Aiman Awad, the last prosecution witness at the trial of General Rasim Delic, claims that the El Mujahid Detachment was only formally part of the BH Army chain of command. All decisions were taken by the emir and the shura, the Mujahideen commander and the Mujahideen supreme council respectively. This was because the ‘Army couldn’t be trusted’. The only person the Mujahideen could trust was Sakib Mahmuljin

Rasim Delic in the courtroomRasim Delic in the courtroom

‘We agreed to become a part of the BH Army, but not to obey’, Aiman Awad said on the last day of his evidence at the trial of the former BH Army General Staff commander, Rasim Delic. The former interpreter said that the detachment had ‘only formally’ been part of the BH Army 3rd Corps. The Corps issued the orders, the witness added, but the detachment command decided whether to carry them out or not.

In his cross-examination by General Rasim Delic’s defense, Awad repeated what the previous witnesses, also former members of the El Mujahid Detachment, had said in their evidence. The Army couldn’t be trusted, he said, adding that the Mujahideen never ‘even dreamed’ of considering BH Army commanders as their superior officers. ‘We trusted only Sakib Mahmuljin, the 3rd Corps commander’, the witness said, as he was ‘a proper Muslim and Izetbegovic’s man’.

The El Mujahid Detachment had its own internal structure and rules of conduct its members had to comply with, the witness said. All the important issues – including the cooperation with the BH Army – were decided by the emir and the shura - the Mujahideen commander and their supreme council respectively. According to the witness, it was the shura’s decision to form the Mujahideen detachment that would become part of the BH Army and finally to disband it.

The witness clarified why the Mujahideen had in fact joined, albeit formally, the BH Army: to legalize the status of local fighters who had joined the detachment and distance themselves from the ‘bad things’ done by other foreign fighters in BH. ‘I still get a headache when I think of the things others did that are ascribed to the detachment members’, the witness noted. He confirmed the defense claim about the existence of several groups of foreign fighters in Central Bosnia who didn’t belong to the El Mujahid Detachment. According to him, they ‘trusted the BH Army even less because of its secular bent’.

When a judge asked him if he had ever seen prisoners in the detachment camps, the witness said that he had seen only two prisoners in July 1995 at the Thirteenth Kilometer. Later, he learned that about a dozen prisoners of war had been detained there. As far as he knew, after a while they were handed over to the BH Army military police. The witness never heard of any abuse of prisoners. Although he was not familiar with the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, his religious principles dictated that he treats the prisoners humanely, he said. He convinced the prisoners of war were in fact treated that way.

Aiman Awad’s status in BH is uncertain. He has been stripped of his BH citizenship and is now awaiting deportation to his home country, Syria, or a third country. He was the last prosecution witness at the trial of General Rasim Delic. The trial continues on Thursday with the Rule 98 bis hearing.