1 Tuesday, 28 June 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 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 very much.
10 Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
11 Good morning, Witness.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE LIU: Are you ready to continue?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Indeed, I am.
15 JUDGE LIU: We won't keep you long for today.
16 WITNESS: MEHMED BEHLO [Resumed]
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Morrissey please continue.
19 MR. MORRISSEY: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel, please.
21 JUDGE LIU: Your microphone, please.
22 MR. MORRISSEY: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Examined by Mr. Morrissey: [Continued]
24 Q. Thank you, Mr. Behlo. Mr. Behlo, yesterday I was asking you some
25 questions about a series of orders and I asked you about an order of Enver
1 Zejnilagic which was Exhibit 150, and in that order, in the preamble to
2 that order, it referred to two orders upon which it was based. I took you
3 to the Sefer Halilovic order yesterday evening and then we stopped and I
4 now want to take you to another document that's referred to in that order.
5 MR. MORRISSEY: Now, could the witness please be shown Exhibit 152
6 on the screen?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Am I supposed to comment.
8 Q. Yes, first of all you've got that on the screen now. Yes, could
9 you please just comment on that order?
10 A. Yes, I see the order. It's in reference to when this operation
11 was supposed to be launched.
12 Q. And could I just ask you to explain a couple of details of it?
13 First of all, do you have paragraph 2 in front of your eyes there?
14 A. Can the document please be scrolled down? Paragraph 2?
15 Q. Yes. Now, there it says that one battalion comprising a company
16 of the Prozor Independent Battalion, a company of the 45th Mountain
17 Brigade and two battalions of the 317th Brigade and two platoons of the
18 Sutjeska Battalion shall go on the attack on the Zgon-Brdo-Slime axis. Now
19 could I just ask you to explain to the Court -- sorry, just a moment.
20 Pardon me. Can you just explain to the Court with respect to that map
21 that you drew yesterday, what's the relationship of this order to that
22 map? And I mean the map with the green arrows on it. I think it's 445,
23 the first of the two maps.
24 A. This order shows precisely the forces and the plan for this
25 operation, the same one that was indicated on the decision that we saw.
1 Q. When we come to the Halilovic order, which you saw last thing
2 yesterday, dated the 15th of September, what was the need for that
3 Halilovic order, given this -- the existence of this order?
4 A. The order by Mr. Halilovic is a supplement to this order.
5 Q. Very well. You explained yesterday to the Judges that if the 6th
6 Corps issued orders to your group or if an officer from the command of the
7 6th Corps issued orders to your group, you would have to -- or you would
8 seek approval from your own commanders. Now, this order here comes from
9 the 6th Corps but it's directed to you or at least to a battalion of yours
10 in the 317th. So why was it that you, as a member of the 317th Brigade,
11 who is in the 3rd Corps, why was it that you obeyed coming from the 6th
12 Corps and what steps did you have to take before you obeyed it?
13 A. The order by the command of the 6th Corps refers to the operation.
14 There is reference here to considerable forces, about to take part in the
15 operation. They are part of the 6th Corps.
16 Q. And who did you personally report to in the course of these combat
17 operations? In other words, who was your immediate superior?
18 A. My commander, Zejnilagic.
19 Q. Very well. Okay. Thank you for that. Did you -- yesterday I
20 asked you a couple of questions concerning operations groups and I wish to
21 ask you now a little bit more about that. Could you just explain briefly
22 to the Tribunal, what is an operations group, in military terms?
23 A. An operations group could be defined as follows. It is made up of
24 several independent units, the levels involved are the battalion level and
25 up. There is a significant amount of both artillery and tanks involved in
1 the composition of an operations group. An operations group is
2 established in order to carry out certain substantial operative
4 Q. What sort of order is needed to form an operations group?
5 A. First of all, an operations group staff must be set up. A
6 commander must be appointed, and it should be determined which units will
7 be part of the group.
8 Q. And when you say it should be determined, do you mean that it
9 should be determined by an order, which units should be subordinate to
10 that operations group?
11 A. That's necessary.
12 Q. What level of -- perhaps when you refer to the staff of an
13 operations group, what sort of branches and components would the staff of
14 an operations group have?
15 A. There must be -- there must be unit commanders, the commanders of
16 the units involved in the operation, logistics officers, and operatives,
17 operative officers who assist the commander of the operations group.
18 Q. And how does -- in the case where a unit is resubordinated to an
19 operations group, how is such a unit told that they have been
20 resubordinated to an operations group? How is that communicated to them?
21 A. There is an order to set up an operations group.
22 Q. Did any such order ever apply to your battalion in these combat
23 operations in September 1993?
24 A. No.
25 Q. What was your understanding of the role played by Sefer Halilovic
1 in these combat operations at the time when they were going on?
2 A. He was the chief of the Supreme Command Staff. He arrived in the
3 area covered by the 2nd Mountain Battalion with his associates. He stayed
4 in the area for a short time. He probably had assignments that he was
5 supposed to carry out.
6 Q. Okay. And what was your understanding of -- perhaps I should take
7 a step back from that. You indicated that you had some more substantial
8 contact with Rifat Bilajac. Could you explain the sort of help that Rifat
9 Bilajac gave you on that occasion when you discussed the attack with him?
10 A. I showed Mr. Bilajac the plan or rather the proposed plan for this
11 operation and explained it to him. This was about the operational axes
12 and the deployment of forces. That's what I showed him on the map.
13 Q. And what sort of help did you want from him or need from him?
14 A. He made several suggestions and provided a number of
15 clarifications. I used these clarifications in order to make a more
16 elaborate plan for the operation, to make a better plan that could more
17 readily be carried out.
18 Q. Yes. Very well. And in the end, who did you submit your draft of
19 the plan to?
20 A. When I was in touch with Mr. Bilajac, my commander,
21 Mr. Zejnilagic, was there too. He accepted the plan at the time.
22 Q. Very well. Did Bilajac issue you with any order whatsoever on
23 that occasion?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Apart from the order that's in evidence here, the Sefer Halilovic
1 order on the 15th, did you ever see Sefer Halilovic issue an order in the
2 time when he was in that area?
3 A. No.
4 Q. All right. Now, yesterday you indicated that there was an attempt
5 to go into combat on the 16th of September but that you -- your units were
6 surprised by an HVO reconnaissance group and that after that nothing took
7 place. Now, I just want to ask you, were you familiar with the radio
8 station called Radio Rama?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And where was Radio Rama based?
11 A. Somewhere around the town of Prozor.
12 Q. All right. And what do you say about the accuracy of the news
13 that came from Radio Rama in that period? Perhaps let me ask the question
14 another way because that was phrased wrongly. At the time, back in
15 September of 1993, how did you regard the accuracy of Radio Rama back
17 A. It was a new radio station that emerged at the time. It was used
18 for propaganda purposes, we believed, the music they played was pretty
19 good but the news was sometimes all wrong and used for mere propaganda.
20 Q. All right. When you say it was used for propaganda, by whose side
21 was it used for propaganda?
22 A. It was an HVO radio and the propaganda was about spreading
23 information about the situation in our own units and the atmosphere in
24 those towns that were under BH army control.
25 Q. Very well. Did you ever come to hear any rumours or stories that
1 some civilians had been killed in Uzdol during the course of the combat
2 operations on the 14th of September 1993?
3 A. I didn't hear it at the time, but I did learn later from one of my
4 subordinate officers that there had been problems.
5 Q. And can you remember how long after these combat operations --
6 combat activities you heard that news from one of your subordinates? Was
7 it a matter of days, was it a week, was it more than that? What sort of
8 range of time after?
9 A. Roughly several days after the operation.
10 Q. Very well. Now, I just want to turn to some other matters now.
11 Were you interviewed by an investigator from the Office of the Prosecutor
12 in about 2000 or 2001?
13 A. Yes. By Mr. Nikolai in Sarajevo.
14 Q. Would you just explain to the junction and the Prosecutor what
15 happened on that occasion? How did the interview proceed and what
17 A. At the time I was a member of the federal army of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the military security service sent me to Sarajevo to
19 the UN headquarters in Sarajevo. I didn't know why I was there or what
20 I'd be doing. Once I reached the building, I was greeted by someone
21 belonging to the investigation team, and they took me to see Mr. Nikolai.
22 I was surprised and very nervous throughout the interview. It was only
23 towards the end of the interview that I found out what the whole thing was
24 about. Mr. Nikolai on that occasion accused me of being a war criminal.
25 Q. Did anything happen with respect to your jacket and your wallet?
1 A. Yes. When the interview first began, I was wearing a leather
2 jacket which I handed to Mr. Nikolai's assistant. They also asked to have
3 my wallet. They took these items away from the interview room.
4 Q. Did they say why they wanted those things?
5 A. No. Security reasons, they said. I have no idea.
6 Q. How did the questioning proceed during that interview?
7 A. As I've already said, I had no idea what that was about. First
8 there were some routine questions, which I answered. Then, Mr. Nikolai
9 told me that he was investigating certain crimes discussed in a book by a
10 Croatian author and he said that my name was dropped too. This book was
11 about war crimes committed against Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 Q. When was the name Sefer Halilovic first mentioned during that
14 A. Perhaps towards the very end.
15 Q. Okay. Now, how were your -- how were your words being recorded
16 during that interview? Was it a taped interview or was there some other
18 A. It was being recorded by Mr. Nikolai on a laptop that he was
20 Q. Now, was there anyone else present at any stage during that
21 interview apart from you and Nikolai?
22 A. Yes. There was another gentleman whose name I can't remember.
23 Q. Now, was that gentleman present at all times or part of the time?
24 A. He was there most of the time but he would go in and out very
25 often. He would leave the room every now and then.
1 Q. Who was doing the typing?
2 A. Mr. Nikolai.
3 Q. And what language was -- what language were you speaking when you
4 spoke to Mr. Nikolai?
5 A. Bosnian.
6 Q. And what language was he writing down on -- sorry, what language
7 was he typing into the laptop?
8 A. English, I suppose.
9 Q. Okay. Now, did he ask you any questions about the role of Sefer
10 Halilovic in an operation called Operation Neretva 93?
11 A. Yes. He did ask some questions.
12 Q. Did he put any propositions to you as to what he thought the role
13 of Halilovic was?
14 MR. WEINER: I'd object, Your Honour. Leading and we are in an
15 area where it's the witness's testimony which is important, not counsel's.
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Morrissey, I understand your question.
17 Maybe you could put your question in another way.
18 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, Your Honour.
19 Q. All right. How did Mr. Nikolai Mikhailov frame his questions to
20 you concerning Sefer Halilovic?
21 A. These were imprecise questions, mostly referring to some
22 assessments about which I really couldn't give my opinion.
23 Q. Well, let me put the question straight to you. Did you tell
24 Nikolai Mikhailov that Sefer Halilovic was in charge of this operation?
25 MR. WEINER: Objection, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Yes. It's a leading question.
2 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, it's not a leading question, if --
3 my learned friend knows very well that it's not because there is a
4 statement -- well, no. Let me finish and then we'll come to what
5 Mr. Weiner has to say in response.
6 Your Honours, the situation is this, that we have been provided
7 with a document that the Prosecutors have indicated they want to
8 cross-examine this witness on and it's a Nikolai statement. There is a
9 specific part of it that they will want to rely on where the English text
10 says that Sefer Halilovic was in charge of the --
11 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, should the witness be removed for this,
12 especially if --
13 JUDGE LIU: Since both parties have that interview, why don't you
14 read those questions and the Court, whatever, in that statement, and ask
15 him to comment, from this witness.
16 MR. MORRISSEY: I will do so, Your Honours, but I -- before I do I
17 just want to make the point about these objections. I'm putting the exact
18 proposition that's here to the witness as I'm obliged to do. To object on
19 the basis that it's leading is not proper. The Prosecution know very well
20 what's here.
21 JUDGE LIU: Well, earlier in the Defence case, we give much more
22 leeway to the counsel concerning of the leading questions. But here you
23 could not put to us out of the blue. You have to lay some foundations on
24 that issue.
25 Mr. Weiner, do you have anything to add?
1 MR. WEINER: No, no, Your Honour. Just with regard to
2 cross-examination -- actually examination in direct in this area, what
3 they are trying to do is bolster the credibility of the witness. What
4 they should be doing is: If there is going to be cross-examination on
5 this area, then in redirect examination, then they can enter into the
6 issue. But at this point, they are asking -- they are questioning
7 witnesses as to areas to bolster their credibility, which is not
9 JUDGE LIU: Well, I'm not sure it's about the credibility of this
10 witness at this stage.
11 MR. WEINER: If the Court looks at the statements you'll see it
12 does concern the credibility of the witness because it concerns prior
13 statements made by the witness which --
14 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours --
15 JUDGE LIU: I think that's another question. We will let
16 Mr. Morrissey continue and to see how far we could go. Yes, you may
18 MR. MORRISSEY: Very well.
19 Q. So perhaps if -- Mr. Behlo, there is a statement here in English
20 and I'll ask you about the signatures and so on in just a moment. But I
21 just want to ask you -- the English statement says this, "Enver Zejnilagic
22 told me that Sefer Halilovic was in charge of the operation." My question
23 to you is this: Did you say those words to Nikolai Mikhailov?
24 A. No, I did not say that.
25 Q. Then there is another passage here. And this is in the English
1 statement, it says this: "Enver Zejnilagic introduced me to Sefer
2 Halilovic at the entrance to the school but we did not talk. This was the
3 only one time" - I'm reading from the text there - "this is the only one
4 time that I see Sefer Halilovic during the Operation Neretva-93. It was
5 clear that Sefer Halilovic was in charge of the operation because
6 everybody reported to him."
7 Now, my question to you is: Did you say those words to Nikolai
8 Mikhailov at the time when you made this statement?
9 A. No. This did not happen and I did not say that.
10 Q. Now, could you just explain what the process was after Mr. Nikolai
11 would write words into the computer? At the end of it all, was this
12 statement read back to you in any way?
13 A. Yes. Mr. Nikolai read it back to me before I signed it. However,
14 his assistant took the diskette away to print a copy for signature, and he
15 was reading this statement to me from the laptop, one sentence by one
16 sentence. And then later I signed it.
17 Q. All right. Well just to be clear I understand you well, was it
18 read back to you from the laptop or was it read back to you from the paper
20 A. From the laptop.
21 Q. All right. Now, could I just show -- just ask that the witness be
22 shown a document now, please. Your Honours, I anticipate the Prosecutor
23 may have an original of this. In any event I'm going to ask that the
24 witness identify this document. So could the witness please be shown this
1 MR. WEINER: Could you identify what the document is so --
2 MR. MORRISSEY: I'll get the witness identify what the document
4 MR. WEINER: No, no, no, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE LIU: I believe you have to inform us about what the
6 document is.
7 MR. MORRISSEY: I will, Your Honour. I'm showing the witness a
8 document provided to us by the Prosecution, which is a faxed photocopy
9 with some highlighting on it of Mr. Behlo's name indicating that it's been
10 searched in some way and retrieved in that manner. I'm going to ask him
11 whether his signature is on it but on the face of it it's a statement in
12 the English language taken by Nikolai Mikhailov from him.
13 JUDGE LIU: Are you going to ask the witness to identify the
15 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, that's the purpose of doing this.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes, you may proceed.
17 MR. MORRISSEY:
18 Q. So would you just look at the front page and indicate whether your
19 signature appears there.
20 A. Yes. You can see my signature.
21 Q. And look at the next page and see if you can see your signature
22 there as well.
23 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I notice the court staff are more
24 efficient than I have and have used the ELMO and that's the right thing to
1 Q. Just point out which one is your signature, thank you. Perhaps
2 just -- could we just look at the first page again and you can identify
3 his signature on the first page as well. Okay, so which one is your
4 signature on the first page?
5 A. [Points]
6 Q. Could we go to the third page, please? Can you identify your
7 signature on that page?
8 A. [Points]
9 Q. Okay. Thank you, and go to the next page. And does your
10 signature appear on that page?
11 A. [Points]
12 Q. Okay. And does it appear elsewhere on that page as well?
13 A. [Points]
14 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just ask you this question? If you knew
15 that that statement contained the two passages that I put to you a little
16 bit earlier, would you have signed it?
17 MR. WEINER: Objection, Your Honour. Number one it's a
18 hypothetical question. Number 2, it's very leading.
19 JUDGE LIU: Well, now we have some foundations for this question,
20 and it is a hypothetical question. But in this case, we will allow the
21 Defence to proceed.
22 MR. MORRISSEY:
23 Q. Sorry about that. So what's the answer? Would you have signed it
24 if you knew that it contained those statements?
25 A. At the time, I was a federal army officer, and automatically we
1 are forbidden to comment on our superior officers. Therefore, at the time
2 I probably could not have said anything like that about an officer who at
3 the time was in the zone of the 2nd Battalion.
4 Q. Very well. And after that was all done, what was indicated to
5 you, if anything, about future contacts between yourself and Prosecution
6 investigators, Nikolai in particular?
7 A. I've already stated that the purpose of the interview was not
8 known to me. I was told that I was mentioned in the book that was the
9 subject of investigation, that my name was mentioned in it. And I was
10 told that for my personal security I should not tell anybody about this.
11 Q. You should not tell anybody about what?
12 A. That I had given a statement and about the procedure in general
13 and that probably they would call me again later.
14 Q. Did they call you again later?
15 A. No, they did not.
16 Q. Did they give you a copy of your statement in Bosnian to read
17 before you signed it?
18 A. No, they did not.
19 MR. MORRISSEY: I tender that document. I offer that document for
21 JUDGE LIU: Well, any objections?
22 MR. WEINER: No objection, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE LIU: Well, we'll hold the admission of this document at a
24 later stage because we have to see whether this is a previous statement or
1 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, Your Honours --
2 JUDGE LIU: Or that document might go to the credibility of this
3 witness, as the Prosecution said.
4 MR. WEINER: And it might also go in substantively as a prior
5 inconsistent statement for the testimony that Halilovic was in charge of
6 the operation.
7 JUDGE LIU: Well, let us.
8 MR. WEINER: If they want --
9 JUDGE LIU: Let us not go into the substance but at this moment we
10 are not in the position to make a ruling on this document.
11 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, Your Honours, if the Prosecutor is seeking
12 to rely on it as a matter of truth, as a matter of the proof of its
13 contents, then there are two things I would say. The first is that this
14 witness wasn't on any list of theirs at any time but secondly I don't want
15 to become embroiled in a discussion about that. What I will do is I'll
16 withdraw the offer for tendering it at this point and we'll consider the
17 matter. The reason why I initially offered it, I make it quite clear, is
18 not to this witness's credibility at all. To someone else. But I
19 withdraw the offer to tender it at this stage and we'll see whether we --
20 we'll see how cross-examination proceeds before it goes they further.
21 JUDGE LIU: I believe that your decision will not prejudice any
22 offering from the other party.
23 MR. MORRISSEY: Should they choose to do so, yes, of course, as
24 the Court pleases.
25 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Morrissey, since we are in this subject,
1 would you please ask this witness how about his English? Or whether he
2 could understand English?
3 MR. MORRISSEY: One of those necessary questions that we forgot
4 about in the excitement. Thank you for reminding me, Your Honour.
5 Q. Do you speak English?
6 A. No.
7 Q. What languages do you speak?
8 A. I speak my mother tongue and, as of recently, I also speak German,
10 Q. Yes.
11 MR. MORRISSEY: Those are the questions, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. We have to assign a number on that
13 document no matter if it's tendered or not since it has been used in this
14 courtroom so that we could identify it at a later stage.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours that statement of the witness will be
16 MFI 447.
17 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
18 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, before counsel sits down, I think you
19 should redact that last statement or portion of it, line 17, 3 for safety
20 of the witness.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
22 MR. WEINER: Because in the beginning it was taken in closed
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Thank you very much for that. We will have it
25 redacted. Any cross-examination?
1 MR. WEINER: Yes.
2 Cross-examined by Mr. Weiner:
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Weiner you may proceed.
4 Q. Good morning, sir. My name is Philip Weiner and I'm going to ask
5 you some questions on behalf of the Office of the Prosecutor.
6 A. Okay.
7 Q. Thank you. Could the witness be shown that document again? Could
8 we have one on the ELMO? We have copies in English and B/C/S for the
9 Court to follow.
10 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours could it just be indicated when that
11 B/C/S version was produced?
12 MR. WEINER: That was just produced yesterday. We have had a copy
13 done. That's not a -- that's produced by our office. That's for the
14 witness to follow, that's all, because we are going to be asking the
15 witness specific questions about that.
16 JUDGE LIU: If you produce a B/C/S version of that statement, I
17 believe that you're obliged to furnish it to the other party.
18 MR. WEINER: It was given yesterday to the other side. As soon
19 as -- we got it at the break, and they had it right after the break, as
20 soon as we got it.
21 JUDGE LIU: Is that translation checked?
22 MR. WEINER: It was done by one of our own certified translators
23 basically just to use in Court and to ask some questions to him. We are
24 not looking to introduce it, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE LIU: Let us proceed and -- to see how far we could go.
1 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, sorry, could I just say I would
2 object to the witness being shown a document that has nothing to do with
3 him ever. I don't mind the witness being cross-examined as much as the
4 Prosecution wants from the document that he signed and the matters can be
5 interpreted to him as they go, but to put this version before him now,
6 when he didn't see it and didn't sign it, in my submission, is not
7 permissible. He doesn't need it have it on the ELMO. He can have the
8 relevant portions read to him just as they were, at least in part.
9 JUDGE LIU: Well, as the witness testified before, that this
10 witness does not understand English, I believe that this translation is to
11 facilitate the proceedings and we have already made a ruling that we'll
12 let the witness use this document to see how far we could go.
13 MR. MORRISSEY: As the Court pleases.
14 JUDGE LIU: If there is any problem you may raise your objections.
15 Yes. Mr. Weiner?
16 MR. WEINER: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Sir, do you have the statement in front of you?
18 A. Yes, I do.
19 Q. Go to page 1, please. Is that your name on the front page, sir?
20 A. Yes. These are my particulars.
21 Q. And that's your proper date of birth, father's name, place of
23 A. It's all correct.
24 Q. It's all correct, including your current and former occupation,
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And that's your signature on the bottom of that, sir, isn't that?
3 A. Yes. There is a typo here at the bottom, in my last name.
4 Q. Okay. Now, with regard to your statement, today -- let's start
5 off. Yesterday you testified that you didn't know --
6 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours could I just intervene there? This
7 is being put that his signature appears on this document. And -- but I
8 understand he's being shown this document.
9 MR. WEINER: The English version. It's clear his signature is on
10 the English version.
11 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honour, it's not disputed it's on the English
12 version. But he's got to be cross-examined, and it's got to be clear. I
13 don't want the record to suggest that he's looking at a document which is
14 signed by him in Bosnian. This is why I objected in the first place.
15 MR. WEINER: It's strictly the English version.
16 JUDGE LIU: It's the English version, yes.
17 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, if it's the English version, then it has to
18 be plead clear that's what he's looking at because at the moment, as I
19 understand it, he was given this document. And the role of this document
20 has to be clarified. It has to be clarified which document the witness is
21 looking at, at any given time because later on the record might suggest
22 that he's looking at one when he was looking at the other so it has to be
23 cautious -- when the Prosecutor wants to use two documents, Your Honour
24 allows them I won't say any more about it but they've got to be clear
25 which one it is.
1 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, we are referring strictly to the English
2 version. The only need for the Bosnian version is when I read a paragraph
3 so he can follow along. But we are looking strictly at the English
4 version which he signed five times.
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
6 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
7 Q. Now, yesterday you were asked concerning the function of Mr.
8 Halilovic. I'm sorry, not the function, the powers. And you indicated
9 that you didn't know. When you gave your statement to -- when you gave
10 your statement on March 31st 2001, did you tell the truth?
11 A. I told the truth then and I'm telling the truth now.
12 Q. Did you first -- did you tell the truth then is the question,
14 MR. MORRISSEY: That's been clearly answered and there is to
15 be --
16 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, he did not answer the question. He
17 started about before and then currently. The question is -- I didn't ask
18 him about what he's speaking today. The question is: Back then, did he
19 tell the truth?
20 JUDGE LIU: The answer is "I told the truth then and I'm telling
21 the truth now."
22 MR. WEINER: I asked him strictly about then. Move to strike the
23 last portion of the statement. It's not responsive to the question.
24 JUDGE LIU: Okay. If you want to be more specific, just put your
25 question specifically.
1 MR. WEINER:
2 Q. And could you tell me, was your memory better four years earlier
3 in 2001 as to the events of 1993?
4 A. I already said that I didn't know what the purpose of the
5 interview was. I spent three and a half years in the war, and I only
6 spent a brief time answering about that period and they were mostly
7 routine questions.
8 Q. Sir, the question was -- the question was simple: Was your memory
9 better four years ago as to the events of 1993?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, I'd like you to look at the next-to-last paragraph in
12 English, on page 2, which in the B/C/S is the first paragraph on page 3.
13 A. Just let me see.
14 Q. Okay. Now, I want you to look at the paragraph that begins with
15 the words, "I do not remember for sure when the Operation Neretva
16 started." Do you see that paragraph, sir? Do you see that, sir?
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 Q. And it states there, "I do not remember for sure when the
19 Operation Neretva started. It was in August-September 1993. Enver
20 Zejnilagic told me that Sefer Halilovic was in charge of the operation.
21 My commander Enver Zejnilagic told me that he was the commander of the
22 line of attack on the Voljevac-Crni Vrh-Makljen line." Is that what it
23 says, sir? Did I read that correctly? Did I read that correctly, sir?
24 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, this witness can't know if he read it
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, mostly.
2 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours --
3 JUDGE LIU: Well, we have the translations. I mean --
4 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, may I make a suggestion here? I
5 think it's probably the safest way to do it. Mr. Weiner could simply put
6 from the English what he's reading and that can be translated live to the
7 witness and the witness can say that's what he said or that's what he
8 didn't say. To have this document next to him is just going to create
9 confusion. When my friend asks did he read that correctly, well, this
10 witness doesn't speak English and he doesn't know. It's just going to
11 create that sort of difficulty. The questions are legitimate but it's
12 going to --
13 JUDGE LIU: I believe that we're doing it right now. I believe
14 whatever the question is, is translated into.
15 MR. WEINER: B/C/S.
16 JUDGE LIU: B/C/S, yes.
17 MR. WEINER: And he has the copy in front of him to refer and I'll
18 ask him to comment.
19 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honour --
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, let us proceed with the interpretations in this
21 courtroom first. If there is any problem, the witness could refer to the
23 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
24 Q. And sir, in the English on the bottom of that page you've
25 indicated that that's your signature. Isn't that correct?
1 A. Yes, it is.
2 Q. Now, let's move to page 3 because I want to ask you just about two
3 or three of these small quotes. Page 3 of the English. The first full
4 paragraph beginning with the words, "Enver Zejnilagic introduced me,"
5 which is paragraph 3 on page 3 in the B/C/S version. You see it. Okay.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. "Enver Zejnilagic introduced me to Sefer Halilovic at the entrance
8 to the school but we did not talk. This was the only time that I see
9 Sefer Halilovic during Operation Neretva-93. It was clear that Sefer
10 Halilovic was in charge of the operation because everybody reported to
11 him. The senior military officers then entered the school building where
12 they had a meeting. I was not present at the meeting inside the school."
13 And I'll just continue to the next paragraph. "After the meeting, Enver
14 Zejnilagic and I went back to Voljevac, and while in the car, Enver
15 Zejnilagic told me that Sefer Halilovic agreed to and approved our
16 suggestion to attack in the direction of Voljevac, Crni Vrh, Makljen." Is
17 that -- did I read that correctly, sir?
18 MR. MORRISSEY: I object to that again. It's got -- it is
19 irrelevant in this case whether Mr. Weiner read it correctly. It's
20 just -- relates to the confusion that's caused by using these two
21 documents. It's not important whether he read it correctly. There is an
22 obvious purpose the Prosecutor is allowed to achieve but -- there is
23 another objection coming, but we'll wait until they actually put the
24 question. But with respect to that, I object to that question and it's
25 really juggling the two documents, in my submission.
1 JUDGE LIU: I believe that Mr. Weiner is laying down the
2 foundation --
3 MR. WEINER: Foundation.
4 JUDGE LIU: -- at this stage, which he's allowed.
5 MR. MORRISSEY: As the Court pleases.
6 MR. WEINER:
7 Q. And on the bottom of that page in the English, page 3, again, is
8 your signature?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Sir, the answer isn't indicated. When I read those two
11 paragraphs, did I read those correctly, sir? My previous question, those
12 two paragraphs that I read, did I read that correctly?
13 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I'm going to persist with this
14 objection. He doesn't matter whether he read them correctly or not. It's
15 not important. The issue is: Does the witness agree that his signature
16 appears on the bottom of the page. What Mr. Weiner didn't do with the
17 last one and what he hasn't done here is to put to him, is that true? Is
18 that what you said? That's what's being avoided here by this device, and
19 in my submission this line of questioning is I don't want to cast
20 aspersions of ill faith but it's dancing around the issue of whether he
21 read things correctly or not.
22 JUDGE LIU: Some people like to do it step by step. I believe the
23 next step will be the question you suggested. You may proceed.
24 MR. WEINER: Correct. Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Once again, sir, did I read those two paragraphs correctly or
1 would you like me to read them again?
2 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, my learned friend ought to establish
3 the expertise of the witness to indicate how he can give an opinion
4 whether Mr. Weiner is reading correctly or not. He cannot offer an
5 opinion on that topic. Now, it's a technical objection.
6 JUDGE LIU: Well, we have the interpretations and we have the
7 B/C/S versions at this stage. I believe that the witness is in the
8 position to answer this question. There is no need for the expertise.
9 MR. MORRISSEY: As the Court pleases.
10 JUDGE LIU: I hope you should not interrupt so often on the
12 You may proceed, Mr. Weiner.
13 MR. MORRISSEY:
14 MR. WEINER:
15 Q. Sir, again did I read those two paragraphs correctly or would you
16 like me to read them again?
17 A. I said I had signed the English statement. At that point in time,
18 I wasn't aware of its meaning, and now I see that it was written
19 accurately and I think you're reading what it says was accurate too. Most
20 of the time I explained about those events.
21 Q. Okay. Now, sir, didn't you state on two occasions, in 2001, to
22 the interpreter and the investigator in that room that Sefer Halilovic was
23 in charge of that operation?
24 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Weiner, there is some problem with your
25 question because from the transcript we could see that the witness was
1 told. It's not his personal knowledge. He was told, you have to put it
3 MR. WEINER: That's fine, okay.
4 Q. Sir, did you tell the investigator and the interpreter in 2001
5 that you were told by Enver Zejnilagic that Sefer Halilovic was in charge
6 and that it was clear to you that Sefer Halilovic was in charge of the
7 operation because everyone reported to him?
8 A. I don't remember providing that specific answer.
9 Q. So you're not saying you did not do it? You don't recall at this
10 time; is that what you're saying?
11 A. I gave an answer at the time to the question asked, but I don't
12 remember giving this very answer.
13 Q. Sir, could you turn to page 4 in the English for a moment? On the
14 top of the page it is in Bosnian, the Bosnian language. Do you see at the
15 top of that page it says in Bosnian, "Witness acknowledgement"?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And it says -- why don't you read what it says, sir?
18 A. It says, "This statement was read out loud to me in the Bosnian
19 language. It accurately reflects what I said to the best of my memory. I
20 gave this statement of my own free will and am aware that it may be used
21 in proceedings before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
22 Yugoslavia for war crimes committed since 1991. I am also aware that I
23 may be summoned to testify before the Tribunal."
24 Q. And, sir, is that your signature right below your acknowledgement?
25 A. Yes. And I wrote the date myself, too.
1 Q. So you knew at that time that you might be called to testify
2 before the Tribunal, isn't that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And you also knew at that time that this statement could be used
5 in legal proceedings before the Tribunal?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, you also indicate there the first sentence or the first -- in
8 the first sentence that this statement has been read over to me in the
9 Bosnian language. Isn't that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, sir, if we continue below that, if we look in the English and
12 the Bosnian, there is something known as an interpreter's certification.
13 Do you see that? Do you see that in the statement, sir? On page 4 of the
14 English version, and it's also in the B/C/S at the end, page 5.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And in that interpreter's certification your name appears in
17 paragraphs 2, 3 and 4, does it not?
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
20 MR. WEINER:
21 Q. In paragraph 2, it says, "I have been informed by Mehmed Behlo
22 that he speaks and understands the Bosnian language." In paragraph 3, it
23 says, "I have orally translated the above statement from English -- from
24 the English language to the Bosnian language in the presence of Mehmed
25 Behlo who appeared to have heard and understood my translation of this
1 statement." Paragraph 4, "Mehmed Behlo has acknowledged that the facts
2 and matters set out in this statement as translated by me are true to the
3 best of his knowledge and recollection and has accordingly signed his
4 signature where indicated." Then there is a signature below that. And
5 isn't your signature below that?
6 A. Yes. My signature.
7 Q. The interpreter did not state that someone else read that
8 statement to you. Rather, he said that he read that statement to you.
9 Isn't that correct?
10 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Weiner, is this necessary to ask this question to
11 this witness?
12 MR. WEINER: Yes.
13 JUDGE LIU: I think everything is very clear.
14 MR. WEINER: It -- if the Court gives me some leave we will see
15 why. We have a 92 bis statement from the interpreter indicating that he
16 in fact read the statement and that he read every word of that statement
17 to this witness.
18 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, you can see why there might be an
19 objection on a number of bases to that comment made at this time. But at
20 this stage in any event we are dealing with a witness who is in court. If
21 the Prosecutor wants to ask questions of this witness then he can. And I
22 don't object to that. But --
23 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think, you know, you read everything in
24 paragraph by paragraph already into the transcript, and the witness agreed
25 that he signed this document already. So do we have to go into the very
2 MR. WEINER: Well, I'll just ask him one follow-up question and
3 move on.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
5 MR. WEINER:
6 Q. Sir, do you know of any reason why the interpreter would have
7 stated that he read the full statement to you if it wasn't true?
8 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, I object to that. We don't know what the
9 situation is with that interpreter, and this witness shouldn't be asked to
10 speculate about that witness's motives, contacts with Nikolai or any
11 other matter.
12 MR. WEINER: It's not speculation, Your Honour. He can see
13 that --
14 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Weiner, I believe you have exhausted all the
15 questions on that issue. The situation is very clear, at least in our
16 mind. You may move on.
17 MR. WEINER: Thank you, sir. Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. Now, sir, let's move on. I'm going to ask you some related
19 questions to this and then take you back to the statement. You testified
20 that you were a member of the 317th motorised Brigade, isn't that correct.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And that was part of the Zapad OG, operations group?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. And who was the commander of Zapad operations group, sir?
25 A. Cikotic.
1 Q. In fact, your commander, Enver Zejnilagic reported to Selmo
2 Cikotic, isn't that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And are you aware that Selmo Cikotic has testified in this case,
6 A. I heard about that.
7 Q. And are you aware, on 23 February 2005, on pages 17 and 18, Selmo
8 Cikotic testified that Sefer Halilovic led and coordinated this operation
9 and was issuing orders to units tasked by this operation? Are you aware of
11 MR. MORRISSEY: I object to that question.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes. I understand. I don't think the witness is
13 aware of the testimony. You may say that the witness -- another witness
14 said as follows. Do you agree with him or not? Is that true, or along
15 this line, but you could not ask whether the witness was aware of that
16 testimony or not.
17 MR. WEINER: All right.
18 JUDGE LIU: In the details, I mean.
19 MR. WEINER:
20 Q. Sir, was the commander of your operational group, Selmo Cikotic,
21 in a better position than you to know the position of -- and role of Sefer
22 Halilovic during Operation Neretva?
23 A. Can you please repeat the question?
24 Q. Okay. Was Commander Cikotic in a better position than you to know
25 of Halilovic's position and role in the operation in September of 1993?
1 A. Yes. He was in a better position.
2 Q. And the reason I asked the last question is because, Your Honour,
3 I would ask him this next question. And, sir, must you not admit that
4 Selmo Cikotic's testimony is practically the same as your statement on
5 page 2 and 3, basically, that Sefer Halilovic was in charge of the
7 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Weiner, we could compare the testimony by
8 ourselves. There is no need for the witness to answer this question.
9 MR. WEINER:
10 Q. Now, sir, you testified about receiving orders from the 6th Corps.
11 Were you present during -- were you present during meetings between Sefer
12 Halilovic and Salko Gusic, the 6th Corps commander?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. On just one occasion, isn't that correct?
15 A. Correct. That was in Dobro Polje.
16 Q. And were you present during any other meetings between Salko
17 Gusic, the commander of the 6th Corps, and Sefer Halilovic?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Were you present during any conversations between the commander of
20 the 6th Corps, Salko Gusic, and Sefer Halilovic?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Do you know what orders in relation to Operation Neretva Sefer
23 Halilovic gave Salko Gusic?
24 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, it's not right to put that question
25 in that form because the witness hasn't agreed that Mr. Halilovic gave any
1 orders to Salko Gusic whereas that question presumes that he did.
2 JUDGE LIU: Well, let the witness answer.
3 MR. WEINER:
4 Q. Do you know what if any orders in relation to operation Neretva
5 that Salko Gusic -- I'm sorry, that Sefer Halilovic gave to Salko Gusic,
6 the commander of the 6th Corps?
7 A. As I've already said, I attended this one meeting. Most of all it
8 was logistical matters that were discussed. General Halilovic was there,
9 as well as the 6th Corps commander, Salko Gusic.
10 Q. The question was, sir, do you know what if any orders in relation
11 to Operation Neretva Sefer Halilovic gave to Salko Gusic?
12 A. No. I know of none.
13 Q. And I'll ask you this question, sir: Was your commander, Selmo
14 Cikotic, in a better position than you to hear and observe Halilovic
15 giving orders to the commander Salko Gusic?
16 A. That strikes me as possible.
17 Q. Now, sir, you testified that during the interviewing session,
18 there was an interpreter that was present. You were aware that Nikolai
19 Mikhailov was an investigator?
20 A. Yes. That's how he introduced himself.
21 Q. And were you aware that the interpreter was a freelancer hired by
22 the Registry of this Tribunal to interpret?
23 A. No. I didn't know that.
24 Q. Were you aware that the interpreter was not an employee of the
25 Office of the Prosecutor?
1 A. I didn't know.
2 Q. Were you aware, sir, that on Friday evening or early evening,
3 or -- in The Hague, that the interpreter has provided what we call a 92
4 bis statement in relation to your interview? Are you aware of that, sir?
5 A. No. I was not aware of that.
6 Q. Are you aware that within that statement, the interpreter has
7 stated, the words in the statement --
8 MR. MORRISSEY: Stop here, please. I object, and I do not wish
9 this to be on the record. Your Honours, we've got significant objections
10 to make to this procedure that the Prosecution seem to be flirting with,
11 but they should not be permitted to put on the record in the form of a
12 question to this witness the contents of any alleged such document. It's
13 not a proper matter to cross-examine the witness on, now that the answer
14 has been given that the witness was not even aware of the taking of such a
15 statement, if you look at the previous answer. So Your Honours we object
16 to this question being put or any questions being put arising out of a
17 document that the Prosecutors may have in their possession.
18 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, this was provided --
19 JUDGE LIU: Well, well, well, well.
20 MR. WEINER: -- to the Defence on the weekends.
21 JUDGE LIU: At this stage we are not familiar with any 92 bis
22 statements in relation to your interview.
23 MR. MORRISSEY: Just a moment. I object to that being tendered.
24 Now, Your Honours --
25 JUDGE LIU: Well, maybe, Mr. Weiner, before you furnish this to
1 us, could you please tell us what is it?
2 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, this is a 92 bis statement which was
3 signed by a presiding officer, a Mr. Haider, at about 6.00 on Friday
4 evening. It is a statement of Mark Jeffery pursuant to Rule 92 bis. Mark
5 Jeffery is an interpreter. Mark Jeffery went on that mission and
6 interpreted several statements. He is going to state that the witness --
7 that he personally read every word, every line, every phrase, of each of
8 those statements, that he read them in Bosnian. What they would do is
9 there would be an interview, it would be typed by Mr. Nikolic [sic] he
10 would then sit at the computer, fix the spacing and grammar and go over
11 line by line with the witness every word, every phrase. Then they would
12 print it out. Then he would go through the corrected statement because
13 there would be numerous corrections. The corrected statement with the
14 witness, he would then have the witness sign it. He would then have the
15 witness sign the witness attestation. He would then sign a certificate
16 indicating that he read this statement to the person and he would have the
17 witness co-sign it. And that's what he did with Mr. Behlo.
18 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Weiner, we have that previous document. On
19 the page 4 there is an interpreter certification. So you don't think that
20 is enough? You don't think that is reliable so you also provide that 92
21 bis statement last Friday? Is that what you mean?
22 MR. WEINER: Yes. It is -- it goes -- it does not go to the acts
23 and conduct of the defendant and as a result we got this based on the
24 notes that we received from the Defence that there was going to be in our
25 view changes as to the previous statement. We basically went out and got
1 a statement from Mr. Jeffery that the interviews were taken above board,
2 that there was nothing that -- that there was nothing below board or that
3 there was no subterfuge in these interviews. Now, Defence has made
4 allegation after allegation against the investigator. We have a witness,
5 an independent witness, and unless they are going to say that there was
6 this conspiracy between a freelance interpreter and the investigator, we
7 have an independent witness here saying that this was an above-board
8 interview and he made those statements.
9 JUDGE LIU: Well, I'm very, very reluctant to go into a kind of
10 voir dire procedures on that issue, if it's not essential to your case,
11 Mr. Weiner. I wonder whether it's necessary to have this 92 bis
12 statement. And we have the different procedure for the admission of 92
13 bis statements.
14 MR. WEINER: One moment, Your Honour.
15 [Prosecution counsel confer]
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Weiner, could you please indicate to me how
17 long your cross-examination will last?
18 MR. WEINER: Well, if I have an idea if the statement is going to
19 be able to be used, I'll have a better idea. It shouldn't be lasting more
20 than another half hour, 45 minutes, but if I --
21 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Morrissey?
22 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, Your Honours. What do you want me to respond
23 to, the suggestion to use that statement?
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
25 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes. Well, Your Honours, there is a number of
1 objections to using such a statement. The Defence has been very critical
2 of Nikolai Mikhailov and we continue to be. I make it quite clear. Now,
3 if the Prosecution has a desire to impugn this witness, well, then, they
4 may seek in the normal course of events to do that in their rebuttal case.
5 If that's what they wish -- really wish to do. We understand the
6 Prosecutor would be concerned about the attestation on that statement and
7 why they might wish to bolster it and prop it up. Of course, if that
8 happens, they should go through the proper procedures.
9 We don't mind the Prosecutor testing this witness on the substance
10 of -- or put the propositions to the witness, you know, wasn't he told
11 everything, didn't he really say this, just the normal cross-examination
12 that happens. To use this document here is just impermissible, it's not a
13 92 bis situation. Their case is closed. If they want to lead evidence,
14 they can seek to do it in rebuttal. Meanwhile, they should put the
15 questions that they have to put. This 92 bis in my submission was just a
16 plainly an attempt to get this on to the record now and Your Honour should
17 not permit that document to be used in evidence at this stage. The
18 Prosecution can make the proper application at the proper time, and with
19 the proper notice. And with the Defence being allowed to make inquiries
20 about this individual and exactly what his relationship was with Nikolai
21 Mikhailov and so on. My learned friend says he's independent but we don't
22 know anything about him and we are not prepared to accept anything from
23 the bar table about this person. So we've received this very late. We
24 don't know anything about Mr. Jeffery. Your Honour, the Prosecutor can
25 adequately do his job by putting the questions and the propositions to
1 this witness that he wants to put, and that's what I submit is the right
3 [Trial chamber confers]
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, after consultation with my colleagues, I believe
5 that this Bench is in a position to make a ruling, that this 92 bis
6 statement is not allowed to use. However, the Prosecution is free to file
7 a motion on the admission of this 92 bis statements.
8 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, we were just going to use this, not to
9 introduce, but to use it to impeach him or actually question him
10 between -- with relation to the conflict and --
11 JUDGE LIU: You could ask direct questions to this witness.
12 MR. WEINER: In relation to what's in this statement?
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, of course it's in relation to the statement but,
14 however, but however, you could not use this statement.
15 I believe that it's time for us to take a break. We'll take a
16 very short break and we'll -- that is about 20 minutes. We'll resume at
17 10 minutes to 11. Yes.
18 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 10.52 a.m.
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, we will sit for an hour. Then we will have our
21 next break. We will try to finish the testimony of this witness within an
22 hour. If not, we'll have another break.
23 Mr. Weiner, I believe that you have made your point crystal clear
24 on this issue, and we are all professional judges.
25 MR. WEINER: I'm moving on, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE LIU: All the judges are permanent Judges of this Tribunal.
2 So I hope you could move on.
3 MR. WEINER: I'm moving on. Sorry for interrupting you.
4 Q. Sir, you testified yesterday about an order to attack signed by
5 Enver Zejnilagic, and you stated that you had drafted this document with
6 Commander Zejnilagic.
7 MR. WEINER: Could the witness be shown Exhibit 150, please?
8 Q. Is it on the screen in front of you?
9 A. Yes. I see it.
10 Q. Could we move to paragraph number 10, which is on the second page
11 in the B/C/S, and the third page in the English? Do you see that
12 paragraph, sir? Could you read it?
13 A. Yes, I see it.
14 Q. Could you read it to yourself and familiarise yourself with that?
15 A. Yes. I've read it.
16 Q. Now, when it says, "Security support," does that concern the role
17 or the task of the military police or the military security unit?
18 A. That's the task relating to the security of all the units, unit
19 commands and communication units participating in the operation.
20 Q. And was the military security or the military police, was it their
21 duty or task to carry that out?
22 A. This was first something that had to be done by the units
23 mentioned in the order, and then there is also a task here for the police
24 that was to protect the command post and the communication centre.
25 Q. And the last sentence says, "I most strictly prohibit looting,
1 slaughtering and killing of innocent civilians, while prisoners of war
2 shall be treated according to the regulations on prisoners of war." Was
3 that -- did that concern all units or just the military police? Or both?
4 A. This concerns all units participating in the operation.
5 Q. And was the military security, were they responsible, or military
6 police, as part of this, and as part of that, and pursuant to that
7 prohibition that I just read, were they to ensure that prisoners of war
8 were not -- that were captured were not harmed? Or mistreated?
9 A. This had to be done by the units out in the field and not by the
10 police. That was the general principle.
11 Q. Okay. And had you ever seen a similar paragraph in any order or a
12 similar prohibition, I most strictly prohibit looting, slaughtering and
13 killing of innocent civilians, while prisoners of war shall be treated
14 according to the regulations and prisoners of war?
15 A. Yes. I think this also refers to an order by the 6th Corps
17 Q. And you have to put that type of strict order in there to ensure
18 that civilians are not murdered or their property isn't looted, isn't that
20 A. In all operations, the main and the key order is the order
21 relating to the operation or the order to attack or order to defend, just
22 as it is reflected in this order.
23 Q. But you know, sir, that in all wars, that civilians have been
24 harmed and injured and their property has been looted, isn't that correct?
25 A. We always set out from our own situation, and our situation was
1 that it was our task to protect our civilians and our territory.
2 Q. And as a result, you have to put it in -- you have to tell the
3 troops orally and in writing, as you did it here, that civilians should
4 not be harmed or killed or their property should not be looted, isn't that
6 A. Soldiers must be familiar with the order to the extent that they
7 are required to be familiar with it.
8 Q. And as a preventive measure in this document, you placed the
9 words, "I most strictly prohibit looting, slaughtering, and killing of
10 innocent civilians," you placed these words there as a preventive measure
11 to make sure the soldiers didn't do that, isn't that correct?
12 A. This is a security measure relating to security, just like you
13 have logistics, intelligence, attacks from the air. These are measures of
14 safety or security.
15 Q. That's correct. And to prevent any harm to civilians, you placed
16 that statement in there as a security measure?
17 A. Yes. This primarily referred to, for example, if we carried out
18 the task, and continued fighting in inhabited places.
19 Q. And you know, sir, that the Geneva Conventions does not permit the
20 murder of civilians?
21 A. Yes. We always knew that.
22 Q. And it doesn't permit the looting of civilian property?
23 A. We knew that as well.
24 Q. And it does not permit the mistreatment of prisoners?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And in the words of this statement, you -- it says, "I most
2 strictly prohibit, looting, slaughtering and killing of innocent
3 civilians," to prevent such action from occurring?
4 A. This was a security measure to prevent something like that from
6 Q. Thank you. Now, moving on to another topic, sir, you told us that
7 your command post for your 2nd Battalion was in Voljevac, isn't that
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. And now the Prozor Independent Battalion was to your left, isn't
11 that correct?
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. And you said that there was a command post of the Prozor
14 Independent Battalion in Dobro Polje?
15 A. Yes. One of their command posts.
16 Q. One of their command posts. And what was the distance between
17 Voljevac where your command post was, and Dobro Polje, where one of the
18 command posts of the Prozor Independent Battalion was located?
19 A. More than 15 kilometres.
20 Q. Now, you testified that your area of responsibility went to the
21 village of Here, isn't that correct?
22 A. No. That was not my area of responsibility. That was where the
23 boundaries met of my area of responsibility and the independent
24 battalion's area of responsibility, the village of Here was within the
25 Prozor Independent Battalion area of responsibility.
1 Q. That's correct. My question wasn't as specific. Your area of
2 responsibility went up to the village of Here, to the border of the
3 village of Here, correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And Here overlooks Uzdol, does it not?
6 A. Uzdol is located below the villages of Here, Scipe and Kute.
7 Q. Okay. Now, what was the distance from your border at the
8 beginning of Here to Uzdol, in kilometres?
9 A. Five to ten kilometres, something like that.
10 Q. Now, you knew that Enver Buza was the commander of the Prozor
11 Independent Battalion?
12 A. Yes, I did.
13 Q. And since that battalion was on your left flank or just to your
14 left, you had to have communicated with that battalion. There had to be
15 communication between the two units.
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. Were you familiar with any of the soldiers that were members of
18 the Prozor Independent Battalion?
19 A. I cannot recall any of the soldiers right now.
20 Q. Okay. Since you were only 22 years old at the time, did you go to
21 school or attend school with any members of the Prozor Independent
23 A. No. I didn't. They attended school in Prozor and I went to
24 school in Gornji Vakuf.
25 Q. Okay. And, sir, were you aware that a number of the members of
1 the Prozor Independent Battalion had been imprisoned by the Croats and
2 used as human shields before they were released and became members?
3 A. Yes, that is correct.
4 Q. And those persons who were used as human shields, from what area
5 did they come from?
6 A. They were mostly Bosniaks from the area of the Prozor
7 municipality, and other areas occupied by the HVO.
8 Q. And Uzdol was part of the Prozor municipality, was it not?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And that was occupied by the HVO at the time?
11 A. Yes, that's correct.
12 Q. Now, sir, you were aware, on September 14th, that the Prozor
13 Independent Battalion was involved in combat in the village of Uzdol?
14 A. No, I was not aware of that.
15 Q. You were not aware that combat occurred in Uzdol on that date?
16 A. No. I knew that there was fighting but I didn't know exactly
18 Q. Did you have contact that day with the Prozor Independent
19 Battalion, since they were on your flank, they were right next to you?
20 A. No. I didn't have any contacts.
21 Q. So they were involved in fighting on your flank but you didn't
22 know what they were doing?
23 A. They were reporting to their superior command, whereas I and my
24 men concentrated on our own task.
25 Q. But where they were on your flank, if something happened to them,
1 it could quickly affect your troops. So were you monitoring their actions
2 or were you in any communication with them as to what they were doing?
3 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, Your Honour, there is a sentence and then
4 there is a question. And the witness had better be asked whether he
5 agrees with the first sentence before he goes on to the second one.
6 JUDGE LIU: Well, I believe that the witness could answer that
7 question in one answer.
8 MR. MORRISSEY: As long as he understands he's got the chance to
9 answer that first one but the sentence that's there as well as the
10 question that follows.
11 MR. WEINER:
12 Q. Would you like me to repeat the question, sir?
13 A. No. There is no need. I remember the question.
14 In my area of responsibility, and along the axes of attack, there
15 were about a thousand soldiers deployed, and we were just working to
16 organise the soldiers for the tasks. On the other side, there was a small
17 number of soldiers who were in the Prozor Independent Battalion.
18 Q. And the question is: Were you aware of what they were doing?
19 That's all. Did you monitor their activities on that date?
20 A. We heard some kind of infantry combat, and we expected them to
21 join the combat because it was a joint front. But we didn't know
22 specifically what exactly it was all about.
23 Q. And you heard that over the military radio system?
24 A. No. This was something that was conveyed to me by my commanders.
25 Q. So the commanders were in radio contact and were coordinating
2 A. No. My commanders were close to the area of responsibility of the
3 Prozor Battalion.
4 Q. So they were monitoring what was happening?
5 A. Yes. They were monitoring what was happening.
6 Q. Now, did you or Commander Zejnilagic learn on September 14th that
7 some people had been killed in Uzdol, be it soldiers, civilians, be it
8 ABiH soldiers, but anyone had been killed?
9 A. We had some information that indicated that soldiers of the Prozor
10 Independent Battalion suffered a failure, that they had a lot of
11 casualties, that they had entered a minefield somewhere on the border of
12 the area of responsibility of our two battalions.
13 Q. Okay. And within a few days, you said you heard on Radio Rama
14 that some -- or someone had told you they heard on Radio Rama that
15 civilians had been killed in Uzdol, isn't that correct?
16 A. Yes. I heard that from my security officer, who heard that from
17 an officer who was operating the communication lines. I think that's how
18 it happened.
19 Q. And you said that Radio Rama played good music or some nice music.
20 Did a lot of the soldiers listen to Radio Rama?
21 A. There was a shortage of batteries for radios at that time but the
22 radio was listened to in some places, yes.
23 Q. And did other soldiers hear that same news flash, that civilians
24 had been killed in Uzdol?
25 A. I didn't hear anybody comment on that. There were probably some
1 soldiers who had heard it, but I don't know exactly who that was or how
2 many soldiers had heard it.
3 Q. Okay. And what they were describing on Radio Rama wasn't the
4 killing of a -- one or two civilians. They were describing the killing of
5 a number of civilians. Did they use the word "massacre" or the killing of
6 the whole village? What do you recall? They were -- what do you recall,
8 A. I really did not hear Radio Rama at the time, but I heard a
9 version of the events from one of my officers, just briefly that there was
10 mention of something like that happening.
11 Q. Now, did you notify your commander up the line as to what you'd
12 been told about civilians being killed?
13 A. No, I did not.
14 Q. Just one clarification in the transcript, sir. You said
15 something -- there was mention of something like that happening. When you
16 say something like that, was that in relation to the statement I -- or the
17 word I used of a massacre occurring?
18 A. I meant the news item on Radio Rama. Something like what Radio
19 Rama was talking about, but I don't know what exactly they said, just by
20 habit we knew that they had their own version of some events.
21 Q. But, sir, did you contact anyone in the Prozor Independent
22 Battalion when you'd heard that there was a problem in Uzdol right over
23 your border, that something had happened there, civilians were killed?
24 Did you ask anyone, speak to anyone about that?
25 A. No, I didn't.
1 Q. Did you speak to your commanders who were monitoring the situation
2 in Uzdol if they had observed anything or if they had heard anything?
3 A. I did talk to my superior officers, but we simply concluded that
4 the Prozor Independent Battalion was facing problems in their own area of
6 Q. How many --
7 A. And they had to come to grips with these problems. If any
8 assistance was needed, we would only be too glad to provide it.
9 Q. First, how many officers did you speak to concerning what you had
11 A. The only thing I remember is that I spoke to my security officer,
12 who was a physician by profession. We analysed a number of situations and
13 we talked about a number of different things, important things.
14 Q. Sir, you said -- you just said that you had -- "I did talk to my
15 superior officers" in relation to the question of who did you speak to.
16 Which of your superior officers did you speak to about the situation in
18 A. My security officer and I had also the company commanders. One of
19 them, the nearest, in the village of Here because that was his area of
20 responsibility, would regularly inform me about any relevant situation
21 that occurred. However, the reports I would receive from him were
22 superficial, so we didn't pay it much heed.
23 Q. Since the village of Uzdol was just over your border, did you
24 speak to anyone about this situation, anyone else, about this situation
25 that had occurred, where a number of civilians were killed, to try and
1 find out what happened?
2 A. Back then, we were facing a great deal of difficulty, trying to
3 consolidate our units. We did a great deal of work trying to improve the
4 situation in our unit, in view of the fact that we had suffered a failure
5 in our previous operations. At that point in time, what mattered most
6 were the problems we were facing in terms of organisation and logistics.
7 We simply didn't have enough time to deal with the rest. We were only
8 interested in what lay within our area of responsibility. Back then, no
9 operations were under way and we believed we would have enough time to
10 come to grips with these tasks.
11 Q. Sir, could you just give me the names of those persons that you
12 spoke to? You mentioned one who was a doctor. You said your security
13 officer. What were the names of the persons you spoke to? You mentioned
14 a commander.
15 A. The security officer, Senad Masetic a physician by profession, he
16 was, and he still is. The other person was Sead Suptic, company
17 commander. His area of responsibility was in the village of Prdvortci
18 [phoen], which neighboured on the area covered by the Prozor Independent
20 Q. Is that it? Is that all you can think of right now?
21 A. Yes. Those were the two persons.
22 Q. Thank you. Now, did anyone from military police or military
23 security ever question you about Uzdol?
24 A. No, never.
25 Q. Did anyone from the military police or military security ever
1 question any members of your battalion about Uzdol?
2 A. Not that I know of. May be the case, it's just that I'm not
3 familiar with that.
4 Q. Did anyone from the military police or military security ever
5 question anyone in the 317th Brigade concerning the deaths in Uzdol?
6 A. I don't think so.
7 Q. And was any -- was there any request that -- was there any request
8 or order for you to place in writing a report about the activities of your
9 units or the lack of activity of your units in Uzdol?
10 A. Never.
11 Q. Did anyone even question if your units or the units of the 317th
12 participated in Uzdol?
13 A. If memory serves, Nikolai asked me such a question the first time
15 Q. And you answered that?
16 A. Yes, just like now.
17 Q. In 2001, in the year 2001?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And I -- moving on to one other matter, you testified about
20 operational groups today. Do you have any experience or back in 1993 did
21 you have any experience in relation to operational groups formed at
22 Supreme Command level?
23 A. I was not involved in any way at the time. Nor was I familiar
24 with any operations groups with the exception of OG West. Later on, at
25 the final stage of the war, I was involved in a number of operations with
1 my own units which were part of certain operations groups.
2 Q. So, sir, since you weren't familiar with operations groups formed
3 at the Supreme Command level, you're not aware whether Sefer Halilovic was
4 in command of an operational group leading Neretva 1993?
5 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I object to that. It misstates what
6 the witness's previous evidence was and it contains factual difficulties
7 and that question is not permissible on a number of bases, but if
8 Your Honour looks here it says, "since you were not familiar with
9 operations groups formed at the Supreme Command level," that question
10 hasn't been asked of him yet. He simply asked whether he knows what an
11 operations group is. I won't repeat what I asked him and what the
12 evidence was but Your Honours have heard it all and the Prosecutor has to
13 ask the questions before putting the proposition to him and go step by
14 step, in my submission, before butting a multi-layered question like that
16 JUDGE LIU: The witness answered that he was not familiar with any
17 operations group with the exception of the OG West. So he is only
18 familiar with the operational group of the OG West, which implies that he
19 does not familiar with any operational group formed by the Supreme
21 MR. MORRISSEY: Well, I concede. I agree, that's correct. I
22 think my learned friend's question concerned expertise and ability to
23 comment on that but perhaps I'm wrong about it. Anyway, we will see what
24 the witness says. Yes, I agree.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
1 MR. WEINER:
2 Q. Sir, would you like me to repeat the question?
3 A. No. I was not familiar with any unit of that kind back then.
4 Q. So therefore you weren't familiar or you didn't know whether Sefer
5 Halilovic was in command of one leading Operation Neretva?
6 A. As far as I knew at the time, he was not the commander of any
7 operations group.
8 Q. But you weren't familiar with any operational groups at the
9 Supreme Command level.
10 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honour, that's an argument that's being put,
11 not a question.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, yes. I believe that the witness has already
13 answered that question.
14 MR. WEINER: At this point, I would like to tender his statement,
15 Your Honour, which the Defence initially tendered.
16 JUDGE LIU: Any objections?
17 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, there is, Your Honour. The Prosecutor hasn't
18 sought to lay a basis for doing that yet or said why it is that he wanted
19 to do it. It's a matter that we can argue now. If my friend has finished
20 his cross-examination. I've got very brief re-examination. Otherwise we
21 can deal with it at the end. Or I'll deal with it now if you wish.
22 JUDGE LIU: Well, as a normal practice, as you know, that we do
23 not admit the previous statement of the witness since we have this witness
24 testified live in this Tribunal. And during the cross-examination, we
25 believe that most of these central issues have been touched upon so there
1 is no need to admit the previous statement of this witness.
2 MR. WEINER: That's fine, Your Honour. Thank you.
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Any redirect?
4 MR. WEINER: No further questions.
5 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Any redirect, Mr. Morrissey?
6 MR. MORRISSEY: I'm sorry, Your Honours, there is -- there's two
7 small segments of re-examination and could I just indicate I've just got a
8 short number of questions arising out of the, if you like, facts matters
9 and then I just wanted to look at some transcript. My learned friend put
10 some material from the evidence of a previous witness and I just wanted to
11 check a transcript about that before I finish which I think I need three
12 minutes to do, Your Honour. I've tried to do it in the running but I had
13 to listen to my learned friend. Anyway I'll ask the simple questions now.
14 Re-examined by Mr. Morrissey:
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Behlo. You were asked questions by the Prosecutors
16 about where did you get your information concerning the problems -- sorry,
17 the combat in Uzdol. And you said to the Prosecutors that you got this
18 information from your commanders and I think you used the word
19 "komandiri." Now, does that word, "komandiri," does that mean junior
20 commanders or your superior commanders, in other words the commanders
21 under you at the company level and so on or over you at the superior
23 MR. WEINER: I'd object. It's leading, why don't you just ask him
24 what it means instead of giving him hints.
25 JUDGE LIU: Maybe you could go step by step.
1 MR. MORRISSEY: Sure.
2 Q. Very well. What's the meaning of the term komandiri? Does that
3 mean superior or inferior commanders or does it mean something different
5 A. The word komandiri refers to junior officers.
6 Q. When you said to the Prosecutor that you received news about
7 combat operations from komandiri in the Uzdol -- near to Uzdol, can you
8 remember who those komandiri were of yours?
9 A. First and foremost, the commander of the 2nd Company. The area of
10 responsibility of his unit neighboured on that of the 2nd Prozor
11 Independent Battalion.
12 Q. And just to clarify these matters, did you receive any information
13 about that Uzdol combat from any superior commanders of yours?
14 A. No. Not at all.
15 Q. Okay. Now, you were asked questions by the learned Prosecutor
16 about whether you spoke to anyone at the Prozor Independent Battalion
17 after you heard the story about the Radio Rama broadcast. And I just want
18 to ask you this: At that time, how good or bad were your relations with
19 the commander, Enver Buza?
20 A. Regrettably, it was necessary for us to have good relations.
21 However, from the outset, they were never what they were meant or supposed
22 to be. That is to say they weren't good. That precisely was the reason
23 why I allowed my logistics officer to deal with some of the
24 responsibilities and I also delegated some of those to my company
25 commander because they were in close contact with the Prozor Battalion.
1 Q. Thank you. I understand that.
2 MR. MORRISSEY: Would Your Honours permit me now a very short
3 recess just to check these things? As I indicated, I would only need two
4 or three minutes. I know what I would be interested in but events moved a
5 little quicker than I thought.
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes, less than three minutes.
7 MR. MORRISSEY: Thank you. There is no need to adjourn the Court.
8 I don't seek that.
9 [Defence counsel confer]
10 MR. MORRISSEY: Your Honours, I'm not going to ask any further
11 questions based on this. I wish to point something out to Your Honours
12 but it needn't concern the witness. That's the redirect examination.
13 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. At this stage, are there any
14 documents to tender by the parties? It seems to me there are none.
15 Well, Witness, thank you very much indeed for coming to The Hague
16 to give your evidence. Madam Usher will show you out of the courtroom.
17 We wish you a very pleasant journey back home. You may go now.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
19 [The witness withdrew]
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, at this stage we are not sure whether we could
21 hear the next witness or not tomorrow. Maybe the Defence could inform us
22 this afternoon so that we could arrange the hearings for tomorrow or the
23 day after tomorrow, I'm not sure.
24 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, Your Honour, it's a medical report we are
25 awaiting the details. We will advise as we have them. We -- our current
1 schedule is we should know, we hope to know by 1.00 today and we'll tell
2 the Prosecutors and the Chamber straight away, of course. There was going
3 to be another witness scheduled for this week. He's been withdrawn.
4 Your Honours, could I just -- I'm sorry.
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes, you may proceed.
6 MR. MORRISSEY: I'm sorry. Yes. Look, my learned friend asked
7 some questions of the witness based on the testimony of Commander Cikotic
8 who was the commander of the Operations Group Zapad. Your Honour, it's
9 the fact that I put transcript to witnesses from time to time and as a
10 matter of principle I don't oppose the Prosecutor doing it in an
11 appropriate case. But when it relates to expert type of evidence or
12 technical type of comment, it raises a problem, and I was tempted with the
13 idea of putting slabs of Cikotic's evidence to this witness.
14 In the end what I thought would be the best thing to do is just
15 simply to remind the Chamber of -- that Cikotic gave a great deal of
16 evidence. It's dated the 23rd of February of this year. And there are
17 parts in it on which the Prosecutor relies and parts on which we rely and
18 we would ask the Chamber consider that evidence in its entirety
19 benefitting the Prosecutor and benefiting the Defence and just to read it
20 in its entirety. Because this witness's comments about that evidence are
21 unlikely to help. It would be different if they said something different
22 about an event that took place and of course then it's appropriate to do
23 it. And I obviously don't oppose that being done. As it is, because the
24 Prosecutors raised the Cikotic material, I would ask, although it may seem
25 like an onerous thing to ask, that the Chamber consider reading the
1 evidence of Cikotic, the transcript of that. I know that will be done at
2 the end, because it's been raised with there witness and one part was put
3 to him, it leaves us in the position of either reading large slabs out or
4 just relying on the Chamber to read what -- what you've noted as being of
5 significance there. And so we do ask that that evidence be taken as a
6 whole at all times.
7 JUDGE LIU: Well, I believe this is our practice.
8 MR. MORRISSEY: Yes, Your Honours.
9 Your Honours, my lack of experience as a judge means that I have
10 to be anxious and cautious at all times. Of course, we understand that --
11 that Your Honours will do that and I say it perhaps to make sure that I'm
12 not conceding that part of Cikotic's evidence that was put is to be taken
13 in isolation as it was. That's really all I wanted to say about it,
14 Your Honour.
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, thank you very much for reminding me of that.
16 Well, I believe that's all for today's hearing. If there is
17 nothing that the parties would like to raise, the hearing for today is
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 11.45 a.m.,
20 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 29th day of June,
21 2005, at 9.00 a.m.