 400 metres in front of Here.
3 Q. Can you see it on this picture where you assembled?
4 A. No, you can't see that area in this photograph. From the circle
5 that I am now indicating, this area is perhaps 200 metres away in this
7 Q. Can you also please try and your markings within the picture. So
8 that circle, if you can put there -- which area is that, can you just
9 write down, please? That arrow, what are you depicting there? What's the
10 name of this place that you just mentioned?
11 A. This place can't be seen in the photograph. I can't point to it
12 in this photograph. It's an open area. There is nothing there. It's
13 somewhat flat, but the place itself is called Lanisce, if that means
14 anything to you.
15 Q. Yes. So that is the direction generally, where you've put the
17 Let's move on. Okay. So then what happened -- where did you go
19 A. Well, there's one thing I should mention. The main objective in
20 the first stage of our action was to infiltrate the enemy ranks without
21 being noticed, that is to say, our objective was to surprise them. But I
22 can't say exactly where all these combat groups went. I can't tell you
23 how they infiltrated their ranks. But I think that 80 per cent of these
24 troops infiltrated by using this axis, if I may point to it. This is the
25 route that they took below the village and then behind this hill. And
1 then we reached this area.
2 After that, the units infiltrated their ranks by taking this route
3 in the direction of the school and other units that were supposed to
4 secure contact with the main units that were to carry out an attack on
5 this feature.
6 Q. What is that, the one you've just circled in the left-hand top
7 corner? Is that Uzdol?
8 A. That's Uzdol. That is the primary school building.
9 And I would also like to say that -- or rather, I would also like
10 to tell you why this axis was selected. As I have said, this hill was
11 under the control of the HVO. It's called Gradina. And this part is
12 called Glavica, and the HVO positions were located there, too. In this
13 part called Borak, the HVO also had fortified positions. I can mark these
14 areas, HVO. And to the left of this hill there was an elevated hill
15 controlled by the HVO. You can't see it in this photograph, but it could
16 have a significant influence on the way in which this action is
17 understood. These were the fortified positions that the HVO had in this
18 limited area. In this area, we have the villages of Kranjcici and
19 Osljani, and the artillery had been positioned there as well as one tank.
20 And there was one tank here by the school. That is how HVO forces were
21 deployed in this area.
22 As far as the village Uzdol itself is concerned, I'll point to the
23 way in which the village is spread out. In this area here you have the
24 first houses in the village of Uzdol. They were mostly abandoned in
25 October 1992. In this area, you can't see it very well, but there are
1 several hamlets here. One of the hamlets is called Bobari, and then we
2 have Pribucak, then there is Kriz, then we have Zelenike, Rajici. They're
3 all hamlets.
4 Q. Can you just put dots on these hamlets that you're talking about.
5 Just put dots on what you've just explained, Bobari, the hamlets.
6 A. Well, it's difficult to do that in this photograph. There's not
7 enough space.
8 Q. [Microphone not activated].
9 A. Here you have the village of Bobak [as interpreted]. You have the
10 village of Bobari, as I have said. And here is the hamlet of Kriz. Below
11 we have the hamlet of Rajici. And then here we have Zelenike; that's
12 another hamlet. Then we have Budimi. There's a church here in the
13 vicinity. All these hamlets are before the school.
14 Q. So there -- all these hamlets before you can reach the school --
15 the hamlets come before that military target. That's correct, is it? The
16 HVO -- I mean, the Uzdol, which is in that big circle -- if you can put
17 Uzdol in that big circle, please, so at least we get some sense of
18 direction. Can you mark Uzdol, please, by writing "Uzdol" in your circle.
19 A. This entire area is Uzdol. However, it's not just the school that
20 was a military target. This was a military target, too, as well as this
21 point here. So that couldn't have been the only military target. That
22 would have amounted to self-destruction, in my opinion. Here you can see
23 from the direction of Here to Uzdol there is a road. You can see it here,
24 the one I'm pointing to here now. That is the shortest route there.
25 Q. Witness, Their Honours cannot see where you're pointing. They can
1 only see when you mark. When you point at the picture, Their Honours
2 cannot see where you are pointing. It's only when you mark it,
3 Their Honours have a screen, and they can see all your markings. But not
4 your pointing. So would you keep marking on the photograph and we'll just
5 use this for demonstrative purposes.
6 You talk about a road. If you just mark it as you talk.
7 A. That is the road, and I think that is what I said. That is the
8 road. It's about four kilometres from Here to the school in Uzdol.
9 Q. Right.
10 A. But at the very beginning on this road you have the hamlet of
11 Bobari and the fortified positions of the HVO. That's right here at this
12 point, at the very beginning of the road. And the road passes by these
13 positions. And there is one house here that in our opinion was also a
14 fortified position, right by the school, or rather right by the road.
15 Q. Thank you, Witness.
16 Now I'm going to show you another photograph --
17 MS. CHANA: And I'll tender this one for what its worth, Your
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
20 MS. CHANA: But it does have some HVO positions in general. But I
21 think the next photograph will be more clearer and we'll mark it.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes. It's admitted into the evidence.
23 THE REGISTRAR: That's Prosecution Exhibit P337.
24 MS. CHANA:
25 Q. Now, witness, I'm going to show you another photograph, and it's
1 got more detail on it perhaps from a different direction.
2 Now, this picture when it comes up, I would like you to explain
3 where you yourself went. It's 0299-2290. Now, you've indicated in the
4 last picture where HVO units and you've already marked the hills before.
5 But this photograph, if you can just purely mark it for where your units
6 went. And what you can do is have a broken line. If the assistant can
7 assist him as to what the broken line is. And as he -- can you first see
8 Krstiste hill and mark that, please.
9 A. I can see that.
10 Q. Yeah. Can you --
11 A. That's here.
12 Q. Can you -- can you just write Krstiste hill, KRT?
13 A. [Marks].
14 Q. Now, can you tell us, is that where you went, your -- your unit
15 and draw an arrow as to how you went and where another unit went?
16 A. We didn't go there because that hill was under our control. As I
17 have already said, our unit advanced along this axis.
18 Q. Yeah, all right. So just draw a broken line, yes.
19 A. In my opinion, some units had already split up here.
20 Q. Where had they split up? That's what I want to know. Your unit
21 went along this broken line. And where did the other unit go --
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. -- from the hill?
24 A. Well, towards the school.
25 Q. Would you draw a straight line to the school, please.
1 A. Well, I can't draw the line. I didn't go there. I don't know
3 Q. The direction you think the other unit went. Just even a short
4 arrow would be good enough then.
5 A. From this point, I can only draw the line towards the school. As
6 to whether the unit advanced along this line, I couldn't say. This is the
7 direction, though.
8 Q. Of your unit or the other unit?
9 A. Of the other unit heading towards the school. I don't know
10 exactly where the other units went. There were a number of combat groups.
11 I can only make assumptions with regard to these other ones. All I know
12 is the route that we followed.
13 Q. Right. Anyway --
14 MS. CHANA: So I will tender that also into evidence, Your
16 JUDGE LIU: I think there is no objections.
17 MR. MORRISSEY: Correct.
18 JUDGE LIU: So it's admitted into the evidence.
19 THE REGISTRAR: The original of that photograph is Prosecution
20 Exhibit P338, and the one that's marked is Prosecution Exhibit P339.
21 JUDGE LIU: And is that the right time for us to take a break?
22 MS. CHANA: Absolutely, Your Honour, thank you.
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll take a break and we'll resume at quarter
24 to 1.00.
25 --- Recess taken at 12.16 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 12.46 p.m.
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Ms. Chana, please continue.
3 MS. CHANA: Thank you, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE LIU: Well --
12 MS. CHANA: Sorry, Your Honour, can we please redact that.
13 JUDGE LIU: Yes, of course.
14 Well, you know, sometimes if the witness answers questions
15 disclosing his identity, we'll redact it and let it go. But on the part
16 of the Prosecution, I think I have to warn you.
17 MS. CHANA: I consider myself appropriately chastised, Your
19 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, could I just indicate, just so this
20 matter goes smoothly in the future, I have written myself a little note.
21 I have many more prior convictions than my friend has in this regard. And
22 I think it should be the case, if it ever happens, counsel are free to
23 warn each other and say, careful, because it can happen; I acknowledge
25 JUDGE LIU: Of course. If there is no confrontation between the
1 parties on that issue.
2 Yes, you may proceed.
3 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour. Always happy to work with counsel.
4 Q. So your leader you said was Osman Hero. And was he in
5 communication with anyone?
6 A. He was in communication, in direct communication, with the
7 commander Enver Buza.
8 Q. And what was the technology used for this communication?
9 A. Radio communication.
10 Q. So after you went off on your combat, how long did you remain in
11 the field?
12 A. Our units started infiltrating enemy ranks at about 2.00 in the
13 morning. This task was completed just before daybreak. At daybreak all I
14 can say is that all of a sudden the entire valley was on fire. It burst
15 out into flames. And this entire period of time seemed to last no more
16 than a second.
17 At one point in time after my group had carried out its first
18 task, which was to attack a fortified position that I have already
19 indicated, that group then split up. Or it was broken up; I don't know if
20 that's the right way to put it. But I don't know where they went after
21 that. As I was almost unarmed, I helped withdrawing -- I helped to
22 withdraw the wounded, and I returned to the village of Here at about
23 12.00. While the combat lasted, the HVO shelled the entire village. Its
24 artillery pounded the village fiercely. And in my opinion, it was
25 difficult to know who was firing on whom and who was fighting against
2 In the afternoon, in the early afternoon at about 12.00, about
3 half an hour later after a partial withdrawal had been completed since the
4 withdrawal of those units went on throughout that day, the HVO started
5 shelling the village of Here, too. And it is in this way that the
6 fighting on that day continued.
7 Q. Did you yourself go back to Here?
8 A. I did.
9 Q. Now, before I ask -- before I carry on, I've forgotten to ask you:
10 How many soldiers were in your unit? I mean in your combat group, sorry.
11 A. I don't know exactly.
12 Q. Can you give a rough approximation so we know about some level of
13 figures? Was it in the 10s or the 20s or the 30s or the hundreds.
14 A. There can't have been more than ten men in this group; that's for
15 sure. But the total number of men involved in the action was over 120
16 because troops from a battalion from Eastern Bosnia from the Sutjeska
17 Battalion had been attached to our groups, but I don't know how many of
18 them exactly.
19 Q. Now, when you went back to Here, did you meet anybody in a
21 A. I was very tired because I had been carrying a man uphill, and I
22 really didn't want to move from the cozy spot I had found where I could
23 rest, but I had to because of the shells. In a newly built house, in a
24 house that had been constructed just before the war, a house which had
25 concrete slabs, I sought shelter and I came across Zicro Suljevic on that
1 occasion. I don't know what his rank was, but I spoke to him on that
2 occasion. And when the shelling started, we spoke to each other. He was
3 very surprised by the intensity of the fire on that day.
4 Q. Now, did you have occasion to see these soldiers of the Prozor
5 Independent Battalion after this offensive had abated?
6 A. Not on that day but later, yes.
7 Q. When did you meet them, the soldiers?
8 A. It's difficult for me to say when I met them. Perhaps I met some
9 of them on that day and others later on. I don't believe that I met all
10 of them at the same time, and thus it is difficult for me to say when I
11 met them.
12 Q. Did you hear anything about the casualties during this combat
13 action from the soldiers?
14 A. We immediately found out that some ABiH members, three or four of
15 them, had been killed. We heard something about the losses sustained by
16 the Croatian side, but I only heard about the civilian victims through the
17 media when listening to a local Croatian radio station a day or two
18 afterwards. As far as the information that our soldiers provided us with
19 is concerned, I heard nothing about that matter.
20 Q. What did the soldiers say about any -- any casualties, civilian or
21 military, and the extent to you? What did you hear from them?
22 A. In the evening we immediately knew what sort of losses we had
23 sustained, apart from the fact that we were expecting some other men to
24 pull out, and they didn't manage to pull out so we then included them in
25 our losses. The information we were provided with stated that we had
1 inflicted significant losses on the HVO's manpower and apparently a tank
2 had been destroyed, a tank that was by the school. And the artillery was
3 either destroyed or damaged, which means that they reached the positions
4 of the mortars.
5 Q. Did you hear from the detainees any information, about the
6 casualties, in the school?
7 A. There were no detainees.
8 But there's another thing I should mention. The Bosniaks who were
9 in the camps in Prozor at the time, a day or two later they were engaged
10 to clean the school. And they said that the school was spattered with
11 blood, that there was a lot of blood and that there were traces of
12 fighting there. I'm only referring to the school building now. In other
13 parts of the village -- well, I didn't hear that they had been involved in
14 cleaning up the area in the other parts of the village.
15 Q. Now, when you heard from the Croatian media that civilians had
16 been killed in this combative -- combat offensive, what did you do about
17 that -- with that information?
18 A. Well, I could provide you with some general information about the
19 media in the war and what the task of the media in wartime is. I must
20 inform this Tribunal of the fact that in Bosnia and Herzegovina it's
21 generally accepted that truth is the first victim of war, and that in
22 wartime there are very few who believe the media. And that was more or
23 less the situation in relation to this information. We had a radio
24 station which was the HVO's spokesperson or acted as the HVO's
25 spokesperson. That was our attitude to -- towards the information
1 broadcast by that radio station. And as time passed by, I believe that
2 soon afterwards the television -- television also broadcast certain
3 images, but it wasn't possible for us to watch television in the field at
4 the time because we didn't have any electricity. So I didn't see those
5 images at that time. But as time passed by, we started to suspect that
6 civilians had been killed and that this was increasingly probable.
7 Q. Now, when -- what date was it that you heard over on your own
8 Prozor radio about civilian deaths? Can you try and recall the date,
10 A. That was perhaps a day after the withdrawal. It's really
11 difficult to answer this question with any degree of precision. Time
12 seemed to fly by. It was perhaps a day or two later, but I don't think as
13 many as three.
14 Q. So that would possibly, by your indication, put the date from
15 about 15th to the 16th of September, 1993?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And as you said, pictures were also broadcasted on the TV on that
18 date, although you didn't see them yourself?
19 A. I said I didn't see those images. I'm not sure if they were shown
20 on that day or later. I don't think they could have been shown on the
21 same day, though.
22 Q. Did you go and discuss this with your commander, Enver Buza?
23 A. No. By this time, the commander and I were hardly on speaking
24 terms. Secondly, this type of behaviour - I'm not sure what I should call
25 it - an infraction, would fall under the competence of the assistant
1 commander for security. I didn't think it was my place to do anything
2 about that, especially in view of the fact that by this time the commander
3 ignored most of my explanations or reasons, even for issues that I was
4 personally responsible for.
5 Q. Do you know whether any report was filed against Buza in respect
6 of these matters?
7 A. I heard that General Halilovic had filed a complaint against our
8 commander. I didn't see the complaint myself, but people were talking
9 about it. It was also said at the time that the complaint was in relation
10 to his actions over those days. So I can't be certain that it was about
11 the suffering of the civilian population in Uzdol. It may in fact be the
12 case, but I didn't see the complaint myself. This was pure hearsay.
13 Q. What happened to Buza, to your knowledge?
14 A. On the 24th of January, 1994, the Croatian army, regular troops
15 and the HVO, launched an exceptionally fierce attack on that area. It was
16 then that 32 of our soldiers were killed in a single day as well as a
17 number of civilians. Fewer civilians, but there were civilian casualties.
18 On the eve of that action, our commander had sent one-third of our
19 troops on leave, although he had received intelligence reports previously
20 that the Croatian side was about to launch an offensive. It was only
21 later that I found out that the local HVO brigade, the Rama Brigade, had
22 been involved in that operation as well as the 175th Brigade of the
23 Croatian army stationed in Prozor at the time. They had arrived in Prozor
24 in November or December 1993.
25 I believe Commander Buza made a fatal error and that it was
1 entirely through his fault and through his errors in exercising command
2 and control that the village fell, which resulted in a large number of
3 casualties. A team was put together to investigate these events. I
4 believe Mr. Dzemal Najetovic was the chief investigator, the person who
5 led the investigation team. He later sent a proposal for our commander to
6 be removed. He was eventually removed, but it was after that that I heard
7 that he was actually promoted and was awarded an even higher military
8 rank. This, for me, was highly controversial.
9 Q. Now, Witness, do you know whether any investigations were
10 conducted into these civilian deaths in Uzdol?
11 A. I'm not aware of any investigations and I don't think I ever said
12 anything about any investigations. This is not something that I am
13 familiar with.
14 If I may just add: I did hear, though, that President Izetbegovic
15 had ordered an investigation. I'm not sure who was supposed to be in
16 charge of the investigation or who had received those orders. All I do
17 know is that not much was done about this.
18 Q. Who did you hear from that President Izetbegovic had asked for an
20 A. I don't know exactly. I can't tell you who I heard this from.
21 This was a piece of information that was bandied about in the media,
22 radio, and television. But I can't really point my finger now and tell
23 you such-and-such a person gave me the information. I may have known at
24 the time, it's just that I've forgotten.
25 Q. That's all right, Witness. Thank you very much for answering my
2 MS. CHANA: This will be my examination-in-chief, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
4 The re-examination -- the cross-examination, please, I'm sorry.
5 MR. MORRISSEY: Thanks, Your Honour.
6 Cross-examined by Mr. Morrissey:
7 Q. Thank you very much, Witness G.
8 MR. MORRISSEY: Could the witness please be shown the photograph
9 Exhibit P298. Thanks.
10 Q. Now, I have to address you as Witness G at all times here, and if
11 I slip, everyone must correct me.
12 But the photograph you're being shown here appears to be a
13 photograph of the Uzdol area generally taken from above the school. Is
14 that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Okay. Now, is the area generally speaking known as Uzdol and each
17 little small village has its own name?
18 A. Each hamlet has its own name.
19 Q. Yes. Now, the name of the hamlet where the school is to be found
20 is Cer, is that correct, or Cer?
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. Okay. What I'm going to ask you to do now is to place certain
23 marks on this map. And what I'll ask you to do is indicate so far as
24 that -- not map, photograph. So far as that photograph shows it, could
25 you put a small circle at places where there were, to your knowledge,
1 fortified HVO positions.
2 A. I can say that there was an accumulation of HVO forces in this
3 area surrounding the school building. Furthermore, I can say that the
4 fortified positions of the HVO were over here and over here.
5 Q. Okay. Stop there. Thank you. Now, next to -- pardon me. I
6 don't want to cut you off. Are there other fortified positions you can
7 draw with little circles, or is that all that is shown in the photograph?
8 A. There is more.
9 Q. Okay. Would you draw with the little blue circles those other
11 A. There is a group of houses that you can see here. This is the
12 hamlet of Bobari. Right above this there was another fortified position,
13 but it's difficult for me to say now where exactly it was. It may have
14 been 200 and 300 metres further to the left or to the right. It was well
15 concealed. In the hamlet itself I believe there was soldiers in the
16 houses. They -- not all of them slept in the school building. I believe
17 some members of the Uzdol battalion - this was the name of the unit -
18 slept in houses in private homes whenever they were off duty. And it's
19 difficult to say now. It's difficult to point at specific houses where
20 some of the soldiers were sleeping.
21 Q. That's okay. Of those three little blue circles that you've
22 marked, is the left-hand one on a hill named Borak?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Would you mind just writing the word "Borak" next to that little
25 blue circle.
1 A. [Marks].
2 Q. Okay. And would you mind writing the word "Kriz" in the area
3 where the village of Kriz is to be found. Now, I understand that some of
4 it's hidden behind the hill in this photograph, but would you just write
5 "Kriz" in the general area where that village is.
6 A. [Marks].
7 Q. Okay. Would you please mark in the village of Zelenike.
8 A. [Marks].
9 Q. The village of Rajici.
10 A. [Marks].
11 Q. And at the school, could you just write in the word "Cer."
12 A. [Marks].
13 Q. Now, using the small blue circles again, such as you did with
14 Borak, would you mind marking in where the tank was.
15 A. [Marks].
16 Q. Okay. And could you mark also where the mortar was positioned at
17 the school approximately.
18 A. [Marks].
19 Q. Okay. In that photograph, are there any other artillery positions
20 of the HVO shown?
21 A. It's difficult for me to answer this question. I have no idea
22 what you mean when you say "artillery," what's meant to be included. A
23 60-millimetre mortar, for example, would not be included under this
24 definition according to the old Yugoslav standards, but it is used to
25 launch shells all the same. These were placed in several different
1 locations, and such weapons would normally be positioned in the vicinity
2 of the front line. That's why it's difficult for me to define artillery
3 with any precision.
4 Q. Yes, well, I understand your answer. And is it also the case that
5 mortars are light artillery and can be moved around quite easily?
6 A. That's correct.
7 Q. Nevertheless, were there fixed mortar positions which are depicted
8 in that photograph to your recollection or not?
9 A. Yes. There were fixed mortar positions. I believe these mortar
10 positions were permanent.
11 Q. Yes. Okay. Well, in light of that, just to complete this
12 picture, could you put a T next to the circle where the little tank was?
13 A. [Marks].
14 Q. Okay. And could you draw little blue circles where the fixed
15 mortar positions were to the best of your recollection and mark next to
16 those little blue circles an M for mortar.
17 A. [Marks].
18 Q. Perhaps you indicate when you've completed that task.
19 A. I believe I've completed the part that has to do with fixed mortar
20 positions in this particular area; however, the photograph does not show
21 everything. Just to the left of what you can see here there were other
22 artillery positions with pieces trained on the village of Here. And there
23 was a multiple rocket launcher in the area that was used very often.
24 There was also a tank and some other types of artillery weapons, which I
25 can't specify or enumerate for you. There was more artillery to the left
1 than in the village of Uzdol itself. The village to the left that I
2 showed you a while ago, Kranjcici.
3 Q. All right. And just so that the Tribunal understands, could you
4 draw a little blue arrow on the left-hand side of the picture and right
5 underneath that little blue arrow the words "other artillery," that arrow
6 pointing to where they are off the picture.
7 A. [Marks].
8 Q. Thank you. Finally, would you just indicate on that picture where
9 the village of Here is.
10 A. [Marks].
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MR. MORRISSEY: I offer that document for tender.
13 JUDGE LIU: I guess there's no objections.
14 MS. CHANA: No objection.
15 JUDGE LIU: So it's admitted into the evidence.
16 THE REGISTRAR: That's Exhibit D340.
17 MR. MORRISSEY: Thank you.
18 Q. Okay. And then just leaving that on the screen for a moment, I
19 just have some questions to ask you concerning the -- the military
20 situation of the HVO forces at that time.
21 In the village of Uzdol or the area of Uzdol at that time,
22 approximately how many HVO soldiers did you think there were, based on the
23 information that you had at the time, good or bad?
24 A. Our information at the time indicated that there was a battalion
25 that was stationed at Uzdol, an army battalion. However, we had an open
1 view of the road that the HVO units were using. It was easy for us to see
2 any reinforcements that were on their way, soldiers coming and going. We
3 would regularly inform our command about these things. Reports would come
4 from these units that were monitoring the situation in that area, but it
5 was difficult to say anything for sure because the situation kept changing
6 very quickly.
7 As for the general situation, I can tell you that the HVO was far
8 superior to us in terms of equipment and materiel. Sometimes they fired a
9 hundred shells on us in a single day, and we hardly had two to put
10 together. I'm talking about artillery.
11 Q. Did you have any tanks?
12 A. No, no tanks.
13 Q. What artillery pieces did you have and how much ammunition did you
14 have for those?
15 A. There is something I must clarify, how the situation with
16 artillery developed.
17 At the command of the Independent Prozor Battalion, there was the
18 artillery commander. At first, he didn't have a single piece. Later -
19 and I hope I can remember the exact date - it was the 22nd of January,
20 1993, we obtained our first 82-millimetre mortar, which was positioned
21 right here on top of this hill. More often than not we had no missiles to
22 use, no shells, or very few if any at all. Later there was several
23 operations where we captured other mortars. Those were 82- and
24 60-millimetre mortars. I believe it was in the summer of 1993 that two
25 Howitzers came from somewhere around Igman, two 105-millimetre Howitzers,
1 but we had no shells to use. It was once that we managed to obtain three
2 shells, but we used them up in the space of a single day. We only had two
3 Howitzers and only three shells to use.
4 Q. Okay. And was any extra artillery brought in for the combat
5 operation that took place on the 14th of September, in that sector?
6 A. No, no extra artillery. I'm not even aware of being given any
7 shells. If you look at the sort of weaponry that the BH army in the area
8 was in possession of, and specifically I'm talking about 82-millimetre
9 shells, I must say those shells were quite unreliable because the powder
10 charge was normally handmade because we did not have the appropriate
11 material to use for making those. Some of those that we had had been made
12 before the war in those factories over there. They were extremely
13 unreliable, and it was very difficult to determine the degree of accuracy
14 that these shells might have.
15 Q. Okay. Thank you for that explanation.
16 Now, I just want to turn now to the situation of the Independent
17 Prozor Battalion itself, having dealt with the HVO forces there. Into
18 this operation, and I mean the attack on Uzdol on the 14th of September,
19 did the Prozor Independent Battalion commit about 120 to 130 troops on
20 that day, to the best of your knowledge?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Okay. Thank you. Sorry, just excuse me one moment, Witness G.
23 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I offered that document for tender
24 before but I asked that it be kept on the screen, and now I think it can
25 still be marked, so I think it's best that we tender it now.
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, you can still mark on those pictures. There's
2 no problem.
3 MR. MORRISSEY: Okay. All right. Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. Okay. Well, yes, we're turning to the Independent Prozor
5 Battalion and its situation.
6 Now, you indicated that that battalion consisted mainly of people
7 from the three villages but that some outsiders came to join, and in
8 particular the 25 or so that survived from one of the human chains. And
9 what I wanted to ask you is this: Were you personally able to draw a
10 distinction between HVO extremists on the one hand and innocent local
11 Croatian neighbours of yours on the other hand? Perhaps that was a clumsy
12 question; I'll put it another way.
13 Did you personally want to take revenge on or kill local Croatian
14 civilians of a elderly age or young children?
15 A. Certainly not. I can even prove that. I'll just name one
17 At the time two Croatian villages were BH army controlled, or
18 perhaps I should say two hamlets. One village was at the line of
19 demarcation in no-man's-land. There was a village called Ivanci. And
20 throughout the war there were 13 or 14 civilians living there, among them
21 a young girl aged 9 or 10. The rest of them were mainly elderly persons.
22 If the objective had been to kill civilians, there would have been no need
23 getting our own soldiers killed just to kill a handful of civilians. This
24 could have been done at any time, but it never occurred to anyone to go
25 and do anything like that; that was certainly not our objective. It
1 became a little dangerous at one point in time because many soldiers had
2 suffered some sort of trauma or had a personal thirst for revenge
3 motivated by one thing or another.
4 There was a checkpoint that we had to secure in -- right in the
5 middle of that village, and there was one particular incident that I will
6 now tell you about. The HVO on one occasion shelled the village of Scipe.
7 A teacher was killed outside the school building and a 2-year-old child as
8 well as another young girl who was watching the cattle. Her mother barged
9 into the school. There was a prison inside the school with an HVO captive
10 there. She stormed into the building and attacked this man. At that
11 point, we could no longer afford to keep him there because of the heated
12 atmosphere. We had to move him. Maybe there were even two HVO captives,
13 I can't be sure about it now, who were eventually moved to another prison
14 near Hadzici. I do know, however, that they were eventually exchanged,
15 and they are alive and well. Subsequently we had to set up a checkpoint
16 to protect those Croatian civilians around the clock.
17 Q. And the history of the Independent Prozor Battalion did not
18 include any history of attacks of a revenge nature or otherwise on
19 civilians. Is that correct?
20 A. I believe that that is correct. The Prozor Battalion never wanted
21 to take revenge by attacking the civilian population, nor was it ever
22 issued such a task. And that was the case on this occasion, too.
23 Q. And to your understanding, the struggle of the Bosnian army was a
24 struggle to preserve a multi-ethnic Bosnia in which more than just one
25 ethnic group could live. Is that correct?
1 MS. CHANA: Your Honour, I would object to that. I don't think
2 the witness can speak on behalf of the entire Bosnian army. Perhaps he
3 should be asked what he himself felt.
4 JUDGE LIU: Maybe your question could be more specific.
8 (redacted)I accept the objection.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
10 MR. MORRISSEY:
11 Q. Sorry, Witness G, I'll just ask the question another way.
12 Was your motivation -- sorry, was it your understanding, your own
13 understanding that the Bosnian army was fighting to defend a multi-ethnic
15 A. I'll try to answer this question in the simplest possible way.
16 The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, around the beginning of
17 1993 or towards the end of 1992, I don't know when that document was
18 issued exactly but it's called the Platform of the Presidency of Bosnia
19 and Herzegovina in Wartime. In that document, which we wholeheartedly
20 accepted, the wartime objectives of the ABiH had been expressed. You can
21 see the document for yourself; it's a well-known document. It was adopted
22 by the seven-member Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina which was
23 composed of individuals from all the constituent peoples. As to the
24 legitimacy of the Presidency at the time, that's another issue. But what
25 is important is what is contained in the document. And I am certain that
1 this document states that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a multi-ethnic
2 community, a civil democracy. And that was finally my task. As assistant
3 commander for information, it was my task to inform our troops of the
4 contents of that document.
5 Q. Yes. And did you do that?
6 A. On countless occasions.
7 Q. And when you were explaining that document and its meaning to the
8 troops, what were the point -- what were the main points you tried to make
9 to the troops?
10 A. Well, first of all the troops often asked me whether we had any
11 military objectives, and my only answer was that our military objective
12 was in fact expressed in that platform. And -- in fact, there was nothing
13 else I could refer to when providing official explanations because the
14 position of a certain official institution is far more important than my
15 personal position, the position on the sort of state that we were fighting
17 Q. And so in explaining it to the troops I take it it was fundamental
18 to that platform that atrocities against other ethnic groups - and in
19 particular atrocities against civilians - were to be avoided at all costs.
20 Is that correct?
21 A. Yes, that's correct.
22 Q. And I don't mean to cause any --
23 MR. MORRISSEY: Perhaps could we go into the private session for
24 this small moment?
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll go to the private session, please.
1 [Private session]
23 [Open session]
24 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, thank you.
25 Q. So anyway, as a result of those matters which we raised in the
1 private session, we don't have to mention again, what you can say is: It
2 was made perfectly clear on numerous occasions that the men of the
3 Independent Prozor Battalion that they shouldn't commit atrocities against
4 civilians of other ethnic groups. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. Thank you. Now I wish to move on to the question -- some
7 questions arising out of Commander Buza. And perhaps that will take us to
8 the close of these proceedings for this passage as well.
9 MR. MORRISSEY: Actually, Your Honours, perhaps --
10 Q. Would you excuse me just one moment, please, Witness G, for a
12 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, it's a bit of a touchy question
13 whether we would finish in the time allowed this afternoon. I'm not sure
14 about it. I would have said no, but it's possible. Given the way the
15 answers came in the end, it's possible. I'm in the Tribunal's hands here.
16 For myself I think it's worth a try, but I can't promise to finish this
17 afternoon. I just don't know.
18 JUDGE LIU: Well, we arranged the extra sitting for this afternoon
19 just because tomorrow we are not sitting and we hope we could do as much
20 as possible for today. I have no means to -- it does not mean that we
21 should limit your right of the cross-examination.
22 MR. MORRISSEY: No, no, Your Honour. I'll press on. Thank you
23 for that indication. Thank you.
24 Q. Sorry, Witness G, just logistics matters.
25 Now we move to Commander Buza. It's a fact that -- I don't mean
1 to go into the details greatly here. But it's a fact when Commander Buza
2 first arrived he brought in some quite good organisational changes to the
3 Prozor Battalion. Is that true?
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. Okay. But one of the troubles about Commander Buza was that he
6 after a while began to act as if he was a law unto himself. Is that true?
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. And it appeared to you at least that he took decisions without
9 consulting his subordinates who might well have known a lot more than he
10 did. Is that true?
11 A. That's true.
12 Q. Now, in part, a reason that he advanced for doing that was that he
13 wanted to preserve the security of the information known to the command.
14 Is that one of the reasons that he gave for that not consulting?
15 A. Could you please repeat the question.
16 Q. Yes. Did Commander Buza -- well, first I should ask you a more
17 general question.
18 Did Commander Buza ever give you a reason why it was he was not
19 consulting with subordinates who had good local knowledge?
20 A. I believe that he was trying to conceal his reasons. He didn't
21 inform us often. But on the other hand, we could guess what his reasons
22 were on the basis of his behaviour.
23 I'll provide you with an example. For example, when in the area
24 of Prozor municipality we had -- well, in that area we had a house in
25 which the civilian authorities were located and municipal bodies were in
1 that house. And he as the commander told a sabotage unit, Go and open
2 fire around the municipal building a bit to scare them. That was
3 unacceptable for me. And there were various other acts that I could not
5 On one occasion there was an incident that concerned the use of
6 medical supplies. We had a serious problem because we didn't have a GP, a
7 general practitioner, but we did have someone who worked in the field of
8 pharmacy. But the assistant commander for the medical corps was a medical
9 orderly, and he had all the medical supplies in a number of jars. They
10 had all been mixed up, so when this pharmacist came he couldn't understand
11 how it was possible for this system to function. He listened to this
12 pharmacist for a few days and then drove him away and made this medical
13 orderly responsible for those duties again.
14 And there were other absurd situations, other absurd acts. In
15 particular, he used up a lot of fuel, walked around for no particular
16 reason, and we couldn't understand why he would just leave the unit
17 without their commander. And these were the reasons for which we didn't
18 get on with each other. And we had a deputy commander who was well
19 educated and his proposals weren't even listened to. In my opinion, they
20 were simply rejected out of hand.
21 Q. Okay. There's just -- we've just reached the end of the session,
22 and there's just one question that I have for you before we stop and that
23 was: Did he have a nickname or a title that he gave himself at that time
24 that he liked to be called?
25 A. Well, yes. He told us that his nickname was Cigra. Now, I don't
1 really know what Cigra means. It's a sort of attractive toy. In our
2 language it would mean something small and agile, something that should be
3 a source of joy. That's how he would present himself. He presented
4 himself as an experienced soldier who had fought in Algeria and who had
5 been a colonel in the Alger army.
6 Q. Very well. Thank you.
7 MR. MORRISSEY: That might be an appropriate moment.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
9 We'll resume at 3.30 in this courtroom.
10 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.47 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 3.48 p.m.
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, I'm sorry for the delay, but anyway we'll sit
13 here until 5.00.
14 Mr. Morrissey.
15 MR. MORRISSEY: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. Thank you very much, Witness G. Now, before the break we were
17 speaking of Commander Buza and we asked some general questions about him.
18 Now I have some specific questions about his relations to you. You've
19 already explained some of the problems, but what I want to ask you is:
20 Did he consult you about plans for combat activities in your area after he
21 became commander?
22 A. He didn't consult me on the whole because I wasn't responsible for
23 planning combat activities. I didn't have such duties, but I know that
24 his Deputy Chief of Staff did play such a role and he did relay
25 information to me. He said that he acted in a very stubborn manner and
1 did not take into consideration arguments that were presented.
2 Q. Okay. Now, who was the chief of military security of the SVB in
3 the Independent Prozor Battalion, and I mean in September of 1993? We've
4 been provided by another witness with the name of Bektas. Do you remember
5 an individual named Bektas?
6 A. I don't think he was the assistant commander for security. I
7 think Zijo Camatic [phoen] was, but I'm not sure about that because this
8 would change. But I think he was the assistant commander for security and
9 Bektas was involved in the security field, I think.
10 Q. Are you able now, after 11 years, to recall Bektas's precise role?
11 A. I think that for a certain period of time he was the assistant,
12 but that was before. When Mr. Camatic arrived, he took over that position
13 since Buza had appointed him to that post. Naturally, there were certain
14 problems there, too, because, in my opinion, such an appointment should
15 have been made after consultation with other members of the command and
16 having obtained the authorisation from the superior command, and I'm not
17 sure that he asked them for their approval. And afterwards, Mr. Bektas
18 was some sort of official in that security sector, or he was a lower-level
19 official, something like that.
20 Q. Now, to your understanding, if a crime was committed in the area
21 of responsibility of the Independent Prozor Battalion, the professional
22 body with the competence to investigate that was the military security
23 service. Is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Morrissey, please be very cautious and
6 MR. MORRISSEY: I'm sorry, Your Honour, I was very obtuse. My
8 JUDGE LIU: I hope that paper in front of you will help you.
9 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes.
10 JUDGE LIU: But anyway, please continue.
11 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, Your Honour, thank you for the help. As I
12 say, I made it clear, with my past history, I welcome early intervention
13 rather than late punishment. Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. I'm sorry about that, Witness G. So just to continue, anyway --
15 well, I want to ask some questions about that.
16 MR. MORRISSEY: Could we just go into the private session please,
17 Your Honour?
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we'll go to private session, please.
19 [Private session]
11 Page 89 redacted. Private session.
1 [Open session]
2 MR. MORRISSEY:
3 Q. Earlier I was asking you about Commander Buza and the question of
4 whether he was prepared to share information very much. There's a
5 document I want to show you now, and you may or may not have seen this
6 document, so I'm going to ask you to take a quick look at it and tell me
7 if you have.
8 This document is D140; it's an exhibit that's already been
10 What's going to be shown to you now is a document that is a
11 military proposal that was submitted -- a plan that was submitted to the
12 6th Corps command, in particular submitted to Salko Gusic, the commander
13 of the 6th Corps, and it was offered by a support staff person called
14 Zukanovic. Now, I'm going to ask you a couple of questions about it.
15 First of all, did you ever see this document yourself? And then after
16 that, I will ask you some questions about the plans that it contains and
17 so on.
18 Do you have that document in front of you on the screen as yet?
19 A. I can see the first part of it.
20 Q. Okay. Very well. Could I ask you --
21 MR. MORRISSEY: Or could I just ask the witness be given a chance
22 to read through it.
23 Q. I'm not going to question you closely on the contents of the
24 document, so there isn't the need to read it tremendously closely, but of
25 course if you want to, you can stop us and ask to have time to read it.
1 MR. MORRISSEY: Could the witness be shown the first page and to
2 see the introductory information, and then shown the last page to show
3 that it's signed off by Mr. Zukanovic, please.
4 JUDGE LIU: Could we have the English version of the last page,
6 MR. MORRISSEY: Just so the court staff know what's happening,
7 once the witness has had a chance to see the last page and inspect the
8 signature, then I want to go back to the start again and ask some
9 questions about that and go back to the first page. Okay.
10 Q. Now, let me just ask some formal questions first of all about
12 MR. MORRISSEY: Might we go back to the first page now, please.
13 Q. First of all, do you know who Mr. Zukanovic is from your own
14 personal knowledge?
15 A. I can see that this is a document from the 44th Brigade, from
16 Jablanica. It was a fairly large mountain brigade and there are many men
17 whom I could not have known in that brigade. And Enes Zukanovic is not
18 really someone I can remember either.
19 Q. Okay.
20 A. I can't remember who he was and what he did.
21 Q. That's okay. Have you ever seen -- I mean, to the best of your
22 memory, have you ever seen this document before?
23 A. I can't confirm that.
24 Q. No. Okay. Well, look, I understand that. I just want to ask you
25 a couple of questions, though. The questions of you don't require you to
1 analyse the document, but I need to while I'm asking you the questions.
2 So do you recall around the time of the 29th of August of 1993 -- let's
3 say the end of August 1993, whether or not there was any discussions
4 between Salko Gusic, the commander of the 6th Corps, and Enver Buza, who
5 was the Independent Prozor Battalion commander at the time, concerning
6 proposed lines of attack?
7 A. There was contact between them on a daily basis. Our commander
8 was in touch with the corps commander daily. What specifically was said
9 about this is not something that I can tell you. The truth is: I simply
10 don't know. I know that there was much discussion going on on how to
11 coordinate the 44th Jablanica Brigade and the 45th Brigade, which was
12 adjacent to the area covered by our independent battalion. There were
13 several views on how to go about this problem, how to make our situation
14 easier and make things more difficult for the HVO. I know that there were
15 ideas to the effect that we should try and cut some of the roads, to cut
16 the road between the logistics base and the HVO command in Prozor, as well
17 as the road leading south to Jablanica. These views were expressed and
18 debated. I'm not familiar with any details, however. I am aware of a
19 handful of details; I'm not sure if they're relevant. For example, a
20 bridge was mined on one occasion as part of this operation. It was behind
21 the lines, and this was a complex operation which occurred in the summer
22 of 1993. I can't remember whether in July or in August.
23 Q. That may possibly be a little bit earlier for our period, Witness
24 G, but we'll see -- we'll see how we go in relation to that question.
25 Now, was -- was Commander Buza required to brief you on his discussions
1 that he had with Salko Gusic of the 6th Corps?
2 A. Generally speaking, we asked the commander many times to keep us
3 up-to-date on what the situation was. Some members of the command were in
4 constant disagreement with him on that count. At one point in time, we
5 got fed up to have to point out the same sort of problem over and over
6 again. I know that there were corps meetings. I know that he went to
7 those meetings. We didn't know what he said at those meetings. All I
8 know is that at one point we received orders to hand over our anti-tank
9 missiles, the Maljutkas, to the corps. It was only later that we learned
10 that this was a result of him boasting at the meeting about having a
11 number of those. But we found out from people from the 2nd Corps who were
12 not involved in our area. There was a small point of contact, but that
13 was all. When things came to a head, he could not comply with that
14 request, obviously. He had to go to the Voljevac commander and ask to be
15 supplied some, but the Voljevac commander was in no position to oblige.
16 All in all, there was a request that came in for us to hand over something
17 that we did not actually have, and this just goes to prove that there was
18 little, if any, communication between the commander on the one hand and us
19 on the other.
20 Q. Yes. I just wanted to ask you perhaps a more general question as
21 well at that point there. Your unit was the Independent Prozor Battalion.
22 On your left-hand side was located the 44th Jablanica Brigade. Is that
24 A. No. On our left-hand side was the 45th Brigade.
25 Q. Oh, I'm sorry. Pardon me. Yes, that's my mistake. I apologise
1 for that. The 45th Brigade on your left, and on your right-hand side, was
2 that where the 317th Brigade was located?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Okay. And on the other side of the 317th Brigade there was a
5 borderline of the 6th Corps, and on the other side of that was a unit
6 attached to the 4th Corps -- sorry, to the 3rd Corps, namely Operations
7 Group West. Is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Okay.
10 A. Our battalion's area of responsibility, or rather, its far right
11 end, was adjacent to the 6th Corps. And from there on, it was the area of
12 responsibility of the 317th Brigade.
13 Q. Yes, I understand. Now, it's the fact, isn't it, that with regard
14 to the city of Prozor and its liberation there were a number of units that
15 were potentially relevant to that action. Some of them came from the 6th
16 Corps and some of them were part of the 3rd Corps command. Is that
18 A. Yes, that's correct.
19 Q. So that in -- for any -- for any military actions to succeed in
20 respect to the liberation of Prozor, there was an obvious need for some
21 coordination between the 3rd Corps and the 6th Corps. Is that correct?
22 A. I believe so.
23 Q. Okay. Now, I just want to ask you a question about an inspection
24 team. Did it come to your knowledge late in August or early in September
25 of 1993 that there was an inspection team headed by Sefer Halilovic and
1 also including some other senior army officers named Karic, Suljevic, and
2 Bilajac in Herzegovina?
3 A. I don't know what role that team was supposed to play. I'm not
4 sure if it was an inspection team or a command team. I'm not familiar
5 with its specific nature.
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. I met some of those people out in the field. For example,
8 Mr. Suljic, General Halilovic, but I had no authority to ask them about
9 their own powers, nor had anyone told me anything about that.
10 Q. That was really what my next question was going to be. That is:
11 Did you have authority or was it your place to inquire into the precise
12 role of those senior officers who came to Herzegovina; Halilovic, Karic,
13 Suljevic, and Bilajac?
14 A. If circumstances had been normal, the battalion commander would
15 have familiarised me with their role, purpose, and mission, including the
16 role of General Halilovic. However, I can guarantee that he said no such
17 thing, except at one point in time after that first meeting he said that
18 General Halilovic was around and that he would be in charge of the action,
19 or lead the action, if you like. Those were his precise words.
20 Q. Yes. Do you recall whether he used the term "rukovodjenje" in
21 that context or not?
22 A. I don't think that word was used. I think the word to lead was
23 actually used. I didn't hear the expression you have just referred to.
24 Maybe I have just forgotten it. Perhaps my recollection is not very
25 specific. Maybe I just can't recall them using the term.
1 Q. No, that's okay. I'm certainly not going to put words in your
2 mouth. But you used the word "vodi"; is that correct? Is that the word
3 that you remember?
4 Or perhaps I should ask you another question. Do you have a
5 memory of the specific word that was used at all, now in 2005?
6 A. I distinguish the term "rukovoditi" from the term "voditi," which
7 is not at all the same thing in military terms. However, for truth's
8 sake, I can't commit myself either way right now. I can't say for sure
9 that someone used the term "rukovoditi" in relation to General Halilovic,
10 but they certainly did use the word "voditi" in relation to General
11 Halilovic and the impending action. That's what our commander told us,
12 whatever that meant.
13 Q. Did he go on to explain what that meant? And when I say "he," did
14 Buza, Commander Buza, go on to explain what that meant?
15 A. He never bothered to elaborate. He liked to leave things unsaid
16 or maybe not entirely clear. There were some material matters that we
17 were never entirely and properly informed about.
18 Q. I understand. Were you ever shown -- or in September of 1993,
19 were you ever shown an order dated 30th of August of 1993 and written by
20 Commander Delic, appointing the inspection team and assigning it
21 particular functions and tasks?
22 A. I was never shown this order. I have no idea what it's about.
23 Q. Okay.
24 MR. MORRISSEY: Could the witness please be shown Exhibit D146.
25 MS. CHANA: Your Honour.
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Ms. Chana.
2 MS. CHANA: In respect of this order, the witness said he has
3 never seen it and what purpose is to be served in showing him this order?
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we need an explanation on that.
5 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, very well. Well, the -- I want to show it to
6 him and I want to ask him whether Sefer Halilovic appeared to exercise the
7 powers that are in that order. But if my friend says that I shouldn't be
8 showing the witness a document that he's not sure that he's seen before in
9 court, well of course that's a legitimate objection to take and I won't
10 show it to him. I'll ask him some other questions.
11 Q. When you were proofed in this matter -- when you came to The
12 Hague, what documents were you shown in proofing, to the best of your
13 memory, Witness G?
14 A. I was shown two documents. One was the document that I looked at
15 a while ago, and there was another document produced by the command of the
16 317th Brigade on how combat operations were to be carried out. This other
17 document was signed by Brigade Commander Zejnilagic. I can't remember his
18 first name. Enver, Enver Zejnilagic.
19 Q. You weren't shown, by any chance, a combat report by the commander
20 of the actual Prozor Independent Battalion itself, Enver Buza, concerning
21 the action in Uzdol? They didn't show you that one?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Well, in about 30 minutes I'll show it to you and we'll see what
24 happens then. You've had your chance to comment upon it, if you've seen
25 it before, if you have anything to say about it. But meanwhile, however,
1 I'll press on.
2 Now, I'd just like you to look at another document, and this is a
3 document that's sitting right next to you now -- sorry, it's behind you.
4 It's the map. There's a map there, a big map on an easel board. Do you
5 see that, headed Operation Neretva.
6 MR. MORRISSEY: That, I believe, is D131, Your Honours, and I
7 express my gratitude, as always, to the court staff.
8 Q. Now, just having a look at that document there, does that appear
9 to you to be a military map which has got the writing on it in the top
10 left-hand corner "odobravam," "I have approved it," by Rasim Delic?
11 A. Can you please repeat the question.
12 Q. Yes, sorry. The question is simply: Does that appear to you to
13 be a military map entitled Operacija Neretva, which has been authorised
14 with the word "I have approved it," "odobravam" that is, in the top
15 left-hand corner, above the name of the commander, Rasim Delic? I should
16 ask: Are you able to read it from where you're sitting there, my first
18 A. Yes, I see that now.
19 Q. Okay. Thanks. And can you further see -- yes, I'm grateful to
20 the court staff.
21 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, my assistant just pointed out very
22 sensibly to me that we don't want the witness to have to stand up because
23 it means that it will go around the screens.
24 JUDGE LIU: Well, on that section we could go to the private
25 session because, you know, the camera will focus on the map. I'm afraid
1 that we'll disclose the identity of the witness.
2 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, just I'm unaware of how it works, Your
3 Honour, so perhaps for caution, I agree, perhaps we should go to private
5 JUDGE LIU: Maybe we could go to private session now.
6 [Private session]
11 Page 100 redacted. Private session.
14 [Open session]
15 MR. MORRISSEY:
16 Q. Okay. So sorry, the question probably got lost in all the
17 subordinate requests, and I'll just ask it again. Do the lines on that
18 map, even though it's drawn at a high level, broadly reflect the combat
19 operations which actually took place to your understanding on the 13th and
20 14th of September?
21 A. I can say the map reflects what happened in the north sector, to
22 the north of Jablanica, which is an area that I am fully familiar with.
23 As concerns the area south of Jablanica, I really don't know who acted
24 there, and this is not something that I wish to comment on.
25 Q. Well, it's not something I wish to trouble you with either, so
1 we'll leave that topic there. Okay, well, thank you for that. Now, as to
2 that map, I want to ask you this: Were you personally present down in
3 Jablanica on the 4th of September when that map was signed under the word
4 "odobravam" by Rasim Delic in the top left corner and counter-signed by
5 the Chief of Staff, Sefer Halilovic, in the bottom right-hand corner?
6 Were you present when that happened?
7 A. I don't think I was present, or at least, I don't recall being
9 Q. Okay. Did it come to your -- were you told by Commander Buza that
10 Rasim Delic had -- had come to Herzegovina and held a meeting in Jablanica
11 and signed and authorised that map?
12 A. Commander Buza never told us. I did tell you about his style of
13 sharing information. He failed to tell us about this, and the same
14 applies to a great number of other things that we were supposed to know.
15 Q. Yes. And, look, I'm grateful for your patience in dealing with
16 these questions. You have answered it in a general way, but I have to put
17 some specifics to you, unfortunately, as I go through. But in any event
18 I'll press on with those now. The next thing I want to ask you about is a
19 meeting that took place at Dobro Polje, the headquarters of the
20 Independent Prozor Battalion.
21 Now, you've indicated that you were not present at the -- you were
22 not present inside the room, but you were told what happened by Commander
23 Buza. And I want to ask you this: Did you find that Commander Buza
24 always told you things in an accurate and reliable way? In other words,
25 did he always give you accurate and reliable information about the things
1 he was telling you about?
2 A. I think it could be said that he provided us with superficial
3 information. It was never thorough. From my present perspective, I can
4 claim that what he fed us at the time was incomplete information at best.
5 A lot was being left unsaid.
6 Q. Okay. Now, as to the commanders who were -- who you noticed to be
7 present at that meeting, can I put some names to you and you can confirm
8 whether or not you recall them being there. First of all, Salko Gusic,
9 was he present at that meeting at Dobro Polje?
10 A. I think so.
11 Q. Yes. Okay. What about the his deputy commander, Bahrudin
12 Fazlic? Do you recall whether he was there?
13 A. I can't say.
14 Q. Do you recall whether Haso Hakalovic, the commander of the 45th
15 Neretvica Brigade was there?
16 A. I think so.
17 Q. Selmo Cikotic of Operations Group West?
18 A. Mr. Cikotic came several times and I believe he was present at the
19 meeting, but I can say with a great degree of certainty that this was not
20 the only time he was around.
21 Q. Certainly. What about Vehbija Karic?
22 A. I don't think he was there at the meeting, but I'm not entirely
23 certain about who attended. I don't recall him being there; that much is
25 Q. Okay. The journalist Sefko Hodzic I think you mentioned was
1 there. Is that your memory, that Hodzic was present?
2 A. Yes, I do recall that.
3 Q. Okay -- sorry, go on.
4 A. I'm quite certain he was there. He was the one who talked to us.
5 In addition to his own work, he had another objective, which was to
6 publish articles in some of the newspapers. I remember him carrying a
7 camera as well.
8 Q. And just in relation to the commanders I've listed already, all of
9 those commanders - Gusic, Fazlic, Hakalovic, Sefer Halilovic himself -
10 were all people who were in a position of seniority to Enver Buza. Is
11 that correct?
12 A. I have to say that the Prozor Independent Battalion was an
13 independent unit which had all the powers that an independent unit such as
14 a brigade should have. However, since the other units were larger, and I
15 have the Operations Group West in particular in mind, which I think was
16 composed of two brigades -- well, our commander was in a particular
17 position and I think that his importance in relation to the importance of
18 the commanders of the other units was not as great, naturally. The staff
19 from the corps command and from the General Staff, they were naturally
20 higher up in the military hierarchy.
21 Q. Okay. I just -- my question really was this: Did Buza represent
22 to you after the meeting that these people had all come specifically for a
23 meeting with him or did he represent that it was a meeting of a more
24 general kind at which he was just one of the participants?
25 A. You could see that he was only one of the participants; there was
1 nothing else he could have said. But I could not now say exactly what he
2 said in relation to that matter. We all had the impression that he was
3 one of the participants in that meeting.
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. And that's that.
6 Q. Okay. Now, after that meeting you were told -- you've indicated
7 you were told certain things by Buza, and your understanding -- sorry,
8 perhaps I should ask you this: You already knew who Sefer Halilovic was
9 from the newspapers and from the press generally. Is that correct?
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. And Sefer Halilovic was a person who had been featured in the --
12 in the press very, very heavily over the previous year. Is that correct?
13 A. Yes, that's correct.
14 Q. Okay. And -- in fact, he was a person that those fighting for --
15 for Bosnia down in the Herzegovina region often used to hope that he would
16 come down and help you out. Is that correct?
17 A. Yes, that's absolutely correct.
18 Q. Okay. And he's become familiar to you as the commander of the
19 army, his official position being Chief of Staff of the Main Staff, but
20 his function being to command the army. Is that correct?
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. Okay. Now, after he was replaced as the commander of the army by
23 Rasim Delic, there were official communiques from army HQ attempting to
24 explain what changes had been made and, I suggest, also attempting to calm
25 down those soldiers who were very loyal to Sefer Halilovic and who thought
1 very highly of him. Is that correct?
2 A. All I can say is that the official explanations provided in
3 relation to that matter stated that no changes had been made. The General
4 Staff or the staff of the Supreme Command, I don't know what the name was
5 at the time, had simply been fully established and no changes had really
6 been made. That was the official explanation provided.
7 Q. And certainly they didn't provide you with a list of the new
8 duties of Sefer Halilovic as Chief of Staff as established by a
9 reorganisation order on the 18th of July of 1993. Is that correct?
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. Okay. So what you knew about Sefer's role was what you were told.
12 Is that correct?
13 A. As well as the official information that we had received from the
14 highest level of the military.
15 Q. Yes. And my learned friend the Prosecutor asked you earlier on
16 today whether you ever questioned the authority of Sefer Halilovic or
17 whether you ever heard that authority questioned. And what I want to ask
18 you is this: Was it your job to question the authority of Sefer
20 A. Absolutely not. That wasn't my role nor was that possible at the
21 time. I could not have questioned his authority nor could I have
22 questioned his role within the army.
23 Q. All right. You've indicated that you drew a conclusion, or that
24 you were -- you were of the view, of the honest belief, that he was the
25 commander of the operation. What I want to put to you is this: You drew
1 that conclusion because of the information you've just given and because
2 Buza told you that he was here to lead the operation. Is that an accurate
3 summary that I've just put to you?
4 A. On the whole, yes.
5 Q. Okay. And of course you yourself never asked Sefer Halilovic, nor
6 did he tell you, what his precise function was. Is that correct?
7 A. Correct.
8 Q. All right. Thank you for that. Now -- I press on now to the next
9 time that Sefer Halilovic came to the -- to the area of the Independent
10 Prozor Battalion. You've indicated, I think, that although you can't
11 recall the precise date, that the Dobro Polje meeting took place on around
12 about the 5th, the 4th, 5th, 6th, somewhere around there. And then you
13 indicated that he came about some days later and you thought approximately
14 six or seven. Is it the fact that Sefer Halilovic came back to Dobro
15 Polje for a visit to Enver Buza on an occasion when you actually were not
16 present yourself but came back later and heard of it? I don't mean the
17 time when he was angry with Buza, I mean on an occasion before that.
18 A. I was in Dobro Polje on the first, second, and third time that he
19 came, but I did not attend the meetings. Given the passage of time, I
20 can't say how long it was before he came for the second time. But what I
21 do know is that he might have come for other preparations of the action
22 and for other agreements that they had to reach at the time. This is only
23 something that I can assume, though.
24 I must also inform the Chamber of another fact: The commander of
25 a brigade for whom they said that he was the absolute commander throughout
1 that territory at the time -- well, he was the commander of a brigade who
2 seemed to have such power. That was the situation.
3 Q. Yes. I'm sorry. I just missed who you meant on that occasion.
4 Who's the commander of the brigade that you were talking about there? Was
5 that Buza or ...
6 A. I'm referring to all the brigade commanders that had certain
7 stretches of territory under their control.
8 Q. Sorry. Yes. So they appeared to be kings in their own little
9 kingdom. Is that the general effect of what you said?
10 A. You could put it that way, but that wasn't the case for the
11 brigades that had been formed of refugees. I'll provide you with an
12 example of one such brigade from Jajce, which was in our territory, and
13 its commander did not really have control of his territory. There were
14 such brigades. There were units from Bosanska Krajina in Travnik, too,
15 units of that kind. But all the brigades that had their own territories,
16 such as our independent battalion, in all those brigades the commanders
17 could allow themselves to behave in this manner.
18 Q. Yes. Okay. And I take it, from your observation, that's because
19 the Bosnian army at that time was a relatively immature institution, it
20 was really an army in the process of coming into existence. Is that
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. Well, let me press on now. The time -- sorry, the chronology that
24 you've given us here is that there was a meeting in Dobro Polje, then six
25 or seven days later there's a second visit by Sefer Halilovic to the Dobro
1 Polje area. Then after that is the occasion that you -- that you noticed
2 the order that you noticed. And then after that again comes the time when
3 Sefer visited for a third time and appeared quite angry with Buza. And I
4 just want to ask you at the moment about that second visit of Sefer's.
5 Now, you've -- you've indicated you didn't attend the meeting.
6 Were you yourself present at the -- at the hut or in the area of the hut
7 at Dobro Polje when Sefer arrived on that second occasion, or were you
8 somewhere else and you came back and found out about that a bit later?
9 A. I can't really remember his second visit that well. That is the
10 visit that I have the faintest recollection of. I left that area during
11 that period very briefly. If I did so, it was only for a few hours. If
12 he came during that time, if that's when these things happened, perhaps I
13 was absent then. But I heard from other people who spoke about his
14 arrival in Dobro Polje. I heard a detail from them which can confirm the
15 fact that I remember this very poorly because there was someone, the
16 assistant commander for personnel affairs, who said that he had been with
17 General Halilovic who had assembled a group of combatants. And they had a
18 casual conversation in which they discussed the objectives of the struggle
19 of Bosnia and Herzegovina. But I can't remember that, whereas he claims
20 that this took place for sure.
21 Q. Yes. It's just I wanted -- I think you may not be able to comment
22 on this but I'm going to ask you anyway. We've had some evidence from the
23 journalist Hodzic concerning a visit to Dobro Polje that may or may be
24 that occasion. But he indicates that on that occasion Halilovic spoke to
25 the troops, or certain troops, anyway, and indicated that they should
1 behave properly towards civilians and prisoners of war. And I was going
2 to ask you whether you're in a position to confirm that or not, whether
3 Halilovic did make such a speech in the presence of Sefko Hodzic or not.
4 I think I'd still better ask you the question: Can you confirm or deny or
5 say anything about whether that happened?
6 A. When I spoke to the assistant commander from -- for personal
7 affairs, well, they found out that was the case, but I wasn't there. So
8 -- and this person insisted on the fact that he gave such a speech, that
9 spoke about the objective of establishing a multi-ethnic state. He didn't
10 really speak about the method of fighting for such a state, but --
11 fighting the civilian population whatever their ethnic -- whatever ethnic
12 group they belonged to was not one of the objectives. This was in fact in
13 Dobro Polje at the time. Perhaps Sefko Hodzic was there at the time; it's
14 quite possible.
15 Q. Okay. In any event, from your knowledge, from the media, and I
16 suppose from what other soldiers told you, too, if they talked to you
17 about it, your knowledge was that Sefer Halilovic was a person who was
18 very dedicated to a Bosnian army that would not hurt or slaughter innocent
19 civilians. Is that correct?
20 A. Up until September 1993, that's the period we're discussing, the
21 attempts of the ABiH not to destroy the religious buildings of other
22 faiths were emphasised. And they also stated that the population was not
23 persecuted because of the ethnic groups that they belonged to. It was
24 also stated that collection centres were not being established for members
25 of other confessions or ethnic groups. These were objectives that were
1 emphasised and these were the principles that they insisted on.
2 Q. Yes. And when you say "they" insisted upon them, Sefer Halilovic,
3 as leader of the army, was one of the leading people who insisted upon
4 that. Is that correct?
5 A. Well, I don't know exactly because I had only just met the
6 commander, General Halilovic, at the time. You must understand that the
7 channels of communications were quite poor. But General Halilovic
8 couldn't have had any other positions because if he had had any other
9 positions, he would have had the power to implement them. Given the way
10 the ABiH conducted itself while he was the commander, I think that one can
11 say that they behaved in accordance with the principles I have just
12 referred to. The ABiH conducted itself in a manner in which they showed
13 respect for the principles that I have been referring to. So having
14 provided you with this explanation, I can confirm that that was in fact
15 the case.
16 Q. Yes. Yes. Well, thank you for that. All right. Now, could I
17 just move now to the occasion at which you looked at the order -- or
18 looked at the -- I take back "order." That you looked at the document in
19 the office of Enver Buza. Now, can I just ask you, you've indicated why
20 it was that you looked at that document, and that was curiosity and
21 concern for what was coming to you and those men you were looking after.
22 Could I just ask you this: In terms of time, how long did you have to
23 look at that document while Commander Buza was out of the room?
24 A. Perhaps I had a minute or so to examine it.
25 Q. All right. Now, I take it your state of mind at that time was
1 that you, like the others in the battalion, were awaiting orders to go
2 into battle. You knew something was going to happen but you didn't know
3 what so you were awaiting orders. Is that correct?
4 A. That's quite correct.
5 Q. Okay. And so when you saw this piece of paper sitting on the
6 desk, the immediate inference and conclusion you drew was: This might be
7 the order. Is that correct?
8 A. Well, yes.
9 Q. And of course you didn't stop to check that document to see
10 whether it was an order or a directive or some other military document;
11 instead, you went straight for the substance of it to see whether it
12 concerned the movements of the Independent Prozor Battalion. Is that
14 A. Yes, in fact that is correct. I didn't have enough time to have a
15 look at the entire document. I just tried to see what the axis of attack
16 of the Prozor Independent Battalion was. And once I had found out what
17 the axis was, I stopped reading the document.
18 Q. Yes, certainly. So you certainly didn't check the signature on
19 that document to see whether it was Sefer Halilovic or not, did you?
20 A. I have the impression that Sefer Halilovic had signed the
21 document. I can neither confirm whether his name had simply been typed
22 out or whether his name had been typed out and the document also contained
23 signature. For the document to be fully valid, in the lower right-hand
24 corner you should have a typewritten name, his signature, and the stamp of
25 the institution referred to in the upper left-hand corner. Naturally, I
1 didn't have time to check this.
2 Q. And in the minute that you had, you simply looked to see whether
3 the Independent Prozor Battalion was mentioned; and when you saw that it
4 was, you checked what the details were about its proposed movements and
5 actions. Is that correct?
6 A. Yes, that's correct.
7 Q. So whether this was an order or a proposal, you are simply unable
8 to comment. Is that correct?
9 A. I couldn't say what it was for certain.
10 Q. I understand. And in fact, at the time no one had explained to
11 you that Sefer Halilovic was, whatever else he may have been, was
12 certainly in charge of an inspection team appointed by Commander Rasim
13 Delic on the 30th of the 8th. At that time no one told you any such
14 thing; is that correct?
15 A. No one told us anything about that. No one told us that an
16 inspection team had been formed, and no one told us anything about the
17 role of General Delic in the field. I'll repeat this. The only
18 confirmation that we received was that this action would be led by General
20 Q. Yes, I understand. And because of that information that you had
21 from our Commander Buza, whatever his level of reliability might be, you
22 acted on that information. Is that correct?
23 A. Yes, absolutely. That's correct.
24 Q. Very well. Thank you for that.
25 Now -- very well.
1 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I'm now going to move to a topic of
2 showing orders, and in particular I was going to show Witness G the combat
3 report by Commander Buza that refers to that earlier order and then I was
4 going to show him the earlier order and take him through that. It really
5 should all be done at once because of the numbering, which you'll
6 remember. There's a number 1500-27, and doing one tonight and then
7 adjourning for a long time will simply mean that I'll have to do it all
8 again anyway. I apologise for that, but that's the point we've reached.
9 JUDGE LIU: Maybe we could break here now and we'll continue next
11 Well, Witness, I'm afraid that you have to spend your weekend in
12 The Hague and you have to understand that now you are under oath during
13 this weekend. So do not let anybody talk to you and do not talk to
14 anybody about your testimony in this courtroom. Do you understand?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand and I do accept
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, thank you very much. And when we adjourn, Madam
18 Usher will pull down the blinds and she will show you out of this
19 courtroom. So you have to stay where you are at this moment.
20 So the hearing is adjourned for this week.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.57 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Monday, the 11th day of
23 April, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.