Jezik / Language:
26 September 2007

Alic: Coffee Break With SIPA Investigator

The indictee's defence team notices 36 "substantial differences" between the witness' statement given in the courtroom and the one given to a SIPA investigator.
Prosecution witness Mevlid Mustafic, a former commander of the 1st Battalion with the 505th Buzim Brigade, has testified at the trial of Sefik Alic.

Both the Defence and the Prosecution have noticed that his statement given in the courtroom differs from another he gave to investigators prior to the trial.

During direct examination, Mustafic has claimed to have been informed of the capture of four Republika Srpska Krajina Army soldiers in August 1995, "four or five days after the 'Oluja' military operation".
He claims that Asim Bajraktarevic, former commander of 'Hamze' Battalion, gave him this piece of information "while they were in a coffee shop together".

Mustafic claims that Bajraktarevic informed him, while they were having a cup of coffee together, that "Alic handed the prisoners over to somebody, although they were supposed to be transported to Buzim".

The statement given by this witness to the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA), which the Prosecution and Defence have used in the course of the examination, indicates that Mustafic said the
following: "Asim expressed his regrets because the prisoners were not transferred to the Brigade Headquarters, or, in other words, he felt sorry because Alic did not refer them to the HQ as he was his assistant for security".

It also indicates that it was only after a while that he discovered that Tewfik Al Harbihad murdered the prisoners. He allegedly also said that this was a well-known fact.

"He turned one of them towards Kibla and slaughtered him while pronouncing the 'Allahu Ekber' prayer," indicates the written statement given by the witness to SIPA investigators.

During cross-examination, the defence has asked the witness why he did not inform his superiors about the crime described to him by Asim Bajraktarevic. The witness has responded that he "was not interested in it".

The Defence has counted a total of 36 "substantial differences" between the statement the witness has given in the courtroom and the one he gave to the SIPA investigator.

"It is normal that the differences between statements occur as they refer to events that happened a long ago," the witness has said.

In the course of the testimony before the Trial Chamber, Mustafic has given different answers to the same questions if asked more than once.

Explaining the circumstances under which he gave the statement to SIPA investigators, the witness has said that he met with the investigator several times, "sometimes in a coffee shop garden" and that he does not remember "who of them invited the other one for a cup of coffee".

He claims to have given a part of his statement in Bosanska Otoka, but due to an electricity shortcut, he and the investigator had to move to Bosanska Krupa where he repeated his statement. He has also said that nobody else was present while he was giving his statement and that the investigator typed the statement, which the witness then signed without reading it.

The trial is due to continue on 2 October
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