1 Wednesday, 11 May 2005
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Good morning -- good afternoon, Madam
6 Registrar. Could you call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case
8 number IT-03-68-T, the Prosecutor versus Naser Oric.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam. Good afternoon to you, Mr.
10 Oric. Can you follow the proceedings in your own language?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honour, ladies and
12 gentlemen. Yes, I can follow the proceedings in my mother tongue.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Oric and good afternoon to you.
14 Appearances for the Prosecution?
15 MR. WUBBEN: Good afternoon, Your Honours. My name is Jan
16 Wubben, lead counsel for the Prosecution, also good afternoon to the
17 Defence. I'm here together with co-counsel Ms. Patricia Sellers and our
18 case manager Ms. Donnica Henry-Frijlink.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Good afternoon to you and your team.
20 Appearances for Naser Oric.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour, my
22 name is Vasvija Vidovic and together with Mr. John Jones I appear with
23 Mr. Naser Oric. With us is our legal assistants Mr. Mehic and our
24 CaseMap manager, Mr. Geoff Roberts.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam Vidovic and good afternoon to you
1 and your team.
2 Any preliminaries? Mr. Wubben.
3 MR. WUBBEN: Yes, Your Honour, two issues, first related to the
4 scheduling of witnesses and the second to the 98 bis scheduling.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
6 MR. WUBBEN: First, witness scheduling. Last week --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, let me find my own documents on that,
9 Yes. Mr. Wubben.
10 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, last week, we could confirm to Your
11 Honours that we should be able to finalise the -- our case on the
12 Tuesday, the 31st of May. After that, we learnt that two days were not
13 available for court, meaning the 19th and the 20th of May, and we accept
14 to reschedule the witness concerned.
15 Well, we are today filing, project to file, a new witness list to
16 the parties later on in the day, I think after the break. And currently,
17 it is the Prosecution intention to finalise its case by the 2nd of June,
18 meaning two days in addition to those earlier-mentioned days. With a
19 view to this re-scheduling of witnesses, with no guarantee of course that
20 witnesses can, in fact, attend on the days we want them to. There is a
21 degree of uncertainty regarding expected testimony days. However, we
22 don't expect that to be a significant problem.
23 This means also that Prosecution suggests to the Trial Chamber to
24 take into consideration scheduling of the start of the 98 bis submission,
25 whenever we add two days to our additional planning, but in addition, I
1 would raise on my initiative the issue as such of the scheduling of the
2 98 bis submission.
3 Prosecution has given further thought to the time interval
4 between the Defence 98 bis submission and the response by the
5 Prosecution, and thus time required for the Prosecution to formulate a
6 response. And that time was, as allowed by Trial Chamber, three days
7 plus a weekend, in total five days. As per instructions, I submit now
8 the Prosecution should be able to cut down the time required to respond.
9 We want to shorten the procedure as much as possible, with each side
10 having as limited time of preparation as allowed by Trial Chamber to
11 prepare, and in that field, we should be able to prepare in one day, one
12 working day.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. That would be extremely fine with us.
14 I am going to not even give you the floor for the time being, Mr. Jones
15 or Ms. Vidovic, because I am informed you have a problem in that you need
16 to be in the United Kingdom for professional purposes that came up
17 unexpectedly and on which you don't have control and which are essential
18 for your career.
19 MR. JONES: Yes, yes.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: We will of course accommodate you, we will do our
21 best to accommodate you, as much as we can.
22 MR. JONES: Thank you. If I might just say I'm sorry to burden
23 the Court with that. I've always tried to avoid any professional
24 commitments elsewhere having any conflict with this trial. It's simply
25 that I sit part-time as an immigration judge in the U.K. and there is a
1 compulsory training for all judges which if I missed that I would lose my
2 status as a judge. And so it's just to request that the 6th and 7th of
3 June could be avoided.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: You can rest assured, Mr. Jones, that we are fully
5 aware that you've been - not only you but also Ms. Vidovic - have been
6 cooperating with this Tribunal. And on matters like this you will
7 certainly find the cooperation of the Trial Chamber.
8 MR. JONES: Thank you, I'm very much obliged.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: So -- now, let's -- we'll work this out. I
10 wouldn't like to take much time of the sitting, as much as possible, so
11 that you give -- if necessary we will work out a different timetable in
12 chambers when we are not sitting. But more or less, the indication is as
13 follows. Then we will go back to what we said we would expect in the
14 first place, namely that frankly speaking, the moment you finish with
15 your last witness, okay, here it's a little bit different, but the day
16 after, supposedly, we would say, now, we would like to hear submissions.
17 Mr. Jones will stand up and make a half an hour intervention, sometimes
18 it's even less than that, or maybe one hour at the most. And you will be
19 expected to stand up and respond and in other words we should finish that
20 within easy within one sitting.
21 So we'll give you a little bit more than one hour, of course, but
22 let's take it up in my chambers at some later point in time. But in the
23 meantime you can put your mind at rest that you will be able to attend
24 this training, judicial training, in the United Kingdom. There will be
25 absolutely no spokes in the wheel from our side for sure. And that -- we
1 appreciate also your coming forward and showing your availability to
2 lessen the -- that.
3 Then we need to discuss, because this impinges a little bit on
4 whether we should give our decision. I think more or less there will be
5 either -- two alternative roads to follow. One would be to hand down the
6 decision as we had suggested earlier, that is after the commitment that
7 we have with you. But that was because we would have finished the whole
8 92 bis process of submissions a couple of days before. So it would have
9 made sense. Now it wouldn't probably make sense on our part to sleep on
10 the decision, Rule 98 bis decision, for that long. And we'll probably --
11 I mean we need to discuss amongst ourselves, obviously. But we will
12 probably come down with the decision earlier, unless we find out that
13 there are some issues which necessarily has to be postponed. Which may
14 not be the case. But we will discuss amongst ourselves and we will have
15 a short meeting with you in camera either tomorrow or early next week.
16 And that will be the position.
17 In other words, if we finish on the 2nd with the testimony - and
18 I don't see why, to be honest with you, the last two -- the witnesses for
19 the 26th and 27th of May, and the 36 and 38th and 31st of May, maybe I
20 don't know enough, but I frankly feel that they could be reduced to one
21 day each, both sides. This is a chain of custody, two of the chain of
22 custody witnesses. And I honestly think that you can easily split the
23 time, one and a half hours each, and cover these two witnesses. That's
24 my opinion. But we will discuss that when we will have the meeting in my
25 Chamber next week. All right? Early next week.
1 In the meantime, please do check whether you can really
2 reschedule those two witnesses to testify witnesses to testify less, for
3 less than three hours each for the Prosecution, because I honestly don't
4 think that testifying on the chain of custody requires three hours on
5 your side. I mean, I don't know. I may be wrong because obviously you
6 know more than I do about these two witnesses but -- actually I know
7 nothing about these two witnesses. So that's the message and we will
8 talk about it in my Chamber and then we will report back in open session.
9 The idea is not to take much of today's time. Yes, I saw you, Ms.
11 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have certain
12 preliminary issues to raise with respect to this witness who is about to
13 testify. In respect of this witness, if I may, Your Honour, in respect
14 of this witness, we have received a statement, a very brief one, and a
15 very generalised one, given to the investigators of the Tribunal.
16 Yesterday, at around 7.30, we received the proofing notes with a list of
17 exhibits containing 36 documents. Many of these documents were documents
18 we had heard of for the first time. We tried to establish in every
19 possible way what documents these were, in order to prepare for the
20 cross-examination today.
21 This morning, when we applied to the Prosecutor asking for copies
22 of the documents to be delivered to us, they said that we had received
23 them and the receipt was number 51, relating to the Cobblestone
24 documents, and the second solution was to find the documents on the EDS.
25 First of all, I have here Receipt 51, and of course we have not received
1 these documents. I know very well which documents we received. We did
2 not receive a single one of these documents. And I think it is not good
3 enough for us to be told to look in EDS and Cobblestone a day before the
4 testimony of the witness.
5 We, however, did our best to find the documents. We worked on it
6 all morning but we were unable to find these documents on EDS.
7 I'm referring to six documents now, and when we requested to have
8 copies of the documents delivered to us, we received them at 12.42 in our
9 locker. These are documents which require analysis, and I wish to say
10 that the Prosecutors knew a long time ago that we would be sitting in the
11 afternoon today and tomorrow morning. So this is really unfair. We are
12 being put in a situation in which we are unable to prepare properly for
13 the cross-examination.
14 In addition to witness, in the witness list, they mention P209,
15 saying this was an order signed by Hamid Salihovic. However, P210 -- I
16 apologise to the interpreters. They mention document P210, signed by
17 Hamid Salihovic. However, the document under this number has nothing to
18 do with Hamid Salihovic. They are really putting us in a situation in
19 which we cannot prepare properly for the cross-examination.
20 In addition to this, ten minutes before the start of the hearing,
21 they told us they would not be using 11 of these documents.
22 Your Honours, I'm really doing my best to be cooperative, as is
23 my team. But every time we find ourselves in a situation in which we do
24 not know what documents the Prosecutor is planning to tender and use, or
25 they send us lists of documents which they do not use at all. They
1 shorten the list and so on and so forth. I believe, Your Honours, that a
2 long time ago you issued a decision whereby we have to receive the lists
3 within a reasonable time limit before the hearing so that we can prepare
4 properly. The situation, however, is getting worse. And -- as this part
5 of the trial is nearing its close, the situation is getting worse. The
6 Prosecutor planned three hours for this witness --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: And --
8 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Three hours. I will, Your Honour.
9 I think that I should not abbreviate my cross-examination, and it
10 will not be less than three hours. Therefore, I ask Your Honours to
11 impose a time limit on the Prosecutor or I cannot guarantee that I will
12 be able to conclude my cross-examination tomorrow. Thank you, Your
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have anything to state on what has been
15 mentioned by Madam Vidovic?
16 MS. SELLERS: Yes, Your Honour, I do.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Unfortunately we are not in a position to comment
18 ourselves because we don't receive the proofing notes to start with, and
19 the only list of documents that I have is what my secretary received
20 yesterday and I don't know whether this is the list that you are
21 referring to or whether you have an updated one. So please, Ms. Sellers.
22 MS. SELLERS: Yes, Your Honour, thank you for this opportunity.
23 In terms of learned counsel, the proofing notes were sent last night
24 immediately after the witness had been proofed, and among the first
25 things that was written in the proofing note is that the witness would be
1 spoken to again this morning and if there were any changes, those notes
2 would certainly be conveyed to you. I think that we have done that.
3 In terms of the document list, this witness was scheduled to
4 testify for one day. I will endeavour to keep the Prosecution case down
5 to one day, although now we are almost a half hour into the session.
6 The reason that there were documents deleted in many ways was
7 keeping this in mind. If Your Honours would just permit me one minute.
8 There was a mistake made in one of the original documents, and that was
9 document P495. That was discovered after we sent it to you last night
10 and I understand that the case manager then forwarded you immediately
11 notice of our error to say, right, we do not want P95 [sic] -- as a
12 matter of fact it's Prosecution Exhibit 496.
13 In reviewing the list of documents last night myself, working
14 here until after 11 o'clock and with the witness this morning, the effort
15 was made to ensure this witness's testimony would take no longer than one
16 court day. As a result of trying to shorten his testimony but making
17 sure his testimony remained relevant, reviewed the list of exhibits
18 because we thought it would be much worse to include new exhibits today
19 rather than to take exhibits away.
20 Now, there were ten exhibits that were removed from the list and
21 they were, as a matter of fact, Defence exhibits, 205 through 215 that,
22 upon using them in a proofing session today, I said that they might not
23 be as necessary. Not that they aren't relevant documents but this would
24 be one way in which we might be able to minimise the Court time. There
25 were a couple of other documents that on second thought this morning
1 documents that are familiar, documents that are basically decrees of law
2 that we decided we can have the witness speak about and not necessarily
3 again present them.
4 So in that sense, yes, the Defence is right; the exhibit list
5 that is changed. It has been minimised. I believe it's going to make a
6 more efficient court session. In terms of the documents that are no --
7 that are not either Prosecution or Defence Exhibit documents, those are
8 documents that came from a collection that we ourselves do not have the
9 translation for until 12.00 this afternoon. They are documents that we
10 will certainly use, but I would like to say that they are one-page
11 documents that pertain to, as this Court will see, very brief
13 Now, our impression was that in order for the Defence to have
14 access, or look at these documents as quick as possible, they be placed
15 in a locker or you could just pull them electronically of the system.
16 That's part of our policy of our office, is the electronic disclosure
17 system it used for some of the purposes. But they were placed in the
18 locker so they wouldn't have to fish during the night. And we have
19 e-mail traffic that did state as much.
20 Your Honours, I would just say that what we have tried to do with
21 a witness who could easily go over a couple of days for the Prosecution
22 case is to maintain what we offered in to the Trial Chamber that we would
23 try it in one day. As a result of that, we've tried to amend the exhibit
24 list and to notify Defence counsel not only as soon as possible but
25 immediately. And I understand with where Defence counsel says they might
1 require more time to prepare. The Prosecution certainly doesn't
2 object --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Yes.
4 MS. SELLERS: -- but let it be known for the record that this was
5 done having the Trial Chamber's interest in mind as well as the Defence
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you both. Let's try and be
8 practical about it. I understand that being able or put in a position
9 which you can defend your client properly is a right and not a privilege.
10 It's a right. As we go along, if you encounter problems and you think
11 that you are not in a position to defend your client because of these
12 documents or small number of them, please let me -- let us know and we
13 will try and find a remedy.
14 For the future, please try to avoid as much as possible this
15 recurring because not only it has cost us almost half an hour, but it
16 creates difficulties in general.
17 Usher, could you please bring the witness in. You need to finish
18 today. Ms. Sellers, maximum you will not get more than 15 minutes
19 tomorrow maximum, if you don't finish today.
20 MS. SELLERS: I'm cognizant of that, Your Honour.
21 MR. JONES: I wonder if you said 15.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I said 15. The transcripts are anti-Defence. It's
23 15, 1-5 minutes. Because you will get 15 and you will get the rest. And
24 the understanding is that you will try and leave us that five to ten
25 minutes in case we need to put questions to the witness.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon to you, Judge Hogic.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Enver Hogic. Good
4 afternoon, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: And welcome to this Tribunal. My name is Carmel
6 Agius. I am the Presiding Judge and I come from the Island of Malta. To
7 my right I have Judge Hans Hendrik Brydensholt from the Kingdom of
8 Denmark. To my left, I have Judge Alban Eser who comes from Germany.
9 Together, we form the Trial Chamber in this case which has been
10 instituted against Naser Oric.
11 Welcome once more. As you see, I'm speaking in English, and
12 there will be questions put to you in the English language, at least from
13 the Prosecution side, and everything will be interpreted to you in your
14 own language.
15 If at any time there are problems with the interpretation that
16 you are receiving, or if the sound level is not to your liking, please
17 draw our attention straightaway and we will find a remedy to that.
18 You're soon going to start giving evidence as a Prosecution
19 witness. Our rules require that before you do so, you make a solemn
20 declaration which is contained in the piece of paper that Madam Usher is
21 handing to you now. Please read it out aloud and that will be your
22 solemn undertaking with us.
23 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
24 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
25 WITNESS: ENVER HOGIC
1 [Witness answered through interpreter]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I thank you, Judge. Please make
3 yourself comfortable.
4 Madam Patricia Sellers, whom you've met already, will go first.
5 She will be examining you in chief. And then we'll have the
6 cross-examination tomorrow. Madam Vidovic, who is lead counsel for Mr.
7 Oric will cross-examine you tomorrow and then hopefully we try and do our
8 best to finish with your testimony tomorrow so that you can go back home.
9 And to your work as well. Ms. Sellers.
10 MS. SELLERS: Thank you, Your Honours.
11 Examined by Ms. Sellers:
12 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Hogic. Just for purposes of the record would
13 you state again your full name to the Trial Chamber.
14 A. My name is Enver Hogic.
15 Q. Mr. Hogic, might I ask you: Is your ethnicity that of Bosnian,
16 Muslim Bosnian?
17 A. I'm a Bosniak by nationality, and a Muslim by religion.
18 Q. I would ask the Trial Chamber, might I try and lead him in some
19 of the background information?
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Lease please go ahead. I would expect you to.
21 MS. SELLERS:
22 Q. Mr. Hogic, are you a graduate of the University of Sarajevo law
24 A. Yes, I graduated in 1977.
25 Q. And in 1979 did you take training from the JNA specialising in
2 A. That was in 1979, during my military service in Belgrade and
4 Q. And in 1992, is it true that you volunteered and you joined the
5 army of Bosnia?
6 A. Yes. On the 10th of April, 1992.
7 Q. And later on, a couple months later, were you mobilised under the
8 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina after it become an independent state?
9 A. It was in the month of July that I joined the Territorial Defence
10 district staff in Tuzla. I wouldn't say that I was mobilised. Rather I
11 volunteered. I saw this as a patriotic duty that I had.
12 Q. And where did you work first when you went to the territorial
13 staff office in Tuzla?
14 A. That was the first place where I was involved. The information
15 centre, with the Tuzla municipality. There I discharged duties that I
16 had from before as a military conscript in the former Yugoslavia and
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I worked as a communications officer, a signals
18 officer. I was setting up radio and telephone lines for the purposes of
19 what was then the War Presidency of Tuzla municipality.
20 Q. And in July 1992, did you become the deputy chief of the legal
21 services at headquarters in Tuzla?
22 A. Yes. That was with the district staff in Tuzla, which had
23 already been established. I became deputy chief of the legal services.
24 The chief was Mr. Meho Nusic [as interpreted], and I was his deputy.
25 Q. And what department did the legal services come under at the
1 district headquarters?
2 A. It was part -- part of the staff, of the district staff of the
3 TO. It was a legal service which was part of the sector for moral
4 guidance which was a higher level organisational unit within the staff
6 Q. And in December of 1992, did you become chief of the legal
8 A. Yes. I replaced Mr. Nusret Mesic who went to a different job
9 with the Defence Ministry.
10 Q. And in April of 1993, wasn't the legal services upgraded to a
11 department, a legal department, and you remained the chief of that
13 A. In April 1993, legal service, which had been part of the sector
14 for moral guidance up to that point, became an independent sector. And
15 as such, pursuant to an order by the B and H General Staff, BH army
16 General Staff, it became a sector headed by the commander of the 2nd
17 Corps. That was me.
18 Q. And would you tell the Trial Chamber, then, what was your rank
19 within the army during the time period that you were the commander?
20 A. At the time, I did not have a formal rank, but there were
21 establishment posts, so-called establishment posts, and for each of these
22 establishment posts, whoever was the incumbent had the rank either of a
23 colonel or of a brigadier. And it was later on, in 1994, as the army
24 structure evolved that I was granted the rank of a Captain 1st Class.
25 One day before I left the army in 1996, I was made a major.
1 Q. Mr. Hogic, as the assistant commander for legal matters, did you
2 give legal advice to the corps commanders, the commanders of 2 Corps?
3 A. I understand -- I'm not sure the interpretation is ideal. I was
4 the assistant commander for legal matters, not deputy commander. So may
5 that be amended, please.
6 On the other hand, in that position, I was always in a situation
7 whenever required to give my commander, regardless of who it was, proper
8 legal advice or instructions on how they should act in a given situation.
9 Q. Would you please tell the Trial Chamber the names of the corps
10 commanders that you served under between 1992 and 1995.
11 A. The first corps commander was Mr. Zeljko Knez. Before him --
12 before that, Zeljko Knez was a former JNA officer who switched sides and
13 joined the BH army. First, he was the commander of the district staff of
14 the Territorial Defence and the structure of the units was the same as
15 those in the army. He was appointed the first commander of the 2nd Corps
16 of the BH army. He was followed by his erstwhile deputy, Mr. Hasim Saric
17 [as interpreted], who remained in that position, unless I'm mistaken,
18 between March 1993 --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Finish what you are saying and then I need to ask
20 you something to clarify something. You were saying, "He was followed by
21 his erstwhile deputy Mr. Hasim Saric who remained in that position,
22 unless I'm mistaken." This is precisely what I wanted to ask you. Is it
23 Saric or Sadic?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "S" in the Bosnian language means
25 "sh", Sadic.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Not Saric, because in the transcript it came out as
2 Saric. Okay, yes, Judge. You may proceed. Sorry for having interrupted
3 you like this but -- so he was followed by Mr. Sadic between March 1993,
4 if you were not mistaken.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: And then what happened?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He remained in that position until
8 as late as October 1994 when he became Bosnia's military attache in
9 Turkey. He was succeeded by Mr. Sead Delic who remained in that position
10 until the end of the war and for a while after.
11 MS. SELLERS:
12 Q. Now, as part of your duties as the assistant commander for legal
13 matters, did you give advice to the corps commanders on the treatment of
14 prisoners of war?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did you give advice to the corps commanders from 2 Corps on the
17 legalities of waging armed conflict or war or battles and operations
19 A. Yes, of course.
20 Q. And did you also give legal advice to the 2 Corps commanders on
21 what could be considered criminal acts committed by members of the army?
22 A. Yes, of course. In that respect, the commander would use his
23 authority as corps commander to issue binding orders to subordinate units
24 within the corps. These were no mere oral instructions. They were more.
25 The commander would receive proposals from his assistants, including
1 myself, and turn these into orders that he would then pass on to
2 subordinate units.
3 Q. Now, could you briefly tell the Trial Chamber whether the Geneva
4 Conventions were part of the basis of a legal advice or apparatus that
5 you used in your position as assistant commander for legal matters.
6 A. Yes. Yes. That much is certain. The reason is simple.
7 Whenever combat operations were being carried out, especially those of an
8 offensive nature, those carried out by the corps in 1992 and 1993, all of
9 the subordinate units were admonished that they should act with due care,
10 and in full compliance with the Geneva Conventions.
11 If I may try to clarify, by the Chamber's leave. Throughout the
12 war we worked closely with the International Red Cross, especially as
13 regards one particular area, namely the rights enshrined in the Geneva
14 Conventions. It was along these lines that we got in touch with the Red
15 Cross mission in Tuzla where it was based throughout the war and
16 requested from them printed material that we distributed throughout the
17 units within the area of responsibility of the 2nd Corps. We used these
18 to spread knowledge and to teach our troops on how they should treat the
19 enemy as well as any civilians that might happen to be within their area
20 of responsibility. How to treat prisoners, how to treat wounded
21 prisoners, and also to teach them about all other matters that might have
22 been relevant at the time. I'm not sure I can remember all of them right
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MS. SELLERS: I would like the witness to be shown Prosecution
1 Exhibit 272.
2 Q. Would you please look -- in the English version it's page number
3 2, and the title would be, "Order on the Application of the Rules of the
4 International Law of the War in the Armed Forces of the Republic of
6 A. Yes, that's it.
7 Q. I would like to ask you, are you familiar with this order and did
8 you use it in carrying out your duties as the assistant commander for
9 legal matters?
10 A. Yes. Yes. Even before it was published in this form, in the
11 Official Gazette of the BH army, it had been published already in the
12 Official Gazette of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina as something that
13 had been adopted by the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And this is
14 something that we were familiar with.
15 Q. And can I ask you that in the supervision -- or I'm sorry. In
16 the advice that you would give, the legal advice to the corps commanders
17 and to other members of the Bosnian army, would you inform them that they
18 were bound by the customs of war that were recognised under international
19 law as set forth in Article 1?
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Ms. Vidovic?
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, objection. I have
22 not yet heard the witness say that he advised anyone else in the army.
23 He was talking about advising corps commanders or, rather, the commanders
24 of the 2nd Corps.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I think that's what -- why I asked Ms.
1 Vidovic to intervene before the witness gave his answer because I would
2 have had exactly the same objection.
3 MS. SELLERS: Certainly, Your Honour he testified about training.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: We need to have the witness explain this chain of
5 getting the troops according to him informed of their responsibilities
6 under the Geneva Conventions, how it operated. In other words, who had
7 the responsibility and who was informing or making the troops aware of
8 these responsibilities because it was certainly not him. So he needs to
9 tell us what his personal role was in this chain of imparting information
10 to the troops, and where it was taken up by others after he had left or
11 done what was within his responsibility. I think we need to explain
13 MS. SELLERS: Yes, Your Honour, certainly I will do that. And I
14 just wanted to respond that I thought that he had indicated that there
15 was information imparted to other than the corps commanders. But let's
16 go to Your Honour's question you've heard.
17 Q. Would you please explain how the advice was imparted to other
18 members, how the chain worked in terms of information to other members of
19 the 2nd Corps, and not just the corps commanders, in terms of the rules
20 and regulations, particularly those pertaining to international law.
21 A. I understand your question.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: What is -- is there a problem of interpretation?
23 If it's so, interpretation, yes. Otherwise let him answer.
24 MS. VIDOVIC: No, it's not Your Honour.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Let's go ahead with your answer, please.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was a member of the command of
2 the 2nd Corps. The job of the members of the command did not end once
3 you left the building or the actual establishment of the corps command.
4 Whenever necessary, whenever the commander saw fit, he would set up
5 various teams of a varying composition. I myself was involved with some
6 of these teams or groups, whatever you like to call them. These groups
7 or teams went to certain units which had a level of an operations group
8 or a brigade that was within an operations group. The objective was to
9 maintain discipline or to take such measures as were required in a
10 certain unit. Meetings were organised jointly with the commanders of
11 these units and these meetings were used to point out which steps should
12 be taken in a given situation. Among other things, we used these
13 meetings to explain about the application of the international -- of
14 international law. And the international law of war.
15 Within the corps, and the units that were within its composition,
16 we also organised working meetings to give advice for all units and the
17 heads of all units, from battalion and brigade level and down the chain
18 of command, and their assistants. And we advised them on how
19 international law should be applied and the international law of war as
20 well. We also consulted with the International Red Cross that was based
21 in Tuzla at the time.
22 I'm not sure if that answers your question. If there is any
23 further clarification that needs providing, please remind me.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: I want to make sure is that basically, you are in a
25 position to confirm to us that this ultimately reached the troops that
1 would be engaged in combat.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. This information on the
3 application of the international law of war would be given to the
4 commanders and it was their duty to pass this information on to the
6 JUDGE AGIUS: My question is precisely: Are you in a position to
7 confirm that it wasn't just the duty of the commanders to pass this
8 information on to the troops, but that they did actually pass on this
9 information to the troops? That the troops, in other words, were indeed
10 kept fully aware of their responsibilities under international criminal
11 law and under international law, anyway.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Precisely.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Sellers.
14 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, my might I just say one technical
15 matter we are looking at page 2 of the English and I believe that on the
16 ELMO we have page 1 up. Could I ask the usher --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I wasn't check being the ELMO, Ms. Sellers. Yes,
18 it is definitely page 1, I think.
19 MS. SELLERS: I would just like to ask Mr. Hogic then would he
20 look at number 3 on the order.
21 Q. And does this confirm what you say that in order to become
22 acquainted with the rules of international law, we'd organise regular
23 training in the armed forces to which members of the armed forces shall
24 be subject? Does that confirm the type of information dissemination and
25 training that the legal department performed?
1 A. Yes. Precisely.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MS. SELLERS: We might take that exhibit back from the witness
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Usher, please. Thank you, Ms. Sellers.
6 MS. SELLERS:
7 Q. Mr. Hogic, in continuing to discuss the legal basis, or the
8 applicable rules and regulations that 2 Corps and possibly the Army of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina followed, I'd like to ask you were there any criminal
10 codes incorporated or used in terms of the law that was applicable to the
11 army and particularly members of the army?
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I will allow the objection now.
13 MR. JONES: Thank you. I'm not comfortable with my learned
14 friend referring to 2 Corps and possibly the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
15 I think we need to be clear. I've understood so far any references to
16 troops is solely to the members of the 2nd Corps and I think we need to
17 be clear. Is she asking about the army generally or the 2nd Corps or the
18 3rd Corps or the 1st Corps? We can't be vague in this case.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I agree with him. It's easy to specify.
20 MS. SELLERS: I agree with my learned friend, but I think the
21 document we have just seen comes from someone who certainly had power
22 over more than just 2 Corps, the order that comes from Mr. Izetbegovic.
23 And after the witness has agreed that yes, that was applicable law.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Don't answer the question for the witness. So --
1 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour might the witness answer the
2 question --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Don't answer the question for the witness. The
4 witness has heard the exchange of between you, Mr. Jones and myself.
5 Actually. And I think he knows exactly how to answer this question. So
6 let's proceed.
7 MS. SELLERS:
8 Q. Mr. Hogic would you please answer the question, then.
9 A. If you could just please remind me.
10 Q. All right. The question was, then: Were there any criminal
11 codes also incorporated into the rules or regulations that were
12 applicable to 2 Corps and possibly to the Bosnian army in general?
13 A. After Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence, certain
14 regulations were passed that were adopted from the system of the former
15 Yugoslavia pursuant to a decision by the government of Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina, a binding, legal act. And this was then applied as the
17 regulations of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 Among other regulations that were adopted, the Criminal Code of
19 the SFRY was adopted as far as its general provisions, and also its part
20 that referred to crimes against the army, the part that pertained to war,
21 and the part that refers to the Geneva Conventions. We need to be
22 absolutely clear on this. These are regulations of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
23 These are no military regulations. These are regulations that were
24 passed or adopted by the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the
25 strength of its authority. According to the constitution, it still had
1 the right to stand in for the assembly or for the parliament, if you
2 like. That's why there were these binding, legal orders that once passed
3 in the parliament became laws.
4 This --this was the case with the Criminal Code too, both as
5 concerned its general and special provisions. All these provisions were
6 applied throughout the war until the new criminal codes -- new criminal
7 codes were adopted once the war was over and once there was no longer any
8 imminent threat of war.
9 Q. Thank you. Now were these criminal codes applied to the armed
10 forces under the 2nd Corps as well as the members of the armed forces
11 within the larger army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
12 A. The code has a general nature. It applies to all those whom it
13 concerns. It is used to prosecute illegal behaviour. Members of the 2nd
14 Corps as well - as all the other members of the BH army and this applied
15 throughout the war - as soon as anyone committed a crime, this person
16 would have been prosecuted by the relevant bodies, the bodies whose job
17 it was to prosecute any such individuals. Regardless of whether they
18 were military personnel or civilians.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MS. SELLERS: Might I show the witness Prosecution Exhibit 496,
21 please. Thank you. I would like to ask that we turn to Articles 140 --
22 I'm sorry, 141 to 144 for our purposes today. In my version, it's page
23 32. It is on Sanction, I'm informed. Page 52 and it's on Sanction
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go straight to the crux of the matter. I'm
1 sure the judge knows these articles by heart.
2 MS. SELLERS: I would just like to ask him.
3 Q. And you can answer as briefly as possible, if Article 142 applied
4 to the members of the army of 2 Corps and the crimes that it entails.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: We don't need him to explain to us --
6 MS. SELLERS: I was thinking a simple yes or no, Your Honour.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
8 MS. SELLERS:
9 Q. As the assistant commander for legal matters, can you also answer
10 in the same fashion as to whether Article 141, war crimes against
11 prisoners, applied to members of --
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, those two articles, I'd like you to tell the Trial Chamber
14 whether they entail a statute of limitation. How many years does one
15 have prior to being able to cease any investigation or Prosecution
16 concerning those crimes?
17 A. There is no statute of limitations, as a legal institute, because
18 in Article 100 of the same law, as far as I can recall, this Article
19 provides that criminal prosecution shall have no statute of limitations
20 for genocide, war crimes against civilians, wounded persons, prisoners of
21 war and so on.
22 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, that's on page 37 of the English copy.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you.
24 MS. SELLERS: Thank you very much. We might remove P496 from the
25 witness at this point.
1 Q. Judge Hogic, in your capacity as the assistant commander --
2 A. Excuse me.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Go ahead.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From the first time I gave my
5 details two years ago, I have ceased to be a judge. I am no longer a
6 judge. For two years I have not been a judge. I am now an attorney.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. You're probably earning more money.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Not as much as the judges and
9 lawyers here.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Hogic.
11 MS. SELLERS:
12 Q. Okay, Mr. Hogic my question was going to be in your capacity as
13 assistant commander for legal matters, did you have on several occasions
14 the chance to look at orders or written reports that encouraged and
15 insisted that members conform to the international law and those specific
16 articles of the Criminal Code of the former Yugoslavia as incorporated
17 into Bosnia-Herzegovina?
18 A. Yes. The commander of the 2nd Corps, or -- rather, none of the
19 three commanders ever issued an order that might encourage the commission
20 of war crimes. On the contrary, whenever there was an occasion to do so,
21 they pointed out the obligation to comply with international law and
22 legal provisions, and they insisted especially on a positive attitude
23 toward wounded and imprisoned enemy soldiers. And I think that this
24 characterised the behaviour of the 2nd Corps from the first conflict that
25 broke out in Tuzla on the 15th of May 1992, when there was a four-day
1 conflict in the centre of town with the JNA and about 200 JNA members
2 surrendered. There was no insistence on a one-on-one exchange or
3 anything of the sort.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 MS. SELLERS: I would like the witness to see now Prosecution
6 Exhibit 29, please. I would ask Mr. Hogic to look at this.
7 Q. Please tell the Trial Chamber: Do you recognise the name of the
8 person who signed this order?
9 A. Yes. It's the commander of the district staff of the Territorial
10 Defence in Tuzla at the time, Mr. Zeljko Knez, and as far as I can
11 recall, this is his signature.
12 There are some other characteristics of this document which might
13 appear a bit odd. In the heading, it mentions the Socialist Republic of
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina. It had already changed its name, but evidently
15 they used the seal they had available.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Can we have the screen split -- on one
17 side we get the English version, on the other side the original one,
18 please? If it's too much work, let's forget it. Let's move because --
19 MS. SELLERS: It's there, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I appreciate your efforts, thank you.
21 MS. SELLERS:
22 Q. As relates to the contents of this document, Mr. Hogic, would you
23 say that this document conforms to what was the general or the applicable
24 instructions that were given to members of 2 Corps during the time period
25 in which you worked as assistant commander for legal matters?
1 A. Yes. But this order was issued on the 28th of May 1992, before I
2 arrived in the district staff, and later on in the command of the 2nd
3 Corps. However, regardless of this, this kind of document, which was
4 signed by the then commander, Knez, is something I would always advise my
5 commander to issue, and I would always be happy to sign it.
6 Q. So this -- the principal set forth in this document in its
7 contents, that was never revoked to your knowledge during the time period
8 of your tenure?
9 A. No, never.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 MS. SELLERS: We can remove the document from the witness,
13 Q. Mr. Hogic, I would like to ask you that in the event of an
14 infraction, a commission of a crime based upon the rules or the laws or
15 the international conventions that you've just described to us, how would
16 information -- what would be the system that information could reach the
17 corps commander?
18 MR. JONES: Your Honour, simply this. This witness obviously
19 isn't testifying as a expert so if he's going to be giving any evidence
20 about information reaching corps commanders, it needs to be absolutely
21 clear that he's speaking of the 2nd Corps in Tuzla and his information,
22 his personal information about particular events and how information on
23 occasion reached the corps commander. We needn't necessarily go into
24 each specific example that that happened, but my learned friend's
25 question might suggest that he's going to give a general expert opinion
1 about chain of commands and how these things happened. Obviously he's
2 not here to give that evidence. He's an eyewitness, he's an ordinary
3 witness testifying about the 2nd Corps in Tuzla, and if the questions
4 could be restricted to the 2nd Corps in Tuzla and his personal knowledge.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I wouldn't restrict the questions to what happened
6 in Tuzla or in regard to the 2nd Corps, unless we get a clear indication
7 from the witness himself that he's not in a position to answer any other
8 questions relating to any other corps or to the BiH army in general.
9 MR. JONES: When he's asked questions in this general, way he's
10 going to answer based on his experience in the 2nd Corps and we are going
11 to give evidence being given which is exceeding --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Jones. It's a very valid point
13 you raised and the witness I'm sure has understood it. He needs to be
14 very categoric and very precise in your answers. When you are limiting
15 yourself to your experience in the -- as regards the 2nd Corps, then you
16 need to tell us. If you are going beyond, if you know more about the
17 rest of the setup, then you need to tell us as well. In other words, you
18 need to make it clear. Where you don't know, as an ex-judge and as a
19 current attorney, you know pretty much well -- pretty well that we don't
20 need any speculation. We just need to hear from your mouth your own
21 personal knowledge of how the system worked.
22 You can also, within our system, answer and give information that
23 you may have learned from others. That, in other words, you don't really
24 know firsthand yourself but that you have come to know through what
25 others have told you. That is perfectly acceptable in our system. Yes.
1 I think you need to repeat the question, Ms. Sellers. I
2 apologise to you too but I think the point raised by Mr. Jones was a very
3 valid one.
4 MR. JONES: Thank you, and I think the witness wanted to add
5 something on that subject.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Your Honours, my
8 experience relates to the 2nd Corps. I will always speak about what went
9 on in the 2nd Corps of which I was a member. Of course, I cannot speak
10 of matters where I was not present, and units where I was not present.
11 As for the Prosecutor's question as to how the commander received
12 information about certain facts pertaining to the commission of crimes or
13 other offences and breaches in the zone of the 2nd Corps, there were in
14 fact two systems of passing on information. One was the so-called
15 command system, where the commanders of subordinate units reported to
16 their superior commander and included in their reports the situation of
17 the unit they were in command of. The second system that existed and
18 that had to do with information about crimes or breaches of military
19 discipline ran through the organs of military security. From the time
20 the corps was established as a military formation, which was in September
21 1992, from battalion level upwards - battalion, brigade, operative group,
22 division and of course at the level of the 2nd Corps - there were
23 security organs, and these security organs were subordinated to the
24 commander of the unit in which they operated. And they reported to their
25 commander on a regular basis about every criminal offence or breach of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 The commander of the unit carried out an analysis of these events
3 and he could report on this to his superior commander, the battalion
4 commander would report to the brigade commander, and so on. If the
5 commander did not receive the information, or if he received information
6 from his security officer but he felt that it was irrelevant or
7 unimportant, in that case the security officer had a special channel
8 through which he would report to his superior security officer, who would
9 then act in the same way until this information ultimately reached the
10 military security service in the command of the 2nd Corps. The commander
11 would in this way receive full information about the unit in which a
12 crime or a violation of discipline was committed, and then, in accordance
13 with the results of his consultation with his assistants for military
14 security and in certain cases with me, he would decide what measures were
15 to be taken with respect to the perpetrators. Either a military
16 disciplinary proceeding against the commander or his criminal prosecution
17 by the military Prosecutor. If such was the case, if this was required.
18 In this way, there were two lines of information: one through
19 the regular chain of command, and the other through the organs of
20 military discipline and their chain. Of course, there was always a
21 third, independent source. If a piece of information was not available
22 to the military security organs, or in general to the military
23 authorities and the military units, such information, if it was -- could
24 be passed on in other ways, through private channels and so on. But this
25 happened very rarely.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you for that comprehensive answer. And at
2 the same time taking up from where Mr. Jones had left it, now that you
3 have a confirmation from the witness himself that he's not in a position
4 to speak on what happened out of the 2nd Corps, you should try to avoid
5 asking him questions which go beyond what he has told us to be his
6 limited knowledge. Unless -- if you want to pursue questions relating to
7 other units or other, then you need to ask him first whether he's in a
8 position to give us that information. All right?
9 MS. SELLERS: Certainly, Your Honour, thank you very much for
11 Q. Now, Mr. Hogic, do you know, were you in a position to know,
12 whether other corps within the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina during that
13 time period used a similar system? In other words, was this a normal
14 practice, a reporting system up to their corps commanders?
15 A. I think that was the case, yes.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: And we can --
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can tell you on what my opinion
18 is based. During 1994, in a town called Jablanica and Konjic, we had a
19 consultation of assistants of commanders of all corps for legal affairs,
20 and there we exchanged opinions about the way in which proceedings were
21 carried out in each particular area of responsibility. And from this I
22 learnt that these procedures were carried out in a uniform manner,
23 conditionally speaking. I say uniform conditionally. In all units. I
24 know for example from the presentation made by my colleague from the then
25 3rd Corps, with its head quarters in Zenica, and my colleague from the
1 7th corps, which had its headquarters in Travnik.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Back to -- my question was going to be precisely
3 whether there was any consultation between him and his counterparts in
4 the other corps on such matters. Obviously he has given us an answer.
5 Yes, let's move to the next question.
6 MS. SELLERS:
7 Q. Mr. Hogic, therefore, as part of your function, when information
8 was reported up the chains, whether through either of the systems that
9 you described, would you discuss with your corps commander the nature of
10 that information or complaints or criminal activity?
11 A. Of course. The security service, at least when the 2nd Corps was
12 in question, was well organised and well staffed. I think that it
13 comprised three or four lawyers who were very experienced in their job.
14 A large number of the cases that the security service dealt with were
15 conducted in such a way that the service directly reported to the
16 commander and proposed to him a particular measure or proceeding. Only
17 in cases where the commander was not sure that he should accept the
18 suggestion of the military security service, he asked for advice from the
19 sector of legal affairs. Then we would analyse the case together and
20 propose to the commander a certain measure or a certain proceeding to be
22 Q. Crimes that were crimes that we just saw under the exhibit
23 related to the property of civilians or mistreatment of prisoners of war,
24 would you be asked your opinion by the corps commanders if that type of
25 information, those types of crimes, reached his office?
1 A. This is a very broad question. I don't know if I'll be able to
2 answer each part of it, but I'll try. We in the 2nd Corps, as far as I
3 am aware, did not have any reports that in the area of responsibility of
4 the 2nd Corps crimes were committed which would require prosecution under
5 Articles 144 to 145 of the Criminal Code. Probably there were incidents
6 in which, pursuant to an order from the commander to a unit active in a
7 particular area or other units to which this related, we -- he pointed
8 out to them that they were duty-bound to comply with the legal provisions
9 and international conventions.
10 I think that all three of the commanders carrying out these
11 duties in the 2nd Corps paid strict attention to this.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, I'm moving to a different area that
14 might take a bit more than five minutes. I don't know whether you would
15 like to --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: How much more, Ms. Sellers?
17 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, this would probably take I would say
18 10 to 15 minutes.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: We will have the break then, but before we do so,
20 Judge Brydensholt has a question for the witness.
21 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: You mentioned that you in 1994 had a
22 consultation between the legal services and the people working there.
23 You mentioned also that you don't remember that you in the 2nd Corps had
24 any reports regarding this kind of international criminal-law provisions
25 or crimes. Did you -- do you remember if any of your colleagues from the
1 other corps reported that they have had any of those reports regarding
2 this part of the Criminal Code?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The consultation we had in
4 Jablanica was organised by General Divjak, and it was primarily about
5 issues of military discipline and military courts. I do not recall
6 anyone at that time mentioning anything in connection with the legal
7 provisions pertaining to mistreatment of prisoners of war or wounded
8 people and so on.
9 Our behaviour in the 2nd Corps, in connection with prisoners of
10 war, was quite interesting, and by your leave I would like to explain it
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. The way the 2nd Corps
14 treated prisoners of war was interesting. There were rumours that a
15 prisoner of war camp was to be established in Tuzla, as had been done in
16 Keraterm and other places that you are probably familiar with from your
17 experience here. The legal department and my colleagues working with me,
18 we were very much against this. We even consulted some colleagues from
19 the civilian sector. And I think that we acted properly at the time, and
20 that our decision was the correct one, because all these combatants from
21 the opposing army, after they were imprisoned were brought before a court
22 and, based upon a court order, they were put in prison. I think this was
23 interesting from the point of view of the 1st Corps and their prisoners
24 because they asked us about our experiences in this respect and we
25 explained this to them and I think that they received this well and
1 realised that this was the best way to act, not to keep people detained
2 without any legal basis but to make use of the existing legal system,
3 which made mention of actions against the constitutional order of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and to sentence these people and put them in prison.
5 The fact that we later exchanged these men with the aggressor's
6 side - that was the term that was current at the time for the opposing
7 army - we believed that this was a necessary solution with the aim of
8 getting our own imprisoned soldiers out of the enemy's hands, and that
9 was one of the conclusions we reached at this consultation.
10 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: You mentioned that you used to bring those
11 prisoners of war before a court. Which type of court? Which kind of
12 judge would that be?
13 JUDGE AGIUS: In other words, would it be a civilian or military
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you look at the law that was
16 valid at the time, in the initial phase of the war in 1992, we only had
17 civilian courts. It was only later on, as of September 1992, that we had
18 district military courts. These were courts of first instance for acts
19 against the army and army property - I'm referring to the BH army - and
20 these courts then dealt with such matters.
21 The district military courts existed until 1996, when their work
22 was taken over by the regular courts. These courts were established by
23 law and they operated completely separately from the military units.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Yes, Judge Eser.
25 JUDGE ESER: Just coming back to this meeting in 1994, I think
1 there must have been a reason to come together, and since you told us
2 that there have not been crimes of taking prisoners and so on which have
3 been in issue, what other points or issues or questions did you have? Or
4 what type of crimes or violations of the law have been the reason to have
5 this exchange of experience in 1994?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Certainly, back in 1994, the army
7 had already been consolidated. At the time, a blockade was lifted that
8 had been imposed by Croatia against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Strong links
9 were forged between units. It was only logical that there was a need to
10 exchange our experiences in the number of different sectors. I'm not
11 sure when exactly, but I know that other sectors held consultations too,
12 intelligence, security, logistics, any number of different sectors. I
13 can't tell you more about that, but I know that consultations took place
14 at the time.
15 On the other hand, at this particular conference, it was
16 necessary to exchange our respective experiences with regard to military
17 discipline and the relevant measures, including the responsibility of
18 certain military commanders of the BH army. I'm not talking about the
19 commission of crimes, I'm talking about disciplinary steps to be taken
20 over infractions committed by BH commanders in the line of duty. This
21 was necessary in order to make the system better operational and more
22 effective. An example needed to be set on how a commander should not
23 act, and a new example needed to be set on how a commander should act.
24 The need to do that at the time was great, for the simple reason that the
25 level of training and education of our commanders was on the whole
1 relatively low, especially the lower-ranking officers such as platoon
2 level officers and company level officers. We had very few active duty
3 officers or reserve officers that had come from the former army. It was
4 necessary to take a great many things and to apply them in a uniform
5 manner. I think this was one of the principal purposes and the reason
6 why these consultations were held.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Judge Eser. I thank you, Mr. Hogic.
8 We will have a 25-minute break. We will resume at quarter past 4. Thank
10 --- Recess taken at 3.48 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 4.20 p.m.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Sellers.
13 MS. SELLERS: Thank you, Your Honours.
14 Q. Mr. Hogic, you testified about the reporting system that could
15 come up either through the command structure or the security officers.
16 I'd now like to ask you: What would the commander of 2 Corps do with
17 information, in terms of the possibility of referring it to judicial
18 organs? What could, I'm sorry. What could the commander of 2 Corps do?
19 A. I understand. This depends on the kind of information that's
20 obtained. It depends on whether there is an infraction or a crime, at
21 least in terms of what the information indicates. The commander could
22 take two different courses of action. If there is an infraction of
23 military discipline by one of the commanders of the 2nd Corps, then he
24 initiates the so-called military discipline procedure before a -- before
25 the military court of the 2nd Corps. He would then inform the military
1 prosecutor in charge of discipline-related matters. The Prosecutor would
2 receive certain documents indicating the relevant facts and the type of
3 infraction that was committed, and then this Prosecutor would bring an
5 On the other hand, if a crime has been committed, a crime of any
6 kind committed by a military person, then the military security
7 department would inform the military prosecutor, the district military
8 prosecutor and the district military prosecutor would then inform the
9 relevant district military court, the investigating magistrate, who would
10 then take the necessary steps, launch an investigation, and according to
11 the system that was in place at the time, the magistrate would ascertain
12 whether there were any grounds for initiating criminal proceedings.
13 Following this, there would be an indictment, the case would be tried and
14 a sentence would be reached.
15 Therefore, the commander could do two things. The first was to
16 inform the m relevant military court in charge of breaches of discipline,
17 for a disciplinary procedure and then the second thing was to inform the
18 district military prosecutor to have proceedings instigated if a crime
19 was committed. The third option was if the commander believed that there
20 were no elements of crime inherent to whichever act was committed, the
21 whole thing might be dropped and no proceedings at all take place.
22 As far as I know, the corps commander never assumed the
23 responsibility to decide on his own on the merits or criminal elements of
24 any given case. He would always leave this to the military courts. And
25 this applies to both Commander Sadic and Commander Delic.
1 Q. Now, you testified before the break that there was an
2 independence between the military district court and the commander. Is
3 that what you are now referring to and what -- in what you have just told
4 the Trial Chamber?
5 A. Yes. But there is one thing. The district military court is
6 established by a federal law, and not pursuant to a decision of the corps
7 commander or any other military commander. The district military court
8 was part of the general judiciary, the independent judiciary, that was
9 within the system of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Judge Eser.
11 JUDGE ESER: Question just for the sake of clarification. Now,
12 you used the term "commander of the 2nd Corps," and further up you would
13 speak of "one of the commanders of the 2nd Corps." You said if there was
14 an infraction of a military, that has been by one of the commanders of
15 the 2nd Corps. Now, which type of commander did you have in mind in this
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't think you understood me
18 correctly, or perhaps I failed to express myself accurately. I meant the
19 three commanders who held this post at various times. There were never
20 two or three corps commanders at the same time. There was always just
21 one at a time. Each of these successive commanders throughout the period
22 of time that they spent in that position would take these measures. I'm
23 not sure if I'm making myself any clearer now.
24 JUDGE ESER: So perhaps the translation or the transcript is not
25 completely correct because it reads, "If there is an infraction of
1 military discipline by one of the commanders of the 2nd Corps, then he
2 initiates the so-called military discipline procedure before a military
3 court" and so on.
4 MS. SELLERS: I might be able to assist you.
5 Q. I'd like to ask Mr. Hogic: Could you clarify for us, what is the
6 in personum or the personal jurisdiction of the district military court
7 as opposed to what you refer to as a military court, I believe, for
8 infractions? Which people may come before it?
9 A. The military court in charge of military discipline could only
10 have commanding officers of the BH army who committed some infraction of
11 the military discipline. Officers and senior officers of the BH army.
12 Regular soldiers were not brought before this military discipline court.
13 The military discipline court only tried cases where officers were
14 involved and charged with an infraction of military discipline within the
15 BH army. The district military court tried all persons alike, regardless
16 of their rank or position. All persons charged with committing a
17 criminal act. It could have been anyone, a captain, a major, or anyone
19 I think what you've referred to, the translation, Your Honour, is
20 not ideal because that was not the idea that I had. I may have misspoken
21 myself, but what I wish to say is as follows: There was always just one
22 corps commander and this corps commander decided on all these things
23 being the most senior officer in the 2nd Corps. But of course, in the
24 time period under consideration between 1992 and 1995, there were three
25 different physical persons discharging that duty. Three different
1 incumbents. So I may have used the same expression to refer to all three
2 of them, and that may have caused the misunderstanding.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
4 JUDGE ESER: The sentence I was referring to spoke of infraction
5 by one of the commanders of the 2nd Corps. Infractions.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I think that is a mistake. I don't think he was
7 ever actually referring to infractions by the commander himself. I don't
8 think that is the case.
9 JUDGE ESER: Okay.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The commander of the 2nd Corps.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: If you would like to put any further questions,
12 Judge Eser, or if you would like to pursue this matter.
13 MS. SELLERS: Just one quick question.
14 Q. Mr. Hogic would therefore commanders say at a unit level, at a
15 platoon level, at a brigade level, at a battalion level, those commanders
16 could they be subject to the disciplinary court if they committed
17 infractions of rules or regulations of the military code?
18 A. Yes. There was a situation where a commander of the recruitment
19 office who had the rank of colonel was tried before a military discipline
21 Q. Thank you. I would like to briefly go through a couple of
22 questions on whatever judicial mechanisms or bodies were available. And
23 in reference to the district military court I would like to ask you what
24 was its role or purpose within the structure or -- of the Army of
1 A. I said a while ago that military courts were independent from the
2 BH army. I think this is something that you should bear in mind. The
3 military courts were part of the judiciary of the Republic of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina -- not the army, the republic, as a state. They
5 enjoyed absolute independence in relation to the BH army or indeed any
6 other institution, just like any other court. Just like any other court
7 of law. This means that any information from the command of the 2nd
8 Corps would go to the prosecutor, to the district military prosecutor and
9 then pursuant to the regulations then in form -- then in force, they
10 would take any steps necessary to reach a sentence in relation to any
11 persons who committed crimes.
12 The commander would only receive feedback on what the judgement
13 of the Court was, but the commander could in no way affect the work of
14 the court or affect the judgement or bring about an acquittal. This was
15 never an option.
16 Q. And was the military district court, did they have as part of
17 their jurisdiction criminal acts, criminal acts that could be found
18 within the Criminal Code of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. What types of penalties could they impose if someone, a member of
21 the army, were found guilty of such criminal acts?
22 A. All the penalties prescribed by the Criminal Code, and those
23 penalties alone. There were no other penalties in addition to those
24 prescribed by the Criminal Code. Therefore, one could not speak of any
25 penalties being imposed outside the law. Only those that were actually
1 prescribed under the law.
2 Q. Now, you've spoken at another judicial mechanism that looked at
3 infractions of discipline. Could you explain to the Trial Chamber what
4 types of infractions it could rule on and what types of penalties it
5 could hand down.
6 A. The military discipline court that was attached to the 2nd Corps
7 of the BH army was not part Bosnia-Herzegovina's judiciary. It was part
8 of the BH army as an internal institution, if I may call it that. It
9 tried officers for breaches of military discipline.
10 You had the first instance and the second instance. The first
11 instance was with the corps command and the second instance was attached
12 to the Main Staff of the BH army. Any appeals to first instance
13 judgements would be submitted to the relevant second-instance military
14 discipline court, and this Court would then pass final decisions that
15 were binding and had to be executed.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Ms. Sellers, before you put your next
17 question because the first five -- four lines of his answer unfortunately
18 the transcript missed certain parts of what he was saying. So let's --
19 with your help, please, sir, we'll go through it again. You started
20 saying the military disciplinary -- disciplinary court that was attached
21 to the 2nd Corps of the BH army, BiH army, was not part of -- can you
22 continue from there. Was not part of what?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. It wasn't part of the regular
24 judiciary, the system of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. When I
25 say the republic, what I have in mind is the state of Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina. That's my meaning. And I may first say the BH army and
2 then refer to the republic so you may find it salute slightly confusing.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: No no no, it's just I want to make the transcript
4 clear. So it was not part of the judicial setup of Bosnia and
5 Herzegovina but it was part of what, and then you said if I may call it
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The armed forces.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: So because this is what was missed in the
9 transcript, Ms. Sellers. And I looked at Madam Vidovic at the time to
10 see whether she had noticed that but I needed some help there.
11 Let's proceed. The rest of the answer is okay. Your next
12 question, Ms. Sellers.
13 MS. SELLERS:
14 Q. Within the structure of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was
15 there a third type of court that was available or that was legislated?
16 A. Yes. And a law was passed to set up a special military court.
17 That was the term. And this military court was supposed to deal with
18 isolated cases at the brigade level when someone who has been indicted,
19 charged with a crime, was at large and could not be brought in. Was
20 outside the reach of the judicial authorities. This was usually referred
21 to as a court martial. A brigade commander had the authority to set one
22 up. And under the law, it could only pass two kinds of rulings: one, to
23 find the accused guilty and to impose a death penalty; and the other
24 postponing the sentencing to all practical intents until the accused can
25 be tried in a regular procedure. In the time period between 1992 and
1 1995 or 1996, that is when I was a member of the army, this type of court
2 was never set up within the area of responsibility of the 2nd Corps and
3 I'm quite pleased, I must say, because the consequences of that would
4 have been dreadful, regardless of what the case might or might not have
5 been. Secondly, the 2nd Corps never faced this situation, never faced a
6 situation where its brigade level units were separated from the corps
7 command and from the district military court. And the district military
8 court had authority to try all criminal cases.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MS. SELLERS: I would like to have the witness shown at this
11 point P322.
12 Q. Mr. Hogic, I would ask you just to peruse the document and tell
13 the Trial Chamber if you're familiar with the judicial mechanism that it
14 refers to.
15 A. Yes. Yes. This is a binding provision issued to the district
16 military courts. It was published in Bosnia and Herzegovina's Official
17 Gazette number 5, 1992. It's a decree law. The district military court
18 in Tuzla as far as I remember was established in September 1992 and it
19 continued to operate until it was legally abolished.
20 Q. And is it at that district military court that crimes such as war
21 crimes that we saw under the Criminal Code would have been tried at? Is
22 that -- did that court have jurisdiction over those crimes?
23 A. I'm not sure if any such crimes were actually tried but if such
24 crimes were committed, then certainly they were tried or would have been
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MS. SELLERS: I would now ask that that exhibit be removed and
3 that the witness be shown Exhibit 321.
4 THE WITNESS: These are the rules governing military discipline,
6 MS. SELLERS:
7 Q. Yes. Well, is that what you recognise as in the document before
8 you, sir?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, are these rules applicable to the disciplinary judicial
11 mechanism that you've just testified about to the Trial Chamber?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Is this the judicial mechanism wherein commanders, whether
14 platoons or brigades or battalions would be tried in 2 Corps?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Mr. Hogic, did this judicial mechanism, the disciplinary court,
17 did that function in 2 Corps during the time period of 1992 to 1995?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So would it be your testimony that the district military court
20 functioned, the military disciplinary court also functioned but only that
21 the special military court was not functioning between 1992 and 1995
22 within -- as related to 2 Corps?
23 A. Yes.
24 MS. SELLERS: I would now ask the witness to be given Exhibit
25 323. If you remove that.
1 Q. Would you please tell the Trial Chamber if you recognise the
2 document and what it contains.
3 A. This is the decree law on special military courts. It was
4 published in the Official Gazette number 12/92. The Official Gazette of
5 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The number is 12/92. It was
6 pursuant to this decree law that -- or, rather, excuse me, this is the
7 one on special military courts. It was pursuant to this decision that a
8 court was to be established under special conditions but like I said
10 Q. Thank you. I would also ask to you turn to its 323 in the
11 English version of this same document, under the heading of "Decree,
12 having the Force of Law in the District Military Prosecutor's Office."
13 The ERN number is 00630022.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Does the witness speak English or not?
15 MS. SELLERS: I'm sorry, he has the B/C/S in front of him. Just
16 for the information of the anglophones, this is what I'm referring to.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Oh, I see. Okay. Because the way that turned up
18 in the transcript, it was as if you were referring him.
19 MS. SELLERS: No, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: You were asking him to turn to the English version
21 of the same document. Okay. I'm happy with the explanation, Ms.
23 MS. SELLERS: Yes.
24 Q. I would just, Mr. Hogic, draw your attention to the section
25 entitled "Decree, having the Force of Law on the District Military
1 Prosecutor's Office." Are you familiar with this legislation, this
2 enactment, of the judicial court? Now did the district military office
3 have a functioning prosecutor?
4 A. Yes. You couldn't have an operational court without a military
5 prosecutor's office. These are two separate functions in the judiciary.
6 The prosecutor's office is an independent body acting on behalf of the
7 state before a court.
8 Q. And the district military court also had a functioning judiciary
9 which also is a very important part of the judicial process, would you
11 A. The district military court had no prosecutor's office. The
12 Prosecutor's office existed at the same time as the district military
13 court, and these were two distinct and independent bodies. In the
14 judicial system of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Prosecutor is distinct
15 from the Court. It was at the time and it still is.
16 MS. SELLERS: Now, I would like this document to be removed from
17 the witness and I would like him now to see P498 and we have provided
18 that in a large chart form. If we could have the usher's assistance.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Usher, have you checked with the -- they know
20 exactly what's going to happen? How are we going to go about this, Ms.
22 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, I hope this would be brief. I would
23 just like Mr. Hogic to confirm, he may point to the section of the chart
24 that we are referring to.
25 Q. Mr. Hogic you testified about the special military court as well
1 as disciplinary court and the district military court. Would you show
2 the Trial Chamber, yes, the special military court. Do you agree with
3 how that diagram illustrates the special military court? Is that in
4 conformity with your testimony?
5 MR. JONES: My client can't actually see.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, you are right, Mr. Jones.
7 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, could we have him point to that and we
8 are more than willing to have the exhibit --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I think -- I think the room, the courtroom is so
10 small that we just can't have everyone see everything at the same time.
11 What I suggest is this: That the question is put, the witness points to
12 wherever, and that all the time, the camera is focused on the witness and
13 to the place, spot, on the chart that he is pointing to, and then the
14 moment he points to a spot on the chart, that we try and zoom in straight
15 away so that the accused and everyone else can follow. Otherwise, Mr.
16 Jones -- I mean, I'm trying to think of how to change this but I don't
17 think there is any way we can do it.
18 MR. JONES: No. There are logistical difficulties and we will
19 make the best of it, do the best we can.
20 There is another issue of principle which I raised with another
21 witness, which is that we appreciate if my learned friend wouldn't lead
22 whether it comes to this chart by asking leading questions obviously, the
23 questions ask him to confirm pieces of the chart. If he can explain the
24 Court it's one thing.
25 MS. SELLERS: I was just trying to expedite a bit of the
2 Q. Mr. Hogic, you've testified about the special military court.
3 First, could you please point to the graphic, the design, where there
4 seems to be the name special military court.
5 A. It's this one here, special military court. And this part of the
6 diagram shows the organisation and manner of operation of the special
7 military court.
8 Q. Now, you've had a chance to review that diagram. Have you in
9 reviewing the diagram been able to determine whether it illustrates or
10 not the setup, the procedural setup, of the special military court?
11 A. Yes. As provided for in the decree law. The entire diagram from
12 the initiator of the proceedings before the special court, that is the
13 brigade commander, the conduct of the proceedings, the trial, the
14 judgement, the appeal, and the execution. Everything as provided for in
15 the decree law.
16 Q. Thank you. I would now ask you to focus your attention and use
17 the pointer to indicate where it is written, I believe, disciplinary
18 military court.
19 A. Disciplinary military court, that's in the upper part of this
20 diagram, and it shows how and in what manner proceedings are conducted
21 against persons who have committed breaches of military discipline. And
22 there is another link between this Court and the district military court.
23 This is separated by this dotted line here because the moment it is
24 learned that a breach of discipline is not just that but is also a crime,
25 at that point the military prosecutor hands over the material to the
1 district prosecutor's office independently of the commander's office of
2 the 2nd Corps.
3 In the third part of the diagram, we see the structure of the
4 district military court and its setup. Also as provided for by the
5 decree law. And it describes the composition of the Court, the
6 investigating judge, the jury. The investigating judge under the law
7 conducts certain inquisitorial procedures and the Prosecutor acting on
8 behalf of the state before the district military court. Above him is a
9 higher court. We did not have appeal courts in the military court
10 system. So it was the Supreme Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina which was
11 a civilian court which was the relevant appeals court. There was no
12 military appeals court at the level of the republic or the army.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Ms. Sellers. I can see from here and
14 also from the parts in the transcript where it was zoomed in, that the
15 chart that you have been pointing to is in English. Do you understand
16 English? Can you read English?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think I can read, yes, better
18 than speak English. But when looking at this diagram, and two years ago
19 in Sarajevo when I was interviewed by the investigators, and also during
20 the proofing for today's session, I saw this and it was completely clear
21 to me. So I would not show anything different if this were translated
22 into B/C/S.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: But have you been given the opportunity to compare
24 that English version of the chart with any similar chart which is in your
25 own language? Or is it the only chart that you have been shown?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This was the diagram shown to me,
2 in English.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Did you yourself provide any diagrams to the
4 Prosecution on which this diagram may be based, or this chart may be
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that during the
7 investigation phase, we drew some diagrams. I was explaining the
8 organisation of the corps command and if I remember correctly, some two
9 years ago I drew a diagram similar to this one but I did it by hand. It
10 was a rough sketch. I think it was a kind of diagram. I don't know
11 whether it has remained among the documents kept by the OTP.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: You were a judge yourself so you will understand me
13 completely. Our responsibility is to make sure that you're making use of
14 that chart knowing exactly what it contains, even though it is in a
15 language which is not your own. In other words, that you're not pointing
16 at what may be -- has been pointed out to you but that you know exactly
17 what is on that chart in all the minute details that it may contain.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know that much English. As a
19 lawyer I wouldn't dare speak English but I know what military court means
20 and other terms of a similar nature.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Let's proceed.
22 MS. SELLERS: Yes. That will be the end of our use of this
23 Prosecution exhibit. Thank you, Mr. Hogic.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
25 MS. SELLERS:
1 Q. Mr. Hogic, you've testified about the district military court and
2 also the disciplinary court, the military disciplinary court.
3 My question to you is: Can one substitute -- can one bring a
4 case that has jurisdiction under the district military court to the
5 special -- or the disciplinary court, the military disciplinary court?
6 A. No. The military disciplinary court was a court more in name
7 than in reality. It tried misdemeanours. We have to draw a distinction
8 between a misdemeanour and a criminal offence. When I say misdemeanour I
9 actually mean a breach of military discipline. This is a different
10 concept from a crime. The district court was independent, while the
11 military disciplinary court was a part of the army system in Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina. And that was the difference.
13 As for substituting one for the other and whether a military
14 disciplinary -- the military disciplinary court could be a substitute for
15 the district military court, no. That could not happen. Crimes were not
16 tried before the military disciplinary court. They were forwarded to the
17 district military court and it was that court that handed down judgements
18 in such cases. Impermissible behaviour in general could fall within the
19 competence of either one or the other, but one court was part of the army
20 system and the other was part of the judicial system of the state.
21 Q. Mr. Hogic, would it be your testimony that in your function as
22 the assistant commander for legal matters, that if a member of the army
23 committed a war crime, that it would not -- that that person would not be
24 able to be just disciplined but that that person would have to go before
25 the district military court?
1 A. That's correct, yes.
2 Q. I'd now like to ask some other questions concerning crimes
3 contained in Articles 141 through 147, but more specifically is how you
4 in your function as the assistant commander for legal matters would have
5 to give advice or review criminal activity.
6 I would like to ask you: Was it permissible during the armed
7 conflict to destroy the property of civilians by means of burning?
8 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, if you want the question to be more
9 precise it certainly can be framed that way. If the question is not
10 understandable to the witness, I certainly hope that he will tell me.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, but I can anticipate what the objection is.
12 Yes, Mr. Jones.
13 MR. JONES: It's simply this: Is the witness now going to give
14 evidence as to what the law of Bosnia and Herzegovina is? We are able to
15 read the law and I certainly don't see how this would assist --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, I think you need to rephrase the question and
17 put the question in relation to a specific part of the code if necessary,
18 I mean but --
19 MS. SELLERS: Certainly, Your Honour. We would go to, I'm asking
20 Mr. Hogic that when he was the assistant commander for legal affairs and
21 he had to look at the international law, parts of the code such as 144,
22 or 147, 141 -- let me turn to a specific provision.
23 MR. JONES: Sorry, Your Honour. There is just another matter,
24 which is this. Firstly, due to the fact that there was a typo on the
25 Prosecution's exhibit list and this is P496, I believe, we don't have the
1 provisions. If it could at least be on Sanction so we can follow.
2 Secondly, this witness has testified that he didn't actually have
3 complaints coming under these laws, so -- effectively he's being asked to
4 address a hypothetical in this situation, would this be a crime, whereas
5 really he should be restricted to what he in fact dealt with.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: That's why I said rephrase the question, because I
7 don't agree that such a question would be a hypothetical one or that the
8 answer would be a hypothetical one. It's strictly legal -- legal
9 question and answer. I mean it's a question would be, would this be
10 included under Article whichever of the code. And to be honest with you,
11 I don't think we need the witness to confirm that because we can read the
12 article ourselves.
13 MR. JONES: Precisely.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: We would know whether it's included or not.
15 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, yes, I was just going to ask whether
16 -- if it was under the code. But my question goes to a bit of a
17 different area.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Then go to the different area.
19 MS. SELLERS: What I'm asking in terms of his position, the type
20 of legal advice that he would give in situations that related to crimes
21 under Article 142.
22 Q. For example, in terms of the burning of civilian property. Would
23 you in your position have to give advice or information to the corps
24 commanders via the legal service on Article 142 as it pertains to
1 MR. JONES: Your Honour, that's the hypothetical. Really the
2 question has to be did he give advice about burning civilian --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, no, no, no. Please answer the question.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you recall the order issued by
5 Commander Knez which we saw in the first part of this session, it states
6 quite clearly that units are told to pay attention to the rules and
7 customs of war, to not to burn or loot and so on and so forth. As the
8 assistant of the corps commander, had I learnt of such a thing, I would
9 certainly have submitted a formal written report and I would have asked
10 him to carry out the required measures against the perpetrators. That
11 was part of my job, of course, were I to come across such information.
12 Other organs were they to receive such information, whether they
13 were intelligence or security organs, or any other organs in the corps
14 command, they would have been duty-bound to convey this information
15 through the line of communication to the commander of the 2nd Corps and
16 he would know what measures he had to take.
17 MS. SELLERS: Thank you.
18 Q. Mr. Hogic, could you inform the Trial Chamber if the position,
19 the legal position of 2 Corps, particularly you, in your function, was
20 that burning could take place if soldiers were retreating from an area?
21 A. No. The fact of retreat, this is a normal military procedure.
22 However, burning as even if you define it as defence, it's not permitted.
23 Q. I would now ask you: In your position between 1992 and 1995, was
24 it also -- what was the legal -- I'm sorry. What was the legal position
25 of 2 Corps in terms of the burning of civilian houses during military
2 A. I think we can't speak of the standpoint of the 2nd Corps, or the
3 legal position of the 2nd Corps in terms of the burning. That's an
4 absurd proposition. We can speak of burning as collateral damage but
5 there will never be an order saying in this action you're allowed to burn
6 houses or you're not allowed to burn houses. You are not allowed to burn
7 houses in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the rules and regulations.
8 Q. Would this prohibition against burning of houses during armed
9 conflict also cover a situation where combatants and civilians were
10 fleeing their houses and the houses were burned to prevent them from
11 returning to those houses?
12 A. The corps commander never issued such an order, nor would I have
13 ever suggested to him that part of an order, a combat order should
14 contain anything like that. That was against the law. It was illegal.
15 It was against the law of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, let
16 alone international conventions.
17 Q. From your understanding, particularly informed by your position
18 between 1992, 1995, during the armed conflict, was it legal or illegal to
19 burn houses, but first allowing goods or valuables to be robbed or
20 removed from those houses?
21 MR. JONES: Your Honour, my learned friend is really taking this
22 way too far. She is essentially now treating this witness firstly as an
23 expert, someone who is giving his opinions as to whether certain
24 situations of armed conflict would or would not be legal. We've moved
25 completely far away from actual advices he gave, which -- of course he
1 can talk about if he gave an advice on these matters, but he's being
2 asked question after question about what's permissible under the laws of
3 armed conflict, essentially, which is firstly for Your Honours and
4 secondly it's something which perhaps an expert could address.
5 The Prosecution has dropped their expert. We'll cross-examine
6 this witness as an expert if we -- if this continues in this vein, and
7 ask him about dozens of different situations where it may or may not be
8 permissible for certain things to happen but that's not what this witness
9 is here to testify about. In my submission it would be inappropriate for
10 him to be -- for him to be questioned in this way. We will have to get
11 into this -- into considerable detail if he's going to speculate and give
12 hypothetical advices about what would or would not be legal.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I think you will need to rephrase the
14 question or drop it, Ms. Sellers.
15 MS. SELLERS:
16 Q. Mr. Hogic, in your position when you were the assistant commander
17 for legal affairs between 1992 and 1995, and your knowledge of the rules
18 and regulations to which the ABH were bound, was it at that time an
19 infraction or not to burn houses but to wait until goods or valuables had
20 been taken or robbed from them first?
21 MS. SELLERS: It is a factual question that the witness might be
22 able to assist the Trial Chamber with.
23 MR. JONES: It's exactly the same question and Ms. Sellers is
24 supposed to rephrase it.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I agree with you, Mr. Jones. You've rephrased it
1 but you've put the same question altogether. Go to looting straightaway
2 and ask him a direct question on what was the position of the 2nd Corps
3 as regards looting. And that's it. Yes, Mr. Jones.
4 MR. JONES: May I make one final objection on this subject just
5 because we are all interested in dealing with this testimony as
6 expeditiously as possible. If we are going to get into this we will have
7 to cross-examine as to what if those civilians were starving to death;
8 does that provide a Defence?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I wouldn't allow you to put that question.
10 MR. JONES: That's a question of law equally.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: It's a question of what was -- if they had a
12 position on this matter. Because as I take it, it's that the position
13 was one, and that is even in terms of what is contained in the Knez
14 document, I mean -- in our operations and our dealings with the enemy, we
15 are bounds to -- you are bound to observe the law. And we have enough to
16 know that this is not only international law but also the domestic law
17 that was in force in the territory of ex-Yugoslavia at the time.
18 MR. JONES: I would be surprised if the 2nd Corps required
19 civilians to starve to death, but we'll come to that in the
21 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, I would really object at this point to
22 Defence counsel putting their argument through prior to --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, but you're not going to get there in any case,
24 Ms. Sellers. So I would suggest you put -- you rephrase the question
25 along the lines I suggested, whether his corps ever dealt with this
1 matter in theory or in practice, and leave it at that. I mean, it's the
2 ends of the day, he's not going to tell us what the law was. We have to
3 decide it.
4 MS. SELLERS: No, Your Honour, what the position of the 2nd Corps
5 was in terms --
6 Q. Could you please then answer the Trial Chamber's question
7 concerning the position of the 2nd Corps in regards to looting during
8 armed conflict between 1992 and 1995. Of civilian property.
9 A. Very simple. The 2nd Corps, through the district military
10 prosecutor's office, prosecuted all the people who were found to have
11 committed looting, burning or other criminal offences. If you check the
12 archives of the district military court in Tuzla, you will see how many
13 people were tried. I don't have -- for such crimes. I don't have the
14 information with me. This is confidential information. But it does
15 exist in the district military court in Tuzla.
16 Q. So is it your testimony that neither the burning of civilian
17 property nor the looting of civilian property was permissible under the
18 rules and regulations of 2 Corps? Just simply yes or no, Mr. Hogic.
19 A. Not according to the rules of the 2nd Corps, but according to the
20 laws of Bosnia and Herzegovina, this is impermissible. This applied to
21 the 2nd Corps, the 3rd, the 4th, the 1st, any corps that existed on the
22 territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: In other words -- let's cut it short on this.
24 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, thank you very much.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: These actions such as looting, such as burning,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 would have landed the perpetrator before -- we have a problem now. Is it
2 -- are you receiving interpretation now?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, I am now.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: In other words, these offences or these actions
5 would have been prosecuted basically because they were -- constituted a
6 violation of the written law that was applicable for all the entire
7 Bosnian army. That's the position.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course, of course.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: That's the position.
10 MS. SELLERS:
11 Q. If someone within a unit were advocating that arson or the
12 burning of houses should occur after looting, what would be the steps or
13 the advice that the assistant commander for legal affairs would give to
14 that commander between 1992 and 1995?
15 MR. JONES: Yes, yet again under cover of what advice he would
16 give, my learned friend is seeking to have this witness give his opinion
17 into the legality or otherwise of facts which are in this case. It's
18 completely inappropriate use of this witness.
19 MS. SELLERS: Might I respond.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: It becomes hypothetical, completely.
21 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, might I respond. It is not -- it is
22 neither under a guise, it is actually directly asking the position of 2
23 Corps or the ABiH, what advice would they give to a commander. And I
24 think that he has testified that he, as the assistant commander for legal
25 affairs did give advice for legal matters. This is a legal matter. What
1 advice --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: First you ask him whether he ever had to deal with
3 this matter to start with. Because if he never had to deal with this
4 matter or this matter never arose while he was occupying that position,
5 you can't ask him now.
6 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, yes, I will ask him the question.
7 Q. You've heard Your Honour's question. Did you ever have to give
8 advice to commanders who might have been faced with the situation of
9 their members of their units committing crimes such -- what you described
10 as crimes such as burning? In your capacity as assistant commander for
11 legal matters.
12 A. Yes. This was discussed on several occasions, at the staff or
13 rather the commander's collegium at corps level. Always based on a
14 report from the security organ and the commander always, and I must add
15 at my suggestion, as well as at the insistence of the security organ, he
16 always insisted that such acts should be prevented as far as was possible
17 and that perpetrators should be punished. And this was important to
18 maintain military discipline and combat morale, because, in units where
19 there was looting, illegal theft of others' property, combat morale
20 always fell. The unit becomes disobedient and is no longer able to carry
21 out combat tasks. All the commanders, Delic, Knez, Sadic, each of them
22 always pointed this out, and they always said it was the worst thing that
23 could happen to the army, and they always demanded that their subordinate
24 commanders pay special attention to this. To prevent such activities in
25 the first place, and secondly, to punish the perpetrators. And as I have
1 just said, the district court had quite a lot of work to do in this
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Ms. Sellers.
4 MS. SELLERS: Thank you. I'd like to move into a different area.
5 Q. Mr. Hogic, I would like to ask you, did you know of a person
6 named Ramiz Becirevic?
7 A. Yes, I met him in mid-April 1994 when with a group of commanding
8 officers he arrived in Tuzla from the occupied - or not occupied, it
9 wasn't occupied yet - but it was separated zone of Srebrenica. He was
10 with Mr. Oric. I think there were about 20 of them in that group.
11 Q. Did you know what his position was, if any, within the structure
12 of the armed forces, or what job or function he had if he were not in the
13 armed forces?
14 A. No. I didn't know at first. I think he held one of the
15 responsible positions within the operations group and later in
16 Srebrenica, but I'm not familiar with his personal background or
17 training. I think he was a reserve officer with the former JNA and the
18 rank, forgive me if I'm wrong, but I think the rank was Captain 1st Class
19 or major but I can't be positive. I may be wrong. It's too far back for
20 me to remember. I can't be positive about the rank he held.
21 Q. Are you familiar, tell the Trial Chamber if you know, with any
22 type of training in international law that reserve officers receive or
23 that they do not receive such training?
24 A. Well, if there are no objections, I may as well say something
25 about it as I was trained as a reserve officer myself and I worked as an
1 instructor at the reserve officers' college in Belgrade for a while. I
2 familiarised my colleagues with the provisions of the international law
3 of war. There was usually done as part of a subject called the rules and
4 regulations governing the armed forces of the SFRY.
5 As I was a lawyer who was a member of the reserve communications
6 officers' school, my legal background was used and I was given the job of
7 familiarising my colleagues about these subjects, the general provisions
8 and the conventions governing the conduct of war. This was seen as some
9 sort of a general background that all the officers of the former JNA
11 Q. In the training, just to clarify, did that include discussions or
12 information related to the war crimes that you've testified about today,
13 precisely those in Article 141 through 150?
14 A. Yes. It was compulsory. By way of an example, in the former
15 JNA, I was there myself for 11 months in 1979. The Criminal Code of
16 Yugoslavia had just been adopted two years previously. It was considered
17 at the time one of the most advanced criminal codes in Europe. It
18 contained the provisions on genocide, Article 141 and so on and so forth.
19 According to those provisions and according to the curriculum of the
20 college, I was supposed to give a general lecture. Those attending would
21 be informed in a very general way on what the Geneva Conventions meant;
22 what our conventions meant; what our home judiciary was; what were the
23 rules governing the work of the armed forces; how one should deal with
24 certain times of situations; how a commanding officer should deal with
25 certain situations; how you deal with illegal matters; how you deal with
1 an order that just can't be carried out; and so on and so forth. So this
2 was some sort of a general background that all the future commanding
3 officers of the former JNA needed and were expected to have.
4 Needless to say, those of us who were lawyers serving in the JNA,
5 thanks to the fact that we had taken the relevant exams at a law faculty,
6 enjoyed the privilege of special knowledge and had much more information
7 to our name about these matters. I worked with ham radio operators also
8 before the war, and this led me, as someone with a legal background, to
9 go to the communications officers' college and I was one of the 100 or so
10 conscript who is were there. And among all these people, I was the only
11 one with a legal background, so they used this to get me to explain a
12 thing or two about these provisions, regulations and conventions in the
13 former Yugoslavia. A few things were said about the constitution of the
14 former Yugoslavia and a number of other matters that may not be of
15 relevance now.
16 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Hogic. I'd like to ask you also, are
17 you familiar with the name Amir Mehmedovic?
18 A. Yes. He was assistant commander for legal matters at OG8 for a
19 while with Mr. Oric.
20 Q. Whether you state OG 8, is that the operations group 8?
21 A. Yes, Srebrenica.
22 Q. Now, did Operations Group 8 Srebrenica, did that come under the
23 command of the 2nd Corps?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And did you have contact in any form or way with Mr. Amir
1 Mehmedovic in his capacity as the legal officer?
2 A. Rather, assistant commander of the operations group.
3 Q. Excuse me, yes.
4 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, I'll be moving into an area that
5 involves some of the documents that Defence counsel raised earlier and I
6 would just like to know if they have at there point in time no objections
7 that we move into this area or we could do it after the break so that
8 they will be able to have adequate time to read and understand a bit of
9 this testimony.
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] No objections, Your Honours. We
11 would like to is a save time to the extent possible.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you, Madam Vidovic. You may
13 proceed. You're still almost 20 minutes away from the break.
14 MS. SELLERS: I just want to raise it because --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, no. You did the right thing and I
16 appreciate that you did raise the matter.
17 MS. SELLERS: Thank you. Excuse me one minute.
18 [Prosecution counsel confer]
19 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, I see that there are a couple of
20 things within the transcript that we will ask to be corrected. I believe
21 it's at line 13, 17, 29. It's going up, but I hope that it will be the
22 name of Mr. Amir Mehmedovic, in terms of spelling and his correct title.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Leave those until later because usually those are
24 dealt with after this thing. Mehmedovic.
25 MS. SELLERS:
1 Q. Mr. Hogic, did you ever enter into correspondence with Mr.
3 A. Yes. During my work with the corps, some sort of radio
4 communication was set up with Srebrenica. It was difficult, but we
5 succeeded. We asked for the relevant reports and we tried to use a radio
6 link to pass certain provisions and regulations on to Srebrenica. I
7 tried on several occasions in several different ways to have this
8 forwarded to Srebrenica. We tried to have copies of the official
9 gazette, the physical copies, forwarded to or rather delivered to
10 Srebrenica and Zepa. However that proved impossible.
11 Q. Would you tell the Trial Chamber what time period --
12 A. If I may be allowed to finish. If I may. Physical delivery was
13 only possible by courier but the risk was great that the documents would
14 be lost somewhere along the way and in view of the fact that there were
15 several binders, very heavy ones, that needed to be taken there, it was
16 impossible to do this by messenger. The important thing was to get some
17 salt to Srebrenica. That was far more important than all the documents
18 of this world. On the other hand, whenever we received something in
19 electronic form, any regulations or rules, we would use this system to
20 forward these rules to Srebrenica. They somehow managed to get hold of a
21 laptop and use this to maintain communications with the 2nd Corps. I
22 don't know how they did it but they did. The greatest problem was
23 electricity because there was never any electricity in Srebrenica.
24 There was the technical aspect too. They were short on paper.
25 So even those regulations which were forwarded to them electronically,
1 they had no paper to print them out.
2 I know of stories when they first came to Tuzla, this group of
3 officers, I know that even the Court documents in Srebrenica were used to
4 roll cigarettes.
5 We tried to use our liaison officer for liaising with the United
6 Nations to get some documents to Srebrenica. However, UNHCR, which was
7 in charge of the humanitarian convoys to Srebrenica, categorically
8 refused to carry anything that had to do with organising any authorities
9 or anything to do with any military regulations. They categorically
10 refused the possibility. Therefore it wasn't possible to use that
11 channel of communication.
12 There was some radio communication and we got there information
13 in the second half of 1994 from the assistant commander for legal
14 matters. However, those were reports on the situation in the unit there.
15 What the relationship was between the commanding officers and the
16 soldiers, which disciplinary steps were taken, we put these reports
17 together and sent them on to the corps commander, and then he would be in
18 charge of the final assessment and any final decisions that needed
20 The situational reports speak about the situation in OG 8 from
21 the legal point of view. However, when I went through these reports,
22 much later, some of the things struck me as quite illogical and I'm not
23 sure how I would evaluate them now. At any rate, those were the reports
24 that we received from Srebrenica. Of course, we in the 2nd Corps were in
25 a situation to print them out and to leave them in our archive and they
1 have been preserved in the archive of the 2nd Corps.
2 Be that as it may, the laptop that was used in Srebrenica was at
3 one point destroyed or rather seized. It was seized when Srebrenica
4 fell. And we don't know what became of this laptop. It's probably
5 somewhere in the army of the Republika Srpska. I'm not sure if this
6 Tribunal has access to it. What is certain is that this laptop contained
7 everything that ever reached the command of the Srebrenica Operations
8 Group, or later, the 28th division.
9 Forgive me for being perhaps a bit too comprehensive and I'm not
10 sure if I have forgotten anything that you wanted me to elaborate on.
11 Please remind me.
12 Q. Thank you for being thorough. I would just like to have you put
13 some time frames on what you're discussing. The time period in which you
14 were attempting to give material or to have materials reach Srebrenica,
15 that was from what time period until what time period, please?
16 A. You see, we, as the 2nd Corps, always had at our disposal all the
17 regulations of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, from number 1 in 1992
18 onwards. These provisions would be delivered to Tuzla and copies were
19 made there. Each operations group and brigade that was part of the corps
20 would obtain from the corps commander, from my department, or rather my
21 sector, all the official gazettes containing the provisions and
22 regulations of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as the
23 official gazette of the BH army, which was a separate media.
24 All these regulations were always there ready to be sent on to
25 Srebrenica, one way or the other.
1 However, it was only once that -- once the radio link was
2 established by using this laptop that had been delivered to Srebrenica in
3 some way that I'm not familiar with, that a more normal communication, in
4 a manner of speaking, became possible with Srebrenica, concerning
5 everything, concerning logistics, concerning security, concerning
6 intelligence-related issues, everything. I'm not sure to what extent it
7 was used for other purposes. I know that my assistant for legal matters
8 sent me whatever reports I requested.
9 By the way, I knew Mr. Mehmedovic from before the war.
10 Q. Yes. If I can just slightly go back to two things that you've
11 raised in your testimony. Could you clarify: At what time, what date,
12 did you start -- were you able to use the computer communication between
13 Srebrenica and your office in Tuzla? If you remember.
14 A. If I remember correctly, it was from midway through 1994 and
15 onwards until the fall of Srebrenica.
16 Q. Now, also, was there any means or ways that you could send coded
17 messages or encrypted messages via this computer?
18 A. All communication with Srebrenica had to be coded. It was only
19 the last conversations on the eve of the fall of Srebrenica, perhaps a
20 day or two before the fall, that the messages weren't coded. They were
21 open messages, if you get my meaning. So everything was coded. Under
22 the military rules and regulations governing the work of communications
23 officers, when you had this sort of communication, an open communication
24 was not a possibility. Whenever there was a conversation that might have
25 been eavesdropped on my the enemy, you needed to code. You could only
1 have an open conversation when there was ongoing combat, and as far as I
2 remember, the only situation where we had open communication was just
3 before the fall of Srebrenica and just before there computer was seized.
4 Q. Now, in your communication with the assistant commander for legal
5 affairs, Mr. Amir Mehmedovic, was that also encoded when it was sent
6 between the two of you?
7 A. Of course. There was an encryption service and their job was to
8 code all these documents about to be sent, and then what was sent
9 eventually was a coded message. You were never allowed to send a message
10 that was not coded under the military rules. The only exception there
11 could be was a combat situation when there was simply no time to code the
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MS. SELLERS: I would like Mr. Hogic to be given Prosecution
15 Exhibit -- I'm sorry, it's not a Prosecution Exhibit yet. It has a
16 number right now of DA 177180.
17 Q. Mr. Hogic, I would ask to you look at the document before you and
18 tell the Trial Chamber whether you recognise it and whether you remember
19 receiving it.
20 A. Yes. I received it in early June 1994. In this document, Mr.
21 Mehmedovic reports on the disciplinary measures imposed in the area
22 covered by OG 8 in Srebrenica. This is one of the first such reports, as
23 far as I can remember. Once he had received a request to submit this
24 sort of information, he sent this back and this is the report.
25 Q. Now, when one looks at this document, Mr. Hogic, the types of
1 disciplinary measures that appear on the document - advice, caution,
2 reprimand, serious reprimand, military detention, prison up to 60 days -
3 was that in conformity with the rules and regulations that were governing
4 at the time period when you were the assistant commander for legal
6 A. Roughly speaking. You can't say that all of this is entirely
7 accurate, but in part it certainly is. A reprimand, military detention,
8 these are some of the measures prescribed, disciplinary measures that can
9 be imposed against soldiers. There was no proper analysis here, nothing
10 that would indicate whether any of the commanding officers were punished.
11 Most of these to the extent that I can see were applied against regular
13 If you take anything, any of these, with the exception of
14 military detention, this is something that was applied in the labour law
15 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and these measures might as well have been
16 adopted from a perfectly common firm or regular company where workers
17 were being punished for something by being reprimanded. Or -- even from
18 the Criminal Code of the former Yugoslavia, you could [as interpreted]
19 have a reprimand as a punishment. So this is a borderline case. This is
20 not quite law. But there was the possibility of imposing military
21 detention and also of imposing sentences of up to 60 days of detention,
22 depending on the situation. But that measure is not reflected in this
23 particular document.
24 Q. I would now like to draw your attention to the paragraph that
25 reads "Since no special military court has been set up in the zone of
1 responsibility." And would you look at that paragraph and please comment
2 on it.
3 A. You see, if we are speaking about the special military court,
4 it's quite clear we can't be referring to the Court that I pointed out on
5 the map, and I mean the special military court covering the units that
6 surround it. Secondly, we see here that there are reports filed by the
7 public security station, SJB, I suppose that's what the reference is to,
8 against members of the BH army and submitted to the municipal prosecutor.
9 And there is a request being made to open an investigation. I
10 don't think the phrasing is logical. I think it should be phrased
11 differently. A request to open an investigation is something that the
12 prosecutor should be making to the investigating magistrate. So this is
13 not regular, strictly speaking.
14 And then there is talk of an investigation against 11 members of
15 the BH army under Article 42, 147 and 148 of the Criminal Code of the
16 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, grievous bodily harm and aggravated
17 theft. There is grounds to suspect that certain crimes were committed
18 and these crimes are here classified as serious crimes.
19 MR. JONES: Your Honour there is one matter with the transcript
20 which might need correcting, if the witness can help. It was page 72,
21 lines 9 to 10. I understood the witness said that under the Criminal
22 Code of the former Yugoslavia, you cannot have a reprimand of the
23 punishment. It seems that's worth correcting, if that is indeed an
24 error. Perhaps the witness can help.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: What we have in the transcript is that you could
1 have reprimand as a punishment. Did you say you could have reprimand as
2 a punishment or that you couldn't have a reprimand as a punishment under
3 the law applicable then?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I remember, you could
5 have a reprimand being imposed under the former Criminal Code, if I'm not
6 mistaken. Reprimand as the mildest form of punishment. But you must
7 know that criminal law was never my specialty. Therefore I can't be
8 certain about it. I would need to go back to the law to be sure whether
9 there was something that was possible or not.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. I thank you. And I also thank you,
11 Mr. Jones.
12 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, I don't know if you would like to take
13 a break at this time.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Then question from Judge Eser and then we have a
16 JUDGE ESER: Before we leave this document, the article speaks of
17 crimes under Article 148 of the Criminal Code, grievous bodily harm and
18 aggravated theft. Now, to your knowledge, have these been crimes between
19 soldiers or crimes, violations, committed by soldiers with regard to
20 other people?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Based on this document, I really
22 can't say, but it was only after certain people came back from the
23 Srebrenica area in 1995 that we found out that both kinds of criminal
24 offences had been committed. Both amongst soldiers and -- between
25 soldiers on the one hand and civilians on the other. It was sometimes
1 the case that both kinds of incidents occurred.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I think -- yes, we need to decide what you're going
3 to do with this document. It seems to be a defence --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Counsel.
5 MS. SELLERS: No it's not a Defence exhibit. It's one of the
6 documents that came from the collection -- collection. I'm not finished
7 with the document yet so --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. We'll deal with it later then. Okay.
9 We'll have a 25-minute break which means we'll start at quarter
10 past 6. Thank you.
11 --- Recess taken at 5.49 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 6.24 p.m.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Sellers.
14 MS. SELLERS: Thank you, Your Honour. We are still with the
15 document. That's DA --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, does the witness have the document? Yeah,
17 okay. Thank you.
18 MS. SELLERS:
19 Q. Mr. Hogic, I would like to draw your attention to the last
20 paragraph on this document, and in the English version it states that
21 "with the exception of responsible individuals who damaged the reputation
22 of the RBH army, discipline and soldierly [sic] behaviour of the 8th OG
23 group is rising constantly on a daily basis." Is this in conformity with
24 what you testified earlier about undisciplined troops were bad for morale
25 and for the reputation of the army?
1 A. I don't know whether this has been interpreted properly when you
2 mentioned this last paragraph, because here in Bosnian it says "with the
3 exception of irresponsible individuals," those who are sullying the
4 respectability and the good name of the army. This means that discipline
5 -- is -- soldierly behaviour. This refers to soldierly behaviour.
6 That's how I understand this sentence. If you were referring to
7 something I said before, would you please remind me what you're referring
9 Q. Pardon me. I'm referring to a statement you testified about
10 earlier, saying that undisciplined troops, troops that or army members
11 that were undisciplined were bad for morale and detrimental to the armed
12 forces. And I'm asking whether that last paragraph reflects a bit of
13 what you testified earlier.
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. Now, I would like to ask you that in your capacity --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Wait. What's that's correct? Because it's not
17 clear in my mind whether that's is what you just suggested to him or
18 whether he's answering your question.
19 MS. SELLERS: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: What is correct?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I? May I clarify?
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unseemly behaviour, breaches of
24 discipline, in any case, brings down the morale and combat discipline of
25 any unit, and what I said previously refers to this. Such behaviour
1 causes a deterioration in the combat morale and discipline of units. So
2 the more such individuals or eliminated from the units or disciplined the
3 better for the chance for the unit to have good combat morale and to
4 carry out any combat task better. A unit -- it's clear to you now?
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. So basically the question that was put to
6 you, whether this last paragraph in that document falls within the
7 context of what you had just been explaining. This is how you understood
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely, yes.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Judge Eser.
11 JUDGE ESER: I'm not completely clear. I mean, the last
12 paragraph reads: "Discipline and soldierly behaviour of the 8th OG is
13 rising constantly, on a daily basis." This sentence seems to imply that
14 the discipline had been less good before; that it is becoming better now,
15 but it has been less good before. Is that your testimony?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Precisely so, yes.
17 MS. SELLERS: At there point I would like to ask for a P number
18 for this document.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly. There will become Prosecution Exhibit
21 THE REGISTRAR: 538, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: 538. Thank you.
23 MS. SELLERS: If I may with the Court's permission, at this point
24 in time - I wanted to raise it earlier - I'd like to hand up the ERN
25 number copies of P496, and that's the Criminal Code.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. What's the problem with that? You said you
2 didn't have it available but I'm sure you do have it.
3 MR. JONES: Yes. No, what I meant was we were given the list and
4 so we obviously brought the exhibits that were on the list. Because of
5 the typo P495 should have been P496 we didn't have a physical copy with
7 MS. SELLERS: We regret that the typo that was corrected last
8 night was not sufficiently understood because there was also a typo that
9 we ourselves had to look at and say referred to another exhibit.
10 But right now we would like to hand up an ERN copy of the exhibit
11 so we will have more facility of going to the different pages by ERN
12 numbers. I believe the Defence already received a copy. We handed it up
13 earlier. And right now we would like to land it up to the Chamber.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you.
15 MS. SELLERS: Thank you.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Is this going to substitute the existing 496?
17 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, we would like to replace it because
18 existing P496 does not have ERN numbers on the page.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. You are correct. Thank you.
20 MS. SELLERS: We remain with the same number or do we get another
22 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no. It will -- let's, well, let's play it safe
23 here. Mr. Jones or Madam Vidovic, sorry, I mean, it's -- I don't think
24 the question arises as regards the Serbo-Croat version but as regards the
25 English translation, do you have any objection at all if we just replace
1 the previous copy that we had with this?
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Please, will you tell my secretary.
4 Otherwise I would need to make a note on it. So this will be the new
5 P496 and it will replace the current one. Thank you.
6 Thank you, Ms. Sellers.
7 MS. SELLERS: Thank you. I would now like to have another
8 document placed in front of Mr. Hogic and that document has ERN number
10 Q. Could you briefly scan the document. Does this document reflect
11 the communications between you and Mr. Mehmedovic during 1994? I believe
12 it's October of 1994.
13 A. Yes. This is a report I received from Mr. Mehmedovic on the 5th
14 of October 1994, and it's addressed to me.
15 Q. Now, I would like to draw your attention just briefly to the
16 first paragraph. Does that indicate there is a continuing disciplining
17 of certain members of the armed forces who are part of the 8th
18 Operational Group in Srebrenica during the time period indicated as
20 A. According to this report, yes. But these are measures handed
21 down by commanders to their soldiers under the rules on military
23 Q. And among the disciplinary measures that are handed down, would
24 you agree that some have been cautioned, others reprimand and detention
25 up to 30 days?
1 A. Up to 30 days, yes.
2 Q. Now I'd like to draw your attention to the next paragraph where
3 it talks about proceedings against more than 50 members who have
4 attempted to cross to Kladanj. What type of infraction, if any, is this,
5 Mr. Hogic?
6 A. Probably abandoning their position and going to another area
7 without their commander's approval.
8 Q. Now, when you received this report, or the previous report that
9 we have seen in your capacity as your responsibility as assistant
10 commander for legal matters, what would you do with the information?
11 A. The commander of the 2nd Corps was informed of this. However,
12 the logical question arises as to what he could have done at this
13 distance. Tuzla-Srebrenica, I mean.
14 Q. Now, was this information conveyed by the computer that you
15 testified about before?
16 A. I'm telling you what I did about this report. I informed the
17 corps commander. The corps commander was informed of this immediately.
18 Q. My question is was this document or this information in the
19 document, was this conveyed to you by computer, the computer that you
20 testified about earlier that established a communications between
21 Srebrenica and Tuzla?
22 A. Precisely so, yes.
23 Q. Did that account for the reason that there is no signature on
24 this document and there wasn't a signature on the previous document?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, I'd like to draw your attention just to the last paragraph
2 on this document and to see if you have any comment on that for the Trial
4 A. The fact that there is no signature is logical because this
5 telegram arrived through a radio communication and it was impossible to
6 transmit a signature. You could just print out the name of the person
7 sending it. This was done through a communication system I described to
8 you previously as only the name of Mr. Amir Mehmedovic is mentioned. We
9 don't see his signature.
10 You were asking me about the last paragraph where it says that
11 they have submitted the proposal of the commanding officers for the
12 establishment of the special military courts as well as the information
13 that they are not in possession of the decree law, and we sent them the
14 names of the commanding officers who could establish a special department
15 of the military court.
16 The law did not provide for the setting up of a special
17 department of the court, but we asked for the opinion of the BH General
18 Staff and we were told that we could establish this special department in
19 view of the conditions prevailing in Srebrenica. And Zepa likewise. So
20 that we responded by the same method and gave them instructions, telling
21 them about the work of the military disciplinary court in the corps and
22 telling them what action they should take and what they should do in
23 order to establish a military disciplinary court in Srebrenica.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MS. SELLERS: This document, I'd like to ask to have a P number
1 given, please, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: So this will be become P539; is that correct?
3 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
5 MS. SELLERS: I would now ask that Mr. Hogic be given the
6 following document. It's DA 177853.
7 Q. Mr. Hogic, I would just ask you to first glance over the document
8 and would you confirm for the Trial Chamber that this was a document that
9 you received from Mr. Mehmedovic.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And without belabouring the point, it was transmitted in a
12 similar manner than the other documents that we have just reviewed,
13 transmitted to you in Tuzla?
14 A. Yes, that's correct.
15 Q. Now, in this report, in the first paragraph, it states that there
16 were no collective refusal to obey orders. Is that evidence of military
17 discipline or increasing military discipline?
18 A. In any case, it refers to increasing military discipline.
19 Q. Now, if you look at the second segment, particularly under number
20 1 and 2, is it correct -- was it correct that discipline could be meted
21 out to troops as well as to officers during this time period?
22 A. Looking at the number of warnings or military detentions, this is
23 more favourable than the previous report, and even the two reprimands for
24 officers simply shows that attention had been drawn to proper and seemly
25 behaviour, and this is the assessment of an organ which was part of the
1 8th Operative Group.
2 Q. Now, the next-to-the-last paragraph refers to a department of the
3 district military court seated in Srebrenica was set up. Would you
4 please comment on that for the Trial Chamber, please.
5 A. First of all, a department of the court could not have been
6 established under a decision of the government. Possibly by a decision
7 of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina acting on behalf of the
8 assembly as a legislative organ. A court cannot be established by a
9 government decision.
10 Q. Lastly -- pardon me.
11 A. Furthermore, it says here that the command of the 8th Operative
12 Group at the request of the civilian authorities sent a list of ten
13 members as proposed judge-jurors, and this is something I cannot
14 understand. When this telegram arrived from Srebrenica, we commented on
15 this, and we said it was illogical and ran counter to the legislation of
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina. As far as I know, this alleged department of the
17 district court never actually materialised in Srebrenica. Neither the
18 Court nor the Prosecutor's office ever came to life.
19 Q. And was it also during this time period, I refer you to the last
20 paragraph, that gazettes or rules and regulations were trying, at least
21 on the part of your office, were trying to be sent to Srebrenica?
22 A. We were constantly trying to find methods of delivering these,
23 and I have explained how we did that. We tried physically; we were not
24 successful. We managed to transmit part of these regulations through the
25 radio, through digital means. How far this was successful I don't know.
1 I don't believe that these digitally transmitted regulations were able to
2 be analysed. They probably remained in the computer's memory. They were
3 not printed out and hard copies were not sent out to the units. I think
4 that's how it was.
5 I think that even in our report, which we sent to them, we told
6 them that we would try in every way possible to deliver this to them but
7 I don't think we -- or rather I'm not sure we ever managed to complete
8 this task. I don't think we did.
9 Q. Were you ever asked via this communication then to send within
10 your correspondence any specific regulations in their most minimum form
11 or any parts of the Geneva Conventions or any parts of the disciplinary
13 A. I don't think we had the Geneva Conventions in a digital format,
14 but we had some of the regulations that we did pass along. I'm certain
15 that those regulations were available in Srebrenica. For example, if we
16 are talking about the Criminal Code of Yugoslavia that was adopted by the
17 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are talking about the republican
18 Criminal Code, it certainly was available in a written form in
19 Srebrenica. It had been used by the regular court in Srebrenica for a
20 great many years. Therefore, all these regulations were available in
22 On the other hand, regulations of a military nature, which
23 referred to disciplinary courts and military courts, it was up to us. We
24 were trying to deliver these to the command of the operations group in
25 Srebrenica. I'm fairly certain that we did eventually. Whether they
1 reached Srebrenica is not something that I can say.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I have an objection. The witness
3 never at any point said that he actually knew that anyone in Srebrenica
4 had been familiar with anything to do with the Geneva Conventions.
5 Therefore, I don't think the witness should be asked whether anyone from
6 Srebrenica asked for the Geneva Conventions to be sent over.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Perfectly legitimate question. The two are
8 unrelated, whether one asked or anyone asked or whether anyone was
9 familiar with the Geneva Conventions are unrelated. So anyway, let's
10 move. Let's proceed. Try to finish, to conclude, Ms. Sellers.
11 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, I'd like to ask for a P number for
12 this document.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Of course. This will be 540.
14 MS. SELLERS: I would now like the document DA 170465 to be
15 handed to Mr. Hogic, please.
16 Q. I ask you to look over the document and to just confirm for the
17 Trial Chamber this is a continuation of the communication that you had
18 with Srebrenica. This is in April 1995.
19 A. Yes. But this one was signed by Mr. Abdulah Majstorovic who was
20 the acting assistant commander for legal matters at the time, I suppose.
21 He's another person I met upon his arrival in Tuzla.
22 Q. So would this be, to your knowledge, the second legal officer or
23 assistant commander for legal affairs that was present in Srebrenica
24 during the armed conflict?
25 A. Yes. I know Mr. Mehmedovic. This is several months before the
1 fall of Srebrenica, but we see that Mr. Abdulah Majstorovic was appointed
2 probably by a decision of the commander of the 28th division.
3 Q. All right.
4 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, I would ask that this be a P number.
5 I want to move on rather rapidly.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: This will become P541.
7 MS. SELLERS: I would now ask that Mr. Hogic be given document
8 DA 174343, I believe.
9 Q. Mr. Hogic, if you could just briefly glance at this document also
10 and confirm to the Trial Chamber that it also is a continuation of your
11 communication with Srebrenica in 1995. It's dated May 1995.
12 A. Yes.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Just to clear this up, I see that now Mr.
14 Majstorovic is Avdo and not Abdulah. Is there a difference or is it the
15 same person?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think it's the same person. We
17 use the abbreviated form very frequently where I come from. Abdulah and
18 Avdo is the same name.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: That's what I wanted to hear from you. I knew it
20 but I needed --
21 MS. SELLERS: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: -- I needed you to confirm it.
23 MS. SELLERS:
24 Q. Mr. Hogic, would you agree looking at the contends of this letter
25 that disciplinary measures are -- appear to be increasing, that there is
1 less -- there is no refusal for -- to obey orders and it appears to be
2 within the rank that is the attitude towards members is becoming in line
3 with the regulations or rules of the ABiH army?
4 A. That's what paragraph 3 indicates. Paragraph 4 says that
5 regulations should be delivered by communications equipment to the 28th
6 Division, and underneath you see what specific regulations they are
7 requesting. As far as I can remember, we did try to deliver these but
8 obviously because of the size of the file or because of some other
9 problems, they never received the regulations.
10 Q. Toward the end of the second paragraph, I bring your attention to
11 where it says, "Because of the blockades of the Srebrenica territory we
12 have so far received the rules on military discipline, the decree law on
13 the army of the RBH and the decree law on military service which have
14 gone -- undergone amendments." Did that lead you to believe that they
15 did have some of the laws but not the latest version of those laws or
17 A. I think these are mere assumptions as far as amendments to the
18 law are concerned. These are assumptions made by the -- whoever signed
19 the document. I don't think this was the real situation. The law could
20 have been applied, those three laws that they had received, with no
21 difficulty at all. Now, if there were further amendments that were never
22 forwarded to them, in a legal sense that would represent a drawback but
23 certainly no hindrance to act on it. That's provided they didn't know
24 about the specific amendments.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, I would just ask one other question.
2 Q. This document, Mr. Hogic, I'd like to refer you to the heading
3 where it says, "Confidential number 060595." Could you tell the Trial
4 Chamber why that -- why that is a confidential number.
5 A. Every military report is confidential. On the right-hand side
6 you see that this is matter concerning the Defence of the Republic, that
7 the document is a military secret and is therefore classified. If you
8 have something like this on a document, that is being sent, then when the
9 document is given a name in the files of a certain unit, they need put
10 the number 06 there. This is probably a number that refers to the
11 department for legal matters with the 28th Division. 05 should be the
12 ordinal number. I think this is probably report number 9 from the year
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour I'd ask for a P number for this
16 document also.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: There will become P542, Ms. Sellers.
18 MS. SELLERS: Thank you. Now I would like to move to another
19 area of my direct examination, and Your Honours, I would like to tell you
20 in advance that I will try and cover one segments of this area within the
21 remaining five minutes and then ask for my 15 minutes or part thereof in
22 tomorrow's session.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Would that leave you enough time, Ms. Vidovic, to
24 finish your cross-examination?
25 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I really need at
1 least three hours, and this 15-minute period usually ends up being more
2 like 45 minutes.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no.
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] There time I'm definitely not
5 prepared to curtail my cross-examination at all.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: No, 15 minutes. And that will be 15 minutes.
7 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour I'll certainly try to keep it within
8 the 15 minutes.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's finish within five minutes' time, please.
10 MS. SELLERS:
11 Q. Mr. Hogic could you tell as briefly as possible whether the
12 military police were part of the configuration, the structure of the
13 2 Corps of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
14 A. Of course. Every unit had a military police presence in it, from
15 battalion level up.
16 Q. Now, were the military police subordinated in a chain of command
17 to the commanders with whom they worked, whether at the battalion level
18 or the other levels that you've referred to -- inferred?
19 A. Within the structure of the 2nd Corps, and that's as much as I
20 can talk about, every military police unit was subordinate to the
21 commander of whichever unit they were attached to. If it was a
22 detachment -- a military police detachment in a battalion, they would be
23 subordinated to the battalion commander. If this was a brigade, then it
24 would be a military police platoon and it would be subordinated to the
25 brigade commander. In an operations group, you had a military police
1 company and it was subordinated to the operations group commander, or
2 later the division commander. At corps level there it was a military
3 police battalion that was subordinated directly to the corps commander.
4 Q. What were the functions, duties or responsibilities of the
5 military police within the 2nd corps?
6 A. The duties and responsibilities of the military police were about
7 organising and securing the rear of the units in the area of the 2nd
8 Corps and all the usual military police tasks, bringing in perpetrators,
9 people who committed crimes. To a certain degree you could compare them
10 to a civilian police. The same way that a civilian police force does for
11 civilians, the military police did in relation to military personnel.
12 They made sure that the conditions were in place at the rear for life to
13 go on in these units.
14 A military police unit should never go into combat. It should
15 always stay at the back, secure all the roads, secure all that there was
16 access to wherever the units were stationed, secure the transport and the
17 supplies, that sort of thing.
18 Q. Were the military police in 2 Corps also charged with or had the
19 responsibilities of prisoners of war?
20 A. Yes. The military police secured them in detention. They would
21 take them to be exchanged. But the actual exchange was done by a special
22 commission and not by the military police.
23 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, I'll stop at this point. Thank you.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Hogic. We'll give you a rest.
25 Not a long one, because you will be back here tomorrow morning at 9.00
1 when hopefully we will start and finish.
2 I thank you. You will now be escorted and taken back to your
4 And we will reconvene tomorrow morning at nine. Okay? The
5 meeting that I suggested we'll have in my Chamber will probably be next
6 week because we have got a few things to -- and I have a status
7 conference as well tomorrow so I will -- I will be quite busy. I will
8 have quite a busy morning. So if we leave it until Tuesday, I think it
9 will be better. In any case, if you have a little bit of time to consult
10 amongst yourself whether you can reduce the time of those two witnesses,
11 the ones I mentioned earlier, when it would be convenient for you to make
12 your submissions on the rule 98 bis because on that then I can tie up
13 with the Prosecution and finalise. All right? And we'll also have an
14 opportunity to discuss a few other matters in camera and then we'll
15 report back to open session later.
16 MR. JONES: That suits us fine.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
19 to be resumed on Thursday, 12 May, 2005,
20 at 9.00 a.m.