1 Thursday, 9 December, 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court].
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Case number IT-01-47-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could we have the
10 appearances for the Prosecution.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning,
12 Your Honours, counsel and everyone in and around the courtroom. Daryl
13 Mundis for the Prosecution assisted today by our intern, Jaspreet Saini,
14 and our case manager, Andres Vatter.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. And could we have
16 the appearances for the Defence counsel.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President, good
18 morning, Your Honours. On behalf of General Enver Hadzihasanovic, Edina
19 Residovic, lead counsel, Stefane Bourgon, co-counsel, and Muriel Cauvin,
20 our legal assistant.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the other Defence team.
22 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning Your Honours. On
23 behalf of Mr. Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and Nermin
24 Mulalic, our legal assistant.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber would like to
1 greet everyone present, members of the Prosecution, Defence counsel, the
2 accused, and everyone else in the courtroom. And I wouldn't want to
3 forget those who are around the courtroom as well and who are contributing
4 to the smooth running of the proceedings.
5 Today we will be continuing with the examination of a witness who
6 was testifying a couple of days ago. There was no hearing yesterday.
7 Without wasting any more time, I will ask the usher to escort the witness
8 into the courtroom.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning, General. Your
11 examination will now continue after the break that we had yesterday, which
12 allowed you to have a rest. I will now ask -- or rather, I'll now give
13 the floor to Defence counsel so that they can continue with their
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, General.
17 Mr. President, could the General be shown the series of documents
18 entitled Dusina and Miletici, so that I can continue with my examination.
19 WITNESS: DZEMAL MERDAN [Resumed]
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 Examined by Ms. Residovic [Continued]:
22 Q. [Interpretation] General, if you remember, towards the end of the
23 hearing on Tuesday, we were discussing the events that took place when
24 Colonel Blaskic informed you that it was suspected that individuals had
25 been killed in Dusina. My last question had to do with the fact that the
1 meeting on UNPROFOR premises was continued on the following day, and you
2 then said that you provided the information that you had gathered the
3 previous day. Do you remember that, General?
4 A. Good morning to everyone. Yes, I do remember.
5 Q. Could you now have a look at documents under number 31, the
6 document number is 0664, and I will ask my colleague, Mr. Bourgon, to read
7 out the first sentence in item 5 -- in item 9 so that I can ask you some
8 questions. I apologise, Mr. President, but my English is such that it
9 would be better for Mr. Bourgon to read those two sentences out.
10 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Paragraph 5 in document 0664. [In
11 English] Very detailed report on the alleged assassination of the HVO
12 delegation. His conclusion was that the HVO delegation was not travelling
13 in order to arrange prisoner exchange and that they were killed in an area
14 where fighting was going on between the HVO and BiH army. BiH forces were
15 on high alert because of the fighting during the day."
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. General, does this part of the ECMM report reflect what you were
18 just saying? You provide a report on what you had found out about the
19 previous day.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. General, in the course of that day, was an agreement on a
22 cease-fire signed?
23 A. That was on the 27th of January, 1993. That's the date when an
24 agreement on a cease-fire was signed.
25 Q. General, tell me: In the course of that day, during the break or
1 during the meeting or the break, did HVO representatives make another
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Tell me: Do you know whether this complaint was verified; if so,
5 by whom, and what were the results of the verification?
6 A. I can't remember who verified the allegations made by the HVO, nor
7 do I know what the results of this verification were. I wasn't -- I
8 didn't have the opportunity of verifying this, because I didn't have the
9 necessary links with my superior command.
10 Q. I will now ask my colleague to read out the following item: Item
11 number 9 in this ECMM report. And I will then put my question to you.
12 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Paragraph 9 in document 0664. [In
13 English]: "During the break, the negotiations were put at risk by the HVO
14 allegation of the burning and shelling of Busovaca from Fojnica. Quick
15 verification of the rumours with the UN forces in those villages proved
16 that they were totally unfounded. The HVO agreed on continuing the
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. General, if you go back to that meeting now, could you tell us
20 whether, after this complaint had been dealt with, the meeting continued,
21 and only then was the agreement signed.
22 A. I remember that there was a break that we had, that I didn't know
23 that the UN verified the HVO allegations. I know that discussions
24 continued and very soon the agreement was signed.
25 Q. General, after the agreement had been signed, was a Busovaca
1 commission ever formed, the one that you have already mentioned? And when
2 was its first meeting held?
3 A. I can't remember when the Busovaca joint commission had its first
4 meeting. I mentioned the composition of the Busovaca joint commission,
5 but I do remember that a few days later, after the agreement on the
6 cease-fire in Kiseljak had been signed, the work of the Busovaca joint
7 commission commenced.
8 Q. In addition to the information that you obtained and the
9 investigation launched in Zenica, and in addition to the fact that you
10 provided a report at the meeting, at that time, did the Croatian
11 television, the media and the HVO carry news, relay news, that had no
12 basis when you verified the allegations?
13 A. While I was staying in the territory of Busovaca, I was able to
14 follow television footage. I can't remember whether this was a local TV
15 channel or whether it was the Croatian radio/television channel, but what
16 was depicted did not reflect the information I had obtained through
17 reports while I was staying in Zenica.
18 Q. General, when looking at the documents issued by the 3rd Corps
19 with regard to the Lasva junction, we could see that a company was
20 re-subordinated to the municipal staff in order to secure that area. Tell
21 me, please: Since you have already spoken about how difficult it was to
22 establish the unit planned, tell me, how many men were there in one
24 A. Well, it depended on the kind of company, but between 100 and 120
1 Q. General, at that time, in January, in those operations in that
2 combat in Dusina, was there a member of the Supreme Command Staff who was
3 in charge, as far as you can remember?
4 A. No. I'm sure that not a single member of the Supreme Command
5 Staff was in command. These units were very small, so such a high-level
6 person wouldn't have been in command of such units and of such an
8 Q. If certain documents made such allegations, what would your
9 comment be?
10 A. Well, I can't believe that that's something that could happen in
11 actual fact.
12 Q. General, when checking up your information, the combat operations,
13 state of the army in that area, were you in some other way informed of the
14 fact that the Mujahedin had been involved in certain activities in the
15 Dusina area?
16 A. I had no such information.
17 Q. General, could you now have a look at document number 23, please.
18 It's a document from the command of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone,
19 from the HVO. And first of all, could you tell me if you know who Vehbij
20 Keric is?
21 A. I know Mr. Vehbij Keric. He was a member of the Supreme Command
22 Staff, with its headquarters in Sarajevo.
23 Q. If you have a look at the second paragraph, have a look at the
24 last sentence, or the last part of the last sentence, would it be correct
25 to say that it says that Vehbij Keric is in command of all operations, as
1 well as Enver Hadzihasanovic, and the main objective of the operations is
2 the full elimination of the HVO in the Central Bosnian Operation Zone? Is
3 this claim totally false or is this something that you were aware of at
4 the time?
5 A. This is completely false. This statement is completely false, and
6 I don't understand how something like this could be written.
7 Q. Could we please have a look at P628. It's under number 24.
8 Naturally, I'm not showing you all the other contents of the previous
9 document, but I wanted to draw your attention to some of the falsehoods
10 contained in that document. This document, under number 24, is also a
11 report from the HVO. The exhibit number is P644. In the last two
12 sentences in this document, they mention that in -- that Zvonko Rajic went
13 to negotiate, and in the course of the negotiations, our members were
14 killed, which shows what the character of the aggressor is. Afterwards,
15 Lasva and Dusina were burnt down. Nothing is known about the fate of the
16 population. If you can remember everything that you established on that
17 day and during those days, can you say whether these allegations that
18 there were some negotiations during which these people were killed, could
19 you say whether any facts confirmed the allegations contained in this
21 A. From the report, I didn't find out that there were any
22 negotiations, but the reports did show that HVO members were not brutally
23 killed, and they showed that Dusina was not set on fire.
24 Q. Let's have a look at P723 now. It's under number 27. P723. In
25 this document from the HVO, dated the 27th of January, under A, the Muslim
1 forces, in the third paragraph, again it states that these forces were
2 personally commanded by Vehbij Keric and Enver Hadzihasanovic. Do you
3 stand by what you just said, that Vehbij Keric, a member of the Supreme
4 Command Staff, has nothing to do with this, or rather, I don't want to put
5 words into your mouth, but tell me whether Vehbij Keric was there and
6 whether he personally commanded this operation.
7 A. As far as I myself know, Vehbij Keric was not in that area at the
8 time, and I stand by what I have already said. In the case of such a
9 small-scale operation, such a high-level member of the BH army wouldn't
10 have been in command.
11 Q. The first paragraph of the report, it says, and this is the third
12 line, it says that the main forces of the 3rd Corps of the Muslim forces
13 from Zenica were used, around 8.500 soldiers strong. What would you say
14 about this statement?
15 A. At the time, we didn't have such strong forces. This is a really
16 very significant force mentioned here, and at the time in Zenica we didn't
17 have such forces that were organised and ready for combat.
18 Q. General, could we now have a look at the second part of these
19 documents, under number 16 there is a document I would like to have a look
20 at. P649, dated the 25th of January, 1993. Can you see the document?
21 It's addressed to the government of the Republic of Croatia to Hrvoje
22 Sarinic, personally. It's under number 16.
23 A. The document I have is in English. I don't understand English.
24 Q. Have a look at the pages that follow. Perhaps you have the B/C/S
25 version that follows the English one.
1 A. Yes. The B/C/S version is at the end. Please put your question
2 to me.
3 Q. Could you read out the last two sentences in the second paragraph.
4 A. In the mixed village of Dusina. Is that the sentence you are
5 referring to? "In the mixed village of Dusina, all the Croatian houses
6 were set on fire, and women, children, and elderly are being subjected to
7 a downright slaughter. We still have no accurate information about the
8 casualties there, but we do know that 33 HVO soldiers were killed. The
9 brutality of the Muslim forces is proven by the fact that all seven
10 members of the HVO delegation that had been negotiating with the BH army
11 were killed tonight."
12 Q. General, you've already told us about what you found out and what
13 you reported, and we have now had a look at a number of official HVO
14 documents. As far as what has just been read out, were these rumours that
15 were repeated and relayed via the media in Central Bosnia, or rather, by
16 the Croatian television?
17 A. Yes. It would be correct to say that the Croatian television
18 depicted the events in a way that had nothing to do with the situation in
19 the field, and the last document I have read is dated the 25th of January,
20 1993. And at that time, there was no combat in the village of Dusina.
21 Q. Thank you. In view of the sort of news that was carried during
22 that period of time, tell me whether the Busovaca commission decided to go
23 into the field to verify these allegations; and if that was the case, can
24 you tell me what you know about this?
25 A. Well, the Croatian television and the local television of the HVO,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 I made a complaint at the joint commission. I said that this did not
2 correspond to the truth. Afterwards, it was decided to visit that area
3 and establish what the actual situation was in the village of Dusina. A
4 few days after the events in the village of Dusina, representatives of the
5 Busovaca joint commission went to the area of Dusina to see what the
6 situation there was.
7 Q. Who was this commission composed of?
8 A. There were representatives of the European Monitoring Mission,
9 UNPROFOR representatives, and other representatives of international
10 organisations, I think. On behalf of the HVO, there was Mr. Franjo Nakic.
11 On behalf of the BH army, I myself represented the BH army, in fact.
12 Q. General, did you visit the village of Dusina, and did you
13 determine that the entire village had been set on fire?
14 A. The joint commission visited the village of Dusina and the village
15 hadn't been set on fire. There were traces of combat, though. I do
16 remember very well that the translator in the joint commission was someone
17 called Milica Kegelj. She asked us to visit her relatives' house. I
18 remember entering her relatives' house.
19 Q. Did you meet any local inhabitants or BH army members in the area?
20 A. While passing through the village, we saw that there were
21 inhabitants and members of the BH army there. I remember speaking to a
22 local commander. I can't remember his name. We asked him to tell us what
23 had happened, and he told us that there had been armed combat in that
25 Q. Did any of the inhabitants you spoke to mention any individuals
1 being killed?
2 A. As far as I can remember, none of the inhabitants said anything
3 about anyone being killed in Dusina.
4 Q. Please have a look at document number 39 now, P222. It's from the
5 HVO. Have a look at the second page to see who signed it, and is this the
6 person who went to visit the area, to inspect the site?
7 A. I can't say that this is Mr. Franjo Nakic's signature, but the
8 person who was with me on that day and at that time in Dusina was someone
9 called Franjo Nakic.
10 Q. This is a document from the HVO which refers to a meeting of your
11 commission. Pay attention to what Mr. Fleming said. Have a look at what
12 Mr. Fleming said. It says that Mr. Fleming said very positive things
13 about the army and in the last line it says that the place, Busovaca,
14 which we visited is in a sorry state. The inhabitants are afraid and
15 desperate. And for Lasva and Dusina, he says it was difficult to avoid
16 the impression that something terrible had happened. But the citizens who
17 were there either didn't say anything or were afraid to say something.
18 Does this confirm the fact that the citizens didn't say anything, apart
19 from the fact that they heard from commander that there had been fighting
20 there? Is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Since Nakic was also there, he did not have any suggestions with
23 regard to these developments. He thought that everything was clear. Was
24 that Nakic's position or was he still insisting that something should be
25 done on the part of the Busovaca commission?
1 A. I remember only too well that when it came to Dusina, Mr. Nakic
2 did not have any issues to raise with this regard. However, when it came
3 to the joint commission and its works and other incidents that had taken
4 place in Busovaca and the following days that ensued, Mr. Nakic did have
5 issues to raise, I had issues to raise, and this is what we had to deal
6 with, with the problems that we encountered in the territory of Busovaca.
7 Q. It stems from this document that European monitors were also
8 there. Were there members of the Busovaca commission or was it UNPROFOR,
9 as you have just told us a while ago?
10 A. You may not have understood me when I said that members of the
11 European Monitoring Mission were there. They were the ones involved in
12 the joint commission. There were also members of UNPROFOR, and I also
13 said that I don't remember which other international organisations were
14 represented. But in any case, there was the European Mission and
16 Q. Just briefly, General: Since you spoke with the villagers, since
17 you asked them what had happened, did the representative of the army, when
18 mentioning fighting, hint to the fact that there might have been killings
19 during the fighting, or alternatively, wasn't there any such information?
20 A. Based on the information that I had and reports that I could see,
21 I could conclude that there had been combat and that there were casualties
22 on both sides. This is what I could learn from the reports.
23 Q. When you were there, did you receive any other information that
24 might have changed the opinion that you based on the reports?
25 A. No. No. Everything was exactly as the reports depicted.
1 Q. Can you please look at document number 40. This is a 3rd Corps
2 document. Once the cease-fire agreement was signed and once the agreement
3 was reached, did the command of the 3rd Corps issue an order with regard
4 to this cease-fire, and did he issue very clear orders based on the Geneva
5 Conventions and treatment of property and the civilian population? Can
6 you look at page 2. There is this order.
7 A. Yes. This is precisely the order that you have described.
8 Q. General, you've told us that when you returned from the meeting,
9 you learned about this investigation and that the civilian police was
10 involved because they had better equipment. Did there come a time,
11 General, when you learnt what the results of the investigation were? If
12 you did, did they change your views on the developments in Dusina, based
13 on the initial information?
14 A. I did not have any further insight into what happened
15 subsequently. However, I did learn that the case had been taken over by
16 the prosecutor's office, by the military prosecutor's office, and that in
17 practical terms this case was under consideration. I did not have any
18 further information. However, whatever information I had at the time
19 confirmed the fact that there hadn't been a crime and that any casualties
20 that took place were a result of combat activities.
21 Q. In January and February, did the military police of the 3rd Corps,
22 or the civilian police of the 3rd Corps - sorry - the civilian police of
23 Zenica, were they able to go to Busovaca and Kiseljak and conduct
24 interview with certain individuals?
25 A. Towards the end of January and the beginning of February 1993, the
1 entire territory of Busovaca and municipality was the theatre of combat,
2 and the only means of transportation was UNPROFOR vehicles. That's the
3 only way one could get to that area.
4 Q. General, in Kiseljak, Busovaca, and Vitez, when the HVO took
5 complete control there, did the legal authorities have any means to
6 perform their duties in those areas?
7 A. I've already said that in the municipalities with the majority
8 Croatian population, the power of the Croatian Defence Council had already
9 been established and legal authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina could not
10 function there. To the contrary; their work was banned in those areas.
11 Q. General, you have told us that, in order to check all the reports
12 and all the media news, you joined the commission and went to Dusina. Did
13 Commander Hadzihasanovic also inform his superior command about the news
14 that was aired in the media?
15 A. I'm sure that my commander did that. I am sure that he informed
16 his superior command of what was going on in the area.
17 Q. Can you please look at document under number 34. This is a report
18 that the 3rd Corps sent to the Supreme Command Staff. Can you please look
19 at items 11, 12, and 13. Would this be the response of the commander to
20 the information in the media and the allegations that the negotiators had
21 been killed and the villages had been burnt, and so on and so forth?
22 A. Yes, it is.
23 Q. And now one more thing about Dusina. Let's go back to the fact
24 that you have just mentioned, and that is that the legal authorities could
25 not perform their duties in the territories where the HVO had complete
1 control. There were just HVO bodies in those areas. Do you know: These
2 people who left Dusina, where they went?
3 A. I don't know where they went. I can't remember.
4 Q. Was there an exchange of prisoners from Dusina? Where did these
5 people go, and where, and when?
6 A. As far as I know, some of the population from Dusina went towards
7 Zenica, and some went towards Busovaca.
8 Q. Did the Croatian Defence Council have an opportunity in Dusina to
9 talk to these people and learn about the events that had taken place in
11 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction. Not in Dusina, but in
13 A. Yes, I suppose they did have such an opportunity in Busovaca.
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Can you please look at document 42. This is P906. And can you
16 please tell me who created this document, and when was it created? When
17 was it issued?
18 A. This document was created by the prosecutor's office in Travnik,
19 seated in Vitez. The number of this document is 593/95, and the date is
20 17 November 1995. It was addressed to the high court in Travnik, with its
21 seat in Vitez.
22 Q. Who was in control in Vitez?
23 A. The Croatian Defence Council was in control in Vitez.
24 Q. This document was drafted almost three and a half years [as
25 interpreted] after the developments in Dusina; is that correct?
1 A. Yes, it is.
2 Q. According to your information, did anything else happen, or were
3 you informed of any other facts for which you would have changed your
4 opinion that the casualties had taken place in combat? Did anybody tell
5 you anything to the contrary in the course of 1993?
6 A. As far as I can remember, during that period of time, nobody ever
7 provided me with any new facts, with any new information that would make
8 me change my mind. I adhered to the fact that I learnt that there had
9 been combat activities in Dusina and, as a result of those combat
10 activities, there were casualties on both sides.
11 Q. General, when you look back at those developments, could you tell
12 me whether the 3rd Corps and its commander did everything possible to
13 investigate, and did they endeavour to find out what had happened in
14 Dusina after having received information from the enemy that there might
15 have been a crime there?
16 A. As I sit here today, I can say with full responsibility that the
17 corps command did their utmost and went even beyond that, because they
18 established full cooperation with the civilian bodies and with all the
19 professional bodies that could establish what had happened to those people
20 who were killed there.
21 Q. Thank you very much, General. Can we now move on.
22 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, before it disappears off the screen, I
23 do believe there might be an error in the translation, at least in the
24 English. At line 24, which is on the preceding page and is about to
25 disappear, there's reference to document P906 being drafted three and a
1 half years after the developments in Dusina, and I believe that might be
2 an error, in light of the date of that document and the date of which the
3 events in Dusina occurred.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. The date is 17 November
5 1995. This document that was drafted by the high public prosecutor's
6 office in Travnik.
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, this is exactly
8 what we're saying. This document was drafted two and a half years, almost
9 three years later. This is an HVO document. But the final arguments,
10 those who could have full information initiated investigation three years
11 later -- actually, two years after the events. Two years would be
12 January. Since this is November, it's almost three years after the
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're saying, in line 9 of page
15 17, you are saying that this is an HVO document. This document is not
16 marked as being an HVO document. This is something that was drafted by
17 the high public prosecutor's office in Travnik. Unless in 1995 it was the
18 HVO that controlled everything. Is that what you're saying?
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I did not want to
20 say that. The witness said that in 1995, this area was under the control
21 of the HVO, still; although the Washington Agreements had taken place
22 earlier, still this was under the control of the HVO. At the same time,
23 the legal court, the legal prosecutor's office were in Travnik. We heard
24 Mr. Djeric here who worked in Travnik at the time. So this document shows
25 that the party that had a full insight and all the possibilities to
1 investigate the events failed to do that for three years.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. You may
4 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
5 Q. General, let us move on to another issue. Did you, in your
6 capacity as deputy commander or as a member of a joint commission, did you
7 ever learn of a crime having been committed in Miletici?
8 A. Yes. I received initial information as a member of the joint
9 commission, which at the time was seated in Vitez. Again, this joint
10 commission was composed of representatives of the European Monitoring
11 Mission, representatives of the UNPROFOR, representatives of other
12 international organisations who came on board from time to time, and it
13 was Mr. Nakic on behalf of HVO, and I was representing the BiH army in
14 that commission.
15 Q. And who did the information come from?
16 A. From Mr. Franjo Nakic, at one of the regular meetings of the joint
18 Q. What did you decide to do, General, when you received that
20 A. I was surprised that there was such information, and I wanted to
21 go to the site, to Miletici, to see what had happened, to establish what
22 the actual situation was.
23 Q. Did you go there, and if you did, who was it who went there?
24 A. Yes. On that day, which was 25 April 1993, if I remember well, we
25 went to Miletici, the representatives of the joint commission from Vitez
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 went there.
2 Q. Were the HVO and the army represented? What about the
3 international community?
4 A. Yes. I said that there were both the HVO, the BiH army, and
5 international organisations.
6 Q. When you arrived in Miletici, what did you see there?
7 A. We were taken there by the personnel carriers, owned by BritBat. I
8 had an opportunity to see what the situation many Miletici was, and I did
9 see that people had been killed.
10 Q. Did you go somewhere from the village? And when you returned from
11 the village, did you meet with somebody? Can you elaborate a little on
13 A. When we returned, vehicles stopped. At that time, I did not have
14 information where we were being driven. We were sitting in the personnel
15 carrier, which didn't have any windows. Together with Mr. Franjo Nakic
16 and the interpreter, we -- I got off. We saw some people rallied around
17 us. We asked them who they were, and they told us that they were from
19 Q. These people from Miletici, did they tell you what had happened on
20 the previous day?
21 A. Yes. We spoke to these people, and we couldn't see who of them
22 were Croats, who were Bosniaks. They were sort of mixed. And both
23 Mr. Nakic and I spoke to them. What I managed to learn from the people,
24 and Mr. Nakic was present there as well, was that these killings had been
25 committed by some foreign members, and I believe that they referred to
1 them as the Mujahedin.
2 Q. Were you told at the time what had happened, what had transpired?
3 A. Yes. They told us very briefly that the incident had occurred a
4 day later, that a group of Mujahedin stormed into their village, that they
5 were looking for arms, that they wanted to disarm the villagers, and that
6 the entire village, both Croats as well as Muslims, were taken somewhere
7 else. They could not tell us exactly where they were taken. They also
8 told us that five members of the Croatian population had been singled out
9 from the crowd, that these five had remained in the village. I believe
10 that those are the same five people whom I saw dead in Miletici.
11 Q. Did anybody mention the fact that there might have been members of
12 the BiH army among those Mujahedin?
13 A. As far as I can remember, nobody among the villagers mentioned the
14 presence of BiH army members who would be there with the foreigners.
15 Q. In that village where you spoke with the population, did you see
16 any members of the BiH army?
17 A. I have to be very precise here. I did not speak to anybody in
18 Miletici. There was nobody there. I spoke with these people not far from
19 Miletici, a few kilometres away from Miletici, as we were returning from
20 the village. In other words, I did not speak to anybody in the village
21 itself. I spoke to the villagers outside the village, and I could see
22 several members of the army among those villagers. I can't remember how
23 many. Maybe three, four, or five. I can't remember exactly. It was a
24 long time ago.
25 Q. Among these three, four, or five members of the army, did you
1 recognise anybody as being one of the commanders? And did you issue any
2 orders to that person? Did you warn that person about anything, if that
3 was the case?
4 A. I don't know whether there were any commanders among them. I
5 wanted to speak to the local commander, and one person responded. And I
6 also told Mr. Nakic that the population could go back to Miletici and that
7 we would guarantee their safety. And if my memory serves me well, I told
8 the local commander that he had to secure the village and that he had to
9 look after the Croatian population, because we, as the army, had to
10 guarantee the safety of all the citizens, including the Croatian
11 population. And I remember this very well.
12 Q. General, these Croats, where were they accommodated in the village
13 where you stopped, and who looked after them?
14 A. I can't remember. I did not have any information at the time as
15 to who looked after them and where they were accommodated. But I know
16 that some of the Croatian population expressed a wish to go to Bila. At
17 least, that is what Franjo Nakic told me at the time. I don't know, I
18 can't remember where they were accommodated and who provided security for
19 them. I didn't have that information at the time.
20 Q. In the course of your conversation that you and Mr. Franjo Nakic
21 had with the international representatives, were there any doubts as to
22 who had committed the crime?
23 A. Well, I don't think there were any doubts, for me or for
24 Mr. Franjo Nakic. According to what the villagers had told us in
25 Miletici, it was clear to us that foreigners called the Mujahedin had
1 committed these murders.
2 Q. Since you were the deputy commander of the 3rd Corps, were the
3 foreigners linked to the BH army in any way?
4 A. As far as I know, I can say that there were no foreigners in the
5 BH army, and in particular, there were no Mujahedin in the BH army.
6 Q. General, could you now have a look at these documents that are
7 about the events in Miletici. Document number 1 is a BritBat document.
8 On page 3 -- do you see it? Paragraph 3, and it says that the local
9 Bosniak Croats [as interpreted] initially claimed that Muslim extremists
10 had killed five Croats. The details are based on statements given by the
11 inhabitants, collected by members of unit 912L. The inhabitants say that
12 an unknown number of Muslim soldiers came to the village. The inhabitants
13 wanted to say that these were extremists and not the regular troops of the
14 BH army. This document mentions Muslim extremists.
15 Tell me: Given what you spoke about with the inhabitants, was
16 this the correct expression, or rather, would it be more correct to say
17 that the Mujahedin had entered the village?
18 A. The inhabitants told us that the Mujahedin had entered the
20 Q. Have a look at document number 2, please. It's an HVO document.
21 P289. In the second sentence, in the first paragraph, this event is
22 described. It says that the Mujahedin arrived in Miletici, in the
23 morning, and gathered all of its inhabitants at gunpoint. Does this
24 correspond to the information that you obtained, or is this something that
25 the inhabitants didn't inform you about?
1 A. Well, in this report, it says that the Mujahedin committed the
2 murders. This is what we found out from the inhabitants when we went to
3 the place. So this is confirmed by -- this confirms what we found out at
4 the site.
5 Q. Have a look at document under number 3. This is an HVO document.
6 It's from the Central Bosnia Operative Zone Command. It's Exhibit P416.
7 In the second paragraph, there's a reference to the number of inhabitants
8 taken away, 60 to 70 persons. In paragraph 3, it says that part of the
9 group is in the building of the elementary school in Zagradje. And
10 paragraph 4 refers to the source and it says that in the course of the
11 night, the Mujahedin forces will be taking this group to Zenica through
12 the forest.
13 Is this the kind of information you found out from anyone in the
15 A. No. This is the first time that I see that this information is
16 from the Central Bosnia Operative Zone Command.
17 Q. Let's have a look at document under number 5. It's also a BritBat
18 document. At the end of A, on the first page of the B/C/S version, it
19 says that the bodies of five Bosnian Croats who were killed in the attack
20 in Miletici were taken to the local cemetery by BritBat. Were you present
21 at the time or did that take place a little later?
22 A. I can't remember all the details. I don't know whether the bodies
23 of the men killed were transported on that day. But I saw that UNPROFOR
24 members were carrying a body wrapped up in a blanket on that day. But as
25 to whether they were taken to the local cemetery, I wasn't there and I
1 didn't see that.
2 Q. For the sake of the transcript, this document is P375.
3 Have a look at document 6, please. At the end of the B/C/S
4 version, and the number is P576, in this daily report of the 27th of
5 April, the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia provides additional
6 information on the massacre in Miletici, and it says that the Mujahedin
7 and local Muslims participated in the massacre. And then it mentions some
8 names and it says that apparently Osman Tahirovic brought the Mujahedin to
9 the village in a tractor, et cetera, et cetera.
10 Did you have such information that people with these local names
11 participated in murdering these individuals? Did you find out about such
12 events from the inhabitants that you spoke to?
13 A. No. I'd just like to confirm what I heard on that day. The
14 inhabitants we came across when returning from Miletici, who were of mixed
15 ethnic composition, they said they were from Miletici. They were from
16 Miletici and they were Croats and Muslims. And they said that the
17 Mujahedin had committed the murders, both the Croatian and Muslim
18 inhabitants of Miletici made this claim.
19 Q. General, after this event, were there various versions contained
20 in various reports? Were the events you found out about from eyewitnesses
21 on that day depicted in different ways, the events you found out about in
22 the village of Miletici?
23 A. I know that there were very -- I know that rumours can be very
24 negative, can cause a lot of problems. I know that rumours spread very
25 rapidly. I'm not sure what sort of rumours there were about these events,
1 but I have told you about what I saw and what I heard, what I was told by
2 the inhabitants when returning from the village of Miletici.
3 Q. General, since you were an eyewitness of the situation that
4 remained unchanged after those inhabitants were killed, and as you said,
5 it was obvious that those inhabitants had been killed, and you have
6 repeated on several occasions that there was no doubt about the fact that
7 the Mujahedin had committed these murders, tell me, General: Did the BH
8 army feel obliged to investigate crimes committed by men who were not army
9 members? Was that their obligation? And did the BH army have the
10 possibility of investigating such individuals?
11 A. First of all, I should say that at that time, the military was not
12 interested in Miletici. It wasn't a village that was interesting in
13 military terms. It wasn't in the area of combat operations at the time.
14 And given what I found out about -- given what the inhabitants told me at
15 the site, I believed that it wasn't the 3rd Corps's duty to investigate
16 that case, because I found out that BH army members weren't involved and
17 these events didn't occur in a zone of combat operations. In military
18 terms, Miletici was of no interest.
19 Q. General, which military units were present in that area, in the
20 area of Miletici, in the area of Maline? Were they just units or brigades
21 of the BH army there, or were there any other military units present in
22 that area?
23 A. At that time, I know for sure that there were several military
24 units in that area. There was a unit from the BH army. There was the
25 306th Brigade. There were HVO units. The HVO units were very near the
1 village of Miletici. There was the civilian police, the regular civilian
2 police force, the reserve civilian police force. They were all armed.
3 They all carried weapons. There were UNPROFOR units, which were also
4 armed. So there were various units in that area.
5 Q. And who were you responsible for, as far as disciplining is
6 concerned, as far as punishing crimes is concerned?
7 A. I have already testified about this. It was the duty of the BH
8 army to launch an investigation only if it came to light that BH army
9 members had committed crimes. As I have already said, this area was
10 outside the zone of responsibility and was of no interest in military
11 terms. There was the civilian police there and the civilian authorities
12 were present there too.
13 Q. Tell me whether you know that our units that were in that area,
14 the 306th Brigade and other units, do you know whether they informed the
15 3rd Corps headquarters that, in the presence of the Mujahedin was a
16 problem and that it wasn't possible for them to communicate with them?
17 A. Well, I couldn't say, but as far as I can remember right now, the
18 command closest to the village of Miletici was the command of the 306th
19 Mountain Brigade, and naturally, they were ordered to see what was
20 happening. As far as I know, they didn't manage to find out anything
21 specific about what had happened in the village of Miletici. They said
22 they had problems in finding out all the details about the individuals who
23 had committed those murders.
24 Q. General, if I have understood you correctly, although our units
25 and the army didn't have this duty, you know that the 306th did want to
1 find out what had happened there, but it was not possible for this unit to
2 do so; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. With regard to what was possible to do, was it possible for them
5 to enter the Mujahedin headquarters and investigate there?
6 A. I didn't know that there was a Mujahedin camp at the time. I
7 don't know which methods the 306th used in order to obtain information,
8 but I do know that they weren't able to obtain any information about this.
9 Q. Thank you. General, let's now have a look at document under
10 number 14, which is the Main Staff of the HVO, dated the 15th of May,
11 1993. It's from the Main Staff of the HVO. Earlier on, in response to a
12 question of mine, you said that each event was reported in different ways,
13 certain elements were added to the reports, but you mentioned what you
14 found out when you spoke to the inhabitants and when you visited Miletici
15 with the joint commission. It says the Travnik sector in this document,
16 in the middle, it says the commander of all the 18 Muslim villages is
17 Nihad Puric, a.k.a. Hadzija. "We have learned from a captured MOS member
18 that the massacre in the village of Miletici was approved by the Italian
19 commander Bahrudin Kumoro [phoen] and that the extremists were led by
20 Senad Lukovic, together with Jasmin Jasarevic and Osman Tahirovic.
21 Besides the Mujahedin the following men took part," et cetera, et cetera.
22 Given the information you had, did the information you have prove
23 in any way that what is claimed here is true?
24 A. According to all the information I had, what is stated here is not
25 correct; it's false.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. In line -- on page 27, line 4, it says that the Mujahedin had some
2 sort of command. But we were speaking about a camp. I didn't mention a
3 Mujahedin command. I asked whether they entered the Mujahedin camp. And
4 the general said that he wasn't even aware of the existence of such a camp
5 at the time. So could that be corrected, please.
6 Did anyone from the HVO -- I apologise. This document was P561,
7 for the sake of the transcript.
8 Did anyone from the international community, or did anyone else
9 inform you that the BH army might have something to do with the events in
11 A. As far as I can remember, no.
12 Q. Throughout that period, did you remain a member of the joint
13 commission which was also composed of members of the international
14 community? And if that was the case, did they have the opportunity of
15 drawing your attention to this matter?
16 A. Yes. The representatives of the international community did have
17 this opportunity, and at meetings of the joint commission, they tried to
18 clarify anything that wasn't clear. But I don't remember that at meetings
19 of this joint commission which were held in Vitez up until May, in that
20 year, which is when the joint command was formed in Travnik, as I said, I
21 can't remember that members of the international community mentioned the
22 problem of Miletici at one of those meetings.
23 Q. General, when you look back to those events now, are you convinced
24 that what happened, are you convinced that the crimes in Miletici had
25 nothing to do with the army, and are you convinced that there's no doubt
1 as to who had committed the crimes in Miletici?
2 A. Since I have already mentioned what I was aware of on that day, or
3 rather, a day later, on the 25th of April, 1993, and given what I have
4 seen here, I'm convinced that BH army members had nothing to do with those
5 crimes. And similarly, in 1993, I was also convinced of this fact, after
6 Franjo Nakic and I had obtained certain information. So I'm still
7 convinced that the BH army had nothing to do with the murders committed in
9 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I would now like to
10 provide the Chamber and my colleagues and the witness with a new series of
11 documents that I will use to put questions to the witness about Maline.
12 Perhaps we could then have a break and I'll then continue with my
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You want to give him
15 the binder and then he can have a look at it during the break.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will show the witness the
18 binder, then.
19 General, Defence counsel has provided you with some documents, a
20 set of military documents. You'll have some time to have a look at the
21 documents during the break and your examination will then continue.
22 We will resume at about 5 to 11.00.
23 --- Recess taken at 10.24 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 10.57 a.m.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll now resume.
1 You may take the floor.
2 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. General, on the first day when you were speaking about events in
4 1993, and in particular, about military events, you said that at the
5 beginning of June, in Travnik, there was an HVO attack, and this then
6 spread to the Bila valley. And you in the command received information on
7 the difficult situation that the 306th Brigade was in. It had been
8 completely cut off in that area.
9 General, could you please tell me: As a member of the joint
10 command in Travnik, in the course of May and at the beginning of June, did
11 you go to Zenica, or rather, to Travnik? And how did you travel at the
13 A. While the joint command operated in Travnik, I spent quite a lot
14 of time in the Travnik area. Occasionally I would go to Zenica. When I
15 went to Zenica, I would go with UNPROFOR vehicles and personnel carriers,
16 because it wasn't possible to reach Zenica in any other way.
17 Q. General, you also said that in the course of the attack on Travnik
18 at the beginning of June, you were in Travnik. Where were you on the 8th
19 of June, 1993? Can you remember?
20 A. Yes. At the beginning of June I was in Travnik, in the joint
21 command, and on the 8th of May, if I remember this correctly, I was in
22 Zenica. I was in Zenica, as far as I can remember.
23 Q. Since you have already said that you would obtain --
24 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] There's a mistake, or perhaps you
25 were mistaken. So I won't correct this. You said on the 8th of May.
1 A. No. That was a slip of the tongue. It wasn't on the 8th of May.
2 On the 8th of June.
3 Q. You have told us about the news that you reached us [as
4 interpreted] from the 306th Brigade and their requests for assistance.
5 Tell me: Did the 3rd Corps decide --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm looking at the transcript,
7 and I'm totally lost. We don't know where we are. General, can you
8 please tell us: The 8th of June, where were you? Were you in Zenica or
9 were you in Travnik?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 8th of June I was in Zenica.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. Now I'm clear.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. General, do you know if the 3rd Corps command decided to respond
14 to the request of the 306th Brigade for assistance? Did the BiH army
15 units from Zenica launch an attack from -- towards the Bila valley?
16 A. I explained the situation in Travnik in great detail. At the
17 beginning of June, a few days after the fighting was over in Travnik, this
18 fighting spread towards the area of Bila region, that is, around the Bila
19 River. According to our information, the 306th Brigade was in a very
20 difficult position. I've already explained why. They did ask for
21 assistance. This request was so strong that the brigade commander was
22 under the impression that he had come under attack from all sides, that he
23 had come under a simultaneous attack by the HVO and the aggressor. We had
24 different variations how we were going to use our units in case of attack,
25 either by one enemy or the other, or both. At the time, the 306th was in
1 a very difficult situation for quite a long time, so it was decided to use
2 some of the 3rd Corps units in order to help the 306th Brigade. One part
3 of the 3rd Corps units were indeed used from the direction of Zenica.
4 Q. General, on that day -- strike that. Did these units that were
5 moving from the direction of Zenica, did they achieve any military
6 results? And if they did, in what area was that?
7 A. The main direction of action of the units from Zenica was via the
8 Ovnak pass. Those were the units that went to assist the 306th Brigade.
9 In the morning hours I received information that the units of the BiH army
10 had some successes at the Ovnak pass, that they took control over this
11 pass and that they were moving forward.
12 Q. Before I move on, please tell us: What happened at the Ovnak
13 pass? Where were the strongest forces of the HVO with regard to the town
14 of Zenica?
15 A. The Ovnak pass had tactical importance. Whoever was in control of
16 Ovnak had very good tactical positions. The HVO was there on Ovnak. The
17 HVO was very strong there. That's why there was very fierce fighting
18 there at the moment when the BiH army units launched an attack in order to
19 take that area.
20 Q. Once you learnt that our forces achieved some military results and
21 that they managed to break through the strongest forces of the HVO in
22 Ovnak, did you go there in order to inspect the military situation?
23 A. Yes. I went to check the information that I had received. I
24 arrived at Ovnak sometime around noon. I saw that Ovnak had been
25 liberated, that our units were there, and that combat operations were
1 moved to the west of Ovnak. In other words, the area of Ovnak was
2 liberated. I moved even further. I don't know how far I moved into the
3 Bila valley. However, I had to return to Zenica because of my previous
4 very important commitments that I had in Zenica. Those commitments were
5 to take place around 2.00 or 3.00 in the afternoon.
6 Q. General, on that day, the 8th of June, or did -- any other
7 subsequent days, did you learn that during the combat operations that had
8 taken place on the 8th of June, some HVO prisoners or civilian prisoners
9 were killed in the area of Ovnak or the Bila valley?
10 A. On the 8th of June, the combat operations were still going on and
11 were very intense. According to my initial information, the fighting was
12 still on, and there were casualties on both sides, on the side of the HVO,
13 as well as on the side of the BiH army. I did not have any information
14 about murders having taken place.
15 Q. General, did you subsequently learn that some murders or killings
16 might have taken place on the 8th of June, during these combat operations?
17 And if you did, who did you learn that from?
18 A. Due to the very complex situation that prevailed from the 8th of
19 June, 1993 onwards, and the incidents that had already taken place in the
20 area of Kakanj, to which I have already testified here, and due to the
21 fact that there were already incidents in Zepce, and due to the overall
22 situation that could be felt in Zepce after that, my entire attention, as
23 well as the attention of the corps command, shifted from the Bila valley
24 to the area of Kakanj, and subsequently to the area of Zepce. I did not
25 have any information that murders or killings had taken place in the area
1 of the Bila valley. The first information about the murders reached me
2 from the international community. And as ever, as always before that, I
3 reacted immediately. I suggested that we should go there in order to
4 investigate what kind of murders or killings had taken place and were
5 reported to us by the international community.
6 Q. General, can you tell us when this happened, and can you tell us
7 whether your suggestion was accepted? If it was, who was it who went to
8 the area to inspect?
9 A. In all of my previous activities and in all of the subsequent
10 activities, whenever we received information from the international
11 community that something had happened in the area controlled by the BiH
12 army, I would immediately call for an investigation. I believe that this
13 was in early August 1993 that we went there. Mr. Landry Remi represented
14 the European monitors, Stjepan Radic also had expressed a desire to
15 inspect the area where the combat activities had taken place, Stjepan
16 Radic, who was a priest.
17 Q. General, did this delegation involving Mr. Remi and Mr. Radic did
18 they go to the site? Where did you go and what did you learn there?
19 A. Since the representatives of the European Monitoring Mission and
20 Father Stjepan expressed a desire to visit the monastery in Guca Gora,
21 this is where we arrived first. We inspected the situation around the
22 monastery in Guca Gora. At the proposal of the European Monitoring
23 Mission that we should go towards the village of Maline, I suggested that
24 some of the soldiers should go with us, namely, the military police was
25 already in Guca Gora, and we were given a soldier who escorted us towards
1 the village of Maline. That was a soldier who could have provided us with
2 some more information.
3 Q. General, since Father Stjepan and the representative of the
4 European Monitoring Mission wanted to inspect the monastery in Guca Gora,
5 when you arrived at the monastery, was the monastery destroyed or were
6 there any visible damages on the building of the monastery?
7 A. I remember that the monastery was not destroyed. However, there
8 was some visible damage. On the walls there was some fresh paint, and
9 there was some other damages, but it wasn't destroyed; that's for sure.
10 Q. Did Father Stjepan comment on the condition of the monastery and
11 the fact that it was being secured by the military police of the BiH army?
12 A. I can't remember what Father Radic was saying at the time;
13 however, I could see that he was quite satisfied with the fact that the
14 monastery enjoyed protection by the military police, which meant that any
15 further destruction would be prevented. And I could see that Father Radic
16 was quite pleased with that.
17 Q. You said the international community expressed a desire to go to
18 Maline and that one soldier was your escort, a soldier who hailed from
19 that area. Tell me: Did you go to Maline? What did you see there? What
20 did you learn there?
21 A. Yes. A soldier escorted us to Maline, and he told us that there
22 were two graveyards there where members of the HVO were buried after the
23 combat operations that had taken place in the area. We asked him to show
24 us the exact points where these graves were, and we inspected those sites.
25 I would just like to mention that Father Radic had information that the
1 monastery in Guca Gora had been completely demolished. That's why
2 Father Radic was quite pleased with the situation that he found in Guca
3 Gora. This is something I forgot to say.
4 Q. The representatives of the international community, or
5 Father Radic, or you personally, did you ask for additional information
6 from the soldier who had shown you the places where the fallen members of
7 the HVO had been buried?
8 A. I remember that I asked the soldier how this had happened and how
9 come that members of the HVO had been buried in those two graves. The
10 soldier told us that they -- their bodies were gathered after the clean-up
11 of the area. He was not sure of their numbers. He said that there were
12 only two graves and that there were no other graves in the area. I don't
13 know what the others asked the soldier. I remember that Mr. Remi also put
14 some questions to the soldier, as well as Father Radic, but I can't
15 remember what they asked him. I only know what my questions to him were.
16 Q. General, can you please look at document number 1 in the Maline
17 set. On page 1, you can see under "general situation" that you and Father
18 Radic from the church in Zenica were in Maline together with the
19 representatives of the international community. This is exactly what you
20 have just told us.
21 A. Yes, and I can see here that this was on the 3rd of August, 1993.
22 Q. On the item 4B, can you read it, and can you tell us whether this
23 is what you remember as to what happened and what you were talking about
24 when you visited the monastery in Guca Gora?
25 A. Yes. This is precisely so, but I didn't know that Mr. Radic said
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 that I was very cooperative in the protection of religious facilities.
2 Q. Under C and D -- actually, only under C, you can see the
3 description of your arrival in Maline or, in other words, in the area
4 where the two graves were. According to the best of your recollection,
5 what happened then, and is this report a true reflection of what happened
6 and the conversations that took place at the time?
7 A. Yes, it is. I've just told you that I don't know what Father
8 Radic said or asked at the time, but I can see here that there were both
9 soldiers and civilians buried in those two graves.
10 Q. The number of this document is P164.
11 General, was this the first information about what might have
12 transpired on the 8th of June in the area of Maline?
13 A. I've already said that my -- according to my information, there
14 had been combat operations, but not killings or murders. However,
15 Father Radic and the representatives of the international community
16 insisted, and what the soldier told us at the moment confirmed my
17 information, the information that I had before I came to the site.
18 Q. General, you were telling us about the general situation which
19 prevailed from mid-June to up to this period. Tell us: In view of the
20 events in Zepce, where did you and the 3rd Corps commander spend your
21 time? Where were you located at the time in order to be able to deal with
22 the burning problems in Zepce?
23 A. I have already testified that we received an order sometime in
24 mid-June to try and lift the blockade from Maglaj. The 3rd Corps
25 commander, General Hadzihasanovic, decided to move his command post
1 towards Zepce. We established the forward command post in a place called
2 Postojna, in the municipality of Zepce. We invested all of our mental and
3 physical efforts into lifting the blockade from Maglaj. Regardless of the
4 fact that the combat operations were still going on in Central Bosnia, the
5 corps commander, General Hadzihasanovic, decided to use all the available
6 forces under the command of the 3rd Corps and channel them towards Maglaj,
7 with a view to lifting the blockade from Maglaj.
8 I spoke about that two days ago, in somewhat greater length. I
9 told you about the situation that prevailed in the 3rd Corps at the time.
10 Q. General, did there come a time when you had to deal with the
11 issues raised before the 3rd Corps with regard to the developments that
12 had taken place in Maline on the 8th of June?
13 A. I've already said that whenever the corps command received
14 information of that sort, they would undertake appropriate measures. I
15 remember that we received an order to draft a report on the events in
16 Maline. This was in October 1993, and the letter was addressed to us from
17 the Supreme Command Staff.
18 Q. Can you please look at documents 2 and 3. Is any of these two the
19 document that you have just mentioned? The documents are P170 and P171.
20 A. I have never seen these documents before. Actually, I only saw
21 the document that had arrived from the Supreme Command Staff.
22 Q. What did the 3rd Corps command do? What information did they
23 receive, and what was your role in all that?
24 A. Obviously, within the system of control and command, when we
25 learned that there was some additional information, we reacted immediately
1 by asking the subordinate unit in that area to report to us as to what had
2 happened in Maline.
3 Q. Can you please look at the document number 4, which bears the
4 number P111.
5 A. Yes. This is precisely what I have just testified about. The
6 command of the Bosanska Krajina G is requested to provide information
7 about the events in Maline.
8 Q. Who signed this document on behalf of the commander?
9 A. As far as I am familiar with my commander's signature, this is not
10 his signature. Somebody signed on his behalf. But I don't know who it
11 was. In any case, this is not my signature and this is not my commander's
13 Q. General, did there come a time when you received an answer from
14 your subordinate unit, an answer to your request to inform you what
15 happened on the 8th of June, in Maline, during the combat operations
17 A. Yes. A report arrived in the corps command. It arrived from the
18 subordinate unit. And based on this report, I prepared my report for my
19 superior command and the Supreme Command Staff. I prepared that report.
20 I don't know where General Hadzihasanovic was at the time. So I decided
21 to draft this document that would be sent to the superior command.
22 Q. Can you please look at document number 5. This is our number
23 1498. And tell me whether this is the reply that you received from your
24 subordinate unit. And then look at document number 6 and tell us whether
25 this is your report that was a follow-up.
1 A. Yes. The first document is the report sent to us by the
2 subordinate unit, and the second document is the document that I drafted
3 and signed in the month of August. I was in the area together with the
4 monitoring mission, and Father Radic. That's why my report provided some
5 more detail, and I answered all the questions put to us by the Supreme
6 Command Staff.
7 Q. The document under number 6 bears number P174.
8 When you provided reply to these documents, save for the
9 information that you received on the 3rd of August, that is, the
10 information that you received and the report sent to you by the
11 subordinate unit, did you have any precise information or reasonable
12 grounds to suspect that the events had transpired in the way different
13 than the one described in your report?
14 A. No, I did not have any such information. I collected all my
15 information in the field, and based on the report that was provided to me
16 at the request of the Supreme Command Staff, who wanted to know exactly
17 what had happened in Maline.
18 Q. Did anybody tell you that a number of HVO prisoners had been
19 killed in Maline?
20 A. I heard such questions here at The Hague Tribunal. I don't know
21 exactly in which case this was, in which case these developments and the
22 possible murders in Maline were mentioned. I remember very well that on
23 that occasion, before another Trial Chamber, I said what I know, and I
24 believe that I said and described the events in the same way I have
25 described them now. I did know that there had been combat operations,
1 that there were casualties on both sides during these combat operations,
2 and that during the subsequent clean-up of the area, the bodies of the
3 fallen soldiers were gathered and buried in the two graves. This is what
4 I have already once said before this Tribunal, but I don't know in which
6 Q. General, during the combat operations, or at any other time, on
7 the 8th and 9th of June, did you visit Guca Gora? At whose request did
8 you do that, if you did? And with whom did you go there, if indeed such a
9 visit had taken place?
10 A. On the 8th of June, 1993, I did not visit Guca Gora. I was in
11 Guca Gora on the 9th of June, 1993. On the 9th of June, 1993, I arrived
12 in Guca Gora at the request of UNPROFOR. I was accompanied by the
13 UNPROFOR. In other words, I was in the BritBat personnel carrier. We
14 arrived in Guca Gora from Travnik.
15 Q. When you arrived in Guca Gora, what did you find there?
16 A. There was an officer from BritBat who received me before the -- in
17 front of the church and took me into the church. That's where I saw a
18 large group of civilians of various ages and there were both men and women
20 Q. As far as you can remember, how many people were there in and
21 around the church?
22 A. I didn't notice any civilians around the church, apart from
23 UNPROFOR members, but I could see that there were between two and three
24 hundred people in the church. I can't be precise, but there were about
25 two to three hundred people there.
1 Q. Among those civilians, were there any HVO members, and did you
2 recognise anyone?
3 A. As I have said, there were people of various ages, there were
4 children, there were old people, and there were also men who were
5 able-bodied. After having had a look at the civilians, I noticed a member
6 of the HVO whose name was Tomislav Rajic. I knew him from before, because
7 at the beginning of the war he was in the defence staff in Travnik. I
8 remember him well because we were involved in a joint operation which
9 involved liberating the Vlasic relay which had been taken by the Serbian
10 aggressor. So I knew Tomislav Rajic very well, and I was sure that that
11 was the person. He was wearing civilian clothes. He wasn't in uniform.
12 Q. General, did you speak to Mr. Rajic on that occasion?
13 A. Yes. I spoke to Mr. Rajic, and he asked me to help, to ensure
14 that the civilians were cared for, to ensure that they were taken to
15 Vitez. And since he was an HVO soldier, he said he was surrendering, he
16 said I could imprison him. I said I didn't want to imprison anyone. I
17 told him he could go with his people. I told him he could go wherever he
18 wanted to go. But I said that he wouldn't be imprisoned. I told him he
19 wouldn't be a prisoner of war.
20 Q. General, on that day, with the help of UNPROFOR, were all those
21 people taken from Guca Gora to Nova Bila?
22 A. Yes. In the afternoon on that day, all the civilians and all the
23 able-bodied men who were in the church got into the BritBat personnel
24 carriers and they were driven to Bila, that is to say, to Vitez. Not a
25 single civilian remained in the church on that occasion.
1 Q. General, as far as the fighting is concerned, at the beginning of
2 June, on the 8th and 9th of June, did the fighting result in lifting the
3 blockade of the road linking Zenica and Travnik?
4 A. On the 8th of June, 1993, well, I have already said that on that
5 date, the road through Ovnak was unblocked, and since I was in the church
6 on the 9th of June, I could see that that road could be used too, because
7 fighting was to the south of the church on the 9th of June, 1993.
8 Q. General, tell me: Without UNPROFOR's help, was it possible for
9 you to get from Zenica to Travnik, regardless of the fact that there was
10 fighting in the vicinity, to the south of that road?
11 A. On the 9th of June, it wasn't possible to get there by other
12 means. The only means was personnel carrier, because there was fighting
13 near that road. But after a few days of combat, that road became
14 passable. But a little further to the west, there was a shorter road
15 which was constantly under HVO fire, and it was necessary to pass that
16 part of the road very rapidly.
17 Q. Tell me, General: After that, did you pass through Guca Gora; and
18 if so, do you remember any particular event that you would like to draw
19 the Trial Chamber's attention to?
20 A. Yes. A few days after the 9th of June, 1993, I passed through
21 Guca Gora. I came from the direction of Zenica and passed through Guca
22 Gora. I can't remember the exact date, but I remember an event
23 exceptionally well, because I was very impressed by this event. When
24 passing through Guca Gora, I was told that there were foreigners in the
25 church who wanted to destroy the church. Given the position of the BH
1 army, according to which no religious buildings should be destroyed or
2 even damaged, I entered the church immediately to verify the information I
3 had been given. And at the entrance, from the eastern side, in the yard
4 of the church, I saw a group of foreigners. I believe there were about 15
5 of them. Naturally, I don't know the Arabic language. I don't speak
6 English either. So I tried to use body language to communicate with them.
7 But very soon a young man appeared who knew the language the foreigners
8 support, and he knew my language. He had a beard. This man had a beard.
9 But I could see that this was a Bosniak, or someone from the territory of
10 Bosnia. He wasn't very educated, but he was able to help me communicate
11 with those foreigners.
12 When I asked the reason for their presence there, when I asked
13 them what they were doing, they said that they wanted to destroy the
14 church. I asked them why they wanted to do this. I asked them why they
15 wanted to destroy the church, and they said they wanted to do this because
16 they were destroying their mosques. And I said: What do you mean,
17 they're destroying your mosques? This is my state, and you have no right
18 to do this. I said that they had to respect the laws that were in force
19 in this state and that they should not destroy the church. I thought that
20 we had come to an understanding. I thought that I could leave. But then
21 I was told that they nevertheless wanted to destroy the church and that
22 they were ready to do so.
23 So for that reason, I had to return on a number of occasions. I
24 had to return to that subject on a number of occasions. It was a very
25 difficult situation. And why do I underline this? Because that was the
1 first time that I saw this group of foreigners who had gathered there, and
2 I knew that a group of foreigners had already committed crimes in
3 Miletici. So I found them quite interesting, or rather I was quite
4 interested in them. And when they said they wanted to destroy the church,
5 I became even more interested, because I wanted to know who they were and
6 what they were doing there. Naturally, they didn't want to tell me who
7 they were or what they were doing, but these discussions went on until
8 about 5.00 or 6.00. I didn't want to leave until I was convinced that
9 they really wouldn't destroy the church. And as far as I know, they
10 didn't destroy the church.
11 Q. General, I apologise, but who were these people? Was there a
12 member of the BH army among them too?
13 A. No. I didn't recognise any BH army members among them. They
14 didn't have any insignia on them. They were wearing mixed clothes. They
15 were in civilian clothes, but some had camouflage trousers, some had
16 camouflage jackets, but they weren't members of the BH army.
17 Q. General, who were you with and how were you armed?
18 A. I was with my driver at the time. I didn't have any arms on me. I
19 was unarmed. I didn't even have a pistol. But my driver had an automatic
20 rifle, and my automatic rifle was in the vehicle at that time. But I
21 didn't have any weapons on me.
22 Q. General, when that group of foreigners, after you had discussed
23 the matter for five or six hours with them, when that group of foreigners
24 confirmed that they wouldn't destroy the church, did you inform the corps
25 commander of the incident, and did the corps commander take any measures
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 for additional protection of the monastery? That is to say, did he take
2 any measures to protect the monastery against action that these
3 individuals you met there might take?
4 A. Well, naturally, I couldn't issue any orders to those men. They
5 weren't members of the BH army. I didn't believe them when they promised
6 that they would not destroy the church. On that very same day when I
7 returned to Zenica, I informed my commander, which is what I would always
8 do when I returned from the field, I had contact with my commander,
9 General Enver Hadzihasanovic, and we concluded that it was necessary to
10 provide additional security for the church. It was concluded that we
11 needed to get the military police involved to provide security for the
12 church. And as far as I know, the military police did go to the church
13 and provide security there.
14 Q. Earlier on you said that that was an area in which the 306th
15 Mountain Brigade was deployed. Tell me: When you decided it was
16 necessary to provide additional protection for the church and the
17 monastery, was the military battalion of the 3rd Corps also involved or
18 was it just the responsibility of the military police of the 306th
20 A. At the time, the military police of the 306th Brigade didn't have
21 sufficient forces, and as far as I can remember, the police from the 3rd
22 Corps of the BH army also provided security, or additional security, for
23 the church.
24 Q. You said that on the 3rd of August, together with the European
25 monitors and the priest, Stipe Radic, you visited the monastery, and on
1 that occasion you saw for yourselves that the monastery hadn't been
2 destroyed or significantly damaged. Do you believe that you did whatever
3 you could have done to protect such an important building that belonged to
4 the Croats and to the Catholic community, but was also an important
5 building from the point of view of Bosnian culture?
6 A. Well, I had some historical knowledge about the importance of that
7 monastery and about the importance of that monastery for the Croats,
8 especially for the Catholics and for the history and culture of Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina as a whole. This is why I was very glad to see that the
10 monastery had not been destroyed. And this is why I really took all the
11 measures we could take. I told you about the situation the 3rd Corps was
12 in at the time. But we believed that this was an extremely important
13 task, and we had to send additional forces to secure such an important
15 Q. Thank you, General. I'd now like to move on to another subject,
16 so could the General be provided with another series of documents now.
17 Naturally, we also have copies for the Chamber and for our colleagues.
18 General, before we move on to another subject, could you please
19 have a look at document 7, which is a document I have not yet shown you.
20 It's in the previous series of documents. It's a response from the
21 Supreme Command Staff. This series of documents has been taken from you.
22 Could we please show the document, the previous series. Could we please
23 show the witness the previous series of documents.
24 Have a look at the seventh document in the series. I would just
25 like to ask you whether this response from the Supreme Command Staff is in
1 fact based on the information that you forwarded in response to an inquiry
2 from the Supreme Command Staff, and naturally, I'm speaking about the part
3 that refers to the events in Maline?
4 A. Yes. This does confirm that.
5 Q. Thank you. You can return the documents now, and we will move on
6 to another subject now.
7 When answering questions about the events in Miletici and when
8 mentioning your visit to Guca Gora and your meeting with the Mujahedin,
9 you said that this was the first time you met a group of foreign
10 combatants, a group of Mujahedin. General, given the duties you had in
11 1992 and 1993, tell me: When did you find out that in the area of the
12 regional Territorial Defence staff and later on in the area of the 3rd
13 Corps, when did you find out that there were foreigners in that area? Who
14 were those foreigners and where did they come from? If you know anything
15 about this, please tell us.
16 A. This is a complex question and it requires a fairly elaborate
17 answer. It's true that I did find out that the Mujahedin had committed a
18 crime, and it's true that it was only in mid-June, in Guca Gora, that I
19 personally saw a group of individuals, such a group of individuals. That
20 was the first time I met them, I saw them. But to answer your question, I
21 must tell you something about the situation that Bosnia and Herzegovina
22 was in at the beginning of the war, that is to say, in 1992, which is when
23 a brutal aggression was carried out against Bosnia and Herzegovina, an
24 aggression such as we have never seen since the end of the Second World
25 War, atrocious crimes were committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ethnic
1 cleansing, rape, the destruction of religious buildings, et cetera, et
2 cetera, crimes that had never before been committed in the course of our
3 history. People from various countries throughout the world came to help
4 the people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of their nationality,
5 regardless of their faith.
6 Naturally, there were foreigners who came to Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina from various countries and for various reasons. There were
8 journalists, members of humanitarian organisations, doctors,
9 representatives of intelligence agencies, et cetera. So all those who
10 wanted to help Bosnia and Herzegovina in any way came to Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina. Naturally, I should also point out that the Republic of
12 Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time did not have secure borders, and at the
13 beginning of the war and throughout the entire wartime period, the only
14 link between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the world was via Croatia. At the
15 time, the Republic of Croatia did have a regular border service, and they
16 could control everyone going towards Bosnia and Herzegovina. They had
17 such power.
18 The roads through Bosnia and Herzegovina also passed through the
19 territory of Herzegovina, and in that area, the HVO had already taken
20 power. HVO units were already present there and they had blocked all the
21 roads leading to Central Bosnia, and no one could use those roads,
22 military bodies or civilian bodies couldn't use those roads without being
23 controlled by the HVO. They knew who was entering Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 So this is how I see the situation at the beginning of 1992, and
25 in the course of 1992. That was the situation throughout the war. So as
1 far as foreigners or humanitarian aid is concerned, they all had to enter
2 Bosnia and Herzegovina by using these roads, from Croatia. And as for the
3 first time I heard that there were foreigners in the area under the
4 Territorial Defence staff, well, that was in November 1992. That was the
5 first time I heard about this. The regional Territorial Defence staff
6 found itself in an extremely difficult situation at the time. I've
7 already mentioned this. This happened after the fall of Jajce. The
8 aggressor, after having been engaged in combat for several months, used
9 extremely modern equipment. I was in that area in the summer of 1992, and
10 I noticed that the artillery had been extensively used. I didn't even
11 know that the artillery could be used in this way up until then.
12 So naturally, the Bosniaks and the Croats were expelled from those
13 areas, and people who had come from Bosnian Krajina were also expelled.
14 So in the wider area of Travnik, or on the Vlasic plateau, there were a
15 lot of refugees. There was a lot of frustration. The army, or rather,
16 the Territorial Defence, in November, couldn't stop the aggressors'
17 advance, and the aggressor continued advancing eastwards and approached
18 the borders of Travnik municipality. In Karaula, a decisive defence of
19 great importance for Central Bosnia was being mounted, and as commander of
20 the regional defence staff, I sent all the forces I had available to that
21 area. I spent a very short period of time in that area, but I could see
22 that the inhabitants of those villages, of Karaula, were joining the
23 combatants to defend their houses, to defend their homes. This couldn't
24 be controlled. The situation was very difficult and chaotic.
25 While I was present in that area, in November, I received
1 information according to which there were units that had organised
2 themselves and had organised themselves as Muslim armed forces, but they
3 weren't under control of the Territorial Defence. I also had information
4 according to which, in some parts of Karaula, there were foreigners who
5 were armed and fighting and trying to put an end to the exodus of the
6 Serbian aggressor. But this was only initial information that I had. I
7 tried to obtain more precise information, but it was not possible for me
8 to establish who these people were, how many of them there were, or where
9 they had come from. But that was the first information I had about
11 Q. General, when the 3rd Corps was formed, did any of those
12 foreigners who participated in the fighting around Karaula, did any of
13 those foreigners join 3rd Corps units which were formed in November and
14 December 1992, according to the information that you had?
15 A. I must say that before the 3rd Corps was formed, sometime in
16 November, I said I had some information about the refugees and the
17 difficult situation. There was a group of people from the municipality of
18 Jajce, people who had come from the Krajina area. We wanted to organise
19 themselves and they suggested that we form a new brigade. I've already
20 mentioned this. These were suggestions for the formation of the 7th
21 Muslim Brigade and in November we formed the 7th Muslim Brigade. The 7th
22 Muslim Brigade was formed at the beginning of that period, but later on
23 foreigners didn't join the unit. We didn't have foreigners in the BH army
24 during that period, and those foreigners, when the corps was formed, did
25 not become part of the 3rd Corps.
1 Q. General, later on, as a member of the Busovaca commission, did you
2 obtain any information; and if so, from whom, according to which the issue
3 of foreigners should be raised? But first, let me remind you of something
4 you have already testified about. You said that after the formation of
5 the Busovaca commission, if I remember this correctly, you said that the
6 Busovaca commission was in fact the only place where it was possible to
7 seriously discuss all the complaints made and verify whether the
8 complaints were true or not. Have I interpreted your testimony correctly?
9 A. Yes. I'll now try and answer your second question. I'd also like
10 to point out that before these meetings of the Busovaca joint commission,
11 which took place in February, and later on, right up until open-armed
12 conflict with the HVO, I must point out that I had other information
13 according to which a group of foreigners was engaged in lifting the
14 blockade of Sarajevo. This was sometime in December 1992. At the time, I
15 didn't know who they were, although we tried to find this out. But I do
16 remember that a lot of those foreigners died in that combat, and they
17 blamed the command of the Territorial Defence in Visoko for the fact that
18 these men had died. They said that they had damaged the reputation of the
19 Territorial Defence. They would arrest local commander there, destroy the
20 Territorial Defence commands. The situation was very difficult. And
21 later on, they dispersed and went off in an unknown direction. I know
22 that there was an attempt to find out where they were, but this was
23 unsuccessful, as far as I know.
24 It's true that meetings of the joint commission in Busovaca, and
25 in Vitez too, the only contact with the HVO was through the joint
1 commission. Naturally, the corps command at that time also sent letters
2 of protest to the European Monitoring Mission, protests referring to all
3 the problems that we encountered in the area. I have already testified
4 about this. And naturally, through the communications established via the
5 joint commission, I tried to resolve all the difficulties and solve all
6 the problems that we had. I didn't approach any of the problems in a
7 superficial manner. I received information from people who would meet me
8 in the town while I was passing through. They would ask me to help them
9 to get their equipment returned that had been taken away from them by the
10 HVO. They asked for their parents, brothers, husbands and wives to be
11 released. Because the HVO would confiscate equipment at checkpoints, not
12 only military equipment; they would also seize lorries, vehicles that
13 belonged to civilians. So I was asked to try and get this equipment
14 returned. Naturally, there was information, there were requests for
15 others to be released, who were in prisons belonging to the HVO, either
16 civilians or soldiers. I know that foreign embassies intervened. They
17 said that some of their citizens who were involved in humanitarian aid
18 were imprisoned and should be released. They had been captured in Central
20 I can't remember all the details, but there were foreigners who
21 had to be released. There were journalists, there were members of
22 humanitarian organisations, et cetera.
23 Q. General, can you please look at document number 1, which is 0749,
24 and number 2, which is 0770. Tell me: Do these documents speak about
25 those requests that you received as the only place where issues could be
1 raised, where solutions could be sought for certain problems?
2 A. Yes. This is precisely what I've been talking about.
3 Q. In addition to these requests that you tried to address in various
4 ways, one of them being conveying those messages to the persons who might
5 be responsible and might be in the position to provide you with the
6 answers to the questions raised, did you also have some other information,
7 and did you deal with the issue of foreigners in any other way? Was the
8 issue of foreigners ever raised in the 3rd Corps before April 1993?
9 A. During that period of time, foreigners were not a problem. We had
10 many more important obligations, and what information we have before
11 April, this information did not point to any major issue that could become
12 a problem with the 3rd Corps command.
13 Q. When was it again that the 3rd Corps's attention was pointed to
14 the existence of foreigners, not only within your involvement with the
15 Busovaca commission? In April, was the activity of foreigners in the area
16 where the 3rd Corps was situated, was raised something as a problem?
17 A. Yes. A problem occurred in April, and this problem was raised
18 with the 3rd Corps. This was the kidnapping of a soldier of the HVO, and
19 I believe that this kidnapping was accompanied by some killings in Zenica.
20 The person who was kidnapped was a brigade commander, Zivko Totic, and in
21 Travnik, those were four members of the Novi Travnik Brigade. Since the
22 corps command did not have any information as to who had done that, we
23 went to -- in quest for information. At that time, we already had a joint
24 command, but there was also a joint commission, so I myself went in
25 pursuit of information. We went to look for the kidnapped members of the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 Q. At that point in time, when you were faced with the fact that an
3 HVO commander was kidnapped in Zenica and that other members of the HVO
4 were kidnapped in another place, did you in the 3rd Corps command and the
5 commander of the 3rd Corps show willingness to cooperate with the HVO and
6 the international community? Were you prepared to allow them to inspect
7 all of the areas controlled by the army and to help them investigate this
9 A. In the corps command, we did not have anything to do with this
10 kidnapping. However, the HVO and the international community blamed the
11 corps command as the body that was responsible for the kidnapping of these
12 people. These accusations were very strong on the part of the HVO, and
13 they blamed the 3rd Corps very strongly. However, according to my
14 information at the time, the 3rd Corps had nothing whatsoever to do with
15 these incidents. All the time earlier, and during these events, the 3rd
16 Corps always wanted to help the international community and the HVO to
17 learn the truth, because this was damaging for the 3rd Corps. If
18 something happens close to your house, close to your apartment, obviously
19 you have to be interested in what is going on. We were sure at the time
20 that this was not done to the 3rd Corps, because the 3rd Corps did
21 everything possible. They allowed the HVO and the international community
22 to inspect all the premises, all the facilities. We allowed them access
23 to all the premises, and we went together with them to inspect them.
24 Q. Can you tell me: Who was it who went with you to inspect the
25 areas for which the HVO claimed that members of those units might be
1 responsible for the kidnapping of these people?
2 A. I said that it was the joint commission. I represented BiH army,
3 and Mr. Franjo Nakic represented the HVO. A Spanish gentleman represented
4 the European monitors. I believe that his name was Juan Valentin, but I'm
5 not sure. And we went to all the places that were indicated by the HVO as
6 places where members of the HVO might have been taken to.
7 Q. General, did you inspect all of these premises? Did you find any
8 indication whatsoever that a member of the BiH army might have
9 participated in the kidnapping?
10 A. Yes. We inspected everything, I did, together with Mr. Nakic, and
11 members of the European Monitoring Mission were convinced that members of
12 the army were not implicated in those incidents.
13 Q. General, as you were returning from one of those inspections,
14 despite the positive attitude of the 3rd Corps when it came to dealing
15 with this issue, did you face some unpleasant events? And if that is the
16 case, can you tell us what happened.
17 A. I have already testified before this Trial Chamber about this
18 incident that took place as we were returning from our mission. The whole
19 delegation was arrested and taken to the military police of the HVO. I
20 went through very unpleasant things. I feared for my life. And if it
21 hadn't been for the European Mission, I would have lost my life there and
23 Q. After the attempt on the part of the army to investigate
24 everything that could be investigated and that any of the parties insisted
25 on, did you learn who had committed the kidnapping, and finally who
1 participated in the negotiations on the exchange of the kidnapped HVO
2 soldiers and those who were involved in the kidnapping?
3 A. Yes. The indication was that the perpetrators were foreigners,
4 and the 3rd Corps learned that from the European monitors, who told us
5 that a group of foreigners had come in touch with them and that they were
6 negotiating an exchange with them. They told us that a group of
7 foreigners en route to Central Bosnia was arrested by the HVO. This
8 happened in Busovaca and in Novi Travnik. And that is why the foreigners
9 wanted to exchange HVO members for their brethren who had been arrested by
10 the HVO.
11 I was in charge of the area of Travnik and Novi Travnik. I was a
12 member of the commission that was present during the exchange in the areas
13 of Travnik and Novi Travnik. I remember that in an UNPROFOR vehicle, I
14 went to Novi Travnik, actually, to a village called Trenica. However, I
15 did not have any communication with anybody. I just observed what was
16 going on. I know that a foreigner arrived. He spoke with the people in
17 the personnel carrier in English. They had communications means and they
18 communicated with their associates. And since I don't speak English, I
19 could not follow that conversation.
20 After a certain time, the kidnapped HVO soldiers were brought from
21 the area north-west to that village. I remember a slope that these HVO
22 members negotiated. They were then put in a personnel carrier. From
23 there, they were driven to the post office in Travnik, and from there, to
24 Vitez. And I don't know what happened next.
25 Q. General, since there were no letters involved as to who was
1 arrested or who wasn't, you were faced with the concrete activities of
2 these foreigners which had taken place very close to you. Did you react
3 to the fact that foreigners existed in the territory close to the
4 territory of the 3rd Corps, and did you draw the attention of your
5 superiors to that fact?
6 A. I know that we discussed that issue at the 3rd Corps command at
7 great length. We realised that this was a major problem for the 3rd Corps
8 command. It was our opinion that it would be very difficult to deal with
9 this issue. We did not have the accurate information as to who these
10 people were, how many of them there were and what equipment they had at
11 their disposal. We didn't even know whether they were representatives of
12 humanitarian organisations. Those problems could not be resolved by the
13 3rd Corps command.
14 Very soon after that, the chief of staff arrived,
15 Mr. Sefer Halilovic. The corps command raised this issue very seriously.
16 We told them that we wanted assistance in dealing with this issue, and we
17 told them that we did not have enough strength to deal with the issue on
18 our own. At that meeting which was held at the corps command,
19 Mr. Halilovic was informed, in part, about the problems that the 3rd Corps
20 was facing. At the time, we did not know the extent of the problem, but we
21 had a good idea of it.
22 Q. Not only you had a good idea of the problem, but you became aware
23 of its full complexity when the five people were killed in Miletici by the
24 Mujahedin. Did you again consider the issue of foreigners with the
25 superior command after that?
1 A. Yes. Some very concrete tasks were issued with that respect. The
2 306th Brigade, whose command was the closest to Miletici village, tried to
3 receive as much information as possible in order to forward that
4 information to the 3rd Command and inform them about the implications. I
5 also know that the security organs used their methods, of which I did not
6 know anything, tried to learn as much as possible about these foreigners.
7 They wanted to try and assess the situation based on that information. We
8 also turned to other people, asking for information about these
10 Q. When you were talking about these problems starting with the
11 kidnapping of Zivko Totic, to the moment when you learned that an exchange
12 was involved, did you at the time talk to Mr. Bob Stewart, the then
13 commander of UNPROFOR? Did you draw his attention to this problem that
14 had to be dealt with? Did you express the full willingness of the army to
15 help and deal with the issue of the kidnapped HVO soldiers?
16 A. I can't remember what the topic of my conversation was with Bob
17 Stewart at the time; however, I do remember that I discussed the problem
18 of foreigners with representatives of the international community. And
19 whatever proposal I received from them, I tried to implement those
20 proposals. I've already told you that I went to the site in order to put
21 certain measures in place. I don't know what Bob and I were talking
22 about; however, I do believe that I raised the issue with him as well.
23 Q. General, when you first spoke with the chief of staff, did you
24 have a clear picture as to who these people were and where they were
25 staying? Could you provide the supreme command with very precise
1 information, or did you just feel that there was a problem but you did not
2 have very concrete information about the scope of the problem?
3 A. We had information that this was a group of foreigners which often
4 changed their place of stay, which moved very quickly and very often. They
5 moved around the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and they also
6 sometimes stayed in the territory of the 3rd Corps. We could not be sure
7 of their strength, of their number, of their location. We didn't know
8 what their contacts with the civilian population were. So there was a
9 serious problem that had to be dealt with. The 3rd Corps did not have
10 enough capabilities to deal with the problem, and we said that to our
11 superior command at the first meeting that we had with the topic of
12 foreigners on the agenda.
13 Q. Do you know, General, whether any measures, any operative measures
14 were put in place within the army in order to find answers to all these
15 questions about these people who were moving or staying in the territories
16 that were covered by units of the 3rd Corps?
17 A. At the time, I personally, or the 3rd Corps command, for that
18 matter, did not have any information. We were not happy with the
19 developments, because we did not receive any concrete assistance with
20 dealing with problems. In May 1993, we held another meeting with the
21 Supreme Command Staff in Zenica, and we raised this issue again. We again
22 asked for more concrete activities to be carried out. I didn't know what
23 methods were used by the security services. Those methods were still
24 secret. As far as I know, when any investigation is carried out, nothing
25 is revealed until the investigation is completed. However, at that
1 meeting, it was suggested that two people from the supreme command should
2 deal with the issues very seriously, because the corps command was not
3 capable of dealing with the issue on their own, and that's why they asked
4 the supreme command to provide them with assistance.
5 Q. In the meantime, there were some changes in the Supreme Command
6 Staff. From that time on, did the 3rd Corps command address the new staff
7 and the new commander in a written form, asking them to deal with the
8 issue of Mujahedin, with whom you did not have any communication at all?
9 A. I know that the corps commander, General Hadzihasanovic, was not
10 happy with the measures that were put in place by the superior command
11 when it came to providing the 3rd Corps command with assistance.
12 Obviously, General Hadzihasanovic sent a letter to the superior command
13 asking for assistance and for some concrete measures. Because the problem
14 was escalating in the territory of the 3rd Corps. It was not subsiding.
15 Q. Can you please look at document number 3. This document bears the
16 number DH 165, document 1. Tell me, please, whether you know that the
17 commander sent this document, and the position that is expressed in this
18 document, or rather, the positions expressed in this document, do they
19 reflect what you in the 3rd Corps deemed important at the time? I would
20 like to draw your attention to the second paragraph, the last sentence, in
21 which the commander says that it is a known fact that some state organs
22 and high-ranking Muslim clergymen are behind them. Is this what your
23 feeling was at the time? Is that what you deemed to be the main obstacle
24 when it came to dealing with this problem that was a burning issue in your
1 A. I've already told you that I was not family with the methods used
2 by the services in their investigation and in dealing with the issues. I
3 don't know what operative methods they used. However, I'm convinced that
4 my commander had more information than me. He did ask for assistance, and
5 he did say that this issue had to be resolved at the highest level. I
6 suppose that the operative intelligence showed that those foreigners did
7 have links with the persons mentioned here, and I believe that the
8 commander was very honest in his attempt to have the problem solved. And
9 this is what I have already testified to.
10 Q. General, please tell me: Did the BritBat battalion commander
11 Mr. Duncan ask you at the time about the problem of Mujahedin? What did
12 you tell him at the time? Do you remember that meeting? Did you remember
13 the meeting with Commander Duncan, and did you tell him exactly the things
14 that you are testifying about today before this Trial Chamber?
15 A. I've said that we had a number of meetings. I don't know how many
16 meetings the corps commander had. The representatives of the
17 international community did not believe us that we were investing efforts
18 into overcoming this problem. They doubted our information. And they had
19 their reservations when we said that we were doing our utmost to deal with
20 the problem. We, however, saw that the problem was a major one, and we
21 did not have the capabilities to deal with it.
22 I remember that the UNPROFOR commander, Colonel Alastair Duncan,
23 spent some time in the 3rd Command Corps, and we told him that we were
24 investing a lot of effort. I believe that we even showed him the document
25 that we sent to our superior command. My impression was that nobody
1 believed us, that we were really doing our utmost to resolve the issue,
2 and nobody believed us when we said that this problem was a huge burden
3 for the 3rd Corps command. And I believe that this was the biggest burden
4 for the commander of the 3rd Corps, who did want to resolve the problem
5 but didn't have the strength to do it.
6 Q. General, can you please look at the document under 10. I am going
7 to ask my colleague to read to you just one part of this document. This
8 is a milinfosum. Could you please tell us whether this reflects your
9 meeting and conversation with Commander Duncan that you have just
10 described for us.
11 MR. BOURGON: [In English] Milinfosum number 046, dated 14 June
12 1993. Heading, "meetings." Paragraph 1, line 8 from the bottom: "When
13 questioned about the activities of the Mujahedin, Merdan claimed that they
14 were outside the effective control of 3rd Corps. Hadzihasanovic showed a
15 letter he had written to his higher command, seeking authority to deal
16 with what he considered to be a problem. Hadzihasanovic also made
17 continual reference to the besieged Muslim communities of Stari Vitez and
19 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Is this a document that refers to the meeting you just mentioned
21 and you testified about before this Trial Chamber?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. General, did you receive a reply to your letter from the supreme
25 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] But, Your Honours, perhaps it
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 would be the right time to have a break now.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before we have the break, I
3 would like to clarify a minor issue, because if we don't do so now, we'll
4 forget to do so later.
5 General, you said that you had shown the letter to Duncan. But
6 the milinfosum that we have here states that Hadzihasanovic showed him the
7 letter. So who in fact did this? Did you do this or General
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I said that I attended
10 that meeting, together with General Hadzihasanovic. I did not show him
11 the letter. General Hadzihasanovic did.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you for that
14 It's almost 25 to 1.00. We'll have our break now. We'll resume
15 at 1.00, and the Defence will have another 45 minutes.
16 --- Recess taken at 12.32 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 1.00 p.m.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll now resume. You may take
19 the floor.
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. General, could you please tell me: After the letter sent by the
22 3rd Corps commander to the supreme command, did a document arrive from the
23 Supreme Command Staff in the corps staff that had to do with the
25 A. Yes, I do remember something arriving from the Supreme Command
2 Q. Tell me: Did you speak about the order with the commander, and
3 did such an order cause you certain problems, place you in a dilemma? But
4 first of all, have a look at document number 4 and tell me whether this is
5 a document that arrived from the Supreme Command Staff, DH165.
6 A. This is the document that arrived from the Supreme Command Staff.
7 It was addressed to the 3rd Corps command. Its usual practice to follow
8 certain procedure after an order has been received. Naturally, in the
9 corps command, we asked ourselves how to implement this order efficiently.
10 We noticed, on the basis of the order, that there would be significant
11 problems, because it mentions the possibility of disarming men, and this
12 was quite imprecise. It wasn't put very precisely. But we thought that
13 it was necessary to make a detailed assessment as to how this order could
14 be implemented.
15 Q. General, when a commander receives an order from his superior
16 command, is it his duty to inform the command issuing the order of certain
17 consequences, or is it his duty to inform the superior command of certain
18 ambiguities in the order?
19 A. Yes. This is the usual way of proceeding in all armies throughout
20 the world, and this is how we proceeded in the BH army, especially at
21 higher levels of command and control. As I said, there is certain
22 procedure followed within the staff when an order is received from the
23 superior command. In the 3rd Corps, we assessed, on the basis of the
24 information we had -- we made assessments on the basis of the information
25 we had. We would receive information from our subordinate units, et
1 cetera. We knew that the foreigners were immobile. We knew that these
2 groups would change. We knew that the people supported them, too. They
3 would bring humanitarian aid and distribute food to the starving
4 population. They would give money to some of the population. They would
5 marry young girls, local girls. We knew that they had family relations
6 with some of our inhabitants. We knew all of this, and this is why we
7 made assessments. We tried to see what we should do if an armed conflict
8 broke out. We tried to assess whether we had sufficient forces to
9 confront all these men and the people who supported them. You know, if
10 someone is starving and receives aid in the form of flour or money, this
11 is very important for such people. The 3rd Corps couldn't provide these
12 people with food or money. But these foreigners took advantage of the
13 situation. They came for various reasons. They had various objectives.
14 They would develop certain situations in the field. These were all
15 factors we took into account. It was a complex situation. So it wasn't
16 that simple to take such an important decision, and I have mentioned this
17 on a number of occasions, I think.
18 Q. General, earlier on you said that you didn't have communication of
19 any kind, and now you're told that you should tell them to go to Igman and
20 join Zuka's unit. My first question is: Do you know who Zuka is, and
21 under whose command was that unit, and were you in a position to forward
22 such a message to people with whom you had no contact?
23 A. I have already said that we tried to establish contact with these
24 people, but they quite simply didn't want to speak to us or our
25 representatives. They [Realtime transcript read in error "we"] wanted
1 someone at a higher level, someone above the 3rd Corps command. We didn't
2 know what to do any more, because we informed the superior command of the
3 situation. And I can see in this order that this unit, Zuka's unit, is a
4 unit linked to the Supreme Command Staff. I don't know which unit is in
5 fact in question. At the time, I didn't have information about my duties.
6 I didn't know what was happening with the units that were connected to
7 the Supreme Command Staff. That wasn't my responsibility. My
8 responsibility was to take care of units that were formally a part of the
9 3rd Corps.
10 Q. General, given what you have just said, if I've understood you
11 correctly, the independent detachment, Zuka's unit, had no connection with
12 the 3rd Corps or with the 3rd Corps units; is that correct?
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 [Defence counsel confer]
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] There's an error here, page 66,
17 line 25. It said "we wanted someone at a higher level," whereas the
18 witness said "they wanted someone at a higher level." So could that be
19 corrected, please.
20 Q. General, since you were speaking about what happened in the second
21 half of June and in July, and you spoke about the problems concerning the
22 lifting of the blockade of Maglaj, and the problems around Zepce, tell me:
23 Given the comments you forwarded to the Supreme Command Staff, did the
24 Supreme Command Staff at some later point in time decide to deal with
25 those foreigners in some different way? You're aware of something of that
1 kind? And if so, could you then have a look at document number 6.
2 A. Yes, I knew that the corps commander wasn't happy with the
3 solution to the problem, and we told the supreme command that more
4 concrete measures were necessary. Towards the end of July, a document
5 arrived from the Supreme Command Staff authorising a member of the Supreme
6 Command Staff to talk to the foreigners himself, and suggest how the
7 problem with these foreigners could be solved.
8 Q. Please have a look at document 165, document 4. You've said that
9 they authorised a member of the Supreme Command Staff. Here we have the
10 name of Mr. Sakib Mahmuljin. Is that the member of the Supreme Command
11 Staff who was authorised?
12 A. Yes. Mr. Sakib Mahmuljin was authorised to talk to these
14 Q. You said he was a member of the Supreme Command Staff and the
15 document is dated the 23rd of July, 1993. At the time, was Sakib
16 Mahmuljin a member of the 3rd Corps command?
17 A. As far as I can remember, no, he wasn't.
18 Q. Do you know whether Mr. Mahmuljin acted in accordance with the
19 authority he was given, and did he make any suggestions to the Supreme
20 Command Staff?
21 A. A while ago, I said that I didn't have the competence to find out
22 what members of the Supreme Command Staff were talking about. I couldn't
23 know about the subject of Mr. Mahmuljin's discussions with the Supreme
24 Command Staff. But I do know that an order had arrived from the superior
25 command for forming an El Mujahedin detachment which should become part of
1 the 3rd Corps.
2 Q. Before I show you some other documents, General, given your
3 professional experience as an officer, could you tell me whether a
4 commander of a unit, and, for example, the commander of the 3rd Corps, on
5 the basis of his position and his legal authority, does such a commander
6 have the authority to make suggestions to his superior command?
7 A. Could you please repeat the question? I haven't understood you
8 very well.
9 Q. General, as part of the authorities of a commander, is a commander
10 also authorised to make suggestions to his superior command for the
11 formation of units, for appointing certain individuals to certain posts?
12 Would this be part of the authority that a commander has? Can a commander
13 also make such suggestions?
14 A. Yes. A commander also makes suggestions to the superior command
15 for establishing the necessary structure within units.
16 Q. Would it be necessary for a commander to be given a particular
17 form of authority if that commander already has such authority, given his
18 position as commander?
19 A. To appoint someone within the military structure, it's not
20 necessary to have any particular form of authority any additional form of
22 Q. Have a look at document number 7. You said that you didn't know
23 what Mr. Mahmuljin in fact did, but have a look at the introduction to
24 this document. Does it refer to the authority given on the 23rd of July,
25 1993, given to Mr. Sakib Mahmuljin, a member of the Supreme Command Staff?
1 A. Yes. That does refer to the authority given to him.
2 Q. Regardless of the person who signed the document, could you tell
3 us, in your opinion, who made this suggestion, given the introduction that
4 comes just before the proposal? How would you, as a soldier, interpret
6 A. Well, a superior or a high-level superior can't draft all the
7 documents. He has staff members for this purpose. So the person who
8 prepares a document to be signed usually puts his initials on the
9 document. I can see that the initials here are "PM." So the person who
10 drafted this suggestion is someone whose initials are PM. That's how I
11 interpret this document. And to the right, we can see the name of
12 Commander Enver Hadzihasanovic, but I can't see his signature here.
13 Because I'm very familiar with my commander's signature and I can
14 recognise it.
15 Q. As you have just said, it wasn't necessary for
16 Commander Enver Hadzihasanovic to have this authority mentioned in the
17 introduction, and this authority did not relate to him; is that
19 A. Yes. As a rule, that's correct.
20 Q. Thank you. Well, could we now have a look at document number 8,
21 since you said that you know that the Supreme Command Staff sent this
22 document in order -- on forming the El Mujahedin detachment. But earlier
23 on we saw a document, and you mentioned a meeting of the Busovaca
24 commission, P137 is the number of the document, for the sake of the
25 transcript, and this document, Sakib Mahmuljin is mentioned as a member of
1 the Supreme Command Staff. I'm saying this for the sake of the
3 But could you now tell me whether this is an order that was issued
4 by the Supreme Command Staff.
5 A. Yes. This is the order issued by the Supreme Command Staff.
6 Q. Please have a look at item 1, formation. General, tell me: When
7 the superior command forms a certain military unit, is it customary for
8 the superior command to mention the establishment that will be followed
9 when forming such a unit?
10 A. Yes, that's customary.
11 Q. In item 1, does it say that the superior command states that the
12 El Mujahedin detachment shall be formed according to proposed
13 establishment, which you must submit to staff for approval? Is that
14 something that you never had, in fact, within the 3rd Corps?
15 A. No, I never had this in practice. I don't know whether anyone
16 else did, but I didn't.
17 Q. And item 2, mobilisation preparations, could you comment on the
18 part where it says that men who already have weapons and other equipment
19 will become part of this detachment. Tell me: Did this unit depend on
20 the 3rd Corps for logistics, or rather, before this order was issued, did
21 any of these foreigners have to rely on 3rd Corps logistics?
22 A. As far as I know, none of the foreigners relied on the 3rd Corps
23 logistics before this order was issued.
24 Q. In the final provisions, under the final provisions, it also
25 mentions the deadline, the time by which one should start implementing the
1 order. General, tell me whether you in the 3rd Corps, once you had
2 received this order, set about implementing it. Did you try to implement
3 this order, in spite of all the shortcomings we have just seen in the
5 A. Yes. I said that the subordinate command always tried to carry
6 out the orders issued by the superior command, and the subordinate command
7 managed to carry out these orders to a greater or lesser extent.
8 Q. General, tell me: When you received this order, this decision,
9 did you find out who these people were? Were you provided with their
10 names? Did you know who they were and where they were?
11 A. I personally did not know who these people were, nor did I know
12 their names. I didn't know where they were located either. So far, I
13 have testified about what I myself saw or about things I had information
14 on. As for the exact number of people, as for their names, their
15 nationality, as for the location of their command or place that they would
16 gather, whether it was in a camp or somewhere else, as to all these
17 matters, I had no information.
18 Q. General, do you know whether, after receiving this order, you
19 attempted to issue an order for these people to be re-subordinated to
20 certain 3rd Corps formations, and do you know what happened in this
22 A. The usual procedure within the system of control and command is to
23 assign units combat tasks. We took advantage of this opportunity. We
24 issued an order for this detachment for combat operations to be
25 re-subordinated to the 306th Brigade. I think this was at the beginning
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 of September. But as far as I know, they quite simply did not want to
2 obey the 306th Brigade command. The corps command took a different step
3 to use this unit for military purposes, to establish a system of control
4 and command over this unit. I know that in September, another order was
5 drafted, according to which this El Mujahedin detachment should be
6 re-subordinated to the Bosnian Krajina operations group, in order to
7 engage the detachment in combat.
8 Q. Do you know what the result of that order was, and did your
9 subordinate units mention any problems as far as communicating with that
10 El Mujahedin detachment is concerned?
11 A. The corps command naturally received reports. I have already
12 testified about this. They received regular reports, operations reports,
13 interim reports, weekly reports, daily reports. I have testified about
14 this in detail. We had reports from subordinate units according to which
15 this detachment was used in combat in the Kruscica sector. That's in
16 Vitez municipality. These reports were discouraging for us because the
17 unit that took part in combat, and the El Mujahedin cooperated with them,
18 but they sustained heavy casualties. We sustained very serious
19 casualties. We were informed by the brigade commander, with whom the El
20 Mujahedin had cooperated, that this was the responsibility of members of
21 the El Mujahedin detachment. He said that he didn't want to go into
22 combat with these people any more, because they had requested specific
23 conditions and they didn't want to go into combat in the way in which we
24 would usually go into combat.
25 Q. Have a look at document number 9 now and tell me whether this is
1 the first attempt to place them under the command of the 306th, and as you
2 said, this was not successful.
3 A. Yes. That's the document that I've testified about.
4 Q. General, tell me: At the time when you had serious problems as
5 far as cooperating with them is concerned and heavy losses were sustained,
6 did you continue to try to place them under your command, and were you
7 successful in doing so in the course of 1993?
8 A. I remember that the security bodies kept trying to identify these
9 people. Obviously, the losses we had sustained when these men were used,
10 the losses we sustained among our ranks, indicated that the problem of the
11 El Mujahedin detachment hadn't been solved. The fact that we had received
12 an order which we were trying to implement didn't solve the problem. The
13 security bodies were still involved in dealing with this problem. But we
14 within the system of command and control tried to include the El Mujahedin
15 detachment in the system of command and control again. And towards the
16 end of the year, I think we drafted another order, according to which this
17 detachment should be placed under our command and engage in combat in
18 accordance with our criteria. I don't know whether towards the end of
19 1993 they were engaged in some other combat operations. If so, that was
20 at the local level. But in any event, I have no information about this.
21 This problem became more complex for the 3rd Corps command. Towards the
22 end of the year, the 3rd Corps command worked more intensively on this
23 problem. They were ordered to relocate, to go to Zenica. I know that
24 towards the end of 1993, the command of that detachment was moved to
25 Zenica, to a fairly wide area in Zenica, and they were placed in an
1 administration building of a pre-war company called Vatrostalna. That was
2 in an area called Podbrezje that's near Zenica. The command made an
3 attempt to control and command El Mujahedin detachment. But as far as I
4 know, it wasn't possible to establish full command and control over the El
5 Mujahedin detachment.
6 Q. Because of the lack of the effective command and control over the
7 Mujahedin, did you ask for a meeting with representatives of the Mujahedin
8 and do you know what was the result of that meeting, if such a meeting did
9 indeed take place?
10 A. At the beginning of 1994, I personally went to those offices, to
11 the premises of the Vatrostalna company in Podbrezje, in the attempt to
12 talk to these people, in the attempt to explain that they had to be within
13 the system of control and command. They were a unit of the BiH army and
14 they had to exercise orders; otherwise there would be major problems, we
15 would have to disarm them, and they would no longer be able to move
16 through the territory of the 3rd Corps. The problems persisted and the
17 3rd Corps command still emphasised those problems, although we were
18 already in the year 1994. I can't remember the exact date when this
19 happened, but it was at the beginning, sometime in March or April; I can't
20 remember exactly. The commander of the Main Staff of the BH army, the
21 army general, Delic. I did not attend those talks that Commander Delic
22 held with them. However, I understand that they were told that should
23 they not place themselves under the strict command, they would have to
24 leave Bosnia-Herzegovina. If they wanted to fight for Bosnia-Herzegovina,
25 they had to obey the rules of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Those who were willing
1 to do that could stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Those who didn't had to
2 leave. Those who wanted to stay had to provide us with their documents.
3 We had to know who they were, where they came from. Some of them did not
4 want to surrender their documents, and as far as I know, that group of
5 foreigners, some 15 or 20 of them who did not want to surrender their IDs
6 and passports, who did not want their identity to be established, had to
7 leave Bosnia and Herzegovina.
8 The minister of foreign affairs helped with that, and they were
9 expelled from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
10 Q. You said that they were transferred to Zenica towards the end of
11 the year. As of November, who was the commander of the 3rd Corps?
12 A. From November, the late General Mehmed Alagic became the
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have one more
15 topic that I wanted to discuss with the General. I will probably need
16 more than 15 minutes. Maybe the Trial Chamber will grant me leave to
17 continue until 2.00. If not, then I will reduce the number of questions
18 that I was going to put to the General.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Try to reduce the number.
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. General, just briefly: What was the attitude of the 3rd Corps
22 towards discipline among its soldiers? What measures were put in place in
23 order to discipline soldiers?
24 A. Every soldier, and especially a commander, wants his subordinate
25 units to be disciplined and to carry out their tasks in an organised
1 manner. This is a sine qua non for the exercise of any order for combat.
2 You cannot be a head of a system that does not have any discipline. The
3 corps command and Commander Hadzihasanovic invested a lot of effort to
4 introduce discipline into the units of the 3rd Corps and raise it to the
5 highest possible level, in keeping with the conditions that were in place.
6 We knew that our troops were not trained, that they were not well
7 disciplined; however, we tried to build this discipline and we did achieve
8 some successes. But there was always room for improvement. A soldier can
9 never be complacent when it comes to discipline. We trained our
10 subordinate units, starting with the brigade commander, down the ladder.
11 We took disciplinary measures. Thousands upon thousands of them, which
12 were taken within the system of command and control.
13 I know that the command of the 3rd Corps established the police,
14 the military police, in order to raise the level of discipline to the
15 highest possible level. Other bodies were also established, the command
16 of the 3rd Corps wanted and insisted on the prosecutor's office to be
17 established so that the soldiers who were not obeying orders could be
19 Q. You said that you had established the military police. Where was
20 it established? Was it only attached to the 3rd Corps, or were there
21 military police units also attached to the subordinate units of the 3rd
23 A. The military police existed at the level of the 3rd Corps. It was
24 the 3rd Battalion of the Military Police of the BiH army. There was also
25 the military police at the brigade levels. Below that level there were no
1 military police units. However, the composition of this military police,
2 depending on the level of command and control. Obviously, the 3rd Corps
3 had the highest military police unit, which was a battalion. Brigade
4 commands had military police companies or platoons. But none of the
5 brigades had a battalion of the military police.
6 Q. You were constantly engaged in combat, as you have already
7 testified. Did the 3rd Corps command designate a place where prisoners of
8 war would be kept and did you also issue orders as to how prisoners of war
9 should be treated?
10 A. Yes. The corps command did issue such orders. However, you have
11 to appreciate the conditions that prevailed in the territory of the 3rd
12 Corps. We did not even have conditions to accommodate our brigade, let
13 alone a prison. The only somewhat better conditions existed at the corps
14 command level, not at the brigades. And while I was attached to the
15 brigade, we signed a contract with the institution that had such premises.
16 This institution was the Ministry of the Interior, and we called this
17 place the KP Dom. And we used part of those premises for accommodating
18 the 3rd Battalion, the military police battalion of the 3rd Corps. The
19 brigade commands, however, did not have such premises.
20 Q. Did the commander of the 3rd Corps set out policies and issue
21 orders ordering what should be done with the prisoners of war who might be
22 captured during combat?
23 A. I personally signed some of those orders prescribing that
24 prisoners of war should be treated according to the international
25 humanitarian law and other international conventions that prisoners of war
1 should not be ill-treated, beaten, that statements should not be taken
2 from them against their will, that prisoners of war should be respected,
3 in accordance with the international conventions and the international
4 humanitarian law.
5 Q. General, tell me: What were the main tasks of the military
6 police, and were they the same for military police platoons, companies,
7 and battalions?
8 A. I'm not an expert in the matters of the military police. I know
9 that the main task of the military police, both in the corps and in the
10 brigades, is to protect people and facilities, then to investigate crimes
11 that were committed by the troops, to file reports on such crimes to the
12 prosecutor's office, to cooperate with the civilian authorities, to assist
13 the judiciary with prosecuting crimes committed by the army members. Also
14 the military police was involved in regulating traffic involving military
15 vehicles in the area of their responsibility. As far as I can remember,
16 those were the main tasks of the military police.
17 Q. When it came to disciplinary measures against the troops, tell me:
18 What should a brigade commander do should they establish that one of his
19 troops committed a crime? Was there an obligation on the part of the
20 brigade to have such a place where such soldiers who were found guilty
21 might carry out their sentences?
22 A. A brigade commander did put measures in place, but those were only
23 disciplinary measures for breaches of discipline. When it came to crimes,
24 it was not up to the brigade commander. It would be the prosecutor's
25 office who would prosecute, and other bodies would pronounce sentences.
1 I'm not an expert; however, I can say that any breaches of discipline
2 would fall under the authority of the brigade commander, and the brigade
3 commander could institute disciplinary measures, one of them being
4 custody. When crimes were involved, then it would be up to the military
5 court to institute measures in accordance with the crime committed.
6 Q. Now, this custody, or the premises that were dedicated for
7 disciplinary measures, could the local commander use such premises to
8 accommodate prisoners of war that he might have taken during combat in
9 their area? And according to the rules of the 3rd Corps, for how long
10 could such prisoners of war be kept in such premises?
11 A. Let me just explain to the Trial Chamber and say that there were
12 three levels of responsibility for a prisoner of war. The first level is
13 when a prisoner is taken in combat, and the person who had the first
14 contact with such a prisoner of war will have the right to interview such
15 a prisoner of war, but has to forward such prisoner of war to the brigade
16 command, because the brigade command is the one that can keep a prisoner
17 of war for a longer time than the officer at the first level.
18 The second level of responsibility of commands of brigades, or
19 brigade commanders, they can keep such a prisoner for a day or two, not
20 any longer. It could be longer in case the security of such -- and safety
21 of such a prisoner cannot be guaranteed during transport. As soon as that
22 is feasible, the brigade commander has to forward such a prisoner of war
23 to the corps command. I've already explained that none of the brigades
24 had conditions in place to separate prisoners of war from their own troops
25 which served sentences for disciplinary breaches. I've already explained
1 that it could arrive for the troops and the prisoners of war finding
2 themselves at the same place at the same time. That was possible.
3 Q. Was it also up to the corps commander to establish conditions
4 under which exchanges could take place? Did there come a time when a
5 commission was established with the 3rd Corps in order to deal with that
6 matter? Was it --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To your question, he has
8 mentioned three levels. The first level is the field officer; the second
9 level is the brigade commander; and what would be the third level?
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
11 Q. What is the third level of responsibility?
12 A. It is the corps command, because the brigade commander, as I've
13 already told you, has to forward such a prisoner of war to the corps.
14 Because it was only the corps that had a higher level of responsibility
15 for the prisoners of war. And let me now answer the -- your next
17 Q. Can you please answer the President's question first. Within the
18 responsibilities of the corps commander, what did these responsibilities
19 entail? Did the 3rd Corps commander, within the purview of its
20 establishment, exercise those responsibilities? Were there facilities?
21 Were there orders? In other words, what was the practice exercised
22 towards the prisoners of war at the level of responsibility of the 3rd
24 A. Once a prisoner of war reached the 3rd Corps command, we had the
25 best conditions for the accommodation of such prisoners of war. I know
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 that the 3rd Corps command did their utmost to accommodate prisoners of
2 war. The military police battalion was in charge of securing the facility
3 where they were accommodated, and they were treated in accordance with the
4 international conventions and the international humanitarian law. I know
5 that these prisoners of war were visited by various people in the premises
6 of the 3rd Corps. Some of these visits were announced, some were not
7 announced, and the feedback from the international organisations that
8 visited these prisoners said that these prisoners were treated in
9 accordance with international law. The corps command, in agreement with
10 the superior command, may keep such prisoners until their possible
11 exchange. But I also know that the 3rd Corps command established a
12 commission for the exchange of prisoners of war, and this commission
13 functioned very well. All the prisoners of war were exchanged. This is
14 what I learned from my superiors and this is what I also witnessed in
16 Q. On several occasions you have told us that your troops were not
17 well trained, were not well educated, and the efforts invested in
18 disciplining your troops, about the thousands upon thousands of
19 disciplinary measures that were put in place. Since you were aware of the
20 state of your troops, did this mean that you had to pay special attention
21 to the prisoners of war that had been taken in? Did it mean that you had
22 to control the way they were treated in the KP Dom? Did it mean that you
23 had to take more measures than it would have been customary for a
24 commander of the 3rd Corps?
25 A. I know that we did everything possible, everything we could do.
1 Let me share some interesting examples with the Trial Chamber. The
2 prisoners of war who were guarded by the military police of the 3rd Corps
3 enjoyed better conditions than our own troops or our own officers. There
4 was a time when our troops could not take a bath, whereas the prisoners of
5 war did have regular baths. Our prisoners of war had three meals a day
6 when our troops only had one a day. Our wounded, who were hospitalised,
7 had two meals a day. On the other hand, prisoners of war in KP Dom Zenica
8 had three meals a day. They had clean bed linen, which could not have
9 been provided to our troops.
10 Q. General, since you have now told us all that and you've told us
11 about the visits organised by the international organisations, can you
12 also tell us whether the prisoners of war were also visited by the members
13 of clergy? And also, did any of these who visited the prisoners of war
14 tell you that they had noticed the problem that would point to the fact
15 that you did not take any of the measures or some of the measures that you
16 were supposed to take when it came to the prisoners of war?
17 A. We tried to comply with all the international conventions and
18 rules. The prisoners of war who were in the KP Dom realised that, and
19 nobody was prevented from talking to their priests. Their families could
20 also visit them, obviously, under the scrutiny of our guards. We also
21 tried as best as we could to assist their representatives of international
22 community who visited the prison. I don't know whether there were any
23 incidents at a lower level. I'm not excluding that possibility. We were
24 trying to establish the army, and we could not know whether all of our
25 troops obeyed the rules. As soon as we heard about the breach of
1 discipline, we would deal with that. At that time, we had a myriad of
2 other problems, with the aggressor, the enemy, but at the same time we had
3 to discipline our soldiers as well.
4 Q. Thank you, General. This brings me to the end of the
5 examination-in-chief of this witness.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. Tomorrow we
7 will start at 9.00. I believe that the Defence of General Kubura intends
8 to take two hours. After that, it will be the Prosecution, and then we
9 will continue with the same witness next week. Thank you very much. I
10 apologise for having taken more of your time than envisaged, but it was
11 necessary. Thank you very much. I shall see you all tomorrow at 9.00.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.52 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Friday, the 10th day of
14 2004, at 9.00 a.m.