1 Tuesday, 13 October 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning
6 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case IT-08-91-T. The
7 Prosecutor versus Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin.
8 JUDGE HALL: Good morning, all. The -- as usual may we have the
9 appearances, please. And the Chamber has been alerted, and I suppose
10 counsel and the parties have as well, that weather conditions at the
11 other end of the transmission that we've been receiving may create
12 certain technical problems, so it's something that we should anticipate
13 the possibility of in the course of today.
14 Yes, the appearances, please.
15 MS. KORNER: Joanna Korner and Case Manager Crispian Smith for
16 the Prosecution, and no, we hadn't been told anything.
17 MR. ZECEVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Appearing for
18 Stanisic Defence, myself and Zecevic and Mr. Cvijetic. Thank you.
19 MR. PANTELIC: Good morning, Your Honours. For
20 Zupljanin Defence, Igor Pantelic, Dragan Krgovic, and Eric Tully. Thank
22 MS. KORNER: Just one thing, Your Honours, just before we carry
23 on. We, yesterday, saw the motion which is Stanisic's request for
24 reconsideration of Your Honours' ruling on 92 ter witnesses. We were
25 going to suggest that it's so allied to the topic that we were going to
1 discuss in the 65 ter that we would deal with that on an oral basis
2 rather than responding in writing, therefore not increasing the
3 ever-increasing load of written matters.
4 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you, Ms. Korner. Speaking of the 65 ter
5 conference, we will convene it as soon as the Prosecution has produced a
6 list of witnesses for at least the nest 8 weeks, 10 if possible,
7 indicating the names and the times that the Prosecution seeks to spend
8 for the examination-in-chief. So soon as we have the list, we can then
9 have the conference.
10 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, I didn't realise it was a precursor to
11 the conference, but you can have that this morning, in fact before the
12 next break as it's ready, as I said in my e-mail yesterday to the legal
13 officers. We have got a list of all the witnesses between now and
14 Christmas, with times estimated. And obviously subject to the usual
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE HARHOFF: Ms. Korner, and gentlemen of the Defence, next
18 week is going to be difficult to find time to have the 65 ter conference
19 because we are sitting in extended sessions, so I wonder if the list is
20 out today, whether it would make sense to have the 65 ter conference
21 tomorrow. Is that too early for the parties? Otherwise we'll have to
22 wait for next week again.
23 MR. ZECEVIC: Well, I don't think it's early if we can have it
24 tomorrow. I mean, depends whether the Prosecution can produce the list.
25 MS. KORNER: As I say, can I make it absolutely clear, I have no
1 doubt that Ms. Pidwell is watching, the list is out right now. So you
2 will get it before the break.
3 JUDGE HARHOFF: Can I then the Registrar to see if we can book
4 Room 177 for the purpose of a 65 ter meeting tomorrow at, say, 2.30 after
5 the session. Thanks.
6 JUDGE HALL: Good morning, Colonel. We resume the hearing --
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Via videolink] Good morning.
8 JUDGE HALL: -- that was suspended yesterday. I would remind you
9 that you are still on your oath. I believe that when we took the
10 adjournment yesterday, counsel for the Prosecution had completed her
11 cross-examination and Mr. Cvijetic - pardon me with the pronunciation -
12 had begun his cross-examination. I would now invite him to continue.
13 WITNESS: BRANKO BASARA [Resumed]
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 [Witness testifies via videolink]
16 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Cvijetic: [Continued]
18 Q. Colonel Basara, good morning.
19 A. Good morning.
20 Q. If I'm not mistaken, yesterday we broke off when we were
21 discussing the entry and withdrawal of the Yugoslav People's Army into
22 Bosnia and Herzegovina territory. The Prosecution showed you an order
23 yesterday of the commander of the 5th Corps of the 1st of April.
24 However, I concluded on the basis of your testimony that you are talking
25 about the following order that specifically designates the tasks for your
2 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] And now I would like to ask the
3 Registry to place Defence Exhibit 1D00-4486 on the screen.
4 Q. Colonel, can you see on the screen -- but I also think that we
5 sent this document to you through the authorised staff member to
6 Belgrade; is that correct?
7 A. Yes, I am familiar with the document.
8 Q. All right. This is a regular order in the standard form where it
9 can be seen that the Yugoslav People's Army is leaving Croatia. Can you
10 please look at page 3 now.
11 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Can we also look at the page on
12 our screens here, page 3 for the Trial Chamber. I think we have the
13 decision on the screen. In the Serbian we also need to look at page 3,
14 please. Can you look at the page after that, page 4, because this was a
15 certificate by the interpreter.
16 Q. Mr. Basara, can you please look at item 3 where your brigade is
17 issued the assignment, and where it states that it is your duty to
18 protect the population and prevent inter-ethnic conflict; is that
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Am I right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Colonel Basara, are you aware that in the period when you entered
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the inter-ethnic relations were already disrupted?
25 A. The inter-ethnic relations were interrupted.
1 Q. Was there a danger of escalation and of civil war?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did the arming take place outside of the legal channels of the
4 Yugoslav People's Army and were para-legal forces created?
5 A. Yes, both sides began to arm themselves without any control and
6 without this being under the command of the JNA.
7 Q. Colonel Basara, pursuant to the federal regulations that were
8 still in force at the time, the Yugoslav People's Army's mandate was to
9 disarm such units and to prevent an armed uprising and the escalation of
10 the conflict?
11 A. The units did take certain measures but did not manage to prevent
12 this completely because it was impossible because of the political
13 situation on the ground.
14 Q. Colonel Basara, I actually want to talk about that topic with you
15 a little bit. I would like to show you the next Defence document.
16 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Can we please place it on the
17 screen. I think you also had the opportunity to look at this document in
18 Belgrade. This is 1D00-149C.
19 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Cvijetic --
20 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, you are right. I
21 forgot -- yes, you are right, Your Honours. Can we please have the
22 previous document admitted because that document is of the 1st of April,
23 and this one that we are looking at now is of the 2nd.
24 JUDGE HARHOFF: I would like you just to remind us exactly who
25 authored this document and who signed it, and it was 1st of April, 1992?
1 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. General Talic
2 authored both documents the following day on the 2nd of April. The
3 document is dated the 2nd of April, and it follows the document of the
4 1st of April that was admitted or tendered yesterday by the Prosecution.
5 JUDGE HARHOFF: So it's 1992?
6 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
7 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you.
8 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, but I would like to
9 have this document admitted, please.
10 THE REGISTRAR: [Overlapping speakers]...
11 MS. KORNER: Sorry to interrupt, Mr. Cvijetic, but I'm slightly
12 confused. We haven't got a document that says 1D00149C. Is this the
13 document that a Colonel Basara has just looked at, because if so, that's
14 the 2nd of April.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, I think the number that is --
16 [Overlapping speakers]... the exhibit that has just been admitted is
18 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Madam Korner, this is the order
19 that Judge Harhoff has mentioned and that has been tendered. We are only
20 now discussing the document that follows. Is that more clear now?
21 MS. KORNER: Yes, thank you very much, but the document you are
22 now going to look at you say is numbered 149C; right? We don't have a
23 149C from you. If you just tell us what the document is, and we'll be
24 able to find it.
25 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] I'm hopefully going to eliminate
1 all the confusion. The definite number of the document is 1D00422. My
2 apologies. Is it all right now? May I continue, Your Honours?
3 JUDGE HARHOFF: Yes.
4 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Can we please look at the document
5 now that we do have the correct number. We can see it in the B/C/S now,
6 and we just need to see the English version as well. Your Honour, the
7 document was sent to Belgrade, but the document was also received from
8 the Secretariat of the government of Republika Srpska that is
9 investigating events that happened during the war, and collecting
10 evidence regarding war crimes, and they sent this document to us at our
11 request. I would like to show it to the witness, and I would like to
12 talk to him about the content of that document. If you permit me, I
13 would like to begin. May I continue, Your Honour?
14 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I did raise this document yesterday in
15 an e-mail with Mr. Zecevic and Mr. Pantelic, I wasn't sure whose document
16 it was. Simply this, because there is no date, no signature, and nothing
17 to show who prepared this document. And I hear what Mr. Cvijetic says.
18 Can he give any further information about the providence of this
20 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, pursuant to your
21 instructions, I would like to show this document to the witness so that
22 he can recognise the contents and the accuracy of the contents for me in
23 the document, and I would like to have it admitted in that way. I'm not
24 going to suggest anything to the witness, I'm going to ask him to try to
25 recognise who the author of this document is. I'm not going to influence
1 things one way or the other and try to influence the witness. So if
2 nobody has anything against that, and I think that Madam Korner is in
3 agreement with that, then I will continue.
4 Q. Mr. Basara, or Colonel Basara, do you have this document in front
5 of you which is named the Chronology of Important Events in Bosnia and
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did you have the opportunity to leaf through it and to read it?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Well, can you look through it now and read it, please. We are
11 going to give you a little bit of time.
12 A. I have looked at it briefly. The situation more or less was the
13 way it is stated there, but I cannot confirm the specific events because
14 at the time I was not familiar with the contents, and I did not have that
15 in my unit.
16 Q. All right. But are you able to confirm the actual events? For
17 example, the attack on the JNA column in Sarajevo where 150 or 160
18 members of the JNA were massacred, that event is referred to in the
19 document, isn't it?
20 A. I do remember that document, and we were all informed about it.
21 It was an incident which actually strained to the extreme the relations
22 between Serbs and Muslims.
23 Q. All right. The document also refers to the attack on the
24 military column in Tuzla, do you know about that?
25 A. I know about that because Major Brajic, Veljko Brajic was an
1 operative in that regiment when they were handing over their arms and
2 withdrawing. The Muslims attacked unarmed JNA soldiers, I don't know
3 exactly how many of those soldiers were killed. That column was
5 Q. Colonel Basara, in this document attacks on the JNA are dealt
6 with in chronological order in the period that the document covers, just
7 as it says. Can you confirm that this document could be a document by
8 one of the military services or the military security organs?
9 A. It was probably drafted with the help of the military organs that
10 had this information at their disposal, that covered the entire
12 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I think
13 that the witness sufficiently identified the origin and the source of the
14 document for me to be able to ask that it be admitted.
15 JUDGE HALL: Well.
16 MS. KORNER: Well, this is source for the goose, I am afraid.
17 Yesterday when the colonel was asked to look at the document, the
18 Sanski Most "Informator," my friend objected on the basis that he
19 couldn't say it was accurate. All that he can say is that he heard about
20 two of the events. That's all. Doesn't know who prepared the document,
21 has never seen the document before. And so I am afraid at this stage, I
22 don't think that there's sufficient foundation.
23 JUDGE HALL: That is my instinctive view, but could I hear you
24 further on Ms. Korner's objection.
25 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation]
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may ...
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] If I may help, can we just put it
5 into evidence. Can we mark it for identification until we call military
7 JUDGE HALL: You anticipate the decision of the Chamber. Yes,
8 that is what we will do.
9 THE REGISTRAR: The document is now Exhibit 1D19, marked for
10 identification, Your Honours.
11 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
12 Q. Colonel Basara, it can be seen from this document that members of
13 the JNA were continually attacked by weapons in the territory of Bosnia
14 and Herzegovina in the period covered by the document; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you tell us who attacked members of the Yugoslav People's
17 Army in Sarajevo, Tuzla?
18 A. In Sarajevo and Tuzla, they were attacked by Muslim forces that
19 were armed and ready at that time.
20 Q. Thank you. Colonel Basara, what was the name of those
21 paramilitary formations, do you have information about that?
22 A. I don't have the information. All I know is the name
23 Green Berets.
24 Q. All right. Do you know about the existence and organising of the
25 patriotic league as armed formation of the party of democratic action?
1 A. I did hear of it, but I didn't have any more specific information
2 to be able to explain better to you.
3 Q. All right. Thank you.
4 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, an intervention in
5 the transcript. Page 10, line 18. It should have said Green Berets.
6 The full name. I hope that has been corrected, and then we can proceed.
7 Q. Colonel, did you know that as early as 1991 in
8 Western Herzegovina, the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosnia was formed?
9 A. I did have information that it was formed in the territory of
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina, that the Croatian democratic union was formed in
11 the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
12 Q. But were you aware that there were some paramilitary formations
13 of the Croatian HDZ party was formed?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Mr. Basara, would you agree with my conclusion that the Yugoslav
16 People's Army was the target of attacks by those forces that were in
17 favour of the break-up of the former Yugoslavia of separatism and fueled
18 by the nationalist aspirations of some sections of the population?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Mr. Basara, now I'd like to come back to the part of the
21 territory that you are more familiar with. Once on the territory of
22 Bosnia and Herzegovina you received the assignment to take control of the
23 area of Sanski Most; correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you know that that area was referred to as the Republic of
1 Serbian Krajina, and that it was soon afterwards cut off from the rest of
2 Republika Srpska in a part called the corridor?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. I don't know if you know exactly for how long this lasted, until
5 the middle of the summer, mid-July?
6 A. I couldn't be precise, but something like that.
7 Q. During that time was there a threat of humanitarian catastrophe
8 in Serbian Krajina? Was there a threat of a cut-off of electricity,
9 supplies of food, medicines, et cetera?
10 A. There were attempts to stop the supplies and cut off power, but
11 they never completely succeeded.
12 Q. There was wide media coverage of that case with 16 babies in the
13 Banja Luka hospital who died only because the necessary oxygen could not
14 be supplied, those were premature babies in neonatal units.
15 A. I didn't know about it at the time, but I found out later.
16 Q. But you know it happened during that break, the cut-off?
17 A. Yes, people talked. I mean, there was a lot of talk about it
18 among the Serbs, so I did find out.
19 Q. Mr. Basara, military action followed --
20 JUDGE HARHOFF: Would you be good enough to tell us where we are
21 going with this?
22 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] You will find out, Your Honours,
23 from my next question. The break-out through that corridor followed and
24 a part of Colonel Basara's units participated. I want to ask him about
25 that now.
1 JUDGE HARHOFF: Okay.
2 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Colonel Basara, you said yesterday, and I also found it in the
4 interviews you gave, that one unit from your brigade took part in cutting
5 that corridor?
6 A. Yes, one battalion participated under the command of
7 Veljko Brajic, my Chief of Staff.
8 Q. You also said, and would you please confirm now, that when this
9 battalion went to that part of the battle-field, it was placed under the
10 command of the officer commanding that operation, and you no longer had
11 command over him, or that unit; correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Who was in command of this operation of cutting the corridor?
14 A. I couldn't tell you precisely, but General Lisica and
15 General Talic were most often mentioned in the reports.
16 Q. So if your battalion entered a part of the area of responsibility
17 under the command of General Lisica, you will agree with me that under
18 the principle of resubordination, General Lisica would be in command of
19 your unit?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Do you know that General Lisica, for the requirements of that
22 operation, mobilised also part of the Territorial Defence and the
23 civilian police and placed them under his command?
24 A. I don't know the specifics of that.
25 Q. But do you know that this procedure is called resubordination?
1 A. I know.
2 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I ask the legal
3 officer to place the following document before the witness, 1D00-4042.
4 May we see Article 104. We see only the cover page for the moment.
5 Q. Colonel Basara, can you read this Article 104 now?
6 A. I've read it.
7 Q. Is that the situation we are discussing now?
8 A. Yes, that's the situation, but the state of war had not been
9 declared so this is not complete. But roughly that's what was envisaged.
10 Q. Colonel Basara, in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the
11 state of immediate threat of war had been declared on both parts of the
12 territory, that controlled by the Muslims and Croats and that under the
13 control of Serbs, and there was general across-the-board mobilisation?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So it was not peacetime, there were wide-ranging military
16 operations under way and one of them was the one we are discussing.
17 A. Yes.
18 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, since this is a
19 regulation that we have referred to before, and we are going to refer to
20 with other witnesses, in order to avoid discussing it separately with
21 each witness, maybe we could tender it now, that's the law on national
22 defence, and this particular witness is qualified to speak of this law.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Cvijetic and Ms. Korner, I may be wrong, but
25 I seem to recollect that the parties had come to an agreement about a
1 whole range of applicable laws from that period; is that correct?
2 MS. KORNER: Almost. We were actually going to have a discussion
3 this week about some of them, we had simply queried the relevance. But
4 for the majority, as I say, provided they are relevant, we don't object.
5 And I agree with Mr. Cvijetic on this, this is clearly a relevant
7 JUDGE HARHOFF: So I wonder if it would be possible to admit in
8 one batch simply all the law, so that we don't have to discuss
9 admissibility of a law each and every time any of the parties bring up a
10 law in front of the witness so that we simply can say that all the laws
11 that are not in dispute between the parties are admissible or were
12 taken --
13 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, certainly I think we are all agreed on
14 that. We were going to try to get together tomorrow, but if we are
15 having the 65 ter meeting -- well, we could still probably do to
16 afterwards, to try and sort this out.
17 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you.
18 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I agree with
19 Ms. Korner, there's only one step we have to make to that end, and I
20 think we should make it. Can I continue?
21 Q. Colonel Basara, can you hear me?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Will you please read Article 104 from the beginning. It says "in
24 war" --
25 A. "In war, in time of an immediate threat of war and in other
1 emergencies" --
2 Q. That's enough. You admit that the immediate threat of war had
3 been declared?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Then Article 104 applies, it's written in the law; correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Colonel Basara, on the list of Prosecution exhibits, there's one
8 which is an order which we have not had the opportunity to show you
10 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] I'll see with the Trial Chamber if
11 it can be admitted, but I won't insist. It's from the 65 ter list 614,
12 please. I'm not sure if we have the right document. Maybe if I give the
13 ERN number, it will be easier to find. Sorry, 65 ter 1682.
14 MS. KORNER: It's tab 7 in the Colonel's bundle from us.
15 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] That's the document.
16 Q. Colonel, did you find it over there under tab 7? That's an order
17 by Colonel Anicic?
18 A. Yes, I see it's Colonel Anicic. We can see that at the beginning
19 of the document.
20 Q. Okay. So you can see it. Look at the next page, 2.
21 Paragraph 4. Para 4 on that page mentions the area of Sanski Most and
22 your assignments.
23 A. Where it says "I decided"?
24 Q. No, the following paragraph where it says, "engage the main
25 forces," et cetera. It's the second paragraph of item 4. It says there
1 that you have the right to resubordinate to the command of your brigade
2 units of Territorial Defence as well.
3 A. It's written there, and I was able to do that if I saw fit.
4 Q. That's precisely what we are discussing. If you resubordinate
5 certain units as General Lisica did -- as Colonel Lisica did at the time,
6 who has command over the units?
7 A. The one who has units resubordinated to them.
8 Q. According to the principle of singleness of commands, that would
9 be exclusively the military commander?
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. My next set of questions relates to the responsibility --
12 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Excuse me, Your Honour. May I
13 tender this document.
14 MS. KORNER: It's already an exhibit.
15 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Cvijetic, did I understand you well, you
16 didn't ask the witness whether he did resubordinate or not any police
17 units to his unit? You asked him theoretically if he did so, but you
18 didn't ask him whether he in practice did resubordinate, am I correct?
19 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the witness replied
20 that he had done that in keeping with this order, and that he had
21 resubordinated to his command units of Territorial Defence.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I did not say that because you
23 didn't ask me that.
24 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. But did you say you had done it?
1 A. No, I said that is what is done when necessary if I see fit.
2 Q. You mean you were able to do that if necessary?
3 A. I was able, but in that case I hadn't done it because
4 Colonel Anicic was not authorised to issue any orders to my brigade.
5 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] I believe we have now clarified
6 the situation to reply to the Judge's question.
7 Q. But for the rest you stand by your answer?
8 A. Yes, I said that in principle that it was so. If there was a
9 need on the ground, that's how it would be done.
10 Q. Colonel Basara, if you had estimated that you needed certain
11 units, both from the police and the Territorial Defence, you could have
12 resubordinated them to yourself?
13 A. Yes, in agreement with the leadership of the municipality and the
14 chief of MUP.
15 Q. In such a situation, who would be in command of the units? You
16 just said that in a previous reply.
17 A. If some operations are underway, the one who has larger forces,
18 stronger forces, would take over command.
19 Q. Colonel Basara, the law explicitly says that the military command
20 has overall command, and that all these units are resubordinated to
21 military command.
22 A. Yes, because they are considered to be organised. They have an
23 organised system of command.
24 Q. And that fits with the system of singleness of command, you've
25 just confirmed that.
1 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Cvijetic, I apologise for being confused a
2 bit, but just in pursuit of the question put by Judge Delvoie, now we
3 have established that the witness in his function as commander of the
4 corps, he could have resubordinated local police units and units from the
5 TO under his own command for the purpose of a particular combat
6 operation. That, I think, is established, and this is perfectly within
7 the law. The question was, did he ever in fact resubordinate police
8 units and units from the TO under his command for any such purposes, and
9 if so, in which cases?
10 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] I think Colonel Basara heard your
11 question. Maybe he could answer directly.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] While I was in command in
13 Sanski Most, I never resubordinated units of the civilian police or the
14 Territorial Defence under military command because there was no state of
15 war, and I saw no need.
16 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I managed to get the municipal
18 leadership to accept them when I needed them into the complement of my
20 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. But you were able to do so under the law on immediate threat of
23 A. Yes, you are right, but I never did it in practice because it
24 wasn't necessary.
25 Q. Thank you. You've answered the Judge's question.
1 Colonel Basara, in the area of responsibility of your unit, your
2 unit and resubordinated units alike, whenever a crime happened or a war
3 crime perhaps, the perpetrator following this logic would be prosecuted
4 by the military Prosecution.
5 A. Since no state of war had been declared, you cannot look at it
6 that way because the main jurisdiction over the territory remained with
7 the municipal leadership of Sanski Most because they had all the bodies
8 in place. They ruled on that territory. We, the army, supplemented that
9 work and secured territory --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: There is one extra
11 microphone on, and we can't hear the witness that well anymore.
12 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Colonel Basara, in the area under the control of your unit, the
14 military Prosecution authorities would have jurisdiction.
15 A. That depends on who perpetrated the crime since no state of war
16 had been declared. If the perpetrator was a military person, a member of
17 the brigade, then the military police would be in charge. If a civilian
18 person committed the crime, then the SUP of Sanski Most would be in
20 Q. I'm talking about persons who have been mobilised who would
21 qualify as military persons, military organs would have jurisdiction?
22 A. Yes, members of the brigade, military authorities would have
24 Q. You keep repeating that the state of war had not been declared,
25 but in your statement yesterday, on page 18 of your testimony yesterday,
1 you said, I don't have full control on the territory since no state of
2 war had been declared, apart from the part of the territory where my unit
3 is deployed, there I have complete control did you state that?
4 A. Yes, and I knew full well that in the area of deployment of my
5 units, I have control, but there is no definition of my area of
6 responsibility. My superior did not define it.
7 Q. To earlier questions why you filed no criminal complaints and why
8 did you -- did not have such cases prosecuted, you answered that you did
9 not have a technical service to assist you. However, that does not
10 change jurisdiction. Military authorities exist, there is a military
11 judge, there is a military prosecutor's office, all that exists in
12 Banja Luka.
13 A. Yes, all these things existed, but you said yourself yesterday
14 that these people were reserve forces, not professionals. They had just
15 been mobilised. They were not qualified and trained to investigate. We
16 made steps whenever we could, but there was so much to do that we did not
17 have time for these things.
18 Q. Still, did you have occasion to file a criminal complaint to the
19 competent court regarding a crime committed on your territory?
20 A. Yes, criminal complaints were filed. My chief of security and
21 the police would file such criminal complaints, but I have no knowledge
22 of it, and I cannot give you any names or cite any cases.
23 Q. Well, I'll give you an example.
24 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Can we please show the witness one
25 Defence exhibit, 2D07-0033.
1 Q. Colonel Basara, do you see this criminal complaint?
2 A. Not yet. We haven't found it yet.
3 Q. You see on the screen the name of the person against whom this
4 criminal complaint is filed. Can you read it?
5 A. I see that it comes from the corps command.
6 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I think there's a problem. Neither --
7 I don't -- maybe the colonel or us have this document.
8 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Colonel, please look at ...
10 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, sorry, it was a document --
11 Can you turn off your microphone.
12 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] 2D07-0033.
13 MS. KORNER: No, it's in our -- it's actually in our binder. The
14 colonel has that behind divider 22 in the bundle that he got from the
16 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Yes, correct. We have found the
17 document in the binder.
18 Q. Colonel, have you found the document in the binder provided to
19 you by the Prosecution?
20 A. Yes, we have found it now.
21 Q. Can you please turn to page 2 and look at the description of the
22 events and what happened.
23 A. It's clear, I'm familiar with that case.
24 Q. Can you please turn to page 3.
25 Who signed the criminal report?
1 A. I did.
2 Q. To whom did you send it to?
3 A. To the Banja Luka military prosecutor's office.
4 Q. So there was a possibility of initiating proceedings before the
5 relevant judicial bodies, and you used that opportunity; am I correct?
6 A. Yes, we used the opportunity wherever we were able to establish
7 the perpetrators. But when we could not establish who the perpetrators
8 were, we were not able to submit criminal charges against unidentified
10 Q. Well, there is a procedure when you can submit criminal charges
11 against unidentified perpetrators.
12 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] This is page 3 with
13 Colonel Basara's signature. And then on page 2, if I'm not mistaken,
14 there is the description of the event. Can we please look at page 2 on
15 the e-court. Yes, here it is, but we don't see it in English so that
16 His Honour can see it, so we also need to look at the previous page in
17 the English version.
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: What I specifically wanted to know is what person
19 it is this Prosecution is against. Is it the military? Is it a
21 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Colonel, since you submitted the criminal report and you say that
23 you recall this incident, can you please reply to the Judge's question?
24 A. This was a member of the 6th Krajina Brigade, and that is why the
25 criminal report was submitted against him. Had he not been a member of
1 the military, the charges would have been submitted to the Sanski Most
3 Q. Colonel Basara, if you don't know who the perpetrator of a crime
4 is, then a criminal report would be submitted against unidentified
5 perpetrators until the perpetrators were found, were you aware of that?
6 A. I didn't know that at the time and that is why we did not submit
7 criminal reports of that type.
8 Q. But this was your duty under the law; am I right?
9 A. To report about it and see if that can help to discover who the
10 perpetrators were. However, that did not yield any results.
11 Q. Are you familiar with the regulations of the Federal Secretariat
12 for National Defence about the application of the provisions of
13 international law of war in the SFRY?
14 A. In principle, yes. And I think that I did adhere to them.
15 Q. Yes, but those provisions state that you would be responsible if
16 you fail to submit a criminal report?
17 A. Well, I didn't specifically study those regulations. I didn't
18 have time to really consider them in much detail. The command duties
19 were very complex. I was the brigade commander for a period of time
20 myself, so I didn't have an opportunity to do things like that.
21 Q. The gist of my question is that the fact that you were unable to
22 do that at that particular time does not change your duties. At the time
23 you were obliged to report to the prosecutor and initiate an
24 investigation, and in this particular case this is what you did.
25 A. Where there was a possibility that my unit or my men were
1 involved, this is something that I did, but in circumstances where this
2 was not possible, we did not do that.
3 Q. All right, Colonel Basara, at least we clarified what you were
4 supposed to do. My next question refers to the events outside of the
5 area of responsibility, for example, a member of the armed forces who was
6 engaged and active in combat outside of the combat area in town, for
7 example, perpetrates a crime or breaks the law, who is authorised to
8 prosecute them?
9 A. Well, the person who was in command of those people.
10 Q. I'm not asking you that. I'm not asking you who their commander
11 was. I'm saying whose duty was it to prosecute such persons? I'm
12 thinking of organs in this case.
13 A. Well, the question is not clear to me. Somebody commits some
14 criminal act or crime somewhere, so I really am not able to tell you who
15 would be authorised to prosecute them.
16 Q. Well, here, I'm going to try to help you.
17 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Cvijetic, again I apologise for interrupting
18 you, but again I am not sure I understand the relevance of this evidence
19 to the charges raised against your client. If I understand this
20 correctly, Colonel Basara has confirmed that he had the authority to
21 raise criminal charges against anyone under his command who had committed
22 a serious crime, and we have seen that at least in one instance he
23 actually did so. But how does this relate to the charges raised against
24 Mr. Stanisic?
25 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. Stanisic and
1 Mr. Zupljanin are being charged with all the incidents and crimes that
2 took place in the territories encompassed in the indictment, among other
3 things pursuant to joint criminal enterprise, so we need to deal with the
4 separation of authorities and duties between the civilian police and the
5 army. So the gist of my questions is to see who is responsible for what,
6 and I have specific documents in that sense about the division of
7 jurisdiction between the police or the civilian organs, and the military
8 organs. So I hope that you will permit me to deal with those documents.
9 JUDGE HARHOFF: Go ahead.
10 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Colonel Basara, before I put the
11 question to you, I would like to ask that 65 ter list Exhibit number --
12 we are still looking at the previous document. 65 ter number 169,
13 please. Can we see that on the screens. Can we just look at the English
14 version as well, please.
15 Q. Colonel Basara, are you able to see this document on the screen
17 A. No.
18 MS. KORNER: It has to be in the binder.
19 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Did you receive the document last night for your perusal?
21 A. No.
22 Q. All right. If not, then I'm just going to have to deal with
23 interpretation of the document.
24 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, I'm sorry, are we on the right
25 document? Because this is a document to do with Bijeljina, nothing
1 whatsoever to do with this -- we are on the right document, are we?
3 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Basara, can you please confirm that you have the document in
5 front of you now?
6 A. The document is in front of me now, but it's not quite clear to
7 me what you are supposed to ask me.
8 Q. Well, I haven't managed to do that before I can make sure that
9 you see the document. So in the area of Bijeljina, military personnel
10 outside of the combat area, and you know that Bijeljina was never part of
11 the combat zone, so if those persons commit some sort of a violation, a
12 crime, were arrested and detained by the special unit of the civilian
13 police. However, on the basis of this document we can see that the chief
14 of intelligence, Colonel Zdravko Tolimir is sending a dispatch asking
15 that the persons in question be handed over to the authorised military
16 organs, and he even refers to provisions of the Law on the Army which
17 state that the powers of the civilian and military organs are clearly
18 delineated, and so on and so forth. Do you see that in his dispatch?
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I suggest before I
21 show the next document that is connected to this one, I would like to ask
22 that this document be tendered as a Defence exhibit.
23 MS. KORNER: Well, I was waiting for what the question was going
24 to be. Do you see it? Yes, I do. He doesn't know anything about this
25 document. The contents are completely unknown to him. All he can say
1 is, I've read it. And that's it. I'm sorry.
2 In any event, I'm sure Mr. Cvijetic's document is going to come
3 in as part of the Prosecution case, but this witness simply cannot say
4 anything about this document. And, indeed, if any further documents are
5 going to be shown to him about which he knows nothing on an area which
6 isn't an area he covered, all he can be asked to do is read it or
7 comment, then I suggest that Mr. Cvijetic leaves it and moves on to
8 something the witness actually can deal with.
9 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Very well. I'm going to continue
10 along that line, and then we will see whether we will stay with the
11 option of tendering them or marking them for identification.
12 Q. Colonel Basara, as we can see, Zdravko Tolimir is protesting the
13 arrest of the military persons and is seeking that they be handed over to
14 military authorities. Is that what it says?
15 A. Yes, that's what it says there. That is his understanding of
16 matters, and he decided to act in that particular way.
17 Q. All right.
18 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Can we now look at the next
19 document to see how the minister of the interior acted in terms -- or in
20 relation to that dispatch.
21 MS. KORNER: I'm sorry, Your Honour, but this is just not the
22 witness for these documents to be brought in. He has not seen them. He
23 doesn't know anything about it. It is not within his sphere of
24 competence at all. I'm quite happy to let documents go in normally,
25 provided the witness can say something. But, really, this witness cannot
1 comment on any of these documents.
2 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, and this applies to
3 Colonel Basara as well, this is a matter of the application of
4 regulations, not about the conduct of any particular senior officer. It
5 deals with the delineation of authorities between the civilian and the
6 military organs, and that's what it says. So it cannot be left up to the
7 discretion of Colonel Zdravko Tolimir or to the minister of internal
8 affairs to apply regulations as they see fit. Regulations require that
9 they be applied in the way stated in the correspondence between the two
10 parties. So if the military personnel -- I'm asking the witness about
11 the circumstances about the delineation of powers and did that apply in
12 the way described in this document.
13 Q. Colonel Basara, can you hear me?
14 A. Yes, I can.
15 Q. Did you hear this explanation that I provided? In this specific
16 case we are talking about the application of the law --
17 A. I can tell you something about that.
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: The witness said -- he answered. He explained
19 how he applied whatever rule you are putting to him. He said, I exert my
20 authority on military and not on all of personnel, on all of persons. So
21 what is the use -- what is the use of your line of questions? Sorry, but
22 I can't see it. If he was wrong, okay, then he was wrong, in your view.
23 But that's the way how he did it. That's his testimony.
24 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I agree with
25 you. The witness is mistaken, but I'm trying to prove to him that he is
1 wrong. And how am I to prove that if --
2 MS. KORNER: Mr. Cvijetic can prove this through other witnesses
3 who are coming as part of the Prosecution case or when it comes to his
4 own case. He cannot go behind the witness's answers by showing the
5 witness documents that the witness knows nothing about. That's the
6 objection, and I suggest that Mr. Cvijetic moves on.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Cvijetic, the -- you've asked the witness
9 questions, he has answered to the best -- you may or may not accept the
10 answers. To the extent that it is a part of your case that you are
11 challenging him on this, you may be able to do it at some stage but not
12 by putting in this document at this stage because the witness says he
13 knows nothing about it. He has never seen it before. And I think that's
14 as far as you can go with this document. You've asked the witness a
15 question, and he has answered.
16 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] All right, Your Honours. I'm
17 being told that it's time for a break, and if you agree, I would like to
18 perhaps stop here and then we can continue after the break.
19 MS. KORNER: Well, can I just ask, it's a question of the witness
20 who is still waiting for -- to be cross-examined. Is he likely to be
21 required today? Because he is going to be brought over around 12.00, but
22 at the rate we are going ...
23 JUDGE HARHOFF: Depends on Mr. Pantelic.
24 MS. KORNER: And Mr. Cvijetic, actually, I don't know how much
25 longer he has got.
1 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Cvijetic, how long time do you think you need
2 to complete your cross-examination?
3 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Not more than half an hour,
4 Your Honour.
5 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much, counsel. And Mr. Pantelic?
6 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I would estimate that -- well
7 depending of the transmission problems and the dynamic how it works, my
8 colleague Cvijetic covered a significant part of the issues, but I would
9 say maybe one hour and a half. I will do my best maybe to shorten the
10 time, but that should be roughly hour and a half for Zupljanin Defence.
11 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much, counsel. This seems to
12 indicate that there will be about half an hour in the end in which we
13 could actually continue the --
14 MS. KORNER: We'll have him brought over for 12.30.
15 JUDGE HARHOFF: Very well.
16 --- Recess taken at 10.23 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 10.47 a.m.
18 JUDGE HALL: Colonel, are you ready to continue?
19 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I am. I thought you
20 were asking the colonel if he is still on line.
21 JUDGE HALL: [Microphone not activated] I was, I didn't hear a
22 response. I don't know if there is a problem.
23 Colonel, can you hear us?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can.
25 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] We don't have to admit this
1 document, we agreed amongst ourselves, we won't insist.
2 Q. I would just like to ask the colonel on this document, who is
3 Colonel Zdravko Tolimir, the signatory?
4 A. I did not know Colonel Tolimir, and I did not collaborate with
5 him. However, I would like to explain something about competencies and
6 jurisdictions here.
7 Q. Will you just answer my question. Who is Colonel
8 Zdravko Tolimir?
9 A. I don't know.
10 Q. You don't know that he was member of the staff of the Army of
11 Republika Srpska, chief of the security section?
12 A. No.
13 Q. And you don't know that in the hierarchy of the VRS, he was your
14 superior, just as the entire staff was your superior?
15 A. I didn't know him, and I can't tell you that.
16 Q. How do you know, then, who the supreme commander of the VRS was,
17 if you know?
18 A. Well, that's a ridiculous question. Of course I know, and I know
19 whose orders I was carrying out, and that was enough for me.
20 Q. You won't tell me that instructions and orders by Colonel Tolimir
21 did not reach your unit.
22 A. They probably went to the corps, but down at the level of my
23 unit, I didn't see any of those orders.
24 Q. What does it mean to you if I say that Colonel Zdravko Tolimir
25 could have been the chief of security for the entire VRS?
1 A. I'll take your word for it, but at the time I did not know that
2 he was the one.
3 Q. On the same document, my last question, I owe an answer to the
4 Chamber why the document is relevant; namely, Colonel Zdravko Tolimir was
5 chief of security in the Main Staff of the VRS, and his instructions on
6 the application of regulations and the division of competencies in
7 jurisdiction applied throughout the Republika Srpska. But I won't insist
8 if the witness does not wish to comment any further, and I agree to have
9 the document admitted through another witness.
10 May I continue, Your Honours?
11 Q. Colonel, another question remains that I would like to deal with.
12 If I'm not mistaken, the Army of Republika Srpska was established on
13 19 May?
14 A. I cannot recall the exact date because I was engaged full time,
15 and we had no particular communications about that, so I can't tell you
16 the dates.
17 Q. You say there was no notification. Was that in the period when
18 communications were severed, when power was cut off?
19 A. I don't remember the time. I can't answer.
20 Q. But did you become a commanding officer in the VRS?
21 A. I must have been since I had command of a brigade.
22 Q. Can we at least agree about the month, that it was May?
23 A. I can agree if you have documents confirming the date when the
24 main leadership of Republika Srpska made the decision. Of course I can
25 accept that.
1 Q. All right. I have a few questions about the origin of the VRS.
2 The Yugoslav People's Army was ordered to leave the territory of Bosnia
3 and Herzegovina at one point; right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And it was mainly JNA officers who were natives of Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina who remained after JNA withdrawal.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Conscripts who responded to the call-up joined their own armies
9 in the war.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And the Muslims who were in the JNA previously joined their own
12 people which formed its own army.
13 A. Yes, most of them. There were some who remained in the JNA.
14 Q. Sefer Halilovic, whose rank I don't know, was Chief of Staff of
15 the BH Army, he was a former JNA officer; correct?
16 A. I didn't know the man, so I can't tell you with any certainty,
17 but I heard that he was a former JNA officer.
18 Q. All right. Have you heard of the commander of the 5th Corps,
19 Atif Dudakovic, that he, too, was a former JNA officer before joining the
20 BH Army?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Well then you will agree with my conclusion that the Yugoslav
23 People's Army ripped at the ethnic seams on which it had been
24 established, and both officers and troops joined their own peoples and
25 their armies.
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. But by it's own concept the VRS had in its ranks both Croats and
4 A. At the beginning, yes, but they left later.
5 Q. Yesterday you said that they left because they accepted an
6 invitation from Sarajevo.
7 A. I did not mean that it was an invitation. Directives came from
8 Sarajevo that Muslim troops and officers should leave the JNA so that the
9 JNA remain a mono-ethnic force, purely Serbian.
10 Q. I have documents that these appeals were made by political
11 parties, the HDZ on the Croatian side, and SDA on the Muslim side?
12 A. Yes, correct.
13 Q. Do you know that in the eastern Bosnian corps, there was one
14 whole unit, a brigade consisting of Muslims and Croats, some of them were
15 officers and some of them received decorations for their achievements in
17 A. I don't know about that.
18 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I have no
19 further questions.
20 Cross-examination by Mr. Pantelic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Colonel Basara. My name is
22 Igor Pantelic. I'm waving here. Can you see me?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. We met last Sunday on the premises of the field -- of the office
25 of The Hague Tribunal.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. On that occasion we spoke in the presence of a representative of
3 the OTP and an interpreter; correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You spoke of yourself as a tolerant man, and that's the
6 impression I had too.
7 A. So I reckon.
8 Q. You were one of the founders of the movement called the National
9 Front for Yugoslavia which rallied humanists.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You were a co-founder with some of your friends and colleagues of
12 Muslim ethnicity; correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. How would you prefer to be addressed because there is a military
15 etiquette, Colonel sir, or Comrade Colonel?
16 A. Comrade Colonel.
17 Q. I accept that.
18 Comrade Colonel, would you tell me if you had any knowledge of
19 the grouping of Muslim forces in the area of Sanski Most in a place
20 called "Suma" Golaja, woods Golaja?
21 A. Yes, I had information they had a training centre there, with
22 around 400 Green Berets.
23 Q. When did you get that information, approximately? In which month
24 of 1992?
25 A. I couldn't tell you exactly, but it would have been May.
1 Q. When we spoke in Belgrade on Sunday, you mentioned you had
2 information that there had been frequent helicopter flights in the area
3 of that forest, Golaja, around that training centre, and that there were
4 indicia that reinforcements -- that is, personnel and goods were
5 air-lifted there?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. According to your information, the commander of that unit was a
8 certain Captain Avdic?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you know his ethnicity?
11 A. Muslim.
12 Q. In the course of 1992, did you have occasion to meet him?
13 A. I met him on my command post when he came together with his Chief
14 of Staff. And he even spent the night at my command post.
15 Q. What were the circumstances in which a commander of the enemy
16 force would visit your command post and even spend the night there? How
17 did it come about?
18 A. At that time we had organised a search operation of that forest
19 because we had information there was a training centre. Our units
20 carried out a circular movement towards the centre of the forest.
21 However, two soldiers were inebriated, they burst in front of a firing
22 squad before the Muslims, and they were captured. And then the battalion
23 commander went to negotiate with the opposite side. He had with him a
24 signalsman and means of communication. He, too, was captured together
25 with the signalsman. And then they interfered with the command system.
1 My Chief of Staff, Major Brajic, first managed to set up contact
2 with Captain Avdic. They discussed the matter, and Avdic said he would
3 release our men on the condition that we transport them to Bihac. I told
4 him to come to my command post to talk to me, so he did. And we came to
5 an agreement, and since it was already late, he spent the night and left
6 the next day.
7 The next day we acted upon our agreement and 160 troops who had
8 not dispersed from that forest who were still there were also shipped to
9 Bihac. We informed the UNPROFOR, and no one came to any harm.
10 Q. So to summarise, you had an understanding with the Green Berets
11 that once your negotiations were over you would transport them to their
12 own territory in Bihac, and that agreement was implemented; correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Thank you. Now, let us go back to the general context in
15 Sanski Most. You mentioned that it was your general impression that
16 certain anxiety prevailed among the Serb population, anxiety and fear
17 that they could meet the same fate as their ancestors in the Second World
18 War, and the fate of their ancestors were tragic because Serbs suffered a
19 lot under both Croat, Muslim, and Ustasha units, and many were killed?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. When you came to Sanski Most, I suppose you tried to gather as
22 much information as you could about the situation on the ground. What
23 kind of knowledge did you gain about inter-ethnic relations in that area?
25 A. The information I received was often frightening. There were
1 indicia that units were being formed everywhere. There was information
2 that Muslim forces were present in Mahala, which means in Sanski Most.
3 Then there were those units and training centres in Golaja and also units
4 in Hrustovo. Hrustovo is closely linked with this Golaja location, and
5 the units in Hrustovo probably got their supplies from the training
6 centre in Golaja.
7 Q. I understand that, but did you have information about the mutual
8 links and coordination between these three groupings of Muslim forces,
9 Mahala, Golaja, and Hrustovo?
10 A. Yes, we had information that they were interlinked, Golaja and
11 Hrustovo, Hrustovo and Mahala. They were also linked by other areas, but
12 some of them were cut-off from each other by my units, which prevented
13 closer linkage.
14 Q. That's clear now. Tell me, your command post was practically in
15 Glusci village, Palanka; correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. I'm waiting for the transcript to catch up.
18 MR. PANTELIC: [In English] I will spell the name of village where
19 the commanding post was. It's G-l-u-s-c-i, and then second name is
20 P-a-l-a-n-k-a. For the precision in transcript, yes.
21 Q. [Interpretation] Tell me, Colonel, you were born in village
22 Glusci Palanka?
23 A. Actually in the village of Otis near Glusci Palanka.
24 Q. When you returned to your native area in 1992, you must have had
25 personal contact with friends, relatives. You had a network of friends,
1 I suppose, and you socialised with them?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. How did your friends and family explain to you the situation on
4 the ground in mixed population localities where there were both Muslims
5 and Serbs living in the same area?
6 A. There was anxiety and concern, but for the most part they said
7 they had no problem with immediate neighbours.
8 Q. And now about the 6th Brigade. You said that its numbers were
9 3 and a half thousand to 4.000 in July/August; correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And you, as brigade commander, had assistance -- let's take them
12 one by one. First of all, you had the Chief of Staff whom you mentioned
13 today, Major Veljko Brajic; right?
14 A. Yes, he arrived in early May after the attack on the army column
15 in Tuzla.
16 Q. Then you had an assistant commander for morale, and religious
17 affairs, Brane Davidovic?
18 A. Yes, he was a reserve officer.
19 Q. What was his rank?
20 A. Captain first class.
21 Q. And your assistant commander for security was Pero Malinovic?
22 A. Malicevic.
23 Q. Pero Malicevic, is it?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. His rank?
1 A. Captain 1st class reserve.
2 Q. And his assistant was Branko Vukmir?
3 A. Right.
4 Q. What was his rank?
5 A. Also captain 1st class, reserve officer.
6 Q. Your assistant commander for logistics was Colonel Kuljaca;
8 A. He was Lieutenant-Colonel Kuljaca, retired JNA.
9 Q. And the chief of engineering, you can't recall his name?
10 A. No, I had three of them at various times. I can't recall their
12 Q. While you were stationed in Croatia, in Jasenovac, your assistant
13 for security was Mirko Vrucinic, captain; is that correct?
14 A. No, my chief for intelligence was Mirko Vrucinic, not for
15 security, but for intelligence.
16 Q. And what was his rank there?
17 A. Captain 1st class. A reserve officer, non-commissioned officer.
18 Q. I assume that you had professional cooperation and relations with
19 this person?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. When your brigade was transferred to the Sanski Most region,
22 Mirko Vrucinic continued to be your assistant for intelligence; is that
24 A. Yes, for awhile that was so, but I don't remember at which point
25 they asked me to release him so that he could be the chief of the MUP,
1 and I approved that.
2 Q. Who specifically asked that he be the MUP chief candidate in
3 Sanski Most?
4 A. This was a request by the president of the municipality, Rasula.
5 Q. And you agreed because in your view he was a good professional,
6 and you believed that that would be a good cadre solution?
7 A. Well, first of all, I considered him to be a good man, somebody
8 who was not a nationalist, and I felt that he would be carrying out those
9 duties well.
10 Q. Specifically because he came from your unit, and because you were
11 -- you held him in high esteem, you had a good opinion of him. During
12 your stay in Sanski Most, you had good professional cooperation with him;
13 is that correct?
14 A. Yes, our cooperation was excellent because whenever we could, we
15 cooperated and helped each other.
16 Q. I apologise. I will have to make a pause, it's not that I don't
17 know what I'm going to ask you next; I'm just considering the pace and
18 paying attention to the transcript, so I'm grateful for your patience.
19 And you exchanged operative data with Mirko Vrucinic about enemy
20 actions, the situation in the field; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Of course you as a conscientious commander of a unit reported to
23 Vrucinic certain negative things in your brigade?
24 A. Whenever we met, we discussed all the problems.
25 Q. Including some negative occurrences, violations, criminal acts,
1 some abuses, did you discuss all of these matters with him?
2 A. I discussed with him all matters that I considered that he should
3 be informed about.
4 Q. All right. Along the security line, your assistant,
5 Pero Malicevic was directly reporting to Colonel Bogovic in the 1st
6 Krajina Corps in Banja Luka; is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And one of his duties was that he should report to his superior
9 officer along that line on matters that had to do with his tasks?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And this implied reporting to superior military organs, some
12 omissions or some abuses of authority or desertion or violations of
13 military discipline or criminal acts or killings; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, there were two lines of reporting, the line of operative
15 duty where there was an officer on duty each day who compiled all that
16 information and sent it to the operation duty officer in the corps.
17 Along -- the intelligence officer would send all of the information
18 compiled to the security chief in the corps if he felt that he should
19 have such information.
20 Q. So your assistant informed his superior about the events in
22 A. Well, probably the reports did go out. I can't say what was
23 exactly in them and when they were sent, but they were definitely sent.
24 Q. All right. Let me be specific for the transcript; it wasn't
25 entered correctly. I asked you if your security assistant informed the
1 killings in Mahala -- of the killing of the Muslim population, and he
2 sent that information to his superior; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. In the beginning in your brigade you had a platoon of the
5 military police which was later a company of the military police; is that
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. How many men were in this military police company?
9 A. About 90, but this was subject to change.
10 Q. The commander of that company was a lieutenant from Prijedor; is
11 that right?
12 A. It was Lieutenant Madzar. And then later someone else came. I
13 can't remember that person's last name. He came there and then took over
14 as the company commander when I left the brigade.
15 Q. So we are talking about 1992; is that right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Colonel, sir, in view of your humanism and a proper approach to
18 matters, could you please tell the Trial Chamber how you managed to take
19 a son of a Muslim friend of yours who was wearing military policemen's
20 uniform, you practically managed to save this man when his father asked
21 you to do that. How did you manage to get him across to Serbia? How did
22 that happen? What were your motives to dress this young man into a
23 military policeman's uniform, transfer him to Serbia, from where he later
24 went to Europe. Can you please tell us about that.
25 A. Well, this is not just any Muslim, the son of a Muslim. It's
1 actually captain Nijaz Halilovic who was commander of the TO staff in
2 Sanski Most. When I came to the Sanski Most area, he toured all of the
3 Muslim villages with me and we talked with all the Muslims in all the
4 Muslim villages in that area, and we asked them to refrain from any
5 activities involving weapons in that area and that the two of us would do
6 our best to secure peace and things as they had been up until then.
7 However, later when there was an escalation and there was the division of
8 the MUP and also the division of power took place, and also when this
9 commander was replaced, this commander of the TO staff was replaced by
10 Colonel Anicic. I went to visit my family in Belgrade, and he had been
11 arrested and sent to Manjaca.
12 When I returned I met his father and he said, What will happen to
13 Nijaz? I said that it was my duty to transfer Nijaz to him in Austria
14 where he had a permanent labour permit, that I would get him out of
15 Manjaca and send him to his father. And this is what I did. In order to
16 be able to do that, I had to find a way because they didn't allow
17 able-bodied Muslim men to cross the border into Serbia. I dressed him in
18 the uniform of a policeman, and he was my escort. And then when he
19 crossed over into Serbia, he put on civilian clothing, and then he left
20 for Austria.
21 Q. And where was Captain Nijaz Halilovic when you did this? Was he
22 in Sanski Most?
23 A. No, he wasn't in Sanski Most. He was in the Manjaca camp.
24 Q. I think that you mentioned, or perhaps this was in the interview
25 with the Prosecution. You practically came to Manjaca accompanied by a
1 military judge, and that's how you did it?
2 A. Yes, I was accompanied by Judge Mirko Adamovic when I went to
3 Manjaca, and I had a decision to release this person, after which I took
4 over custody.
5 Q. And this does not seem to be the only example of you intervening
6 in this humanitarian way. I think that I read somewhere that you
7 personally, or not you personally, but you had sent some soldiers of
8 yours to release some Muslims pursuant to a request by their parents; is
9 that correct?
10 A. There were four Muslims from Krupa who were detained after the
11 actions in Krupa. They were detained in the school. I was asked by this
12 man called Fajdo Kurbegovic with whom I had dealt with before from
13 Kamengrad. He said that there was the mother and two sons in there, that
14 they were of a Yugoslav orientation, they were not extremists, so I was
15 asked if I could make sure that those people went and -- to stay with
16 their mother. So I took the two of them and two others who had
17 guaranteed that they were of the Yugoslav orientation. I took all of
18 them to Kamengrad, and I handed them over to Fajdo Kurbegovic.
19 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Pantelic.
20 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE HARHOFF: This is all very interesting and noble of the
22 witness having saved lives of Muslims during the conflict, but I want to
23 be sure that we spend the time in addressing issues that are directly
24 relevant to your client's case, so please help me out in explaining to me
25 the relevance of these incidents, as much as I find them interesting and,
1 as I said, very noble of the witness.
2 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I absolutely agree with you, and I'm
3 sharing your opinion that these are very noble examples and actions of
4 Comrade Colonel. And I'm now leaving this topic. It will be just a part
5 of an overall line of my cross-examination, and I will be more than happy
6 to give you a more precise answer after the cross-examination or about
7 the end of cross-examination, and I'm very mindful of the directives.
8 Thank you so much. Just --
9 MS. KORNER: If it helps, I think it's extremely relevant, not
10 perhaps for the reasons that Mr. Pantelic is putting forward.
11 MR. PANTELIC: I don't want to say why is now, because you can
12 understand. Thank you.
13 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, sir, I'm going to put a couple of
14 questions to you now about the commander of the paramilitary formation
15 with the name SOS about a certain Njunja. Yesterday while providing
16 answers to questions by the Prosecutor, you mentioned this Njunja; is
17 this correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. When we spoke in Belgrade, you and I, in the presence of OTP
20 representatives, you said that this Njunja was someone who was both
21 feared by the police and the military as well as the civilians in
22 Sanski Most, Njunja and his men; is that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. He had a, let's say, sizeable group of seasoned fighters under
25 his command from various fronts; is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. He also had serious weaponry, including three-barrelled guns; is
3 that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. This was a three-barrelled anti-aircraft gun that he had seized
6 or acquired in some other way from the military depot in Bihac; is this
8 A. At Grabez.
9 Q. All right. Grabez is close to Bihac; is that correct?
10 A. Yes, near Bihac and probably this is where he obtained it from.
11 Q. You as the commander of the brigade in the area of responsibility
12 of your brigade wanted to introduce or impose a certain degree of
13 discipline, so for those purposes, you placed him under the command of
14 your brigade and you managed to control him, like you told me in
15 Belgrade, to an extent of 50 per cent. You managed to impose 50 per cent
16 of control over him and his men.
17 A. Yes, and I kind of calmed down the activities of that unit to a
18 degree of 50 per cent, making them respect the system of command and
19 discipline and so on.
20 Q. When you said you managed to calm down their activities, this
21 referred to stopping their behaving inappropriately, their abuses in
22 committing violations?
23 A. They were the cause of fear among the population. They boasted
24 that they were some sort of powerful group, and then to a certain degree,
25 I managed to reduce this activity of theirs.
1 Q. But there is that remaining 50 per cent. You said that you had
2 brought them under control to an extent of 50 per cent. What about the
3 other 50 per cent? Can you tell the Trial Chamber about that.
4 A. It was difficult. I was not able to control them completely
5 because they always evaded control.
6 Q. Did they want to leave the unit, just like the most of us did
7 when we were in the army, we wanted to go off and have a beer or two or
8 have fun with girls and things like that? Or did they commit more
9 serious thing, did they commit robberies, rapes, any other kinds of
10 crimes? What specifically did you mean?
11 A. I don't have any specific information about the crimes they
12 committed. I don't have that information at my disposal. If they did
13 commit something somewhere, they did it so skillfully that it was not
14 possible to blame them for it. For example, when they went to the front
15 within a battalion, two or three days later they would come back, then
16 they would go again when they felt like it, and that's how they behaved.
17 Q. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber where was that unit that
18 was under some type of your control? Where did they go to the front? To
19 which sectors of the front?
20 A. They went in the action when they were breaking through to the
21 corridor. Then they went to Gradacac, Bosanski Brod. More or less it
22 was those sectors of the front that they went to.
23 Q. And members of SOS, did they take part in actions in Mahala?
24 A. I didn't engage them there because at that time they were not
25 subordinated to me, so I don't really have information about that. But
1 most probably they did.
2 Q. Did they take part in the operations in Hrustovo?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did they take part in the actions in Golaja against the
5 Green Berets?
6 A. No, no.
7 Q. Well, now we are going to move to another topic, and this is this
8 relationship with the police where your colleague Vrucinic was the head.
9 In Belgrade you confirmed to me that you never met or saw my client
10 Mr. Stojan Zupljanin; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You also told me that in certain situations when needed for
13 purposes of the service, that the military police from the 1st Krajina
14 Corps and the security organs would come to Sanski Most to carry out
15 certain investigations in cooperation with your security assistant; is
16 that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Do you remember the circumstances, when would they come, what was
19 the subject of their investigation?
20 A. Well, I couldn't really tell you specifically, but when the Serbs
21 organised the attack on Sanski Most, they found themselves in the hotel
22 in Sanski Most, a platoon of that military police from Banja Luka, and
23 they helped us to pull out the MUP across the Sana without any losses.
24 Q. I think that you spoke about issuing an order that some parts of
25 your brigade go to some combat assignments in Kljuc; is that correct?
1 A. Yes. Not combat assignments, but they should provide security
2 and prevent conflicts during the take-over of power in Kljuc by the
4 Q. And on that occasion, I must say, when you were explaining that
5 to me in Belgrade, it was my impression that this was -- that you as a
6 brave and capable commander -- perhaps you can tell the Trial Chamber
7 about that episode when the Serbian soldiers fired into the air in front
8 of the building where you were sitting with Colonel Galic and other
9 military officials at the time. How did you deal with the situation?
10 How did you react?
11 A. Because I had been carrying out command duties all my life and
12 had been in command of the army. I had -- or in command of soldiers, I
13 had more experience than the people who were with me, and when I was
14 attending this meeting, Colonel Galic, who was the commander of that
15 division, was also there. One battalion was supposed to go to the front,
16 they were in vehicles, and they were expected to leave shortly, but then
17 mass firing broke out so that we were unable to go on with the meeting.
18 The president of the municipality asked Colonel Galic, since he
19 was the person that was most responsible to go outside and to stop this
20 firing. He said that he wasn't crazy to go outside and get killed. Then
21 he addressed the brigade commander, and he also said no one can stop
22 these men.
23 I went out and I toured the column of parked military vehicles.
24 I introduced myself to them. And I calmly asked them not to fire and
25 they stopped firing.
1 Q. All right. I understood that. And then a part of your brigade
2 which was then stationed in Kljuc, went back to Sanski Most together with
4 A. No, no, you didn't understand me. Not then because by that time
5 -- actually, this was done before. My units were there earlier. Already
6 by the time we had had that meeting, there was already the Serbian
7 municipality of Kljuc established, and that is the meeting that I was
8 attending. At that time my unit wasn't there.
9 Q. All right. I think you told this to the Prosecution in the
10 interviews you had with them, in response to an investigator if you had
11 been informing the Superior Command about certain orders that you had
12 issued about the transfer of parts of units in that area, you said, No,
13 there was no need for that. You made decisions about that as a
14 professional soldier, about where you would transfer which part of your
15 brigade; is that correct?
16 A. I didn't report about that because there were no combat
17 activities at the time. There were no losses. And I didn't have any
18 need to do that because I didn't want to seem to be boasting with any
19 kind of results or my achievements. And I mainly had the attitude that
20 this was something normal, that was part of my duties, and it was not
21 necessary to report on it particularly.
22 Q. And did you transfer your brigade or parts of your brigade to
23 specific parts of the front pursuant to some evaluations of yours without
24 reporting to the Superior Command?
25 A. No, not bigger units, perhaps smaller units up to the strength of
1 a platoon. I would send them to help others. That's what I did. As for
2 a battalion that I had sent to the area between Bosanska Krupa and Bihac,
3 it's a wood called Alibegovica Kosa where the Green Berets used to set up
4 ambushes frequently there to fighters of the Petrovac Brigade, nobody
5 dared enter those woods. So I asked the corps commander to allow me and
6 a battalion of mine to go to that area so that we could secure that area
7 between the Krupa and Petrovac Brigade. This was done at the time and
8 stayed in force right until Oluja, that part of the forest.
9 Q. We've talked before, and I've also studied it in your previous
10 statements, you claim that your relationship with municipal authorities
11 was not really a friendly one.
12 A. No, it was not friendly because they were trying to place me
13 under their command. And there were many of their own units, some sort
14 of municipal army, I was informed of that. And I did not accept even to
15 be a member of their Crisis Staff as they had wanted me to. They wanted
16 me to be a member of the Crisis Staff, and in that way get command over
17 me and my brigade. But I did not accept that, and I did not accept any
18 interference in my command by politicians.
19 Q. So let us summarise. You say that you planned and carried out
20 all your military operations and never allowed anyone to interfere in
21 your professional job?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. On the territory of the Sanski Most municipality, there was a
24 unit of Territorial Defence; correct?
25 A. Yes, there were two TO battalions.
1 Q. How were these two battalions armed? What did they have?
2 A. The usual weaponry the Territorial Defence used to have, light
3 weaponry. They had a limited number of 82 and 60 millimetre mortars and
4 the light weapons, infantry weapons.
5 Q. I understood you as saying that, as required, you sometimes
6 included these two Territorial Defence battalions in your combat
8 A. No, I did not include them as required. At a later stage, I
9 managed to agree with Rasula to have these two battalions join the
10 6th Brigade, and once they were part of the brigade, they took part in
11 all our actions, just as all the rest of the troops.
12 Q. Of course, under your command.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You said to me that losses, human losses in 1992 in your brigade
15 were 12 soldiers, although I seem to have read somewhere that it was 15.
16 But those total losses in 1992, let's agree, were between 11 and 15. We
17 are not talking about the wounded now.
18 A. Whoever wrote this was wrong. Only 11 of my men got killed in
19 combat around Hrustovo and Golaja. And there were 123 dead in all at the
20 time when I left the brigade, that's towards the end of 1992. And that
21 included combat in other theatres of war where my battalions took part,
22 so the total is 123.
23 Q. Did you have any knowledge or information that during the attack
24 on Mahala and segments of the Muslim populace were in contact with those
25 Muslim units in Golaja just before the attack on Mahala?
1 A. For awhile before this problem with Mahala occurred, there was
2 sporadic fighting across the Sana river between Sanski Most and Golaja.
3 And these skirmishes were mostly on the part of the SOS, those armed
4 units in Mahala. I had information they were linked with Golaja via
6 Q. So we can agree that armed Muslim elements in Mahala in
7 coordination with their own units in Golaja were, at that time, members
8 of the enemy force; correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. For the transcript, I'm asking you, they were members of the
11 enemy army for all practical purposes; correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation] I'm following the transcript
14 again. These computers, you know. It's fine.
15 Q. Now, the principal aim of the military operation in Mahala was to
16 disarm citizens who illegally owned weapons?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. On that occasion following the principles instilled in you as a
19 trained commander, you gave those Muslim armed citizens and others an
20 ultimatum and a dead-line of three hours to surrender their weapons,
21 failing which a military operation would ensue?
22 A. No, you got me wrong. I gave three hours to the populace that
23 all those who don't want to fight surrender their weapons and leave
24 across a plateau called Pijesci [phoen] where my forces would be
25 stationed and would make sure that nobody comes to any harm. So I gave
1 three hours to all those who don't want to resist our forces to leave.
2 Q. And as far as you remember, how many civilians left?
3 A. Very large numbers. And when we realised there were many people
4 in that area, we escorted them towards Dana [phoen] village and down
5 further on towards Sanski Most.
6 Q. And those who remained in Mahala were considered as members of
7 the enemy army?
8 A. Yes, because they didn't want to pull out. And if combat
9 operations followed, nobody can guarantee their safety any longer.
10 Q. Were there any civilian casualties on the Muslim side during that
12 A. I have no figures about casualties because I was taken elsewhere
13 by other duties. Whether any specific figures existed, I don't know.
14 But the civilian protection people who conducted the sanitisation in that
15 area of the terrain may have information.
16 Q. For the transcript, could you explain this term "sanitisation of
17 the terrain"?
18 A. Under JNA regulations there was a body called civilian protection
19 in every municipality. There would be one unit of civilian protection in
20 every municipality. If any combat operations occur, when they are
21 finished, they combed the terrain. If they find any wounded in the
22 battle-field, they transport them to the health centre, and they bury
24 Q. Of course after a military operation, the commander in charge is
25 the one who issues the order for sanitisation.
1 A. Well, in this case, the civilian protection was not under my
2 command, so they must have gotten their orders from the municipal
4 Q. Another military operation you mentioned was in the village of
5 Hrustovo, two of your soldiers were killed there.
6 A. Four were killed in Hrustovo. At the beginning when the unit
7 approached the village of Hrustovo, two men were killed. Then the
8 commander pulled the unit back and organised an attack on Hrustovo, but
9 still, he gave them two hours.
10 First of all, he found out that there were some people who were
11 armed there and then he gave two hours to women, children, and the
12 elderly, and those who don't want to fight to leave the village and go to
13 Vrhpolje. And after those two hours, the attack began. And in the
14 attack another two men were killed. So a total of four died at Hrustovo.
15 Q. It seems around 30 civilians including small children and one
16 infant were killed in a garage in Hrustovo. Do you know about that?
17 A. No. That information never reached me, but if it had happened
18 then at Hrustovo, the battalion commander certainly would have informed
19 me if it had happened that day.
20 Now, whether something like that happened later, after the unit
21 withdrew, I cannot say.
22 Q. The Prosecutor also asked you for a comment on the forensic
23 report that the victims of that incident were killed with automatic
25 A. My unit was not informed of that. My assistant commanders were
1 not informed of that. I did not know about it so I cannot provide a
3 Q. Now, after that -- after that operation when some inhabitants of
4 that village, young women or girls seemed to have been transporting
5 bodies to bury them, it seems they were targeted by mortar fire. Who
6 fired from the mortars?
7 A. Well, my units were not there, so my units could not have fired
8 mortars on that area. Then I suppose, because I was not an eye-witness,
9 I suppose that the Muslims in Golaja might have fired by mistake at
10 people moving across that area because only they from Golaja had enough
11 mortar range.
12 MS. KORNER: Could I ask for the page number in the interview
13 that you are putting to him? And is it the first or the second?
14 MR. PANTELIC: It's the second one. It's interview from March
15 this year.
16 MS. KORNER: Page?
17 MR. PANTELIC: Page ...
18 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Pantelic, it's time for the break so maybe
19 you can look for the page number and then give it to us as soon as we
20 resume in 20 minutes.
21 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, yes, thank you, Your Honour.
22 --- Recess taken at 12.02 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 12.27 p.m.
24 MR. PANTELIC: During the break -- can I proceed, Your Honour?
25 JUDGE HALL: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
1 MR. PANTELIC: During the break, I checked the statement which
2 was gave by this witness, it's a page 45 of an interview of 31st of March
3 this year. And OTP investigator, Mr. Grady put to the witness, this is
4 the end of that page, put -- they are speaking about the events in
5 Hrustovo, and then Mr. Grady said to Colonel Basara, I will quote:
6 "No, no, mortars. So they couldn't bury the bodies in the Muslim
7 fashion. Colonel, we've exhumed all the bodies. They were all shot to
8 death by automatic rifles, and there is a witness to this crime" --
9 sorry, to "the crime." "And your forces -- your forces, the 6th Sana
10 Brigade launched that attack on Hrustovo after two Serb soldiers were
11 killed." And then Colonel Basara is explaining, you know, stuff.
12 So this is the particular portion which I made reference. Thank
13 you. In relation to the armaments, the use of particular type of gun.
14 Thank you.
15 Q. [Interpretation] Comrade Colonel, in Belgrade, you mentioned to
16 me that in 1992, you had lots of suspicions about your Chief of Staff
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. When your memory was fresher, because now it's 17 years after the
20 event and you gave your interview to the Prosecution in 2002, when
21 talking about the situation around the mosque, you said the Chief of
22 Staff ordered the destruction of the mosque to the chief of engineering,
23 you said it was Brajic.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Then you intervened, you said it was not all right, and you said
1 you used the ruse. How did you get that information? Very wisely,
2 cunningly. You shook hands with him and said, Good job, well done. And
3 he chuckled and he said, Ha, I didn't even need much explosive. Do you
4 remember saying that to the Prosecution?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Did you have indicia that Brajic was involved in other such
7 operations? Because the use of explosives needs some training.
8 A. No, I had no indications of his involvement. But the way he
9 acted in field operations, in taverns, in bars, I had an inkling who he
10 is fraternising with, I knew he was slandering me as a commander, and I
11 concluded that he -- his intention was to disqualify me as a commander so
12 as to take over command himself.
13 Q. Let's go back to this incident in Hrustovo when the Prosecutor,
14 in fact the investigator, Mr. Grady, asked you in March this year whether
15 the police was involved in the attack in Hrustovo, you said no.
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. Colonel, let's go briefly through a few documents. The first one
18 I'd like you to see.
19 MR. PANTELIC: The first one was put recently in e-court the
20 reference is 2D07-0045. And for the benefit of our colleagues in
21 Belgrade ICTY office, this document is mentioned in our mail under the
22 title "Additional Document for Use with Witness ST-203."
23 Q. [Interpretation] I believe this will be shown to you now. The
24 thing is that the command of the 1st Krajina Corps gave an order,
25 document dated 23rd June 1992. Okay.
1 Do you see this document, Colonel?
2 A. Yes, I do.
3 Q. I'd like to know about this part here. In the first paragraph
4 item 1. It's an instruction saying that retaliatory action against the
5 innocent and helpless Serbian population must be prevented. And further
6 down it says that some cases had already happened and, therefore,
7 measures of maximum efficiency must be taken to put an end to this and
8 prevent further such happenings.
9 Now, on the second page of this document -- do you have two
11 MR. PANTELIC: Can we have the other page of the same document,
12 please. In e-court it's 01029826. The second page of this document.
13 Madam Registrar, can we -- okay.
14 Q. [Interpretation] Just say to whom this was sent. This is, by the
15 way, a Prosecution document because we, in the Defence, have nothing.
16 They have grabbed everything, and we can only use their documents. You
17 see this is this 9th Partisan Division. Have you found it?
18 A. Yes, yes.
19 Q. Now, what I want to ask you is this: First, do you remember such
20 instructions handed down from the Superior Command? I see that you
21 carried it out in the field as a conscientious soldier. Do you have
22 knowledge of this order?
23 A. Well, concerning this specific one, I can't say that I'm very
24 familiar with it because it was a long time ago. But what is written in
25 this order was frequently imparted to us at all meetings in the corps
1 command. We were always told that we must take measures to this end to
2 prevent torchings, violence, looting, and we did what we could, to the
3 extent of our capacity.
4 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, could we have exhibit number for this
5 document, please. If there is no objections from Prosecution side.
6 JUDGE HALL: Has it been exhibited previously?
7 JUDGE HARHOFF: That's fine, Mr. Pantelic. But I can't see it on
8 the screen. Do you have a date and a providence?
9 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, it's the first page, Your Honour. I would
10 kindly ask Madam Registrar to show us the first page of this document,
11 where it's 1st Krajina Corps command, 23rd of June, 1992.
12 THE REGISTRAR: It will become Exhibit 2D15, Your Honours.
13 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. You have a binder there, Colonel, given to you by the
15 Prosecution. Under tab 29 is your order of the 1st of June, 1992.
16 MR. PANTELIC: This is ERN number 0069834 and 35. This is the
17 order of Colonel Basara dated 1st of June, 1992.
18 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Pantelic, can I also remind you that I think
19 you have about 20 minutes left.
20 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour, but, please, I kindly ask not
21 to --
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. We can't hear
23 Mr. Pantelic.
24 MR. PANTELIC: I kindly ask for understanding if we have these
25 technical problems, that it will not be count, please.
1 Okay. Thank you so much. So now we have B/C/S version on the
2 left side.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel Basara, do you have there in Belgrade
4 this order you issued on the 1st of June? Do you have it in front of
5 you? Is that all right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. So you confirm then that in the top left corner, the date is 1st
8 of June, 1992, the command of the 6th Partisan Brigade, Donji Tramosnja
9 village, and the signature is yours. You confirm the authenticity of
10 this document and your signature?
11 A. Yes, I do.
12 Q. All right. The point of this document is what had been suggested
13 by the Superior Command, and you now convey this to your units briefly,
14 that it's necessary to arrest and remove all troops who do not comply
15 with regulations. Second, that errors allowed previously in the
16 treatment of prisoners must not be repeated. Three, that no crimes must
17 be committed against women, children, and the elderly. Four, that a
18 military court, a marshal court be created at the level of the brigade.
19 And five, that paramilitaries and other irregulars be prevented from
20 entering the area of the brigade because they -- their purpose is
21 looting. Do you remember this order?
22 A. Yes. This order was written actually in order to be read out to
23 the troops to warn them once again that some omissions that had been
24 allowed before must not be repeated. All this was done, in fact, save
25 for the fact that the corps command did not allow me to set up a
1 marshal court because no state of war had been declared, but still the
2 troops thought that it had, and this helped improve discipline in the
4 Q. So from the 1st of June onwards, you managed to put this under
6 A. I don't think there were any crimes on that territory after this
7 date. Everything that happened happened before.
8 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, could we have a number for this
9 exhibit, please.
10 MS. KORNER: Your Honour if it helps, it's on our 65 ter list as
11 well, although I didn't use it, but, I mean, you may as well -- you know,
12 the Defence can use it as a number.
13 JUDGE HALL: Admitted and marked.
14 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 2D16, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Pantelic, excuse me for interrupting, but I
16 thought you were saying that the previous document, the previous document
17 was prior to this one, but this one is prior to the order of the high
19 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, my explanation to witness actually was that
20 knowing that he was acting in accordance with the principles of law, he,
21 actually, before the particular order, which came from 1st Krajina Corps,
22 he already on the field in his zone of responsibility acted fully in
23 accordance -- in fact I would say that Colonel Basara was a kind of -- he
24 was -- he predicted what will come because he is a professional,
25 highly-educated officer, so, yeah.
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
2 MR. PANTELIC: Yeah, you are welcome.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Sorry, excuse me. I'd like to ask you about a
4 few things. Would you agree with me that on the territory of Sanski Most
5 municipality your brigade followed -- following orders from the
6 Superior Command carried out actions of disarmament and seizure of
7 illegally-owned weapons regardless of ethnicity?
8 A. Yes, regardless of ethnicity. Both Serbs who had weapons and
9 illegal possessions and others were brought in and taken into custody and
10 whenever we had information that there were illegally-owned weapons, we
11 acted upon that information and such weapons were seized.
12 Q. I studied a bit some of your communications and dispatches, and I
13 talked to your colleagues from the area, and maybe you will confirm what
14 I say now. In this period, we are talking about early June, the process
15 of disarming people. Is it the case that in Lusci Palanka, Dana, the
16 left bank, Dabar, Koprivna, and Ostra Luka in the territory of Sanski
17 Most were all subject to this disarmament procedure?
18 A. This disarmament action was not conducted as a consistent
19 operation, but whenever we had information that somebody had weapons in
20 illegal possession, that person was brought into the brigade. Those
21 weapons were either seized from the person or the person joined the
22 brigade if they so wished.
23 Q. Just answer briefly yes or no. Did these activities take place
24 in the region of Budimlic Japra, Lusci Palanka, Sanski Most, left bank,
25 and Koprivna; yes or no?
1 A. In Budimlic, no; and in all the other places, yes.
2 Q. Thank you. You are an educated officer, please tell me this,
3 were any combat activities conducted using the main force along the axis
4 of Skucani Vakuf, Kamengradska Dolina, Sanski Most, Vrhpolje? Can you
5 confirm that?
6 A. There was no combat there, no combat activities were carried out
8 Q. Were there any artillery preparations against Mahala carried out?
9 A. No, no artillery preparation was done. Only when it was
10 discovered that there was mortar fire from the Mahala broader area,
11 mortar fire was opened and support given to units that were moving
12 towards the centre of Mahala.
13 Q. So you agree that there was artillery fire on Mahala; is that
15 A. Yes, there was. Once it was discovered that they also were
16 firing from mortars because at the time one of my officers was wounded
17 from a mortar shell that was fired precisely from that area.
18 Q. And now can you tell me whether the units were deployed in Dabar,
19 Lusci Palanka, Budimlic Japra, Koprivna, Ostra Luka, and Usorci? Do you
20 agree with me?
21 A. I don't know why you are including Budimlic Japra. We had
22 nothing in Budimlic Japra.
23 Q. And the rest?
24 A. The forces were deployed in these other places, but actually
25 people were at their homes there. The units were not formed in the sense
1 that people were stationed there. These were all people who were
2 actually staying in their homes, and then when the battalion would be
3 mobilised, then they would assemble in Dabar or Lusci Palanka or other
5 Q. All right. I understand. Can you please look at document 28
6 that is in your binder. First we were looking at document 29, now we are
7 going to look at 28.
8 MR. PANTELIC: Yeah, just for the record, this is -- I think it's
9 00507489. This is ERN number. And something was mentioned there, maybe
10 it's 65 ter list, I don't know. It's 1682.
11 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, do you have this document in front of
13 A. Yes, it was signed by Colonel Anicic.
14 Q. Yes, we talked about that this morning. Let us just see whether
15 we have that this morning.
16 MR. PANTELIC: We are just looking for this document.
17 Q. [Interpretation] While we are waiting for the document, I would
18 just like to ask you a couple of things. Look at the first page of this
19 order. As we can see this was a combat assignment involving disarming
21 A. Colonel Anicic named it like that.
22 Q. Wait, wait, please, wait, please. Colonel, to speed things up,
23 we don't have much time. We've heard your explanation. All I'm asking
24 you now is whether it says here, and you can answer with a yes or a no,
25 that it's a combat action of disarming in Sanski Most?
1 A. Yes, that's what it says.
2 Q. We'll continue. In paragraph 1, does it state that the
3 Green Berets joined the population from some neighbourhoods in the
4 municipality of Sanski Most? Does it say that or not?
5 A. I did not have that information at hand. No one provided it to me.
6 Q. Colonel, Colonel, Colonel, please excuse me just one moment. It
7 wasn't a state of war, you did not have that available, you don't know
8 what was going on. We've already heard that during your testimony.
9 Please, can you answer with a yes or no. I completely understand you.
10 In item 1, I'm asking you, does it state that according to certain
11 information forces of the Green Berets linked up, and this is something
12 that you confirmed to me today, Golaja and Mahala again, does it state
13 that in Article 1 or not?
14 A. In the town itself --
15 Q. No, no, no, I'm interrupting you. Does it state that in
16 Article 1, please? Does it say that or not? Just tell me that.
17 A. Partially, yes.
18 Q. Thank you. And below that does it say that --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please slow down.
20 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Pantelic, slow down.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not have that information
22 available, and I cannot really answer that.
23 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Does it state in paragraph 3 on page 2 that a combat action along
25 the Skucani Vakuf, Kamengradska Dolina, Sanski Most, Vrhpolje was
1 underway? Does it say that there?
2 A. Yes, but it wasn't actually like that, the way it is stated here,
3 because the 6th Brigade did not carry out any activities along that axis.
4 Q. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Let us continue,
5 please. Just answer with a yes or no. Thank you, thank you, let us
6 continue. In paragraph 4 Anicic decides to carry out artillery preparations
7 and in co-ordination with units… to disarm the settlements of Mahala, Muhici
8 and so on. Is that what paragraph 4 says, yes or no, please?
9 A. That is what paragraph 4 says; it is just that I do not know what…
10 Q. Thank you, thank you.
11 A. … remit he had.
12 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, thank you, the court
13 will establish that.
14 [In English] So I like to tender this document because he
15 confirmed in my previous line of questioning all these particular
16 details, and this document should be tendered in spite of his efforts to
17 avoid authenticity and stuff like that.
18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter's note that the counsel's last question
19 and witness's answer had not been interpreted because they were too fast.
20 JUDGE HALL: I understand that it's already a Prosecution
21 exhibit, Mr. Pantelic.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you so much. That was my mistake then in
23 my -- yeah, could we just have a number of this exhibit, please, from
24 Madam Registrar.
25 THE REGISTRAR: It was Exhibit P60.7.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you so much.
2 Q. [Interpretation] Now, my good Colonel, let us go to document
3 number 19 in this book of yours that you have in front of you.
4 MR. PANTELIC: ERN number is 00946534, and this is in e-court
6 Q. [Interpretation] Do you have the order of the 6th Partisan
7 Brigade in front of you, Comrade Colonel?
8 A. Yes, dated the 18th of June.
9 Q. We are going fast and efficiently, just as we have up to date.
10 Thus, was this order sent to the command of the 11th Battalion, yes or
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And does it state in the preamble of the order that the extremist
14 Muslim population was getting ready for fighting against the Serbian
15 people, yes or no?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Does it go on to say that secret groups of extremists were
18 pulling back into the woods and making dugouts there, yes or no?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Does not it state in paragraph 1 of the order that the 6th
21 Partisan Brigade will deploy along the line of Milosevici village,
22 Grujici village, Topici village, Manjanovici [phoen] village, Kantari,
23 Koprivna, and so on and so forth?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Does it state that armed enemy groups would be destroyed with
1 surprise or sudden fire?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Does it not state that the civilian population would be assembled
4 and transported to other locations?
5 A. Yes, that they would be taken out of the combat zone.
6 Q. Does it not say that the military police would prevent all
7 robberies and will organise monitoring of movements of personnel and
8 vehicles, does it state that?
9 A. Yes, in the area where we were.
10 Q. Does it state in paragraph three that robbed articles and
11 vehicles will be seized by the military police and taken to
12 Lusci Palanka; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. That's where the command of your brigade was, wasn't it?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And what happened to those vehicles and property when they were
17 transferred to your brigade? What was the procedure? What did you do
18 after that?
19 A. Well, look, there was an attack organised from Prijedor to
20 Kurjevo [phoen] and that area of the woods because it was discovered that
21 there were some large extremist groups of Muslims, and we encircled the
22 direction towards Sanski Most to prevent them from transferring to Sanski
23 Most. We did not go in --
24 Q. Thank you, thank you very much. Thank you. And on the second
25 page of this document, there is a stamp of the military post of your
1 brigade and your signature. You confirm that, do you?
2 A. Yes, I do.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Would Madam Registrar be so kind, and Your Honour,
4 with your permission, could we have exhibit number for this document.
5 JUDGE HARHOFF: Yes.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 2D17, Your Honours.
7 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Colonel, in this case -- first of all, do you know Mirzet Karabeg
9 from Sanski Most?
10 A. Yes, yes.
11 Q. In your opinion he is a straightforward person, capable of
12 speaking the truth, he is not an evasive kind of man?
13 A. Well, I really didn't know him that well. When I came to that
14 area, he seemed quite temperate. I didn't have the chance to really see
15 anything out of the ordinary with him, that he was an extremist or
16 anything like that.
17 Q. Do you know when you were in Sanski Most in 1992 you told us
18 about victims in your unit, but do you have any information about
19 civilian casualties among the Serb population in that zone? Do you have
20 any information?
21 A. There were no casualties in Serb villages from Muslims except in
22 Fajtovci, where one Mirko Dosenovic had his throat cut by members of an
23 extremist Muslim group that was going towards Bihac and they had asked
24 them to take them across which he refused, so they slit his throat. I am
25 not aware of any other victims while I was there, casualties.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honours, I will finish. It's a matter of
2 seconds. But, please, I have to locate another important document. I
3 appreciate your understanding. Thank you.
4 Q. [Interpretation] This is a document. Unfortunately for technical
5 reasons I did not manage to organise to have it transferred to Belgrade,
6 but I'm going to read so you can see what it's about. I think that you
7 talked about it a little bit. This is ERN number [in English] 07437 and
9 [Interpretation] This is your -- well, actually it has the format
10 of an order, just like the previous document. And it refers to the
11 situation in the territory of the Kljuc municipality. And we're talking
12 about --
13 MS. KORNER: I'm sorry, it must be a longer ERN number than that,
14 Mr. Pantelic. Can you just try and give us the full one.
15 MR. PANTELIC: 00507437 and 38.
16 MS. KORNER: Thank you.
17 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Colonel, this is an order to the command of the 10th Brigade,
19 actually, the 10th Battalion, the 5th and the 10th Battalion where you
20 say, I order the forces of 80 to 100 men be sent to the region of the
21 Serbian municipality of Kljuc for the purposes of preventing conflicts.
22 Then you say that all the deployed men should have provisions secured for
23 the days of the 7th and 8th of May. And you sent 30 people from the
24 3rd Brigade, then you deployed a Special Police platoon, armoured
25 vehicles, and so on and so forth, so all of that is a part of that order.
1 I know that you don't have that in front of you right now, but do you
2 recall more or less issuing such an order at one point in early May?
3 A. I already spoke about the take-over of power in the municipality
4 of Kljuc. This was when that happened, and so I drafted this order and
5 engaged these units which prevented any conflicts.
6 Q. Okay. Well, let us confirm, then, that you know about this
7 order, and you can see --
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Thank you. It also refers to a platoon for special action. What
10 sort of a platoon is that as part of your brigade?
11 A. That was a platoon intended for intervention in the front if the
12 lines were broken through. This was a crack platoon which would be
13 closing the breaches and improving the situation at specific positions.
14 These were selected seasoned fighters.
15 Q. And was this Njunja a commander there and the rest of his men?
16 A. No, it wasn't Njunja. At the beginning the commander was
17 Sveto Mrdjan, and his nickname was Crni Djordje, Black George.
18 Q. Well, you reminded me excellently, dear Colonel, at the end. Do
19 you remember on Sunday when we were talking about the Green Berets about
20 this Golaja?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. So what was the name, how did the Muslims, the members of that
23 unit refer to themselves? What was the name of that unit?
24 A. The Muslims that I had taken over, 146 of them into Bihac, this
25 Captain Avdic had formed a unit there and armed it, and they were
1 seasoned, fierce fighters, but they had called themselves the Flies of
3 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Colonel, I have
4 completed my cross-examination. Thank you for your cooperation and your
5 attention, and thank you for your answers which have been recorded in the
6 transcript here and for your interpretations of the questions. Thank you
7 very much, and I wish you a lot of luck. I just have one more question.
8 I would like it to be entered into the transcript.
9 Q. You had been interviewed in the -- with the status of a suspect
10 in your previous interviews with the Prosecution.
11 A. Yes, on two occasions.
12 Q. And you said that you had some suspicions that, God forbid,
13 perhaps you would be charged before this Sarajevo court, did you tell me
14 something to that effect?
15 A. They have not withdrawn the charges from Sarajevo yet. They have
16 only amended them. I'm not being tried for ethnic cleansing, genocide,
17 and war crimes anymore, but mostly for mosques and some materiel goods.
18 Q. And it was my impression when I was reading the interview that
19 you provided to the OTP that you were quite frightened, and in those
20 statements you seemed -- well, you often used these helping words like
21 this, I don't know, and you were stumbling a bit. You did seem quite
22 concerned in these years when the Prosecution had rounded you up and
23 pressed you. Did you have the impression that that was your state of
25 A. Well, yes, but it also seems to me that there were a lot of
1 mistakes in the translation and interpretation, so I was using those
2 bywords or helping words. I was concerned because knowing what I did,
3 this is something that I was not actually expecting.
4 Q. I understand. Nobody finds it easy to face them. I mean, it's
5 not easy for us, we are waging a fierce battle here. But you had seemed
6 quite confused and fearful during that interview in 2002; is that
8 Could you please repeat your answer, it has not been recorded in
9 the transcript.
10 A. During the first interview, I did feel frightened, and it wasn't,
11 I wasn't really relaxed, and it wasn't all the same to me.
12 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much once again,
13 and I wish you the best of luck. Good-bye.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good-bye.
15 JUDGE HALL: Re-examination, Ms. Korner?
16 MS. KORNER: Yes, Your Honour.
17 Re-examination by Ms. Korner:
18 Q. Colonel, did I understand you to say you've been indicted by the
19 state court in Sarajevo?
20 A. I had the impression that they had actually issued an indictment
21 in The Hague against me and that I was called for my first interview on
22 that basis. However, later when it turned out that The Hague Prosecutors
23 did not issue charges against me, since the time I gave my first
24 interview, I received information that there was an indictment for
25 mosques and for some material property and so on and so forth. However,
1 I didn't see that indictment or those charges, and I don't know much
2 about it. This is just unconfirmed information.
3 Q. All right. So when you said they dropped some of the charges,
4 you haven't seen anything, you are just getting information? Can you
5 just answer that yes or no as well, please.
6 A. From unofficial organs, I received this information.
7 Q. And, of course, there's no extradition treaty between Serbia and
8 Bosnia, is there?
9 A. No, there isn't, but because of that information I cannot go to
10 my birth place because I'm still afraid that I would be arrested.
11 Q. Right. Well, I want to ask you just a couple of things about --
12 arising from the questions you were asked. First of all, you've been
13 shown a number of documents, and you've been referred to things that
14 you've said about what you call the Green Berets and Muslim extremists.
15 And in particular, you talked about a training centre in Golaja. Do you
16 remember that?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And your excuse for launching attacks on the various places that
19 have been discussed is that there were -- or you had information that
20 there were 400 or more in some places armed, what you call, Green Berets?
21 A. All I said was that there were about 400 in Golaja, and I
22 received this information, and that after the action was completed, we
23 established that there was a centre there, that there were facilities
24 where they were staying in where they were.
25 Q. Yes. And the last document that you were shown by Mr. Pantelic
1 referred to, again, Muslim extremists and Green Berets in large numbers -
2 and I'm not going to ask to you explain what the difference between a
3 Muslim extremist and the Green Beret is - but do I also understand you to
4 say that in the whole year 1992 only 123 men in the whole of your brigade
5 were killed?
6 A. Yes. Yes.
7 Q. So these large numbers of allegedly armed Muslim forces in the
8 whole of that year only managed to kill 123 of your men; is that what we
9 are to understand? And indeed some of those men, we understand, were not
10 actually killed in action. Is that right, Colonel?
11 A. It doesn't refer to actions of the Green Beret and extremists in
12 the Sanski Most area. These are brigade losses in other fronts, in
13 Gradacac, the breaking through of the corridor, and so on and so forth.
14 These are total brigade losses when I was in command.
15 Q. Well, thank you very much, Colonel, that's very helpful. So it's
16 not just losses incurred because of actions in Sanski Most, but
17 everywhere else that the brigade was engaged in 1992; is that right?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. Thank you. Next I want to ask you about the document that you
20 issued and you were shown on the 1st of June. I've forgotten what the
21 exhibit number is - it's D16, is it? Thank you.
22 Defence tab 29. Can you turn to into document again, please,
24 You've got it there, have you?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Under item 1:
2 "All soldiers prone to burning down and destroying buildings from
3 which the enemy is not opening fire at the unit must be discharged."
4 Today you told us, rather more than yesterday, that you had, as
5 it were, persuaded Major Brajic to admit to destroying the mosque in
6 Mahala. He made no bones about it, is what you told us today, he said he
7 didn't need all the explosive. Was he discharged?
8 A. I forced General Talic when I was leaving to remove Major Brajic
9 from Sanski Most and to send him to the training centre at Manjaca.
10 Q. I'll repeat the question. "All soldiers prone to burning down
11 and destroying buildings from which the enemy is not opening fire at the
12 unit must be discharged." Why didn't you discharge Major Brajic there
13 and then as a result of your own order?
14 A. I couldn't do that because he was an active officer. State of
15 war was not proclaimed, and I had to request from my Superior Command to
16 do that. However, the explanation I got was that he was a good senior
17 officer, and that he should be kept.
18 Q. Sorry, do you mean you did make the request to General Talic,
19 that Major Brajic who had confessed to blowing up a mosque should be
20 removed? And I mean in June, not in December.
21 A. I didn't only refer to the mosque issue, but also his work and
22 his conduct as my first assistant, and I had insisted a few times in
23 conversations with General Talic, that he be removed from the brigade.
24 Q. Right. Did you say to General Talic, who also incidentally
25 issued an order, didn't he, that mosques should not be destroyed or other
1 religious documents. Did you explain to General Talic that he had
2 confessed to blowing up a mosque and, therefore, should be dismissed?
3 A. I conveyed this to General Talic, and most probably in the end he
4 did accept my request to remove him from the brigade because I was afraid
5 if he did stay in the brigade.
6 Q. Right. Did you do this in June, yes or no?
7 A. Not in June, but I did it in August and September on a number of
8 occasions, asking him -- asking that he be re-assigned.
9 Q. I don't want to spend too much more time on this. But why didn't
10 you immediately when you had issued this order and Major Brajic had
11 confessed, remove him or ask General Talic in June, not wait until
13 A. I explained that this was an active-duty officer and that I, as
14 his brigade commander, could not do something like that. I couldn't have
15 him removed, and General Talic couldn't do it either. This had to be
16 done by a higher command or the personnel administration.
17 Q. All right. Let's leave that. Now, you told Mr. Pantelic a few
18 minutes ago that after this order by you was issued on the 1st of June,
19 no further crimes were committed in Sanski Most. Do you agree that's
20 what you said to Mr. Pantelic?
21 A. I said that the number had gone down and that no significant
22 crimes were committed.
23 Q. Well, that's not what you actually said, but --
24 A. This is as much as I can recall for that time.
25 Q. Right. On the 27th of June, did some army reservists enter the
1 hamlet of Kenjari? Colonel?
2 A. I'm not familiar with the date. I'm really not that good with
3 dates, so I really couldn't say.
4 Q. Do you remember an incident, I suggest, around the 27th of June,
5 where the inhabitants of Kenjari were ordered out, the men were separated
6 from the women, taken towards the hamlet of Plasevici [phoen], ordered
7 into a house, a grenade was thrown in by the soldiers and the men were
8 killed. Do you remember an incident like that?
9 A. That wasn't like that, somebody just wrote that off the top of
10 their head. The events didn't proceed in that way, I already explained
11 the case in Kenjari. The commander of the battalion Brajic, not
12 Veljko Brajic, but Brajic -- not Nedeljko, Ranko. Ranko Brajic, he was
13 the commander of the battalion, and he didn't separate the Muslim men
14 from the women. All he did was he talked in Kenjari with those men. And
15 they agreed to enter his battalion and that they be issued with weapons
16 and a uniform. He left them in that house to wait until he came back
17 from Hrustovo when the disarming of Hrustovo was complete, and then they
18 would receive weapons and uniforms and would become members of his
19 battalion, fighters in his battalion.
20 However, those who killed those people actually turned up. I
21 didn't have information about how this happened, did they throw a bomb,
22 or exactly how they died. But I did receive information that one of
23 those people managed to escape and the Prosecution does have that
24 information. Those people who did that were detained. The commander of
25 the battalion arrested those people and handed them over to the MUP in
1 Sanski Most.
2 Q. All right. Well, let's look at another incident, shall we. On
3 the 1st of August, did you order the shelling of the village of Lukavica?
4 A. Selo Lukavica was never shelled, according to what I know, by the
5 6th Brigade. I don't have such information.
6 Q. Do you remember an incident where 14 unarmed Muslim men were
7 taken from the hamlet of Alibegovica?
8 A. No, no, I don't have that information. I was never advised that
9 this was done by anyone from my brigade.
10 Q. Do you still want to say that no crimes were committed after you
11 issued that order on the 1st of June?
12 A. I could not explain to you the time-line. I can't give you the
13 time-line because it was a long time ago. I forgot the dates. You
14 probably have these dates in documents right in front of you, and I must
15 take your word for it. I must be now confused about the time.
16 Q. And finally, I want to ask you about the two incidents where you
17 removed people from Manjaca. You said --
18 MS. KORNER: And I wonder if I can just have up the LiveNote.
19 It's page 44, line 22, please.
20 Q. You explained how you went to Manjaca and had freed someone
21 called Captain Nijaz Halilovic. You took along a judge to Manjaca. Is
22 that right?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. What was Captain Halilovic in Manjaca for?
25 A. I just couldn't fathom that somebody had the idea of arresting
1 him and taking him to Manjaca because he was of the greatest help to me
2 in Sanski Most.
3 Q. Yes, my question was, what was he arrested for?
4 A. Because somebody had labelled him as an extremist, which he
6 Q. Well, what does it mean to be labelled a Muslim extremist? What
7 is the criminal offence which allows you to lock up somebody because he
8 is a Muslim extremist?
9 A. Well, the opposite side did the same to Serbs who were considered
10 as extremists, and they were removed from their communities. By the same
11 token, in this case, Mirza Kurbegovic and some others were arrested on
12 the same charges, and they were sent to Manjaca. And Halilovic, Nijaz
13 Halilovic, was sent the same way.
14 Q. Forget what the other side may or may not have done. What is the
15 offence which allowed the army or the police to take Captain Halilovic,
16 who you liked, to Manjaca?
17 A. I don't know how people arrogate to themselves such rights. I
18 thought it was unfair to the man. I tried to get him free, and I
19 succeeded. As for the others, you can only ask them what they were
20 thinking, because in my eyes, it wasn't a crime.
21 Q. And you have the ability to get a judge to sign a release order
22 for this man; is that right?
23 A. Yes, I went to Banja Luka to the military court; I talked to the
24 judge nicely. But beforehand, I had gotten files from the corps command
25 and spoken to people there to see if they have anything specific on him.
1 They said, No, we don't have anything firm. But still he was arrested
2 and brought there. And I explained when I got there how much he had
3 helped me, everything he had done, and then the military judge issued a
4 decision and the man was released.
5 Q. And you managed to do the same for four other people who were --
6 whose parents were friends of yours; is that right?
7 A. Yes, that's right.
8 Q. What was the reason for their arrest?
9 A. I don't know what the justification was for their arrest in
10 Bosanska Krupa. It happened during combat operations in Bosanska Krupa,
11 and then those able-bodied men who happened to be there were detained, in
12 certain numbers, brought to the school and kept there.
13 Q. Did you make any other attempts it to get the files of the other
14 hundreds and hundreds people who were in Manjaca who had been taken there
15 from Sanski Most to have their files examined to see whether they ought
16 to be released?
17 A. Believe me, I had no time to deal with my own affairs or take
18 care of my own family, let alone those of other people. Other bodies
19 were in charge of that. I could not interfere because by that time the
20 state of war had already been declared. I was not the absolute master on
21 that territory. Everybody did their own job. The army did its own job,
22 the MUP did theirs, and I did not want to meddle with other people's
23 affairs, just as I did not accept anyone else meddling in mine.
24 MS. KORNER: That's all I ask.
25 Questioned by the Court:
1 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you. Colonel, may I put a question to you
2 here towards the end. The question is related to your repeated
3 assertions that since a state of war had not been declared officially,
4 there were a number of things that you could not do and indeed did not
5 do. And I'm raising the question because you have resorted to this
6 explanation at a number of occasions during your testimony while you have
7 also told us that you ordered units into combat operations at several
8 occasions, and that a number of your men were killed in combat. And you
9 have also told us when you were shown the copy of the law of the people's
10 defence, Article 104, that there was indeed an imminent threat of war.
11 Now, all of this seems to me to indicate that a war had
12 effectively broken out, and that you took part in it and did order combat
13 operations. And yet you maintain that a state of war had not been
14 declared, and these two points of view seem to me to be contradictory.
15 Now, could you explain to me the reason why you have so
16 persistently maintained that there was not a state of war?
17 A. Your Honours, I would have to take some time to explain.
18 Article 104 of the Law on All People's Defence, the law that had been
19 enacted in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia when it was
20 expected that any aggression on our country would be from outside. In
21 other words, at that time nobody could imagine that one day we would be
22 waging a war of this kind with no rules at all.
23 In this war, the rules from the Law on All People's Defence did
24 not apply, so that we commanders, since no state of war had been declared
25 and no marshal laws were given to us to enable us to take more effective
1 measures, I as a brigade commander wanted to establish a marshal court
2 which had unlimited ability to sanction and punish any perpetrators of
3 crimes on the spot, and even execute them by firing squad.
4 A commander with such laws in hand, could be quite energetic and
5 put an end to all crimes, murders, and looting. However, since no state
6 of law -- war had been proclaimed, and we were at war, we commanders
7 muddled through as best we could, the best we could on the basis of our
8 experience. Whenever on our territory there was looting and crimes, we
9 were not always able to prevent it.
10 I was often asked why did I not provide security to Muslim
11 villages. I often did secure villages, but I had to second to this
12 assignment my best fighting men who would have the courage to defend
13 Muslims, because soldiers often told me, Look, I'm not going to lay down
14 my life for Muslims. However, if the state of war had been declared, he
15 would simply have to obey my orders.
16 If I had done that, half of my troops would be in jail, and we
17 would have no men to do anything on the ground. So it was very difficult
18 to secure the land and the mosques, et cetera. I did, I did provide
19 security to some mosques, but that was not enough.
20 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you. I understand your explanation.
21 Colonel, when was, finally, a state of war declared?
22 A. It was declared after Republika Srpska was bombed, and when those
23 men were tied to pillars so that NATO couldn't bomb anymore.
24 JUDGE HARHOFF: And when was that?
25 A. I don't remember the date. I think the Prosecution must have
1 that information.
2 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much, Colonel.
3 Mr. Pantelic, we are over the time now, so we have to adjourn.
4 MR. PANTELIC: Just to pick up one issue that you mentioned in
5 your examination to clarify with the witness, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE HARHOFF: Very briefly.
7 Further Cross-examination by Mr. Pantelic:
8 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Colonel, you said when Judge Harhoff asked you, you actually said
10 you had provided security to all the mosques in the area, and the record
11 says "some mosques." Now, to keep the record straight, you provided
12 security to all the mosques, but some of them were still destroyed;
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And you provided security to other places of worship such as
16 Catholic churches?
17 A. Yes, I did, but I don't think the Catholic church was destroyed
18 while I was there. I don't know about later.
19 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, no further questions.
20 JUDGE HALL: Colonel Basara, we thank you very much for your
21 assistance to the Tribunal, and you are now released as a witness. And
22 we extend best wishes for the resolution of those health issues which
23 prevented your travelling to The Hague. Thank you.
24 [The witness withdrew via videolink]
25 JUDGE HARHOFF: While the witness is being escorted --
1 [Overlapping speakers]
2 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
3 JUDGE HARHOFF: -- the office in Belgrade remind -- or announce
4 to the parties that Room 396 has been reserved for tomorrow, Wednesday,
5 the 14th of October, from 2.00 until 4.00. Unfortunately we could not
6 have the room for any time beyond 4.00. But we have the meeting room for
7 two hours from 2.00 to 4.00. So we look forward to seeing you there, and
8 the agenda for that meeting tomorrow will be the issues that have been
9 raised in relation to admission of the documents during 92 ter witnesses
10 or through 92 ter witnesses, and also an attempt to make a long term
11 planning of the next months of trial on the basis of the list of
12 witnesses that will be provided by the Prosecution, or maybe already has
13 been provided.
14 So we look forward to seeing you all in Room 396 tomorrow at
16 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Your Honour. And if you permit me, I
17 owe you a response. Thirty seconds. I owe you a response on your
18 question where certain lines of direction was during my
19 cross-examination, what is direction of certain line? Point number 1 --
20 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Pantelic, we have to take up this tomorrow
21 when we resume the hearing.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Okay, thank you. Thank you, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE HARHOFF: This meeting a adjourned.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.,
25 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 14th day of
1 October, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.