1 Wednesday, 24 May 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Will the Registrar please call
6 the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] It is IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor
8 versus Prlic and others.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There is a small problem with
10 the probative piece of yesterday.
11 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. This is
12 document 4667, proposed by the other side. It has 144 pages, and the
13 witness read a part of the page marked reference number 01520527, so we
14 have this problem with such a voluminous document. The witness referred
15 to just one page of this document and recognised it and we feel that as
16 such, in this form, it cannot be admitted into the file. We already had
17 cases before of just the individual parts of documents being admitted, so
18 we were wondering what is the case in this particular instance.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, it is just one page that
20 was recognised by the witness that was admitted. It is not the entire
21 document. So I ask the Registrar to insert in the transcript that it is
22 page 01520657, document 4086.
23 [The witness entered court]
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, can you please
25 now raise the blinds.
1 We shall continue with examination-in-chief. Sir, good morning.
2 I greet you on behalf of the Judges and all of those present in the
3 courtroom. I shall now yield the floor to Mr. Mundis who will continue
4 his examination-in-chief.
5 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Again with the assistance
6 of the usher, I would ask that we return to the issue of the bundle of
7 photographs and the sketch map, please.
8 WITNESS: WITNESS BI [Resumed]
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 Examination by Mr. Mundis: [Continued]
11 MR. MUNDIS: I would ask that the witness be shown the photograph
12 that formerly was bearing the number P 09587.
13 Q. Witness BI, do you see a photograph on the screen in front of you?
14 A. Yes, I do.
15 Q. Can you please tell us what this building -- or what this photo is
16 a depiction of.
17 A. This is a store. It is a florist's and undertaking equipment
19 Q. Witness BI, do you recognise any of the buildings in the
20 background of this photograph?
21 A. Yes, I do. I recognise all the buildings.
22 Q. Can you please tell us what the buildings in the background of
23 this photograph are, please.
24 A. In the background, at the top, you can see the school.
25 Q. Let me interrupt you there, Witness. Could you please put an S on
1 the building that you recognise as being the school.
2 A. [Marks].
3 Q. Can you tell us what else you can see in the background of this
4 photo, please.
5 A. On the left there is a building housing old shops and an
6 employment office.
7 Q. Place an X, please, on the buildings housing the shop and the
9 A. [Marks].
10 Q. Thank you, Witness BI. Can you see any -- or do you recognise any
11 other buildings in the background of this photograph?
12 A. Yes. On the right side, there is the butcher shop, the entrance
13 to the mosque, and a row of haberdashery shops; pastry shops, small goods
14 shops, petty goods, such.
15 Q. Witness BI, can you please place an M on the entrance to the
16 mosque as visible in this photograph, please.
17 A. [Marks].
18 Q. Now, Witness, in the bottom right-hand corner can you please place
19 the number 2 in order to identify this photograph. Number 2.
20 A. [Marks].
21 Q. And again just for the record, the building that you've told us
22 was the floral shop or the florist shop, can you put an F on the building
23 that is the floral shop.
24 A. Yes. [Marks].
25 Q. Now, with the assistance of the usher, I would ask that the map be
1 placed back on the screen. Witness BI, do you see the floral shop
2 indicated anywhere on this map?
3 A. Yes, I do.
4 Q. Can you please place the number 2 at the location where the floral
5 shop is on this map.
6 A. [Marks].
7 Q. Thank you. I'd ask now that the next photograph be shown to the
8 witness. This is the photograph that was previously P 09585. Witness BI,
9 do you recognise what's depicted in this photograph?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Can you please describe for the Trial Chamber what is visible in
12 this photograph.
13 A. In the top, right corner, you can see the butcher shop roof, the
14 entrance to the mosque, the eateries, about three of them, a cafe which is
15 called Cafe Bar Roko, and the school.
16 Q. Let's start again, Witness BI, by placing the number 3 in the
17 lower right-hand corner of this photograph, please.
18 A. [Marks].
19 Q. Now, I'd ask you, sir, if you could please place the letter B on
20 the butcher shop roof.
21 A. [Marks].
22 Q. The letter M on the entrance to the mosque.
23 A. [Marks].
24 Q. The letter S on the school.
25 A. [Marks].
1 Q. You mentioned three eateries. Could you please place Xs on the
2 three -- or the eateries.
3 A. [Marks].
4 Q. Now, Witness, if you could please take a look at the map. If you
5 see, Witness, the area on that map that is depicted in photograph number
6 3, can you please place the number 3 on that location on the map.
7 A. Yes. [Marks].
8 Q. Thank you, sir. I'd ask now that the witness be shown the next
9 photograph, which was previously P 09581.
10 Witness BI, do you recognise what's shown in this photograph?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber what this is.
13 A. This is a water fountain.
14 Q. And where is this water fountain located?
15 A. It is in the courtyard of the mosque.
16 Q. Can you please, Witness BI, place the number 4 on the lower
17 right-hand corner of this photograph.
18 A. [Marks].
19 Q. Now, again, if we could turn our attention to the map, if you see
20 the fountain depicted on photograph 4 on the location of the map, please
21 place the number 4 on the map at the corresponding location.
22 A. [Marks].
23 Q. Thank you, Witness BI. I'd ask now that the next photograph,
24 which was previously marked as P 09580 be shown to the witness.
25 Witness BI, do you recognise what's depicted in this photograph?
1 A. Yes, I do.
2 Q. Can you tell us what that is, please.
3 A. That is Sultan Selim's mosque, or the emperor's, the czar's
5 Q. Witness, I neglected to ask you yesterday, do you know
6 approximately when the Sultan Selim or the emperor, czar's mosque was
8 A. I think - I'm not sure - that it was built in the 16th century.
9 Q. Could you please place the number 5 in the lower right-hand corner
10 of this photograph.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, I have a minor observation to make.
12 We can see in the photographs -- you can see typewritten in what the
13 photograph depicts so I think it's rather silly to have a witness identify
14 what is there for him to read already. So I don't see how we are getting
15 anywhere. And I also don't see the relevancy of all these pictures. We
16 don't know when they were taken, whether they are true and accurate
17 representation prior to any incidents, and I suspect that we are going to
18 see some photographs later, but I think we need some foundation so at
19 least we know where we are going with this -- with all these pictures. So
20 perhaps we can lay some foundational questions before we go into this.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. We will lose some
22 time. This witness played soccer in Stolac. He is very well familiar
23 with that town, and he certainly knows about the mosque. You asked him
24 what was depicted on the photograph and he was able to identify it as
25 Sultan Selim's mosque. So everything is quite logical.
1 Mr. Mundis, you may proceed.
2 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. Witness, can we turn again to the map. You've just marked a
4 photograph of the Sultan Selim mosque as number 5. Can you please mark
5 the corresponding location on the map with the number 5.
6 A. [Marks].
7 Q. Thank you, Witness BI. Now, yesterday you described for us
8 witnessing a fire or a number of fires in this location or in the
9 locations of the tepa and the mosque. Can you describe for us what that
10 area looked like after the fires were extinguished.
11 A. What it looked like? Well, only the walls remained.
12 Q. Can you tell us what -- can you elaborate on what you mean by
13 "only the walls remained."
14 A. Well, it was on fire from about 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. In a word, only
15 the basic skeletons of the buildings remained. Everything that could burn
16 did burn, except for stone.
17 Q. Witness BI, can you tell us, if you know, what caused the fire to
18 go out at 8 p.m.?
19 A. I suppose that it was arson. There was no shelling on that day.
20 Very few people moved around Stolac. Only HVO troops did.
21 Q. At the time this fire was burning, did you see any of these HVO
23 A. Yes, yes. During the day I did.
24 Q. What about the fire brigade? Did you see the fire brigade on this
1 A. No.
2 Q. I'd ask now that the witness be shown the next photograph which
3 was marked as P 09584. Witness, do you recognise what's depicted in this
5 A. Yes, I do.
6 Q. Can you tell us what this photograph is a picture of?
7 A. These are the eateries that I marked with an X a while ago.
8 Q. Do you know approximately when the eateries looked like this, what
9 time period they looked like this?
10 A. I don't know exactly what time period. I suppose from the 15th to
11 the 1st or 3rd of August, 1993.
12 Q. And what, Witness, just for the record at this point, what is
13 significant about the 1st or 3rd of August, 1993?
14 A. It was perhaps from the 28th of July that the persecutions of the
15 Muslim population started, which ended, I believe, on the 3rd or 4th, most
16 of them.
17 Q. Okay. We'll return to that subject in just a few moments,
18 Witness BI. Can you please for now mark this photograph as number -- with
19 the number 6 in the lower right-hand corner.
20 A. [Marks].
21 Q. And again if we can return to the map, if you can place the number
22 6 on the map at the corresponding location as depicted in that last
23 photograph which you similarly marked with the number 6.
24 A. [Marks].
25 Q. Thank you. I'd ask that the following photograph, which was
1 P 09586 be shown to the witness. Witness, do you recognise what's
2 depicted in this photograph?
3 A. Yes, I do.
4 Q. Can you describe for the Trial Chamber what is depicted in this
6 A. It is the florist'S, and in front there is a row of beauty
7 parlours, hairdressers, cafes, and the upper part used to be a residential
8 quarters. To the right, there used to be a children's toy shop. And this
9 building is a row of shops and the employment office.
10 Q. Witness BI, can you again place the letter F on the florist as
11 depicted in this photograph, please.
12 A. [Marks].
13 Q. And again, for the record, can you please indicate on the bottom
14 right-hand corner this photograph by marking it with the number 7.
15 A. [Marks].
16 Q. And again if we can return to the map, if you can again -- the
17 buildings depicted in photograph 7, can you mark them on this map?
18 A. [Marks].
19 Q. The situation as it's depicted in photograph 7, Witness, can you
20 tell us approximately when those buildings looked as they did in
21 photograph 7?
22 A. These buildings were set on fire on the same day as the mosque.
23 That is a period from the 15th to the 1st or 3rd, so the 15th of July to
24 the 1st or 3rd of August.
25 Q. And, Witness BI, for how long did these buildings remain in this
1 condition? How long after that time period did these buildings remain in
2 this condition?
3 A. I can't say exactly, but I know when I arrived in Stolac for the
4 first time, these buildings were not there at all.
5 Q. Okay. Let me ask you to clarify. When you say, "when I arrived
6 in Stolac for the first time," what do you mean by that?
7 A. I was referring to the organised visit to the town.
8 Q. When, approximately, was this organised visit to the town? We'll
9 go back into this subject in a few moments, but approximately when was
10 this organised visit to the town?
11 A. I believe it was in 1995 or 1996. I'm not quite sure.
12 Q. I'd ask now that the witness be shown the last photograph in this
13 bundle, which was P 09588. Witness, do you recognise what's depicted in
14 this photograph?
15 A. Yes, I do.
16 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber what is depicted in this
17 photograph, please.
18 A. This photograph depicts the school, the Cafe Bar Roko, with
19 residential quarters, and to the right side you can see the remnants, the
20 ruins that we marked on sketch number 1, I believe.
21 Q. Again, sir, can you please place the letter S on the school.
22 A. [Marks].
23 Q. And the letter R on the Cafe Bar Roko.
24 A. [Marks].
25 Q. Can you please place an X on the remnants or ruins that you
2 A. [Marks].
3 Q. Witness BI, just again for the record, can we mark this photograph
4 with the number 8 in the lower right-hand corner.
5 A. [Marks].
6 Q. Witness, do you know approximately when or do you have a rough
7 idea as to when this photograph was taken?
8 A. It was between 1993 and 1995 or 1996.
9 Q. And, sir, this large area at the bottom, say bottom half of this
10 photograph which we marked with the number 8, what previously was in this
12 A. The mosque -- all the previous images that we explained; the
13 mosque, the butcher's, the eateries, the florist's, the shops, the
14 residential quarters, all those.
15 Q. Can you please, Witness BI, mark with the letter M the approximate
16 location where the Sultan Selim mosque formerly stood.
17 A. [Marks].
18 Q. Witness BI, can you please tell the Trial Chamber what this area
19 was used for after the war or in more recent times, this area where you've
20 marked with the M.
21 A. After the war, after the Bosniaks returned, this area wasn't used
22 for anything; it was overgrown in weeds. And once the Bosniaks cleared it
23 all up, this area was mostly used as a parking lot. The municipality
24 built a parking lot here, and the mosque was rebuilt.
25 Q. Can you tell us, Witness BI, approximately when the mosque was
2 A. The mosque was rebuilt, I believe, from 2002 to late 2004 or early
4 Q. What about the tepa? Has the tepa been rebuilt in any way?
5 A. No. But this area that we previously marked with an X on the
6 front part is privately owned. This wall that you can see here. Most of
7 this area is privately owned, and most of it was renewed.
8 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I would ask that these nine
9 photographs and map be bundled together and be given an In Court
10 identification number and tendered into evidence.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Registrar,
12 please give us the number of all the photographs.
13 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. [In
14 English] [Previous translation continues] ... assigned the reference
15 IC 00018. Thank you.
16 MR. MUNDIS:
17 Q. Witness BI, I have just a few more questions for you and these
18 concern the events from this period commencing on or about either 1 or 3
19 August, 1993. Can you tell us, Witness BI, what happened to you on that
21 A. I think that on that day, in the morning, early in the morning,
22 between 7 and 8.30 a.m., four soldiers came to the door of my house. They
23 wore the HVO insignia. They asked us to get the most basic belongings and
24 to go to the playground of the elementary school. We did as we were told.
25 We went to the playground of the elementary school where we found a large
1 number of the residents of Stolac, predominantly Bosniaks or Muslims. It
2 were all -- it was all women, children, the elderly, disabled people.
3 After that, when the playground was full, they would take ten to 20 people
4 at a time to the school, to the school building. They searched them
5 there, confiscated money, jewellery, gold, all other valuables. For
6 example, if you had three bags on you, they would throw away two of them
7 and leave you with just one. After leaving the classrooms, we would go to
8 the front part of the school where a truck was waiting for us. They would
9 board us on trucks and take us what Blagaj from there.
10 Q. Okay. Witness BI, let me ask you a couple of follow-on questions.
11 You said on page 13, line 2, that there were a large number of the
12 residents of Stolac. Do you recall approximately how many people were
13 gathered at this playground of the elementary school?
14 A. As we learned later, this playground was not the only collection
15 point, gathering point. The playground itself is not large; perhaps 250
16 to 300 people can fit there.
17 Q. And what about your apartment when you left the apartment? Can
18 you tell us about the condition of your apartment when you left?
19 A. Our apartment was not in great condition. It had been damaged by
20 shrapnel, shells, and so on, but these were minor things. The damage was
22 Q. Now, you told us a few moments ago that you later discovered that
23 there were other collection centres in Stolac. Do you recall or can you
24 tell us a little bit about where these other locations were?
25 A. Yes. The building of the VP centre, the building of the
1 ironworks, or the building of the construction reinforcements.
2 Q. Witness BI, again, for the benefit of the record, can you tell us
3 what the VP centre was, or what that -- the initials VP stand for?
4 A. It is the building of the correctional facility.
5 Q. And correctional facility for whom?
6 A. Before the war, the juvenile delinquents were held there.
7 Q. So it was a facility for juveniles, it wasn't a full-blown prison
8 for adults?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, Witness BI, you told us that they -- on this is on line 10 of
11 page 13 -- "They would board us on trucks and take us to Blagaj from
12 there." Can you tell us a little bit about what happened at Blagaj.
13 A. In Blagaj. I don't remember how we travelled from Stolac, because
14 the truck was enclosed. I only remember when we got to the Buna, they
15 opened up the truck, we got off, and the HVO soldiers started directing us
16 to where we had to go. It was a narrow road where there were anti-tank
17 mines. We had to pass through the mines and go down to Blagaj. Upon
18 reaching Blagaj, we were met by some army units and units of the civilian
19 protection. They put us into vacant Serb and Croat houses.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I intervene? Witness BI, you have said that
21 the lorry on which you were transported was, the word used here is
22 "enclosed" and you didn't see anything. How, then, do you know or where
23 do you get the information that there were mines on the road you were
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You misunderstood me, sir. I didn't
1 see anything until we got to the Buna. Once we reached Buna, we got off
2 the truck. They took us off the truck, and then we walked on foot for the
3 rest of the trip.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. I apologise if I misunderstood.
5 MR. MUNDIS:
6 Q. Witness, approximately how far is it that you walked from Buna to
8 A. I think approximately seven to eight kilometres. It was very hot
9 and the road seemed much longer. It was difficult to walk.
10 Q. Approximately how long did it take you to walk from Buna to Blagaj
11 on this day?
12 A. Approximately three hours. The road is quite narrow and there
13 were many people. The columns were big. There were many corpses on the
14 road, so some three to three and a half hours.
15 Q. Approximately how many people went with you on this walk from Buna
16 to Blagaj?
17 A. Well, I can't give you the exact number. I don't know it. But I
18 assume that there were between 800 and 1.000 people on that day on the
20 Q. Witness BI, do you know where these people, these 800 to 1.000
21 people that were on the road that day with you, where were these people
23 A. 99.9 per cent of them were from Stolac. As for the remaining 0.1
24 per cent, I think those were the remaining residents from Dubrave, because
25 people had been driven out of Dubrave a day or two before we were.
1 Q. Witness BI, how long did you remain in Blagaj after you arrived
2 there on that day in August, 1993?
3 A. I spent less than an hour in Blagaj. I was then transferred to
4 Dracevica, which is where I lived until I returned to Stolac. I'm not
5 sure about the year. It was 1995 or 1996.
6 Q. And where, Witness, for the benefit of the Trial Chamber, where is
8 A. It's a small place on the road leading to Nevesinje, on one side,
9 and on the other side, you can say that it's located between Blagaj and
10 Mostar. Or to be more specific, it is exactly across the Mostar airport.
11 Q. Witness BI, can you tell the Trial Chamber about the first time
12 you returned to Stolac after leaving in August of 1993. Tell us about the
13 circumstances in which you first returned to Stolac.
14 A. As I've told you a bit ago, the first time I came to Stolac, it
15 was an organised visit. There were two buses, and it was organised by the
16 then government in Stolac, which was in Mostar. This visit was hindered
17 in all possible ways. The first two or three attempts to enter Stolac
18 failed, and once we did manage to enter Stolac after the intervention of
19 SFOR, which was the then UFOR, the local police treated us as we were some
20 sort of hooligans. I'm not sure how to call this. They held us in an
21 enclosed area and there was -- we were cordoned off by policemen. And
22 this is how we walked through the town. We couldn't go to the left or the
23 right or where we wanted; we had to go where they took us.
24 Q. Witness BI, do you recall the approximate time period when you
25 went with this organised visit in these two buses back to Stolac?
1 A. Yes. I think it was May.
2 Q. Of which year?
3 A. 1995 or 1996. I'm not sure. At any rate, it was hot.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honours, this is outside the indictment
5 period. I don't see what the relevance is to this other than to try to
6 inflame the passions of professional Judges, which as we all know, doesn't
7 occur, or at least is not supposed to, or at least I'm told it doesn't
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Mr. Mundis, why is
10 this relevant, this question, namely to say that the witness came back to
11 his town in 1995 or 1996?
12 MR. MUNDIS: It simply completes the witness's narrative as to the
13 events of what happened to him, Mr. President, and also explains the
14 results of the alleged criminal activity described in the indictment.
15 This does complete the direct examination.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: I just want to lodge another objection in regards
18 to that last comment, Your Honour. There was a war going on in that
19 country, people were dislodged from all over the place, and I think it's
20 an unfair characterisation for the Prosecutor to try to sneak in this sort
21 of stuff at the end of the examination. It's totally irrelevant.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness BI, I will need several
23 minor clarifications. You said that you walked from Buna to Blagaj.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please tell me, as far as you
1 can remember -- it's been many years, I understand that you can't remember
2 everything, but during your march, during your walk, did you hear any
3 shots fired?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. But they didn't shoot directly
5 at the people. At least, nobody got killed. They fired in order to
6 intimidate us, to make us walk faster. Mostly the bullets zoomed above
7 our heads.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And who fired?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They fired from behind us, from
10 behind our backs. That is to say the soldiers who remained in Buna, who
11 had held positions in the forest and Kicin and other places. I'm not sure
12 what these places are called.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. So you say that the
14 soldiers who were in Buna fired above your heads as you were walking
15 towards Blagaj.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. I put this question
18 because in the indictment it is mentioned that fire was opened while
19 people were marching.
20 Another question: When the fire was set to the mosque, to the
21 florist shop and other facilities that you mentioned to us, were you
22 personally present there at the spot? Did you see these fires with your
23 own eyes?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. At what time did the
1 fire start?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the afternoon hours, I believe.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Where were you in the afternoon?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I stated yesterday, I was with my
5 friends, Croat friends. We were playing soccer at the playground behind
6 the school.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. So you were playing
8 soccer, and at that moment you saw the fire. What drew your attention to
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, not while I was playing soccer.
11 I didn't see the fire then. As I was walking home from the playground, I
12 saw in the courtyard of the mosque a lot of smoke, so I entered the area.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you didn't see
14 the people who started the fire.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Were there any other residents
17 who were there, on the spot, as this was taking place?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, perhaps there were two to
19 three boys, Croats. Two or three, I'm not sure.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And nobody said who set the
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
24 JUDGE PRANDLER: I would like to ask the Witness BI one question.
25 When you describe your marching from Buna to Blagaj, you mentioned that it
1 was a rather long trip and although it was only about eight to nine
2 kilometres but the marching on was rather slow. And during this time, you
3 have also seen a number of corpses along the road. So I would like to ask
4 you when you referred to the corpse, that is dead persons most probably,
5 what was there -- I mean, they were not in a way buried, and what was the
6 cause, in your view, of their being there without any burying? This is my
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The people who were dead, lying dead
9 on the road, were predominantly the elderly, those who were weak,
10 exhausted, sick, and couldn't take such heat, 40 to 45 degrees. Perhaps
11 they also lacked water. At any rate, they couldn't survive that trip.
12 Perhaps they were even ill. Mostly they were the elderly and the ill.
13 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you, thank you.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: A small question: You have said that when you
15 were shot at, or above your heads, no one was killed. Was, to your
16 knowledge, anybody injured?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wouldn't be able to answer that
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The Prosecution used
20 up one hour -- one and a half hours for examination-in-chief, but I think
21 that another Judge has a question.
22 JUDGE MINDUA: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Witness BI, you explained to us what was going on in the morning,
24 either on the 1st or 3rd of August, 1993, you said between 7 and 8 in the
25 morning, when four HVO soldiers came to your house in order to take you to
1 the school building. You told us who was in the school building. You
2 said that there were many residents, Muslim residents, of Stolac gathered
3 there. My question for you is this: Can you confirm or can you be more
4 specific in telling us whether that morning some kind of a raid was
5 organised? Were people rounded up and was this operation directed
6 exclusively against the Muslims? And if so, please tell us, how did the
7 members of the HVO organise themselves in order to recognise those who
8 were Muslims?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not the only one who can answer
10 this question. Various TV stations were taping a programme several years
11 ago with Croats from Stolac who were describing the events of that
12 morning, and these Croats said, "That morning we got up earlier," meaning
13 earlier than the Muslims.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Now I will yield the
15 floor to the Defence. You have a total of hour and a half available to
16 you. I don't know who is going to begin. I don't know whether you have
17 reached an agreement.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, I will begin. I have a few
19 questions. I shouldn't take more than a few moments.
20 Cross-examination by Mr. Karnavas:
21 Q. Good morning, sir.
22 A. Good morning.
23 Q. I just want to touch on a couple of issues. The first issue, I
24 guess, is on the shelling of Stolac. You indicated yesterday that the
25 Serbs had been shelling Stolac but you didn't go into any great detail. I
1 would like you to kind of describe for us where exactly the shelling was
2 and the damage.
3 A. The Serbs entered Stolac in 1991. They were continuously passing
4 through Stolac, going to Dubrave, Capljina, Metkovici. I don't know where
5 their positions were. They withdrew from Stolac once the HVO entered, and
6 the HOS. I think that it was in 1992. They withdrew to the positions
7 around Stolac, in Zebulja, Hrgut, Bancici. And from there, initially,
8 from the beginning of the war, they shelled Stolac intensely, and then
9 gradually the shelling was reduced until the Muslims were expelled or,
10 rather, the Muslim residents were taken to camps and it was then that the
11 shelling stopped completely.
12 Q. Okay. And these were Serbs shelling Stolac? These were Serbs
13 shelling Stolac?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And that continued all the way until 1993? May, June, July?
16 A. About that time.
17 Q. All right.
18 A. I would say up until May.
19 Q. Okay. Now, obviously you were too young to participate in any
20 military activity, but are you aware that members of the HVO were Muslim?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And what about HOS, HOS?
23 A. Members of the HVO -- HOS, I remember when they entered Stolac.
24 These were mostly not local people. There were, at most, four or five
25 residents of Stolac who were members of HOS.
1 Q. And were they Muslim?
2 A. Yes. But Muslims by religion. They felt they were Croats.
3 Q. Well, could you explain that a little bit? What do you mean by
5 A. They acted like Croats. They were more Croats than proper Croats.
6 They conducted themselves as proper Croats.
7 Q. Okay. Just to go back, when you said May in my earlier question,
8 the shelling, that was May, 1993, correct? I just want to clarify that
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Okay. Now, just a couple of other questions. I was somewhat
12 curious in the way you began yesterday, indicating the events in Stolac as
13 they exist today, and you used a particular word, "apartheid," which is a
14 rather unusual word, and I must say since 1999 in my experience in the
15 entire region I've never heard that word being used before. Was that a
16 conversation that you had with the professor before coming here today
17 regarding Stolac and how it seemed like an apartheid situation there?
18 A. No. That wasn't the result of the conversation with the
19 Professor. If you were to go to Stolac now, completely irrespective of
20 this, if you were to meet a Muslim resident of Stolac and start up a
21 conversation with him or her, I think that 99 per cent of residents of
22 Stolac would tell you the same thing I said to you yesterday.
23 Q. Okay. Well, the mayor is a Croat in Stolac today, right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And the president of the Assembly, is he a Croat or is he a
2 A. I don't know. I've been so disappointed by politics that I lost
3 interest in it. It makes no difference. Whoever is in power in Stolac,
4 the situation remains the same. People do nothing, there are no jobs, so
5 I'm not interested in who is the head of this or that office. It's all
6 the same.
7 Q. All right. Well, there are no factories working in Stolac at the
8 moment, right? Even though, as I understand it, there either originate
9 from Zenica, which is predominantly Muslim town, or Sarajevo, which again
10 is a predominantly Muslim town, or Bosniak.
11 A. Of state-owned firms in Stolac, currently operating are the
12 municipality, two health centres, divided into the Bosniak and the Croat
13 health centre, two bus stations, the Bosniak and the Muslim. The only
14 place where everything is mixed is the MUP. There you have Croats and
15 Serbs and Muslims. As far as the factories are concerned, they have been
16 privatised -- 90 per cent of them have been privatised, the owners being
17 Croats. None of them is operating except for the ironworks, which perhaps
18 employs from the pre-war number of 800, about 50 employees, workers,
19 rather, and all of them are of Croat ethnicity.
20 Q. All right. The municipality, however, is mixed, and as you well
21 know, because of OHR running the country more or less, everything has to
22 be advertised.
23 A. Yes. But, for instance, if you are above me, can my signature
24 mean anything without yours?
25 Q. I don't know how to answer that question. But needless to say,
1 everything that -- all the jobs are advertised publicly and everything is
2 scrutinised and transparent as a result of OHR being there to ensure that
3 there is no discrimination?
4 A. Well, talking about OHR, they actually forget about Stolac in 90
5 per cent of the cases, as a matter of fact. That is actually the last
6 thing on their mind, in terms of importance, on this planet.
7 Q. Okay. I have no further questions.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Next Defence team? Thank you.
9 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have no
10 questions for this witness.
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I only
12 have a few brief questions for this witness.
13 Cross-examination by Mr. Kovacic:
14 Q. Good morning, Witness BI. I represent General Praljak. I'm a
15 lawyer from Rijeka. I would just like to clarify certain things that you
16 have already said which do not appear clear when reading the transcript.
17 You described the situation in Stolac after the HVO had liberated Stolac,
18 but I believe that nothing has been said about the position of the HVO
19 lines facing the Chetniks.
20 A. I didn't go to those lines. I did after the war, but as far as I
21 know, on the basis of what I was told by the soldiers who went to the
22 lines, they faced Ljubina, Basilije and Poplat. They were in that
23 direction, and they were in the direction of Berkovici. There was the
24 Osanici line right above Stolac itself. Then there was Komanje hill, and
25 I think there was a line in Begovina.
1 Q. I'm particularly interested in Begovina and the line facing the
2 Chetniks along the edge of Begovina. That was the line that was closest
3 to the town?
4 A. I think that the lines in Basilije and Poplat were closer.
5 Q. Very well. In a certain sense, the war and the defence lines were
6 a daily occurrence; they were there at the edge of the town.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. The Serbian shelling that you have mentioned, how frequent was
9 this? How frequently did they shell the area? Was it more frequent in
10 June or July of 1993 or was the shelling more frequent later on? I
11 apologise; in 1992.
12 A. Well, usually 20 or 30 shells would fall on Stolac. I remember
13 that on one day, the 15th of August, 1992, there was an attack and the
14 shelling lasted throughout the day. The shelling lasted throughout the
16 Q. Did the inhabitants take shelter then?
17 A. Mostly they were in the cellars.
18 Q. And the HVO and the army?
19 A. Well, I didn't go out on that day. I couldn't even leave the
20 house. I have no idea as to what was happening.
21 Q. In your assessment, and I think you mentioned May and July, it
22 wasn't quite clear, but in your assessment, what would you say? You would
23 say -- would you say that at one period of time the shelling by the
24 Chetniks decreased but it nevertheless continued. When did the intensity
25 of the shelling diminish?
1 A. Well, how should I put it? Perhaps from May onwards, when they
2 took the men away to the camps, at that point in time the shelling had
3 ceased completely.
4 Q. Very well. Witness, at the time of these events, if my
5 calculations were correct, you were 13 years old.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And 13 years have passed since those events occurred.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. So that was mid -- at the mid-point in your life.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. However, you remember certain things quite precisely. You could
12 mention certain dates and months, give or take a couple of weeks.
13 However, the Prosecution asked you today about certain events that
14 occurred later on, and I will quote what you said from the transcript.
15 First, you were asked about the mark number 7 on the photograph,
16 about the photograph marked with number 7. You were asked when the
17 objects looked the way they looked in the photograph, and you said that
18 those buildings had been set on fire on the same day as the mosque. So
19 that was between the 15th and the -- of July and the 3rd of August. And
20 at the beginning of your testimony you said it was during those 15 days
21 that these events transpired. And then immediately after that, the
22 Prosecution asked you how long the buildings remained in that state, and
23 you answered, "I can't remember exactly but I know that when I arrived in
24 Stolac for the first time -" so that's when you returned there to visit
25 the town - "the buildings were still there." And when you were asked when
1 you returned for the first time, you said it was in 1995 or in 1996. In
2 order to assess your memory, I have to put this question to you: When you
3 refer to 1993, you can be precise within a two-week period, more or less.
4 When you talk about something that occurred two years later, and this has
5 to do with your experiences, with your emotions, too, because it was the
6 first time you returned to your birth place, when you talk about such
7 events, you can no longer say exactly whether it was in 1995 or 1996, so
8 you're not even sure of the exact year, Witness.
9 A. That's true. I'm not sure. However, I'd like to correct
10 something. A minute ago, when you mentioned these buildings in photograph
11 number 7, I don't know how this was interpreted but I didn't say that they
12 were still there when I first returned to Stolac.
13 Q. Very well. There is some other sentence here but the period of
14 time is important.
15 A. Well, I experienced something that is difficult to imagine so I
16 wouldn't even know what I had to eat the day before yesterday.
17 Q. I agree. Perhaps there is one other matter that I would like to
18 clarify. You mentioned the civilians, you civilians being sent down the
19 road from Buna to Blagaj, they opened fire above your heads, in order to
20 hurry you up, send you in the right direction. You said that there were
21 some tank mines on that road too. In order to understand the situation
22 completely, were the tank mines visible obstacles and were there these
23 hedgehogs on the road too?
24 A. Well, on the road from Buna to Blagaj, I believe that there was
25 one so-called hedgehog in front of them. But the mines were laid on a
1 200- to 300-metre stretch of road, no more than that.
2 Q. But those tank mines were visible, were they?
3 A. Yes, they were visible.
4 Q. So what I'm trying to say is that they hadn't been concealed, as
5 is the case with a trip-wire mines.
6 A. Well, I don't know, but they were visible, just like this jug
8 Q. You say that there was one line of mines that had been marked?
9 A. Well, not one line. On the road from Buna to Blagaj, well, let's
10 say the mines were here, the hedgehog was in front. But at the end of the
11 line of mines, there was no hedgehog. That's quite logical. They placed
12 that obstacle there for their soldiers, to prevent someone from going
14 Q. While you were passing through, were there any casualties as the
15 result of the mines?
16 A. No. We walked along the other side. The path was about as wide
17 as this table here.
18 Q. When you mentioned Blagaj, who met you there?
19 A. The civilian protection and the BH army. We met some troops there
20 who were at the lines, I think that the place is called Kosor. They
21 directed us to Blagaj, and when we arrived at the entrance to Blagaj,
22 there were perhaps 20 or 30 people from the civilian protection. There
23 were elderly people, and they provided us with accommodation.
24 Q. So this road between Buna and Blagaj, this was a no man's land?
25 A. Yes. It was the demarcation line.
1 Q. We'll have to repeat that because we were overlapping. We have to
2 repeat that because of the transcript. So this was a no-man's land?
3 A. Yes. That was the demarcation line. Six or seven kilometres
4 along -- or of those six or seven kilometres that I mentioned, three
5 represented the no man's land.
6 Q. I have one more question, although I don't think it's very
7 relevant. Something was entered into the transcript unnecessarily so I
8 would like to correct that. On page 16 or 15, my colleague intervened.
9 You were asked about that first visit to Stolac in 1995 and 1996, and you
10 mentioned certain abbreviations. I'm not sure whether everyone is
11 familiar with those abbreviations. They weren't clearly stated. You said
12 that the visit was organised by SFOR or what was then called UNPROFOR.
13 A. No. I said that it was organised by the Stolac government. The
14 visit was organised by the Stolac government. People who had organised
15 themselves in Mostar. And we couldn't enter Stolac without an escort. On
16 two or three occasions we were sent back from Buna, and then SFOR, or
17 UNPROFOR, what is now called OFOR and then it was called SFOR, they made
18 it possible for us to pass through.
19 Q. So SFOR were foreign forces. They weren't local forces.
20 A. Yes, I think they were foreigners.
21 Q. And they made it possible for you to pass through?
22 THE INTERPRETER: The two speakers were overlapping, the
23 interpreter could not hear what the witness said.
24 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, I have no further questions. Thank
25 you very much.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak?
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]. Thank you, Your Honour. I
3 only have five minutes. I only need five minutes, no longer than that.
4 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
5 Q. Sir, when you arrived in Blagaj, you said that you were put up in
6 Croatian houses. Where were the Croats who lived in Blagaj?
7 A. In the Luksa forest. You're well aware of the fact.
8 Q. Please, answer my question. Do you know where the Croats were,
9 whose houses were used for your accommodation when you arrived there?
10 A. I moved into a Muslim house myself but there were Bosniak families
11 who lived in Croatian and Serbian houses, whereas the Croats were on the
12 other side of the -- of the -- of the runway, as you well know.
13 Q. In 1992, the Serbs entered Stolac and most of the inhabitants,
14 first Croatian inhabitants and then the Serbian inhabitants, and then the
15 Muslim inhabitants, left that area. According to the information that
16 we'll show to the Court, 10.000 Bosniaks then crossed the Neretva River
17 and moved over to the right side. In June, 1992, the HOS and the HVO
18 liberated Stolac. How is it that at that time, there was peace, a kind of
19 understanding, and even love between the Croats and the Muslims? Why were
20 mosques not set on fire at the time? Why were houses not torched? And
21 how is it that it's only one year later that the events you have described
22 actually occurred? The events that you have truthfully described. What
23 happened during that year?
24 A. Well, they were all equal. They all had rifles. I did just as
25 you did.
1 Q. Yes. That rifle that had been provided to the Bregava Brigade
2 certainly wasn't provided by the Serbian side, it was provided by the
3 Croatian side. Is that correct or not?
4 A. I don't know. I didn't participate in the war. I have no idea.
5 Q. Do you know that in the meantime, during that one-year period, a
6 war was raging throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina? Do you know what
7 happened in the spring of 1993 in Konjic, in Kakanj, in Travnik, in
8 Sarajevo? Can you see any connections between all of these events? Yes
9 or no.
10 A. Yes, in a political sense, but I can't just say yes or no. Allow
11 me to explain.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 A. Don't say "thank you," let me explain this.
14 Q. I understand this.
15 A. It was obvious for the Serbs to finish their work in Bosnia. I
16 can even mention the names of the Croats who came to live in Stolac from
17 Kakanj, Kraljeva and Sutjeska, and they cursed themselves for having done
19 Q. Well, I think they will talk about these matters on the basis of
20 other documents before this Court. Have you ever seen me or any of these
21 other five accused setting houses on fire?
22 A. I only know you because I've seen you on television.
23 Q. Please, we don't have much time.
24 A. Okay.
25 Q. Did you see any orders in which it said that you should set houses
1 on fire and take people away?
2 A. I think commands -- I think the troops should be in barracks. I
3 didn't see this.
4 Q. Thank you very much. With regard to the Croatian and Serbian
5 agreement, how is it that after the liberation of Stolac on the 15th of
6 August, the Serbs wanted to take Stolac and launch a significant attack,
7 if there was an agreement about the division of territory between the
8 Croats and the Serbs? Do you have an answer to that question?
9 A. Yes. I don't know what your position was, I think it was a
10 military position. When the HVO and HOS entered --
11 Q. Well, how many shots were fired?
12 A. One bomb, one shell was fired, and the Serbs left Stolac.
13 Q. You know this or you knew this at the age of 13?
14 A. Well, I could see that with my very own eyes.
15 Q. Thank you. It's unusual that you say that the people and you
16 yourself spent most of your time in the cellars.
17 A. We were afraid.
18 Q. I understand. On the 15th of August, in particular, you spent
19 that day in the cellars and nevertheless you know what people who were not
20 in the cellars looked like, you knew what the fight or the battle looked
21 like, you know how many bullets had been shot and how many shells had been
23 A. I'm not talking about the 15th of August. I'm talking about the
24 HVO and when they entered Stolac.
25 Q. Very well. Thank you. If you were in the vicinity of the fires
1 themselves, there were other -- and there were other people there, how is
2 it that no one recognised those who set these buildings on fire? How is
3 it that so many eye-witnesses have hidden or how is it that no one
4 reported them?
5 A. What do you mean the eye-witnesses hid?
6 Q. I mean that those who set the buildings on fire hid from the
7 eye-witnesses. No one could see them.
8 A. Well, have you seen the photographs? Have you seen the footage?
9 Let me explain how it is possible not to see them. Have you seen the
10 footage? Have you seen the footage?
11 Q. Yes.
12 A. You've seen that everything went in a circle. If it was on fire
13 here, the first fire broke out here. Let's say in front of me, perhaps 20
14 metres away from me. I would put the fire out. Five minutes later,
15 photograph number 1 was burning on the other side, or what was shown in
16 photograph number 1 was burning on the other side.
17 Q. I understand you. Completely.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak is putting an
19 important question to you, which follows on from what I wanted to ask you
20 about. Mr. Praljak is asking the following question: You were there.
21 There were other persons too. But after the event, no one said who set
22 the buildings on fire. That's the question put to you. What could you
23 tell us about that? Because you said there was a sort of circular
24 movement; when you put the fire out at one location, some other building
25 was put -- was set fire to at another place. Let's say that's correct.
1 You were in Stolac on that day and there were other people there. After
2 the fires, did the inhabitants say or did they tell you about the identity
3 of those who had set these buildings on fire, and were they arrested?
4 That's the question that's been put to you. You can either answer it or
5 not. But please stay calm. It's not necessary to get excited when a
6 question is put to you.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Very well. I don't think
8 soldiers will speak against themselves. The identity of those who set
9 these buildings on fire was never discovered. While all these buildings
10 were on fire, they were perhaps 20 metres away, on the steps in front of
11 the school, and they were laughing, shooting into the air, and doing all
12 sorts of other things.
13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Thank you very much. But try to understand this: I am to be held
15 accountable. There were eye-witnesses but there are many people, there
16 are a lot of people who can't identify a single person who set these
17 buildings on fire. No one can be asked whether someone issued an order,
18 an oral or a written order, to set these buildings on fire.
19 A. It's not for me to address this issue. But I think that the there
20 is a sufficient number of people in Stolac who know who set their house on
21 fire or who set something valuable on fire. I don't know the identity of
22 these people. I didn't see anyone taking a match, dousing a building with
23 petrol and setting it on fire.
24 Q. Don't you think that it would be important for the Court to have
25 information about this? If there were people who knew about the identity
1 of the perpetrators, don't you think they would have gone to the police?
2 A. Well, I think that would have been realistic, but given the
3 situation in Stolac, that's -- that would have been impossible.
4 Q. I want to ask you something about apartheid. You're a law
6 A. Yes, I graduated two years ago.
7 Q. From 1996 onwards, how many elections have been held in Stolac,
8 roughly speaking?
9 A. I don't know. Elections were held perhaps on one or two
10 occasions, but I don't know.
11 Q. Elections have been held in Stolac on four occasions since 1996.
12 They were all held under the auspices of the international community. Do
13 you think that democratically held elections, having the right to be
14 elected, having the right to participate in public life, can such things
15 be called apartheid in the legal sense of the term? I understand your
16 emotions, but please answer that question.
17 A. Well in legal terms it wouldn't be realistic to describe these
18 matters in such terms. But go and live in Stolac for a while and you'll
19 see what the situation is.
20 Q. Thank you very much. I have one more question for you. At the
21 ruins of the mosque that was set on fire, the remains of an old Catholic
22 church appeared; is that correct or not?
23 A. No.
24 Q. So where were the ruins of an old Catholic church found? Which
25 mosque was that?
1 A. Well, if ruins had been found, I think a church would have been
2 built there, not a mosque, but the churches you're referring to aren't
3 Catholic ones, they are Orthodox ones.
4 Q. I know that Mr. Bisko -- that Mr. Peric suggested that a mosque be
5 built right the next to a church and that they have a common wall so as to
6 interrupt the series of acts of destruction against religious buildings.
7 But thank you very much. I have no more questions.
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's 10.30 now. We
10 will have our technical break and we'll resume in 20 minutes' time.
11 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 10.52 a.m.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. We are resuming our
14 hearing in order to finish with the cross-examination, but before
15 Mrs. Alaburic takes the floor, let me tell you, sir: Please try to answer
16 as briefly as possible by saying yes or no to the questions, and please
17 keep your calm. Don't let anything upset you. The lawyers are just doing
18 their job. So I now give the floor to Mrs. Alaburic.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] The Defence of General Petkovic has
20 no questions.
21 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I will have
22 a few questions for the witness, and Mr. Coric possibly also. It is just
23 a possibility.
24 Cross-examination by Mr. Jonjic:
25 Q. Good morning, Mr. BI, I am Tomislav Jonjic. I shall ask you a few
1 questions on behalf of Mr. Coric. You described for us the liberation of
2 Stolac, the entry of HVO and HOS units into Stolac.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can you remember, irrespective of the fact that you were young at
5 the time - but we can see that your memory is quite good - can you
6 remember, in the weeks and the months that ensued after the liberation of
7 Stolac, did the Croats who had fled during the Serbian occupation, as well
8 as the Muslims, did they return or did this process evolve only slowly?
9 A. The Croats, most of the Croats returned, but the male population,
10 the part of the population that was prepared to bear arms, in other words,
11 were as a rather large number of Muslims, returned with their families.
12 Q. Was this return attended by any difficulties? Did the
13 authorities, those that had the actual power in the city at that time,
14 create any difficulties for them?
15 A. In returning?
16 Q. Yes.
17 A. No.
18 Q. Thank you very much.
19 Tell us, today you mentioned that quite a few, there were quite a
20 few Muslims in the HOS, and you used a formulation which I find slightly
21 peculiar, so would you be so kind as to explain. Namely, you said that
22 the Muslims in HOS, that they pretended to be truer Croats than real
23 Croats. That's page 23.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Can you explain what this is about? Does this mean that a Muslim
1 cannot feel to be a Croat in the ethnic and national sense?
2 A. Would you repeat the question?
3 Q. Does this mean that in your book a person of Muslim faith cannot
4 feel to be a Croat in the national, ethnic sense; or if he does feel that,
5 is he considered a traitor?
6 A. Observed from today's standpoint, a person of Muslim ethnicity
7 that feels to be a Croat is a traitor, in my book, and I believe that such
8 people were actually seeking to score points for their account,
9 pretending, feigning to be Croats, in fact.
10 Q. So in your view, there is an identity between ethnic affiliation
11 and religious affiliation?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Thank you very much.
14 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, can we show the witness,
15 with the aid of the Registry, document for which the Defence of Mr. Coric
16 was not originally prepared because the subject had not been referred to
17 in the statement of Witness BI but it has cropped up as potentially
18 important and relevant in the cross-examination, and this is document
19 Defence of Mr. Stojic, which is in the e-court under number 2D 00022, and
20 which was submitted immediately prior to the beginning of this session to
21 the Trial Chamber and to us. Can we have that document shown, please.
22 Well, if you cannot see it in the electronic system, then we have
23 a copy for the ELMO.
24 Q. This document has several pages. Of course, we have a translation
25 into English also. Of relevance is just the first page, in fact, because
1 the rest of the pages are just names.
2 So to assist the witness and save some time, this is a document of
3 the Croatian Defence Council of the 15th of June, 1993, and it enumerates,
4 or rather, its enclosure submits a list of 314 families that, according to
5 this document, are -- were expelled, had been expelled by Muslim
6 extremists from their family homes in Kocina, Gnojnica, Dracevica, Malo
7 Polje, Blagaj, and other villages. So these are Croatian families that we
8 are talking about. In this connection I should like to ask the witness:
9 Are these villages in which the families that moved from Stolac through
10 Buna to the Blagaj area were accommodated?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Thank you very much.
13 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, can this be admitted
14 into the file as an exhibit, Defence Exhibit, for Mr. Coric? And today we
15 shall see to it that it also is included in the electronic system.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This exhibit has already been
17 admitted for Mr. Stojic and will be so for you. Mr. Registrar --
18 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] It is important that it be tendered
19 into the file. Whether under the existing mark or another one, that is
20 not important.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Just a matter of clarification: I mean such
22 occurrences, while the system can accommodate such occurrences, we just
23 need to have -- to be provided with the next sequential number of your
24 Defence team, starting with 5D 000 whatever. This is a standard
25 procedure. So if you give me the next sequential number, I can admit it
1 as such. Thank you.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. While we are
3 waiting, do you have the number? Please go ahead.
4 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. 5D 01080 is the
6 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Mr. Registrar,
8 please give us the number for this document.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document will therefore be
10 assigned the reference 5D 01080, and for the record, this is the very same
11 document as the one submitted by the 2D Defence. Thank you very much.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
13 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
14 Q. My last question for this witness today: You mentioned that in
15 your view, it was only the MUP, the civilian police, in Stolac that was
16 functioning as a joint institution, did you not?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Do you happen to know as of which date, as of when, the civil
19 police was functioning in that way?
20 A. From perhaps two and a half to three years ago.
21 Q. Not before that?
22 A. Yes. They were in the same building, actually, but there were no
23 powers vested in the Muslims. In fact, a policeman in the first day after
24 our return, a policeman in uniform was actually reluctant to go out in the
25 street lest he meet with some discomfort.
1 Q. Who was the minister at the moment of the establishment of the
2 joint police, do you know that?
3 A. No, I don't know.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, I have no
6 further questions.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Mr. Coric, please
8 put your questions now.
9 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I
10 will have a couple of very brief questions.
11 Cross-examination by the Accused Coric:
12 Q. You said that you did not recall the name nor knew the name of a
13 single person who took part in the setting on fire of buildings and the
14 mosque in Stolac; is that correct?
15 A. It is correct and nobody asked me.
16 Q. But I'm asking you. Can you tell me a single name?
17 A. I can tell you the name of some of the soldiers who were on the
18 staircase, on the stairs: Marijan --
19 Q. Tell me one name.
20 A. Marijan Prce.
21 Q. Do you remember the persons who arrested you when you were moving
22 out of Stolac, when you had to go outside the school?
23 A. But no, but I remember the persons who frisked us, who took our
24 gold and our money.
25 Q. Do you remember the names?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. I'm not interested in names. It is important that you know who
3 they were. Do you remember the name of the driver?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. My next question: Do you know whether any of those persons has
6 been tried before courts in Bosnia-Herzegovina so far?
7 A. As far as I know, some are on the run, some are at large. I don't
9 Q. But have some been indicted?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Can you say some names?
12 A. Marijan Prce, Vide Palameta, and I can't remember any more.
13 Q. Do you know whether any procedures are underway for over a year
14 now against some persons?
15 A. No, I don't know. I'm not aware of that.
16 Q. Thank you. I see that you are acquainted with the situation in
17 Stolac now.
18 A. Yes, I am.
19 Q. Over these past few years, did you or some of the people in Stolac
20 that experienced what you had gone through, did you report to the official
21 organs or launch a criminal complaint against any of the persons who
22 participated in these actions?
23 A. I think there is no need for that at all because at the very
24 entrance to the MUP there are All Points Bulletins on the wall for these
25 persons that I mentioned.
1 Q. So they have been actually subjected to this procedure, don't you
3 A. Yes, I do.
4 Q. Thank you. When you talk about the MUP, I was the MUP minister
5 when the joint police was formed in the Herzegovina Neretva canton,
6 meaning also in Stolac. Do you know that the functions of the most
7 responsible persons, that the duties were divided on an ethnic basis so
8 you knew who was the head of the police, who was the deputy?
9 A. No, I didn't know, but I know that now if the head was a Croat,
10 his deputy would be a Muslim. That is actually the current situation. I
11 know that that is the current situation.
12 Q. Thank you very much. During your first visit to Stolac, you said
13 that you were secured by a cordon of the police.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. What police was that?
16 A. It was the Stolac police. They had black belts with this white
17 patch, white patch where it was written the Stolac HZ Police Herceg-Bosna;
18 you know that circular patch.
19 Q. Do you know that there were Bosniak members in that police?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Do you know that not long after that, it was along the ethnic
22 composition that the police in Stolac was organised, in fact?
23 A. I know that it was organised, but what the actual composition was
24 I don't know. I know there were Muslims in it.
25 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the question
1 because of the overlapping. The answer is:
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, there were no Serbs.
3 THE ACCUSED CORIC:
4 Q. Were there Serbs in Stolac at all as citizens?
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Coric, try and slow down a
6 little, because the interpreters are having difficulty in following you.
7 THE ACCUSED CORIC: I apologise to the interpreters.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Serbs came to the Stolac MUP
9 perhaps a year or two ago.
10 Q. As far as I know, there were invitations to applicants for
11 vacancies in MUP. If nobody applied, what could we do? Do you agree?
12 A. Well, I guess that was so.
13 Q. I see that you have a good memory. When Stolac was liberated, do
14 you know that the overwhelming majority in the HOS were actually Croats?
15 A. I actually don't know those people at all. Croatian people, the
16 HOS was just a foreign army for me; all people from Bosnia, Croatia,
17 everybody mixed.
18 Q. Do you know that a couple of months after the liberation of
19 Stolac, so a while ago, I said there were -- the majority of those in
20 Stolac were Croats. Do you know that a couple of months after the
21 liberation of Stolac, this very same HOS had over 90 per cent of Muslims
22 and the Croats had left the HOS?
23 A. No, no.
24 Q. Do you know that the commander of HOS was a Muslim?
25 A. I know his nickname, not his name.
1 Q. Is his nickname Dugi, perhaps?
2 A. Yes, it is.
3 Q. What did the people call him?
4 A. The prevalent opinion among the people was that he was a Croat.
5 What he was, I don't know.
6 Q. Are you aware of an incident when this person, during a
7 dishonourable military operation by Bosniak HOS members, had to use fire
8 power against his own soldier?
9 A. No. I'm not aware. I was not in the army. I don't know what
11 Q. You didn't hear about this?
12 A. No. Perhaps if you described it in more detail, I could remember.
13 Q. Did you read Mr. Dizdar's book?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. This is described in the book. Can you remember now?
16 A. No, I cannot. I'm not quite sure what you're talking about.
17 Q. There are a couple of books. Which one did you read?
18 A. I read this last one about half a year ago.
19 Q. Thank you very much.
20 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that is all the
21 questions I had to put to this witness.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. The next lawyer, and
23 then we will conclude. Just a minute. After that, the judge will be
24 putting a question.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness BI, you have been asked whether you knew
1 the names of certain persons who were perhaps not directly involved or
2 also involved in setting the fire or being there, and then in the
3 plundering and in transporting you, and you were then stopped from telling
4 the names. Would you be so kind as to tell us these names. I think that
5 the Chamber is interested in knowing.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The expulsions and the plundering of
7 money, gold, and other valuables was mostly done by Marijan Prce, whom I
8 just mentioned, Vide Palameta, nicknamed Dugi; Boskovic, this is -- I
9 don't know his first name. He was an inspector prior to the war in the
10 MUP. His nickname is Celo. And that would be it.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The last counsel.
12 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] No questions, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis?
14 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. The Prosecution has just a
15 couple of questions that arise from either questions put by the Bench or
16 by Mr. Praljak to the witness.
17 Re-examination by Mr. Mundis:
18 Q. Witness BI, you were asked about whether there were witnesses to
19 the fires that you've described for us. Can you tell us, if you recall,
20 at the time when these fires broke out whether there were significant
21 numbers of people out and about on the streets of Stolac?
22 A. Well, people from the surrounding houses, predominantly women and
23 children, went out, at least in front of their own doorsteps to see what
24 was going on, but this was for a short while, ten or 15 minutes or so.
25 The soldiers on the stairs that I referred to, they sort of deployed, if I
1 can say so, and they actually returned all the people, sent all the people
2 back into their houses.
3 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I believe it might be helpful if the
4 witness were again shown the bundle, IC 18, and he can indicate on that
5 perhaps a couple of things that he's just told us about. If that can be
6 placed on the ELMO, please.
7 Q. Now, Witness BI, you've mentioned several times in response, I
8 believe initially to a question put to you by Judge Antonetti on page 35,
9 line 16, you mentioned soldiers on the steps. Are the steps that you were
10 referring to visible on the photograph, the first page of IC 18?
11 A. Yes, they are.
12 Q. Can you please point to the stairs that you're referring to.
13 A. [Marks].
14 MR. MUNDIS: For the record, Mr. President, the witness has marked
15 the steps of the school with a circle. He's circled the steps.
16 Q. Now, Witness, there was also some questions put to you by the
17 presiding Judge concerning these two fires. Can you please point to where
18 the first fire that you observed broke out.
19 A. [Marks].
20 Q. For the record, the witness has marked a 1 on the roof of the
22 And Witness BI, can you mark where the second fire that you
23 witnessed on that day broke out, please.
24 A. [Marks].
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Now that you are
1 dealing with this photograph, can you show us, please, on the photograph,
2 the spot where you played soccer with your friends.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The spot can't be seen but I can
4 describe it to you. It can be seen behind the school, or rather, it is
5 behind the school, because within school, there is a playground.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. So it's behind the
7 school. Thank you.
8 MR. MUNDIS:
9 Q. Again, Witness, it was a bit unclear from the marking. Can you
10 mark the spot where the second fire broke out.
11 A. The buildings are behind the trees. [Marks] But it's here.
12 Q. Can you place a number 2 there, please. Inside the rectangular
14 A. [Marks].
15 Q. Thank you, Witness BI.
16 MR. MUNDIS: The Prosecution has no further questions.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, before we conclude, I have
18 a question which seems both relevant and useful to me.
19 Questioned by the Court:
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the town of Stolac in 1993,
21 were there any firemen?
22 A. To my knowledge, yes. They are there to this day.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Based on the
24 photograph, in addition to what can be seen there, can you point to us
25 where the firemen were?
1 A. You can't see it on this photograph.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If it can't be seen, was it to
3 the right, to the left, or in which direction, looking at this photograph?
4 A. It was in this direction, perhaps 150 to 200 metres away.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. So in that
6 direction. About 200 metres. On that day, you didn't see any firemen,
7 did you?
8 A. No.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I may have been the victim to an error, but it
11 seemed to me when you were first asked where the second fire had started,
12 you pointed to a spot left of the minaret where the fountain pavilion is
13 located. It is not really visible. It was between the trees. And then
14 when you were asked again, after a discussion about another issue, the
15 football, you pointed to a different spot, which is seen from here above
16 or behind the mosque. Have I seen this wrongly? Are you sure which is
17 the place where the second fire started?
18 A. I'm sure about what I'm saying. I don't know how you see this
19 photograph. What can be seen up here was a plot of land. This wasn't the
20 playground. This is an old picture of Stolac. I don't know in which year
21 it was taken. The playground is between these two spots, the school and
22 the plot which later is the spot where they built another school.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, this has nothing to do with my
24 question. My question concerns the immediate surroundings of the mosque.
25 You were first asked to show where the first fire started, or where the
1 fire first started, and you showed the scene from on the picture the part,
2 yes, left of the minaret. Then you were asked where the second fire
3 started, and you put the pencil a little bit more to the left still, which
4 is, according to the plan, the place where the fountain is. Then came
5 this intermezzo about the football field. You were asked again where the
6 second fire started, and this time you put the pencil on the trees that
7 are immediately behind the mosque as seen from here. I want to know
8 where, where did the second fire start, really?
9 A. This black spot to the left of the minaret was placed there by me
10 in order to mark the spot where I was, because that's how I understood the
11 question, where I was when the second fire broke out. That's the spot
12 that I marked. And it's right here.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis?
15 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, if we could, just for clarification's
16 sake, on the left side of the photograph, there are now two arrows
17 pointing off of the photograph. Yesterday I asked the witness about where
18 his house was and he drew an arrow off the map, and in response to your
19 question just now he marked a second arrow where the fire brigade was. I
20 would just ask if the witness could perhaps clarify that so we have a
21 clear record.
22 Further re-examination by Mr. Mundis:
23 Q. Witness, there are two arrows. Can you put an H next to the arrow
24 pointing to where -- or an A, let's mark it with an A, for where your
25 apartment was.
1 A. [Marks].
2 Q. And the arrow, the second arrow, can you mark that with an FB for
3 "fire brigade."
4 A. [Marks].
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. MUNDIS: No further questions.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Sir, this concludes
8 your evidence. The entire Trial Chamber would like to thank you for
9 coming to The Hague. I also hope that you will be able to find a job
10 soon. This is the hope of the entire Trial Chamber. This doesn't depend
11 on us, of course, but I wish you all the best in that regard. I will now
12 ask the usher to lead you out of the courtroom.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, just a minute,
15 sit down, please. First we need to put down the blinds because we have
16 audience behind you.
17 All right. You can leave the courtroom now. Thank you.
18 [The witness withdrew]
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I now turn to the Prosecution.
20 Mr. Mundis, what are you going to tell us about your last witness for this
21 week? Please go ahead.
22 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. The next witness, my
23 understanding, is ready to commence his testimony. His direct evidence
24 will be led by my colleague Mr. Scott, assisted by Mr. Bos. At this point
25 Mr. Kruger and myself will be taking leave of the courtroom.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Mr. Scott will now
2 put himself in the front row.
3 Very well. Mr. Scott, first of all, let me fix the timetable. We
4 have another hour and a half remaining to our lunch break. We will have
5 our lunch break at 1230, until 1400 hours, and then when we reconvene, we
6 can work until 1715, and then we have the whole day tomorrow. Within that
7 space of time we have to examine this witness. Let me remind you that the
8 Defence must have the same amount of time as the Prosecution. Therefore,
9 please tell me, how long do you expect to take with this witness?
10 MR. SCOTT: Good morning, Your Honours. My best estimate at this
11 particular moment would be that we are looking at something around -- I'm
12 going to say something around four and a half hours.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Four and a half
14 hours. That means that we need a total of nine hours for this witness.
15 Which means that we may run out of time. Could you bring it down to four
16 hours so that we are more likely to conclude on time?
17 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I just can't make -- I'm sorry, I just
18 simply cannot make that commitment. We are trying very hard to present
19 this evidence to you as efficiently as possible. I think everyone in the
20 courtroom will agree that Mr. Smajkic is an important witness. He is the
21 most senior Islamic cleric in the Mostar region, was during the war and
22 remains in that position today. He addresses a wide range of issues. I
23 think the Chamber should have the full benefit of his evidence and we will
24 do the best we can, but I just simply -- the alternative is to not present
25 evidence to the Chamber that we believe should be presented. I don't --
1 would like to avoid that situation if possible. I will just say that we
2 will do the very best that we can.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Do what you can, but
4 at any rate, if we don't finish with this witness tomorrow at 1.45, this
5 witness will have to stay here until Monday.
6 MR. SCOTT: I understand that, Your Honour. I would ask that --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Let's bring in the
8 witness right away.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Good morning, sir.
11 Before you read out your declaration, would you please give me your first
12 name, last name, and date of birth.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was born on the 9th of February,
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your profession
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am a mufti, a religious officer
18 for the region of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you ever testified before
20 an international court or national court in your country, or is it the
21 first time that you're testifying here?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I testified in 2001 here, before
23 this Court.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And you testified in which case?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was in the Tuta case.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Now I will ask you
2 to read out the solemn declaration.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
4 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
5 WITNESS: SEID SMAJKIC
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Thank you. You can
8 sit down now.
9 Very well. Since you have already testified, you won't need a lot
10 of introduction from me. First you will be answering the questions put by
11 the Prosecution. You have already met them. The Prosecution indicated
12 that they will be using four and a half hours for their examination, which
13 means that you will be testifying today and tomorrow.
14 And then the Defence teams are seated on your left, and they will
15 be putting questions to you as well. They have the same amount of time.
16 If we do not manage to finish by 1.45 tomorrow, unfortunately, you will
17 have to stay here until Monday. But I am counting on the cooperation of
18 both sides and hope that your testimony will be concluded tomorrow.
19 All right. Since the time is already running, I will now give the
20 floor to Mr. Scott, who has one hour to start with his examination. I
21 will also like to ask the Registrar to see, to check with the
22 interpreters, whether, if we do not conclude on time, we can stay a little
23 bit longer. Please go ahead, Mr. Scott.
24 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
25 Examination by Mr. Scott:
1 Q. Mr. Smajkic, you just heard there is some concern with some of the
2 time schedule that we must deal with here. In order to move as
3 efficiently as possible, I'm hoping there will be no objection if I lead
4 you through some of your background information. I don't mean that out of
5 any disrespect to you as a witness but simply to use the time most
7 Sir, it's my understanding that, as you just indicated, you were
8 born on the 9th of February, 1947, in a town or village near Mostar but
9 you've essentially resided in Mostar most of your life; is that correct?
10 A. That is correct.
11 Q. I understand, sir, that you graduated from the theological faculty
12 in Sarajevo. I didn't note down the year of that, but when did you
13 graduate from the theological faculty?
14 A. I graduated from Gazi Husren-Begova Medresa in Sarajevo in 1965.
15 And following that, I went to study in Iraq, where I graduated from the
16 Baghdad University in 1971. I have a degree in the Sharia law and Arabic
18 Q. All right. And since that time, after returning from your
19 studies, you returned -- as I understand it, you returned to Mostar in
20 approximately 1972 and you've been basically continuously employed in your
21 religious functions in the Mostar area since 1972; is that correct?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. Now, as I understand it, sir, from 1972 to approximately 1980, you
24 worked in various positions concerning, again, Islamic religious and
25 educational work in the Mostar area, and during this time, you also acted
1 as the deputy to the person who was the mufti at that time, Mr. Zufer
2 Beslic; is that correct?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. And when the -- when Mufti Beslic died in 1975, you took over his
5 duties in an acting capacity and then were officially appointed the mufti
6 in 1980; is that correct?
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. In terms of the testimony that brings you here today, you were
9 also in this position of mufti during the time period 1992-1994; is that
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. And you continue to hold the same position today; is that correct,
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. Now, Mufti Smajkic, would you please tell the Chamber, assist the
16 Chamber, please, with explaining what is a mufti, where does it fit into
17 the Islamic religious structure, if you will, and give a brief description
18 of your jobs and roles as the mufti of the Mostar region.
19 A. A mufti is the main religious authority in a region. He is in
20 charge, both directly and via municipal centres in his jurisdiction, of
21 organising normal conditions for development of religious life and
22 practice of religion under normal circumstances. He can achieve this by
23 ensuring all the necessary preconditions for normal work, by ensuring
24 proper funding, personnel, human resources, and infrastructure, that is to
25 say religious facilities.
1 Duties of a mufti include issuing guidelines for the work of
2 municipal centres and contributing to the affirmation of religious values
3 in the most proper manner. In this case, my competencies now cover three
4 cantons; Herzegovina-Neretva canton, Liva canton, and Western Herzegovina
5 canton, as well as the parts of the Republika Srpska, that is to say
6 Eastern Herzegovina.
7 Q. Perhaps it will assist the Chamber in terms of the geographic area
8 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as you've just described it, and the structure of
9 the muftis if I ask you this question: How many muftis are there for the
10 entire country covered by what is now Bosnia-Herzegovina?
11 A. In this particular case, the office of mufti in Mostar includes
12 Konjic, Jablanica, the seat is in Mostar, Capljina, Ljubuski, Livno,
13 Tomislavgrad, Prozor, Glamoc, Stolac and Neum. These are the towns in the
14 federation. As for Republika Srpska, it is Nevesinje, Gacko, Bileca,
15 Trebinje and Ljubinje.
16 Q. All right. Let me come back in a moment to the question I asked
17 you before, but in terms of what you've just said, would it be correct
18 then to understand that during the period roughly 1992-1994, and when we
19 talk about something that was then called either the Croatian Community or
20 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, were you the mufti at that time whose
21 jurisdictional territory, if you will, would have included all of what was
22 described at that time as Herceg-Bosna? Or if not, can you identify to
23 the Judges any part of what was claimed as Herceg-Bosna that did not fall
24 within your area of responsibility.
25 A. Some of the towns mentioned did fall within my area of
1 responsibility. However, the towns in Central Bosnia are in the
2 jurisdiction of the Travnik mufti and partially Zenica mufti. Thus, we
3 can say that Gornji Vakuf, Donji Vakuf, Kupres, and other towns in Central
4 Bosnia are outside of the jurisdiction of Mostar mufti.
5 Q. All right. Generally speaking, then, we could understand and the
6 Judges can correctly understand that your area of responsibility included
7 what might be described as all of the Herzegovina region; is that correct?
8 Not including Central Bosnia.
9 A. Yes; for Herzegovina, that's correct.
10 Q. And let me go back to the earlier question I asked you: Again,
11 just to put your overall structure in context, in this period 1992-1994,
12 how many muftis were there covering the territory of Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina? That is, you said there were -- there was yourself in the
14 Mostar region, there was a mufti for Zenica, there was a mufti in the
15 Travnik area. How many muftis were there in Bosnia-Herzegovina during
16 that time period, approximately?
17 A. Based on the previous organisational chart of the Islamic
18 community, the one that existed before the war, there were four muftis and
19 four regions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, four mufti offices. One was in
20 Mostar, one in Sarajevo, one in Tuzla, and Banja Luka. The one with the
21 seat in Banja Luka covered the territory of Banja Luka and Krajina. And
22 this is how it was organised and how it existed for decades. There was
23 never any interruption in Mostar. There has always been a mufti seat in
24 Mostar. In war, another four offices were set up in addition to the
25 existing four. One was set up in Bihac, in Travnik, in Zenica and
1 Gorazde, for Eastern Bosnia.
2 Q. All right. Now, just in terms, sir, of your overall
3 responsibilities again, can you tell the Judges, what is the nature of
4 your role or responsibility, if any, in relation to the appointment or
5 supervision of Islamic officials or clerics that fall within your area of
7 A. Based on the regulations of the Islamic community, which are in
8 force now, Reis-ul-Ulema, who is the highest authority and the leader of
9 the Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the proposal given by a mufti,
10 appoints the main imams in municipal centres, in all municipal centres
11 where the Muslims have an organised religious community. The local organs
12 of the Islamic community appoint imams in djemat, which is our word for
13 parishes. This is done by the local municipal organs of the Islamic
14 community, which are called medzlis. Naturally this is also done on the
15 basis of the approval given by mufti. Mufti is in charge of supervising
16 the work and issuing guidelines to all the imams in his jurisdiction.
17 Q. And just for the record to be complete, you mentioned this Islamic
18 cleric official who was superior to you and would be the most senior
19 Islamic authority in Bosnia-Herzegovina. What is the name of that
20 position? I'm not asking now for the name of the person or holder of that
21 position, but just as your title is, if I can say it that way, just as
22 your position is called mufti, what is the name of that position?
23 A. Reis-ul-Ulema is the title. That's the supreme mufti in Bosnia
24 and Herzegovina. We muftis compose the council for the Reis-ul-Ulema, and
25 he's the supreme mufti in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 Q. All right. And is his seat in Sarajevo?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And was it also in Sarajevo during the time of the war?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, sir, I've asked you about your appointment and supervision of
6 cleric -- Islamic clerics. Let me also ask you, as mufti do you have any
7 role or responsibility related to religious buildings or properties that
8 fall -- again fall within your area of responsibility?
9 A. At the beginning, I said that one of the main responsibilities we
10 had was to create the necessary infrastructure for religious rites, so
11 that means creating, or rather, building mosques and other facilities for
12 the Islamic community, and thus protecting the facilities and buildings of
13 Islamic communities is one of the responsibilities of the municipal bodies
14 as well as one of the mufti's responsibilities.
15 Q. All right. Just to make it that a bit more concrete, if a local
16 Islamic community wants to build a mosque in their area, their village,
17 what have you, would you have some role in approving and supervising that
19 A. The local bodies would consult the mufti and the mufti would issue
20 a certificate, or rather, approval, a justification for building a mosque.
21 Q. All right. Now, in connection with the topic that we will come to
22 later in your testimony, could it also be said that if there is damage to
23 a mosque or if a mosque is, in your area of responsibility is destroyed,
24 would that information come to your attention?
25 A. Yes. Absolutely.
1 Q. All right. Sir, moving forward, then, to some of the beginning
2 parts of the conflict, is it correct, sir, that sometime in the first half
3 of 1992, the Serbs -- Serb forces, the JNA, forces associated with the
4 JNA, asserted control over the Mostar area?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can you briefly describe to the Judges, starting in the spring of
7 1992, in approximately April, how that conflict developed in terms of the
8 conflict at that time between Serbs on the one hand and the Croats and the
9 Muslims or Bosniaks on the other?
10 A. The Jugo army and the Serbian troops arrived in the territory of
11 Mostar in the month of September, 1992. They were there with the reserve
12 forces and Herzegovina was then placed under the control of the then JNA.
13 There were various acts of provocation, various incidents carried out by
14 those forces that had full control over the territory that they had taken.
15 There were various provocative acts. They would control traffic, carry
16 out checks of the traffic and of individuals, they would open fire on
17 certain buildings. They would also open bursts of fire directed at
18 religious buildings and mosques. And this continued for several months,
19 up until the month of April, as you yourself have said, the month of April
20 in 1992.
21 Q. May I interrupt you, please? You said a moment ago, or at least
22 it appeared on the transcript as, when I asked you the month, or when you
23 gave a time, you said September of 1992. Did you mean to say September of
25 A. 1991.
1 Q. All right. And then picking up on your last answer, this
2 behaviour and these actions continued from approximately September of 1991
3 when they -- when the force -- JNA or Serb forces first appeared or at
4 least asserted increasing control over that area, and continued until the
5 spring of 1992. Is that correct?
6 A. That's correct.
7 Q. Sir, can you tell the Judges whether during this conflict in the
8 first half of 1992, did many Muslim or Bosniak residents who were -- at
9 that time had been living on the east bank, if you will, or the left --
10 the east side or East Mostar, the left bank, whichever terminology one
11 wants to use, that many of these Muslims moved to the right bank during
12 that time, during this conflict?
13 A. They were preparing to liberate the town from the occupying
14 forces, and while doing this, the Bosniaks in Mostar, together with the
15 Croats from Mostar, prepared themselves to carry out a decisive strike, or
16 rather, to liberate the town from these forces. Throughout the month of
17 April and around the 8th or 9th of May, 1992, many Bosniaks crossed over
18 to the right bank, to the western part of Mostar. I am aware of this
19 because up until the 9th of May, 1992, I had an office in the eastern part
20 of the town, and I was there until that date. By that time, these
21 paramilitary groups, Arkan's men, Seselj's men, et cetera, had already
22 been set loose. They were in the mahala area, in the centre, and that's
23 the period of time during which the remaining inhabitants crossed over to
24 the right bank.
25 Q. Now, before we move on with these other events starting in the
1 late spring of 1992, but just to put things in historical context, if you
2 will, what did you understand -- by the spring of 1992, what was the
3 status of the organisation -- the existence and operation of something
4 that was then called the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna? It existed
5 by that time?
6 A. At the time, it was already in existence. It already existed in
7 April, and later on in May the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna assumed
8 control of the civilian parties of government in Mostar. They did this by
9 carrying out a military putsch, we could say, and the HVO had both
10 military and civilian power at that point in time.
11 Q. All right. So not only did the Herceg-Bosna exist at the time,
12 and it asserted control, and you knew at this time that something called
13 the HVO was also one of the actors; is that correct?
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. Mufti Smajkic, we are going to talk about these things in some
16 greater detail in the course of the day, but would you give the Judges now
17 a bit of an overview, if you will. You just said that by this time, there
18 had essentially been a military putsch by which the Herceg-Bosna
19 authorities, the HVO, had taken control of the government in Mostar. Can
20 you tell the Judges how that was done?
21 A. The inhabitants of Mostar were in a very difficult position.
22 There was a Crisis Staff composed of the mayor, representatives of
23 political parties, and other prominent individuals who also -- and this
24 body also acted as a sort of assembly. So when it came to defending the
25 town, pressure was exerted in order to ensure that the Croats, or rather,
1 the HVO were made responsible for the defence.
2 In a certain sense, a possibility was offered to other forces, to
3 the Territorial Defence, to the incipient BH army, so that they could
4 participate in the defence, whereas the HVO held a command role. Most of
5 the parties involved, apart from the SDP party, agreed to having the HVO
6 being made responsible for the defence of the town. However, shortly
7 afterwards, when the HVO was assigned the task of defending the town and
8 ensuring that the town was liberated, shortly after that occurred, it took
9 over control from the executive body, or rather, it replaced the executive
11 Q. You mentioned a moment ago a Crisis Staff. The Crisis Staff that
12 existed in the spring of 1992, when was that Crisis Staff first
13 established in the Mostar area?
14 A. Well, it was established at a time that the town assembly could no
15 longer function, because by that time the Serbs had already left the
16 Assembly, the Assembly could no longer take decisions in an appropriate
17 manner, and there was then a core cabinet including the mayor and
18 representatives of political parties, the SDA, the HDZ, the SDP and
19 certain other parties, and these people composed a Crisis Staff that had
20 legislative authority and civilian authority.
21 Q. You've said a couple of times now in the last few minutes that one
22 member of the Crisis Staff was the mayor of Mostar. Who was the mayor of
23 Mostar? Specifically now we are talking in the spring of 1992. In the
24 April-May, 1992, period, who was mayor?
25 A. It was Milivoj Gagro, Mr. Milivoj Gagro.
1 Q. And can you tell the Judges, how had Mr. Gagro come to hold that
3 A. He was elected in the first democratic elections that were held in
4 1990, the first democratic and legal elections held at the time.
5 Q. Now, after you said there was this military putsch after which the
6 HVO asserted complete control of the Mostar government, did Mr. Gagro
7 continue to be mayor, or what happened concerning Mr. Gagro?
8 A. He was removed. He no longer played a political role.
9 Q. And who replaced Mr. Gagro, essentially, as the mayor or the
10 leading executive official in Mostar?
11 A. He was replaced by Mr. Jadranko Topic, who was the president of
12 the HVO.
13 Q. And by what process was Mr. Topic put into this position as head
14 of the HVO government of Mostar?
15 A. Well, this fits into the strategy that was used to establish the
16 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, into the strategy for turning Mostar
17 into a Croatian town. It fits into the strategy used in other towns in
18 which HDZ leaders wanted these towns to be part of Herceg-Bosna. So the
19 government appointed this individual to that position.
20 Q. So the record is clear, sir, when you say the government appointed
21 the individual to that position, which government are you talking about?
22 A. Well, I'm referring to Mate Boban and his government.
23 Q. All right. You've said that it was agreed by most of the parties,
24 not everyone, but there was an agreement in the spring of 1992 that the
25 HVO would have command of the defence of Mostar; is that correct?
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. Did you understand that agreement or that decision to also
3 authorise the HDZ or the HVO or the Herceg-Bosna authorities to take
4 complete political and governmental control of all structures and
5 processes in the Mostar region?
6 A. That body authorised the HVO, gave power to the HVO, and this
7 implied that they should be responsible for military issues and for the
8 liberation of the town of Mostar. It did not mean that they should assume
9 civilian power.
10 Q. Now, this decision to give the HVO the lead in the military
11 defence of Mostar, this was reflected in a written document that was dated
12 somewhere approximately the 29th of April, 1992; is that correct?
13 A. That's correct.
14 MR. SCOTT: If we could have the assistance of the Registry to
15 display Exhibit P 00180.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, I don't have a hard
17 copy of that document.
18 MR. SCOTT: I think it's on its way to you now.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Here we have it.
20 MR. SCOTT:
21 Q. All right. Can you see that document now, sir?
22 A. I do.
23 Q. And can you tell the Judges, if you can tell by looking at that
24 document - and if you need to look at it in greater detail, say so, please
25 - but is that a -- is that the document, the 29th of April, 1992,
1 document which memorialised or reflects this decision for the HVO to have
2 the military lead in the defence of Mostar?
3 A. That's the decision in question. However, I'd like to draw your
4 attention to the fact that in Article 8, under item 8, it says that the
5 Crisis Staff of the municipality of Mostar must form a temporary executive
6 board as soon as possible, which shall make sure that the bodies of the
7 Assembly administration in the Mostar municipality function. That's one
8 of the items. So giving this command role and making the HVO responsible
9 for defence means that all the civilian bodies of power in Mostar were
10 disbanded, were eliminated. So the civilian bodies of power in Mostar no
11 longer continued to exist.
12 Q. All right. Let me ask you -- I'm going to take you, in fact,
13 through a number of the specific paragraphs of the agreement. If you can
14 first direct your attention to section II. Is it correct, sir, that is
15 the basic language that talks about putting the HVO in charge of the
16 defence of Mostar? Is that correct?
17 A. Yes. And members of the Ministry of the Interior.
18 Q. All right. And then going on to Article 3, is it correct, sir,
19 that what was contemplated at the time was that the -- all of these bodies
20 would continue to be multi-ethnic bodies comprised of both Croats and
21 Muslims? I'm not asking you if that was the case but is that what was
22 supposed -- in your understanding, what was supposed to happen?
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me, if I may object at this point to the
24 form of the question, to the extent that a foundation hasn't been laid.
25 We can certainly read the document and draw some conclusions from reading
1 the document not having lived through those events. The question is was
2 this gentleman part of the drafting of this document, was he part of the
3 Crisis Staff, did he have any involvement? If the answer is yes, then
4 obviously he would be competent to testify as to what the meaning is in
5 certain provisions or what was envisaged. Otherwise, I believe it is
6 outside the scope of his knowledge and therefore he's not competent to
7 answer those questions. Thank you.
8 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I believe that the witness can talk about
9 what happened in the city of Mostar during this time. He's clearly one of
10 the senior community leaders. I will not ask him to interpret the
11 document per se but I'm putting the document before him in order to lead
12 into the next series of questions and my question in fact is, is that in
13 fact what happened?
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Again, Mr. President --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Stop. Mr. Scott, ask the
16 witness to comment on the paragraphs, but don't lead the witness. If
17 there is any light the witness could shed on some of the paragraphs, let
18 him do so. If not, it doesn't matter. Please proceed.
19 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour. Precisely my intention.
20 Q. Sir, in looking, directing your attention to the -- to what is the
21 language in Article number 3, and as it's been pointed out, everyone in
22 the courtroom can see that, but once you can see what that language is,
23 can you inform the Judges in fact, based on your experience and
24 observation at the time, was it in fact the case that the -- that Muslims
25 comprised senior or important positions in either the Muslim -- the HVO
1 military or the HVO government as it was set up, allegedly, under this
3 A. This article spells out precisely that the Croatian Defence
4 Council shall be constituted of members of the Muslim and Croatian as well
5 as members of other peoples, but that was only a letter on paper, because
6 Bosniaks and Muslims at that time, although they did take a significant
7 part in the defence of the city, had no command posts, held no command
8 posts. Not only did they not hold any command functions, but they did not
9 have an equal status of a combatant relative to the Croats.
10 Q. I ask you to direct your attention next to section IV, and again
11 if you would just see what that provision says, can you tell the Judges
12 whether that in fact was the case? That is, was that what happened in
14 A. One can see clearly here that the command staff should have been
15 balanced. However, the Muslim armed forces were not equal in the command
16 staff, nor were they equal in respect of the other rights that the
17 Croatian soldiers had. As a matter of fact, I can tell you that the
18 Muslim population reacted. It did not approve the move of their
19 representatives - and I think that this is important for me to say this -
20 who affixed their signature to this document which is to invest the Croats
21 with the exclusive role of defending the city and holding the command
23 Q. Let me also direct your similar attention to paragraph numeral --
24 VI, and in particular the second sentence in that paragraph, or section.
25 And again, can you tell the Judges whether that in fact was the case? Was
1 the ethnic structure of these institutions, did it reflect the ethnic
2 structure of the soldiers actually serving in these forces -- in this
4 A. No. The Muslims were neglected in this respect, totally.
5 Disregarded, in fact.
6 Q. Directing your attention to VII, did the HVO military, in carrying
7 out its functions under this decision, subordinate itself and coordinate
8 its activities to the Municipal Crisis Staff as it had existed in Mostar
9 up to that time?
10 A. I've already mentioned, but to be very precise, I can repeat: The
11 minute it was structured and organised in this fashion, it eliminated, it
12 removed, disbanded the Crisis Staff from that moment and it no longer
13 existed onwards. It actually assumed the competencies of the civilian
15 Q. Is it correct, sir, before we leave this document, that we can see
16 on the bottom part of the last page the persons who signed this document
17 on behalf of the Crisis Staff at that time?
18 A. I believe this to be an authentic document.
19 Q. All right. Now, sir, before we move on, and in reference to
20 perhaps there might be some of the persons who signed this document, by
21 1992 and continuing into 1993, did there come to be any group of Muslims
22 who were identified as having a perhaps more pro-HVO orientation than
24 A. From the very inception of the articulation of a joint strategy
25 and defence, we noticed an inferior position of the Bosniaks and of the
1 representatives of the Bosniak, that is,Muslim authorities relative to the
2 Croatian staff. So that one could immediately observe, especially in
3 regard to the president of the SDA, Mr. Ismet Hadziosmanovic, that he
4 actually promoted Croatian ideas and that Bosniaks, that is, Muslims
5 demonstratively and in different ways actually condemned his actions and
6 his conduct. He especially featured in such activities. He especially --
7 he featured especially prominently in such activities, as did the team
8 around him.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, the gentleman here is using
10 "Bosniak" and "Muslim." We heard yesterday from the witness, the term
11 "Bosniak" for Muslims did not come into play much later. The way the
12 testimony is coming it's as if we have two different groups, Bosniaks and
13 Muslims, being discriminated or being abused by the Croats or the HVO. I
14 would like the record cleared. What does he mean by "Bosniak" and
15 "Muslim" at this particular time that we are talking about, 1992?
16 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I'll be happy to address that.
17 Q. Sir, in my questions to you this morning, out of deference to what
18 I understand to be your preferred term of "Bosniak," I have used both
19 terms, "Bosniak" and "Muslim." For the purposes of the record, and since
20 we are primarily focusing on the time period 1992-1993, would you be
21 offended if I -- if we use the terminology "Muslim" for the purposes of
22 today's testimony?
23 A. Yes. I accept this. I think it is better in order to avoid any
24 quandaries. I apologise. I -- simply something which figures in current
25 terminology. What is used now is "a Bosniak." And then it was "a
1 Muslim." That's why I misspoke.
2 Q. Thank you, sir.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Are you saying that in your
4 opinion, the terms "Bosniak" and "Muslim" are synonymous?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is one and the same thing.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you would say that there is
7 no distinction to be made between these two terms.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No distinction exists.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's carry on, then.
10 MR. SCOTT:
11 Q. Sir, I think we were talking about the position of
12 Mr. Hadziosmanovic during this time. And my next question to you was
13 going to be what positions or role did Mr. Hadziosmanovic have at that
14 time, whether in the government or within a political party or what have
15 you? What was his position?
16 A. He was a leading Muslim politician. He was the president of the
17 municipal SDA and regional SDA bodies. So that he had absolutely a
18 predominant role in the creation of policy in the area.
19 Q. How is it, sir, that -- probably the question is already forming
20 in the minds of people in the courtroom, that this senior SDA position --
21 politician, as you just said a moment ago, seemed to take positions that
22 were increasingly out of step with most of the Muslims in the Mostar area?
23 A. At these elections at which Gagro was elected mayor, those in
24 1990, that is when the SDA party won the most votes from the Muslim
25 people. The people from the Sarajevo headquarters brought him and placed
1 him in that position, not knowing how anyone would turn out to be. This
2 was a period of turmoil, of ferment, and we were just leaving behind the
3 communist dictatorship, so people of this ilk of the civic orientation
4 would not be aligned with national parties, so that the idea was, the hope
5 was that people like Hadziosmanovic, actually hailing from a religious
6 milieu, would actually fill the bill, the function of such a leader, very
7 well, because his brother, Mustafa Hadziosmanovic, had served time, many
8 years, in communist prisons, in the prisons of the communist regime. So
9 it was -- he and his family were thought to be the promoters of
10 traditional values upon which we would be able to further build our state.
11 Q. All right. Probably not a major point but since you mentioned it
12 and so the record perhaps can be a bit clearer, when you mention Mustafa
13 Hadziosmanovic having served time in prison during the communist era, why
14 was he serving time in prison?
15 A. Well, he was convicted as a Young Muslim. Actually this was the
16 name of the group, this was the name the group dubbed itself. And they
17 were held answerable for their ideological prejudices against the
18 communist system. Alija Izetbegovic also belonged to this group, the
19 president. So that the brother of Ismet Hadziosmanovic did time together
20 with Alija Izetbegovic, and probably this is the connection. Of course
21 they did not know Ismet, they just appreciated him on the basis of his
22 brother's worth.
23 Q. And, sir, going back to Mr. Gagro, I failed to ask you, and I
24 don't think it was mentioned - if it was, I'm mistaken - what was
25 Mr. Gagro's ethnic identity or affiliation?
1 A. Mr. Gagro was of Croatian affiliation.
2 Q. Just a couple of questions, I think, before we break for the lunch
3 recess, sir. This group of people -- let me start over again. Did a
4 group of persons form around Mr. Hadziosmanovic who formed any other
5 political party or group that tended to be more closely identified with
6 the HVO during this time in 1992-1993?
7 A. I'm very well acquainted with that situation, and we had serious
8 problems because all Muslim associations at the time, they all had
9 problems in terms of consistently representing the interests of the
10 Muslims at the time. We observed that and we expressed this in different
11 ways, namely that Mr. Hadziosmanovic was not courageous enough or possibly
12 was not actually willing enough to represent the interests of the Muslims
13 in the right and proper way but always accepted an inferior position so
14 that the problems perpetuated themselves and actually grew without being
16 You can see this from a document which reflects his practice.
17 This is from September, 1992. You can see that Hadziosmanovic himself
18 requested the HVO, on -- that we discuss in a democratic fashion and on a
19 prompt basis certain problems which encumbered our overall relations,
20 starting from the patches worn by the soldiers - we wanted them to be
21 common ones - up to the establishment of joint institutions, resolving the
22 question of the state flags, and so on and so forth. Not to belabour the
23 point, this simply means that he himself was aware of this inferior
24 position of the Bosniaks, i.e., Muslims, at the time, but it is quite
25 possible that in this representation of his, he actually just did it so as
1 to say that he had done something, but what he was actually doing in
2 practice was to collaborate with the Croats.
3 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, we would -- I see the time. We would be
4 moving on to another topic, so I suggest that we take the break here.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's half past 12, so we'll have
6 our break. I've done some calculations. We should be continuing until
7 1745, which means, Mr. Scott, that at 1745, you will have concluded your
8 examination-in-chief. Tomorrow Defence counsel will have the same amount
9 of time for their cross-examination. We will resume at 2 p.m.
10 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.32 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 2.02 p.m.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will now resume. Mr. Scott.
13 MR. SCOTT:
14 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
15 A. Good afternoon.
16 Q. I would like to go now to a time again in about April or May of
17 1992. Were you involved around that time in a television programme that
18 was broadcast from Split, Croatia?
19 A. I myself went there with Mr. Topic and I did appear on television.
20 Q. Can you tell us what that was about and how you became involved in
22 A. Mr. Hadziosmanovic suggested that we should go to Split as part of
23 a delegation, as part of a joint Muslim-Croat delegation in which the
24 representatives, both Muslims and Croats, would discuss political
25 matters, and I, together with the head of the bishopric, was to send an
1 appeal for humanitarian aid to be delivered to the town of Mostar, that
2 had been surrounded, that had been militarily besieged. In addition to
3 Mr. Topic, we were accompanied by his brother, Marin Topic. I didn't know
4 which Muslim politicians would be present, but when I arrived in the
5 studio, I saw Mr. Salahovic there, who Ismet Hadziosmanovic had authorised
6 to discuss political matters, and I, together with Mr. Luka Pavlovic, was
7 supposed to issue an appeal for humanitarian aid. That was supposed to be
8 done on that programme.
9 Q. For the record, sir, if you know, can you give us the first name
10 of Mr. Salahovic?
11 A. Amir Salahovic, who is a lawyer.
12 Q. And did you agree to go on this and participate in this programme
13 voluntarily, did you believe you had a choice to do so, or what happened
14 after being asked to do this?
15 A. I accepted this suggestion and took it to be one made in good
16 faith. I thought that Mostar required aid and I thought that the
17 politicians had their own work to do and that I, together with my
18 colleague Luka Pavlovic, could be of use if we were seen together on
19 television, if people could see that we had adopted a common front with
20 regard to the aggression carried out by the Serb or Chetnik forces.
21 Q. Was the Catholic cleric, when you appeared on television, was he
22 dressed in clerical clothing and were you dressed in your clerical
24 A. He had a priest's sign on him. It was wartime and there was an
25 incident, since Mostar had been surrounded, and they would open fire on
1 us. At night he fell out of the car. The conditions were wartime
2 conditions so he couldn't really get dressed but he did have certain
3 symbols or him that made it possible to identify him as a priest.
4 Q. All right. Now, when you were travelling, in fact, to go to Split
5 for the purposes of this presentation, did you have any trouble at the --
6 crossing the border into Croatia?
7 A. We, the Muslims, did have problems when it came to moving around
8 freely. When attempting to obtain the necessary documents,
9 Mr. Hadziosmanovic provided me with a piece of paper that bore his
10 signature. That was supposed to be sufficient for my purposes. It was
11 supposed to make it possible for me to move around freely, to circulate
12 freely, since we were partners with the Croats. However, at the first
13 check-point that we arrived at, and that was under the control of the HVO,
14 I was sent back from that check-point and they requested that I provide
15 them with a sort of identity document issued by the HVO. So I had to
16 return that piece of paper signed by Mr. Hadziosmanovic. He was very
17 angry, and he phoned someone from the HDZ who obtained a pass which
18 enabled me to leave Mostar.
19 Q. When the HVO check-point refused to accept the pass from
20 Mr. Hadziosmanovic, did they make any further comment to you about that,
21 about that pass?
22 A. It's difficult to me to put this in very brutal terms, but they
23 used a rather -- a rather vulgar vocabulary to describe the way in which
24 that piece of paper could be put to good use.
25 Q. All right, sir. Now, you did, then, attend the programme. Was
1 anything said during the televised programme about the Croat political
2 plan or the HVO political plan at that time?
3 A. When we arrived at the studio, the situation I observed there is
4 one that one could describe as a mobile situation. There was a certain
5 euphoria. There were people who met Mr. Topic there, who greeted him in a
6 particular way, and I didn't really understand what was going on at the
7 time. However, when Mr. Topic took the -- when Mr. Topic took the floor,
8 or rather, when he started speaking and when his image appeared on the
9 screen, it said in subtitles that he was the new mayor of Mostar. So
10 there was this atmosphere of euphoria. People in Split were euphoric
11 because they believed that Mostar had finally become a Croatian town.
12 The TV presenter asked Mr. Topic, "Who is your president?" And he
13 said, "Mate Boban." He also asked me who my president was. I said my
14 president was the elected president, Mr. Izetbegovic. A discussion
15 ensued. They wanted us to accept the appointment that the HDZ supported,
16 that the Croatian community supported, and it was even suggested that
17 Sarajevo couldn't help itself. They suggested that we should join the
18 Croatian people, that that's how we could save ourselves.
19 At one point in time, Mr. Marin Topic joined the discussion and he
20 said that Neretva was a viable option for us. In other words, that the
21 right bank or the western side of the Neretva was an option for us, we
22 wouldn't be fighting a Serbian aggressor on the left bank, and
23 Mr. Salahovic was irritated by this. He was the official representative
24 of Ismet Hadziosmanovic. He said he had to amend this statement because
25 Salahovic had to return to Mostar, and when people heard what had been
1 said, how would he be able to look them straight in the eyes? Because we
2 were partners and we were supposed to fight for the liberation of the
3 entire town. However, the statement remained such as it was.
4 After the programme had been completed, Mr. Salahovic literally
5 knelt down in front of the Topics and asked them to say that our common
6 objective was the liberation of the entire town of Mostar, and you can do
7 your -- draw your own conclusions as to what that means.
8 Q. At the time that you were travelling to Split for the purposes of
9 this presentation, did you have any idea that these political statements
10 would be made, in terms of Mostar being a Croatian town and that this was
11 all now -- had all now been accomplished and the statements that you've
12 made to us in the last few minutes? Did you know that that was the
13 presentation that was going to be made?
14 A. I knew nothing about that. It was a surprise.
15 Q. Now, sir, did you -- were you aware around this time, around this
16 same time, in May of 1992, that there had been a meeting in Graz between
17 Mate Boban and Karadzic in connection with something called the Graz
19 A. I wasn't aware of that. However, with regard to what I myself
20 experienced, what army units experienced with regard to the events that
21 took place, with regard to all positions and the enthusiasm that existed
22 for the liberation of the town, I would say that all this indicated that
23 something on a large scale was taking place, and that there was an
24 agreement in the offing, and we have seen that that played a role in that
1 Q. Did you hear around this time that apparently the concept that had
2 been discussed and agreed between Mr. Boban and Mr. Karadzic was that the
3 Croats would have everything on the west side of the Neretva and the Serbs
4 would have everything up to the east bank of the Neretva?
5 A. Topic's statement was confirmation of that, because I think this
6 programme was broadcast via satellite, and they wouldn't even carry out
7 minor acts or acts of minor importance without central authorities in
8 Zagreb being aware of the fact.
9 Q. Where -- what was your understanding and the understanding of your
10 Muslim colleagues and associates at that time as to where that left the
12 A. Well, it was an integral part of the policies pursued at the time,
13 and of the political statements; the right bank was to be Croatian and the
14 left bank was to be Serbian, whereas the Neretva River was to be left to
15 the Muslims. That was a well-known definition, or well-known saying at
16 the time.
17 Q. Continuing, sir, to move forward in May and June of 1992, can you
18 tell the Judges a bit more. In the course of these events, what more was
19 done in terms of the HVO takeover in Mostar? What other sorts of things
20 did you see that illustrated that?
21 A. Well, later on, the policies remained stable. The policies
22 pursued followed their own course. The policies were flexible, in fact,
23 and adapted to the situation that prevailed at the time. So at that time
24 this was the idea that was put forward, a division on the basis of the
25 Neretva River.
1 Later, the HVO forces and the Muslims combined their efforts to
2 defend and liberate the town. This was done under the command of
3 Mr. Jasmin Jaganac, whom Tudjman sent to Mostar as the Croatian soldier or
4 Croatian officer. This was probably done so that all the Muslims, without
5 exception, would join the HVO units. And thus, the combat capacity of the
6 Muslim units would be weakened. However, the purpose was to liberate the
7 area. There was a new situation, a new reality, and by joining forces we
8 managed to liberate the town.
9 However I must point out that when the left bank fell, we weren't
10 assisted, or rather, when the Chetnik forces took the left bank and when
11 the JNA took the left bank, it was only Muslim forces who fought on the
12 left bank before crossing over to the right bank. They were rarely
13 assisted by individual groups or individuals who had friends fighting in
14 the Muslim ranks.
15 Q. Sir, there has already been discussion in this case about the HVO
16 and the Croats liberating Mostar. Can you please tell the Judges, were
17 Muslim soldiers and were the Muslim side equally involved in the
18 liberation of Mostar?
19 A. Our fighters were completely equal. And they had a lot -- their
20 morale was higher and they were more enthusiastic when it came to carrying
21 out operations the purpose of which was to liberate the town. They were
22 quite surprised when their role was a role that others wanted to minimise.
23 They wanted the Muslim forces to feel that they were dependent on the
24 Croatian side, on Croatian military capacity. They wanted them to feel
25 inferior in this respect, and there were many incidents that actually
1 revealed what was secretly being planned. So when it came to liberating
2 Mostar and the wider area of Herzegovina, well, there were certain
3 changes, or rather, this idea according to which the town of Mostar should
4 be divided on the basis of the Mostar [as interpreted] became slightly
5 modified. They wanted to base the territorial division on the way in
6 which the territory was divided at the time of the Banovina. So when the
7 Croatian forces arrived at the boundaries of that territory, they didn't
8 want to go any further. Our fighters weren't aware of this. They could
9 have taken more territory, they could have pushed on, but they didn't have
10 the support of the Croats. So it means that there was a new agreement
11 that had been reached between Tudjman and Milosevic.
12 Q. In terms of what was happening in the city of Mostar itself after
13 the liberation, can you tell us what happened in terms of the city
14 institutions, names of streets, the sorts of things that happened during
15 this time.
16 A. All institutions - the police, the courts, the schools, companies,
17 et cetera - they were all called Croatian institutions. None of those
18 public buildings or state buildings had the Bosnia and Herzegovina flag
19 flying from it. They had the flag of the Croatian community flag flying
20 from it. And the Muslims were expelled from all companies. No Muslims
21 held any positions any more. So the town was quite simply covered in
22 Croatian flags.
23 I was an eye-witness of the situation. There were certain people
24 who protested against such a situation. There were some young men who
25 made these flags that had lilies on them and they would put them up on
1 buildings, but they met with fierce resistance on the part of the police,
2 the army, et cetera. So when this joint action was carried out to
3 liberate the town, at certain elevations from which the Serbian forces had
4 been pushed back, the Croats would plant their own signs or flags there.
5 They wouldn't allow the flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina to be planted at
6 those positions but they did allow the planting of religious flags. So
7 wherever there were flags with the crescent and star at various mosques, I
8 know that these soldiers appeared there and collected all those flags.
9 They could then say that wherever they had put up their own flags, that
10 meant that they had liberated the territory, not the Muslims. That meant
11 that they would only recognise us as a religious community, as a minority
12 community, but not as a people.
13 Q. Just so the record is clear, it may be well known in the record at
14 this point, but when you say the flag with the lilies on it, that is the
15 flag of the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. What happened to the name of the post -- the Mostar post office?
18 A. As I've already said, it was called the Croatian post office. The
19 name was changed, and that was the case when it comes to other
20 institutions too. The same prefix, the prefix "Croat," was used for all
21 these other institutions. If I can add a humorous touch, we said that
22 only the air has remained untouched by these policies. How will they
23 claim that the air is Croatian too?
24 Q. Can you tell us what happened around this time in terms of the
25 educational programmes, the curriculum in the schools and how that was
1 affected, if it was, by these changes.
2 A. Of course this was also -- this also affected the schooling
3 system, all walks of society, the health system as well, from which
4 Bosniaks, i.e., Muslims, were expelled. They had to swear allegiance to
5 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna if they wanted to stay on in the
6 surgeries, in the hospital. This was not too visible publicly, but the
7 attempt at imposing the Croatian language on the Muslims as their official
8 tongue actually met with vehement reactions on the part of educational
9 workers, the children and their parents, and needless to say also on the
10 part of the Muslim association, because the report cards, the diplomas at
11 end of school year were actually as a rule, as an obligation, made out in
12 the Croatian language for all the children, and we didn't want to accept
13 that. The certificates they issued, the diplomas, were also stamped at
14 the bottom, actually bore a Croatian symbol, which you can show on the
15 screen, if you so wish.
16 Q. Yes.
17 A. And that was also proof of this.
18 Q. Can I ask the Exhibit P 09492 please be displayed. Can you see
19 that, sir?
20 A. Yes, I can.
21 Q. And is this the -- what we might call a report card or
22 certificate, an educational certificate or report that you've just been
23 talking about?
24 A. Yes. This is a copy of such a certificate, precisely. It says
25 clearly on the top, "Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Croatian
1 Community of Herceg-Bosna," and you can see in first place of the
2 curriculum, you have first of all the Croatian language. And taught to a
3 guy called Muamer Omerika, the son of Adem, and his first subject taught
4 is the Croatian language, and this is, of course, against his will.
5 And generally, it runs against our freedom to opt for a name for
6 our own language, the language that we want to speak, and against
7 segregation in our schools. And, of course, at the bottom you can also
8 see the sign of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna without the sign of
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina, the symbol of Bosnia and Herzegovina appearing
10 anywhere on that piece of paper.
11 Q. That was my next question to you, sir: Were any similar forms
12 used in the schools at the time or made available through the Herceg-Bosna
13 or HVO government that, instead of the Croatian chequerboard, had instead
14 the signs, the symbols of the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I really do not like
16 to interrupt my colleague but what the witness was talking about was not
17 shown wholly on the screen. So I should like to have this noted. So if
18 you can scroll down the document on the screen so that we can see, indeed
19 see all the rows, because the first line actually indicates something
20 else. We didn't see this, what the witness was talking about, actually.
21 [In English] No, no, reverse. The top of the document, and the witness is
22 starting with reading first two lines and not the first line which says
23 "Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
24 MR. SCOTT: Very well. I'm not sure if that's a question or a
25 comment, but we can go forward.
1 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry, my dear colleague, the witness was
2 reading what he saw, and he saw only "Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,"
3 without the first line. So it's simply --
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Perhaps the witness
5 can explain this, explain the fact that in the heading of the document, we
6 can see that it says the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is what
7 first appears in the heading. What could he say in explanation of this
9 MR. SCOTT:
10 Q. In fact --
11 A. I did mention, however, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
12 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, if you look at page 86 of the transcript,
13 line 1, what the witness clearly says, "It says clearly on the top
14 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Croatian Community of
15 Herceg-Bosna." So I think there has been a misunderstanding.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Carry on.
17 MR. SCOTT:
18 Q. Sir, can you tell us whether, in connection with these issues and
19 the Croatian language, the Croatian so-called curriculum, did you ever
20 raise these issues with any leaders of the HVO government or structures?
21 A. Actually, we had constant contact of our political representatives
22 and people from the institute of pedagogy, who were in charge of the
23 educational system and who pointed out shortcomings of this nature and
24 generally this defective practice of the wholesale overtaking, taking over
25 of curricula with the content being applied in the Republic of Croatia.
1 However, that bore no fruit and that is why the people then just
2 boycotted school, or rather, instruction at that time. Our workers, our
3 educational staff, our teachers, Muslims, boycotted instruction for about
4 15 days because they did not want precisely this to happen, to have in the
5 report cards of our children it being written there that they were being
6 taught the Croatian language. But no one paid any attention to it.
7 Q. On this topic, did you ever have a meeting with Jadran Topic and
8 Jadranko Prlic?
9 A. Well, we had a number of meetings with Mr. Topic, and as I have
10 already said, also with some other representatives, but it was like
11 talking to a deaf person. And when this exercise proved futile, SDA
12 representatives, Mr. Zijad Demirovic, organised a meeting with Mr. Prlic
13 on one occasion, as well as with Mr. Filipovic, and I also attended that
15 The intention, our intention, was to present the subject matter to
16 a person who would actually exhibit understanding for our position, for
17 our position in regard of this issue, from the standpoint nationality, of
18 maturity, of identity, et cetera, so Mr. Demirovic organised this and
19 Mr. Sefko Tinjak and Adem Omerika were also present, and a discussion
20 along those lines was indeed conducted. However, Mr. Prlic failed to
21 appreciate, to comprehend, our requests. Rather, he told us, "My
22 language, too, is the Bosnian language." And then I replied to him, "Why
23 don't you call it the Bosnian language, then? Why do you call it the
24 Croatian language? Whereas you deny me that equal right to call my
25 language the name I want to call it on the basis of my free choice without
1 any coercion?" He then replied we could call it the Muslim language but
2 not the Bosnian language. And, of course, we saw that as some sort of a
3 ploy because of course there does not exist a Muslim language. There is
4 the language of the liturgy, there is the language of the prayer, which
5 is, of course, in our case, Arabic as is the case with Latin in the
6 Catholic church and, of course, we wanted to have what other nations have,
7 which is a name for their nation and their own name for their own
9 Q. The changes that were taking place in the, what we might call the
10 elementary schools, the schools prior to university, did you see or did
11 you become aware of similar changes being made at the university in
13 A. The same things, exactly the same things, were happening at the
14 university. Literally, courses were detached from Mostar, from the Mostar
15 curriculum, to be delivered to other -- in other centres; in Siroki Brijeg
16 or Neum. The curriculum was changed, the teaching faculty, the
17 administrations echelons were also changed. There was this so-called
18 Croatisation at the university, with people being appointed on that
19 basis. If there were any Muslims that in a way exhibited a certain
20 subservient attitude towards the Croats and teachers who actually
21 advocated these ideas, the Bosnian patriotic ideas, they would be removed.
22 So the latter group would removed from the university, in contrast to the
24 Q. Can you tell the Judges, sir, to your knowledge, did Jadranko
25 Prlic have any role in these events at the university, the changes at the
1 university in Mostar?
2 A. Of course, he had to have a role. First of all, he was a
3 professor at that university and then he was active on the political scene
4 as a prominent member of the HDZ. Therefore, he was a person that had an
5 impact on the overall political events in place and generally relations
6 between Croats and Muslims.
7 Q. Was the name of the university changed during this time?
8 A. Not yet at that time.
9 Q. Was it changed at some point? And if so, tell us when.
10 A. When open conflicts broke out, or rather, with the strikes of the
11 Croatian army and the HVO against Mostar, and we can freely say Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina, when that happened, all the staff and all the resources were
13 expelled from the west side, or bank, and in those buildings, in those
14 places, in their stead there was formed a Croatian university.
15 Simply speaking, Muslim intellectuals, the teachers, the
16 professors, were simply driven out of there, and by way of war booty, this
17 infrastructure, the entire university, was converted into a university --
18 Croatian institution, a Croatian university, whereas the Muslims had to
19 create another university of their own, starting from scratch. And they
20 did, of course, the Muslims did establish a new university, and I have
21 information that they -- they are actually suing the Croatian authorities
22 for having usurped the joint university premises which they used to share
23 with them.
24 Q. What was the name of the university prior to the Croat takeover of
25 the university?
1 A. It was the Dzemal Bijedic University.
2 Q. How long had it had that name, approximately?
3 A. It would have been its 30th -- it is its 30th anniversary this
5 Q. And what was the name of the university after the HVO takeover?
6 A. It was called the Croatian University.
7 Q. Sir, as these events unfolded, did the Muslim community and the
8 leaders of the Muslim community attempt to make any response or make any
9 protest to the various changes that you've told us about this afternoon?
10 A. These were, I can openly say, just mild reactions. Because they
11 actually resulted in no changes. Because basically the situation
12 persisted. And it was generally, I could say, quagmire, because nothing
13 changed and the Croatian side actually stuck to its programme and intended
14 to see it through.
15 Q. If I could have the Registry's assistance to display Exhibit
16 P 00318.
17 When you've had a chance to look at that document, sir, can you
18 tell the Judges what this document is and the circumstances that, to your
19 knowledge, led to the preparation and sending of this or transmission of
20 this document.
21 A. I can say that we actually turned in a vicious circle and were
22 unable to make any headway. Not only in regard to the educational system
23 but in regard to any agreement whatsoever. We can see, having said that,
24 on the basis of this document, that the Muslims sought to initiate a
25 dialogue, to initiate a substantive dialogue, in order to resolve those
1 matters in an efficient way. So this deals with the question of
2 information, with the issue of the university, of military units, the
3 issue of participation in different businesses, economic enterprises,
4 resources where, simply speaking, the Muslims had no access. So that
5 political tensions kept mounting and they threatened to result in outright
6 conflict and that is why we drew up documents of this kind, precisely in
7 order to preclude that from happening.
8 Q. Just so that those in the courtroom can have a broader view of the
9 document other than just what's on the screen at the moment, could the
10 Registry please scroll down, go to page 2. Of the English -- yes, excuse
11 me, the English version.
12 In terms of the, just as by one example, in the second paragraph
13 that begins on page 2, at least in the English version, and I'm sorry, if
14 you find the paragraph, sir, on the second page, it says, "The relations
15 established on --" on yours it's not the second page, excuse me. In
16 Article 1 or section I it says: "The relations established so far in
17 carrying out war operations and successes against the enemy oblige us to
18 arrange our relations in such a way so as to enable a permanent joint life
19 of the Muslims and Croats in these areas." Do you see that?
20 A. Yes, I do.
21 Q. Is it your testimony, sir, that during this time, the Muslims
22 continued to try to find ways and to have meetings and find ways to, as
23 you described it here, have a joint life with the Croats and Muslims
25 A. But that -- that is correct. Namely, we tried constantly,
1 insistently, even accepting a degree of humiliation, I have to say, even
2 accepting a humiliating treatment in all these negotiations. We accepted
3 all that simply with a view to removing all --
4 Q. In the next paragraph, after the part that I just referred you to
5 just now, it makes reference to the fact that no agreement was reached
6 during talks. Do you see that, sir? Do you recall which talks or
7 negotiations were being referenced by the document at this time? This is
8 in July, 1992.
9 A. In that period since Mostar and the immediate vicinity of Mostar
10 were a liberated zone and the liberated city and it was supposed to
11 function with a new dynamics, for that purpose, the Muslims wanted to
12 enter into an alliance with the Croats and continue liberating Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina farther afield. However, no talks with the Croatian side were
14 possible because they had gained what they wanted so that any further
15 talks on the continuing the process of liberating territory was out of the
16 question. And, of course, problems of this kind, like the one with the
17 university and the recruitment, the employment of Bosnian and
18 Herzegovinian Bosniak experts on work that they could discharge, that was
19 something that the Croatian nomenclatura actually did not accept because
20 suitability, correctness was the main criterion and not the actual
21 capacity, knowledge and ability.
22 Q. Sir, there are other aspects of this document that I would like to
23 ask you about, but because of time constraints let me just ask you to look
24 at the bottom of the original of the document, the B/C/S document, and can
25 you assist the Judges, since it's a copy, and maybe difficult for all of
1 us to read, can you identify to the Judges the three people and
2 organisations -- excuse me, the four persons and/or organisations which
3 signed and put their seal on this document.
4 A. The first seal is the Party of Democratic Action seal or stamp,
5 and it is signed by Ismet Hadziosmanovic.
6 The second one is of the Islamic community, and it bears my
8 The third one is of the Cultural Community of Muslims, Preporod,
9 "Renaissance," and it is signed by Mira Rajic [phoen].
10 The fourth is the Merhamet, Muslim charitable society, signed by
11 Sahovic, Izet.
12 Q. Mufti Smajkic, it's just been pointed out to me that in the
13 transcript, at least, the name of the third person may have been
14 misunderstood. Could you state again the name of the third person who
15 signed the document.
16 A. Miro Mahmutcehajic. It's Miralem, and Miro for short,
18 Q. Thank you. If I could have the Registry's assistance to go to the
19 next exhibit, P 0 --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute. I have a
21 question I'd like to put. The document that you signed, since you said
22 that beneath a second stamp we can see your signature, this is a document
23 in which the relationship between the Croats and the Muslims is being
24 regulated, is being organised. If I've understood this correctly, none of
25 the four signatories is a Croat. So how do we draft a document that
1 organises the relationship between the two parties if all those who signed
2 the document in a question come from just one of the sides? How can you
3 explain this?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. I believe that these are
5 simple matters, in fact. The signatures on this paper are of Muslim
6 associations, the basic, the chief Muslim party, political party, the SDA,
7 the Islamic community, the cultural society, the Preporod, and the
8 charitable society, which is tantamount to the Caritas. This is the
9 Muslim Merhamet. This is a collection of associations offering their
10 perception of things to the Croatian side in order for the latter to
11 consider it with a view to overcoming the accumulated problems related to
12 humanitarian aid and intercepted convoys, the operation of the cultural
13 society, of the Muslims, where their scope for media activity is being
14 restricted, and the problems of the Islamic community because of their
15 restricted freedom of movement - and we saw the check-points that we had
16 to -- where we had to present our papers as humiliating and were prevented
17 from passage on various occasions - and then you also have the party
18 leader, Ismet Hadziosmanovic, who was with us in this exercise all the
19 time, because he could not actually challenge the fact that these things
20 were indeed encumbering our relations.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What happened to this document?
22 What did the Croats do with regard to this document?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Nothing changed. Absolutely nothing
24 changed. They ignored our document.
25 MR. SCOTT:
1 Q. It may assist, before we move on, if the Registry could show the
2 top part of the B/C/S document. The language at the very top of that
3 page. Not the title of the document but there is the very first three
4 lines at the very top of the page, sir, perhaps you could read that and we
5 could get the assistance of the interpreters as to what that language
6 indicates. The text on the very top.
7 A. Oh, yes, I see. I didn't realise that I was expected to read it.
8 So: "Proceeding from the platform of the Presidency of the Republic of
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina, in conditions of war, and the platform for the
10 united defence of the sovereignty and statehood of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
11 as well as the protection of the Muslims in Mostar and Herzegovina, we
12 hereby lay down the premises for the regulation of current political
13 relations between the Croats and the Muslims."
14 Q. All right. Thank you, sir. If we could then move on to Exhibit
15 P 00374. Can you tell the Judges what this document is, Mufti Smajkic?
16 A. On the basis of the previous one, and the platform for the
17 regulation of relations -- of sound relations between the Muslims and
18 Croats and the protection of the interests of the Bosniaks, proceeding
19 from that we undertook constant activities with a view to the promotion
20 and harmonisation of relations between Muslims and Croats. Along those
21 lines, we drafted this resolution of the Muslims of Herzegovina which, to
22 a certain extent, defines our views on life, on cohabitation, on joint
23 life, and issues a number of guidelines to combatants in terms of how they
24 should fight honourably, without abusing a time of war for dishonourable
25 purposes, and we defined the strategic thrusts for the Muslims who are in
1 favour of a sovereign Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, with, of course,
2 envisaging the equal treatment under all internationally recognised
3 conventions and such equal treatment being recognised also to all the
4 people, all the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, whilst naturally
5 condemning massacres and the already-observed examples of abuse,
6 massacres, persecutions of people on a religious or ethnic basis, which
7 did happen and in the city of Mostar itself.
8 Q. All right, sir, I believe the Judges have already seen this
9 document so I'm not going to spend much more time on it. I just wanted to
10 establish that you were also involved in the preparation and signature or
11 approval of this document; is that correct?
12 A. I played an active role in the drafting of this resolution.
13 Q. If I can ask for the assistance of the Registry to please go now
14 to Exhibit P 00375. And if you have that, sir, again can you look at that
15 document enough to see what it is and tell the Judges what you know about
16 the topic or issues presented in this document.
17 A. This document - and let me not take too much of your time to read
18 it - is about refugees who had been accommodated in different spots in the
19 city of Mostar while their status of refugees had been abolished and they
20 were being prepared to be transported to areas which ostensibly were
21 Muslim areas, without a say on the part of the people affected. Of
22 course, this fits into the concept, the political concept, of the forcible
23 creation of ethnically pure provinces. Of course, this could not but be
24 attended by suffering, by an ordeal, and unfortunately, blood too.
25 Q. Well, let me ask you, sir: Just now you said it was about the
1 refugees -- excuse me a moment. You say about refugees and then go on to
2 say and they were being prepared to be transported to areas which
3 ostensibly were Muslim areas. Which refugees were being transported?
4 A. Actually transports, convoys were being in preparation to
5 transport Muslims who had been expelled from the area of Eastern
6 Herzegovina by Montenegrin units, war units, and who were temporarily, who
7 had temporarily taken refuge in Mostar, from Gacko, Bileca, Trebinje. And
8 Nevesinje. And they were supposed to be transported to Zenica in Central
9 Bosnia, where the population was predominantly Muslim. And I was engaged
10 on that activity with our colleagues from our charitable society, the
11 Merhamet, that took care of these refugees. And we asked the UNHCR office
12 in Split to intervene.
13 So they came and they postponed this operation or this actually
14 vile intention from being carried out of transporting people to the
15 unknown, people who had already gone through an exodus. And this indeed
16 falls well within -- fits well within this concept of the expulsion of
17 people and the forming of pure ethnic areas. And, of course, this was
18 also intended to -- for the Muslims to actually prepare themselves for
19 this, for the fate that the HVO authorities had in store for them.
20 Q. In August of 1992, sir, when this document was prepared, as
21 indicated on the bottom of the document, were Croat refugees also coming
22 to Mostar from various parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
23 A. It's good that you've reminded me of that. It happened a long
24 time ago and naturally one's memory fades. The Serbs had been ordered to
25 leave Mostar because such was the agreement. There were many abandoned
1 flats and the refugees in most cases found accommodation in those empty
2 flats. However, the Croatian policies pursued at the time had a different
3 objective. They wanted the Croatian population from the Central Bosnia
4 and other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina to be transferred to these areas in
5 which they would have the most power, and the term used is a notorious
6 one; humanitarian transfer or relocation, and you can imagine what that
7 meant, since these people had to leave the areas in which they used to
8 live and be moved to a foreign area.
9 Q. Let me ask you the question very directly, sir: When the proposal
10 was being made to transport the Muslim refugees to Zenica, was there any
11 similar proposal to transfer Croat refugees out of Mostar?
12 A. I haven't heard about any such proposal.
13 Q. I think you mentioned this earlier today, sir, but throughout this
14 time, or in 1992, a large number -- is it correct that a large number of
15 Muslim men continued to participate in the HVO military? Is that correct?
16 A. It was a large number. There was a large number because in a
17 certain sense they were privileged. They had salaries and they would
18 receive parcels. And naturally, the ABiH didn't have much equipment or
19 weapons, and they received no compensation for this.
20 Q. Can you tell the Judges, please, did the Muslim members of the HVO
21 ever propose a patch, a shoulder patch or insignia that contained both
22 Croatian symbols and Muslim symbols?
23 A. From the time that they started establishing the army and the HVO,
24 the units, this was a problem that one encountered. So-called Muslim army
25 couldn't understand or failed to understand that insignia is just as
1 important as joint combat against a common enemy, a common aggressor.
2 However, the Croatian side adopted Croatian insignia and did all it could
3 to prevent the army from forming. They wanted everything to be done
4 within the framework of the HVO.
5 Q. Was a patch ever prepared that showed both symbols of Croatia or
6 the HVO and symbols -- and I probably should correct myself, should not
7 have said the Muslim army but the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the
8 symbols of that state?
9 A. Well, people created these symbols. They tried to make sure that
10 these common symbols were adopted, but it was useless. They quite simply
11 wanted the army to be subordinate to the HVO from the very beginning.
12 They didn't want any other military formations to exist outside of the
13 HVO. In a certain sense, they tried to reduce these other forces to a
14 minimum, or rather, to eliminate them completely.
15 Q. Sir, did the HVO armed forces ever agree to use -- to your
16 knowledge, ever agree to use a symbol or insignia, a patch, that contained
17 both the symbols of Croatia or Herceg-Bosna and the symbols of the state
18 of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
19 A. I know for a fact that at one point these symbols were agreed.
20 However, this agreement was never implemented. And only after the
21 Washington Agreement and the Dayton Accords, and once the defence
22 component was unified that it was implemented.
23 Q. Can I next ask the witness to be shown Exhibit P 00477. Do you
24 have that document, sir?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Can you tell the Judges what this document is, a letter dated the
2 14th of September 1992.
3 A. Well, this is what we just spoke about. This now takes us to
4 September, 14th of September, 1992. This document continues to discuss
5 the common symbols in the army. You can see in the continuation of this
6 document. They were still discussing the adoption of common emblems of
7 the army and Croatian Defence Council. Additionally, the Muslim side
8 requested joint engagement of the HVO and the Muslim army, in order to
9 commence with the final liberation -- this is towards the end of the text.
10 I'm familiar with this text. Liberation of the territories of Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina. In this letter, they say that a whole series of system
12 errors need to be overcome in order to ensure democratic negotiations and
13 improvement of the military and political situation in Mostar. This means
14 that the situation there was constantly a tense one. This was signed by
15 Mr. Hadziosmanovic, and he believed it necessary to ask that the HVO
16 remove the obstacles placed before the army and the Muslim people.
17 In item 1 it says through joint --
18 Q. Let me interrupt you for a moment, because again not everyone in
19 the courtroom can scroll through the entire document, so if I could ask
20 the Registry now show the second page of the English version so other
21 people in the courtroom can see that, I'll just get -- I'm just going to
22 pause a moment, sir, just so people can see more of the document.
23 A. All right.
24 Q. Can the Registry now please go to page 3 for the English document.
25 And please go then to page number -- at the bottom of page -- or go to
1 page 4, please. And we'll see at the bottom of page 4, is it correct,
2 sir, that the letter essentially has 15 numbered paragraphs or items of --
3 express -- raising various issues or expressing various concerns, correct
4 -- is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And I think you have the full -- do you have the last page in
7 front of you, sir, with the signature, the signature page? And if the
8 Registry could please go to the last page of the English version.
9 A. Yes, I can see it. Signed by the president of the Regional Board
10 of the SDA, Dr. Ismet Hadziosmanovic.
11 Q. All right. If you can just pause one moment, sir, I'm waiting for
12 the English. There it is.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, we do not have the English text of
14 this document.
15 MR. SCOTT: In the hard copy, Your Honour, or --
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I don't have the hard copy and I thought it was
17 supposed to be on the screen now.
18 MR. SCOTT: It is, Your Honour, I'm sorry. I think it's come up
19 now. I hope.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Not on mine.
21 MR. SCOTT: Sorry.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You may continue.
23 MR. SCOTT: My apology to Judge Trechsel for any confusion.
24 Q. On this page, sir, you've already indicated, I believe, that it
25 was signed by Mr. Hadziosmanovic, and --
1 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me, I don't mean to interrupt. If we look
2 at this document, there is no signature, and if you scroll all the way to
3 the very first page, Mr. President, in English it says "copy" but I
4 believe it's something different in --
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. I was awaiting for that
6 remark. There seems to be a faxed message. Mr. Scott, what is the source
7 of this document? There is no signature here.
8 MR. SCOTT: You're absolutely right, Your Honour, I misspoke when
9 I said --
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As usual.
11 MR. SCOTT: Instead of "signature," I should have said over the
12 name of, prepared in the name of, Mr. Hadziosmanovic is what the witness
13 testified to a few moments ago.
14 The source of the document? I'd have to look at it on our witness
15 list -- or excuse me, the exhibit list. The source of this document is
16 Mr. Smajkic.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, if we could read and have it
18 translated, the very first part where it says "copy in English," I'm told
19 that that's not what it says in the B/C/S.
20 MR. SCOTT: I'm happy to ask the witness to assist.
21 Q. Mr. Smajkic, or Mufti Smajkic, if you could look at the first page
22 of the original B/C/S document or the document you have in front of you on
23 the screen, on the very first page, up toward the -- I don't know, you
24 might say to the right of the letterhead, do you see a letter -- do you
25 see a word -- could we get --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for the witness.
2 MR. SCOTT:
3 Q. Your microphone did not --
4 A. It says here, "prepis," which is a transcript or a copy.
5 Q. All right.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Is it copy or is it rewrite? Copy is something
7 that is copied. Or has it been rewritten?
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Sir, since you are the
9 person supplying this document, tell us, please, how did you come into --
10 how did you find this document?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is a document where we, the
12 intellectuals, people who were members of these associations, had a
13 meeting with Mr. Hadziosmanovic. I was present at the meeting, and you
14 will see in the penultimate paragraph, it says that there should be
15 freedom of movement for clerics when performing religious ceremonies.
16 That was one of the remarks that we made to Mr. Hadziosmanovic. This took
17 place in his meet -- in his office. Representatives of several groups
18 came to see him, and in the form of this letter, he wanted to address all
19 institutions of Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna so that all of the
20 matters mentioned here --
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. But the objection of the
22 Defence was about something else. Even though we may be wasting time, can
23 we please see what this is all about. Mr. Karnavas says this is a copy.
24 Can you tell us whether the original of this letter was signed by
25 Mr. Hadziosmanovic and whether it was sent to the HDZ, to the president
1 personally, and were other copies, without a signature, sent to everybody
2 else, including yourself? Is that the answer to the question as to
3 whether this is a copy or transcript or an original?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that that's correct. This
5 is what I received from Ismet, without a signature, whereas he sent to
6 various other addressees, letters with the signature.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. We have the answer
8 here. Counsel, exercising due diligence, should have extricated this
9 answer from the witness himself. Please go ahead, Mr. Scott.
10 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour. I was about to ask the
11 witness before this started in terms of the people on the bottom left
12 side, or the lower left side of the document, are these all the people
13 that, to your knowledge, copies of this letter were provided to? That
14 is --
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection. He's unable to say that. He can say
16 that their names are on the paper. How can this witness say that they
17 were actually provided with this?
18 MR. SCOTT: He may know.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: The question should be does he know?
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Mr. Scott, please
21 continue. We are wasting time without a reason.
22 MR. SCOTT:
23 Q. Mufti Smajkic, during this time, to your knowledge, were a number
24 of communications prepared by representatives of the Muslim community, the
25 Islamic community, that were then transmitted to a number of the leaders
1 of the HVO, of the Herceg-Bosna government, expressing the issues and
2 concerns that were important to the Muslim people during this time?
3 A. A number of letters were sent to various addressees. I can tell
4 you that a number of them were sent to the government in Mostar because
5 that's where we were continuously. It had to do with the freedom of
6 movement of clerics who were stopped at check-points. It had to do with
7 religious ceremonies and the premises where they were to be carried out.
8 We had serious complaints about the accommodation for the clerics, and me
9 personally. We were housed with the refugees in a students' dormitory. I
10 had a room three by four, and there were several hundred families living
11 there around me. This in itself speaks clearly about the attitude that
12 they had. We spoke about the university, education, army, and this
13 reflects the attitude they had towards the clerics, religious individuals.
14 It was all right to place a mufti in a room three by four while
15 simultaneously they were building fat palaces. We certainly didn't mind
16 that the bishop built a palace for himself. Of course, it was normal for
17 him to have a decent premises, but this was again an example that
18 reflected the attitude of Croatian authorities towards us Muslims.
19 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I see the time. And this would be an
20 appropriate time to take the afternoon break.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We are going to have
22 a 20-minute break.
23 --- Recess taken at 3.31 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 3.53 p.m.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please go ahead.
1 MR. SCOTT:
2 Q. Sir, you testified before the break about the inadequate office
3 space that was provided to your office as the mufti for this Herzegovina
4 region, and did you receive a letter back from the mayor of Mostar, Jadran
5 Topic, concerning that?
6 A. I received a letter, a threatening letter, one could say. In my
7 correspondence with the bishop, I said that he had received a building
8 which was a building of the very prominent Muslim citizen in the past, and
9 that it was an illegal act. However, the bishop replied to me, saying
10 that this building was given to him by the authorities and that he had a
11 lot of respect for the authorities and for what they did.
12 Mr. Topic, in his letter, threatened me, saying that I may not
13 call the authorities illegal authorities, and I should focus on religious
14 issues and leave the politics alone. So what I described earlier
15 continued to persist. There was a constantly offending attitude of the
16 representatives, both political ones and military ones, with respect to
17 the Muslims. This means that in each area of life, it was left to the
18 people to decide how they were going to act, without any regard for what
19 kind of treatment we actually deserved.
20 Q. Can I ask that the witness be shown Exhibit P 00731. Can you tell
21 us, sir, is that the letter from Jadran Topic that you received in
22 response to your inquiry and that you have testified about in the last few
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Moving forward, because of the time concerns, sir, can you tell
1 us, did you and other leaders of the Muslim community meet with President
2 Izetbegovic in November, 1992?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can you tell us briefly what happened at that meeting and the
5 results of that meeting.
6 A. Mr. Izetbegovic came to Mostar, intending to help in improving the
7 relations between the Muslims and Croats, to alleviate problems. Also, he
8 wanted to meet with representatives of Muslims, organisations, political
9 parties, in order to see what needed to be changed, what needed to be
10 improved, in order to ensure peace and a good quality life. I personally
11 did not attend those meetings but I asked for Mr. Izetbegovic to see me,
12 together with several other people. We received a message that we should
13 come to the seat of the SDA, to the offices of Hadziosmanovic, and that
14 Mr. Izetbegovic would see us for half an hour, that that was how much time
15 he could spend with us. In that conversation, we informed him of the
16 entire situation, of the degree of serious problems we were facing, the
17 problems we had with the authorities which had driven out from that
18 territory anything that symbolised the former state, and we also informed
19 him about all the regulations that had been passed by the authorities of
20 Herceg-Bosna. In addition, we asked that Mr. Hadziosmanovic stop
21 representing the Muslims, the Bosniaks. We said that he should not
22 continue to interpret their political goals any further.
23 Q. All right. Sir, let me ask you, as a result of that meeting, was
24 Mr. Hadziosmanovic removed as the president of the regional SDA and was
25 Mr. Zijad Demirovic appointed in his place?
1 A. There was a change at the regional level so that Mr. Zijad
2 Demirovic headed the regional board, whereas Mr. Hadziosmanovic remained
3 serving as the president of the SDA in Mostar, in the town of Mostar,
4 although we asked openly that he be removed from that post too. But
5 Mr. Izetbegovic did not follow our advice.
6 Q. Let me move forward -- well, before I do that. Mr. Demirovic, did
7 he then continue to be the regional president of the SDA for all of
8 Herzegovina from approximately November of 1992 at least throughout -- at
9 least throughout 1993 and sometime thereafter?
10 A. Up until the 9th of May, 1993, when he was captured in west --
11 Western Mostar and taken to the camp. He remained there almost a year,
12 longer than any other prisoner, under terrible, very difficult
13 circumstances. So that the HVO actually arrested its own partner, a
14 member of the SDA, as well as his family, his son and so on. I don't need
15 to go into that.
16 Q. Sir, if we can move forward to January of 1993, did you and other
17 leaders of the Muslim community learn in about the middle of that month
18 that the HVO had issued a decision calling for all armies or forces of the
19 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina to subordinate themselves to the HVO in certain
20 territories of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
21 A. Yes. We knew about that decree or appeal that was issued.
22 Q. Do you recall, sir, how that came to your attention?
23 A. We learned it from the media. The HVO held its own press
24 conferences and they made it known that -- made it public that they had
25 issued an ultimatum, saying that all forces in that territory, which they
1 considered to be Croatian, had to place themselves under the HVO command
2 or else leave the area. Otherwise, the HVO would disarm them. That was
3 the essence of it.
4 Q. Can I ask you to look -- or for the witness to be shown, please,
5 Exhibit P 01167. And when you have that document, sir, when you've had a
6 chance to see what that is, can you tell the Judges what that document is
7 and the circumstances of its preparation.
8 A. This document is the document prepared by representatives of all
9 existing Muslim associations, and that was the greatest number that we
10 have managed to gather around this issue so far. In this document, they
11 express their concern due to threats that were to become reality, that
12 were to be implemented in view of the contents of the ultimatum.
13 Ultimatum spoke about disarming them, about expelling them. The
14 conditions of the ultimatum were such that the Muslims could not agree to
15 them. And this document will dispel any dilemmas concerning
16 Hadziosmanovic. Even though we believed he wasn't going to sign it, he
17 showed solidarity for our cause because the situation was a desperate one.
18 We were a nation in our own state with our own army. We fought for the
19 dignity of our own country. And the then paramilitary or illegal armed
20 formations, and an illegal system, all of them together threatened to
21 disarm the regular army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And there was no way
22 we could have agreed to it. This document also mentions some other cases
23 that were current at the time, and that led to the confrontation among
24 these two nations.
25 Q. Could I ask the Registry to display the second page of the English
1 version, please. And Mufti Smajkic, if you could direct your attention to
2 the signature, the page that has the signatures on it. Do you have that?
3 At the -- if I can direct your attention to the last part of paragraph
4 numbered 6, starting with the language, "We resolutely deny --" Do you
5 see that?
6 A. Yes. That's just what I said. I have the English version here
7 but I can understand. Basically, we refused to disarm or subordinate the
8 army forcibly, by the HVO forces.
9 Q. And in paragraph 7, can you tell -- can you provide the Chamber
10 with any additional information? When you say, "We resolutely reject the
11 prejudicing of any political solutions and the transformation of
12 proposals," what were you addressing in that situation, if you recall?
13 A. This pertained to the planned provinces in Vance-Owen Plan, which
14 were just a proposal, nothing but a proposal. This proposal probably
15 suited the Croatian side, and they immediately took this proposal,
16 accepted it, and wanted to implement it as the final agreement, as the
17 final document, and this is something that we resolutely rejected.
18 Q. And looking further down the page, sir, did you sign this document
19 and was your stamp or seal placed on the document?
20 A. I did. I signed this document.
21 Q. And also named in this document is Mr. Demirovic. Is that the man
22 you were just referring to a few minutes ago?
23 A. Yes, yes. And then there are other persons who did as well, but
24 you can't see it on the screen. Ismet Hadziosmanovic and representatives
25 of other associations. There are other signatures in the original that
1 you have, the original in Bosnian. You can see the names Zijad Demirovic,
2 the regional committee, and then it says Faruk Cupina. There is the
3 Ilmije Association, Adem Omerika. There is the Cultural Circle of
4 Muslims, Ismet Hadziosmanovic is at the bottom to the left, and that
5 concerns the municipal board of the SDA.
6 Q. Perhaps the Registry could assist us to show to the general
7 courtroom broadcast the signature page of the B/C/S document. If that's
8 possible. There you have it. Can you see that now, sir?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. All right. So these are the other signature and seals that you've
11 told us about; is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. All right. In the interests of time, sir, could I ask the witness
14 to please also be shown next Exhibit P 01167 -- I'm sorry, sorry, 1160.
15 And as soon as you have that, sir, can you tell us, is that a document
16 that was prepared essentially at the same time, involving many, not
17 exactly the same, people, stating -- again expressing the concerns of the
18 Muslim community at this time?
19 A. It's a document drafted by the representatives of the same
20 associations. It was done on the same day. In the document we had a look
21 at prior to this one, entitled, "Charter," certain issues were raised in a
22 more decisive manner, and they demonstrated the situation in which the
23 Muslims found themselves and the threat of a conflict breaking out between
24 the Muslims and the Croats, whereas in this case, this declaration is a
25 summary of the same sort of problems, but the purpose of the declaration
1 is to be made public, to the press and to others.
2 Q. All right. Sir, just -- in the interests of time, let me just
3 direct your attention to three particular parts of this document. If I
4 can ask you to look, please, at -- toward the end of the third paragraph
5 on the first page -- or in any event the third paragraph of the document,
6 towards the end of that paragraph. You've mentioned to us earlier today
7 in your testimony this issue about the liberation of various parts of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina by the HVO. In paragraph 3 of this statement, are
9 these concerns that you've raised and testified about indicated in this
10 letter, in part?
11 A. Yes. We expressed our dissatisfaction because at the HVO press
12 conferences, and in the press, they would emphasise the credit that should
13 be given to the HVO for defending the territory, whereas the role of the
14 army and of the Muslim forces was minimised.
15 Q. Could I ask, and I'm sorry -- still getting used myself to these
16 electronic marvels - quote, unquote - but if we could move up to and show
17 -- if we could highlight -- the Registry could assist in highlighting the
18 end -- the language at the end of the third paragraph, please.
19 Could I also ask you to -- in the -- in the fifth paragraph of the
20 document, Mufti Smajkic, and it's quite a long paragraph, I'm afraid, but
21 approximately halfway or a little more than halfway through that
22 paragraph, you see the language where it talks about, "Unacceptable
23 ultimatums about the subordination of our units." And again I'll ask the
24 Registry to please assist, if they can, by focusing the electronic
25 document on that language.
1 In the interests of time, sir, while all that's happening, I'll
2 just try to move forward as best we can. You referred to in this -- the
3 document refers to "presenting unacceptable ultimatums." Is that a
4 reference to the HVO ultimatum that had been issued on the 15th of
5 January, 1993?
6 A. Yes. That's our response to that ultimatum.
7 Q. And finally, on the last page of the document, or on the last
8 paragraph of the document, do you -- can you also find the language,
9 "These threats should be taken seriously as should the ultimatum presented
10 to the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina referring to 20 January." Do you have
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Can you tell the Judges, please, did the Muslim community receive
14 any sort of satisfaction or response from the HVO withdrawing the
15 ultimatums or indicating that the ultimatums in fact would not be
16 enforced, or what if any response did you receive to these two documents?
17 A. We didn't receive a response of any kind. Things only got worse.
18 The situation was tense. There was an escalation. Other incidents
19 occurred until this threat was carried out. There was another ultimatum
20 in April and in May, 1993, the HVO attacked. That was four months later.
21 Q. All right. Well, let's go to that. That was my next question to
22 you. In about the middle of April, or in April, 1993, was a similar
23 ultimatum issued by the HVO?
24 A. That's right. The same ultimatum was issued. The same ultimatum
25 was issued once again. However, there were certain incidents that
1 occurred and certain conflicts between the army and the HVO in Prozor and
2 in Gornji Vakuf and elsewhere. So they had already started implementing
3 their ideas and carrying out their threats.
4 Q. The actions of the conflicts in Prozor and Gornji Vakuf, were
5 these some of the actions that had taken place in connection with the
6 January ultimatum?
7 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm going to object again, Your Honour. I think
8 unless there is a foundation laid, he's being asked to comment on facts
9 that are not in evidence yet. So I suggest he can pose some questions,
10 see if the gentleman has a foundation upon which he can answer this
11 question, but I think here, and I'm going to be objecting to the leading.
12 I keep hearing "in the interests of time" and Mr. Scott has been leading
13 slightly. I've allowed it, but I think when we are getting into these
14 sensitive areas, I'm going to insist on non-leading questions. Thank you.
15 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, on page 114 of the transcript, line 21,
16 the witness himself, before my question, talked about conflicts between
17 the army and the HVO in Prozor and Gornji Vakuf and elsewhere. I did not
18 suggest that to the witness, that was the witness's answer. If I can ask
19 him if he can explain more about that.
20 Q. If you can, sir.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, go ahead.
22 MR. SCOTT:
23 Q. Can you tell us a bit more, sir, about the conflicts that you
24 understood broke out in the areas of Prozor and Gornji Vakuf and elsewhere
25 to the extent that you can now recall.
1 A. Naturally, I know that there was an offensive launched in January,
2 1993, when the ultimatum was issued. There was an offensive in Gornji
3 Vakuf, but in Prozor in 1992 an attack was also carried out, and there was
4 a terrible slaughter of civilians and members of the army. And there was
5 no reason for this, and these were preparations for what was to
6 subsequently happen. So the forces were probably trying to assess the
7 situation and determine where they might meet with resistance or with even
8 weak resistance. At that time they had already started carrying out their
9 threats. But I have to say that Mostar was left for later on.
10 Q. Sir, just in covering some of the events, then, during the spring
11 of 1993, can you tell the Judges whether any vehicles were seized from you
12 or members of your staff during this time period?
13 A. Yes. My secretary's vehicle was seized. He was on his way to my
14 office, and he came across a unit at the Rondo, whose commander was Misic,
15 and he was the -- his vehicle was seized because he was the mufti's
16 secretary. That was the only reason. He went to see the commander --
17 Q. Let me interrupt you for a moment. When you say in your
18 testimony, when you say "came across a unit," a unit of what army or
19 military formation?
20 A. An HVO unit.
21 Q. And when you referred to the commander by the name of Misic, do
22 you remember -- do you recall Mr. Misic's first name?
23 A. Mladen.
24 Q. Did anything else occur as part of this incident involving your
1 A. He went to see the commander himself and asked him to obtain the
2 vehicle. He asked that I go to the military command to personally confirm
3 that he was in fact my secretary and that the vehicle was his. He acted
4 in a very brutal way. He even put his revolver in his mouth and insulted
6 Q. When you say just now "he put his revolver in his mouth," who put
7 his revolver in --
8 A. Yes. Commander Misic put the revolver in Mr. Mutevelic's mouth.
9 Q. Your secretary's mouth.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did you ever get the car back, or did your secretary ever get the
12 car back?
13 A. No. It was never returned. That same commander sent the military
14 police to bring me in.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a question.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: The witness always spoke of a means of transport.
17 You're now asking him and mentioning the word "car." Perhaps the witness
18 ought to tell us what kind of a vehicle that was.
19 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour.
20 Q. Can you tell us the type of vehicle that the -- your secretary was
21 using on that day and which was seized, as far as you know?
22 A. It was a small car. I think it was a Renault Clio.
23 Q. During the spring of 1993, sir, can you tell us if anything
24 happened to Muslim intellectuals during this time?
25 A. Well, there was a campaign to detain Muslims, not only in Mostar
1 but in Stolac and Capljina too. In February, March and April, between 200
2 and 300 intellectuals were imprisoned. They posed a threat in the eyes of
3 the HVO. In fact they are aware of the reasons that they did this. But
4 in any event, they were taken to concentration camps. They were
5 maltreated there, and naturally, this had repercussions in the town of
6 Mostar itself.
7 Q. What sort of -- excuse me, what sort of repercussions?
8 A. I know a lot of people from that period of time who went to sleep
9 elsewhere because they couldn't sleep in their own homes. They sought
10 shelter in places where they thought that the HVO police would not go to
11 arrest them.
12 Q. Did you approach the Catholic bishop in Mostar, Bishop Peric,
13 during this time, with any proposal? And when I say "this time," in
14 approximately April, May, 1993.
15 A. We were in contact at all times. Although we didn't agree on
16 everything, we remained in contact. I personally wanted to develop a good
17 relationship with him, and to try and prevent these conflicts from
18 breaking out, and this is demonstrated by all of our documents. So
19 Mr. Demirovic, who died last year, together with some of my assistants,
20 went to the cathedral and to the bishop's office and we asked him to issue
21 an appeal together with me because there was a minor sniper war that was
22 raging in April. The situation was a very confusing one. One didn't know
23 whether a real conflict would break out or not. People would be
24 intercepted and taken away. They would be kidnapped.
25 So these people and I went to see the bishop, to tell him -- this
1 was my proposal, because a line was already being established at the
2 Bulevar, where -- from which fire was opened. There were sandbags placed
3 there to create shelters from which machine-guns could be used. So I went
4 to see the bishop to ask him to go and destroy the bunkers at the
5 demarcation line. I said we should go there in uniform so that everyone
6 can see us there because a great evil is being prepared. The bishop did
7 not accept this suggestion. It doesn't mean that he supported the war but
8 he simply said that that was not one of his duties, and he did not want to
9 participate in anything of that kind. We then went to see Mr. Tolja
10 [phoen] and we told him the same thing, we suggested the same thing, and
11 the response was the same.
12 Q. All right. So the record is clear, when you said a moment ago
13 that you proposed to Bishop Peric that the two of you go together in
14 uniform, was your proposal that the two of you go together in your
15 clerical dress?
16 A. That's correct. Yes, so that they could recognise us and see that
17 we were together at the line, to see us together at this location where
18 they were establishing a line from which they had started opening fire.
19 We wanted people to see us removing those sandbags that had been placed
20 there so that people could take shelter behind them and open fire from
21 those positions.
22 Q. Now, in moving forward, sir, did you come to know that around this
23 time, around the 9th of May, that President Izetbegovic had sent a letter
24 to various of the leaders of the Muslim community in Mostar?
25 A. I couldn't have known that at the time because on the 9th of May a
1 fierce attack was launched by the Croats against the Muslims. So I did
2 not receive that result, but other individuals were engaged in this
3 reconciliation mission. This is something I found out about later on,
4 because I couldn't have received that letter.
5 Q. Did you come to see a copy of that letter at some time after the
6 9th of May, 1993?
7 A. It's only this summer that I found out about it. Commander
8 Jaganac showed it to me.
9 Q. If I could ask the witness to be shown Exhibit P 02244.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: In order not to use time -- or to use it, you
11 said in "this summer." Can you give the exact date? Because the summer
12 isn't very old yet, if it has started at all.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This was on the 9th of May, 1993.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes, the attack. But the day when you learned,
15 when you saw the letter. It says in the record, at least, "this summer."
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The summer of 2005; last year.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
18 MR. SCOTT:
19 Q. And if you have Exhibit 02244 in front of you, sir, can you see,
20 is that a copy of the letter that you did see in the summer of 2005?
21 A. That's the letter, and I'm familiar with all these names that it
22 was forwarded to.
23 Q. And your name was on the letter; is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you know whether the various people named on the first page of
1 the letter, Mr. -- I'm not saying anyone specifically but just to name
2 somebody for example: Mr. Omerbasic, Mr. Jaganac, Mr. Orucevic, any of
3 these people around this time become involved in efforts to obtain a peace
4 or a cease-fire between the Croats and the Muslims in the Mostar area?
5 A. Four of these people went on a peace mission. I didn't go, but
6 they had some contact with a delegation on the Croatian side. They
7 represented the government. I don't know who this delegation was composed
8 of, but I know that the result of the acts of this Commission for
9 Reconciliation was that after the 9th of May, 1993, between eight and ten
10 days later there was a temporary cessation of hostilities, and a
11 high-ranking commission came from Zagreb, together with the Assembly
12 speaker, at the time Mr. Seks. There were several foreign ambassadors who
13 were part of the delegation. I believe that the Spanish and French
14 ambassadors were there. I know that the Turkish ambassador was present.
15 There was an ambassador of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mrs. Turkovic, and other
16 representatives of international organisations were also present. They
17 visited Mostar and I spoke to them.
18 Q. Just so the record is clear, sir, when you mention in your
19 testimony just now Mr. Seks as being the speaker of an Assembly, which
20 Assembly are you referring to, or of which Assembly was Mr. Seks the
21 speaker at that time?
22 A. He was the speaker of the Croatian Assembly, of the Republic of
24 Q. Now, going to the 9th of May, you've already mentioned that an
25 attack began that day. Can you just spend a couple of minutes, can't, I'm
1 sure, address every detail, I'm afraid, but can you tell the Judges
2 briefly what happened on the 9th of May, as far as what you experienced
3 and saw occurring?
4 I suppose let's start -- let me back up and ask you a question:
5 Where were you on the 9th of May, 1993?
6 A. I was in my home, in my house on the right bank, right next to the
7 demarcation line which was established at the time. In the early morning
8 hours, at dawn, there was fierce artillery fire, and attempts were made to
9 expel the Muslim population and to expel people from their houses. People
10 were expelled outside, They were in their pajamas or nightgowns, and they
11 were driven off in various directions. Since my house is located at the
12 demarcation line, I saw right next to my house, with my very own eyes,
13 thousands of people who had been expelled. They had been woken up, and
14 they were expelled. They left in tears, with their children, and they
15 passed by my house and headed east. There was quite a large group that
16 headed off in that direction. I'll never forget that event. There was
17 crying, groaning, people were beside themselves. And while they were
18 leaving,fire was opened on them from the surrounding buildings and from Hum
19 so that they would continue moving out. They continued in the direction of
20 an overpass. The town was on fire. And the people said that they were
21 taken away in several directions. But civilians and troops were taken to
22 the stadium. Others were taken to other collection centres, to the
23 Heliodrom, et cetera, et cetera.
24 Q. Who expelled these people, sir?
25 A. The official policies of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna
2 Q. Who took the people to, for instance, the Heliodrom? What armed
3 force or what organisation?
4 A. The HVO units. Naturally, one could take a very long time in
5 order to tell you about this, but I don't want to burden you with it.
6 These are painful experiences. I can tell you that Jadran Topic, the
7 president of the HVO, and the mayor, made an announcement on the radio,
8 asking that all Muslims surrender and display white sheets, on their
9 windows and everywhere else, as a sign of surrender.
10 Q. And just to go on, in the next few days, what did you do, where
11 did you stay during this time period, and what happened after that, in
12 terms of your personal situation?
13 A. As I told you, my house is on the right bank. On one side, there
14 were the HVO units, which were responsible for this terrible, fierce fire.
15 On the other side were the units of the BH army. So I found myself in the
16 crossfire. The army at the time believed that the HVO units had entered
17 the houses where I and my neighbours were, so that that entire time, from
18 morning to night, I was unable to go outside. It was quite ironic that
19 the BH army could have killed me, because they had been told that the HVO
20 had occupied those houses. Fortunately, they recognised me. I went there and
21 I read,because on the previous day, that is on the 8th of May, we received
22 the letter from Mr. Izetbegovic, removing Mr. Hadziosmanovic from his post.
23 So I went to an improvised studio with a limited range for broadcast, and
24 I personally read out this announcement on the removal of
25 Mr. Hadziosmanovic, and also asking the people to put up some resistance,
1 as much as possible, not to take this attitude of slaves by displaying
2 white sheets or white flags, but, rather, to protect their honour, protect
3 their Mostar, and protect the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 Q. Did you learn during this time that a -- on the 9th or 10th of May
5 1993, that an Islamic cleric, an imam named Salem Mezit was killed?
6 A. Yes. His house is on the other side of the boulevard, away from
7 my house. His family was expelled and they came to see me and they
8 brought me the sad news, namely that the HVO units, whose house -- or,
9 rather, that the HVO units came to his house, which was across from the
10 Catholic church, and he was taken out, together with eight Muslims from
11 the house, in a brutal way, and shot, executed.
12 Q. Let me ask you, sir, if the witness can be shown Exhibit P 02493,
13 and I'm also going to ask the witness to be shown Exhibit P 02565. Sir,
14 in the interests of time, I'm just going to ask you, when you see these
15 two documents, are these letters of protest that you wrote to various
16 people indicated on the face of the documents, about the murder of Salem
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. All right. If the witness could be shown, then, also 2565. And
20 is that a second letter that you wrote, addressed to such people as
21 UNPROFOR, ECMM, ICRC, the HVO, and the bishop in Mostar, that you wrote
22 concerning the killing of Imam Mezit?
23 A. Yes. That's correct.
24 Q. Now, before we continue on, sir, you made reference to this
25 meeting, or you made reference to meetings involving Mr. Seks and various
1 ambassadors. Can you tell the Judges, as part of that meeting or as a
2 part of any meeting that was related to this particular meeting, perhaps a
3 series of meetings, did you have any involvement or dealings around that
4 time with a man named Berislav Pusic?
5 A. Mr. Pusic was in that delegation, together with -- yes, I failed
6 to mention this.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. I didn't see you. You
8 were hidden behind.
9 MR. SAHOTA: Mr. President, I believe that this witness n--
10 [Microphone not activated].
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
12 MR. SAHOTA: I apologise. I believe this witness is about to give
13 evidence of what happened during the visit of a delegation from Zagreb to
14 East Mostar on the 19th of May, 1993, when Mr. Pusic was present. I wish
15 to raise an objection on behalf of my client to this evidence on the basis
16 that we were first given notice of this evidence at a very late stage,
17 indeed on Monday of this week. If I may just provide some background so
18 that the Court can understand the nature of my objection in more detail.
19 This witness did not mention this incident or the fact that he met
20 my client when he gave his statement, his first statement, to the
21 Prosecution. This statement was taken from the witness on the 23rd to
22 29th of September, 1999. On Monday of this week, we were given advance
23 notice that there was new evidence elicited from this witness and that we
24 presume was obtained after the Prosecution had proofed this witness
25 earlier this week. Our submission is that this new evidence causes
1 prejudice to the Defence because we have not had any opportunity to verify
2 the events that this witness, we assume, is about to describe. Had we
3 been given proper notice, then, for instance, we could have conducted
4 various inquiries, including attempts to locate, identify and interview
5 other witnesses who were present during the course of this incident,
6 inquiries to try and identify --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We understood. Mr. Scott, what
8 do you say?
9 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I agree largely with what my colleague
10 has said. It was indeed not in the prior statement, and that is the very
11 reason that on first learning of this information earlier this week, on
12 Monday, that it was immediately disclosed to the Defence counsel,
13 including counsel for Mr. Pusic. It was simply not known to us before
14 and, as we indicated before, in the context of preparing and talking to
15 these witnesses, it's not at all uncommon - for better or worse - but not
16 at all uncommon for the witness to say something that may not have been
17 said on a prior occasion. So it was -- all I can say is it was disclosed
18 absolutely as soon as it became known to us.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. But Mr. Scott, the general
20 rule is that whenever you examine a witness on the basis of a written
21 statement provided to the Defence, your questions have to focus, have to
22 pertain, to the contents of that statement. You may not raise issues or
23 put questions not included in the statement. If you -- another matter is
24 when you ask something mentioned in the statement and then the witness
25 gives you new information. Then it's a different matter. Then you can
1 clarify this, if you obtain this new information in this manner. But to
2 do what you are doing, to start raising an issue that can be prejudicial
3 to Defence because they did not have a chance to prepare for that is not
4 going to be allowed. Please continue with your examination, but skip this
5 topic, because there are many more other important aspects which need to
6 be covered, and you have less than an hour available to you today.
7 MR. SCOTT: Well, so far, Your Honour, I've indicated it would be
8 four and a half hours and our records indicate that so far I've used a
9 little over three hours. I'm sure the Registry can confirm the time
10 usage. And while I'm very concerned about the usage of time, Your Honour,
11 I must make a brief response. I don't believe the ICTY jurisprudence or
12 practice is, with all due respect, what Your Honour has indicated. The
13 witness is not limited to examination on questions put in prior
14 statements. The witness can be asked about anything of relevance to the
15 case. There is a separate disclosure issue and, of course, disclosure has
16 to be made as soon as possible, which was done in this case. It could not
17 have been possibly been done any sooner.
18 Secondly, as to the -- what you indicate, that if it comes up in
19 the context of putting questions to a witness about his statement, his
20 prior statement, then you've indicated that that is allowable. That's
21 exactly what happened in this situation. The context of talking to Mufti
22 Smajkic and about the events in Mostar during May, 1993, and talking about
23 those things, he also related to us, for the first time, this other
24 additional piece of information. And I don't know what more we can do
25 except to disclose that information as soon as it comes to our attention.
1 So I would like to present that evidence to the Court. If the Court is
2 not going to allow us to do that, I will move on.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You may continue.
5 However, you can raise this issue, given that the role of Mr. Pusic is
6 relevant to this witness, and has to do -- is relevant for the indictment
7 as well.
8 MR. SAHOTA: Mr. President?
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
10 MR. SAHOTA: May I raise just two more issues in response to some
11 of the paints made by my learned colleague? Mr. President, this evidence
12 could have been elicited from this witness, in our submission, had he
13 simply been asked in 1999, "Have you ever met Mr. Pusic?" Had he been
14 asked that, we anticipate that he may have or would be likely to have
15 given the testimony that the Prosecution now intend to adduce from him.
16 Secondly, can we point out to the Tribunal that this witness is no
17 stranger to the Prosecution, nor is he a stranger to Mr. Scott. I have
18 been informed that this witness gave evidence for three days in 2001 in
19 another set of proceedings when Mr. Scott was the lead counsel for the
20 Prosecution. In these circumstances, this Court, in our submission, is
21 entitled to ask why was this witness never asked prior to attending court
22 for these proceedings whether he had ever come into contact with our
24 Mr. President, I'm not going to repeat my submission, but it
25 remains the case, as far as the Defence of Mr. Pusic is concerned, that
1 the late submission of this evidence causes us severe prejudice, and we
2 would ask the Court to consider once again whether it should be admitted.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, you heard what was
4 just said now. This witness is somebody whom you know well because
5 apparently you examined him back in 2001. The Defence wonders how come,
6 in 1999, the investigator did not put the relevant question to him about
7 the persons present here.
8 MR. SCOTT: Well, first of all, Your Honour, in terms of the
9 second part, again I agree with my colleague. I absolutely have never
10 made any secret, and on it's on the public record, that I examined this
11 witness in the Tuta/Stela case. There is no attempt at any sleight of
12 hand about that. Yes, indeed, I did. And in that particular case, the
13 involvement of Mr. Pusic was not relevant. The case was involved against
14 Mr. Naletilic and Mr. Martinovic. So there was absolutely no reason at
15 that particular time for me to raise questions about Mr. Pusic. In fact,
16 very well might have, I suppose, gotten an objection from counsel or from
17 the Court at that time that I was going into something irrelevant. So
18 there was a simply no point in me eliciting that information from the
19 witness in 2001, some five years ago.
20 As to what happened in 1999, Your Honours, I'm afraid again that
21 counsel's questions or position is premised on a rather artificial notion
22 of the investigator process. It may very well have been that at that
23 particular moment, this investigator, I don't know, recall off-hand who
24 took the statement - I don't have the statement in front of me - may or
25 may not have been thinking about Mr. Pusic or had Mr. Pusic in mind at the
1 time. Could have been any number of things. I assure you that any
2 statement can be reviewed and found things that were not asked.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Listen, I will
4 resolve this issue in the following way: I will personally address the
6 Sir, see, there are a number of persons in this courtroom. In the
7 previous years, have you ever had occasion to meet any of them?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In May, when this high level
9 delegation from the Republic of Croatia came, together with the
10 representatives of the international community, and when they came to
11 Mostar and when the fire ceased on both sides, and the delegation crossed
12 into East Mostar, I saw them together with Commander Pasalic. It simply
13 did not occur to me to mention this earlier. Nobody told me this. But
14 now, given that these persons are here, it triggered my memory, and I
15 remembered this instance. Mr. Berislav Pusic was part of that delegation,
16 and this remained vivid in my memory. I will never forget it, because we
17 visited an improvised hospital. Then we went on to visit a camp and a
18 basement from which the people from West Mostar had been expelled. It was
19 a dark room. Those were dark basement premises, without any furniture. A
20 lot of sick persons were lying on the floor. I don't need to spend much
21 time talking about this but let me just give you a detail about something
22 that Mr. Pusic did, addressing these long-suffering people. He said, "Do
23 you know why you find yourselves in this unfortunate situation? Who is to
24 blame for that?" People just looked at him because they knew who was to
25 blame for that. And then he turned himself to the commander of the army
1 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Pasalic, and said, "He is to blame for this.
2 He is the culprit." This is what I told the Prosecutor. I told him about
3 this episode so that it is recorded. There was this constant policy to do
4 something that was bad and to blame the other side for that. It wasn't
5 enough that these people suffered terrible destiny but they also had to
6 blame for that the political and military leadership of
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. So you are now
9 telling us that Mr. Pusic, when talking to these people, told them that it
10 was Mr. Pasalic who was to blame for the situation in which they found
11 themselves. What about this delegation? Had it come from Croatia?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What about Mr. Pusic? He's a
14 citizen of Croatia. Who was he?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was an official of the Croatian
16 Community of Herceg-Bosna, and he was in charge of exchanges of prisoners.
17 That's what he did within the HVO, together with the representatives of
18 the Republic of Croatia.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No. I put a very specific
20 question to you. You said that a delegation had come from Croatia. You
21 could have said a delegation from Switzerland. When you say that a
22 delegation from Switzerland came, then we assume that its members were
23 from Switzerland, and when you say that the delegation came from Croatia,
24 then we assume that it comprised Croats. So who was in that delegation?
25 Was it only Croats from Croatia and Croats from Mostar or not?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Representatives of the Republic of
2 Croatia were in that delegation, as well as the representatives of Bosnia
3 and Herzegovina. Mr. Pusic was a representative of Croats from
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina. In that delegation was also the lady who was the
5 ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Zagreb.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for the clarification.
7 Please go ahead.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: In the same or analogous line, when the president
9 asked you whether you had seen anybody who is in this room before, you
10 said, "I saw them." Did you see someone else before, except Mr. Pusic?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had occasion to meet Mr. Prlic and
12 Mr. Valentin Coric.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: That's all for me. Thank you.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Scott. Yes,
15 Mr. Sahota?
16 MR. SAHOTA: Mr. President, Your Honours, may I ask the leave of
17 the Court, if necessary, if at a later stage, information should come to
18 light that is not available to the Defence team for Mr. Pusic today, may
19 we have the Court's permission to ask for this witness to be recalled,
20 should that situation arise?
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. Certainly. Of
22 course. Please go ahead, Mr. Scott.
23 MR. SCOTT: Yes. Just seeing where we left off, sorry.
24 Q. Moving forward to the situation in Mostar in the summer and fall
25 of 1993, can you briefly tell the Judges about any sniping that you were
1 familiar with or that you can tell the Judges about.
2 A. After the 9th of May; is that what you mean?
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. In the period after the 9th of May, the Muslims found themselves
5 in a total encirclement, in a small area. They were constantly shelled,
6 fired upon, both from artillery and snipers. I can tell you very briefly
7 that the War Presidency, which was established at the time on the left
8 bank, because people were dying in great numbers, issued a decision
9 restricting or banning any movement during the day. So that all
10 activities that were necessary had to be conducted at night, and people
11 had to swap day for night, even though many were killed at night too. We
12 had serious difficulties in burying those who were killed, the victims.
13 We had to do it at night, we had to hide because buildings, we had to find
14 sufficient space in parks and other areas to bury the people who were
15 killed. Snipers targeted everything that moved. The favourite target of
16 snipers were places where people came to have a drink of water or just
17 gathered for any other purpose. We, in the Islamic community, were fully
18 aware of this and we told the people they were not allowed to go to the
19 damaged religious facilities, because those were also targeted by snipers,
20 they were quite popular with the snipers. And this was a chaotic
21 situation. This was an entry into hell.
22 Q. If I can ask the witness to be shown Exhibit P 02586. And while
23 that's being done, Mufti Smajkic, can I ask you, did you ever approach,
24 during this -- the circumstances you've just related to us in the last few
25 minutes, did you ever ask the HVO to allow a cease-fire or a time of
1 relative peace, in order to celebrate certain Islamic holidays?
2 A. There is the document here. We sent this to Mr. Petkovic,
3 Mr. Topic, and we sent a request to them by UNPROFOR. We requested that
4 Bajram, on the 1st of June, 1993, be celebrated in peace. We hoped that
5 this peace would be extended after the end of Bajram, which is our most
6 important religious holiday. This was a reason we would always take
7 advantage of. We would take advantage of any opportunity to put an end to
8 the hostilities and put an end to the killing and destruction of
9 infrastructure. We tried to spread this idea among people until they
10 understood us. As I have said, after Bajram, we wanted this cease-fire to
11 be extended, and the document that you have before you relates to this.
12 Q. And now my question: Is Exhibit P 02586 a letter that you sent to
13 Mr. M. Petkovic and Mr. J. Topic, requesting a cease-fire in recognition
14 or celebration of Bajram?
15 A. Yes. That's right.
16 Q. Did you sign that letter, sir?
17 A. I did, yes.
18 Q. And can you tell the Judges, was a cease-fire granted or allowed
19 by the HVO?
20 A. No cease-fire was allowed.
21 Q. What happened in connection with the celebration of this holiday?
22 A. We were in a situation to celebrate it -- we weren't in a
23 situation to celebrate it publicly. If it was possible to do it privately
24 in one's own home, that was done.
25 Q. Let me ask you next about the treatment of Islamic church
1 officials during this time, in the spring and summer, perhaps fall, of
2 1993. Can you tell us whether any Islamic clerics or officials were
3 arrested and detained by the HVO during this time period?
4 A. It's true that many members of our clergy were treated in an
5 extremely brutal way. They were taken to concentration camps where they
6 were treated in the worst possible way. In my area, 14 imams, 14 members
7 of the clergy, were taken to these camps and they suffered various forms
8 of brutal maltreatment. I can particularly underline the example of the
9 Tuzla mufti. I can emphasise this example. A week before a fierce strike
10 was carried out against Mostar and Herzegovina on the 2nd of May, 1993, he
11 was arrested in Konjic by HVO units. Although he had regular papers from
12 the HVO in Mostar, he was returning from Croatia, he was intercepted at
13 that check-point. Although he had appropriate papers, he was detained for
14 seven months under extremely difficult conditions.
15 Q. Let me ask the witness to be shown Exhibit P 09559. And, sir, did
16 you previously prepare a list of the names of 12 Islamic clerics, imams,
17 who, based on your knowledge, were arrested and detained by the HVO during
19 A. Yes. I submitted this list.
20 Q. And is the list that you have in front of you now, which is marked
21 as Exhibit 09559, that list?
22 A. That's the list, but these imams are from my area. My colleague
23 from Tuzla, Imam Kavazovic, on the way from Zagreb to Mostar, via Konjic,
24 was arrested, and he's not on this list.
25 Q. Perhaps another one not listed, perhaps you can help us with that,
1 did anything happen to an imam named Musan Becirevic?
2 A. Becirevic, Musan. He was an imam in Buna, near Mostar. He's not
3 in this list. He was brutally killed. His family witnessed that crime
4 and they have testified that HVO units forced Musan Becirevic to pray in
5 front of them and, after he had done this, they brutally killed him. They
6 did this in a mosque that they subsequently destroyed.
7 Q. One of the persons on your list is Ibrahim Zlomustika [phoen] --
8 sorry, it's different on the list. But what happened to him?
9 A. Ibrahim Zlomusica. He was an imam in Stolac. He was also
10 humiliated and tortured in a terrible way. They tied him up in the
11 Kostana hospital in Stolac. They used steel rope, they hung him from the
12 ceiling, and they beat him with wooden batons, and to this very day, you
13 can see the bruises on his face. His ribs were broken, his teeth were
14 broken, as well as his jaw. So after he had been beaten in this way, he
15 spent a number of months, and I have the precise information on this, I
16 have precise information as to when the person was taken in and released,
17 but I didn't have this information when I gave the statement.
18 Q. Can you tell us, please, about also anything that happened to
19 another imam named -- which is on your list, number 12, Kazim Mezit.
20 A. Kasim Mezit was already dead. He didn't die in the concentration
21 camp, in the camp. Later he was released although his health had
22 suffered. He had been tortured by Croatian soldiers who, for reasons
23 unknown to us, expressed their anger by beating him in particular, so
24 several years afterwards, he died.
25 I've testified more about this individual in the Tuta case, but if
1 you need any additional information, I'm prepared to provide you with it.
2 Mr. Tuta treated him in a special way. He took him to Siroki Brijeg. He
3 forced him to sign some kind of statement that he provided him with, and
4 when he refused to sign this statement, Mr. Tuta took the pencil he had
5 given him, and the piece of paper, and he stuck the pencil into his face,
6 and the pencil penetrated his cheeks. It went right through both cheeks.
7 And he was also maltreated in other ways.
8 Q. All right, sir, before I turn to the last topic, cultural
9 destruction --
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I would first like to ask the
11 registrar to inform me of the time that has been used up so far. Please
12 continue, Mr. Scott. Please continue.
13 MR. SCOTT:
14 Q. Before we leave the imams and the Islamic clerics that -- some of
15 them that you were involved in, let me ask you this: In your position or
16 role as a mufti, have you ever been involved in the appointment of someone
17 to a position called an Emir - and if I mispronounce that, my apology - in
18 a military unit. An Emir.
19 A. That only happened on one occasion. There was a small group of
20 people who were part of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, from the military
21 point of view, but they requested that their internal and intimate life be
22 organised in a somewhat different manner. This concerned about 50 men who
23 noticed that there were men in army units who would drink alcohol and
24 would behave in various ways, and they wanted to organise their lives to
25 the extent that this was possible in accordance with the rules and
1 regulations of the Islamic moral code. And as a result, Mr. Pasalic, the
2 Commander of the 4th Corps, told me reluctantly, that we needed each and
3 every soldier, although we wanted to establish an army of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, not a Muslim army, so he said that they should be
5 organised in this manner because he had seen other such groups organised
6 in territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and he asked me to appoint one person
7 whom we trusted, as some sort of assistant for morale, something like
8 that, and that was in fact done.
9 Q. Would this be -- would such a position or person be something that
10 might be considered in Western armies as a chaplain?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Sir, in terms of religious or cultural destruction, can you tell
13 us what you experienced and observed during your time in Mostar in the
14 summer and fall of 1993, in terms of what you learned about the
15 destruction of particularly mosques and other Islamic cultural sites.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mostar was a kind of Hiroshima.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, we didn't hear the question
19 [Microphone not activated] We didn't hear the question because the
20 microphone is not working.
21 MR. SCOTT: It's not working, Your Honour. I'm sorry, I can't
22 have any -- now it's on.
23 Q. All right. Sir, to repeat my question, can you tell us what you
24 experienced and observed during your time in Mostar in the summer and fall
25 of 1993 in terms of what you learned about the destruction of particular
1 mosque -- in particular mosques and other Islamic cultural sites.
2 A. All the buildings that belonged to the Islamic community, the
3 mosques and not only religious buildings but also residential buildings
4 and cultural buildings, anything that had oriental connotations or had an
5 appearance that made it possible to identify them as part of the Bosnian
6 Islamic culture, all such buildings were constantly targeted and
7 destroyed. There is not a single mosque in town that wasn't destroyed.
8 In 1994, and I won't provide you with the individual examples, particular
9 examples. In 1994, when the first delegation arrived on behalf of the
10 Islamic community, on behalf of the Presidency, after the Dayton Agreement
11 had been signed in March, well, we didn't have a single mosque in which we
12 could pray. So they had been completely destroyed.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: After the Washington
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, not even the old
16 bridge went unscathed. So these were buildings that were deliberately
17 targeted. And infantry weapons were also used to inflict damage on these
18 buildings, because they were mosques at the demarcation line. And snipers
19 targeted them. Day in and day out. They were destroyed, these buildings,
20 stone by stone. And that is proof that this destruction was inflicted in
21 a systematic way and the purpose of the destruction was to transform a
22 normal and multi-ethnic and multi-religious town into a town that belonged
23 to only the members of one particular culture and that belonged to one
25 MR. SCOTT:
1 Q. Sir, can you inform the Judges whether there was any Islamic
2 church policy, religious policy, about whether any mosque or other
3 religious buildings or facilities could be used, as far as the church was
4 concerned, as a military position?
5 A. I categorically reject the suggestion that any of the religious
6 buildings were used for any military purposes whatsoever.
7 Q. Let me come back to that. That specifically was my question: Can
8 you tell, was it the policy of your church that they not be used, of your
9 religion, that they not be used for such purposes?
10 A. Of course it was.
11 Q. Now -- excuse me. Let me ask that the witness be shown Exhibit
12 P 08939. And while that's being done, sir, can you tell the Judges, did
13 you become involved at some point in preparing a report about the
14 destruction or damage of Islamic religious or cultural sites during the
16 A. There were numerous international and local associations that
17 asked us to gather data on the number of religious buildings destroyed.
18 And we compiled such reports for various purposes. When drafting this
19 report, this procedure was initiated. The procedure the purpose of which
20 was to determine the responsibility of the perpetrators, to identify the
21 perpetrators. So the purpose of this report was not to provide a court
22 with such report. We drafted it for certain institutions that were
23 supposed to carry out an investigation and to specify exactly how many
24 buildings had been destroyed, the extent of the damage inflicted. So
25 that's the report from 1999, and it concerns the entire territory of the
1 area I'm responsible for. It was based on the various municipalities, and
2 we specified which buildings had been destroyed by the Serbian forces,
3 which ones had been destroyed by the Croatian forces. We tried to
4 determine the extent of the damage to determine how many religious
5 buildings had been completely destroyed, how many mosques had been
6 destroyed, and medzlis. There were other flats that belonged to the
7 Islamic community and business premises that haven't been included in this
9 Q. All right. And you've previously indicated that there -- that two
10 corrections should be made to your report. And I'm going to give you the
11 chance to do that. If you can turn to section V, item number 3, which I
12 know is page 5 of the English translation.
13 A. That's not necessary for me to see that version. I know this by
14 heart, so we can save time. Well, here it is now. The mosque concerned
15 is in Livno, and under item 3 it says the mosques destroyed, there was a
16 mosque in Grborez, if you noticed that, and it says that it was destroyed
17 after the signing of the Dayton Agreement. That's a mistake. I went to
18 see all the mosques. It wasn't destroyed, it was damaged. Machine-gun
19 fire was opened on the mosque, so it wasn't destroyed.
20 And then in the area of Tomislavgrad, in the settlement of Suica,
21 I think it says in military action, and I amended that. There was no
22 military action in Suica that involved the Muslims and Croats. That
23 mosque was blown up. So that case should just be described in more
24 precise terms.
25 Q. For the record, I believe you're referring to section VII, item
1 number 1 under demolished mosque, and you would correct -- the report
2 currently says it was demolished during the fighting and can you tell us
3 again for the record, how would you change that statement, how would you
4 correct that?
5 A. Yes. I want to be precise. Here we have Tomislavgrad, Suica,
6 under number 1, the mosque in the settlement of Suica was destroyed in the
7 course of combat operations. Let me be quite precise. There were no
8 combat operations in the area. The mosque had been deliberately destroyed
9 but there was no conflict between the Muslims and the Croats as a result
10 of which this building was destroyed in the course of the fighting, and
11 that is the amendment I wanted to make. There were no military operations
13 Q. Let me ask you to turn to -- to be provided or displayed the last
14 page of your report, and in the English version, if the last page could be
15 displayed also, please. Can you just briefly describe what this --
16 doesn't have it yet. If it's faster, we can put a hard copy on the ELMO,
17 perhaps. If we could have the ELMO displayed, please.
18 While we are doing this, Mufti Smajkic, just to save time, can you
19 just tell us what this schedule or table is and what that indicates in
20 general terms.
21 A. This is the table of destroyed facilities, classified by
22 municipalities, purpose, and those inflicting damage or destruction.
23 Number 1, you see Mostar, and then the then-existing municipalities.
24 There were six of them; north, Stari Grad, south-east, south, and so on.
25 In the north municipality, one was destroyed. In Stari Grad, ten. In
1 Jugo -- or south-east municipality, 12.
2 And then the next column denotes what was destroyed by Serb forces
3 individually and collectively. A total of 30 were destroyed by Serbs. A
4 total of 30 mosques. And 39 mesdzids were destroyed by Serbs. Then the
5 next row denotes what was destroyed by Croats. Mesdzid is a mosque
6 without a minaret. There were a total of three of them destroyed by the
7 Croats. And a total of 50 mosques were destroyed by them.
8 And then we have the next category, which has to do with
9 destruction, or rather, with damage. That is to say that these facilities
10 were destroyed -- damaged but not fully destroyed. 19 were damaged, 19
11 mosques and three mesdzids were damaged by Croats.
12 Q. Sir, I think we will have to, for that document, leave it at that.
13 I'm sure that if the Judges or counsel have other questions about it, they
14 will put them to you.
15 I would like the witness to be shown at this time a map, copy of a
16 map that has been used in the courtroom before. I mean the map -- this
17 particular map, but a -- that could be provided to the witness, please,
18 and if we could have a -- sorry. If we could have an In Court
19 identification number for this, Mr. Registrar.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Can you please assign the
22 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour. This document will
23 be assigned the reference number IC 00020. Thank you.
24 MR. SCOTT: And we have copies of this for the parties and for the
25 Judges -- for Your Honours, I'm sorry. It should have been distributed
1 before but here it is.
2 Q. Sir, while this is being done - I think most people now have it -
3 is what you have in front of you which has been marked for identification
4 as IC 00020, a document, a map that has been provided to you since coming
5 to The Hague and which you were asked to mark the locations of various
6 destroyed or damaged mosques?
7 A. This pertains to the town of Mostar.
8 Q. All right, in the town of Mostar.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And when you look at that map, what's in front of you now, the
11 hard copy that's on the ELMO, are the markings on that map markings that
12 you made?
13 A. Yes, absolutely correct. I personally marked it.
14 Q. All right. And the markings that you have put on in numbers 1
15 through 8, do these correspond to the eight mosques destroyed in East
16 Mostar as listed on pages 1 and 2 of your report?
17 A. That's right. These are the mosques and areas.
18 Q. And are the mosques that you have -- the locations that you have
19 marked as 9, 10 and 11, are these locations damaged mosques in East Mostar
20 that correspond to the three mosques listed on the second page of your
21 report? At the top of the second page of your report?
22 A. Yes, 9, 10 and what was the other number?
23 Q. Number 11 on your marking, and the --
24 A. Yes, yes, correct.
25 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... the mosque number 3 in your
1 report, the second page of your report, the Koski Mehmed-Pasina mosque; is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And --
5 A. Number 11 is Koski Mehmed-pasa's mosque. You want me to check,
6 right? It's correct.
7 Q. All right. Thank you. And the markings that you have made on the
8 map which are in your markings, A, B, C and D, do those correspond to the
9 four mosques destroyed in West Mostar?
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. Which are also listed -- sorry, in page 3 of your report?
12 A. These are the locations of the mosques destroyed in West Mostar.
13 Q. Very well.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's time.
15 MR. SCOTT: Yes. Your Honour, I would conclude with that. By my
16 records, for the record - and I certainly will be governed by the
17 Registry's records - but I would just like to comment that according to
18 our records, I have spent 3 hours and 43 minutes; considerably less time
19 than the time I had forecast. There are other things I would go into but,
20 because of the time limit, we will not be able to. Thank you.
21 And thank you to the witness. Thank you.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Mr. Scott, I take it
23 that you have finished the examination-in-chief of this witness.
24 MR. SCOTT: Well, to be precise, Your Honour, I think you told me
25 that I was finished.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, just to make sure, I don't want
2 there to be a problem later on, saying that he was not allowed to finish
3 his direct examination. He did indicate, "in the interests of time." I
4 want to make sure that later on there is not some sort of an excuse that
5 he wasn't allowed to present his case --
6 MR. SCOTT: Well --
7 MR. KARNAVAS: -- because I'm certainly willing to give him all
8 the time he wants. He can have all the time he wants.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. We have an opportunity to
10 start tomorrow at 8.30, that is to say half an hour earlier so that the
11 witness can leave the Tribunal tomorrow, and doesn't need to stay here
12 longer. Mr. Scott, you can be given another 15 minutes, in which case the
13 Defence will have for their cross-examination until 1.45. But then you
14 have to promise that you will spend no more than 15 minutes, not a second
15 more. We have 40 seconds of tape remaining. Mr. Scott.
16 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I will -- I will use the 15 minutes and I
17 just would like to cover some other documents very, very quickly and I
18 will use the 15 minutes and be finished.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. We start tomorrow at
20 8.30. 8.30.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.52 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 25th day of May,
23 2006, at 8.30 a.m.