1 Thursday, 2nd April 1998
3 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Good morning, ladies
4 and gentlemen. Can we have the appearances?
5 MR. NIEMANN: Good morning, your Honours. My
6 name is Niemann and I appear with my colleagues,
7 Ms. McHenry, Mr. Turone and Ms. Udo for the Prosecution.
8 MS. RESIDOVIC: Good morning, your Honours.
9 My name is Edina Residovic, Defence counsel for
10 Mr. Zejnil Delalic, along with my colleague, Eugene
11 O'Sullivan, professor from Canada
12 MR. OLUJIC: Good morning, your Honours. My
13 name is Zeljko Olujic, representing the defence for
14 Mr. Zdravko Mucic, along with my colleague, Mr. Michael
16 MR. KARABDIC: Good morning, your Honours.
17 I am Salih Karabdic, attorney from Sarajevo, Defence
18 counsel for Mr. Hazim Delic, along with Mr. Thomas Moran,
19 attorney from Houston, Texas.
20 MS. McMURREY: Good morning, your Honours.
21 I am Cynthia McMurrey and, along with Ms. Nancy Boler,
22 we represent Esad Landzo. Ms. Boler will be in the
23 courtroom momentarily.
24 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, may the witness
25 be brought in?
1 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Yes.
2 (The witness entered court)
4 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Please remind the
5 witness that he is still on his oath.
6 THE REGISTRAR: I remind you Sir, that you
7 are still under oath.
8 THE WITNESS: I understand that.
9 MUHAMED VEJZAGIC (continued)
10 Examined by MS. RESIDOVIC (continued)
11 Q. Brigadier, good morning.
12 A. Good morning.
13 Q. Have you had a rest?
14 A. Yes, thank you.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, before
16 I continue with my examination of this witness,
17 I should like us to place our Exhibit D74/1, the map of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina -- if that could be placed on the
19 easel so that he could use it, if necessary.
20 THE REGISTRAR: It will be in the courtroom
21 as soon as the usher brings it in.
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you.
23 Brigadier, towards the end of the afternoon
24 yesterday, we had discussed the transformation of the
25 former Yugoslav People's Army. So as to be able to
1 continue with the questions, could you please remind us
2 how the Yugoslav People's Army was transformed into
3 army districts?
4 A. The Yugoslav People's Army was transformed
5 towards the end of 1985 and, instead of armies based in
6 the republics, each army was based in the capitals of
7 the republics. Out of those armies, four military
8 districts were formed, so that, after that
9 transformation, we had the Zagreb, Belgrade, Split and
10 Skopje military districts. There were no substantive
11 reasons for this transformation. The aim was for the
12 headquarters of army commands to be removed from under
13 the influence of the republican authorities.
14 Q. Brigadier, parallel with the reorganisation
15 of the army, did certain changes occur in the
16 Territorial Defence, or, rather, did it strengthen or
17 was it weakened after that?
18 A. Parallel with the reorganisation of the
19 operative army, measures were taken to transform the
20 Territorial Defence as well. The Territorial Defence,
21 as of 1985, the aim was to reduce it gradually every
22 year so that I should like to show you, with the help
23 of a table, this process of reduction in size of the
24 Territorial Defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina. A parallel
25 process went on in all the other republics, so I would
1 like to show you what the situation was at the
2 beginning, that is, in 1985, and how it appeared at the
3 end, that is, in 1991.
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: Could the witness now be given
5 his expert report and this folder V1? (Handed).
6 You are referring to your review contained in
7 annex 1/4; is that not so?
8 A. (Pause).
9 Q. For us all to be able to follow, could this
10 chart be placed under the ELMO, please? Could you
11 explain it to us, please, Brigadier?
12 A. I do not know whether this is functioning now
13 -- can you see it? Here we see the numbers of the
14 Territorial Defence forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the
15 period from 1985 to 1991. We see what the situation
16 was on 31 December 1985. The Territorial Defence of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina had, or should have had, 310,530
18 soldiers. The actual number present was 313,990. That
19 was the situation on 31 December 1985. With the steps
20 that were taken by Belgrade, the order was issued that
21 the Territorial Defence should be reduced in size
22 gradually every year so that, at the end, on
23 31 December 1991, the Territorial Defence was reduced
24 -- sorry, in 1986 to 297,000; in 1987 to 292,000; in
25 1988 to 202,000; in 1989 to 298,000; in 1990 to 138,000
1 and, at the end, on 31 December 1991, the Territorial
2 Defence had 86,000 soldiers, which means, in a period
3 of five years, the number had been reduced from 313,900
4 to 86,164, which is a total reduction of 73 per cent,
5 so the strength of the Territorial Defence was reduced
6 by 73 per cent during this five-year period. May I
8 Q. Let me ask you the next question, if this
9 ends your answer to my previous question?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Please go on to say what you had in
12 connection with the weakening of the Territorial
13 Defence -- have you anything else to add in that
15 A. This was just one aspect of the weakening of
16 the Territorial Defence. Other measures were also
17 taken, so that, by decision of the general staff of 14
18 May 1990, the order was issued to take away the
19 armaments from the Territorial Defence under the excuse
20 that the warehouse in which the equipment was housed
21 were not safe, but that was not the real reason. The
22 real reason was that simultaneously with the reduction
23 in the numbers of the Territorial Defence, it should
24 also be disarmed, so that, by order of the supreme
25 command, the total armaments of the Territorial Defence
1 was collected and placed in the warehouses of the
2 army. A part of the weaponry was left in the TO
3 warehouses, but mostly in areas where the Serbs were in
4 a majority, which meant that the Territorial Defence
5 was virtually left without any weapons.
6 Other measures were also taken to reduce the
7 strength of the Territorial Defence and its efficiency.
8 The first step taken was to reduce it in size, then to
9 disarm it, then other measures were also taken. Its
10 continued supply with up-to-date weaponry and equipment
11 was also reduced. The intensity of the training of
12 staff was also reduced, both of units and commands and
13 staffs. Then, just before the war, a large quantity of
14 documents was collected from TO staffs, so that war
15 plans, mobilisation plans, contingency plans, all of
16 these were taken away and they existed in the event
17 that the Territorial Defence needed to be activated.
18 Also, the plans for decoding were also collected, so
19 that the original intention of using the Territorial
20 Defence in the defence of the country was undermined.
21 Q. Brigadier, before I continue with my
22 questions, let me repeat an observation that I made
23 yesterday, because my colleagues are telling me that we
24 should slow down a little for the interpreters to be
25 able to keep up, and, secondly, after my question, will
1 you wait for a minute and hear the English
2 interpretation -- so could the usher give the witness
3 another pair of headphones -- and only once you hear
4 that the interpretation has been completed will you
5 continue with your answer. I think it is a better idea
6 to make this remark at the beginning than for our
7 colleagues not to be able to follow. Thank you.
8 You have been telling us about the
9 reorganisation of the army and the weakening of the
10 Territorial Defence. General, do you connect these
11 facts to the preparations for what happened just before
12 the outbreak of the crisis in Yugoslavia?
13 A. Certainly. These measures to reorganise the
14 army and what was done to weaken the Territorial
15 Defence corresponded to a political situation, a
16 crisis, in the country, which came to a peak on 14 and
17 15 March and I will come back to that, when the general
18 staff proposed the introduction of a state of
19 emergency, but we will be coming back to that.
20 Q. General, or, rather Brigadier, I am sorry,
21 how did the military leadership in Belgrade act when it
22 had already become obvious that the dissolution of the
23 former SFRY was ongoing, especially after the
24 independence of Slovenia and Croatia?
25 A. In that period of time the Presidency was
1 convened -- that was on 13 March 1991, the aim being
2 that the Minister of the Army as you call it here in
3 the west, the Federal Secretary for Defence in our
4 case, General Kadijevic, was to propose the
5 introduction of a state of emergency and the
6 mobilisation of the reserve force. That proposal was
7 reviewed by the presidency on that day, 13 March, and
8 no consensus could be reached to adopt that proposal of
9 the Federal Secretary, General Kadijevic. The
10 representatives of Slovenia and then also of Croatia
11 walked out of the presidency, because they did not
12 agree with the enforcement of a state of emergency in
13 the country, because no external threat existed to the
14 country. Throughout that time, our doctrine was that
15 the army should prepare itself to defend the country
16 from external aggression and, since no such danger
17 existed, but the intentions were different altogether,
18 the representative of Slovenia did not agree with that
19 proposal of the Federal Secretary and he walked out of
20 the session -- of the meeting.
21 Then another way was sought. The Presidency
22 did not meet on the 13th but on the 14th and the 15th,
23 in order to try and achieve that consensus, one way or
24 another. At that session, again, a decision could not
25 be taken, because there was no consensus. The
1 representative of Bosnia-Herzegovina, even though he
2 was a Serb by ethnicity, and they had counted on him
3 100 per cent, that he would agree to the introduction
4 of a state of emergency, Bogicevic, the representative
5 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as a participant of those
6 events, has reported in detail how these meetings
7 evolved. In effect, this was an announcement of the
8 future war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 Q. Brigadier, after all those events, was the
10 Yugoslav People's Army used against the republics of
11 Slovenia and Croatia?
12 A. Since the proposal of the Federal Secretary
13 was not adopted, the Presidency, which was not fully
14 represented at the meeting, it did everything to use
15 the army, allegedly to protect Yugoslavia and to ensure
16 its survival, but that was not what it was -- it was in
17 fact the aim to create a Greater Serbia, so they
18 decided to capture the borders, which they wanted to be
19 the borders of Greater Serbia, so the army was deployed
20 on 25 June, without the Slovenian leadership being
21 informed. The army set its mechanisms in motion under
22 the excuse that it was protecting its borders with
23 Austria and Italy in the north. The Slovenes
24 considered this to be an attack on a regular State
25 which had already been recognised on Slovenia.
1 The deployment of the army in the war in
2 Slovenia lasted for about one month. After that, after
3 the 752 Resolution of the Security Council, the forces
4 were withdrawn from Slovenia. The real reason for the
5 deployment of the army in Slovenia was a calculated
6 move so that, with a fictitious war with no major
7 destruction or casualties, all this was reduced to a
8 minimum, the only thing was to find an excuse for the
9 army among Yugoslav public opinion -- the aim was to
10 withdraw two corps -- the Maribor and Ljubljana Corps
11 -- from Slovenia and while this war lasted, the
12 equipment, the officers, the command structure, the
13 civilians -- they were all withdrawn.
14 Q. Let us not go into the war in Slovenia in
15 detail. Will you please tell us whether, after that,
16 the army was used in the Republic of Croatia?
17 A. Yes. Parallel with the war in Slovenia,
18 combat operations started in Croatia as well.
19 Actually, the Yugoslav People's Army was used in combat
20 in Croatia so that, in the initial stages already, a
21 major massacre was carried out against the population.
22 By way of an example, Vukovar -- the world public
23 opinion is already familiar with the casualties -- they
24 were able to see columns of refugees and the suffering
25 of the Croatian people at the hands of the army, which
1 used all its force and all its state-of-the-art
2 equipment to ensure the borders of a Greater Serbia.
3 The border which would run along the coast to Karlovac,
4 Karlobag, Virovitica -- that was the frontier of the
5 imagined Greater Serbia.
6 Q. Brigadier, after the events in Slovenia and
7 Croatia, where did the military leadership in Belgrade
8 move the effectives of the Yugoslav People's Army to?
9 A. The first document about that was signed by
10 the Federal Secretary, General Kadijevic, the order
11 being to move from Slovenia the 31st Corps of Maribor
12 and the 14th Ljubljana Corps to Bosnia and Serbia.
13 However, we have information, according to which those
14 two Corps, or, rather, a part of the Ljubljana Corps,
15 was intended to stay in Bosnia, but since the 17th
16 Corps of Tuzla and the 10th Banja Luka Corps had
17 already suffered losses in the fighting in Slavonia,
18 these Corps were mainly used to reinforce the Banja
19 Luka Corps in the fighting in Croatia.
20 A second order envisaged the final withdrawal
21 of forces from Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, but this
22 happened after the Resolution 572 of the Security
24 Q. Brigadier --
25 A. I am sorry, I have not yet finished.
1 Q. Then perhaps you could use the map and show
2 us where the military effectives of the Yugoslav army
3 were moved to, from Croatia and Slovenia to the
4 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. There is a pointer
5 and I think there is a pair of headphones with a longer
6 cord that you could use?
7 A. This is a map of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Can you
8 hear me?
9 Q. Yes, I can.
10 A. This is Sarajevo, this is Banja Luka, Bihac,
11 this is Herzegovina, Mostar, Bileca, Zenica, Tuzla
12 (indicates). In the territory of the former
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the following forces were withdrawn
14 -- the Rijeka Corps was moved by boat along the
15 Adriatic to Herzegovina and it was actually deployed in
17 The 31st Corps was moved from Maribor to the
18 areas of Banja Luka, Zenica, Tuzla. Parts of the 14th
19 Ljubljana Corps were transferred to Mrkonjic, Kupres
20 and Sipovo. The 5th Corps was moved from Zagreb to the
21 Bihac district. The educational institutions were
22 moved from Zagreb to Sarajevo, the artillery
23 educational centre and the anti-aircraft defence
24 centre, so that, in effect, four Corps were brought to
25 this territory, and from before we already had in
1 Bosnia the Sarajevo, Tuzla and Banja Luka Corps, so
2 three already existed and four were brought in, which
3 meant seven Corps -- they may not have all been fully
4 manned -- of the Yugoslavia army, not counting the
5 Territorial Defence forces that we shall be coming back
6 to later.
7 Q. Brigadier, in addition to these effectives of
8 the Yugoslavia army coming from Slovenia and Croatia,
9 did other forces come to the territory of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina from other parts of the former
12 A. We have information that, in addition to
13 these Corps of the Yugoslav army, forces came from
14 Serbia to Bosnia-Herzegovina, so that, a part of the
15 Novi Sad Corps was moved to the region of Bijeljina, a
16 part of the Valjevo Corps to the region of Zvornik , a
17 part of the Uzice Corps to the region of Visegrad and
18 Gorazde, a part of the Podgorica Corps and from Kosovo
19 came to the area of Foca and Kalinovik.
20 Q. Brigadier, was not Bosnia totally covered by
21 JNA forces before it proclaimed its independence?
22 A. Probably there is no precedent of such a
23 great concentration of manpower in such a small area.
24 If we consider the actual numbers of soldiers in this
25 area, there were about 100,000 soldiers, about 800
1 tanks, about 1,000 armoured personnel carriers, about
2 4,000 artillery pieces, 100 planes and 50 helicopters,
3 so those were the total effectives covering the
4 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in addition to the
5 Territorial Defence forces, which in Serb parts had
6 organised themselves.
7 Q. Brigadier, in 1991, going on to 1992, did the
8 Yugoslav army collaborate with the SDS of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina in the preparations for the war,
10 which was to come?
11 A. According to documents and available
12 information, the Yugoslav People's Army was
13 participating in the preparations for the war in the
14 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Those preparations
15 consisted mainly of a distribution of weapons, to
16 citizens of Serb ethnicity. The officers -- army
17 officers were engaged in intensive training of
18 Territorial Defence units and evidence of that is a
19 report of the command of the second military district
20 to the general staff written in March 1992, saying
21 that, on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, there are
22 69,190 volunteers, which means that already, by then,
23 they had organised unit forming companies, detachment
24 and battalions, that is, 69,000 of them.
25 Q. When did the first combat operations begin in
1 the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
2 A. The first combat operations started with
3 incidents in 1991 in the area of Srebrenica, Bratunac
4 and Bijeljina. I cannot really call them combat, but
5 incidents -- people were ambushed and killed -- so that
6 we immediately took these incidents to be a prelude to
7 provocation for combat operations. As early as
8 20 October 1991, in the area of Mostar, units of the
9 Yugoslav army appeared without any reason, allegedly to
10 protect the airport. The question was from whom were
11 they protecting it and why were they there? In Mostar,
12 they caused incidents, they looked for excuses in the
13 dissatisfaction of the citizens of Mostar in order to
14 complicate matters.
15 Actually, units of the Yugoslav People's Army
16 that came to Mostar were an introduction to the
17 Dubrovnik operation. It is common knowledge that the
18 Yugoslav People's Army, by its aggression against
19 Croatia, carried out destructive operations in
20 Dubrovnik and the forces that came to Herzegovina were
21 a prelude to the Dubrovnik operation until a resolution
22 of the Security Council was passed, when those
23 operations in the area of Dubrovnik had to be
25 I am talking about 1991 now.
1 Q. What happened in 1992, Brigadier?
2 A. I have to make a brief introduction. In the
3 course of the fighting, or, rather, when the Yugoslav
4 People's Army came to the territory of Herzegovina,
5 already then intensive fight preparations had begun of
6 volunteers, their training, their arming, their supply
7 with equipment, the formation of units, and in 1992
8 already, or rather, at the end of 1991 and the
9 beginning of 1992, those units were organised to be
10 able to engage in combat.
11 Q. Brigadier, tell me, please, when did the
12 Yugoslav general staff take the decision on the
13 withdrawal of the Yugoslav army from the territory of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina and by what date was that to have
15 been completed?
16 A. After the Resolution of the Security Council,
17 752, the general staff took the decision to withdraw
18 forces also from the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
19 I cannot recall the date, but that withdrawal -- in any
20 event, there is a document in my expert report from
21 which it can be seen from which garrisons forces were
22 withdrawn to Serbia. However, I wish to say something
23 else. How that withdrawal took place -- perhaps you
24 have another question about that?
25 Q. Since in your expert report you have
1 indicated that, in mid May 1992, the decision was taken
2 on the withdrawal of the JNA from Bosnia-Herzegovina
3 and from the documents we see that the deadline was 19
4 May, could you please tell us what was the substance of
5 that decision -- who was supposed to be withdrawn, who
6 was supposed to stay on, and what was supposed to stay
7 on, if you could tell us that in greater detail?
8 A. Yes. I had an original document from which
9 one can see that such orders were issued, that is, for
10 the army to withdraw from Bosnia-Herzegovina by 19
11 May. This document says that, first of all, the
12 manpower that does not come from the territory of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina had to be withdrawn, which meant
14 that soldiers who were born in Bosnia would stay on in
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as the officers, and, as for
16 the equipment, the order says, if it cannot be
17 withdrawn, then it should be left behind, whereas the
18 effectives should be transported by plane and it is
19 specified from which airports this should be done.
20 However, it is also well known that that
21 document also stipulated the following: depending on
22 personnel decisions, other people could stay on. It
23 was not explicitly said that all people who were not
24 from Bosnia had to go. It depended on the personnel
25 decisions, from which one could conclude that people
1 who were not Bosnians could also stay behind in that
2 part of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
3 In addition, it is also well known that
4 soldiers were imported -- people who were doing their
5 military service in the former Yugoslavia in the
6 territory of Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, the
7 principle was that a soldier could not serve in his own
8 town, so that quite a large number of Bosnian citizens
9 were recruited as conscripts to garrisons in Serbia,
10 Macedonia and Montenegro and the order was given that
11 those soldiers should be transferred to the territory
12 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 Q. Brigadier, pursuant to this order, as you
14 have just said, the soldiers and officers who were born
15 in Bosnia-Herzegovina stayed behind and, also, soldiers
16 and officers who were at that moment in time in the
17 territory of the new Yugoslavia came to Bosnia to
18 continue to do their military service in the territory
19 of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that what you said?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Brigadier, tell me, please, at that time, in
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, was there the creation of a
23 military power of the Serbian people?
24 A. I already said earlier on that, during 1991,
25 the SDS Party intensively worked towards the
1 organisation of the citizens of the Serb ethnicity to
2 make them an armed force, to turn them into an armed
3 force. The document that -- I mentioned that General
4 Kukanjac sent a document, a report to the head of the
5 general staff which states that, before 20 March, he
6 had in Bosnia 69,190 volunteers, organised volunteers
7 in units, and the document furthermore stipulates that
8 the army armed them, equipped these units, the
9 50,000-odd of them, that is to say, 70 per cent,
10 whereas the Serbian Party, the SDS Party, armed the
11 rest -- the remaining 17 per cent, which makes up the
12 69,000 personnel.
13 This shows that the army was included into
14 the process of forming, organising, training and
15 equipping with arms as well as was the SDS Party, they
16 worked hand in hand to create Serbian forces, which
17 might, once the Yugoslav People's Army was withdrawn,
18 make a new military power, a new military force of the
19 Serbian republic.
20 Q. Could you please tell us whether you know who
21 was chosen as commander of that army of the Serbian
22 republic -- the Republika Srpska?
23 A. The commander of the Republika Srpska army
24 was General Ratko Mladic. He was the former commander
25 of the 9th Corps in Knin. He was transferred to
1 Bosnia, he was promoted to the rank of general and he
2 became the commander there. We have information and
3 facts and figures according to which we know the
4 composition of that general staff of the command there.
5 Q. Brigadier, within the frameworks of your
6 documents -- of the documents you submitted -- you gave
7 us a diagram of the composition of the army of the
8 Republika Srpska, so would you now put that on the ELMO
9 -- it is to be found in annex 3/5, and could you
10 please clarify what this breakdown that you have made
11 in fact signifies?
12 Brigadier, you can take up the pointer and --
13 we do not have the chart on our screens as yet. The
14 chart is not on the screen yet. Here we have it. If
15 you show us on the ELMO what took place, we will be
16 able to see on our screens, so would you now take up
17 your pointer and show us what happened on the map
18 itself? You can look at the map and we will know what
19 you are pointing to. What does this chart show? It
20 was composed by you; could you tell us what it
22 A. This chart or diagram represents the
23 distribution of Serb forces after the withdrawal of the
24 Yugoslav People's Army, so that we have the following
25 formations -- the 1st Krajina Corps and this is its
1 responsibility zone; it worked within that zone. Then
2 we have the 2nd Krajina Corps with its headquarters in
3 Banja Luka -- the 2nd Corps has this second zone of
4 responsibility with its command in Drvar. Furthermore,
5 we have the East Bosnian Corps with its headquarters
6 Bijeljina -- the Drina Corps, which was formed a little
7 later on, with its headquarters in Vlasenica. The
8 Srajevo Romanija corps with its headquarters in
9 Lukavica, which is near Sarajevo -- the environs of
11 Then we have the Herzegovina Corps with
12 headquarters -- it was in Trebinje and then moved on to
13 Belavice, but the main headquarters were in Han Pijesak
14 on Gromanje for the supreme command, in the case of an
15 aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16 Q. Brigadier, would you tell me of the forces
17 that the corps had -- what was placed at their
19 A. The first Krajina Corps had in its
20 composition a motorised brigade, the 7th Light Brigade
21 and the 19th Light Brigade. In addition to this, it
22 had special units, mixed artillery battalions, a light
23 brigade, artillery brigade -- the overall force of the
24 1st Krajina Corps was 55,000 men, 180 tanks, 150
25 armoured transporters, and 360 artillery pieces. The
1 2nd Krajina Corps had 14,000 men, 60 --
2 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Ms. Residovic, do you
3 really need all this? At least you know your defence.
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you. I would just like
5 to ask you to tell us what the manpower forces in the
6 Sarajevo and Herzegovina Corps, not to mention the
7 other parts of the republic that did not have any vital
8 effect on what we are talking about now?
9 A. The Sarajevo Corps in its composition had
10 12,000 men, 60 tanks, 30 armoured transporters and 200
11 artillery pieces. The Herzegovina Corps had 22,000
12 men, 100 tanks, 100 armoured transporters, or APCs, and
13 260 artillery pieces.
14 Q. Can you tell us, Brigadier, what were the
15 basic characteristics of the combat effectives of the
16 Serbian forces at the beginning -- the initial stages
17 of the war and, in the course of the war, in
19 A. The basic characters of the initial
20 operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina were the following:
21 first, the Serbian forces, the Serb forces during
22 peacetime, under so-called "manoeuvres", were placed at
23 dominant positions. All the key points throughout the
24 country -- the cross-roads, the bridges, and what is
25 essential for the defence and so, for example, in
1 Sarajevo, as early on as March 1992, the city of
2 Sarajevo was surrounded by Serb forces -- they had
3 taken up their positions, the artillery, the rocket
4 systems, and, when the citizens asked what was
5 happening, they said that these were regular
6 manoeuvres, and that the army -- this was in the army's
7 plan and that nobody should fear these manoeuvres.
8 Of course, this was all prepared in advance,
9 to have an encirclement around the city of Sarajevo --
10 it was in fact a blockade of Sarajevo -- and, later on,
11 with the development of events, we were able to see the
12 true purpose of these manoeuvres and of why these
13 particular positions were taken up and manned.
14 On 6 April, there was a serious attack on the
15 city of Sarajevo itself, using the artillery, along all
16 points. Both civilian and other institutions --
17 departments, hospitals -- the attacks came from all
18 sides and attacked all institutions and buildings.
19 Q. Brigadier, when Professor Hadzibegovic gave
20 his testimony, we showed the court what happened on
21 that particular date. I should like to ask you to
22 dwell on questions on which you are an expert and can
23 help the court. After this terrible attack on the town
24 of Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and after the attack
25 on the proclaimed recognised State of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, what were the reactions of the
2 legal Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and what
3 measures were undertaken to defend the integrity of the
5 A. Well, faced with this kind of danger, the
6 legal Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina undertook the
7 first initial steps to defend the country. First of
8 all, there was a proclamation by which the Territorial
9 Defence headquarters were replaced and a new
10 Territorial Defence headquarters was set up and this
11 was a decree of 8 April.
12 On the same day, a decision was made. The
13 decision was called, "The decree on the threat of war"
14 and on the basis of these decisions, the Defence
15 Ministry and the new headquarters, the new general
16 staff of the Territorial Defence for the Republic of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, elaborated instructions -- drew up
18 instructions for a reorganisation of the Territorial
19 Defence units, which underwent significant changes with
20 the decree of introducing a new general staff. A new
21 Ministry of Defence was in fact formed on the occasion,
22 it did not previously exist, and it now came under the
23 competency of this Ministry, the Territorial Defence
24 forces, so the Ministry was responsible to the
25 Presidency of the republic for security in the country.
1 Q. The decree of 8 April, which we have tendered
2 as evidence to the court, did the Ministry of Defence
3 become the supreme command for the defence of
5 A. Yes, it took control with regard to the
6 control and command of Territorial Defence -- the
7 commanding of the units themselves came under the
8 headquarters of the Territorial Defence units.
9 Q. Brigadier, you said that the Defence
10 Minister, in keeping with this decree and together with
11 the commander, brought in instructions -- and, as
12 I say, this has been tendered into evidence in the
13 court -- could you tell us whether these instructions
14 determined the responsibility of the municipal
15 headquarters to the republican staff -- was
16 subordination regulated in that way?
17 A. Yes, it was, so that all the headquarters who
18 had declared themselves loyal to the State of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina were organised in this fashion.
20 There were five headquarters, five staff -- not in
21 Mostar, Livno and Gorazde -- whereas the others
22 declared their loyalty, although a part of the Serbs
23 had left their responsibilities and went to -- crossed
24 into the Serbian side, but these other staff
25 headquarters expressed their loyalty to the Ministry
1 and they continued to command their command and to
2 perform their duties.
3 Within the frameworks of these regional
4 headquarters, there were also Territorial Defence
5 headquarters, and they, too, declared their loyalty to
6 the State of Bosnia-Herzegovina and in subordination,
7 they were responsible for their work to the district
9 Q. Brigadier, in a situation in which there were
10 no district staff, as you said, in Mostar, Livno and
11 Gorazde, to whom were the municipal staff subordinated?
12 A. The municipal staff, which was not able to
13 link their subordination to the district -- which were
14 not in function, were directly linked to the supreme
16 Q. How long did this relationship last?
17 A. It lasted until the Corps was formed in that
18 particular district -- in that particular territory.
19 That was the case with the 4th Corps, which means that,
20 in November, the 4th Corps was set up in November --
21 some time in November.
22 Q. Brigadier, could you tell us what the key
23 problems and difficulties were in this initial stage of
24 building up an army for Bosnia-Herzegovina?
25 A. The basic problem was to create an armed
1 force in Bosnia-Herzegovina, such as it was. The
2 Territorial Defence had no weapons, it did not have
3 enough officers. The officers were recruited from the
4 Serbs and, as the Territorial Defence was left without
5 these officers, the situation was very complex. It was
6 difficult to organise an armed force -- it had no
7 armaments, no weaponry, that was the basic problem. It
8 did not have the necessary officers and Cadets --
9 professional men to command the units, and a major
10 problem was because it had no material basis for an
11 army, because the army does not only use equipment, it
12 needs ammunition, it needs communications, it needs
13 workshops, it needs a whole lot of other things -- it
14 needs a quartermaster, and the army was left without
15 all this equipment and without all these effectives.
16 Q. Brigadier, let us now go to the narrower
17 district of Konjic. Using the map once again, can you
18 tell the court which were the basic characteristics of
19 the municipality of Konjic?
20 A. The municipality of Konjic is about 50
21 kilometres away from Sarajevo. It is on the main road
22 number 17. There is also a railway line which links
23 Sarajevo via Ploce to the sea, to the coast. The size
24 of the municipality of Konjic is 1,100 square
25 kilometres and it is the largest municipality in
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina. There are about 43,000 inhabitants
2 according to the 1991 census and in percentages,
3 54 per cent are Bosniaks, 25 per cent are Croats, and
4 15 per cent are Serbs of the population -- the
5 remaining 5 per cent were miscellaneous.
6 These are the geographic characteristics of
7 this area, let us look at them. Konjic is situated
8 between the Bitovnja mountain, the Breskovica mountain,
9 Visocica and Prenj -- these are the mountains that
10 surround Konjic -- it is a municipality in a valley
11 surrounded by hills and mountains, with very small --
12 very few planes, but the municipality is generally in a
13 valley, situated in a valley surrounded by hills and
15 It is a very difficult area for the use of
16 large-scale forces and armoured forces -- the
17 manoeuvres are difficult around Konjic, because you
18 cannot have an armoured battalion or any large armoured
19 units in that configuration.
20 Along this railway line and the roads, there
21 are many tunnels -- a lot of stone walls, and it is a
22 very difficult area, but it is easy to isolate these
23 areas and passes and to isolate the town itself. The
24 surrounding hills around the town of Konjic are very
25 easy -- it is easy to fire on the town from the
1 surrounding hills -- the Lake Jablanica, on the
2 north-west, cuts off the population, the Croatian and
3 Bosnian population from the centre, so communications
4 do not exist here, because there is a natural barrier
5 in the form of the lake and the inhabitants cannot
6 communicate with the centre, they are cut off.
7 Therefore, this is a very good area for the
8 -- a small group, small units, which would -- so,
9 there is not a great deal of motor vehicles here and so
10 the manoeuvring space is very restricted.
11 Q. Thank you, Brigadier. I think that we all
12 have a much clearer picture of the position of the town
13 of Konjic and we will go back to that later on in your
15 Can you tell me now, Brigadier, whether,
16 according to your investigation, whether you were able
17 to draw conclusions as to whether the Yugoslav People's
18 Army in the previous period, that is to say, 1991 and
19 at the beginning of 1992, before it withdrew and the
20 SDS, did they make preparations for war in Konjic?
21 A. Yes, it is characteristic for this situation
22 that the Yugoslav People's Army wielded great influence
23 in this area, together with the SDS Party -- in
24 preparing and arming and training the citizens of the
25 Serb ethnicity for the coming combats. At the
1 beginning, with the operation, a battalion -- it was
2 the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Combat Brigade -- was
3 transported to the village of Borci. This is a high
4 area around the Boracko Lake and there was a training
5 centre there, which was where the battalion was
6 located. That formed the nucleus for further
7 information and training of the Serb units of the
8 volunteers who had left the town of Konjic and worked
9 intensively in this area. They were trained, they were
10 armed, and equipped, and they prepared the Serb
11 population, who had left the town of Konjic.
12 In addition to this locality, there was
13 another one -- shall I go on?
14 Q. I will go back and ask you some questions as
15 to the armament that took place, but I would now like
16 to ask you, Brigadier, whether the legal authorities in
17 Konjic, and does your research point to that, did the
18 legal authorities in Konjic try to prevent any kind of
19 conflict and to ask the people to return those weapons
21 A. There were intensive political negotiations
22 at that time for the return of the equipment and
23 weaponry, and the president of the municipality took
24 part in these negotiations with the Minister, with
25 Petrovic, and there were discussions, but they were --
1 and one of the conditions was that the Serbs be allowed
2 to leave Konjic, but this was a failure. They returned
3 and they did everything to stop the Serbs leaving the
4 town, whereas the other side knew why the Serbs should
5 leave the town, so that it could be grenaded.
6 Q. Did your research show in this area around
7 Konjic there were cases where the Serb population
8 responded to the call of the legitimate Government not
9 to rise up against its own country?
10 A. Yes, military investigations did show that in
11 one of the villages where the Serbs lived -- where the
12 Serbs were given weaponry, and arms, this is an area
13 which belongs to the Jablanica municipality -- it is
14 outside Konjic, but the SDS armed the Serbs in
15 Jablanica and as Jablanica did not have a majority Serb
16 population, then the Serbs from Konjic saw fit to
17 supply them with arms.
18 However, when the police learnt of this,
19 learnt that the Serbs had received weaponry, it started
20 negotiations for this weaponry to be returned. The
21 entire population, that is to say, the people who had
22 received these arms, understood the situation in a
23 normal fashion and they lay down their arms -- they
24 surrendered them and they were given receipts for the
25 weapons they had turned in and surrendered. None of
1 the Serbs who had acted in this way were ever called to
3 So, in addition to all this, they were not
4 taken prisoner or persecuted -- they surrendered their
5 arms and responded to the call from the legal
7 Q. Brigadier, did your research lead you to
8 conclude when the combat operations started in Konjic?
9 A. The combat operations in Konjic started
10 around 20 April -- I do not recall the exact date --
11 I think it was 20 April, with an infantry attack on the
12 village of Ljubljana. The attack was repulsed but more
13 serious operations, such as shelling of the town with
14 the help of the air force and the artillery, I think
15 started on 4 May. I am not quite sure about the dates
16 -- I think it is 4 May. That was the beginning of
17 combat operations -- actually it was 20 April, even
18 though there were incidents before that. A citizen
19 from Konjic was wounded, the population was driven out
20 of the surrounding villages -- it was already clear
21 that things were not good -- checkpoints were formed,
22 persecutions started -- all these are indications that
23 combat operations were to follow.
24 Q. Brigadier, when you were describing the
25 characteristics of Konjic, you did not tell us whether
1 there were any military facilities in Konjic?
2 A. Yes, you did not ask me that, but I can tell
3 you that, from the military aspect, from the military
4 standpoint, Konjic was an important strategic target,
5 which the Serbs wanted to keep control of at all costs,
6 because Konjic has a factory of ammunition. It was
7 probably one of the largest in the Balkans, if not the
8 largest -- it manufactured up-to-date ammunition.
9 Secondly, there was a facility in the area
10 for the accommodation of the State and military
11 leadership of Belgrade, which means of Yugoslavia -- it
12 was known as "Ark", or the code was DO. This facility
13 was underground, it was prepared for control and
14 command and even in the event of the use of nuclear
15 weapons. It had complete infrastructure, halls for
16 meetings, debates and so on.
17 Q. Perhaps we do not need to go into the
18 details. Were there any other facilities, because if
19 this was for the supreme command, it must have been
20 well equipped?
21 A. There were other facilities where houses,
22 depots, barracks -- let me mention Celebici, which is a
23 barracks close to the M17 road, 50 metres from it. It
24 was a special-purpose depot for army oil reserves and
25 some weapons, but the main purpose was for oil reserves
1 and for troops. Then there was a barracks at Zlatije
2 -- that was a communications centre from which the
3 leadership in Ark could control operations .
4 Q. Brigadier, did the legal authorities of
5 Konjic, according to your research and in accordance
6 with the intentions of the new State of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, to place under its control all
8 facilities in its territory, did the legal authorities
9 of Konjic try, by peaceful means, to take control of
10 the military facilities in its territory?
11 A. Yes, the legal authorities asked -- required
12 that those facilities be taken over from the army,
13 particularly the facility Ljuta that I have not
14 mentioned -- it is an arms depot -- this was a depot
15 guarded by the army, and the entire weaponry for three
16 municipalities was housed there -- the municipalities
17 of Konjic, Jablanica and Prozor.
18 Then there was also army weaponry for a
19 brigade which was envisaged as a formation in the
20 region of Konjic -- an army brigade.
21 All the attempts for these facilities to be
22 taken over, negotiations were conducted with
23 Lieutenant-Colonel Velickovic, they went on for a long
24 time -- he made promises, they wanted their own weapons
25 back, but all these negotiations failed. The aim was
1 to gain time, so that the army was not prepared to
2 surrender those weapons, or those facilities, even
3 though those weapons legally belonged to the citizens,
4 or rather the municipalities, because, in the
5 preparatory period prior to the war, all the weapons of
6 the Territorial Defence were purchased with funds out
7 of the budget of the republic and this budget was
8 collected through taxation of citizens.
9 Q. Brigadier, tell me, after the failed
10 negotiations with representatives of the army, did the
11 legal authorities of Konjic, nevertheless, take over
12 all those facilities in the town?
13 A. They did. They took over the facilities in
14 the town -- some of them without battle, some with
15 minor operations, without casualties so that, for
16 instance, the Celebici warehouse was captured without
17 resistance by agreement between the head of the guards
18 -- there were about 20 or 30 soldiers there -- and he
19 promised to surrendered it on condition that none of
20 his soldiers were to be killed and that they should be
21 allowed to go and that is how it was taken over,
22 without combat. The soldiers were released home, some
23 of them were from Serbia and they were allowed to
25 Other facilities involved some minor
1 battles. For example, the factory was surrendered
2 without battle, but the facility Ark, and the depot
3 Ljuta, entailed battle on 25 and 26 -- I think -- and,
4 after a short battle, the TO forces, the MUP and the
5 HVO captured these facilities as well as a part of the
6 armaments. However, the air force immediately shelled
7 the town.
8 Q. Brigadier, since you have given a date which
9 differs slightly from the one found in your expert
10 report -- in your report it says that these facilities
11 were taken over between 8 and 12 May. Is this date
12 correct? Was it a slip of the tongue when you said
13 25th and 26th?
14 A. I am sorry, I cannot remember all those
15 dates. There are two volumes of documents, so I cannot
16 remember everything.
17 Q. But you are free to consult your documents --
18 that is why they are there before you. So I see, that
19 was a slip, an error.
20 So, after these facilities were taken over,
21 which these operations ended on 12 May, did members of
22 the JNA, who had been in Konjic until then, did they
23 all leave the town of Konjic?
24 A. Yes, the last to leave were those from the
25 Zlatije communications centre above Konjic -- after a
1 short battle, according to the data that I have managed
2 to find, they were taken home, taken away by
3 helicopter, and so their presence in the area of Konjic
4 was terminated.
5 Q. So let me go back to the point where
6 I interrupted you a while ago. Will you tell me, the
7 locality of Donje Selo, a local community of the Konjic
8 municipality, did it have any military significance?
9 A. I did not go into that a moment ago --
10 regarding the way Serb inhabitants grouped themselves
11 under the influence of SDS propaganda, they abandoned
12 the town, and rallied in certain areas where they had a
13 majority. One of those was Donje Selo, Bradina, Borci,
14 Zagorice, these were areas in which the Serb population
15 rallied under the influence of the SDS Party
16 propaganda. As for this village of Donje Selo, it is
17 south or south-west of Konjic -- it was an area in
18 which the Serbs blocked the way towards the coast and
19 towards the population on the other side of the lake.
20 They set up a checkpoint there, and prevented
21 communication -- the use of roads -- and the movement
22 of inhabitants towards Konjic. From the military
23 aspect, this meant that the road between Jablanica and
24 Konjic was blocked.
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, my colleagues
1 are reminding me that you yesterday granted Mr. Landzo
2 permission to see a dentist and this was planned for
3 11.30. My question is: is it now time for us to
4 adjourn and we can continue with this testimony after
5 the break? If it is convenient.
6 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: We will do that. We
7 will adjourn at 11.30.
8 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you, your Honours.
9 Brigadier, will you tell us, please, whether
10 the village of Bradina had any military significance?
11 A. Bradina is a village situated just above
12 Konjic in the direction of Sarajevo on Mount Ivan.
13 This pass is known as Ivan Sedlo. It is very important
14 from the military aspect point of view. If we take
15 into consideration military considerations, offensive
16 operations from the south towards Sarajevo, then this
17 village was very important for the defence of that
18 communication line. Should this feature, this Ivan
19 Sedlo pass fall, it is easier for forces to speed up
20 their advance towards Sarajevo. Therefore, who
21 controls Ivan Sedlo from the direction of Konjic, which
22 means who controls positions south-west of it, that
23 party, by holding those positions, can prevent
24 offensive operations against Sarajevo.
25 Also, in the event of offensive operations
1 from the direction of Sarajevo, again, it is important
2 for preventing penetration of forces towards Konjic.
3 It is also important because whoever controls this pass
4 can shell Konjic from there, because the distance is
5 not large -- it is all within the range of artillery.
6 Furthermore, this pass, there is a tunnel,
7 there are bridges, and they can all be destroyed. So,
8 who controls this area can prevent communication
9 between Konjic and Sarajevo -- by controlling this
10 feature, that is, the village of Bradina, there is no
11 other way to reach Sarajevo, the centre of the
13 The communication line is such that it can be
14 destroyed, whereby obstacles can be formed and thereby
15 Defence improved.
16 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I think we can now
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you, your Honours.
19 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: We will reassemble at
22 (Luncheon adjournment)
2 (The witness entered the courtroom)
3 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Please remind the
4 witness he is still on his oath.
5 THE REGISTRAR: I remind you, Sir, that you
6 are still under oath.
7 THE WITNESS: Yes.
8 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You may proceed,
9 Ms. Residovic.
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: Before I go to my next
11 question for the witness, could he be shown the second
12 folder, with the number V2 so that I can continue with
13 my examination? (Handed).
14 Brigadier, before the break, in answer to one
15 of my questions, you said that the Serb population in
16 the local community of Ostrozac had been armed and how
17 they had surrendered those arms. I should like to ask
18 you now to open your folder, chapter IV/4. Have you
19 found it?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. In this chapter, there is an official report
22 attached by you as well as a list of persons who were
23 illegally armed, and several certificates on objects
24 seized. Brigadier, did you obtain these documents for
25 the means of this testimony and are these the documents
1 on the basis of which you expressed an opinion
2 regarding the arming of this population?
3 A. Yes, this annex of IV/4 shows that this is a
4 list of persons and the public security station of
5 Jablanica seized weapons from these persons, of which
6 they were in possession illegally. They were the
7 inhabitants of the locality of Ostrozac in the
8 Jablanica municipality.
9 Q. Thank you. I was just asking whether your
10 opinion and what you said about this population was
11 based on the documents that you have enclosed in this
12 folder. Brigadier, in your report, you say that in
13 quite small settlements parts of the Serb population
14 were armed, in chapter IV/3 of this same volume?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. We find some documents -- as far as I can
17 see, they bear a stamp. Could you tell me the source
18 of these documents, which are mostly hand-written?
19 A. I obtained this document from the Institute
20 for the Investigation of Crimes. It is hand-written and
21 it comes from a small locality called Glavaticevo,
22 Topalovic Strahinja -- Borislav is addressing
23 Strahinja, the person who was arming the population.
24 Q. I apologise for interrupting, you do not have
25 to interpret this document, because it has been
1 enclosed. My question is: was this document one of
2 those that you had collected and on which you relied in
3 your report, saying that the inhabitants of Ostrozac
4 were armed prior to the beginning of the war?
5 A. Yes, it can clearly be seen from these
6 documents that there were armed civilians with 10
7 rifles, and this individual, Topalovic is addressing
8 this other man who was providing the arms, saying that
9 he has 44 able-bodied men who can join in the combat
10 operations and asking him for more weapons. In this
11 connection, from the following document, we can see
12 that he received automatic rifles -- nine such rifles,
13 so Glavaticevo earlier on had 10 rifles and received
14 another nine new ones, which means 19 rifles.
15 Q. Before the break we discussed the importance
16 of the locality of Bradina both in terms of the defence
17 of Sarajevo and the defence of Konjic. In your report,
18 Brigadier, you also say that the population there was
19 armed. Would you please look at your annex IV/9 9?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Could you tell me what this is?
22 A. This enclosure IV/9 was also verified by the
23 Institute for the Investigation of War Crimes. It is
24 an excerpt from statements by soldiers captured, or
25 rather citizens of Serb ethnicity, who had been
1 captured during combat operations in Bradina.
2 Q. Brigadier, did you rely on this report among
3 the other documents that you had when expressing your
4 opinion that this population was also illegally armed?
5 A. It can be seen from this excerpt and from the
6 interrogation of these people, according to their own
7 statements, what kind of arms they had been issued, how
8 many bullets they had been issued, who was the
9 commander, and who gave him the weapons. In more or
10 less all of these cases -- and we can see from their
11 original statements there are 136 men from Bradina, and
12 we see that they were armed, that they were organised,
13 because they talk about their leaders, et cetera --
14 Q. Thank you, all that can be found in your
15 report. My question was simply whether this was a
16 document that you relied on among others for expressing
17 your opinion.
18 Brigadier, will you please put on the ELMO
19 the table showing the strength of the Serb forces --
20 I think it is, according to your documents, annexe
21 IV/8, and could you please explain this table for us.
22 As far as I am able to see, you made it yourself?
23 A. Can we sharpen this table a little bit? Can
24 we focus on it a little, please? It should be reduced
25 in size -- no -- not so much, please -- a little less
1 -- thank you.
2 Q. Could you, very briefly, Brigadier, tell us
3 what does this table show?
4 A. This table shows a list of Serb forces in the
5 territory of Konjic in the period April/May 1992. In
6 the first column, we have information for parts of the
7 second JNA brigade located in the village of Borci --
8 total strength about 1,000 men.
9 Q. It is not necessary, Brigadier, to go into
10 the details but would you tell us in general terms,
11 because we have the data in the table?
12 A. It can be seen that, in several locations,
13 there was an army that was armed, Borci, Ljuta,
14 Celebici, Donje Selo, Blaca, Zagorica, Bradina,
15 Borasnica, Teritorija Opstine and Ostrozac and special
16 units totalling 2,516 men.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you. We can remove the
18 table now.
19 MR. KARABDIC: Your Honours, I apologise for
20 my delay. I had to have my PC repaired, so I do
21 apologise. I beg for your indulgence.
22 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Thank you very much.
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: Brigadier, did your research
24 show that in 1992 parts of the Serb population in the
25 settlement called Bradina blocked the town of Konjic
1 from their side?
2 A. Due to the deployment of Serb forces,
3 together with parts of the JNA in the village of Borci,
4 shows that parts of the town of Konjic were encircled.
5 The deployment of forces in Bradina, and further on, to
6 the south and the west, as far as Donje Selo, Serb
7 forces were deployed in such a way that the town was
8 under total blockade.
9 Q. Brigadier, as you spoke this morning about
10 the shelling of the town from the beginning of May, was
11 this that you have just told us sufficient reason, in
12 military terms, for the situation in Bradina to be
13 dealt with by force of arms?
14 A. In view of the conditions that the town of
15 Konjic found itself in, lacking the elementary
16 conditions for normal life, without any contact with
17 the capital of the State, without the possibility of
18 communication with the south, there was no possibility
19 of supplies -- vital supplies to be brought in to the
20 town from the south -- it was necessary, through
21 negotiation, or by force of arms to deal with the
22 problem of the siege of Konjic. Efforts were made to
23 deal with the problem through negotiation with the Serb
24 side and to persuade them to surrender their weapons.
25 However, the case was not the same as in
1 Ostrozac. The forces in this case were far stronger
2 and their task was to prevent at all cost any
3 communication with the centre of the country, that is,
4 with Sarajevo. As those negotiations were
5 unsuccessful, it was normal that the problem should be
6 dealt with by force.
7 Q. Thank you. Brigadier, will you please tell
8 me, as we have just discussed how part of the Serb
9 population had prepared itself for the war, tell me,
10 did your research show whether a part of the Croat
11 population had also engaged in preparations for the
12 forthcoming events -- in Konjic, of course?
13 A. With regard to the situation in Croatia where
14 the war was already ongoing, a part of the population
15 of Croat ethnicity in the territory of Konjic
16 municipality was prepared so as not to be caught
17 off guard and the fighters from this area, that is, the
18 soldiers of the Croatian Defence Council, the HVO,
19 participated in the fighting in Croatia. They went
20 under arms to -- and, with the help of Republic of
21 Croatia, Croatian armed forces were organised, so that,
22 in this period, about 750 men of Croatian ethnicity
23 were under arms.
24 Q. Thank you. Tell me, in view of the fact that
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina had become an independent State on
1 6 April, was there a constitutional obligation for the
2 citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina to defend their country,
3 should it be under threat?
4 A. There was a constitutional right and duty of
5 all nationals of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the event of war
6 to defend their country, so I wish to
7 underline, "a right and duty".
8 Q. Brigadier, in that period, that is, in April
9 1992, did the armed Croatian people, or, rather, the
10 HVO, voice its readiness to carry out its
11 constitutional obligation and to defend the
12 independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
13 A. Yes, in the initial stages of the war
14 citizens -- Croats -- organised, and better trained and
15 better armed, did participate in the defence of
17 Q. Brigadier, could you tell me how the
18 preparations actually started -- the preparations of
19 the legal authorities in Konjic -- for defence and when
20 did they start?
21 A. The first beginnings of the organisation of
22 the Defence forces of Konjic date back to the last
23 assembly session of the Konjic municipality, which was
24 held on 17 April, when a decision was taken to organise
25 the Territorial Defence, or, rather, a proposal was
1 made to appoint the commander of the TO staff.
2 Q. Brigadier, did your research provide an
3 answer to the question whether, as early as 17 April --
4 did that municipal assembly meeting implement the new
5 regulations of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
6 regarding the reorganisation of the Territorial Defence
7 and their subordination to the republican staff?
8 A. Yes, as a decree issued by the presidency
9 dated 8 April, reorganised the defence, that is, the
10 old system of Territorial Defence organisation, which
11 was in force until the dissolution of Yugoslavia had to
12 be revised and the Territorial Defence had to be
13 reorganised. A Defence Ministry was set up as part of
14 that reorganisation -- as I have already said -- and
15 below the Defence Ministry was the republican TO staff
16 and then subordinated to that staff were the district
18 Q. In view of the fact, Brigadier, that you said
19 that the district staff in Mostar, to which the Konjic
20 municipal staff should have been normally subordinated
21 did not exist, who was the municipal staff of Konjic
22 subordinated to?
23 A. The Konjic municipal staff, in view of the
24 situation in Mostar, was directly accountable to the
25 supreme command in Sarajevo, which means that it was
1 directly subordinate to Sarajevo.
2 MS. RESIDOVIC: Brigadier, the TO staff and
3 its organisation, as you have indicated in your report,
4 had its own developed structure. I would like to know
5 now, Brigadier, whether you could tell us how the
6 Territorial Defence staff was organised after its
7 reorganisation pursuant to the regulations passed by
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina? Was it a staff with a
9 developed organisational structure as befits staff of
10 this kind?
11 To facilitate your explanation, I would ask
12 you to put under the ELMO the diagram enclosed in your
13 documents and this is in the third volume and I would
14 like to ask it to be given to the witness. (Handed).
15 It is chapter 5/D5.
16 Tell me, please, Brigadier, who made this
18 A. This diagram was done by Midhat Cerovac, who
19 was the chief of staff in the municipal staff
21 Q. Thank you. Could you please answer my
22 question, linked to this diagram, whether there was a
23 developed organisational structure of the TO staff?
24 A. One can see from this diagram that the staff
25 was established from the very beginning of the war that
1 was similar to what we had before the war, but under
2 changed conditions, and adjusted to the law on the
3 armed forces. We cannot see very well here. May I use
4 it like this, please?
5 Q. The interpreters do not have a diagram. It
6 depends on you, witness.
7 A. I cannot see the letters very well if I place
8 it under the ELMO. Can I use a microphone?
9 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, on the basis of
10 the foundation of what has been said about this
11 document so far, it is difficult to understand how this
12 witness can speak of the truth of the contents of this
13 document in his evidence, considering it is a document
14 that is said to be or stated to be drawn up by Midhat
15 Cerovac. One would expect Cerovac could come along and
16 tell us about it and we would then know whether what he
17 says is correct or not. Presumably if he drew it up he
18 knows all about it. If this witness says, "This is
19 something I have received and I have relied on it,"
20 then I do not object to that, but I do object to it if
21 he is going to assert that what is contained in here is
22 correct, on the basis of what he said so far.
23 All he has told us so far is that this is a
24 document drawn up by somebody else and he appears to be
25 going on to assert the truth of the contents of it. In
1 view of its author, then I object to that, particularly
2 on the basis of the foundation that has been laid so
4 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Thank you very much.
5 I think Ms. Residovic can reply to that.
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honours, you know that
7 I have not asked the witness to authenticate the truth
8 of the contents, but, since he has, by relying on this
9 diagram of the municipal staff, expressed his opinion
10 whether this was a developed structure or not, I would
11 like to ask him to be allowed to explain it to us. As
12 for the truth of the contents of this document, we will
13 authenticate it through another witness, but I want the
14 expert witness to be able to use it as he relied upon
15 it in making his expert opinion.
16 MR. NIEMANN: In that case, I have no
18 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Actually he is not
19 making any claims about it, other than his ability to
20 explain it. I think that is all he is doing. He can
21 do that.
22 MS. RESIDOVIC: Brigadier, without entering
23 into whether or not the facts in this table are correct
24 or not, could you explain to the court, as an expert
25 witness, what this diagram represents as regards the
1 municipal staff?
2 A. I did not maintain that this document was a
3 truthful document; I was just told to explain the
4 development and structure of the staff of the
5 headquarters and, therefore, I will try, in that
6 connection, to explain this and --
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: Brigadier, you need not go
8 into those matters. The Defence will decide whether it
9 will call extra witnesses or not.
10 Now, I apologise, I cannot hear the Bosnian
11 translation but the French. I am hearing the French
12 over the earphones. Could that be put right, please?
13 Yes, thank you, that is better.
14 Brigadier --
15 A. The structure of the staff of the Territorial
16 Defence, from this document, you can see that at the
17 head of the staff of Territorial Defence you have the
18 commander. Under his command, directly under his
19 command, he had the staff, the commanders in charge of
20 morale -- morals -- security, logistics, and the
22 Q. Brigadier, are we talking about a highly
23 ramified diagram for the staff or not?
24 A. From this document, we are able to conclude
25 that this is a well developed staff, that it was able
1 to perform all its functions, starting out from the
2 commander -- the chief of staff. The chief of staff
3 has an assistant for operative and educational tasks
4 and he is the deputy chief of staff at the same time.
5 Then we have the intelligence branch. Then
6 we have operative and educational tasks once again --
7 training -- and officers. Then we have a service or
8 branch for organisational and mobilisational purposes,
9 an informative and computer centre, and the different
10 branches of the army. We have the head of the
11 artillery and his subordinates, the head of the
12 engineering department and his subordinates, we have
13 the engineers, the artillery and the armoured units,
14 the anti-aircraft units, air force and air defence
15 units and the communications unit, so that is more or
16 less the structure which comes under the chief of
18 The morale department body have their own
19 offices and we have offices for information and
20 propaganda activities. The security body also has its
21 offices. The logistics department body has a backbone
22 with the different services, which, on the basis of
23 logistics, determined combat effectiveness, so let us
24 take that in order.
25 Q. I do not think we need to go into all these
1 details, as we have the chart in front of us -- you
2 have given us enough information so far, and you did
3 say that it was a highly ramified staff with all its
4 members, and was it the head of some combat units --
5 did it stand at the head of combat units?
6 A. The municipal staff and the commander in
7 chief, he was the commander in chief -- the commander
8 in chief was the supreme organ and he was in charge of
9 issuing commands, so it is only the commander in chief
10 and the commanders who had the right to make decisions
11 on the use of the different units within the staff and
12 they were there to command those units.
13 Everybody else, regardless of their function
14 within this staff, did not have the right to command.
15 They did not enjoy the right of command; it was only
16 the commander in chief and the deputy commander who had
17 the right and duty to do so, and to see to the stated
18 use of these units.
19 Q. Brigadier, may I interrupt you? We shall be
20 going back to the question of command later on.
21 I apologise, but let us look at the structure of the
22 staff after the session of 17 April. In your document
23 or report, under V-D/4 you give a list of the members
24 of that staff. May we take a look at that list under
25 V-D/4? Would it be correct to say, Brigadier, that
1 this contribution -- this list -- was drawn up by the
2 head of the municipal staff at the time, Midhat
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Is it true that you received this list from
6 Mr. Cerovac and that you relied on this when you gave
7 your expert opinions?
8 A. Yes, I did.
9 Q. Brigadier, from the research you performed,
10 as you said, on the spot in the localities and via your
11 documents, could you tell us what the organisation of
12 the Territorial Defence of Konjic was like on the spot
13 -- on the locality -- what did it look like, that is,
14 during 1992 from the onset of 1992 -- on the ground,
15 what did the Konjic Territorial Defence in actual fact
16 look like?
17 A. To begin with, Territorial Defence of Konjic
18 consisted of parts of the Territorial Defence of the
19 HVO, the Croatian Defence Council, and the police. For
20 some time, the HOS forces were active, too, but these
21 were symbolic -- there were very few members of HOS,
22 but these were the basic three structures which made up
23 the defence of Konjic.
24 Q. I should like to ask you, Brigadier, now, if
25 I may, to answer my next questions by first looking at
1 the diagram of the overall defence force, which, in
2 your annex, V-D/2, you submitted in your documents.
3 V-D/2, that is the number of the document?
4 A. There is an error here.
5 Q. D/2 or D-2?
6 A. I have a list of active military personnel
7 engaged in the work at the time.
8 Q. I apologise, the defence forces of Konjic,
9 that is a different document. Maybe I have the wrong
10 numbers. Let me check that. Perhaps it was V-D/5 --
11 that is the document I have in mind, because it was
12 Xeroxed again, so I apologise for that?
13 A. No, D/5 is the structure of the municipal
14 staff, which I have already explained.
15 Q. Shall we leave that for the moment? I am
16 going to ask you some more questions and then, during
17 the break, I will go and check those numbers. Have you
18 found the diagram?
19 A. It is V-D/8, the defence forces of Konjic, a
20 review of the organisation of the defence of Konjic.
21 Here we have a ratio of forces, on the one I have
22 before me.
23 Q. Brigadier, there seems to be a mix-up there.
24 So, may I ask you to proceed? I would like to ask you
25 some more questions and then, after the break, we will
1 go back, once this matter of numbers and documents has
2 been clarified.
3 Tell me, please, Brigadier, in view of the
4 fact that you have just spoken of the overall forces of
5 the Konjic defence, whether the system of subordination
6 for all these forces of the defence of Konjic was
7 uniform -- was it a uniform system of subordination?
8 A. In this case, there was a specific feature,
9 which, in the system of a command was not known, and
10 that is that we had three structures, and each of the
11 three structures were subordinated vertically from top
12 to bottom. So, for example, the Territorial Defence
13 staff was directly under the command of the supreme
14 command, the commander in chief, in Sarajevo. The HVO
15 or Croatian Defence Council was subordinated to the
16 Grude headquarters, the police was subordinated to its
17 Ministry of Internal Affairs in Sarajevo, and each of
18 these three structures received its orders from its
20 Q. Did your research show, Brigadier, that there
21 was a basis for you to come here to this court today
22 and testify and say whether there were endeavours for
23 the defence forces of Konjic to make them more compact
24 in view of the fact that they had the same defence
1 A. Yes, that is true. This was done
2 immediately, so that these three structures could work
3 in a way -- as a single body in the combat operations
4 and that is why an attempt was made to form a body,
5 which would unify the planning and use of those forces.
6 Q. In your report, Brigadier, you state that, on
7 12 May, that certain joint bodies were formed. Could
8 you tell us about those bodies -- what were they?
9 A. On the basis of previous agreements and in
10 view of the existing situation in Konjic, in the aim of
11 using the defence forces as effectively and efficiently
12 as possible towards the town's defence, an agreement
13 was made to set up, to form a joint command, which
14 would be composed of the Territorial Defence forces,
15 which were later called the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
16 the Croatian Defence Council, the HVO --
17 Q. Tell me, please, Brigadier, was the formation
18 of this joint command of Territorial Defence and the
19 Croatian Defence Council, was it foreseen by the rules
20 or was it an expression of their defence activities and
21 the way they worked together, or was it on the basis of
22 a set of regulations?
23 A. I think that this was a specific situation
24 for Konjic itself, because it was not the usual kind of
25 plan and diagram in the system of command and control.
1 It is possible that a similar system existed in certain
2 other parts and that the problem was similar elsewhere,
3 that is to say, that a compromise had to be sought and
4 found in view of subordination, because the forces of
5 the HVO, the Croatian Defence Council, never fulfilled
6 their orders coming from the staff of the Territorial
7 Defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina, whereas, in that
8 respect, the police showed greater solidarity and did
9 perform its decisions -- acted on its decisions, so
10 this is a specific feature which was an expression of
11 prevailing conditions, so that the forces were to be
12 used as effectively as possible to defend the town.
13 Q. Brigadier, let us verify, first, whether, in
14 annex V-D/10, whether that is the diagram, the chart
15 for the joint command, and, if it is, then I would like
16 to go on and ask you several questions. Is this chart
17 -- was this chart drawn up by Midhat Cerovac, who was
18 the commander of the staff of Konjic's Territorial
20 A. Yes, this was also a chart which was drawn up
21 by the chief of staff, Mr. Midhat Cerovac.
22 Q. Brigadier, did you, in addition to the other
23 documents in drawing up your report, did you rely on
24 that chart?
25 A. Yes, I did. Do you want me to explain the
2 Q. Well, I am going to ask you questions and we
3 will do it that way. Tell me, please, who, according
4 to your investigations, was the chief of staff for the
5 joint command -- the commander for --
6 A. The function of the commander of the joint
7 staff was the commander of the municipal staff of
8 Konjic, Mr. Ramic Esad -- Esad Ramic and as he was ill
9 Boric Omer was his deputy, and the chief of staff was a
10 Croat, he was in this particular case Zebic, Dinko
11 Zebic. All the other bodies were mixed body, but it is
12 essential to note one particular fact here, and that is
13 why do we call it the "joint staff" -- "joint
14 command". They harmonised, they dovetailed their
15 decisions, they decided together on the use of the
16 forces. Without both signatures, nothing could be
17 done, so they had to have both signatures for
18 operations to take place.
19 The commander of the joint staff issued
20 commands to the Territorial Defence units, whereas the
21 head of staff, Zebic, would issue commands to his own
23 Q. Brigadier, did this mean, in practice, that
24 the joint command had two equal commanders --
25 commanders of equal footing, of equal standing?
1 A. Yes, and that is a unique example. As
2 I said, this was through force of necessity --
3 conditions necessitated this in order to use the forces
4 as effectively and efficiently as possible, but, in
5 military theory and practice, no such similar example
6 has been heard of, because, in the system of command
7 and control, there is always one sole commander -- that
8 is the basic principle -- one superior, one commander,
9 who makes the decisions, and who then is responsible
10 for the use of his units.
11 This was an exception, as I say, and so, in
12 this case, and for everything that took place within
13 the Territorial Defence units, it would have been the
14 commander of the municipal staff, whereas everything
15 that took place with the HVO units, the commander there
16 would be the chief of staff in the joint command -- in
17 the joint staff.
18 Q. Brigadier, were these two commanders equal --
19 commanders of an equal standing, as you called them,
20 did they sign all the commands issued together -- the
21 ones they had decided on?
22 A. Looking at the many documents that I had
23 before me, I saw the signatures -- both signatures.
24 However, without both signatures, the document would
25 not be fully in force -- valid.
1 Q. When this joint staff functioned, were the
2 nominations signed by both commanders, that is, the
3 Territorial Defence and the HVO forces?
4 A. Yes, they both signed the nominations.
5 Q. Brigadier, could you tell me, please, in view
6 of the war situation in May and June of 1992, whether,
7 in the defence sense, this function of joint command,
8 did it give off certain results?
9 A. Yes, it did, because the results of the
10 initial operations, where they acted together, where
11 the Territorial Defence forces and the Croatian Defence
12 Council's forces acted jointly, better results were
13 achieved, because they joined forces, which meant that
14 they were not only numerically stronger, but the
15 command was stronger and more successful -- control and
16 command and coordination between the two forces went
17 via the joint staff, the joint command, so that the
18 forces knew their zones of activity, their concrete
19 tasks at that particular stage and the goals they were
20 to achieve.
21 Q. Thank you, Brigadier. You said at the
22 beginning that the HVO and part of the Croatian people
23 organised within the Croatian Defence Council had a
24 certain amount of legitimacy, because they were ready
25 and willing to defend their State, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 Tell me now, please, Brigadier, whether, later on, with
2 the adoption of new regulations in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
3 the HVO became part of the armed forces of
5 A. Yes, with the enactment of the law on armed
6 forces in May 1992, the armed forces were made up of
7 the Territorial Defence units and the BiH Army, and the
8 HVO forces.
9 Q. Let us go back now to the questions we
10 mentioned earlier on in connection with Konjic. Could
11 you tell me, please, regardless of the joint goals and
12 interests which they had in the country's defence,
13 whether the joint command, during 1992, ceased to
14 function in actual practice?
15 A. According to developments in Konjic, and
16 according to my own research, I was able to see that
17 the joint command functioned successfully, especially
18 in parts where the location had to be cleared up in
19 Donje Selo, but when the Operation Oganj was resorted
20 to, although they worked jointly to plan this
21 operation, Operation Oganj, before the actual
22 commencement of the attack, before the attack was
23 actually launched, the representative of the HVO, the
24 head of chief of staff, said he was not going to take
25 part in the execution of that particular Operation, and
1 I would like to stress here what happened.
2 Q. Brigadier, before we go on to this
3 explanation, I should like to ask you first to look at
4 your document, V-D/11 -- is that the order in question,
5 which was signed by the commander Omer Boric and Dinko
7 A. Yes, it is.
8 Q. Is that one of the documents on the basis of
9 which you present your views here in court and your
10 opinions of how the orders were issued in the joint
12 A. From this document you can see that they were
13 co-signatories, Commander Zebic and Omer Boric signed
14 the document jointly and they were authorised to do so,
15 to sign this joint document.
16 Q. Brigadier, did you check this document in the
17 archives of the Bosnia-Herzegovina army, or in Konjic?
18 A. Yes, in Konjic. I did in Konjic.
19 Q. Thank you. May we now, Brigadier, take a
20 look at your contribution V-D/12. Is that, Brigadier,
21 an example of a nomination signed by the commanders of
22 the HVO and the joint staff?
23 A. This is an authorisation, not a nomination.
24 It authorises Goran Lokas, for purposes of the HVO and
25 the municipality of Konjic, to perform security work,
1 and it was signed by Dinko Zebic of the HVO and Boric,
2 the commander.
3 Q. Tell me whether this is one of the documents
4 on which you base your assessments that authorisations
5 and other acts in the joint staff were signed jointly
6 by the two commanders?
7 A. Yes, I said earlier on that none of the
8 documents which were not signed by both the commanders
9 would hold water, so both signatures were needed.
10 Q. Brigadier, you were just about to explain the
11 virtual discontinuation of the functioning of the joint
12 command, even though those forces continued to engage
13 in defensive activities. Could you tell me, what did
14 your research show as to why this occurred?
15 A. It is my view that the Croatian forces did
16 not receive permission from Grude, because they had
17 planned the joint operation until the very last moment,
18 and this could be linked to politics, because the
19 Croatian Defence Council had its own interests and aims
20 regarding the territories that they proclaimed to be
21 Croatian, or, rather in the Croatian interests.
22 Q. Brigadier, in order to avoid further
23 elaboration of that thesis, let me ask: if a joint
24 operation had been engaged in, in the direction of
25 Borci, would that order have had to have been signed by
1 both commanders, that is, both the TO commander and the
2 HVO commander?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. I should like to ask you, Brigadier, to look
5 at V-D/15. Is this an order dated 27 May, Brigadier?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Could you tell us whether this is a
8 supplementary order for the battle in Bradina, and is
9 it visible from this very text that such an order had
10 to be signed by the commander of the TO and of the HVO?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did you find this order in the archives of
13 the BiH Army, or, rather of the army in Konjic?
14 A. In Konjic.
15 Q. So this is an order that has already been
16 admitted into evidence by this Trial Chamber, but
17 I just wanted to know whether you had verified its
19 Brigadier, which assumptions did you use, or,
20 rather, were there any military orders for the defence
21 forces of Konjic to undertake the liberation of
22 temporarily occupied areas in the south eastern part of
23 Konjic near the Boracko Lake?
24 A. Yes, it is a document of the supreme command
25 instructing an offensive to liberate the areas of
1 Konjic via Borac, Nevesinje and Kalnovik -- there is
2 such an order issued by the supreme command.
3 Q. Shall we examine your annex, D/24 in the same
5 A. Yes, that is the document.
6 Q. Did you verify this document in the archives?
7 A. Yes, I did. I found it in the supreme
8 commander archives, or, rather the general staff now.
9 This document exists.
10 Q. In view of the fact that the Croatian Defence
11 Council, at the time, was under the law a part of the
12 armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was
13 it also obligatory and binding on the units of the HVO?
14 A. As I said earlier on, the Croatian Defence
15 Council could receive orders according to the chain of
16 command only from Grude, because the top leadership of
17 the two forces was not united. Each of these forces
18 were separate. There was not a body that would unite
19 these two headquarters -- in Grude and in Sarajevo.
20 So, this order could be binding on the municipal staff
21 -- it is addressed to the municipal staff -- and, as
22 this was not in the interests of the Croatian Defence
23 Council, because Nevesinje and the entire area of
24 western Herzegovina was not in the sphere of interest
25 of the Croatian Defence Council and that is why they
1 did not wish to engage in battle in those areas, even
2 though they all belonged to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
3 Q. Does that actually mean that somewhere around
4 this time the Croatian Defence Council, in practice,
5 began to obstruct certain activities?
6 A. Already, as early as the end of June, by
7 cancelling its participation in the Operation Oganj,
8 the HVO began its obstruction, even though they
9 continued to constitute part of the defence forces of
10 Konjic. Until the Corps was formed they held on to
11 their positions, they had control of the defence lines,
12 they sought in the town of Konjic to organise their own
13 authority -- in a sense to appoint their own people to
14 executive posts in the economy -- there is a document
15 to that effect, but, in any event, they discontinued to
16 engage in conflict with the Serb forces.
17 Q. Brigadier, can we now look at your annex
18 D/25? Is it a document dated 25 June 1992?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Did you verify this document?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. In the archives of the army?
23 A. In the archives of Konjic.
24 Q. Thank you. As a military expert, would you
25 say that this document is a description of preparatory
1 activities by the municipal staff and the HVO before
2 the beginning of the Operation, which they were ordered
3 to engage in on 20 June?
4 A. The commander of the municipal TO staff has
5 addressed this document to the HVO staff in Konjic.
6 The subject is, "Coordination of Combat Operations
7 within the Territory of Konjic Municipality" and this
8 is a document linked to the order to the command of the
9 municipal staff of Konjic to prepare an operation
10 against Borci, Nevesinje and Kalinovik. That is the
11 document. The commander of the TO staff proposes to
12 the HVO how far they should go, and where they should
13 fight, so, in a sense, this is the proposal of the
14 commander planning an operation against Borci using
15 joint forces and this was a document from the period
16 when the first signs were evident that they were
17 reluctant and unwilling to participate in the Operation
19 Q. Can it be seen from this document that the
20 municipal staff, in its preparations for this
21 operation, which according to this document was called
22 Operation Oganj, or "fire", did the municipal staff
23 specify the lines of action, the Tactical Groups for
24 individual directions of combat, while at the same time
25 determining an operative officer, Mr. Cerovac, as the
1 person who was supposed to coordinate these
2 activities. Could you please elaborate on this from
3 the military standpoint?
4 A. The municipal staff here elaborated a plan
5 from which we can see that it is requiring the Croatian
6 defence forces to keep control of a particular area,
7 and to take action in another direction. I do not have
8 the maps to show you all this. Then, it also says that
9 the rest of the forces in this Operation Oganj would
10 form Tactical Groups and each of those Tactical Groups
11 had its own direction of action and the staff is asked
12 to respond to this proposal of the municipal staff and,
13 if they have any counter proposals, to make them, or,
14 if they have any objections, that they should be made,
15 after which they should meet again to discuss the
17 Q. Brigadier, can you adduce from this document
18 who was the commander of Operation Oganj?
19 A. It can be seen from this that the commander
20 of Operation Oganj was the commander of the municipal
21 staff, Captain Esad Ramic. He planned the operation
22 and was in command of the operation.
23 Q. I should now like to ask you, Brigadier, that
24 we move on to another subject which you have discussed
25 in your expert report. Could you please tell us,
1 Brigadier, after the municipal assembly meeting of 17
2 April, did the municipal assembly have the necessary
3 conditions for continuing to work regularly?
4 A. As the war had already started, the municipal
5 assembly was unable to meet normally and, in accordance
6 with the regulations of the republic, it set up a
7 presidency, which had all the jurisdiction of the
8 assembly, and its obligation was, when the necessary
9 conditions set in, to convene a meeting of the
10 assembly, and to verify the decisions taken in the
11 meantime, but, in any event, it was the presidency who
12 had the authority to take all decisions in the name of
13 the assembly, if that was your question.
14 Q. Thank you. In view of your considerable
15 professional and personal experience from the past
16 period, could you please tell us whether the
17 regulations of the former SFRY and Bosnia-Herzegovina,
18 prior to the adoption of new regulations in April 1992,
19 in the case of a state of emergency, was a body
20 envisaged for such circumstances?
21 A. During the former Yugoslavia, there was a
22 crisis staff. This will take a little time for me to
23 elaborate, if I may, because it may remind -- be
24 reminiscent of something else. We have to go back to
25 1972, when a group of saboteurs, of extremist Ustashe
1 forces trained and prepared outside the forces of
2 Yugoslavia. There were 22 men in all in that group, if
3 I recall well, who were fully armed, they were elite
4 troops who were trained for a long time and they were
5 infiltrated into Yugoslavia via Slovenia to
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, where, because it was a wooded and
7 mountainous country, they thought it would be a
8 suitable place for starting an uprising.
9 Q. But, Brigadier, the reason was the
10 infiltration of this group from abroad. What then
11 happened with the regulations?
12 A. Having acquired such experiences, as there
13 were no plans for such contingencies, we only had a war
14 plan that is set in motion in the event of an external
15 aggression. However, this situation made it necessary
16 to elaborate fresh plans for action in such
17 contingencies and these bodies were named crisis staffs
18 and each municipality had such a plan of action for
19 emergencies. This was necessary, because, under such
20 conditions, it was essential to act very expeditiously
21 and to take all steps for such a group to be liquidated
22 as soon as possible, or, in the event of any other such
23 contingency, but in any event, there were forces and a
24 crisis staff that had to deal with the crisis that
25 occurred so suddenly and this was in force until the
1 dissolution of Yugoslavia.
2 With the new regulations covering the field
3 of defence, the law and the armed forces, the law and
4 defence, such laws did not make provision for such
5 crisis staffs, nor do they exist.
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you, Brigadier.
7 Your Honours, since I do indeed appreciate
8 the excellent presentation of the Brigadier, and, also,
9 in view of his age --
10 A. Do not mention my age please.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: Very well, mine then, because
12 I am standing, you see, all the time, so I would ask
13 you, if possible, if we could have the break now.
14 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Thank you,
15 Ms. Residovic. I think we can break now and come back
16 at 4 o'clock.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you very much.
19 (A short break)
21 (The witness entered court)
22 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You may continue,
23 Ms. Residovic.
24 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you, your Honours.
25 THE REGISTRAR: I remind you, Sir, that you
1 are still under oath.
2 MS. RESIDOVIC: I would like, your Honours,
3 to take my witness back to the chart that was in
4 question a moment ago, Brigadier. It was your
5 contribution V-D/2?
6 A. Yes, that is right.
7 Q. As you can see from the chart, this review of
8 the organisation of the defence units of Konjic from
9 April to October in 1992 was composed by the chief of
10 staff at the time, Mr. Midhat Cerovac. Brigadier, did
11 you base your opinions on this chart -- were your
12 assessments based on that chart, in your expert report,
13 of course, taking into account all the other documents
14 and your own experience in that regard?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Brigadier, would you tell us briefly what the
17 chart in fact represents?
18 A. It is a review of the organisation of the
19 defence forces of Konjic. The Ministry of Defence of
20 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina is subordinated,
21 according to the Territorial Defence staff, that is the
22 line of command, and from that we can see that the
23 Territorial Defence staff of the Republic of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina commands directly the municipal
25 staff of Konjic, and from thence we go further down the
1 line, and the Territorial Defence staff of Konjic and
2 its commander has, under him, his subordinates -- they
3 are the following units, combat units. You can see the
4 combat units there -- Konjic 1, Konjic 2, the Zebcanik
5 Unit, the Gracanica Unit -- it is a bit faded there.
6 Q. Yes, we see all that on the chart. Let us go
7 to the second structure, the HVO Croatian Defence
8 Council structure?
9 A. According to the lines of subordination, we
10 see that the Croatian Defence Council and the Grude HQ
11 has the Croatian Defence Council of Konjic under it,
12 and the Croatian Defence Council then has the HVO units
13 further subordinated. Then the third structure was the
14 police, and we can see that the republican Internal
15 Affairs Ministry is directly superior to the public
16 security service of Konjic, and the public security
17 service has, under it, the police forces, and the
18 structure is as follows: the commander of the
19 municipal staff with dotted line cooperates with the
20 public security service on the left, and on the right,
21 once again, the dotted line, and its relationship
22 towards the HVO -- the Croatian Defence Council. These
23 are the lines of cooperation, and not command -- lines
24 of cooperation along the dotted line.
25 Q. Thank you, Brigadier. May we now have a look
1 at the chart that you yourself drew up, and it is to be
2 found under V-D/8?
3 A. Just a moment, please, let me find it.
4 Q. Would you please briefly explain what this
5 chart signifies?
6 A. This chart, once again, depicts the defence
7 forces of Konjic and the relationships that exist, so
8 let us go from the top -- the municipality of Konjic at
9 the top, and the war presidency of the municipality of
10 Konjic, then from the dotted lines we can see that it
11 cooperates with the joint command, so the dotted line
12 of the war presidency of the municipality of Konjic
13 shows that the joint command of the Territorial Defence
14 of the HVO of Konjic is not subordinate to the
15 presidency, but merely cooperates with it.
16 Second, the Ministry of Defence is at the top
17 and under that we have the staff of the Territorial
18 Defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it commands the
19 staff -- the full lines indicate subordination and the
20 dotted line is the line of cooperation.
21 The Internal Affairs Ministry of the Republic
22 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, if we look at the straight line,
23 full line, it shows that we have the public security
24 service, to which it is -- which is subordinate and
25 then cooperation with the presidency of the
1 municipality of Konjic.
2 Then we come to the joint command. The war
3 presidency of the municipality of Konjic, with the
4 dotted line indicates that it is not subordinated to
5 the joint command of the TO and HVO -- the joint
6 command is shown here and is shown as commander of the
7 TO, he is commander of the joint staff and on the
8 right-hand side the HVO commander, and, at the bottom,
9 with the joint command, we have the organs of the staff
10 of the joint command -- we already explained that a
11 moment ago and, under the ministry, the Croatian
12 Defence Council, we see that there is the HQ of Konjic
13 and this is a direct line from Grude, and then, at the
14 bottom, the HVO Konjic units, which shows that the
15 chief of staff commands the HQ of Konjic, and the
16 command goes downwards -- the commander of the
17 municipal defence of Konjic with a straight line goes
18 down to Konjic, and the units there.
19 Q. Thank you. You have now shown us the line of
20 cooperation from the presidency to the defence forces.
21 Would you now tell us of the lines of cooperation
22 towards the defence units and what they are composed
23 of? Let me phrase that another way. What rights and
24 responsibilities does the war presidency have towards
25 the defence forces?
1 A. According to the law, the war presidency of
2 the municipality is responsible for the preparation of
3 the units of Territorial Defence and its forces in the
4 municipality -- it is responsible for their
5 organisation, for equipping them, and for everything
6 else that comes under the sphere of logistics for
7 combat operations. From the chart you can see that the
8 war presidency is not authorised to command the units.
9 That is under the competency of the republican staff --
10 defence staff.
11 Then we have other complex problems, because
12 the war presidency of the municipality, in addition to
13 the support given to the defence forces, has a lot of
14 work to do with regard to the management of the
15 municipality itself and its organs to supply the
16 population, to organise military production -- wartime
17 production, to organise Civilian Defence and to save
18 the population -- protect the population and all the
19 problems that are not directly linked to the war, and
20 command -- there is no exclusive responsibility on the
21 part of the war presidency.
22 Therefore, the war presidency has other --
23 deals with other affairs -- not the command of the
24 units and the use of units. Those are not rights which
25 the war presidency enjoys.
1 Q. Thank you, Brigadier. I should now like to
2 ask you to answer the following question: in May --
3 and you write this in your report -- was there a joint
4 session, a joint meeting, of the military command and
5 the war presidency of the municipality of Konjic -- did
6 they hold a joint meeting?
7 A. Yes. Conclusions of this kind exist, but
8 tell me the annex -- remind me of the annex so
9 that I can recall the responsibilities of the
10 presidency towards the defence forces.
11 Q. As far as I can see in your review -- in your
12 report, the conclusions that you are talking about now
13 can be found in annex V-A/7. It is in the second
14 volume -- not the one you have before you, but volume
15 number 2 -- dossier number 2?
16 A. What was the number you mentioned -- V?
17 Q. It is A/7?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Yes, V-A/7?
20 A. That is annex IV.
21 Q. I think you will find it at the end -- V-A at
22 the end of volume 2. Have you found it?
23 A. What was the number again?
24 Q. A/7?
25 A. I have found it now -- I have it before me.
1 Q. You said, Brigadier, that those were the
2 conclusions from the joint meeting held between the war
3 presidency and the command of the forces. Tell me,
4 please, whether you relied on that document when you
5 made your assessments and whether, in keeping with the
6 other documents, you based your expertise and what you
7 are saying here today on the basis of that?
8 A. Yes, that document exists and that is why
9 I based my conclusions on it as a true document, and
10 I present my views in my expert report. Part of the
11 conclusions refer to the defence forces. I would like
12 to dwell on that for a moment. The document speaks of
13 the civilian sector and the tasks in that regard, and
14 as it was a joint meeting, a joint session with the
15 defence forces, they were charged with the following
16 tasks: the report of the staff was adopted as to the
17 situation with regard to preparations and the problems
18 that exist, and it was stated that the bodies should be
19 informed of the situation on the spot; that the war
20 presidency must have information from the locality
21 itself -- up-to-date information, because if the war
22 presidency does not know the actual situation, it can
23 take measures which would be inappropriate, to send its
24 organs to territories which are not under the control
25 of the army and that is why they require up-to-date
1 information and reporting on the situation in the
2 locality where there is the danger of an enemy
3 breakthrough, whether the population should be taken to
5 So, this system of reporting and information,
6 in order to inform the civilian population of the
7 defence on the given territory -- there were other
8 important matters, do you want me to comment?
9 Q. I would just like to ask you some questions?
10 A. Well, briefly --
11 Q. Do these conclusions precisely define the
12 defence forces of Konjic?
13 A. Yes, the defence forces of Konjic are the
14 forces I mentioned earlier on -- Territorial Defence of
15 the HVO and the police, and this document determines
16 certain measures to be undertaken. The document
17 testifies to an organisation which requires
18 organisation of the armed forces, and that the
19 regulations and rules of the military police be adhered
20 to and all soldiers not included into the defence
21 structures should be placed within the system so that
22 there is no voluntariness on the part of these soldiers
23 or other individuals. The defence forces of Konjic,
24 the HVO and the police must have the necessary insignia
25 so that can be recognised as representatives -- that
1 their uniforms should have insignia, and commanders of
2 units, so this document is a preparation -- a basis for
3 the army's organisation, so that the army takes on the
4 form of an organised force without any self-appointed
5 units or commanders.
6 So, it is an act, a document, which requires
7 a modern organisation for the army -- organisation
8 based on modern principles.
9 Q. Brigadier, in view of the fact that this
10 document determines the existing fact that the defence
11 forces of Konjic are the HVO, the TO and the police, is
12 it correct to say that, on 18 May 1992, the most
13 responsible subjects of Konjic, that is to say, the war
14 presidency and the military staff, determined that
15 accounts must be settled with any individuals who might
16 be carrying arms in an unorganised fashion?
17 A. Yes, that is true. This was a document to
18 prevent all voluntariness on the part of individuals,
19 that everything must be organised and within a system,
20 that there are no separate units or commanders with any
21 responsibilities, and to prevent crimes, voluntary
22 action and so on, so this is an act on the organisation
23 -- a document specifying the organisation of the army.
24 Q. Do these conclusion -- on the basis of these
25 conclusions, do all the authorities in Konjic call for
1 the rule of law on the part of all the authorities and
2 individuals concerned and no arbitrariness?
3 A. Yes, that is the first part of the document
4 which relates to the civilian sector. These are the
5 tasks for all the structures of power and authority at
6 the municipal level, stipulating how they are to
7 function -- the economic unit and everything else
8 within the area of Konjic.
9 Q. Does your research show that, after this
10 meeting, the military organs took certain steps within
11 their competence and that the war presidency, on the
12 other hand, took steps within the frameworks of its
13 competencies to put these conclusions into practice?
14 A. The war organs saw to the restructuring of
15 the units, and that everything that is stipulated in
16 the document be translated into practice with regard to
17 the defence forces; that the tasks stipulated by the
18 presidency should be fulfilled under given conditions.
19 It was not always possible in a short space of time to
20 deal with all those matters such as uniforms, insignia
21 and so forth, but the process was started, and this
22 type of organisation was unleashed.
23 Q. I should like to ask you, Brigadier, to look
24 at another document V-A/9, by which a committee for
25 funerals is set up, which is evidence in this case. Is
1 this an example that the war presidency immediately
2 began the execution of tasks, which were stipulated for
3 the war presidency as a civilian body?
4 A. Yes, I did not refer to the tasks relating to
5 the civilian sector, but one proof of this is the
6 stipulation of a commission for funerals in the
7 following composition and it is the task -- this
8 document provides for the commission's work and tasks.
9 Q. In view of the fact that, in what you have
10 said so far, you indicated the many difficulties facing
11 the defence forces and the war presidency, and that you
12 stressed that the supply question was an important one,
13 that is, from the supply of arms to the supply of food,
14 that this was a major problem, is it true, Brigadier --
15 would you tell me, please, Brigadier, whether your
16 research showed that the defence forces and the war
17 presidency at that time tried, in different ways, to
18 solve the problem of supplies and of overall logistics?
19 A. Well, there was an important problem for the
20 Konjic region, as was the problem for Bosnia as a whole
21 and that was the logistics problem and I stressed
22 earlier on that Territorial Defence was without arms,
23 without uniforms, without communications, without
24 sufficient food supplies, whereas it had to take on the
25 tasks of Defence, so these were very complex conditions
1 and the greatest problem occurred in the sphere of
2 logistics. There were not enough weaponry, not enough
3 communications, and uniforms, and everything else
4 necessary for waging a war, and satisfying the needs of
5 the commanding units and the needs of the soldiers
6 themselves and we had to find a way out of this, a way
7 of solving the problem, so that we had to transcend the
9 Q. Brigadier, in your report, and document
10 V-A/21, A/22, A/23, A/24, and concluding with A/24, you
11 propose a series of documents under the title
12 of "authorisations". Would you look at these documents
13 now, please?
14 A. There are several documents which testify to
15 how the war presidency of Konjic endeavoured to solve
16 the problems that stood before it and --
17 Q. Let me ask you, Brigadier, did you verify the
18 authenticity of these documents in the archives of the
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina army?
20 A. This was verified in the archives in the
21 municipality of Konjic.
22 Q. Thank you. Tell me now what these documents
24 A. These documents mostly represent permissions
25 and authorisations granting permission for travel or
1 envisaging resources for supplies and there are quite a
2 number of these documents signed jointly by the joint
3 command and the president of the presidency. These are
4 various permits and authorisations having to do with
5 the procurement of supplies for the armed forces.
6 Q. Brigadier, in view of the conditions and
7 circumstances under which the defence in Konjic took
8 place, was it normal for people to receive such permits
9 so that the war presidency could fulfil its tasks as
10 stipulated by law? Was this something typical of the
12 A. These were specific circumstances under which
13 the war presidency was operating. Without such
14 permits, it would not be possible to pass through
15 Herceg-Bosna or through the territory of the Republic
16 of Croatia from which mostly this logistical support
17 was provided. Therefore, any officer who had such an
18 authorisation was able to travel through Herceg-Bosna
19 to Croatia, on which we relied for logistic support for
20 the forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
21 Q. Brigadier, since you are familiar with the
22 situation in the whole republic, if I may say so,
23 because your personal experience and research covered
24 that whole area and, in this particular case, you
25 focused on the municipality of Konjic, my question is
1 whether the problem of logistic support and supplies
2 was a major problem for the defence of the whole
4 A. I have already pointed out that the greatest
5 problem of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina was
6 the problem of supply with materiel, weaponry,
7 ammunition, medical supplies, communications resources,
8 so that, without production of the same, which did not
9 exist in Bosnia, even though factories did exist, like
10 the one in Konjic, for example, there were no
11 manufacturing components and raw materials for our own
12 manufacturing facilities, so these had to be procured
13 from other places, via the Republic of Croatia.
14 This applied to the whole territory of
16 Q. The authorisations, permits, special permits
17 and the like, which were issued to people for them to
18 be able to engage in such procurement in order to
19 mitigate this problem, did these authorisations give
20 the people to whom they were issued any command
22 A. These documents do not have the validity of
23 an order. These are not documents that can be equated
24 with orders. These are authorisations issued in the
25 name of a particular person permitting him to obtain,
1 for the needs, in this case of the municipality of
2 Konjic, certain supplies.
3 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, Brigadier,
4 whether, while preparing yourself for this testimony,
5 did you see a decision of the war presidency dated 18
6 May 1992, whereby Mr. Zejnil Delalic was appointed
7 coordinator between the war presidency and the defence
9 A. Yes, I have that decision. It is a document
10 that has also been verified. The decision was issued
11 on 18 May whereby the war presidency of the
12 municipality of Konjic appoints as coordinator of the
13 defence forces of the municipality of Konjic Mr. Zejnil
14 Delalic. The coordinator of defence forces will
15 directly coordinate work between the defence forces of
16 the Konjic municipality and the war presidency.
17 Q. Brigadier, do you have that document before
18 you, which is a document that has been admitted into
19 evidence as a Prosecution exhibit. Do you have it now?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Will you please tell me, Brigadier, whether
22 this decision, in your opinion, was passed by a
23 civilian or a military body?
24 A. A civilian body.
25 Q. Tell me, please, does such a decision come
1 under the competencies of that civilian body in defence
3 A. Yes, this is something a civilian body could
4 issue, because the decision does not relate to any kind
5 of control or command function in the armed forces. It
6 is purely a question of coordinating activities between
7 the armed forces and the civilian bodies.
8 Q. Brigadier, could you please tell me whether
9 this coordinator, as appointed by the presidency, on
10 the basis of your expertise and your experience as a
11 professional officer, does this person have any command
12 or control functions as a military commander or a
13 person in superior authority in the army?
14 A. I must elaborate in answering this question.
15 In the armed forces, there is no such concept of a
16 coordinator in any formations. If we look at the
17 platoon company, regiment, division, et cetera, there
18 are no persons who are appointed to a post that would
19 be called a "coordinator". All the other posts are
20 regulated -- commander, assistant commander for this
21 and that, the staff consists of such and such -- there
22 is no such concept of a coordinator in the armed
24 There is another expression and that is the
25 expression "coordination". "Coordination" is a
1 function within the system of control and command and
2 it implies coordination of effort of all participants
3 engaged on a common task, so if there are several
4 factors participating in dealing with a particular
5 problem, then this concept of coordination comes into
6 play, implying that all the participants should focus
7 on a particular task so that that task may be achieved
8 with a minimum of losses. In military literature, to
9 be more specific in a text book on control and command,
10 this is in our language called "sadejstvo"
11 or "coordination". This is just a definition.
12 To make myself clearer, I would like to try
13 and show this visually to indicate what that
14 "coordination" implies, or "sadejstvo" as the military
15 term is in our language. If I may be permitted, may
16 I try and illustrate this?
17 Q. Before you do that, Brigadier, could you tell
18 us whether we are talking about the coordination of
19 combat units, or of other factors?
20 A. This coordination applies exclusively to
21 combat operations -- "coordination" is a concept in
22 combat, and there is no particular individual who
23 performs that coordination. It is the most senior
24 commander in his zone of responsibility. When a
25 commander implements a decision, or when he conveys it
1 to his subordinates, when he gives them specific tasks
2 or assignments, "The first battalion must do this and
3 the other one that," and so on, in that period of time
4 this most senior commander performs coordination, so
5 that each of these participants knows by way of an
7 By way of an example, a brigade has the task
8 of eliminating a battalion in defence. The attack is
9 carried out by the brigade against the battalion. The
10 forces in that regiment consist of various branches,
11 infantry, artillery, communications, et cetera. In
12 this organisation of coordination, when giving them
13 assignments -- let us take as an example in the case of
14 an offensive, the artillery preparation of the attack
15 shall last 30 minutes, the attack shall start at 0600
16 hours. Therefore, this commander of the infantry
17 battalion, the commander of the artillery unit, the
18 head of the engineers and all the other participants
19 must know that the attack will start at 0600 hours;
20 that the artillery or the fire preparation for that
21 offensive will last 30 minutes to neutralise the enemy
23 In the meantime, the infantry must reach the
24 line of the security zone, so the infantry must reach
25 that particular line, which is 150 or 200 metres
1 removed from the enemy positions -- this is the
2 security zone -- so the infantry should not suffer
3 casualties from the artillery fire. It must not stay
4 there long. Through coordination, the infantry is told
5 to start the assault at such and such an hour.
6 The artillery would cease-fire at 0630
7 hours. At 0630 the infantry will start its assault.
8 The tanking units are somewhere in the rear. The tanks
9 are primarily to support the infantry in the case of an
10 offensive. They lead the infantry -- they may be two
11 or three kilometres removed from that line. The
12 commander of the tank unit must calculate exactly how
13 long he will need to reach this assault position and,
14 as soon as the artillery transfers the fire into the
15 rear, he must start with his march forward.
16 Therefore all the participants in such an
17 operation must know exactly what their assignments are
18 in terms of time, because otherwise there will be
20 Q. Thank you, Brigadier. I think you have
21 described very vividly to all of us this coordination
22 of military forces. May I ask you now whether, as you
23 just said, that means that coordination in battle is
24 done by the military commander, that is, the person
25 with a senior military position?
1 A. This coordination or "sadejstvo" is the
2 exclusive task of the commander, who, after a decision
3 has been taken, goes on the ground with his other
4 commanders -- this is not done in offices, this is on
5 the ground. When this coordination is organised, there
6 is no other person who could organise it -- or control
7 or command it -- there is no special body to do that.
8 Q. Brigadier, having told us all that, can you
9 answer the following question: can such a coordination
10 be carried out at all by a civilian entity?
11 A. There is no need to ask such a question. A
12 civilian entity cannot interfere in military affairs.
13 A civilian body cannot have any role in the army in
14 terms of the organisation of combat and control and
15 command -- that is out of the question. For that
16 purpose, we have commanders, senior officers, leaders
17 whose exclusive responsibility is the result of the
18 battle and no civilian bodies can issue commands or
19 orders in that case.
20 Q. Let us now go back to the decision of the war
21 presidency on the appointment of Mr. Zejnil Delalic as
22 coordinator. This coordinator, who is there to
23 coordinate between the civilian and military bodies,
24 does he have anything to do with this coordination
25 known to military science and military practice?
1 A. No. In this particular case, when we are
2 referring to this decision, this coordinator needs to
3 coordinate not with combat units, combat forces --
4 maybe this is a misuse of terms -- perhaps it is not
5 the best term to be used -- this term is not a good
6 one. The municipality appointed this coordinator to
7 assist the presidency. He is in the service of the
8 presidency -- of a civilian body and he has to ensure
9 logistic support. He has a logistic role, to assist
10 the presidency, which is also responsible for logistic
11 support of the army.
12 Therefore, his function is to assist the
13 army, to convey the needs to the presidency, the needs
14 in terms of logistic support for each operation and to
15 deal with all logistic problems, and not to influence
16 the way in which battles are organised, to plan the
17 battles, because, after all, in this particular case,
18 in this particular individual, I think the only way we
19 can understand it as a function in the service of the
20 war presidency and the war presidency has no authority
21 to impose commanders who have command and control
22 responsibility. That is not the jurisdiction of the
24 Q. Thank you, Brigadier. As you have obviously
25 studied in detail, in some detail, the things that
1 happened in Konjic, could you please tell me whether
2 this complicated situation required this coordination
3 and cooperation in other areas, too, and did you come
4 across certain documents in which mention was again
5 made of the coordinator and coordination? Looking
6 through your documentation, I saw documents marked
7 V-A/18. Shall we please examine that document?
8 A. What document did you say?
9 Q. V-A/18?
10 A. Yes, there is such a document on the use of
11 communications in wartime.
12 Q. Did you verify this document in the archives?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. The army archives? Is this one of the
15 documents that you relied upon when you said that, in
16 other areas, too, the need arose for coordination?
17 A. Yes. For instance, the use of communications
18 in wartime and this document was jointly signed by the
19 joint staff, by the commanders Zebic and Ramic and
20 another person, Delic, I think. It deals with the need
21 to organise communication. This is also a kind of
22 coordination in the area of communications. There was
23 also an economic staff. They called it a staff, but
24 its role was also to coordinate things in the economy.
25 That applied to all these bodies appointed by the
1 municipality for civilian matters.
2 Q. Brigadier, I should now like to ask you, in
3 this third volume of your documents, in annex IX/9, if
4 we could look at a document from that period.
5 Before I proceed with questions about this
6 document, I should like to ask you, Brigadier, whether
7 you could tell us, within the system of control and
8 command in the army, who is the person who commands --
9 who is the person who issues orders and bears
11 A. The first principle in the system of control
12 and command is that there must be one commander. This
13 means that one person must issue the order -- the
14 commander for lower units we call them commandeers and
15 from battalion and upwards they are called commanders.
16 Therefore, the commander is authorised to command -- to
17 control -- and he is -- he suffers all the consequences
18 of his decisions. He may transfer a part of his
19 competencies and powers to his associates, but he
20 cannot transfer responsibility for the situation and
21 the results.
22 Therefore, if he does transfer certain powers
23 to his associates, should anything happen, it is the
24 commander who is responsible.
25 For instance, we cannot allow two people to
1 be responsible for a regiment. It must always be the
2 regiment commander -- even though the chief of staff
3 may have given some orders, in the areas for which he
4 was authorised by the commander, but the responsibility
5 still falls on the commander. That is quite clearly
6 stated in the system of control and command as regards
7 who is responsible.
8 Q. Will you please look at this order, or let me
9 ask you, first, whether you found it in the army
11 A. Which one are we talking about?
12 Q. The one we were looking at -- IX/9, dated
13 3 June. Do you have it?
14 A. IX/9? This is the one I was talking about.
15 It has to do with the establishment of railway
17 Q. Did you check this order, too, in the
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Tell me, please, could you comment on this
21 order, since it was signed by the military commanders
22 and a coordinator?
23 A. Yes. When I found this order, I saw that it
24 had to do with civilian affairs and the needs of the
25 armed forces as well as the needs of civilians. In
1 terms of the army, the aim is to establish
2 communication, so that this railway line could be used
3 for military materiel and units to be transported to
4 certain regions, so that the railway line would be used
5 both by the armed forces and by the civilians.
6 Q. Brigadier, when in an order you see the
7 signature of a military commander, whose order is it
9 A. If it is stated in an order that a commander
10 issued it, then it is his responsibility. The fact
11 that the coordinator has signed it means that he is
12 aware that he has to cooperate with them, because this
13 has to do with his responsibilities regarding
14 materials, manpower, electric power, so the
15 establishment of the railway line itself is more a
16 civilian undertaking, and the coordinator will have to
17 provide the manpower, the production elements and
18 everything else that is required and that is why he is
19 signing it. But the commander has ordered it, because
20 this was required by the armed forces.
21 Q. Brigadier, this order leads me to some
22 general questions. Can you, as a military expert, say,
23 regardless of what question we are dealing with, if
24 somebody issues an order, or a nomination, if it is
25 signed by military commanders -- a military commander
1 or military commanders -- whose order is this?
2 A. It is the order of the commander who signed
3 the order. Orders can be issued only by commanders.
4 Q. If, for example, irrespective of this
5 document, there is an order signed by a commander with
6 the signature of a third party, does it change the
7 character of that order by the commander? Is it still
8 the order of the commander, or not?
9 A. The commander who has signed the order is not
10 rid of the responsibility of signing the order. Any
11 third party can be a witness, or somebody who is taking
12 part in logistics or some other function, but the
13 commander is always responsible. It is the commander
14 who has signed the order. There is no -- we must not
15 mix up competencies.
16 The other point is subordination -- the
17 principle of subordination, which states that a
18 superior officer has the right to issue orders to
19 individuals. That is the second principle and it is
20 also stated that the subordinates are duty bound to
21 perform all commands, unless they are criminal acts, so
22 I can be ordered to do something which the commander
23 above me, superior to me, has asked me to do
24 additionally. If this is not a criminal act, I am duty
25 bound to perform what he has commanded me to do.
1 Q. Brigadier, in your documents I came across
2 several other documents in which several individuals,
3 that is to say, other signatures exist in addition to
4 the signature of the commander. Tell me whether the
5 coordinator who signed this particular order received a
6 military function, or is he superior to a commander --
7 is that at all possible and is that in keeping with the
8 knowledge you have as a military man?
9 A. Well, I do not think we need comment on
10 military rules and regulations. The system of command
11 is quite decisive on that point. The individual who is
12 here as coordinator is only taking part in this to have
13 it effected quicker, but there is no superior. The
14 commander is the responsible individual and he performs
15 coordination -- if you are talking about that
16 particular order, to ensure everything, to ensure
17 railway traffic. I see that his name is stipulated
18 here, but he has no responsibility -- no, absolutely
19 not. It is the two commanders who signed the order who
20 are exclusively responsible.
21 Q. Thank you. Brigadier, within your reports
22 you included a document by the commander of the army,
23 General Delic, and it is evidence in this case, and it
24 bears out the fact that the coordinator was not an
25 individual in the military hierarchy. Can you tell us,
1 once again, as this is an important question,
2 Brigadier, whether your expert knowledge testifies to
3 the fact that a coordinator is an individual that
4 exists in military hierarchy, and whether such an
5 individual can be named by a municipal or civilian
7 A. I have seen the document by the commander of
8 the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, where he states what
9 I in fact say what a coordinator means. That is, it is
10 not a military function and that he does not have the
11 right to issue orders and this kind of individual in
12 the army is not determined. Under given circumstances,
13 for example, if there is a fire and the army comes in
14 to deal with that, and to coordinate the civilian
15 sector with the army sector, then the army might be
16 brought in to extinguish the fire and the police may be
17 called in to see to law and order, but there are no
18 coordinators within the army.
19 Q. So, in the situations you mentioned by way of
20 an example as extraordinary situations, does the
21 coordinator issue orders, or does he only coordinate?
22 A. The civilian sector designates him. If the
23 army takes part in a task of this kind, if there is a
24 natural catastrophe or something of that kind, then the
25 commander can be an officer, can name an officer to
1 coordinate those activities. If there are no army
2 forces taking part, then it will be members or the
3 organs of the power in authority, but these are the
4 specific tasks performed by a coordinator under given
5 circumstances to solve a given problem, who is to do
6 what, you know, when there is a natural disaster, then
7 you need the medical corps, you need the police, you
8 need the civilian protection forces, but that is
9 something quite different and the role of coordinators
10 is done by the civilian sector.
11 Q. Thank you, Brigadier. Having heard in
12 greater detail questions related to nominations and so
13 on and so forth, and having heard your opinions as to
14 what is meant by "coordinator", I should like to ask
15 you the following: having studied all the documents
16 that were placed at your disposal, and after using all
17 your expert professional and military knowledge, were
18 you able to conclude that this particular coordinator
19 that was nominated by the war presidency was superior
20 to the staff of the Territorial Defence of Konjic?
21 A. The coordinator in question had no
22 inherence vis-à-vis the armed forces. He could not
23 issue any orders whatsoever with respect to the use of
24 those forces. He was not authorised to do so, because,
25 in the system of control and command, it is only
1 superior officers who can issue orders to the staff --
2 nobody else.
3 Q. In your opinion, once again based on your
4 research, was this coordinator a superior to the staff
5 of the HQ of Konjic?
6 A. No. The HVO is subordinated to Grude, so the
7 line of command goes down from Grude.
8 Q. Brigadier, is this command -- was this
9 command on the basis of your research -- coordinator,
10 sorry, on the basis of your research, was he superior
11 to the police of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Konjic?
12 A. That structure, too, has its line of command
13 -- superior to it is only the ministry, so the
14 commander of the municipal staff was not able to issue
15 these orders. It gets its orders from the ministry --
16 directly from the Defence Ministry.
17 Q. Brigadier, on the basis of your overall
18 knowledge of this subject-matter, was this coordinator
19 superior to the war presidency, which nominated it --
20 appointed him?
21 A. I do not think that I need comment on that
22 question at all, because he cannot be superior to the
23 war presidency who appointed him. The presidency is a
24 civilian organ at the head of combat preparations and
25 everything -- all logistics, whereas a coordinator is
1 the executor of what the presidency decides. That is
2 how this matter should be understood. There is no
3 superiority vis-à-vis the war presidency of the
5 Q. Thank you, Brigadier. May we now go on to
6 quite a different matter altogether -- a new field?
7 When we looked at the preparatory information for the
8 command of the Territorial Defence units, Mr. Esad Ramic
9 for the Operation Oganj, we saw that the document set
10 up five Tactical Groups. Brigadier, were these
11 Tactical Groups completely separate from the Tactical
12 Groups which were to be formed by the supreme command
13 for other military purposes?
14 A. What the staff of the Territorial Defence of
15 Konjic did to form Tactical Groups was the result of
16 poor knowledge as to what a Tactical Group in fact
17 means. A Tactical Group is something quite different.
18 You cannot form a Tactical Group from small units --
19 small-scale units, and this has nothing to do with the
20 Tactical Group that was formed later on for the
21 deblocation of Sarajevo for example, so these five
22 Tactical Groups were very small-scale units -- each
23 sent in a particular direction, so they were not in
24 fact Tactical Groups, but, on the basis of that
25 commander's knowledge, he thought he was setting up
1 Tactical Groups. It was an officer who did not have
2 the necessary military background and did not know
4 Q. May we, Brigadier, return to something that
5 I would like to talk to you about for a few moments
6 now? When we heard Professor Hadzibegovic and your own
7 testimony, we saw that the city of Sarajevo, from 6
8 April, was under a blockade and was subjected to
9 killings and destruction. Could you please tell me
10 whether, for you as a military man, from the military
11 aspects, was the siege of Sarajevo a problem?
12 A. Sarajevo was the greatest problem that the
13 State of Bosnia-Herzegovina had to confront, because
14 Sarajevo was the centre in which the State organs
15 functioned, and that is why the Serbian side prepared
16 forces for the attack -- to attack Sarajevo, so that if
17 Sarajevo were taken, it would be questionable as to
18 what would happen to the remains of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
19 and as the situation was such, as there were no
20 elementary means of livelihood, no electricity, no
21 food, no fuel, no water, no medicines, no water, there
22 was a shortage of all this, Sarajevo lived through a
23 terrible trauma and it was bombed, there were sniper
24 fires, there was grenade fire, and all this was aimed
25 at introducing panic to reduce the morale of the
1 population and a message to give up and surrender, and
2 that is why we had to seek a way out of this situation,
3 to deblock Sarajevo and to open the paths to
4 humanitarian aid and assistance, the necessary food,
5 and the bare essentials for life to be able to
6 continue. That is why the military leadership made
7 every effort to deblock Sarajevo.
8 These efforts were planned on the basis of
9 internal forces, and what ammunition and arms we had
10 and from the encirclement to bring in the forces
11 necessary and to try to deblock Sarajevo. It was to
12 this goal that plans were devised to set up on the
13 basis of these small units in the municipalities and
14 communes, to determine the various platoons, to make
15 our forces larger, and to combine forces and to try and
16 effect the deblocation of the city of Sarajevo.
17 It was for this reason that, in mid May, the
18 first Tactical Groups were formed.
19 Q. May I ask you something at this point? What
20 Tactical Groups were first formed in mid May?
21 A. Let me explain what I mean by a "Tactical
22 Group", because we cannot speak of Tactical Groups
23 without knowing what they in fact are. A Tactical
24 Group, according to regulations of the brigades and
25 military encyclopaedia that we used in the war, Tactical
1 Groups imply what a combat group is, what an operative
2 group is, and what a Tactical Group is. Let me say
3 what we mean by a "tactical group". It is of a
4 temporary composition, which will be selected from
5 units, and these are set up when a formation unit
6 cannot solve the problem in hand -- whether we are --
7 so it is a temporary formation -- whether it is on the
8 front or elsewhere.
9 If we have to liquidate a battalion or a
10 company -- if we send one battalion to do this, it is
11 not enough. We cannot solve the problem by a
12 formational unit and then our regulations provide for
13 the setting up of a Tactical Group, which is stronger
14 than a battalion -- as the commander of a division, or
15 a regiment, I say that I think two battalions will be
16 able to solve this problem, and I resort to the
17 different branches to be able to solve this problem by
18 setting up a Tactical Group, so it is only a temporary
19 formation. It is not a permanent formation. We know
20 what we mean by permanent formations, platoons,
21 companies, batteries, battalions, regiments and so on,
22 but this is a temporary formation which is incorporated
23 into our formations in order to solve a given problem.
24 As outside Sarajevo we had these fragmented
25 forces, fragmented battalions -- the staff tried to
1 conjoin our forces so that the command composition be
2 formed so as to be able to function separately and to
3 have the necessary impact and so this Tactical Group
4 was given a concrete task. We decide who the commander
5 is to be, and who the members of this temporary
6 formation, the officers, are to be, the amount of units
7 which are to form that temporary formation, what the
8 logistics will be and what will be the task that that
9 temporary formation will have to perform, and it is
10 active until the task is fulfilled.
11 Once the task is fulfilled, the formation is
12 dissolved and the units go back to their organic
13 units. So, that is what is meant by a "Tactical Group"
14 as a temporary formation.
15 Q. Brigadier, you said that, to solve that
16 particular combat operation, the deblocking of
17 Sarajevo, that these Tactical Groups were formed in the
18 middle of May. Can you tell us what Tactical Groups
19 were formed in mid May -- what particular Tactical
21 A. The staff of the supreme command set up two
22 Tactical Groups -- Tactical Group 1, and Tactical Group
23 Visoko. They were forces which were to try to deblock
24 the city of Sarajevo, together with the forces of the
25 town's defence -- the town's defence forces.
1 Q. Tell me, please, who was the first commander
2 of Tactical Group number 1 -- do you know who the
3 commander was?
4 A. Yes, I do -- the commander was Mustafa
5 Polutak -- he was the commander from the very beginning
6 of Tactical Group 1 and the chief of staff was Major
7 Sucro Pilica.
8 Q. Could you tell us where the HQ of the
9 Tactical Group was located?
10 A. The headquarters of the Tactical Group was in
11 Pazaric. It is some 30 kilometres away from Sarajevo.
12 Q. Tell us, please, Brigadier, whether at that
13 time, after the formation of Tactical Group 1 and
14 Tactical Group Visoko, were there any attempts to
15 deblock the city of Sarajevo by combining the
16 activities of these tactical units and the outside
17 units as well, and those inside Sarajevo?
18 A. Yes, as soon as the order was given to form
19 these groups in mid May, they started preparations --
20 units from the Pazaric region arrived. This lasted for
21 several days. They were equipped with armaments and
22 ammunition and food, and everything had to be in place
23 for the soldiers to be able to perform their tasks.
24 The fighting lasted from 12 to 18 June, so from May,
25 which was the time that they were formed, about one
1 month elapsed, so there was a month of preparation,
2 whereas the combat operations began on 12 June and went
3 on up to 18 June.
4 Q. Brigadier, who made up the composition of a
5 Tactical Group 1, whose commander was Colonel Mustafa
7 A. Let me refer back to the chart.
8 Q. Let us look at the chart together. It is
9 annex VI/2. That is the diagram. Have you found it?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Can you explain on the basis of the chart
12 which forces made up the composition of Tactical
13 Group 1 when it came into existence, after it was
15 A. The composition of Tactical Group 1 was as
16 follows -- in November 1992, it was directly under the
17 command of the staff of the supreme command of
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: My colleague has an objection
20 to make.
21 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour, I make the
22 same objection as I did before, that I have no
23 objection to the Brigadier saying that this is a
24 document which he relied on, but I object to him
25 asserting that the document is correct or asserting the
1 document is true as to its contents, because it was
2 drawn up and prepared by Mr. Polutak. I think there was
3 an attempt once before to tender this document, if
4 I remember correctly, and your Honours ruled it was
5 inadmissible unless the author, Mustafa Polutak,
6 appeared and gave evidence.
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: I think, your Honours, that
8 it is quite clear that the documents that the Brigadier
9 did not take part in personally -- we are not offering
10 up from the aspects of truthfulness, but from the
11 aspects of factual evidence, that is, that these
12 documents were used by the Brigadier and relied on by
13 him when he drew up his report and in presenting his
14 testimony. Therefore, I just ask that the Brigadier
15 tell us what he thinks about this chart and whether he
16 based his assumptions as to the composition of those
17 Tactical Groups on that chart. That is all we wish to
18 ascertain in this way.
19 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I think you are both
20 saying the same thing, so there is no disagreement
21 here. It is not -- he is not making any claim about
22 the truth of it. I think the objection is right.
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: Will you please tell me
24 whether this document, too, was one of those that you
25 relied upon when expressing your expert opinion?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Brigadier, I should like to ask you, without
3 entering into the truth of the contents of this
4 document compiled by Brigadier Mustafa Polutak, will
5 you please tell us whether your research, during which
6 you came across this diagram that you rely on, were
7 these a basis for you to be able to testify in court as
8 to the way in which Tactical Group 1 was formed?
9 Actually, which forces came under Tactical Group 1, in
10 your expert opinion?
11 A. I think that this diagram is an objective
12 presentation of the way in which Tactical Groups are
13 formed. The total forces indicated in black consisted
14 of 1,200 men. I wish to say that these smaller columns
15 are the municipalities from which units were taken to
16 form the Tactical Group. It all depended on what the
17 position of a particular municipality was -- how great
18 the danger it was exposed to, should all its forces,
19 all the forces from that territory be sent to join the
20 Tactical Group. In that case, it would have no units
21 to defend itself. So, it was decided, for instance,
22 that the part of the forces that were on Igman, or
23 Trnovo, there was a total of 600 soldiers in those
24 positions -- 300 were transferred to the Tactical Group
25 and 300 remained to defend that location.
1 This is even more visible in the case of
2 Hadzici and Pazaric, where the lines between the army
3 forces and the Serb army were even closer so that this
4 territory could not be abandoned and out of a total of
5 1,500 fighters, only 400 were taken to join the
6 Tactical Group, whereas the rest remained within the
7 territory of the municipality of Hadzici to protect its
8 positions. The same applies to the other
10 Q. Brigadier, does such a chart correspond to
11 your professional knowledge as to the way in which
12 units or parts of units are subordinated to a Tactical
14 A. According to the rules of control and
15 command, all parts of units sent to form a Tactical
16 Group are placed under the command of the commander of
17 the Tactical Group and that commander is the one who
18 has the power to issue commands. The commanders from
19 the previous units from which the forces were drawn has
20 no jurisdiction over the forces that have been joined
21 to the Tactical Group. Therefore, to command the
22 unified forces in a Tactical Group is exclusively the
23 responsibility of the Tactical Group commander.
24 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you. Your Honours, is
25 it now time for us to adjourn for today?
1 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Yes, I think so. We
2 will adjourn the proceedings until 10.00am tomorrow.
3 Before we adjourn, the Trial Chamber has
4 received some communication from Mr. Olujic suggesting
5 that he is having another co-counsel instead of the
6 present co-counsel, so I do not know what the position
7 still is. We want to be very clear as to what it is.
8 MR. OLUJIC: Yes.
9 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: You may sit down,
10 Ms. Residovic.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: Thank you, your Honours.
12 MR. OLUJIC: Yes, your Honours, a change of
13 co-counsel is under way. We have already notified the
14 Registry of the Tribunal of this, and shortly, as soon
15 as the necessary decisions have been taken, a colleague
16 from the United States will be joining me as
17 co-counsel. Of course, the Defence will not suffer as
18 a result, because this colleague is very well
19 familiarised with the case, so that this Trial Chamber,
20 or the trial itself will not be slowed down as a result
21 of this, and my colleague, as soon as the formalities
22 have been resolved, will assume his duties.
23 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Thank you very much.
24 I think we have been with Mr. Greaves for a very long
25 time and we really do not know why he has changed his
1 mind in continuing with the Defence of Mr. Mucic. As
2 you have fairly indicated, when the normal hearing has
3 concluded, we will hear Mr. Greaves on the issue.
4 Mr. Greaves, do you have anything to say about
6 MR. GREAVES: Nothing I wish to say in open
8 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: Thank you very much.
9 I am very grateful about that.
10 JUDGE JAN: Mr. Greaves has been a great
11 help. Of course, the defendant has the right to be
12 defended by counsel of his own choice.
13 MR. GREAVES: I am grateful to that.
14 JUDGE KARIBI-WHYTE: I think it will be a
15 personal loss. In any event, we will go further into
16 it later. The Trial Chamber will now rise. We will
17 reassemble tomorrow at 10.
18 (At 5.33pm the matter adjourned
19 until Friday, 3 April 1998, at 10am)