1 Monday, 21 March 2005
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Case
8 number IT-01-47-T, the Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 Could we have the appearances for the Prosecution, please.
12 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
13 Your Honours, Counsel, and everyone in and around the courtroom. For the
14 Prosecution, Tecla Henry-Benjamin and Daryl Mundis, assisted by our case
15 manager, Andres Vatter.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 And could we have the appearances for Defence counsel, please.
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honours. On
19 behalf of Enver Hadzihasanovic, Edina Residovic, lead counsel, and
20 Mr. Stephane Bourgon, co-counsel.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 And could we have the appearances for the other Defence team,
24 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honours. On
25 behalf of Mr. Kubura, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic and Nermin Mulalic, legal
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. On the 21st of
3 March, 2005, I would like to greet everyone present, members of the
4 Prosecution, Defence counsel, the two accused who are present, and
5 everyone else in the courtroom.
6 We'll be hearing a witness today, but before we do so, the
7 Defence will inform us of the situation with regard to tendering certain
8 documents that relate to Friday's witness. But before that, the Chamber
9 would like to render a decision concerning the names of witnesses.
10 The Defence requested the Chamber with regard to scenarios 1 to
11 15 that -- the Trial Chamber believes that this document can be attached
12 to the annex of the in my submissions of the Defence dated 22nd of
13 February, 2005, entitled "Notification by the Defence of the modalities of
14 testifying for a witness." The oral decision means that to the
15 submissions -- written submissions of the Defence, the list of the
16 scenarios 1 to 15 should be added to that list with the names of the
18 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. This concerned Witness
20 Izmirlic. In addition the legal officer informed us that Defence counsel
21 would like to have additional hearings in April. Having conferred with
22 the other Judges, we believe that these hearings could be held from the
23 4th of April to the 11th of April, since you have planned to finish with
24 your witness on 1st of April. But the additional hearings could be held
25 on Monday the 4th, Tuesday the 5th of April, the 6th of April, Thursday
1 the 7th of April, and Friday, the 8th of April. That would allow Defence
2 for Mr. Kubura to commence as scheduled with the hearing of the witnesses
3 as of the 11th of April.
4 As far as the schedule is concerned, we'll discuss the matter
5 tomorrow, since Mr. Dixon, who is not present, wanted this to be discussed
6 in his presence tomorrow, so we'll deal with the issue tomorrow morning.
7 I'll now give the floor to Defence counsel to deal with the
9 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, so that you and
10 the registrar can follow what is being said more easily, we have copies
11 for the Chamber, for the registrar, and for the Prosecutor, and I would be
12 grateful if these documents could be distributed. We also have a copy for
13 the court reporter, who requested it.
14 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters would be grateful for a copy
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Defence counsel suggests the
17 following --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I heard that the interpreters
19 also requested a copy. Perhaps it's a little too late now. But in
20 future -- very well. Please proceed.
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Defence would like to tender the
22 following documents into evidence: Documents under number 1, that is, the
23 3rd Corps command document, confidential number 17-1, dated the 27th of
24 November, 1992; document number 3, Defence number 0542; document number
25 10, 0840; number 15, 1364; 16, 1408; document number 20, Defence number
1 0746; document 23, 0881; 27, 1288 is the number of that document; document
2 number 31, 0887; document number 32, 0917; document number 33, 1469;
3 document number 41, 1702; document number 50, 0859; document number 52,
4 1384; document number 53, 1466; document number 54, 1402; document number
5 55, 1419; document number 58, 0972; document number 60, 1127; document
6 number 62, 1289; document number 63, 1290; document number 65, 1432;
7 document number 66, 1452; document number 67, 1453; document number 68,
8 1467; document number 69, 1471; document number 70, 1477; document number
9 72, 1481; document number 73, 1488; document number 75, 1548; document
10 number 76, 1553; and document number 79, which is a document from the 3rd
11 Corps security sector dated the 12th of January, 1994, ERN number 04034202
12 to 04034204.
13 Defence counsel suggests that since English translations of
14 certain documents shown to the witness are not yet available, the
15 following documents be marked for identification: Document number 6,
16 security sector, the 3rd Corps command, 03/100-61-2, dated the 19th of
17 March, 1993, ERN number 04034538 to 04034539; and document number 9, a 3rd
18 Corps command document, number 1008-3, dated the 7th of April, 1993, ERN
19 number 01298086; document number 12, 1002. I think there's already an ID
20 number for this document, and if not, we suggest that an ID number be
21 given to the document.
22 Document number 17, 3rd Corps command security sector,
23 03/100-291-3, dated the 31st of August, 1993; document number 19, 3rd
24 Corps command, strictly confidential, number 03/100-391-2, dated the 20th
25 of October, 1993, ERN number 04033475; document number 28, 3rd Corps
1 command and MUP-CSB Zenica dated the 6th of September, 1993, ERN number
2 04033406 to 04033408.
3 Document number 29, I think this number is already DH1695, so I
4 will not be tendering this document into evidence under this number.
5 Then document 71, 1478; 74, 1517; and 77, 1560.
6 Defence counsel would like to point out that the signatory of
7 some of these documents is a witness who had full protective measures or
8 someone who signed on his behalf, so we suggest that documents number 6,
9 10, 12, 17, 33, 55, and 79 be confidential, under seal. Thank you.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecution.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. The Prosecution has no
12 objection. We would, however, respectfully request perhaps from the
13 registrar clarification as to the document under number -- tab number 29,
14 1695. It's unclear to us whether that document is already in evidence.
15 If in fact it is, then -- then we have no other objections or comments.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Registrar, 1695, is it
17 already in evidence?
18 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. In
19 fact, I can confirm that document 1695 has been admitted into evidence on
20 the 18th of January, 2005 through the witness Kadric.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Registrar,
22 could you deal with the documents that are being tendered into evidence,
24 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I'll
25 go through the list in English, the list of Defence documents.
1 [In English] [Previous translation continues] ... document
2 entitled "3rd Corps command," internal reference number 17-1, dated 27th
3 of November, 1992, it's admitted into evidence under the reference DH2081
4 with an English version DH2081/E.
5 The document 542 is now admitted into evidence under the
6 reference DH542 with an English translation, DH542/E.
7 The document entitled "3rd Corps command security sector,"
8 internal reference number 03/100-61-2, dated 19th of March, 1993, bearing
9 the ERN number 04034538 is marked for identification under the reference
10 DH2082 ID.
11 The document entitled "3rd Corps command," internal reference
12 number 1008-3, dated 7th of April, 1993, with the ERN number 01298086, is
13 marked for identification under the reference DH2083 ID.
14 I'll just come back shortly to the previous document, which is
15 marked -- which is DH2082 ID, which is a confidential document.
16 Following the list, document 840 is also a confidential document
17 and is admitted into evidence under the reference DH840, with an English
18 translation, DH840/E.
19 The document 1002 is already marked for identification; however,
20 it is now turning into a confidential document.
21 The document 1364 is now admitted into evidence under the
22 reference DH1364, with an English translation, DH1364/E.
23 The document 1408 is admitted into evidence under the reference
24 DH1408, with an English translation, DH1408/E.
25 The document entitled "3rd Corps command security sector,"
1 internal reference number 03/100-291-3, dated 31st of August, 1993 is
2 marked for identification under the reference DH2084 ID. This document is
4 The document entitled "3rd Corps command, strictly confidential,"
5 that's the description of the document, number 03/100-391-2, dated 20th of
6 October, 1993 is marked for identification under the reference DH2085 ID.
7 The document 746 is now admitted into evidence under the
8 reference DH746, with an English translation, DH746/E.
9 The document 881 is now admitted into evidence under the
10 reference DH881, with an English translation, DH881/E.
11 The document 1288 is admitted into evidence under the reference
12 DH1288, with an English translation, DH1288/E.
13 The document entitled "3rd Corps command and MUP-CSB Zenica,"
14 dated 6th of September, 1993, bearing the ERN number 04033406, is marked
15 for identification under the reference DH2086 ID.
16 The document 887 is admitted into evidence under the reference
17 DH887, with an English translation, DH887/E.
18 The document 917, is admitted into evidence under the reference
19 DH917, with an English translation, DH917/E.
20 The document 1469 is now admitted into evidence under the
21 reference DH1469, with an English translation, DH1469/E. This document is
23 The document 1702 is admitted into evidence under the reference
24 DH1702, with an English translation, DH1702/E.
25 The document 859 is admitted into evidence under the reference
1 DH859, with an English translation, DH859/E.
2 The document 1384 is now admitted into evidence under the
3 reference DH1384, with an English translation, DH1384/E.
4 The document 1466 is admitted into evidence under the reference
6 The document 1402 was already admitted into evidence -- sorry, it
7 was already marked for identification.
8 The document 1419 ID is now admitted into evidence under the
9 reference DH1419, with an English translation, DH1419/E. This document is
11 The document 972 is admitted into evidence under the reference
12 DH972, with an English translation, DH972/E.
13 The document 1127 is admitted into evidence under the reference
14 DH1127, with an English translation, DH1127/E.
15 The document 1289 is now admitted into evidence under the
16 reference DH1289 with an English translation, DH1289/E.
17 The document 1290 is admitted into evidence under the reference
18 DH1290, with an English translation, DH1290/E.
19 The document 1432 is now admitted into evidence under the
20 reference DH1432, with an English translation, DH1432/E.
21 The document 1452 is now admitted into evidence under the
22 reference DH1452, with an English translation, DH1452/E.
23 The document 1453 is now admitted into evidence under the
24 reference DH1453, with an English translation, DH1453/E.
25 The document 1467 is admitted into evidence under the reference
1 DH1467, with an English translation, DH1467/E.
2 The document 1471 is admitted into evidence under the reference
3 DH1471, with an English translation, DH1471/E.
4 The document 1477 is now admitted into evidence under the
5 reference DH1477, with an English translation, DH1477/E.
6 The document 1478 is marked for identification under the
7 reference DH1478 ID.
8 The document 1481 is admitted into evidence under the reference
9 DH1481, with an English translation, DH1481/E.
10 The document 1488 is admitted into evidence under the reference
11 DH1488, with an English translation, DH1488/E.
12 The document 1517 is marked for identification under the
13 reference DH1517 ID.
14 The document 1548 is now admitted into evidence under the
15 reference DH1548, with an English translation, DH1548/E.
16 The document 1553 is admitted into evidence under the reference
17 DH1553, with an English translation, DH1553/E.
18 The document 1560 is now -- is marked for identification under
19 the reference DH1560 ID.
20 The document entitled "3rd Corps security sector," bearing the
21 ERN number 04034202 and dated 12th of January, 1994 is admitted into
22 evidence under the reference two -- DH2087, with an English translation,
23 DH2087 ID. This document is confidential.
24 [Interpretation] That concludes the list, Mr. President. Thank
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have taken note of the list,
2 Mr. Registrar. Some reservations concerning some of the numbers given to
3 the documents?
4 Mr. Bourgon, a correction perhaps?
5 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. President. Good day,
6 Your Honours. I'd just like to take advantage of this opportunity, as
7 we're dealing with the documents, to ask that the expert witness who we'll
8 be hearing in a minute be tendered into evidence now. Thank you,
9 Mr. President.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, as far as the
11 expert report is concerned, do you have any comments?
12 MR. MUNDIS: No, Mr. President.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Registrar,
14 could we have a number for the expert report, please.
15 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
16 The exhibit number will be 2088, and the English version will be
17 DH2088/E. Thank you, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before we call the witness into
19 the courtroom, let's go into private session.
20 [Private session]
11 Page 17599 redacted. Private session.
19 [Open session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in open session,
21 Mr. President.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In open session, let me say
23 that we are waiting for the witness to come in.
24 [The witness entered court]
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon. Let me check
1 that you are hearing the translation of my words in your own language. If
2 that is so, let me know, please.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can hear and understand you.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before asking you to read the
5 solemn oath, I need to know your identity. Will you tell me your first
6 and last name, the date and place of birth.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Vahid Karavelic. I was
8 born in the village of Brezovik, Visoko municipality in Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina, on the 7th of April, 1956.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current profession
11 or occupation?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Nothing in particular.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you are not active in any
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've been working on this expert
16 report for the past few months.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. But before, you must have
18 been active. What was your last professional occupation?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before starting work on the expert
20 report, the previous four or five months I was living quietly as a
21 retiree. I had retired.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you retired from what
23 position and what profession?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After serving professionally in the
25 Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And what rank were you when you
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had the rank of major general.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can we address you as "general"
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As you wish.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. General, will you
8 please also tell the Chamber, in 1992/1993, which is more than 13 years
9 ago, what were you doing? And if you were in the military, where were you
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1992, at the beginning, when the
12 aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina started, I was among the first to be
13 appointed commander of the District Staff of Territorial Defence for the
14 area of North-Eastern Bosnia, the district of Tuzla, until I was captured
15 at the end of April of the same year, and then after being exchanged at
16 the end of May of the same year I joined the staff as an operative, that
17 is, the Republican Staff of Territorial Defence of the Republic of Bosnia
18 and Herzegovina. And then with the formation of the Army of Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina, I remained in the same staff, until the 1st of September,
20 1992, as one of the operatives there.
21 From the 1st of September, 1992 until August 1993, I performed
22 the duty of deputy commander of the 1st Corps of the Army of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo. And after that, from August 1993, I was
24 the commander of that same corps, until August 1995.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. General,
1 have you testified before in an international or national court of law
2 about the facts of the events in your country in 1992/1993, or is this the
3 first time for you to testify?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have testified in many courts in
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and also at this Tribunal. I was engaged three
6 times but actually I actually testified only once, in the case against
7 Stanislav Galic.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the Stanislav Galic case,
9 were you a witness for the Prosecution or for the Defence?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was a witness for the
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And in the national courts that
13 you testified, were you a witness for the Prosecution, for the Defence, or
14 an expert witness? What was your status? And do you remember the names
15 of the cases in which you testified?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These were some sort of testimony
17 in the form of statements given and not directly in the presence of the
18 Prosecution or the Defence in a particular case. Among other things, I
19 testified about certain events in the area of responsibility of my corps,
20 such as the events in 1993, the case that we referred to as Caco and Celo,
21 problems I had with brigades in my own corps, and in that connection I
22 made statements and also in connection with a prison or detention centre
23 that existed, again in my area of responsibility in Turcin.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could you read the
25 solemn declaration, please.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
2 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, General. You may be
5 WITNESS: VAHID KARAVELIC
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before giving the floor to the
8 Defence, who will begin with their examination-in-chief, I wish to give
9 you some information regarding the way in which the proceedings here have
10 been planned for several days.
11 As you know, you have been called by the Defence as an expert,
12 and it is only in that capacity that you will be testifying. You're a
13 military expert who will be answering questions put to you by the Defence
14 counsel for General Hadzihasanovic and General Kubura, who felt that you
15 should come and make your contribution to the establishment of the truth
16 and to enlighten the Judges regarding certain points with respect to
17 military command and other points that the Defence wishes to address.
18 To do so, the Defence told you that they intend to question you
19 for a period of about eight hours, which means that your testimony will
20 spread over several days. We will begin today. I can tell you already
21 that tomorrow you will not be coming because tomorrow we have another
22 witness, who unfortunately has to be fitted in tomorrow. So perhaps today
23 you could spend some time seeing the sights and benefitting from the fine
24 weather tomorrow, and then you will be coming back on Wednesday and
25 Thursday. Friday, as you know, is a UN holiday, as is Monday, so you will
1 not be able to testify Friday or Monday, and we will resume the hearings
2 on Tuesday.
3 As I have said, the Defence will be asking you questions for a
4 period of eight hours. Upon the completion of that phase, the
5 Prosecution, which is seated to your right, will also have questions as
6 part of the cross-examinations, and the -- and they tell us that may not
7 take eight hours but a certain number of hours for their questions.
8 Upon the completion of that stage too, the Defence counsel will
9 have some additional questions for you directly linked to the questions
10 put by the Prosecution. During these proceedings, documents may be shown
11 to you and the Defence, which plans everything, has placed at your
12 disposal binders of documents which will be shown to you either for you to
13 comment on them as an expert or to make any other comments.
14 The three Judges in front of you may, if they so wish, also ask
15 you questions. As you are a military expert and as this is a case
16 involving military men, it is quite possible that Judges will have
17 questions for you too, either to clarify the documents or certain points
18 covered during your testimony or because they feel in view of your status
19 as an expert you may make some useful contributions in the interest of
20 justice. And when the Judges put questions to you, without being partial
21 to the thesis of the Defence or the Prosecution, the Judges will then
22 allow the parties again to ask you questions and then both the Prosecution
23 and the Defence will take the floor again to ask you questions for you to
24 specify any points that you may have made answering the Judges' questions.
25 Even though you are an expert, I need to draw your attention to
1 two important points of our procedure: The first is that you have sworn
2 to tell the whole truth, which excludes all false testimony, which is
3 quite obvious; and the second point is of a purely technical nature, and
4 that is that a witness may refuse to answer a question if he feels that
5 one day his answer may be used against him to incriminate him. In this
6 case, which is one we have never encountered so far, let me assure you,
7 the Chamber may compel the witness to answer nevertheless but in this
8 extremely exceptional case, the Chamber guarantees to the witness immunity
9 from prosecution, so that these words cannot be used against him. This is
10 a provision in our Rules which I wish to inform you about.
11 Even though we have thousands of documents, this is basically an
12 oral proceeding, so what counts are the words that you will speak. They
13 are translated. You see a screen in front of you, which carries the
14 English translation of your words, and it is these words that will
15 represent the totality of your testimony, hence the importance of the
16 answers you give to questions put to you.
17 Should you not understand the meaning of a question, ask the
18 person putting it to you to rephrase it in clear terms, because it is
19 important that your answers should be useful for the Judges because you
20 are, of course, here for the Judges to be able to fully appreciate certain
21 elements, which we are familiarised with through your report, but also
22 through the answers you will give to the questions. So this adds
23 importance to your oral testimony.
24 As I have said, if you don't understand the meaning of a
25 question, ask that it be rephrased for you.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 During this hearing, for technical reasons we have to make breaks
2 every hour and a half to give the interpreters a chance to rest, but also
3 the technicians to be able to change the tapes, and also for you to have a
4 rest, because as you will see, answering questions which can be highly
5 technical can be quite tiring, and -- which means that you need to take a
6 rest. Should you feel that you need longer breaks, let us know, because
7 to answer questions hour after hour, as I have said, will be absolutely
8 exhausting. I also count on Defence counsel not to shower you excessively
9 with speedy questions, so that you can answer them normally.
10 I also need to tell you - but the Defence will tell you too - as
11 you will be speaking in your own language, make a pause before answering
12 the questions so that the interpreters can interpret properly what you are
13 saying into English and French. Those would be in very general terms how
14 we intend to proceed over a period of some two weeks.
15 I shall now give the floor to the Defence counsel, who will begin
16 the examination-in-chief. And as the pulpit is in front of Mr. Bourgon, I
17 assume that he will be the one conducting the examination.
18 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Before beginning, I have two points to make: The first is that
20 there appears to be a problem with the transcript, which sometimes doesn't
21 fully reflect the words of the witness. Sometimes I had difficulty in
22 seeing the words on the screen. I don't know whether that's a technical
23 problem that I am having only or the others as well.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will monitor this closely.
25 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Secondly, regarding the duration of
1 the examination-in-chief, as I told the Chamber last week, the Defence
2 intended to use 12 hours to question the expert witness. In view of the
3 circumstances and the witness appearing tomorrow, I shall try and reduce
4 as much as possible the examination-in-chief, but I still doubt that I
5 will be able to reduce it to less than 10 hours.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Do your best,
7 Mr. Bourgon.
8 Examined by Mr. Bourgon:
9 Q. Good afternoon, General. Allow me to begin by introducing --
10 A. Good afternoon.
11 Q. -- myself and my colleague. My name is Stephane Bourgon. My
12 colleague is Mrs. Residovic. And together we represent the accused
13 General Hadzihasanovic.
14 As you know, General, this testimony of yours applies to both
15 accused, and I take this opportunity to introduce also my colleagues in
16 the back, Mr. Fahrudin Ibrisimovic and also Mr. Nermin Mulalic, who
17 represent General Kubura. Together we represent the accused, and I have
18 some questions to ask you concerning your expert report, which has now
19 been admitted before the Trial Chamber as Exhibit 2088.
20 As you have heard me mention to the Presiding Judge, I believe
21 that we will be spending together the next 10 hours or so. And as you can
22 imagine, I have a number of topics I would like to address with you.
23 Before I begin, however, I would like to ask you a few questions on your
24 military experience and your military background. Even though you did
25 enclose your biography with your expert report, I think it is important
1 that we cover some of the positions that you have occupied in order to
2 establish your background as an expert.
3 I would first like to begin by the period of your military career
4 from the beginning until the time you deserted from the JNA, and I believe
5 you deserted from the JNA in 1991. Can you, General, briefly describe the
6 positions you held from the beginning of your career until 1991.
7 A. I completed my secondary education in Visoko in 1975. From that
8 year on, I am a soldier and a member of the Yugoslav People's Army.
9 In 1979, I graduated from the military academy in Belgrade. From
10 1979 until 1982, I served as a commander of a platoon in the infantry
11 educational centre of the JNA in Bileca.
12 From 1982, after being transferred, I was commander of an
13 infantry company in Slovenia, in Pivka, close to the Italian border.
14 From 1985 until 1988, I completed a six-month course in Sarajevo
15 for the position of battalion commander in the JNA. At the same time,
16 that is, in 1988, I was appointed commander of the motorised brigade in --
17 battalion in Slovenia, and I performed that duty until 1991.
18 At the end of 1991, in mid-December, I deserted from the Yugoslav
19 People's Army, from the barracks in Tuzla, having the rank of captain
20 first class, even though while serving as battalion commander in 1989 I
21 passed the final examination for the rank of major in Belgrade. And I
22 omitted to mention something that may be important, and that is that in
23 1991, after the attack by the Yugoslav People's Army against the Republic
24 of Slovenia on the 26th of June, shortly after that, that is, on the 20th
25 of August that same year, together with my unit, I was relocated from
1 Ljubljana to the central part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is, the barracks
2 in Zenica. Two months after that, I was relocated with my unit from the
3 Zenica barracks to a new barracks in North-Eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina,
4 in Tuzla. And in mid-December, it was from there that I deserted.
5 Q. Thank you, General.
6 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Mr. President, if I may make a
7 remark regarding the transcript, from which we cannot see the words of the
8 witness. Perhaps it would be best to have a break now to deal with the
9 problem before we come to questions of substance, unless it's a problem
10 that cannot be resolved.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And on the other screen, are
12 you having the same problem?
13 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Yes, on all three screens here.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In that case, we'll have the
16 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's best for us to have the
18 break now, to have the technician look at it.
19 So we'll resume at about 20 to 4.00.
20 --- Recess taken at 3.13 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 3.46 p.m.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll now resume. I believe
23 that the technical problem has been resolved now.
24 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. Welcome back, General. Just before this technical break, you
1 informed the Trial Chamber of your military activities during the period
2 from the time you joined in 1975 until the time you deserted the JNA in
3 1991. I would now like you to -- to ask you to tell us why you deserted
4 the JNA at that time.
5 A. I said that I was a member of the JNA from 1975 until the end of
6 1991. Right up until 1991, I felt that the JNA really was my army. In
7 1991, numerous problems arose probably as a result of what had happened in
8 the 1990s, over the last few years, the results of political problems in
9 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
10 In 1991, when Slovenia was attacked, on the 26th of June, I said
11 that I was the commander of a motorised battalion at the time and I saw
12 and observed many things, and I must admit that I was very surprised by
13 what I saw. From day to day, from the summer of 1991 onwards, the JNA was
14 heading in one direction. Its interest was to fight for one of the
15 peoples in the former Yugoslavia, that is to say, for the Serbian people.
16 This is something that I felt, among other things, in many of the
17 activities carried out in the battalion. I had a lot of officers, members
18 of various ethnic communities from the former Yugoslavia, and the relation
19 to the Serbian officers was different with regard to the relation to
20 officers of other ethnic communities. When I moved from Ljubljana to
21 Zenica on 20th of August of that year, I had a deputy, an officer, who was
22 three or four years younger than me. His name was Vinko Pandurevic. And
23 under no circumstances could he go to the command staff academy in
24 Belgrade before me. But when we arrived in Zenica, without any
25 explanations he left his as my deputy and went to the Command Staff
1 Academy in Belgrade. Then the non-Serbian officers started leaving and
2 soon the soldiers started leaving.
3 When I was transferred two months later, on the 20th of October,
4 to Tuzla in order to be sent with the battalion to engage in combat in
5 Vukovar, in the north-eastern part of Croatia, where I was to replace a
6 battalion that had already been sent there from the barracks in Tuzla, in
7 the course of those preparations -- and I'll provide you with one
8 example: I was woken up by the noise in the Tuzla barracks. When I woke
9 up, I went outside, joined the mass of troops outside, and I could see
10 with my very own eyes that there were many soldiers with signs on their
11 caps that we called cockades. Among them, I could see my deputy, Vinko
12 Pandurevic. And, in fact, when leaving for Belgrade, the Command Staff
13 academy ceased to function then. He was deployed. He took a unit from
14 the central part of Serbia, and took them to Knin in the Republic of
15 Croatia to engage in combat there. And that evening he was just passing
16 through Tuzla, and it was at that time, although I had previously had
17 occasion to have such experience, it was at that time that I finally
18 realised that the JNA was no longer my army, that the JNA was not
19 defending my interests as one of the citizens of the former Yugoslavia.
20 Shortly after that event, I deserted and left the JNA. Up until
21 that point in time, up until the time when I deserted, over 70, even 80
22 per cent of all the officers and soldiers of non-Serbian ethnicity had
23 already deserted my battalion. It's difficult to provide you with a
24 number, but it was between 70 and 80 per cent.
25 Q. Now, General, after deserting the JNA in 1991, what exactly did
1 you do? And if you did join a different army, what positions did you
3 A. When I deserted the JNA in mid-December 1991, I wanted -- a list
4 was printed for me. I started looking for a new job for a certain period
5 of time. While looking for a new job, I was sent to look for another job
6 through my father and other friends in the police. When looking for a
7 job - and I thought I had found a job - when looking for a job, I attended
8 a meeting towards the end of 1991 and at the beginning of 1992 with Sefer
9 Halilovic and Karisik Kemo. These two people were at the head of the
10 Patriotic League here that had to a certain extent already been
11 established. I was asked whether I wanted to participate in the
12 preparations or to participate in preparing the citizens of Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina to mount the defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina if Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina was attacked.
15 I accepted that. And after a certain period of time in January
16 1992, they sent me to be a coordinator in North-Eastern Bosnia, in the
17 Tuzla area. And in January, February, and March, that was where I worked
18 as a coordinator of the Patriotic League for the Tuzla area that covered
19 the territory of 19 municipalities. I tried to establish contact with
20 individuals and prepare all the citizens of that area to mount a defence
21 if an attack was carried out on Bosnia and Herzegovina.
22 I continued doing this until the 6th of April, 1992, when Bosnia
23 and Herzegovina was recognised as an independent state by the
24 International Community, and shortly afterwards, on the 12th of April,
25 1992, when a new Territorial Defence for the Republic of Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina was established and when its Republican Staff was established,
2 I was appointed as commander of the Tuzla District Staff -- or rather, of
3 the north-eastern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
4 Q. Now, General, can you tell the Trial Chamber what happened to you
5 personally after you became the commander of the District Territorial
6 Defence Staff in Tuzla.
7 A. Up until then, I was in that area. From time to time I received
8 certain instructions from political -- from the political leadership of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I visited municipalities in the territory of
10 North-Eastern Bosnia and I established contact with all the citizens in
11 order to ensure that they would establish contact with people, with
12 citizens, so that if Bosnia and Herzegovina was attacked, they might be
13 prepared to a certain extent and ready to defend their villages, their
14 houses, their towns, and finally their state.
15 On the 1st of April, 1992, when Bosnia and Herzegovina was
16 attacked -- or rather, Bijeljina was attacked, which is a town in the
17 north-eastern corner of Bosnia and Herzegovina, when Arkan's men entered
18 that town, I tried to defend it. I wasn't successful in doing so. And
19 after Bosnia and Herzegovina had been recognised on the 6th of April, two
20 days after its recognition, on the 8th of April, 1992, an even fiercer
21 attack was launched on Zvornik, which is more to the south of Bijeljina,
22 and it is also at the border with the Republic of Serbia. I defended that
23 town for a full three weeks. And on the 26th of April, it fell. We
24 failed to defend it. In the meantime, on the 12th of April, I was
25 appointed as the commander of the Regional Staff of the Tuzla Territorial
1 Defence, and then on the following day, on the 27th of April, 1992, since
2 in North-Eastern Bosnia there was still a lot of units in JNA barracks in
3 Tuzla and around Tuzla and in other towns, the political and military
4 situation was very confused and uncertain and couldn't be predicted. And
5 given various circumstances, in response to Osmo Dzudzakovic's [phoen]
6 appeal to come to a meeting with him at 12.00, because of problems at the
7 military airport, Zivinice near Tuzla - their movement had been blocked
8 and supplies had been blocked for their forward post - I went to that
9 meeting. The deputy commander, Major Pracar, was in his office with two
10 military policemen. When I entered there, I was captured, disarmed, and
11 rapidly taken to the Dubrava airport, and then I was transferred by
12 helicopter in Belgrade that very same afternoon, and then I was
13 transferred from Belgrade in a vehicle to a prison in Sremska Mitrovica.
14 I remained in the prison in Sremska Mitrovica until the 9th of
15 May. I was processed there by three colonels. Finally, I was informed
16 that I would probably be given the death penalty, that I was asked how I
17 would like to be executed. I said that I would like to be executed by a
18 firing squad. And suddenly on the 9th of May I was transferred to
19 Belgrade again, and then I was transferred by helicopter from Belgrade to
20 Pale in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to Pale, above Sarajevo.
21 On the 13th of May, 1992, I was exchanged at Stup, a place in the
22 town of Sarajevo. I was exchanged thanks to an event that occurred on the
23 2nd of May, 1992 in Sarajevo. Then Alija Izetbegovic was captured by the
24 JNA. He was at the airport. He was captured. He was arrested when
25 returning from negotiations in Geneva. When he was exchanged with the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 commander of the second military area, General Kukanjac, there was the
2 famous event of the 2nd of May in Sarajevo on which occasion about 200 JNA
3 officers were captured, one of whom was a key officer, one of the
4 assistants of General Aco Vasiljevic, who was the top man in the security
5 service in the JNA.
6 To get their officers back, I had the opportunity of being
7 exchanged, although I knew nothing about this affair.
8 Q. Thank you, General. I would like now to ask you what happened
9 after you were exchanged. But there is one issue you did mention, called
10 the Patriotic League. And I would simply like to ask you to provide, if
11 you can, further information on the Patriotic League. When did you join
12 this organisation? What is it and what happened to the Patriotic League
13 once Bosnia and Herzegovina became a sovereign state?
14 A. The Patriotic League was an informal political and military
15 organisation. It hadn't been organised or structured in any particular
16 way. It was an organisation that people would join exclusively on a
17 voluntary basis. Through the work of the Patriotic League and through
18 certain meetings held at high levels, certain conclusions were adopted.
19 In all those conclusions, in all the assessments that were made, it was
20 stated that the Patriotic League was being organised in case Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina was attacked.
22 At one of those meetings or at one of those briefings, held on
23 the 6th and 7th of February in the village of Mehurici, commanders of
24 Regional Staffs of the Patriotic League were assembled. This meeting went
25 on for 24 hours in one of the houses and the conclusion and the platform,
1 if that's what we can call it, which is a document contained among the
2 documents we have here, says that the Patriotic League must be organised
3 to a certain level for one basic reason, because Bosnia and Herzegovina
4 will most probably be attacked. Its organisation should include all the
5 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its main objective in the case of
6 an attack, and if it is necessary to defend Bosnia and Herzegovina, its
7 main objective is to -- is for it to be transferred into the future
8 defence force for Bosnia and Herzegovina. It should defend Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina, a country that belongs to all its citizens, regardless of all
10 the differences among its people.
11 Q. Thank you, General. And when you became the commander of the
12 District Territorial Defence Staff in Tuzla or after the independence of
13 Bosnia and Herzegovina, what happened to the Patriotic League?
14 A. When Bosnia and Herzegovina was recognised as an independent
15 state on the 6th of April, 1992, as early as the 8th of April, the
16 Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina issued a decree according
17 to which the name of the republic was to be changed. At the same time,
18 the old Republican Staff of the Socialist Republic was to be disbanded and
19 a new Republican Territorial Defence Staff for the Republic of Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina was to be established. On the following day, a new decree was
21 issued, according to which an armed force was being established under the
22 name of the Territorial Defence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
23 In that decree, the following was stated, among other things: Any armed
24 forces in existence to that -- up until that point in time had to join the
25 Republican Regional or -- and Municipal Staffs -- or rather, they had to
1 join the command of those staffs at those three levels, and they had to be
2 placed under the unified command of the Republican Staff of the
3 Territorial Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The deadline to do this
4 was the 15th of April, 1992. Whoever failed to place themselves within
5 that chain of command would be subject to legal sanctions.
6 After the 15th of April, 1992, the Patriotic League no longer
8 Q. And, General, can you briefly describe the state you were in when
9 you were exchanged in Sarajevo and what exactly you did after being
11 A. When I was exchanged on the 13th of May, 1992 in Sarajevo, I
12 first spent some time in the hospital in order to recover from the
13 consequences of the time I had spent in prison in Sremska Mitrovica. Then
14 I joined the Republican Staff of the Territorial Defence under the command
15 of General Hasan Efendic, the first commander of the Republican Staff of
16 the Territorial Defence. After Sefer Halilovic had assumed his duties --
17 after Hasan Efendic had assumed his duties, I continued to perform these
18 duties and I continued to work in the staff in that position, and then
19 when the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was established, I remained one of the
20 operative officers in the staff up until the 1st of September, 1992, which
21 is when I was appointed as the deputy commander of the 1st Corps of the
22 Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
23 Q. Thank you, General. Now, I read from your biography, which is
24 attached to your report, that in September, as you say, of 1992 you became
25 the deputy commander of the 1st Corps, that you then became the commander
1 of the corps in July 1993, and that you remained in this position until
2 August of 1995, when you became the commander of the West Bosnia Command,
3 and that at that moment or towards the end of 1995 you were appointed as
4 the chief operative administrator for politics, planning, and operations
5 of the joint command of the Bosnia federation army. Is that correct?
6 A. Yes. But during 1995, among other things, for a short period of
7 time I served as commander of the West Bosnia Command in Novi Travnik.
8 Q. And according to your biography, in 1993 you were promoted
9 brigadier general, and in 1999 promoted major general in the federation
10 army. Is that accurate?
11 A. In December 1993, to the rank of brigadier general; and in July
12 1999, to the rank of major general, yes.
13 Q. During your career, General, can you tell the Trial Chamber
14 whether you attended any training or any courses on either military
15 command or management.
16 A. In the post-war period, I was sent to attend a large number of
17 courses and seminars organised by NATO and other international
18 organisations. Among other things, from December 1997 until May 1999, for
19 a year and a half almost, I stayed in the United States of America, for a
20 while in San Antonio, Texas, and the rest of the time in Monterrey in the
21 Marines' postgraduate school, and attended courses there
22 entitled "Material management," that is, the use of the country's
23 resources for the country's defence.
24 Then I participated in many NATO courses; among others, a course
25 in Garmisch Parten Kirchen, and then a number of other such courses in
1 Norway, Croatia, Germany, et cetera.
2 Q. In your biography --
3 A. And a large number of seminars organised by the Partnership for
4 Peace that were held from time to time, and they overlapped or followed on
5 to the previous courses that I mentioned.
6 All these courses and this postwar training up until the time I
7 retired were devoted to senior management and the establishment of peace
8 in the period of the former Yugoslavia, or broader than that, in the
9 Balkans and Europe.
10 Q. Thank you, General. In your biography, it is stated that you
11 obtained a masters degree, a Masters of Science, in 1992 at the University
12 of Sarajevo at the Faculty of Political Science. Is this accurate?
13 A. No, not in 1992 but in 2002. That must be a mistake.
14 Q. This is what it is -- this is your biography in the expert
15 report. That says "1992." So did you obtain a masters degree? And if
16 so, when?
17 A. I did obtain a masters degree at the Faculty of Political Science
18 in Sarajevo in 2002, in the month of July. And I obtained the title of
19 Master of Political Sciences.
20 Q. Now, General, did you write a thesis as part of your masters
21 degree? And if so, what was the title or the subject of your thesis?
22 A. The title of my masters thesis was "Political and military
23 preparations for the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina and their
24 implementation in the area of North-Eastern Bosnia, 1991-1992."
25 Q. And your diary appears -- sorry, your biography also states that
1 you were awarded the Golden Model of Bosnia and Herzegovina for your
2 contribution to the Patriotic League and also the Order of the Golden Coat
3 of Arms with Swords for your service in the army. Can you confirm having
4 received those two awards?
5 A. If I may add, I received many tokens of tribute during my life
6 and work in the Yugoslav People's Army as well, while in the Patriotic
7 League it is true that I received the Golden Relief of Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina; however, this cannot be said to have been awarded by the
9 Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina but by a lower-level body, and the Order
10 with the Coat of Arms of Bosnia and Herzegovina with Golden Swords was the
11 order that I received in 1997, awarded by the president of the Presidency
12 of Bosnia and Herzegovina for my contribution to the defence of Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina in the period from 1992 to 1995. And in the postwar period, I
14 was awarded on several other occasions.
15 Q. General, in your expert opinion, you quoted a book which I
16 believe you have written. Can you briefly tell us what this book is and
17 when it was written.
18 A. I published a book entitled "The aggression in Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina, 1991-1992." That book is actually the result and product of
20 my masters thesis.
21 Q. Now, before I move on to my first topic, General, given that you
22 were the commander of the 1st Corps, I would like you to briefly describe
23 the situation you were in as the commander of the 1st Corps in 1993 and
25 A. 1992 and 1993 in Sarajevo, where at first I was a member of the
1 Republican Staff of the TO and then deputy commander of the 1st Corps and
2 then, in 1993, the commander of the 1st Corps, and what is important for
3 the second half of 1992 and the beginning of 1993 is that the situation in
4 Sarajevo could be described as follows: That the political system of the
5 state to a high percentage - it is difficult to say exactly to what
6 extent, was it 60, 70, or 80 per cent - had been destroyed and did not
7 exist as such. The country's defence system could be described similarly
8 or even worse than that, for one simple reason, that most of the Serb
9 population had left the political structures of the state, as well as the
10 military defence structures, and all of this was accompanied by an exodus
11 of the Croat population as well, though in smaller numbers. This shows
12 that from the standpoint of the organisation of the defence of the city of
13 Sarajevo during the summer of 1992, the situation was extremely confused,
14 disoriented, that one hardly knew who was giving orders and who was
15 supposed to carry out those orders, who was where. There was no
16 interconnection between numerous and, let me say, diverse units that were
17 formed immediately in April 1992 in streets, in districts, on various --
18 in various parts of the city of Sarajevo; whereas, the enemy, even before
19 April 1992, had taken control of positions around the town of Sarajevo of
20 all dominant features, so that the town of Sarajevo, as the capital of the
21 State of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was completely encircled and blocked, so
22 that only birds could leave or enter the town of Sarajevo.
23 Simultaneously with the encirclement and blockade of the town of
24 Sarajevo there were still many barracks full of soldiers of the Yugoslav
25 People's Army. Among them there were good interconnections, and in view
1 of the spread of hostile groups in the town of Sarajevo, as the overall
2 objective was in a brief period of time, in a matter of days or weeks, to
3 act simultaneously from the outside and from the inside, the barracks and
4 its forces deployed within the city of Sarajevo, and by combined action
5 for the town to be brought into an impasse, for it to capitulate, or,
6 rather, for the political leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time
7 to be toppled and for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be proclaimed a component
8 part of a new Yugoslavia or, in other words, of a greater Serbia.
9 The key point of this period was the 2nd of May, that I referred
10 to a moment ago. Later, during the summer of 1992, the District Staff of
11 the Territorial Defence of the city of Sarajevo, which was functioning at
12 the time, headed by Mustafa Hajrulahovic, nicknamed Talijan, endeavoured
13 to link together numerous and diverse small units and all this was very
14 difficult to achieve because all those units needed to be linked up. The
15 units had to be enlarged, and a single chain of command established. And
16 when we formed the 1st Corps on the 1st of September, 1992 and when a
17 number of people were immediately appointed to the 1st Corps command, we
18 had to work hard and long to achieve that.
19 However, progress was evident as time passed, but I can say with
20 full responsibility that this process was not completed satisfactorily
21 until perhaps the end of the next year, that is, 1993, which only shows
22 how complicated and complex an issue this was, that is, the issue of
23 organising and defending the town of Sarajevo as the centre of the country
24 and of the state, because had the city of Sarajevo fallen, that would have
25 most probably marked the end of the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1 Q. General, given what you have just mentioned, with respect to the
2 consequences, had the city of Sarajevo capitulated to the enemy, I would
3 like to ask you: From a corps commander's perspective, what were your
4 priorities and what were your goals and how was it to be a corps commander
5 in such a situation?
6 A. If I may put it simply: If the war were ever to be repeated, I
7 would never at any cost agree to take on such a position. In those days,
8 for me as deputy commander of the 1st Corps and later as the commander, my
9 main priority was to establish contacts as soon as possible with all those
10 numerous units in the city of Sarajevo that I just mentioned or -- also,
11 outside the city of Sarajevo, as the 1st Corps also had responsibility
12 beyond the actual circumference of the city of Sarajevo itself. And then
13 once contact is established with those units, to unite them to form larger
14 units, because that is the only way to conduct a struggle successfully,
15 that is, to achieve defence.
16 I must admit that there were numerous situations that I
17 personally and my command managed to deal with that I myself was not aware
18 of probably due to luck. I can give you just a few examples.
19 When forming these larger units out of smaller ones, what was our
20 main problem? The problem lay in the fact that these numerous units had
21 been formed on a voluntary basis, so that in each street or maybe district
22 of Sarajevo an individual would achieve some sort of authority and he
23 would rally units around him, and that is how a unit was formed. Whether
24 it was called a platoon, a squad, or a company, or a detachment, later
25 battalions, and so on. The question never arose nor was it possible to
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 ask whether those people were qualified and capable to lead such units;
2 however, when the time came to unite units, to form larger ones, it was
3 very difficult to talk to these people, and in many situations almost
4 impossible to tell this person that his unit, be it a platoon or a
5 detachment or a company, have to join into a higher-level unit, and that
6 someone else would be his superior, because many such people considered
7 themselves to be untouchable. The only people who had the ability to
8 lead, they had men following them and they thought they could do whatever
9 they wanted.
10 For a long time, this situation had it repercussions throughout
11 the city of Sarajevo in 1992 and to a great extent in 1993 as well. By
12 hard work and tireless efforts, this transformation was carried out.
13 There was simultaneous transformation of units with simultaneous
14 daily contact in order to defend the city of Sarajevo. During 1992, the
15 focus of the aggressor's forces around Sarajevo was to cut the city of
16 Sarajevo into several parts because they realised that it would be hard,
17 or they soon realised that it would be hard for them to capture the city,
18 as it was an urban inhabited area, and according to all principles of
19 military science, the most difficult kind of combat is in inhabited areas.
20 And that is why they wanted to cut up the town into parts and then stifle
21 one by one.
22 Shortly after that, we encountered very serious problems with
23 food, water, armaments, ammunition, communications means, and everything
24 else that is necessary for a formation such as a corps; in this case, the
25 1st Corps. By tireless daily struggle and through incessant efforts by
1 all, the struggle was waged and the forces were organised and enlarged,
2 and these activities continued into 1993, and I can say on this occasion
3 that I just managed to achieve a satisfactory level of organisation of my
4 corps in October or maybe November 1993, because in October, by force of
5 arms, I placed under my command two of my brigades, which had tried to
6 break off from the command, and shortly after that, at the beginning of
7 November 1993, a Croatian brigade, called King Tvrtko, or rather, an HVO
8 brigade, which was in Sarajevo but not under my command, I managed to
9 place by force of command that brigade too under my command and within my
10 chain of command so as to have a united struggle for the defence of the
11 capital of the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
12 Q. Thank you, General. I just have one very quick question before
13 moving on, and that is: How many subordinates did you have as commander
14 of the 1st Corps?
15 A. The 1st Corps of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina was one of the largest corps in 1993. Let me speak about
17 halfway into the war. I had three operative groups, each group consisting
18 of five, six, seven brigades, and a number of independent units. For the
19 sake of an example, in the summer of 1993 the 1st Corps numbered more than
20 75.000 men. If I were to tell you how many officers it had, lower level,
21 senior level, non-commissioned officers, that would be hard for me to give
22 you the figures now. I had a lot of people linked to me along the chain
23 of command, and it was very difficult for me to command the 1st Corps of
24 the ABiH during the war.
25 Q. General, based on your experience as the commander of the 1st
1 Corps defending the city of Sarajevo during the war, bearing in mind your
2 experience in the JNA from 1975 to 1991, and considering the years you
3 spent after the war in the Army of the Federation as the then-chief of
4 operations and training, do you feel, General, that you are qualified to
5 testify on as an expert witness on the exercise of command in the military
6 at senior levels?
7 A. That's a difficult question for me because I wouldn't like to
8 speak about myself, so it's hard for me to give you a direct and short
9 answer. However, I accepted to prepare this expert report precisely
10 because of what I have said up to now, in fact, believing that what I have
11 experienced in the course of my career and especially bearing in mind the
12 fact that I exercised the duty of commander of the 1st Corps, which in my
13 view was a very complicated and difficult assignment, I believe that I
14 would be able to present arguments, facts, and descriptions of all the
15 events covered by the report and also through answering questions put to
16 me in this room, that my answers and my comments about the actual events
17 and how they took place and when and what the overall situation was like,
18 that these answers may be of considerable usefulness to the Trial Chamber
19 in their further determinations and assessments of everything covered by
20 the expert report and answers to questions put to me here. This is what
21 guided me and prompted me to accept this assignment, and that is what I
23 Q. Now, General, as you know, one of the accused in this case is
24 General Hadzihasanovic, and you know that General Hadzihasanovic was the
25 commander of the 3rd Corps during part of the period during which you were
1 the commander of the 1st Corps in the same army. My question to you is:
2 Do you believe that it is possible for you to be independent enough to
3 offer an objective military expert opinion in this case?
4 A. With reference to what I have just said, I believe that I could
5 say yes in response to your question. In most of my responses to the
6 questions put to me and in accordance with what I put down in the annexes,
7 there are arguments presented on the actions that I had to take as a corps
8 commander, among other things, and I was in a very similar situation, if
9 not in an identical situation, to that of the commander of the ABiH 3rd
10 Corps. And I would repeat my conclusion that in the explanations I
11 provide of all of these events and in the explanations of all the duties
12 and obligations that I had as a corps commander and that all others had in
13 the chain of command, but also with reference to the duties and
14 obligations of superiors and of the state, whose duty it was to provide an
15 operative unit such as a corps with many things, with reference to all of
16 these facts I will try to depict the truth of the events -- I'll try to
17 depict what actually happened, and I hope that this will be of much
18 assistance to this Trial Chamber. And in my opinion, I don't think that
19 there's a direct relation. I don't think whether I can be sufficiently
20 objective or neutral with regard to the 3rd Corps commander is an issue.
21 Q. General, how well do you know General Hadzihasanovic and for how
22 long have you known him?
23 A. I have known -- or rather, I met General Hadzihasanovic for the
24 first time in July -- or in June or July of 1992 in the staff of the
25 General Staff of the ABiH in Sarajevo because in the summer of 1992 we
1 were there as operative officers for a certain period of time. We were
2 both there at the same time. From that point in time onwards, we would
3 occasionally be closer to each other; however, we weren't often in the
4 immediate vicinity of each other. As operative officers in that staff up
5 until -- we were there until the 1st of September, 1992, and then as of
6 the 1st of September, 1992 we were appointed to the command of the 1st
7 Corps of the ABiH. He remained there in the command of the 1st Corps for
8 two to three months, I think -- for two months. And at the beginning of
9 November 1993, he left the 1st Corps command and went to Central Bosnia,
10 where he assumed other duties, so that in the course of the war in 1993
11 and in 1994 we did not see each other very often.
12 When he was appointed to a higher-level duty later on, when he
13 was appointed as Chief of Staff in the Main Staff of the ABiH,
14 occasionally in the course of 1995 we had more frequent contact, but
15 through the chain of command, which is a result of the structure and
16 organisation of the ABiH. And in the post-war period, we would
17 occasionally see each other, but rarely. I think that
18 General Hadzihasanovic respects me and I respect him too. We aren't close
19 friends. Our families did not visit each other. We would only see each
20 other occasionally and, in fact, fairly rarely.
21 Q. I have one last question for you, General, concerning your
22 military background: I see from everything that you have told us today
23 that you have been a battalion commander and that after being commander of
24 the District Territorial Defence Staff, you went on to become a corps
25 commander. So, in fact, I don't think that you ever held the position,
1 for example, of brigade commander. Now, do you think that this is
2 something missing in your experience in order to be able to assist the
3 Trial Chamber in this case?
4 A. In the career of each and every officer, passing through all the
5 command levels has a certain importance. It's important to have various
6 command duties, until the officer becomes a general and has certain
7 extremely important, not the say the most important, military duties to
8 perform. However, I believe that establishment duties are extremely
9 important. A commander of a company, the commander of a battalion has
10 very important duties to perform. I couldn't say that the established --
11 establishment duty of a brigade commander is not very important. On the
12 contrary. And since afterwards I was immediately appointed as the 1st
13 Corps commander, the lack of experience as a brigade commander is
14 something that I think that I compensated for being -- by performing the
15 duties of an operative officer in the Main Staff of the Territorial
16 Defence -- or rather, in the Main Staff of the ABiH in the course of the
17 summer of 1992. And in addition, I performed the duties of deputy
18 commander of the 1st Corps for one year. I believe that those duties that
19 I performed compensated perhaps for my lack of experience. However, this
20 is quite justified in wartime conditions, and I personally believe that in
21 terms of military knowledge, military experience, in terms of what I went
22 through in the course of the war, this did not post a significant problem.
23 The fact that I never performed the duties of a brigade commander was
24 never a problem.
25 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... was put to you by the
1 Presiding Judge. You answered that you had been working for some time on
2 the preparation of this expert report. And I note that in the first part
3 you explain how this report was written. Can you explain to us how and --
4 how you went about to draft this report.
5 A. In August of last year, towards the end of August of last year, I
6 retired and I ceased to work -- or to be a member of the military. Even
7 before I ceased working in the military, Mrs. Residovic requested that she
8 see me to speak to me in her office in Sarajevo. We spoke about whether I
9 would agree to start work on preparing to draft this report. I'm not
10 sure, but I don't think I immediately accepted the offer. There was
11 another meeting, at which I accepted the offer. At the same time, while I
12 was still a member of the military, I started working on this expert
14 After I had retired, I got more involved in working on this
15 expert report. I must admit that all the work carried out to draft this
16 report was very difficult and not gratifying because of the extensive
17 nature of the questions and everything else that I was requested to
18 analyse, review, read, et cetera, et cetera.
19 I worked insistently over the last few months of last year. I
20 made a first draft of the expert report, which consisted of over 200
21 pages, if I'm not mistaken. And then I was asked to shorten the report,
22 to reduce it to 150 pages or less, which is what I did. On a number of
23 occasions, I had forwards meetings with Mrs. Residovic and yourself or I
24 had contact with Mrs. Residovic and yourself in the course of preparing
25 this report, and this continued until the final version of the report was
2 Q. And, General, did you receive any assistance in the period during
3 which you drafted this report?
4 A. Indeed I did. For the most part, I worked alone with three
5 assistants of mine: A typist, an assistant to help me with the graphics,
6 with computer graphics. Mrs. Residovic's office in Sarajevo provided me
7 with much help, together with General Mustafa Polutak, and as far as all
8 these documents are concerned that are in the binders to the right and
9 with many other documents, I was provided with much assistance. I also
10 received a lot of assistance from many other individuals, in terms of
11 using documents from the archives of the Federation army, et cetera, et
13 I was then provided with all the documents from the Prosecution,
14 from the Defence, and I read through these documents, used them when
15 drafting the final version of the expert report.
16 Q. Now, General, I see beside you that you have a number of binders
17 of an orange colour, and the Presiding Judge mentioned to you at the
18 beginning that those were provided to you by the Defence. But can you
19 explain what these documents are, who has prepared them, and what they are
21 A. The documents that are to my right are in fact all the documents
22 registered by the Defence and the Prosecution at this Tribunal. I
23 prepared most of the documents myself, but many documents were prepared by
24 the office of Mrs. Residovic, headed by Mr. Polutak. In these annexes, we
25 have all the documents which have been filed on the basis of their dates,
1 on the basis of the events depicted. If some documents couldn't be filed
2 within certain categories, they were placed in a binder the title of which
3 was "miscellaneous" or "other documents." In each of these binders -- on
4 each of the binders, on the spine of each binder, we have the -- we have
5 reference to the group of documents, the dates of the documents, or the
6 period that the documents concern, and on the first page of each of these
7 binders we have a list of the documents that follows the way they were
8 registered here before the Tribunal.
9 Q. Can you tell us, General, how many documents approximately are
10 contained in these binders and whether you read all of these documents.
11 A. There are a lot of documents. When we calculated the number of
12 documents, I think that according to the results obtained, there are over
13 5.000 pages. I haven't read all of them for a very simple reason: At one
14 point in time, I came to the conclusion that it was quite simply
15 impossible. But I have read the vast majority of these documents. The
16 ones that I have not read are documents that I at least had a look at when
17 preparing this expert report.
18 Q. Thank you, General. And I'd like now to address quickly the
19 issue of the annexes to your report. Can you tell the Trial Chamber how
20 these annexes were prepared and what was your aim in preparing all these
22 A. You're referring to the annexes?
23 Q. Yes, the annexes to the report.
24 A. Apart from the expert report, I also prepared 108 annexes. And
25 if I add another three new annexes to that number, 111 annexes. They are
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 all referred to in the expert report, and the objective of these annexes
2 is to clarify a lot of definitions provided and the various breakdowns or
3 diagrams provided are there to visually explain the actual contents of the
4 expert report. All of these annexes are probably on the computer at the
6 Q. Now, General, looking through these annexes, I noticed that some
7 annexes are provided with the report but not referred to in the report.
8 And I also noticed that there were gaps in the numbering of the annexes.
9 Can you explain how that can be?
10 A. [No interpretation]
11 Q. I can give you an example, if you want, of a -- for example --
12 well, I -- do you understand what I mean by the fact that there are
13 annexes in the report but they're not referred to in the report?
14 A. Well, in the second version of the expert report, I think that I
15 also provided the final breakdown of the annexes, of all the annexes that
16 were part of one of the versions of the report. Subsequently corrections
17 were made. When there was a translation from the Bosnian language into
18 the English and then a translation from the English back into the Bosnian,
19 and there were many corrections and, in fact, certain sections were
20 completely deleted or certain sections were added. And when certain
21 sections were deleted, it was also necessary to automatically delete
22 certain annexes. And so as not to make a new register of all the annexes
23 in the report itself - that would have been a very slow and complicated
24 procedure - we have these gaps in the list of annexes. These gaps appear
25 on a number of occasions. There's the number of an annex but there's no
1 annex. And then some annexes remained at the end, which I excluded from
2 the report, in the sense that it's been registered in the report, in the
3 contents of the report. This was because I couldn't decide if the annexes
4 needed -- if the annexes are needed, they're there, and they can be used
6 Q. Now, the questions you answered or the questions that were
7 provided to you to draft your expert opinion, you mentioned a little
8 earlier something like the ungratifying nature of the questions or
9 something like that. Can you tell us who provided you with these
10 questions and how you went about to answer these questions.
11 A. From the very beginning, from the very first meeting with
12 Mrs. Residovic, when I accepted this challenge, I received the first
13 version of the questions that I was to answer -- or rather, these were the
14 questions that I was to use to prepare and draft my expert report.
15 After a month or two, the questions themselves were amended.
16 Certain questions were added; others were deleted. Mrs. Residovic and you
17 yourself provided me with these amended questions. And finally, given the
18 translation needs, in February the final corrections were made because
19 there were certain discrepancies because of the translation into the
20 English and then translating it back into the Bosnian language. There
21 were certain discrepancies in the way that certain thoughts had been
23 Q. Thank you, General. One last question with respect to the
24 preparation of the report. I would just like to know: How much time,
25 looking back, you spent on the preparation of your expert report.
1 A. That's another difficult question. I think that this is really
2 an all-encompassing report, a report that required a lot of time. It was
3 difficult for one man to draft this report without having recourse to
4 assistance. It was a report that involved reading a lot of documents. It
5 was a report that involved consulting various sources. It involved
6 consulting military rules and many books that could be used as sources for
7 drafting this report. I believe that it took at least four months -- that
8 would be the minimum period of time required to draft this report with the
9 assistance of others.
10 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... prepared this report. Is
11 this something that you'd done -- that you completed as a paid assignment?
12 A. Until now, I have not received a single penny. Now, whether
13 something will come in the future, that depends on you. But may I also
14 add: In regard to a commander in a wartime, when I said I wouldn't accept
15 it, I don't know whether I would ever again agree to accept such an
16 assignment as this one was to prepare this expert report.
17 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... more precise: Is it an
18 assignment for which you will be paid and that you accepted to perform in
19 exchange for remuneration?
20 A. Yes, quite so.
21 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I think it is time
22 for the break.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, it is a quarter past 5.00.
24 We will resume at about 20 to 6.00 or a quarter to 6.00.
25 --- Recess taken at 5.16 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 5.47 p.m.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed. We'll
3 wait a few minutes for the witness because I think the Prosecution wishes
4 to take the floor.
5 Mr. Mundis.
6 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 The Prosecution feels duty-bound to draw to the Trial Chamber's
8 attention the fact that it appeared from where we're sitting that the
9 witness during the course of his oral testimony is referring to some kind
10 of handwritten notes. When he first took the stand, it -- it appeared
11 that he had his written report in front of him, which is not in and of
12 itself, of course, problematic for expert witnesses, but it then became
13 clear during the course of his testimony that interspersed among his copy
14 of the report is a number of pages with lined -- lined paper pages with
15 handwriting and highlighters on it. I'm not in any way implying that
16 anything improper has taken place. I simply felt duty-bound to inform the
17 Trial Chamber that it does appear that the witness has some kind of
18 handwritten note -- notes, the pages of which have been interspersed in
19 his copy of the -- of the -- of his own expert report that he has before
20 him. And I simply wanted to draw that to the Chamber's attention, of
21 course, in the absence of the witness.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bourgon, you surely
23 prepared your witness and explained to him that the procedure is such that
24 he has to have his report and his annexes but not additional documents
25 drafted in advance. I don't know.
1 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] All I know, Mr. President, is that
2 he noted things in his report, and I was wondering whether I should ask
3 him the question, because I noticed too that he seemed to be looking at
4 something. So I was going to ask him the question myself. I know he has
5 his report and his documents. While we were working together during the
6 weekend, he was taking notes. Now, if the Prosecution wishes those notes
7 to be withdrawn and replaced by a clean report, I have no problems with
8 that. It's up to the Prosecution.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, perhaps we could
10 ask the witness what are the notes he has, because if these are pages from
11 his report, there shouldn't be a problem.
12 MR. MUNDIS: That might very well be the easiest course of
13 action. Again, Mr. President, I did not, however, that there are pages
14 with lined paper with hand -- extensive handwriting, including portions
15 that have been highlighted with a yellow highlighter. And I -- I simply
16 felt that it was my duty to inform the Trial Chamber, and I did inform the
17 Defence --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, so we're going to ask him.
19 [The witness entered court]
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, just before I give the
21 floor again to Defence counsel, he is going to ask you a question about
22 the documents you have in front of you. So I'll give the floor to
23 Mr. Bourgon.
24 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. [In English] Welcome back, General. I would just like to ask you
1 one question before we continue in respect of the documents that you have
2 with you, because we saw that you've been looking at something while
3 giving your answers, and we're wondering what exactly you have with you
4 today in front of you.
5 A. In my briefcase, I only have my mobile phone, some pens and
6 pencils, and a CD. And here I have the expert report that I prepared, and
7 at the beginning of the report are 10 or 15 pages of my notes, various
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, when you say "notes
10 that I took," what are these notes?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Notes resulting from the
12 conversations I had with Mr. Bourgon.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So these are notes that you
14 made after the interviews you had with the attorneys; is that right?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Part of them, yes and part of them
16 I made myself.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. But do you need
18 those notes to answer questions, or could you put them aside and look only
19 at the report and its attachments?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bourgon.
22 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] I think it would be preferable that
23 we remove the notes, so long as he can keep his report though.
24 Q. [In English] General, if you could just separate the notes from
25 your report and just keep with you your report. And I would like to know,
1 General, if the report you have is the report that you had when you were
2 working with me with all the annotations on it, the -- I saw you were
3 making red lines in your report. Is that what you have with you?
4 A. Yes.
5 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] If my learned friend is satisfied,
6 we can continue.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecution?
8 Yes, it's fine.
9 MR. BOURGON:
10 Q. General, we are a bit late in -- in the time I had planned for
11 the examination-in-chief, so maybe I will ask you to try and keep your
12 answers a little shorter, where possible of course, but I don't want to
13 refrain you from saying what you would like to say.
14 And my first question deals with the report itself. Is there,
15 having worked all this time on this expert report, is there one issue that
16 stands out from all the work you have done which you could highlight for
17 the Trial Chamber in analysing the exercise of command by both accused in
18 this case?
19 A. In accordance with my expert report and the questions analysed in
20 that report, in accordance with what the questions put to me required, my
21 general observations and confirmation of certain definitions from sources
22 or documents of that period, I would highlight two facts which are lacking
23 and which are very important for the exercise of the functions of a senior
24 officer or leader: In order to complement the report or my reflections
25 about the issue, I think sufficient space has not been devoted to the
1 concept of reality, as to what things were like with respect to the
2 overall political and military situation during the war in Bosnia and
4 When I say "reality," what I mean is that one should bear in
5 mind -- when answering the vast majority of those questions, one should
6 bear in mind that reality and that reality was extremely hard, a reality
7 characterised by disorganisation or, rather, the absence of a political
8 and defensive system at the beginning of the war, a situation that in a
9 nutshell was extremely, extremely confusing in every sense and in every
10 aspect of the social order and, more specifically, the system of defence.
11 That is one point and one fact.
12 Another which I would also like to highlight is that one needs to
13 bear in mind the fact of the nature of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
14 and this fact reflecting the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the
15 conflict, had an extremely adverse and negative effect on the mission of
16 each and every commander or military leader, and especially the mission of
17 a senior military leader.
18 By way of example, let me point out that in my opinion - and I am
19 firmly convinced of this - that it would be difficult, very difficult, to
20 find another example from wars in the world in the past with a situation
21 similar to the one in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the period from 1992 to
22 1995 when government forces of the internationally recognised State of
23 Bosnia and Herzegovina were virtually in every respect in a less
24 favourable position than all the other forces, retrograde forces or
25 secessionist forces, et cetera, et cetera, and that those government
1 forces in 1993 were waging a battle against three enemies, et cetera, et
3 Q. Thank you, General. My next question deals with the assessment
4 of the work performed by a senior commander in a war situation. What
5 would be in your view the most important factor to bear in mind when
6 looking at the work performed by a senior commander?
7 A. The most important and key factor to be borne in mind for every
8 senior commander is his mission. Every senior leader is entrusted with a
9 mission by his superior, or more specifically, from the political and
10 military state leadership. Everything else comes second to the mission of
11 that senior military leader.
12 Q. Thank you, General. And when we look at the ability of a senior
13 military commander to make decisions and to exercise his command, can you
14 mention some of the factors which will influence the decision-making of a
15 senior commander?
16 A. In the first place, I would say when making any decision, a
17 senior military leader is influenced by everything, absolutely everything
18 that is going on in the area in that territory, in whatever shape or form,
19 has a more or less direct effect on the mission of a senior military
20 commander. As to the factors that would most directly influence the
21 mission, I would list them as follows: The mission is one of the factors.
22 Depending on the mission and how it has been conceived, everything that is
23 necessary for that mission to be carried out and depending on the
24 availability of those factors, the mission will succeed or not.
25 Another factor is personnel, which is a very important factor,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 which has a direct effect on the mission, because it is very important to
2 see what effectives the military commander has at his disposal, what the
3 quality of the personnel is, is the personnel trained and educated and
4 capacitated for the numerous duties he has in accordance with the rules
5 within a military unit.
6 Then comes the question of supply. This is another factor which,
7 like the personnel factor, affects the success of the mission. Without
8 logistics and without supplies for any military unit, a mission cannot be
10 By way of example, if there is no regular food supplies,
11 clothing, footwear, weapons, ammunition, fuel, et cetera, then the mission
12 will not be accomplished. And even if it is, it will be of lesser quality
13 in proportion to the shortage of these supplies.
14 Another factor is communications, which have a very important
15 impact on the mission. It is common knowledge in all the armies in the
16 world that communications in the most general sense among units is like
17 the bloodstream in a human body. And if that is lacking, there can be no
18 life. If a unit is -- has no communications or very poor communications,
19 this will adversely effect the accomplishment of the mission.
20 Q. Now, General, I would like -- not that I want to interrupt you,
21 but I would like to know how the factor that you've just mentioned, these
22 factors, how do they impact on the commander's ability to exercise his
23 command, or on his thinking. And let's, to begin, by -- you mentioned
24 communication. How does that impact on a commander's ability to perform
25 and to accomplish his mission?
1 A. To make myself quite clear, I have to give you two examples: A
2 normal situation, and a situation such as it was during the war in Bosnia.
3 In a normal situation, every senior leader has regular, complete,
4 and organised communications within the structure of his unit, starting
5 from the plans to the technical means of communication that he has at his
6 disposal in the unit. Under such conditions, every unit leader, having
7 such means of communications at his disposal, has the necessary
8 preconditions to fulfil his mission well.
9 In another case, in conditions of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
10 when virtually all the leaders of a military unit not only were lacking
11 means but they did not even have plans, and having no means of
12 communication or plans, that meant that at the beginning he didn't have
13 the necessary formation, that is, the unit itself, because for plans and
14 means of communications to be established, you need first to have a
15 structure, because of the very large shortage of means of communications
16 needed in large numbers, every military leader is forced to bridge this
17 shortage diagonally with his superiors, as well as with his subordinates
18 within the chain of command, and this forces every military leader in such
19 a situation to resort to more primitive forms of communications. And
20 this, again, requires far more manpower, et cetera, et cetera, and this
21 directly impacts the quality of the accomplishment of the mission of each
22 military leader.
23 Q. General, if a commander -- you mentioned earlier that personnel
24 was a factor which had an impact on his decision-making. How would
25 personnel resources have a direct influence on the ability of the
1 commander to make decisions?
2 A. I believe every aspect of society, and in the army as well, as an
3 entity in society, everything starts with the human resources. Without
4 good quality human resources, there can be no proper mission
6 I can give you an example: All military formations in all the
7 armies in the world today have highly sophisticated weaponry, equipment,
8 and a wide variety of weapons, and to man them one needs trained
9 personnel. If the military leader lacks such personnel for him to be able
10 to accomplish the assigned mission, he must again resort to his own
11 initiative and ingenuity as to various ways of bridging that gap in order
12 to accomplish his mission, which has a direct bearing on the success of
13 the mission, not to mention the quality of that success. If a military
14 leader does not have professional and trained officers in the chain of
15 command, many questions will arise, starting from the very ability of the
16 chain of command to function, both upwards and downwards, et cetera;
17 whereas, on the other hand, if there is trained and professional officers
18 in the chain of command, then there is a probability that every military
19 leader will, to the highest degree possible, achieve his functions as a
20 military leader through the chain of command, both downwards and upwards.
21 Q. Now, General, if a commanding officer of a corps has problems in
22 his area of responsibility in the form of roads being blocked and his
23 freedom of movement is limited, how would that affect, in your view, his
24 ability to exercise his command?
25 A. Such a situation would have a highly negative impact on any
1 military leader for the simple reason that every military leader in his
2 area of responsibility would have to grapple with a major problem, the
3 problem of dealing -- how to deal with it. Without communications in
4 satisfactory numbers in the area of responsibility of a military unit,
5 without good quality roads, it is very difficult - one might even say
6 impossible - to carry out combat activities and, in the final analysis, to
7 fulfil one's mission. If those roads are scarce and if on top of it
8 they're also blocked permanently or occasionally, this would put every
9 military leader in a situation that has no solution, a situation when
10 every military leader would start thinking whether he should resort to
11 force to deblock the roads if that cannot be achieved without the use of
13 Q. Thank you, General. Now, if I look at another example, such as
14 the feelings of the population in the area of responsibility of the
15 commander. How would this have an impact on his ability to conduct or
16 exercise his command?
17 A. Every military leader would like to have a clear situation in his
18 zone of responsibility in wartime. He would like all the population in
19 his zone of responsibility - I'm referring to the civilian population - he
20 would like the population to support him and to support the army or,
21 rather, the unit under his command. That would be an ideal situation.
22 However, if that is not the case or if the situation is such as it was in
23 Bosnia and Herzegovina, where in many parts of the territory and in many
24 areas of responsibility of military units the population was mixed,--
25 there was the Croatian population that mostly supported the HVO, was more
1 or less in its favour, and was mostly present throughout the AOR -- or the
2 AORs of any of the corps of the ABiH.
3 For example, the Serbian population, which was more or less in
4 favour or supported the Republika Srpska army, much of that population was
5 scattered throughout the AORs of the ABiH's corps, et cetera. All of
6 these people could have presented a serious problem at any point in time
7 for each and every military leader because it was possible to relay
8 various information and they could be fifth columnists at any point in
9 time within the AOR of a military commander. And as a result, when
10 talking about the relation between the units in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
11 the situation they were in was very different from the situations
12 encountered elsewhere in the world in the course of a war, if we're
13 talking about the relation between the army and the civilian population.
14 However, I believe that in trying to find the best possible solution, the
15 military leaders in fact managed to find the best solutions and to avoid
16 situations that could have been much worse.
17 Q. Thank you, General. Now, one last area I'd like you to explain
18 to what extent it may have an impact on the ability of the senior military
19 commander to conduct his mission is the enemy. Can you explain to the
20 Trial Chamber whether this has an impact on the thinking and the
21 decision-making of the senior military commander; and if so, for what
23 A. The enemy is the key factor on the other side and has direct
24 influence on the mission or, rather, on the decisions taken by all senior
1 How does this factor influence the mission of all military
2 leaders? It does so in that it's very important to be able to have
3 control over the -- over the situation in relation to the enemy. You have
4 to know how strong the enemy is. You have to know the nature of the
5 enemy, the enemy's identity. You have to know what sort of weapons and
6 equipment the enemy has. It's necessary to know how the enemy is trained,
7 where the enemy is deployed, what his mission is, et cetera, et cetera.
8 To be more clear, I will go back to the mission that the enemy has. It's
9 well -- a well-known fact that, for example, the mission of the Republika
10 Srpska army or, rather, of the Army of Yugoslavia, was to occupy Bosnia
11 and Herzegovina in the first few weeks and to annex it to a Greater Serbia
12 after having established political and military authority. This wasn't
13 done immediately, so the mission continued and its objective was to take
14 and occupy as much territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina as possible.
15 When the Republika Srpska army -- or rather, Belgrade and Banja
16 Luka, the political leadership from that -- from those centres failed to
17 carry this out in such a brief period of time and they even failed to
18 carry this out in the course of 1992, at that point they started
19 cooperating with the HVO -- or rather, with Mostar and Zagreb, and their
20 objective was to reach an agreement on carrying out that mission. They
21 joined forces, and by joining their forces, the HVO and the Republika
22 Srpska army became one enemy force, and in fact two enemy forces that the
23 government had to face. And after 1993, a third enemy appeared as a
24 product of those two enemies, and that was Fikret Abdic in Bosanska
25 Krajina. This tells you what the enemy was and to what extent senior
1 officers must take into consideration enemy forces.
2 If all these enemies of the government and Bosnia and Herzegovina
3 were numerous, if you take this into consideration and the fact that their
4 equipment and weapons were far more sophisticated than the equipment and
5 weapons of the government's forces, if you take into consideration the
6 fact that the troops and officers were better trained, et cetera, et
7 cetera, then this shows you to what extent this influences the decisions
8 taken by a military leader who headed one of the units that were part of
9 the government's forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992 -- or rather, in
11 Q. I'm going to give you one last example with respect to the enemy,
12 General, and that is if soldiers of the enemy forces commit crimes either
13 against the civilian population or against your own army. Would that have
14 an impact on the ability of the commander to conduct his mission? And if
15 so, why?
16 A. Could you please repeat the question.
17 Q. Yes. You have just covered the importance of knowing the enemy
18 in order to allow the commander to exercise his command. If the enemy is
19 committing criminal acts against your own forces or against the civilian
20 population, would this have an impact on the ability of the commander to
21 exercise his command? And if so, what would that be?
22 A. A minute ago I said that everything influences decisions taken --
23 or rather, the accomplishment of all commanders' missions. With regard to
24 what you have mentioned, this does have a significant influence on how the
25 mission is carried out. Why? Because any crime committed by the enemy,
1 whether it's committed against members of its own units or against the
2 civilian population, also influences the way in which decisions are taken
3 because if a crime is committed against the soldiers of one's own unit or
4 against the civilian population, in such a case the civilian population
5 is -- has a direct link to the troops from one's own unit because they're
6 part of that population, because their family members, close family
7 members or more distant family members, et cetera, and this creates a
8 particular psychological state among the people, and people in such
9 situations either try to react or react in a way that is not quite normal,
10 probably because it's impossible to control what we might call fear or
11 perhaps something else. And through the soldiers and other officers
12 within the chain of command, this -- or among the soldiers and the
13 officers in the chain of command, this is something that can be felt, and
14 it goes right up to the top. Depending on the extent, the nature of the
15 crime, this can have a very significant effect on the decisions or on
16 the -- how correct the decisions are of military commanders when
17 accomplishing his mission.
18 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... a little earlier, General,
19 you mentioned that everything has an influence on the ability of the
20 commander to exercise his command. And we have discussed a number of
21 factors. What I would like to know is: Do these factors reduce the
22 responsibility of a commander?
23 A. No. According to the rules, according to the law, a commander's
24 responsibility cannot be diminished, cannot be reduced in that sense, in
25 the way you have just mentioned. However, all those circumstances that we
1 have discussed and that we are discussing in fact indicate how complex the
2 situation was, how difficult it was to accomplish one's mission, how
3 difficult it was for a military unit to accomplish its mission at a given
4 point in time, if it had such numerous problems of this kind. And by way
5 of an example, I have mentioned the problems that I as the corps commander
6 had or the 3rd Corps commander had and various other commanders in other
7 levels of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This, in
8 fact, shows that the situation that prevailed was extremely complex and
9 all these numerous factors that influenced the decisions taken are factors
10 which are the result of something else or of one as well as -- or rather,
11 of the state. Many of these factors are factors that each military leader
12 has to be aware of if he is to take the appropriate action and to take the
13 appropriate decisions.
14 Q. Thank you, General. I'd like to move to another aspect of your
15 report, which is the duties and the responsibilities of the commander.
16 And I refer you to part 3 of your report at paragraphs 488 to 491. If you
17 can have a look at this part of your report. This is where you discuss
18 the responsibilities and the duties of a commander.
19 And my first question is: Do you see a difference between the
20 responsibilities of the commander, on one hand, and the duties of a
21 commander, on the other hand?
22 A. There is a difference between these two concepts. The concept of
23 responsibility means the responsibility of all military leaders in two
24 senses: Firstly, he is responsible to the lower levels down the chain of
25 command, and there is responsibility -- or the responsibility that he has
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 to his superiors up the chain of command. This is a very broad concept,
2 in fact. But this is more or less the key to the concept of
3 responsibility. Whereas, the concept of duty or duties relates to many of
4 the duties that in paragraph 491 of my report I have referred to and I
5 have enumerated; although, the duties that I enumerated in this paragraph
6 do not provide an exhaustive list. It's difficult to enumerate all the
7 duties that a senior military officer has.
8 Q. Thank you, General. Looking at the responsibility of the
9 commander towards the chain of command, how would you describe this
10 responsibility of a commander?
11 A. All military commanders, and in particular senior ones, have an
12 established chain of command. This chain of command is established on the
13 basis of the structure and establishment that has to be previously
14 established. The structure and establishment are manned and this is how
15 the chain of command is formed. All military commanders have the duty to
16 act as an example, to set an example to all his subordinates in the chain
17 of command. Each and every military commander must provide satisfactory
18 conditions for life and work. He must provide all the necessary logistics
19 supplies to his men in the chain of command, to officers and unit members.
20 Each and every military commander through his chain of command must ensure
21 that combat morale is at the best possible level. And each and every
22 military commander must do everything that is necessary in order to ensure
23 that discipline is at a maximum level in his unit. He must supervise and
24 control mobilisation plans. He must supervise and control decisions taken
25 at lower levels. He must establish a network -- or rather, communications
1 within his unit, et cetera, et cetera.
2 Q. Now, General, I would like to -- I look at your report at
3 paragraph 490 and 491, and you explain the difference between the
4 responsibilities and those duties that are listed there. But what I don't
5 see in these two paragraphs is the legal responsibilities. Is there such
6 thing as a legal responsibility, or where does the law fit in this scheme
7 that you have described in these two paragraphs?
8 A. Could you please be more precise.
9 Q. Yes, I'll try to be more precise. I look at paragraph 490 of
10 your report, and you describe that there are for the commander a
11 responsibility towards the state and that there is a responsibility
12 towards subordinates. And then in paragraph 491, you list all the duties
13 that a commander must accomplish or perform. But what is not there is I
14 do not see a legal obligation. So my question is: Where does the law fit
15 into these two paragraphs?
16 A. The legal obligations don't constitute a particular item, a
17 particular duty. All these duties are legal obligations. It's the legal
18 obligation of each and every military commander to perform all these
19 duties in accordance with the law -- or rather, in accordance with the
21 Q. Thank you, General. What I would like to do now is with respect
22 to paragraph 491, if you could just go down the list that you have in your
23 report and explain what the commander exactly has to do with all of these
24 duties. Because the list is quite impressive here. You have about three
25 pages. Can you quickly go through each of them and tell us what the
1 commander has to do with all of these items.
2 A. I'll follow the order here. Firstly, overseeing mobilisation.
3 The corps commander - we're referring to the corps commander - in normal
4 conditions, under normal conditions each and every corps commander would
5 receive all the men that would have to be mobilised from the Ministry of
6 Defence and its bodies that have to implement the mobilisation. The corps
7 commander has the duty to ensure that there's a mobilisation plan and to
8 establish where the mobilised men are to be received.
9 Upon receiving the mobilised men at a given location, from that
10 point in time the corps commander is responsible for the men who arrive
11 and report to the unit.
12 As far as the role of the corps commander is concerned in
13 relation to this issue, the corps commander has in his staff as part of
14 the corps command a particular body that consists of a number of officers
15 whose responsibility it is to draft plans and to implement these
16 mobilisation plans. The corps commander only authorises these plans and
17 naturally has an influence on the quality of the plans drafted. From time
18 to time, he checks this in a certain manner.
19 Secondly, selecting the best officers and sending recommendations
20 to the Supreme Command Staff for their appointment to certain command
21 positions. Under normal conditions when forming a corps, by virtue of the
22 existence of mobilisation plans that someone else has the responsibility
23 of drafting, all the men would have already been deployed within the
24 corps' establishment, starting from the officers and right up to the -- or
25 right down to the soldiers. At the same time, all of those men would have
1 been trained and educated and would be assigned to certain establishment
2 duties that require certain skills within the corps.
3 As not a single unit in the ABiH fulfilled those conditions, it
4 was developing from scratch, if I may use the word -- under such
5 circumstances, many, almost all commanders of the ABiH had to find
6 themselves the manpower from the level of soldiers to senior officers, and
7 I would even go so far as to say that by finding people, soldiers and
8 officers, on the ground, they would propose them for certain appointments
9 to higher echelons. Some people were even captured to be appointed to a
10 certain position, and then one might ask to what extent they were capable
11 of fulfilling such duties, et cetera, et cetera. Not to mention the fact
12 that first the formations and structures and entities had to be formed
13 from the corps downwards and then they had to man -- be manned with
14 soldiers who had to be found, recruited to the units, leading or
15 commanding officers appointed, get hold of certain quantities of weapons
16 and ammunition, and only then engage in certain combat activities and the
17 accomplishment of the mission assigned to each commander.
18 Q. General, before you -- you proceed further, I mean, I understand
19 that you could describe each of these duties for -- in very -- in a very
20 detailed manner. What I would like you to do for the Trial Chamber is to
21 say what is it that the commander does in practice in reality for each of
22 those duties. What is the role of the commander, the direct implication
23 of the commander in accomplishing these duties, and based maybe on your
24 experience in Sarajevo.
25 A. The third in order: Creating a communication network. The corps
1 commander, together with his subordinate organs in the chain of command,
2 had to prepare a plan for communications, and then he had to find
3 solutions, that is, to get hold of means of communications and to a high
4 degree he also had to find the specialised personnel for handling the
5 means of communications to establish some sort of a communications system
6 in his unit.
7 Next, to ensure training. In the corps -- in the corps of the
8 ABiH, the minimum required was to have specialised personnel to do the
9 training, to have the necessary resources for that training, and to have a
10 location where the training would take place, and all the corps commanders
11 of the ABiH had only a minimum of all these requirements. In fact, some
12 of these things were totally lacking.
13 Next --
14 Q. General, if I can interrupt you. With respect to training, there
15 is one question in relation to training I would like to ask you: Would
16 you expect, based on your experience, to see a corps commander organise or
17 supervise training at the company or battalion level, for example?
18 A. No, that's out of the question. A corps commander is a senior
19 military leader, the commander of an operative military formation.
20 Training at company level and even battalion level and to a great extent
21 at brigade level is not the duty of the corps commander; it is the duty of
22 people in the chain of command who exist in commands at lower levels. The
23 corps commander, with respect to training, is responsible for the training
24 of the corps command and for certain types of training in order to ensure
25 better quality functioning of the corps command, and to some extent he may
1 be involved in some types of training at lower levels. For example, when
2 exercising command posts of brigades or, rather, training and exercises of
3 commands. Everything else at lower levels is not the responsibility of
4 the corps commander. He neither has to participate nor control it.
5 Q. And moving down your list, with respect to morale, what does the
6 commander have to do personally with respect to maintaining the highest
7 combat morale, and how is this important to him?
8 A. Combat morale of a unit is a very important factor, and in
9 developing combat morale every commander is expected to set an example to
10 others by his behaviour, the execution of tasks and duties, and to expect
11 his subordinates in the chain of command to act in the same way. For the
12 development of good combat morale, it is essential to determine the
13 political and military goals of the struggle from the outset, from the
14 very top military and political leadership of the state, for all the
15 personnel in a unit to be provided with the best possible conditions for
16 life and work and their daily duties, right up to and including combat
17 assignments. Every commander is duty-bound in order to develop good combat
18 morale to constantly ensure supplies, logistics for all the personnel in
19 his unit. Otherwise, this has a direct adverse effect on combat morale.
20 The unit commander is also duty-bound to continuously demand a
21 maximum degree of responsibility from all his subordinates in the chain of
22 command in all his units, which again has a direct impact on combat morale
23 and its maintenance, et cetera, et cetera.
24 Q. I go down your list, General, and I see at the top -- well, you
25 may not have the same page number as I do, but in the English version I
1 see "Transforming operative missions or guidance received from the Supreme
2 Command into tactical aims and tasks for his subordinate units to carry
3 out." What does that mean and what does the commander of a corps do in
4 this respect?
5 A. Every order, and especially if it's a combat order, once received
6 by the corps commander from his superior command, be it in writing or
7 orally, he has to gather his corps command together and to the extent
8 necessary to require the presence of other personnel at the meeting to
9 pass on the assignment. He gives a certain time limit for the preparation
10 of a proposal. After that, they get together again and they submit their
11 proposals, each one within his own duties and responsibilities. The
12 commander listens to these proposals and makes a final decision. He
13 issues an order to draft the written order for him to sign. When that has
14 been done, he has actually transformed the order received from the
15 superior command - for instance, the Supreme Command of the ABiH - to the
16 corps command and through that order, which he then forwards to
17 subordinate units, operative groups or brigades, he is actually issuing
18 orders to all those units regarding combat assignments.
19 Lower-level commands act in a similar manner: Operative groups
20 towards brigades, and brigades to battalions. And that is how such an
21 order received from the General Staff or Supreme Command is transformed by
22 the corps command into lower-level orders or assignments of a tactical
23 nature, going down the chain of command to the lowest-level military units
24 within the corps structure.
25 Q. Thank you, General. I have one last question for you today, and
1 we do not have time to go through all your list, but I counted 34
2 different duties on this list, which appears to me to be a pretty
3 impressive list. My question to you is: Is a corps commander expected to
4 fulfil all of these duties and you in yourself, as commander of the 1st
5 Corps, did you accomplish all of these duties?
6 A. The duties that I have listed in paragraph 491 are the duties of
7 each senior military leader. I have to say straight away that I did not,
8 that I as 1st Corps commander did not fulfil all these duties. Why not?
9 Precisely because of all the things that we have been talking about so
10 far, because of all those objective factors which prevented me from fully
11 carrying out all these duties. And if we want to see whether a corps
12 commander has executed all these duties or not, the answer will depend on
13 the extent to which these other factors of an objective nature existed,
14 not due to the corps commander's lack of knowledge or insufficient
15 efforts, but rather, due to other circumstance. To what extent those
16 circumstances prevented the corps commander to fulfil all his duties
17 completely, to what extent they had an adverse effect meant that he was
18 unable to fulfil his duties completely.
19 Q. Thank you very much, General. As the Presiding Judge mentioned,
20 tomorrow you will not be testifying, but we will see you again on
21 Wednesday for the next -- continuation of the examination-in-chief.
22 Thank you, General.
23 [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, as you have just
25 heard, you will be coming back on Wednesday for the hearing at 2.15. In
1 the meantime, you will not meet with anyone, as you are not allowed to
2 meet with the Defence counsel or the Prosecution. Of course, you can
3 leave, taking your briefcase and all your papers with you, and we will see
4 you again on Wednesday at 2.15.
5 It is three minutes past 7.00. Thank you all. And we will meet
6 again tomorrow at 2.15 with another witness appearing.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.03 p.m.,
8 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 22nd day of
9 March, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.