During the war, the Mujahideen took part in the BH Army actions, but were not under its control, says Ali Ahmed Ali Hamad, a former commander of the El Mujahid Detachment, at the trial of the former commander of the BH Army Main Staff Rasim Delic. This weekend, the Trial Chamber moved, exceptionally, to Sarajevo from The Hague. The witness claims the Mujahideen obeyed only the orders from their ‘Al Qaeda bosses’

The Mujahideen took part in the BH Army actions in Central Bosnia, but were not under its command, says Ali Ahmed Ali Hamad, a former commander of the El Mujahid Detachment, whose members allegedly committed the crimes Rasim Delic is charged with on the basis of command responsibility. Delic is a former commander of the BH Army Main Staff.

The Delic trial was exceptionally moved to a courtroom in the BH State Court in Sarajevo. The Mujahideen took orders only from their ‘Al Qaeda bosses’, the witness said. ‘We responded to the BH Army’s calls to take part in the actions, but we prepared for actions alone and we alone decided when the attack would start and end,’ the witness went on to say. He claims that the Mujahideen stuck to this rule throughout the war.

Ali Ahmed Ali Hamad, known as Abu Ubeida, is a self-confessed Al Qaeda member. After the training in Afghanistan in September 1992, he came to BH as a volunteer. From early 1993 until the end of the war, he was the commander of a unit in the El Mujahid Detachment, stationed in Bijelo Bucje, a village in the Travnik area.

The number of foreign fighters in BH fluctuated between 300 and 1,500, he said. Their task was to ‘cleanse the ground of Croats’ together with the BH Army 7th Muslim Brigade troops, from Guca Gora to Travnik. That’s what they did, he said.

The witness believes the BH Army had the strength to deal with the Mujahideen. Instead, the foreign fighters were accepted and so were all the bad things they did. He said he ‘believes’ that during the war the Mujahideen had ‘protection and police immunity” during the war in BH.

In the cross-examination, General Delic’s defense tried to discredit the witness, claiming that in late 1992 he was involved in a sexual assault on an underage girl. He denied the allegation. Talking about the witness’s past and his links with Al Qaeda, defense counsel Vasvija Vidovic called the witness Abdali at one point. The witness said he didn’t like the name, and that he was ‘not in the mood’ any more to answer the defense’s questions. The defense did not insist after that.

After giving evidence, Ali Ahmed Ali Hamad, went back to the prison in Zenica where he is currently serving a twelve year sentence for terrorism and robbery he committed in BH. He described his experience with Al Qaeda – he admits he worked for it until his arrest in 1997 – in a book, International Terrorism and Al Qaeda: I Came Out Into the Light from Dark.

The trial of Rasim Delic will continue on Tuesday in The Hague with the evidence of a new prosecution witness.