General Rasim Delic’s defense witness confirms that there was a Mujahideen center in Zeljezno Polje near Zepce. The Mujahideen, gathered around Abu Zubeir, were not a part of the El Mujahid Detachment or any other BH Army unit, the witness says

Rasim Delic in the courtroomRasim Delic in the courtroom

Testifying under a pseudonym and with image and voice distortion as protective measures, former member of the BH Army 319th Liberation Brigade confirmed the defense argument that a Mujahideen center was located in Zeljezno Polje near Zepce. The fighters gathered around a foreign fighter of Arabian origin named Abu Zubeir. This group operated independently from the BH Army units and was not a part of the El Mujahid Detachment, the witness clarified.

According to the witnesses’ testimony, Abu Zubeir’s group had its headquarters in the primary school building in the hamlet of Biljevine. They gathered around an Arabic center called ‘El Faruk’. Some Arabs wore uniforms and weapons, while others had wore traditional Arabic garb. To sum up, the witness stated, it was difficult to differ ones from the others.

The witness confirmed that eight or nine Arabs were in his unit, part of the BH Army 319th Brigade. In his words, they were ‘disciplined fighters and good men’ that had nothing to do with Abu Zubeir’s group or with the El Mujahid Detachment. Like other BH Army troops, he said, they were well-acquainted with the provisions of the Geneva Conventions. They were also guided by their religious principles that strictly prohibit torture and abuse of prisoners.

The witness noted that the brigade security service and civilian police in Zepce often blamed the Arabs from his unit for the incidents in that area just because they were Arabs. The investigations into those cases, he stated, showed the accusations were groundless. On the other hand, ‘his Arabs’ didn’t get along well with other Mujahideen, because they lived less strictly, ‘listening to music, drinking and smoking’.

In the wake of Operation Farz, the witness noticed a group of some fifty foreign fighters from Abu Zubeir’s group in the village of Borovnice on Vozuca plateau. He saw them once more on the first day of the operation near a village that was taken by the BH Army. The witness recalled that the Mujahideen then headed north.

In the course of the prosecution case, the defense tried to establish a link between this group of foreign fighters and the disappearance of some 50 Serbian soldiers in the village of Kesten during Operation Farz on the Ozren-Vozuca front. According to the indictment, BH Army troops captured a group of some 50 Serbian soldiers and then gave them over to the El Mujahid Detachment. They disappeared without a trace after that, and are presumed dead.