by Adnan BUTUROVIC
Salem Miso finished writing the verdict literally five minutes before the scheduled hearing. More than fifty policemen in uniform and plain clothes filled up the court room before the reading of the verdict, which was interpreted by many as a sign that the defendants would be sentenced to long prison sentences (30 to 40 years in prison).
Twenty minutes after the departure of overjoyed families of defendants from the court (at about 11:30 a.m.), a journalist of the Federation BH TV phoned the former Federation BH Police minister Mehmed Zilic. Although Zilic was happy to talk to journalists and welcomed the invitation to appear that evening on primetime news, his enthusiasm disappeared once the journalist told him what the topic of conversation would be.
"What about the Leutar murder trial?"
"Mr. Zilic, they have just been acquitted and released."
"What?!... What do you mean acquitted? What do I have to do with that?", Mehmed Zilic responded obviously shaken.
The acquittal saved judge Miso from a definite debacle and an end of his future career as a judge, and thereby maintained his reputation and his chances to run as one of 303 candidates for 95 judicial posts in the recently established Court of Bosnia-Hercegovina. However, according to reliable sources of our magazine, two days before the final verdict judge Miso was torn between "well-meaning" suggestions of people who undeniable staged the whole trial, and those who advised him to base his verdict on the evidence presented in 102 hearings held since July 2001.
Although on Monday, November 22, in the evening, judge Miso received several phone calls in connection with the case, including the one from a close relative of the honorary president of the SDA Alija Izetbegovic, only a day later judge Miso "declared" that he would not follow the directions of the group that two years earlier had tried to convince him that all he had to do was sentence the defendants to 40, 35, 30, and 25 years in prison, respectively. Although a close relative of Alija Iztebegovic tried to contact him on Tuesday evening as well, Salem Miso responded as in the previous case; he picked up the phone and hung up as soon as he realized who was calling.
The decision to acquit all six defendants was reached unanimously by the panel of judges [instead of a jury, verdicts are made by a panel of judges]. By issuing the acquittal, Salem Miso formally deflected further questions and speculations that any international official, politician, policeman, spy or prosecutor blackmailed him in connection with the Leutar murder trial.
However, even at the end of the trial, which Miso conducted for a long time rather unconvincingly and with unbelievable errors in the actions of the investigative magistrate and prosecutors, Miso made yet another serious violation of the trial procedure, because he failed to invite plaintiffs, Leutar's wife Nevenka, and his son Ivica Leutar, to the reading of the verdict,.
The favorable characteristic of such an outcome of the trial is that it opens chances that the true assassins and their masters will finally be discovered.
Namely, Miso's verdict opens space for new indictments against the former Federation BH Police Minister Muhamed Zilic, his deputy for crime Faik Lusija, protected witness number 30 Merim Galijatovic, protected witness number 31 policeman S. Herenda, former Federation BH prosecutor Suljo Babic, cantonal prosecutor Mustafa Bisic, deputy prosecutor Dragan Stupar, investigative magistrate Vladimir Spoljaric, deputy Federation BH Minister for Finance Sefika Hafizovic, and others. As we have unofficially learned, attorneys representing defendants will file these charges once the Federation BH Supreme Court reaches a final verdict.
According to the facts established so far, Jozo Leutar was murdered by an individual or a group familiar with sophisticated technology and capable of manufacturing improvised explosive devices. After expert testimony of the former head of the Anti-terrorist protection (KDZ) of the Federation BH Police Mirza Jamakovic and experts of the American Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI), who inspected the car in Great Britain, the conclusions were identical.
Traces of explosives were not found on the car or on the spot of the explosion. Consequently, it is likely that it fully burned during the explosion. Neither Jamakovic nor the FBI experts could definitively say what sort of detonator was used, except that they indicated that there was no evidence indicating that the device was detonated remotely, as protected witness number 30 claimed. In early February of this year, an expert close to FBI experts explained to this journalist that the attackers most likely used a thermal detonator, consisting of a pyrotechnic mixture inserted in cool wax, which on the other hand is inserted with a "clip" into the explosive. The other side of the detonator leaned on one of the engine exhaust pipes, which would get hot if the engine was running. Once the temperature of the pipe reached 30 or 40 degrees Celsius, the wax would melt and the bomb would explode.
The other possibility, also proposed by the FBI experts, after the second inspection of the car, was that it was very likely that evidence was destroyed during the first inspection by the Cantonal police, Federation BH Police experts and Investigation and Documentation Agency (AID) [Bosniak intelligence agency] agents, who were present in the exclusion zone and tipped the car over "looking for evidence"?!
As judge Salem Miso concluded in his verbal justification of the verdict, the panel of judges could not accept results of the crime scene investigation and video documentation, because they do not provide details necessary for coming up with any evidence relevant to the court.
After the arrival to the spot where the explosion took place, Federation BH Police minister Muhamed Zilic and the then AID director Kemo Ademovic ordered their inspectors and agents to confiscate all video equipment, cameras, video-tapes and film. Only people authorized by Zilic and Ademovic could enter the exclusion zone.
"It is fairly easy to destroy evidence. It is enough to have a small brush and a portable vacuum cleaner, which can be used to simply vacuum matter from the explosion spot, spot where the explosive was attached to the car, Zeljko Cosic's and Jozo Leutar's seats and dashboard. Then, sand, dust and soil from a nearby spot are moved to the key locations and the evidence is gone. Also, evidence could have been removed later, in the Federation BH garage, where the car was also inspected before being sent to Great Britain. Besides, all evidence that has been passed on to the court was handled by agents directly controlled by Faik Lusija, Kemal Ademovic, and Mehmed Zilic," said an expert who worked with FBI experts during the inspection of Leutar's car in Great Britain.
The fact that little balls pulled out of the head of slain Leutar and Cosic's wounds were never included as evidence is another indication that evidence was destroyed during the investigation. Doctor Osman Duric, who operated on Leutar and Cosic, told the court that he did not know what happened to the balls, but that they were most likely thrown into the garbage after surgery. Although Mirza Jamakovic said that based on their appearance (it was not clear where he saw the balls, if they were not included in evidence) the balls were most likely pulled out of the directional landmine MRUD. It is important to stress that besides an American type of MRUD, there is also a Yugoslav People's Army prototype of this mine, and that during the war these mines were filled by handmade balls and balls produced in armaments factories supplying the Army of Bosnia-Hercegovina, HVO and the Republic of Srpska Army. All balls were of different size, and had different composition, which could have been used to trace their origin.
Another important oversight (?) is that during the investigation the police never searched one apartment. This apartment was in the building where Jozo Leutar lived, and was temporarily used by Adnan Pezo, the then president of the Active Islamic Youth (AIO). Windows of the apartment are located about fifty meters from the spot where the explosion took place and where Leutar and Cosic were wounded. Judge Salem Miso did not allow the defense to ask why Adnan Pezo's apartment was never searched, so that the court never got an answer to that question. Unfortunately, the defense inquired about the apartment after the chief of the UNBiH Mission General Jacques Paul Klein explicitly stated that Leutar had been killed by "Croat extremists".
"I've been promised in recent conversations at the Federation BH Police that after the Leutar murder case, the murder of Nedzad Ugljen will be top priority. Now we can expect further developments in the Ugljen case, as the Leutar murder case is about to be solved," the then director of the AID, Keman Ademovic, said in early November 2000, in a conversation with the Sarajevo weekly Dani.
Today, two years later, the investigation about the murder of Nedzad Ugljen is nonexistent, the Leutar murder investigation is back at the beginning, and none of the mentioned evidence exists any more.
However, AID agents were intrigued by Leutar's frequent evening visits to the British embassy in Sarajevo. Our source, who worked with Leutar in the Federation BH Police, claims that the deputy minister had the habit of writing reports on plain paper after the end of work hours in his office. Allegedly, Leutar delivered those reports to at the time new British ambassador Graham Hand, with whom he was very close.
The content of these reports obviously had to do with operational connections of AID and the Federation BH police in the field in central Bosnia, Sarajevo, Mostar, Bihac, and included the names of Croats, Serbs, and Arabs who were sought by the authorities. The reports must have also included information about police investigations of attacks on policemen, religious objects and murders of agents, AID officers, camp Pogorelica, Nezdzad Herenda Case, links between Kemal Ademovic, Bakir Alispahic, and Mehmed Zilic, with Alija and Bakir Izetbegovic, links between local mafia bosses and the SDA leadership, police and AID, links between AID and mujahedin, AID and members of Iranian intelligence services during the war and after the war...
The reports also had to do with links between Hercegovina mafia bosses with the HDZ leadership, members of the wartime police and intelligence structures of the HVO and civilian police in HR Herceg Bosna, Mladen Naletelic Tuta and his links with Croatian tycoons, members of the Zagreb criminal underworld...
According to AID agents, another frequent visitor to the embassy was the then minister of the Srpska Police Sredoje Novic, who at the time supported reformists Biljana Plavsic and Milorad Dodik, and who was recently appointed director of the state intelligence service Sipa with the blessing of the High Representative Paddy Ashdown.
"Although he was a man who did not draw attention to himself as a policeman who meddles in all sorts of things, it is certain that Leutar did not support hardliners in the HDZ, criminal groups in Hercegovina, and that he also did not enjoy the support of the SDA and minister Zilic. He accused the SDA and Zilic of destroying the Federation BH as much as the HDZ in Hercegovina. It is possible that he believed some international circles, including General Klein, who tried to convince him that he would enjoy their unreserved support in any showdown with crime, that they would establish state institutions, that they would build a state with the rule of law... Thus, he probably started ‘messing around' with them, and then found something very sensitive. I am convinced that that is why he was killed and that that could not have been done without the agreement of the foreigners. Jozo was a policeman and that's why he is dead. The SDA and the HDZ had a deal to stay out of each others business. However, if interests overlap, then things can be done in cooperation. I am convinced that in this case the interests of the SDA and HDZ aligned with those of mafia, foreign intelligence services and international officials," a former Federation BH policeman says after the trial. He claims that he cooperated with Leutar and his deputies in connection with information about crime in Sarajevo and in Hercegovina.
There are two adult Tatjana Drzajics, both Serbs, born in Vukovar and Borovo Selo, respectively. Current address of either of them is unknown. However, a close to forty-years-old woman with the codename Tatjana Drzajic lives in Sarajevo. During the war she grew her hair long and died it blond or red, while her natural hair color is brown. She worked for the AID in Sarajevo cafes and restaurants, as an escort for unknown men, while in 1993 and 1994 she worked under an fake Croat name and with forged documents of the Croat Republic of Herceg Bosna in western Hercegovina. She also worked in restaurants from Grude to Posusje and frequently traveled on business to Makarska. Persons released from custody this week know her, as do most high Croat and Bosniak officers who are today on trial in the Hague. Late Jozo Leutar also probably noticed Tatjana, as she was frequently close to him on difficult assignments. In the Leutar case, the AID assigned her the role of the escort of witnesses number 30 and 31 at locations described by Merim Galijatovic in his confused statements. This was a part of preparations of Tatjana Drzajic for the protected witness number 29. According to the law about special protection of witnesses, a guilty verdict must be based on the testimony of at least two protected witnesses, one of whom must confirm material evidence.
It remains unknown why the AID decided to drop Tatjana Drzajic from its plans in connection with the Leutar case. However, it is certain that protected witness number 30 Merim Galijatovic has never seen this woman. Simply, he was instructed what to say. That is the start of the Leutar case.
Faik Lusija "dug up" the protected witness number 30, Merim Galijatovic. Although the future protected witness had been sentenced to three years in prison for a rape, Lusija used the former Federation BH prosecutor Suljo Babic to have Galijatovic released from the Zenica prison due to "higher state interest". Lusija urged the former Federation BH Police minister Muhamed Besic to call minister of finances Dr. Nikola Grabovac who was supposed to pay $250,000 from the treasury. However, Grabovac refused (as he explained in the program of TV KISS in Kiseljak), and Faik Lusija, on behalf of minister Muhamed Besic, ordered in 2001 the Finance Ministry to pay $250,000 to the protected witness number 30.
Sefika Hafizovic, deputy finance minister, ordered employee Sirbubalo to make the payment. The payment was controlled directly by Sefika Hafizovic, Mehmed Zilic, and Faik Lusija. In late September of this year Merim Galijatovic stated on one occasion that he had received $150,000 in cash. According to him, he had not received the rest of the money, he had no idea what had happened with it, nor was he interested.
Merim Galijatovic, protected witness number 30, would have to be arrested as soon as possible (since he is anyway under Police surveillance) and indicted for perjury and human trafficking from BH to Croatia, to which he confessed, implicating protected witness number 31 policeman S. Herenda, who is the husband of Galijatovic's sister. Policeman Herenda would also have to be questioned in connection with his statement, which totally contradicts Galijatovic's statement in connection with the alleged procurement and delivery of an explosive device from Ivan Andabak, which implies that he also committed perjury.
Mustafa Bisic, cantonal prosecutor, investigative magistrate Vladimir Poljaric, representative of the prosecution Dragan Stupar - would all have to be questioned because of serious violations of their official duty, serious violations of trial procedure, abuse of authority...
Prosecutor Bisic accepted two statements by Merim Galijatovic as relevant evidence for initiating investigation against the six defendants. Galijatovic gave these two statements as an unprotected witness. However, when on April 6, 2000, Bisic delivered to the investigative magistrate Vladimir Spoljaric Request for initiating an investigation, Spoljaric requested psychiatric evaluation of Galijatovic's mental state after reading the statements. The investigation request contained the name of the witness, Galijatovic, which was rejected by Faik Lusija and Galijatovic, while Bisic could not legally declare Galijatovic for a protected witness. Consequently, on April 11, 2000, Bisic declared the case file "off limits to interested persons" (also illegal). Late in the May of 2000, the April 6 investigation request disappeared from the case file. In the meantime Wolfgang Petritsch enacted the Law About Special Protection of Witnesses and Merim Galiatovic became the protected witness number 30. Vladimir Spoljaric carried out arrests and questioning without a legal basis, i.e. without an investigation request (violation of duty, serious violation of trial procedure, abuse of authority).
Only after four defendants were in custody and were questioned on September 21, 2000, Mustafa Bisic added a new investigation request to the case file. This investigation request did not mention the name of Merim Galijatovic, but instead mentioned protected witnesses number 30 and 31 (criminal act - abuse and violation of duty, serious violation of trial procedure, forging of a legal document, illegal arrest and questioning).
Dragan Stupar knew, and should have been aware of various abuses and violations of the law, but failed to do anything to prevent the illegal acts of the prosecution.
Jacques Paul Klein, the chief of the UN Mission in Bosnia-Hercegovina, is the only one of them who will not face justice. He gave full support to the group that forged the indictment and encouraged the staged trial against the alleged murderers of Jozo Leutar. He ignored the presumption of innocence and condemned the defendants even before the beginning of the trial. The American general who closely resembles arrogant General Patton in the closing chapters of WWII, will soon go home with untouched diplomatic immunity. This year he suddenly stopped making comments about the Leutar case, saying that it was a matter for the court. He had no comment after the acquittals. He was planning to exploit the sentencing of "Croatian extremists" to further his career in the Un headquarters, but the plan failed in the meantime.
A month after the assassination, special cantonal police arrested on the Igman mountain Mounir Hanouf, Muhamad Abu Gazali, and Abas Murat. All three of them had been wanted by the Italian authorities on charges of "conspiracy to carry out terrorist attacks in western Europe", distribution of forged money etc. During the search of their vehicle, the police found electronic equipment that could have been used to remotely activate a bomb. Later, the investigation revealed that the three had been sent to the 81th brigade in Gorazde by Semsudin Mehmedovic, the then minister of Communications and Traffic in the Zenica-Doboj canton and the former Police chief in the same canton, for the sake of alleged training of soldiers in the division. The arrested individuals were soldiers of the Army of Bosnia-Hercegovina. The investigation was stopped.
The market Renner in Stolac is owned by Jozo Peric Tukesa. It was the center for the smuggling of stolen vehicles from Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina to Montenegro and Serbia. After being released on parole Tukesa escaped to the Netherlands. Early in the year, the deputy minister of the Federation BH Police Tomislav Limov and the minister of justice visited Tukesa and talked about the manner in which he could return to Bosnia-Hercegovina. The investigation in connection with motives of the leaders of organized crime in Hercegovina and the murder of Jozo Leutar was stopped.
The operation of the police and intelligence services of the republic of Croatia, codenamed Barracuda, against organized crime also included the territory of the Federation BH and the Republic of Srpska. In meetings with police and judicial officials in Sarajevo, state attorney Radovan Ortynski claimed that he had evidence about the motives for the murder of Jozo Leutar by the Croatian criminal underworld and their paymasters, HDZ hardliners. After the indictment against the six recently acquitted defendants, contacts between the judiciary and police of the Federation BH and Croatia stopped. Ortynski claimed that the lack of cooperation originated in the Federation BH and that Croatian authorities had no reason to continue to respond to requests from BH. There was no investigation.
Minister Mehmed Zilic approved a deal in connection with production of car number plates. The deal went against company MMR from Gracanica, whose offer was $3 per plate. Minister Zilic gave the job to the Sarajevo company Ferby, which to this day produces plates at about $5 per plate. Just before the assassination, Jozo Leutar warned that millions were illegally changing hands and that Zilic and people from former intelligence, police and political structures of the SDA and the Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina were involved in large scale corruption. The investigation was stopped.