1 Wednesday, 14 November 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.12 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
7 I'm sorry that I was responsible for the circumstances that have
8 led to a late start this morning.
9 Your affirmation still applies, sir.
10 Mr. Apostolski.
11 WITNESS: GZIM OSTRENI [Resumed]
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. Good
14 morning, Your Honours.
15 Cross-examination by Mr. Apostolski: [Continued]
16 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness Ostreni.
17 A. Good morning.
18 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
19 the map, P515, page 3, admitted into evidence.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I, once again, be
21 asked about the participation of the NLA from -- members from Albania,
22 because I don't think I heard the question well and I don't think I gave
23 the right answer.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Apostolski, if you'll excuse me.
25 May I ask you, again, sir, about the participation of the Albanian
1 representatives in the NLA?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. There were members. But the
3 way I understood your question was whether I knew them or not, and that's
4 why I answer in that way.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Apostolski, you may want to follow that up.
6 That's a matter for you.
7 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Witness Ostreni, is it correct that there were NLA members who
9 were Albanian nationals?
10 A. Yes, that's correct. There were some.
11 Q. As far as I remember, you replied that you knew at least one of
13 A. Yes, because I thought whether you asked me whether I knew one of
14 them, and I'm still repeating that I used to know one of them who was
15 killed on the 12th [as interpreted]. This is the reason why I asked the
16 -- His Honour to ask me the question again, to answer to his question.
17 Q. Could you please tell me which month it was, the 12th of which
18 month, to be precise, for the transcript to be precise?
19 A. I didn't -- I didn't use the term "12th." I said that there were
20 Albanian citizens, nationals, in the NLA ranks.
21 Q. You stated that - that is in line 14: "I knew one of them who was
22 killed on the 12th."
23 A. I meant Brigade 112th, to make it clear for you.
24 Q. Very well. Thank you.
25 Do you see the map in front of you? You have it also in hard
2 A. Yes, I do. It's a map of Brigade 113.
3 Q. You stated that you have marked it.
4 A. [No interpretation]
5 Q. This is the territory under the control of the NLA in 2001?
6 A. Yes, this is what I said.
7 Q. This is the area around the city of Kumanovo.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. More specifically, it is the area to the west of Kumanovo. Is
10 that correct?
11 A. Yes. You can see that from the map.
12 Q. Considering that the map does not end with a blue line on the left
13 side, could you explain if this is the end or the border of the territory
14 that was under the control of the 112th Brigade; or, to be clearer, the
15 territory under the control of the 113th Brigade, did it extend beyond
16 this map, beyond where this map ends, or is interrupted?
17 A. You are saying on the left. Do you mean the western part of the
18 map? I didn't mark it. I marked only the eastern part which was engaged
19 in daily fighting with the army and the police forces. That must have
20 been marked by the General Staff of the army.
21 That's why NATO was happy with this line. Within this line, in
22 the west, there is the -- there is Brigade 113 and the newly established
23 112th Brigade. But for NATO, it was important to have the -- to have
24 marked the line where the monitors could observe the observance of
1 Q. Do you see where the map ends on the left-hand side? It ends in
2 the left-hand side without any marking. Does it mean that also the
3 territory that cannot be seen in this map was under the control of the
5 A. It can be seen in the operational plan, that I have submitted to
6 the Court, the location of the units and so on. But in this case, the aim
7 was to highlight the front line of the brigade and to set two borders:
8 The state border in the north and the south-western border of the brigade
9 as the zone of its responsibility.
10 Q. When you're talking about another map, that would be the map that
11 we had seen, together with the instructions, the one marked in yellow
12 where the territory under the NLA control was marked in yellow. Were you
13 referring to that one?
14 A. Yes. And I believe you know that in the north-western part, there
15 were units of the army of the Republic of Macedonia, units from the 1st
16 Brigade, which -- and also units from the police battalion in the
17 north-western part, which operated in the direction of Slupcane and
18 Orizare and these villages, during MX-1 and MX-2 and later operation
19 called Vaksince, trying to break up the defence line and get together.
20 But they failed to realise that during the fighting, so I have
21 marked the part or the area where our forces were deployed. The army must
22 have marked its own location in the north-western part and outside this
23 border. For me, it was important to mark the battery that was here, above
24 Alasec. I didn't mark the location of other forces because they were not
25 undertaking operations before the attack started from Kumanovo direction.
1 They always acted in cooperation with the operational tactical
2 group number 2. They were part of a tactical group number 1, but that is
3 a question of the use of forces. In this map, you see the outline of the
4 territory, the first part, and the lining of our units.
5 At the time NATO didn't ask us to give it details, because they
6 wanted this information to know about the cease-fire. They weren't
7 interested in further details related to the units, but only the area
8 under our responsibility. So NATO was content with the information
9 provided it with.
10 Q. Do you see in the lowest part of the map, in the lowest part on
11 the left-hand side, that the -- there is a marking with an interrupted
12 black and blue line? The black line consists of semi-circles.
13 A. That is done based on the rules, on the content of the maps.
14 May I answer the question, because sometimes I may hurry up
15 because I understand the language that the question is being put to me.
16 May I continue, Your Honour? I know very well the Macedonian
17 language, Your Honour, and sometimes I maybe hurry up in answering and
18 don't wait for the translation. I apologise for that.
19 The line that you are asking me is done in conformity with the
20 then rules on the drawing of the maps and represents the border of the
21 area of responsibility on the right side of the brigades that were
22 deployed there, 113 and 114.
23 Q. Does this line end here; or, if the map would continue, would the
24 line also continue following the same direction?
25 A. It's a question about which I make suppositions. You're asking me
1 whether the map would continue. The map doesn't continue, so that's the
2 information I've provided.
3 Q. I'm asking you whether the line, the line that I asked you about
4 previously, the one marked with intermittent black semi-circular and blue
5 lines, continues beyond this section of the map.
6 A. It would continue, depending on where the area of responsibility
7 of the brigade would be. It would normally continue on that line or in
8 that direction, but it would be a mere supposition. So I'm saying and
9 answering about things I have done in real terms, what I draw from the
10 general map, in consultation with the commander of Brigade 113.
11 Q. Do you have any other map where it is marked where this line would
13 A. Only on the map of operations, if it's there; but, otherwise, I'm
14 not sure.
15 Q. Do you have a map that you have marked, a map that you would have
16 had provided to NATO about the borders, the lines of delineation, in the
17 areas of Ljubanci and Ljuboten, since in this map here, we can see Matejce
18 that was under the control of the 113th Brigade and 114th Brigade.
19 A. I don't recall to have submitted any other map to NATO, other than
20 the current one. I don't remember.
21 I think I don't have given anything else; but to tell you the
22 truth, I don't remember. I know that I didn't work with many maps, also
23 because for -- for reasons of maintaining the secret of my duty.
24 Q. Do you see the city of Kumanovo in the map?
25 A. Yes, I do.
1 Q. Is it correct that the NLA was never waging a war to -- to conquer
3 A. It is correct that the NLA has been -- came so far to the line
4 that you see here until the cease-fire, and didn't undertake any operation
5 outside this line in the direction of Kumanovo.
6 Q. So the NLA never carried out combats to conquer the city of
8 A. Yes. Because for four months, the NLA reached as far as this
9 level, until it reached the cease-fire of the 6th of July, and it
10 respected the cease-fire and stopped at these positions.
11 Q. And is it true that the NLA never penetrated to the east [as
12 interpreted] of Kumanovo?
13 A. It is true --
14 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] I apologise the transcript is
15 incorrect. It should be to the "south-east" of Kumanovo.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can you please repeat the question
18 I apologise for asking you to repeat it, but I want to understand
19 it properly in order to give you a right answer.
20 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Is it correct, as well, that the NLA never penetrated to the
22 south-east of Kumanovo.
23 A. I don't understand the word "penetrate" in Albanian.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: He is asking the
25 interpreter to interpret it again.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The NLA penetrated until the
2 positions marked here, with the exception of Haracin from where the
3 battalion withdrew; but it didn't penetrate or didn't attack the other
5 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
6 Q. So, the NLA had never under its control territory to the
7 south-east of Kumanovo?
8 A. No, not in the south-east of Kumanovo.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 A. [No interpretation]
11 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
12 P515, page 2.
13 Q. Do you see the map in front of you?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. You stated that the intermittent line marks the area that was
16 potentially under the NLA Brigade 116th, and the uninterrupted line marks
17 the area that was under the control of the 116th Brigade of the NLA. Do
18 you recall that?
19 A. Yes, I recall that, this is what I said. The intermittent line
20 shows the possible area of responsibility because there were weapons
21 stations a little bit far for security reasons, and then -- and then there
22 is the area where the brigade was concentrated.
23 Q. Do you see the village of Dobri Dol in the map. It is in the
24 upper right-hand corner.
25 A. In the north-east, yes, Dobri Dol; if we are speaking of the same
2 Q. Yes. We're speaking about the same place.
3 A. Near Pozaran [phoen], yes.
4 Q. Is it correct that Dobri Dol was not under the NLA control in
6 A. Everything that is situated outside the marking were not under NLA
7 control. Dobri Dol, too - I think it is part of Gostivar commune - that,
8 too, was not part.
9 I have to look at the other maps. I don't know maybe it is
10 included in the or maps; but seemingly, it wasn't.
11 Q. And it is correct that in the areas marked as the potential and as
12 the actual area under the control of the 116th Brigade, there is no city.
13 A. Yes, you can see it. You can see it on the map.
14 Q. Is it correct -- could you tell me -- I apologise. I will reframe
15 my question.
16 Is it correct that the area in Skopska Crna Gora mountain, to the
17 north of Skopje, was not comprised in the maps that you provided to the
18 ICTY investigators as areas under the NLA control?
19 A. I have submitted the maps that are now in front of me. These are
20 the only ones I have submitted. Karadak, Montenegro, Skopje are notions,
21 describing or representing a broader territory. I concentrated my answer
22 on the fact that I gave these maps, and that the territory marked on them
23 show where the NLA, its respective brigades or parts thereof or
24 battalions, had their control. That was the summary of the answer to your
1 Q. Did the ICTY investigators ask you to mark in the map the area
2 around Ljubanci and Ljuboten that was under the NLA control?
3 A. No, sir. I think you are pushing me to make some mistakes. When
4 I was asked from the Tribunal, I gave them these maps, the same ones that
5 we gave to NATO, and this is the territory that was under our control.
6 If you are -- if you are pushing me towards making some errors,
7 and including Ljuboten, Ljubanci, and I don't know what, I don't think
8 that's the right way to put questions to me, because I think your aim is
9 to make me go into the wrong alley.
10 I kindly ask you to ask the questions in a clearer form, so that I
11 can give you the right answers to them.
12 Q. I apologise if you're thinking that I'm trying to mislead you, but
13 I think that I asked you -- that I'm asking you straightforward questions
14 and I expect that you can answer to, and that you are the person who knows
15 those answers best.
16 Is it correct, as well, that the NATO forces, when you were
17 disarming, did not ask you to mark in the map what was the territory
18 around Skopje that was under the NLA control?
19 A. They didn't asked us to mark anything else other than the
20 territory where the brigades were stationed, in their positions. NATO and
21 others, who were part of the monitoring group, allowed -- were happy with
22 this map because that enabled them to follow up whether the cease-fire was
23 respected, to identify the places that might have been violated.
24 At this time, I gave them the maps after I was consulted with the
25 brigade commanders, and then the same maps I gave also to these
1 commanders, for them to know to abide by the cease-fire because that was
2 the main issue at the time for the NLA, because we had to -- talks had to
3 start on the political agreement on the interruption of fighting and
4 establishment of peace in the Republic of Macedonia.
5 That was the reason why NATO asked us to give it these maps which
6 we tried to be as precise as possible in representing the territory under
7 the command of the brigades, then the front line, and on the right side or
8 the south-west, the area of operation, the border of its area of operation
9 in the case of 113 and 114 Brigade.
10 Q. So you mean to say that the NATO forces were interested in the
11 entire area, in the territory in Macedonia under the NLA control, apart
12 from the area around the capital, Skopje. Is that your evidence?
13 A. No, that is not. What I'm saying is that they wanted us to
14 provide them with a map with the markings that would identify the
15 territory in which the brigades of the NLA had established their
16 authority. They did not mention Skopje. They asked for the above.
17 That's why, in these pieces of maps, I marked the positions where the NLA,
18 at the time, was stationed.
19 I will repeat myself again. This was in line with the
20 preparations for the cease-fire, and that's why we didn't put all the
21 details on these maps because we didn't know, at the time, whether the
22 cease-fire would result in a political agreement, and that's why there was
23 a need to safeguard the notes that would depict in more details the
24 positions of the NLA.
25 Q. Did -- was the village of Tanusevci under the control of the NLA?
1 A. As I said, the 1st ARM Brigade was operating in that area.
2 Q. Could you please answer shortly with "yes" or "no."
3 A. This is a very delicate issue. I cannot answer to it either with
4 "yes" or "no."
5 I will repeat myself again that, in that area, the first special
6 brigade, the Skorpians, was operating there of the ARM, and there was a
7 special platoon of the border units and perhaps some units of the military
8 police. This is what I'm telling, that on that part that you're
9 mentioning here, these were the forces operating.
10 Q. But did you not answer to my question: Was the village of
11 Tanusevci under the control of the NLA?
12 A. I think that at the time, no.
13 Q. In 2001, was the village of Tanusevci under the control of the
15 A. The beginning of the uprising is there, then the ARM forces
16 intervened and Tanuse remained, to my recollection, under the control of
17 the ARM forces.
18 Q. In what time was the village of -- or from which month was the
19 village of Tanusevci under the control of the ARM?
20 A. It was the 12th, the day, but I don't remember the month. I will
21 tell you of the case. It was when the ARM forces undertook --
22 Q. May I remind you, may I refresh your memory. Was this perhaps the
23 month of February?
24 A. On the 16th of February, they intervened; but then, again, they
25 went out to the border, met with the KFOR forces. I don't remember the
1 month. I know that the day is 12th. So maybe it is 12th of April, but
2 I'm not sure. The forces of this brigade then remained on that part;
3 while on the 16th of February, there were clashes in Tanuse. However, I
4 was not there at the time. This was reported through the media as an
5 event that marked the beginning of the armed clashes.
6 Q. And you, as the Chief of the General Staff, you can't tell me when
7 you held the village from which your uprising began under control and when
8 the Macedonian security forces held this village under control?
9 A. All I'm saying to you, sir, is that when the MX-1 operation
10 commenced, from that time, these forces began to act on the back of 112th
11 Brigade. I enumerated the forces that were stationed there.
12 As for the exact date when these forces entered Tanuse, that I
13 don't remember.
14 Q. Is it correct that, to the investigators of the OTP, you did not
15 give the map for the area under the control of the NLA in the area of
16 Skopje, because the village of Ljuboten is marked as a village under the
17 control of the NLA?
18 A. You are again trying to mislead me, sir. This is not true. The
19 NLA units were never in Ljuboten.
20 Q. Is it correct that no map has marked the area of -- under the
21 control of the 111th Brigade, because such a brigade did not exist?
22 A. Physically as such, as an operative brigade, it did not function
23 that way. The people were known. Their leader was known, but they were
24 in their own houses because the cease-fire came into force. Our aim was
25 not to create tension. Our aim was for everything to end in a political
1 agreement and to put an end to the war.
2 Q. Members of the 111th Brigade lived in their houses. This is your
4 A. Yes. But they had their persons in charge.
5 Q. Did they keep their weapons in their homes?
6 A. I don't know what they had in their homes. I and the General
7 Staff made efforts to secure anti-tank weapons because that part, the
8 Kercove part, was a part where there was constant movement of armoured
9 vehicles, but we didn't manage to cross them over. These would have been
10 the weapons that we would provide them with.
11 However, the cease-fire came into force, things improved, the
12 Ohrid Agreement was signed, and there was no need to activate that
14 Q. Where were the warehouses for the weapons of the 111th Brigade?
15 A. The 111th Brigade would have looked for support from 116 Brigade
16 in the beginning; and, of course, later on, procurement would have taken
17 place. As I said already, I didn't manage to provide them weapons. I
18 don't know for each and every member of them, I only knew the -- their
20 Q. Did each member of the NLA have personal weaponry, a personal
22 A. Which persons are you referring to? Those that were in their
23 homes or those at positions? I want to be chore on your question.
24 Q. I'm asking you about all members of the NLA of the 111th, 112th,
25 113th, 114th, 115th, and 116th Brigade?
1 A. As for 111th, that I can not say, because they were not
2 activated. They were in their homes.
3 As for the other brigades that I provided the positions of 112th
4 to 116th, they had weapons, but we did not manage to provide each and
5 every member with a weapon. So a selection took place; for example, the
6 cooks remained without weapons. For example, for an 82-millimetre mortar,
7 you need eight persons. These persons were not provided with personal
8 weapons because they were positioned in the rear, and they were defended
9 and protected by the forces on the first front line.
10 Again, part of the soldiers in the training centres, they were not
11 provided with weapons because, first, they had to undergo training, to get
12 the uniforms, to start their military education. So they used one, two,
13 three, or four weapons, to the extent they could, to do the shooting
14 training; and, then, as the procurement occurred, that's how they were
15 furnished with weapons.
16 Then, the doctors, the health department, the nurses, they also
17 were not provided with personal weapons due to the lack of them.
18 Q. Did the other brigades also have inactive members, the 112th,
19 113th, 114th, 115th, 116th?
20 A. I do not receive a good interpretation. Could you please repeat
21 the question? I know the Macedonian language, and this is in contrary to
22 what is said because the NLA did not have reservists. It had volunteers,
23 and we had no idea how many volunteers will come to join in each and every
25 So the logistic department also dealt with the personnel issue of
1 the brigades and looked after avoiding too many volunteers joining at the
2 same time because providing them with weapons would occur as a problem.
3 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can the witness please be shown
4 P487, received in evidence. Can we please zoom in on the map, upper
5 middle part. Yes, this part.
6 Can we zoom in further, please, the area around Skopje. It's in
7 the middle of the map. Can we zoom in on this, please. A little bit
8 further up. No. Can we just have the whole map up a little.
9 Could we zoom in the central area which is marked with yellow.
10 Yes, this is it. Thank you.
11 Q. Your evidence before this Chamber was that the areas marked with
12 yellow were under the control of the NLA. Do you recall this?
13 A. Yes, on the north-western part.
14 Q. I see here the road, the highway Skopje-Velice marked in yellow.
15 Was the highway under your control?
16 A. No, no. The yellow colour here is of the map itself. You can see
17 the same yellow in other areas.
18 Q. Was the area north of Skopje, marked here, was under the control
19 of the NLA?
20 A. No. It is the way it is marked. It's very small, but it was up
21 to Haracin; then after the withdrawal of Haracin, the line moves to
22 Mojance; and then from Mojance, you can see the border, the right-hand
23 side border of the brigade, that goes up north.
24 In fact, this is what I gave NATO, and it can be better seen in
25 these conditions. Haracin is not depicted here because with -- we
1 withdrew from Haracin. So you're allowed to mark with an "X" those
2 locations that you lost or you withdraw from. So this map that we
3 provided NATO with had to be accurate, because otherwise the monitors
4 would find themselves in an awkward position.
5 Q. You told us that NATO was not interested in the areas around
6 Skopje, and they did not ask you to mark a map about NLA control around
8 A. No, sir. Maybe this is the way you understood my questions [as
10 What I said was NATO asked us to mark on the map the territory
11 where the NLA had established its authority. Based on this request,
12 launched by Peter Feith and addressed to Ali Ahmeti, I worked on these
13 maps. I marked them, NATO collected them.
14 And, of course, when they compared them with the maps they were
15 provided with by the ARM, there were no remarks on part of NATO, with the
16 exception of the units that were inside the territory. As I already
17 mentioned, on the north-west, there were forces of the army; then in
18 Popova Shapka, there were also ARM units.
19 So this was sufficient for the monitors to be able to carry out
20 their duties. So whenever there was a movement away from this line, as it
21 happened on the 25th and 26th of July, Mr. Ali Ahmeti gave an order for
22 the NLA forces to withdraw from their intervention in Tetovo-Jezince road.
23 So these maps were the basis for safeguarding the cease-fire.
24 So the requests of the monitors to both parties was to respect
25 this border-line. There were problems also on part of the police and the
1 ARM, but we are talking of the territories that are marked on this map.
2 Q. Is it correct that Ljuboten is also marked in yellow as being
3 under the control of the NLA on this map?
4 A. I cannot see that. What I know is that Ljuboten was never under
5 the control of National Liberation Army.
6 Last time, I called on these maps, too, because these maps are
7 exact maps. So the same positions should be both on the operational map
8 and on these maps. But on the operational one there are other colours,
9 and it is quite possible for this colours to be mixed up.
10 But it is how it was in reality in the map that I provided in the
12 Q. Is it correct that, according to this map, Tanusevci also is
13 marked as territory under the control of the NLA?
14 A. This is how I depicted Kodra i Diellit, or Popova Shapka, 112th
16 Q. I'm asking you about Tanusevci.
17 A. This is how it is depicted on that map because I was getting ready
18 to go to the east of Kumanovo, not to the west, because we were expecting
19 risk. Those forces there would have remained isolated if the forces went
20 towards the east of Skopje, towards Mali i Thate. So we had to prepare
21 for the future. Our aim was not to fight against those forces because
22 that would have caused a blood bath.
23 Q. Can you respond to my question, whether it is correct that on this
24 map, Tanusevci is marked as a territory under the control of the NLA?
25 A. I already said that the entire area, as I've depicted it in
1 yellow, at that time I was not thinking that we will come here to The
2 Hague and discuss each village individually. So the idea of this map was
3 to show where the NLA was holding ground and which direction it should
4 take. Had I known at the time that I would come here to testify, I would
5 have included more details.
6 But now after six years, we're talking for several days on these
7 issues. There are many dates, many issues mentioned. So you should also
8 consider the fact that I'm a human, too, and it is difficult for me, too,
9 to remember every date and every detail that are maybe required today here
10 in this courtroom.
11 Q. This map then is not truthful. Is this correct?
12 A. How can it not be truthful? When you have a map, you have an
13 operation planned, you have the task written on it, it has a stamp, a
14 signature, and this map would be followed. But myself and everyone in the
15 NLA were happy that this plan was not implemented and that things ended in
16 a political agreement with the signing of the Ohrid Agreement.
17 Q. Are -- is -- are the information on this map incorrect?
18 A. To me, these markings of -- on the map were enough to prepare this
19 operation. I prepared it for the level of the NLA, for our abilities,
20 mental and physical. This is how it was. Of course, the forces of the
21 Tactical Group 1 on the north are not marked in the 112th Brigade because,
22 at the time, I didn't deem them important.
23 Q. Is it correct that the information regarding the areas marked in
24 yellow were under -- as being under the control of the NLA is incorrect?
25 A. In order to be precise, I gave NATO these other maps so that the
1 full picture was there, that everything was clear which was this
2 territory. So the map was aimed at organising an operation. At the time,
3 I didn't give this map to NATO. I only gave them the maps that were --
4 that had on them marked the current positions, and I gave them these maps
5 on the 5th of July.
6 Q. Very well. Thank you for your answer regarding the maps.
7 Oftentimes, in your evidence, you called upon the book of
8 Petrovski, and you assess it as giving a reliable assessment of the
9 situation in Macedonia in 2001. Do you recall this?
10 A. Yes, I recall that. I have mentioned him several times.
11 Q. Have you read also the book, "War in Macedonia" by Mitre Arsovksi
12 and Damjanovski?
13 A. Not only that I read it, but I published a book as a critical
14 review of that book. In my book, I have laid out my views and criticism
15 on this collective book, "The War in Macedonia 2001." In other words, I'm
16 well familiar with this book.
17 Q. You critique this book as having a lot of untruthfulness in it.
18 Is this correct?
19 A. The way I have written it, it embodied my belief.
20 Q. But are your beliefs such that this book contains a lot of
21 untruth, a lot of untruthful things?
22 A. The book contains political views and stance which were not put
23 forward in a scientific manner as they should have been. One of the
24 reasons for that is that the outcomes of what was happening in Macedonia
25 are described by those gentlemen as causes that caused the damage to
1 democracy in Macedonia; that is, the protest of Albanians, the demands of
2 Albanians, everything they did from a long time ago, the demands for
3 university in Albanian language, their demands for respect for their
4 national symbols.
5 All these things are decked out there as causes that -- that
6 destroyed the state of Macedonia. In fact, they are not causes. They are
7 outcomes which came about as a result of the violation of human rights and
8 freedoms of Albanians in Macedonia, beginning with their expulsion or
9 being -- beginning with their being left out of the constitution of 1991;
10 being described as non-constituent elements; and, in continuum, using the
11 police against them in Bit Pazar, for example; or their refusal to have a
12 pedagogical --
13 Q. I apologise, may I interrupt you?
14 A. You asked me, and I am supposed to answer your question.
15 Q. I think I asked a straightforward question so I expect a brief
17 A. You can repeat your question. I'm very well familiar with the
18 book. Ask me the question in that way so that it requires a short answer
19 from me.
20 Q. Are there many things in that book that are untrue, in your
21 opinion, yes or no?
22 A. I can't say "yes" or "no" to your question, but I might have
23 divided it in this way.
24 The political part of the book is full of untruths when it comes
25 to the part that speaks about the possibilities for mobilisation where the
1 authors refer to the diary of the General Staff of the RA and all these
2 things, than they refer to facts. I cannot -- army can say anything
3 against that part [as interpreted].
4 Q. And when they described the NLA as a gang of criminals and
5 terrorists, is that correct? Is that part correct, that part of the
7 A. Oh, no. It cannot be correct and true. They not only describe
8 the NLA as a gang, as you are saying, but this is a description they apply
9 to the entire Albanian population in Macedonia as a backward hostile
10 population that doesn't like the Republic of Macedonia, then they say this
11 is the fault of the government that has allowed the emergence of Albanian
12 political parties and allowed them to act in this way and so on.
13 For a book which has about 300 pages --
14 Q. [No interpretation] ?
15 A. Allow me to finish my question [as interpretation], please.
16 JUDGE PARKER: I just intervene, sir. You are making what is
17 essentially now a very extensive political speech, rather than answering a
18 fairly confined question. The question can be answered shortly, giving
19 the essence of what you're saying, without having to give the full detail,
20 and I think it would help our timing and help the progress of the
21 questioning if you were able to do that.
22 Now, that will not deny you the opportunity of giving the essence
23 of your view about a matter, but it will mean that you need not go into
24 any full and expansive development whenever you're asked a relatively
25 straightforward question, which is what is happening at the moment.
1 So, please, Mr. Apostolski.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honours. I'll try
3 to do as you are instructing me.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
5 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
6 Q. I would go back to the issues related to the NLA disarmament and
7 its stash of weapons.
8 Is it correct that all NLA members were disarmed in the Operation
9 Harvest organised by NATO?
10 A. I think, yes, even though the conditions were difficult.
11 Q. And when you say "disarmament," you refer to the weapons that the
12 NLA members surrendered.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did the NLA members surrender also their uniforms?
15 A. No, they did not. The Essential Harvest aimed only at collecting
16 weapons, not uniforms; and, if they did so, they ought to be left without
17 anything on.
18 Q. Very well. Thank you.
19 Your organisation, the NLA, was not the signatory to the Ohrid
20 political agreement. The signatories were the Macedonian and Albanian
21 politicians. Is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Imer Imeri from the PDP and Arben Xhaferi from the DPA were the
24 signatories to the Ohrid Framework Agreement as representatives of the
25 Albanian parties?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. But they were not representing the organisation, NLA. Is that
4 A. Based on the Prizren agreement, they represented also the NLA and
5 its opinion. They kept constant contact with its political leader.
6 Q. Is it correct that Arben Xhaferi was the president of the DPA in
7 2001, while Menduh Thaci was the vice-president of DPA?
8 A. Arben Xhaferi, I remember him as the chairman of Democratic Party
9 of Albanians, and I don't know who the deputy chairman was.
10 Q. You stated that you had meetings with the representatives of the
11 Albanian parties, and they fully supported your organisation, the NLA. Is
12 that your evidence?
13 A. They signed the Ohrid Framework Agreement, and I'm testifying,
14 based on this agreement, because they supported the NLA demands.
15 Q. They supported you also in terms of the means by which you wanted
16 to achieve your goals, greater rights for the Albanian in Macedonia. Is
17 that correct?
18 A. Which means are you talking about? I am not clear.
19 Q. They supported you also in the way -- regarding the way in which
20 you wanted to achieve your goals, greater rights for the Albanian in
21 Macedonia, through an uprising?
22 A. When meetings started, the uprising was ongoing, and the NLA - at
23 least the way I know it - was fighting on the ground. Based on the
24 contacts I had with it, we came up to the Prizren agreement. They didn't
25 deny our demands but signed the Prizren agreement, which embodied a common
1 stand on the political actions of these parties and of the NLA in the
3 Q. Did they support your uprising?
4 A. Since they signed an agreement with us, of course they did,
5 because it was supported by the entire population.
6 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
7 65 ter 2D415.
8 Q. This is a statement by Menduh Thaci, vice-president of the DPA, in
9 2001; published in the Dnevnik daily newspaper on the 30th of January
10 2007. The English translation is a draft translation organised by the
12 And it states: "I learned informally that the anonymous Kosovar,
13 in the meeting between Xhaferi, Dzindzik, Georgievski, was Hasim Taci.
14 But, of course, he is not mentioning his name because this could have
15 lasting consequences on Ahmeti. The partition of Macedonia is promised in
16 the first -- five communiques of NLA, whose commander was Ahmeti. In the
17 conversation, we had myself, Arben Xhaferi Musa Xhaferi, and Ali Ahmeti.
18 He insisted that we that the Albanians should organise a little bit more,
19 and they should take the wheat barn, Pelagonija; and then we should
20 separate from Macedonia and destroy the state.
21 "'He will have seriously prepare to be held responsible for the
22 court for slander,' Thaci said. Regarding Thaci's accusation that
23 VRMO-DPMNE and DPA are advocating the division of Macedonia, the deputy
24 president of the DPA says: 'Ahmeti is threatening with another war. If he
25 wishes to try yet another adventure of that kind, he will face a fierce
1 response of the Albanians in Macedonia, Kosovo, and Albania.'
2 "'The culprit for the victims we suffered is Ali Ahmeti,' accused
4 A. You didn't tell me where you were reading from, so that I could
5 trade for myself because I know Macedonian. The interpreter didn't read
6 everything because you were reading very fast. So can you please indicate
7 to me where you were reading from, so that I can read it for myself.
8 Q. It starts with: "I understood informally." [Macedonian spoken].
9 It is in on the lower part of the page.
10 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could we zoom in on the lower
11 part of the page, and now towards the middle of the page.
12 A. Can you zoom it in, please.
13 Q. Have you read the text?
14 A. Which year is it?
15 Q. This is 30th of January, 2007, and it speaks about the events in
17 MS. REGUE: Your Honour.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.
19 MS. REGUE: From my understanding of the reading that my learned
20 colleague has just put forward, with regards to the meeting that Ali
21 Ahmeti had, I don't think that it's quite clear whether the meeting took
22 place in 2001 or in 2007, at least from the reading that I have.
23 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could you allow me -- if you
24 would allow me to continue asking my questions, it will become clearer,
25 since my next question would show the witness the upper part of the
1 document, which starts with: "The adventure of the private gang of Ali
2 Ahmeti of 2001."
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What is your question? What are you
4 asking me about? Can you please ask the question?
5 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] I'm not receiving the
7 Q. Is it clear from this that the DPA was not supporting you and the
8 political parties were not supporting you in 2001, in your so-called
9 uprising, which is the opposite of what you gave as your evidence?
10 A. This is something that is done for political ends. This is a race
11 between political parties. What this gentleman mentions here is, on one
12 hand, he says what he says here; on the other hand, they work for the
13 solution during the campaign and now for submitting a war on -- a law on
14 the war veterans, the families of the martyrs.
15 There is a disagreement between what he says and what he actually
16 does. I don't know what to say with respect to this are you putting me.
17 Ali Ahmeti is no longer the leader of the NLA. He is a chairman of a
18 political party in the Republic of Macedonia, and the political fight
19 among parties goes on.
20 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, would this be the
21 convenient time for the break?
22 JUDGE PARKER: Very well.
23 We resume at five past 11.00.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 11.08 a.m.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Apostolski.
2 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I was
3 afraid something was happening behind me. I was wondering what was going
5 Can the witness please be shown 65 ter 2945 --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 2D415.
7 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Witness Ostreni, regarding the events in 2001, Mr. Menduh Thaci
9 says that...
10 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] If you can focus on the upper
12 Q. ... that: "This was an adventure of the private company of Ali
13 Ahmeti in 2001, which resulted in the document for Kosovo." Now the word
14 "independence" does not appear.
15 "... Accused yesterday, Menduh Thaci, deputy president of the
16 DPA. He announced that the leader of the DPA, Arben Xhaferi, will sue
17 Ahmeti for defamation published in the interview in Dnevnik daily. That
18 Xhaferi, Ljubco Georgievski, Zoran Djindjic, and the representative from
19 Kosovo discussed the partition of the region in 2001. Thaci yesterday
20 stated that Ahmeti is the one who wanted to partition Macedonia."
21 Is it correct, Witness Ostreni, that your organisation, the NLA,
22 did not have the support of the Albanian political party DPA in 2001 and
23 from other Albanians as well?
24 A. It is not true. I don't agree with this.
25 Q. Is it also correct that the goal of your organisation, led by
1 Ahmeti, wanted to partition Macedonia?
2 A. It is not true.
3 Q. Your evidence is that you staged an uprising for rights and for
4 changing the constitution of the Republic of Macedonia.
5 A. I never said that I staged this uprising. I only said that I
6 joined it in order to contribute to the realisation of the rights and
7 freedoms of the Albanians in Macedonia.
8 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I seek to tender
9 document 65 ter 2D415 into evidence.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.
11 MS. REGUE: Your Honour, I will object on the basis that this
12 witness has not -- has no knowledge and, actually, didn't confirm the
13 veracity and accuracy what is written in this document. Basically, that
14 the Albanian political parties didn't support the NLA, and also that the
15 aim of the NLA was the partition of Macedonia. He cannot testify on the
16 accuracy and veracity of these statements.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Apostolski.
18 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the witness stated
19 that his organisation, the NLA, had the support from the Albanian
20 political parties in 2001, and the text here shows that this is contrary
21 to the statement.
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE PARKER: The document will not be received, Mr. Apostolski.
24 If you want to show what the views of critical people or organisations
25 were in 2001, you may need to call those, rather than some press
1 announcement in 2007 in a very political context.
2 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Very well.
3 Q. Witness Ostreni, on page 47605 [as interpreted] of this transcript
4 of 12th November, 2007, you stated that the ambassador of the United
5 Kingdom supported you, and he said that he would feel insulted if he were
6 an Albanian living in Macedonia. Do you recall this?
7 A. I didn't say in 2007; I said in 2001. That statement is published
8 in the Fakti newspaper, and it can carries also a photo of the
9 distinguished ambassador.
10 Q. The ambassador of the United Kingdom, in the Republic of
11 Macedonia, in 2001, was Mark Dickinson. Is this correct?
12 A. I don't remember his name. I only know that it was published in
13 Fakti along with his photo, and you can check it out with that newspaper.
14 I have it in my computer, but I am here in the quality of a witness and
15 have to resort to my memory.
16 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] If the witness can please be
17 shown 2D71, Exhibit 2D71. It's a video-clip.
18 This is an interview with Mr. Mark Dickinson, Ambassador of the
19 United Kingdom to the Republic of Macedonia, in 2001.
20 Can we please play it from the beginning. This interview is led
21 in the English language, and it has subtitles in Macedonian.
22 [Videotape played]
23 JUDGE PARKER: We seem to have no sound.
24 [Videotape played]
25 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can we please go to the
2 [Videotape played]
3 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] The interview is given at the
4 beginning of May 2001, after the killing of eight members of the
5 Macedonian security forces in Vejce.
6 Q. Is it correct that, in effect, your organisation, the NLA, did not
7 have the support of the ambassador of the United Kingdom, which is
8 contrary to your evidence?
9 A. If what is published in the Fakti newspaper is wrong, then I'm
10 wrong, too. I have the newspaper, and you can check it out with it.
11 Q. But from this statement, it is clearly evident that the ambassador
12 points to the fact that the NLA does not have the support of the Albanian
13 population. Is this correct?
14 A. I do not deny what Mr. Ambassador is saying. I mean, this is what
15 he said.
16 Q. Very well. Thank you.
17 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have another
18 question for this witness. It would be more of a general nature.
19 Q. Witness, according to you, if a given country, a people, do not
20 believe that they're not entitled to rights, they do not have certain
21 rights, an uprising would achieve the goal of gaining these rights and
22 changing the constitution.
23 A. I didn't say that it would achieve its right, but the uprising is
24 a fact, and we have to analyse the causes that led to it. It ended with
25 the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement.
1 Q. Would it be -- since you know the situation in Kosovo, would it be
2 in good order if the rights of the Serbs were not respected, that they
3 should stage an uprising. Would you justify this?
4 A. You're asking me a question and ask me to comment on it. I don't
5 know if I should do that, Your Honours.
6 I think that all the citizens of Kosova should be guaranteed equal
7 rights and not be given any cause for an uprising by anyone.
8 Q. But you justify the force as a means for gaining a certain right.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.
10 MS. REGUE: Your Honour, I believe that my colleague is putting
11 some words in the mouth of this witness that he didn't testify about it.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Once again, that may well be true, Ms. Regue, but I
13 doubt very much whether words could be put into the mouth of this witness
14 by anyone. He knows well how to express his view.
15 Carry on, Mr. Apostolski, but you may, in fact, have been
16 suggesting answers.
17 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Can you respond to my previous question?
19 A. Can you please repeat it? I'm afraid I don't remember it very
21 Q. Do you justify the use of force as a means for realisation of
23 A. No. I do not justify it, and I think that attainment of rights
24 should be done in a democratic way. I believe that every state should do
25 its duty to abide by international norms and by Euro-Atlantic standards,
1 so that things do not come to that serious state.
2 Q. Since you know well the constitution of the Republic of Macedonia,
3 is it correct that in order to change the constitution of the Republic of
4 Macedonia, it is sufficient that initiative of that kind be submitted by
5 150.000 citizens, that this is a lawful procedure by which they can
6 initiate a change in the constitution?
7 A. Firstly, I want to say that I'm not very well familiar with the
8 constitution of Macedonia, because I'm not a lawyer by profession.
9 Secondly, I can't to say that when the Republic of Macedonia
10 constitution was submitted to parliament for approval, the Albanian
11 members didn't vote in favour it - it was in 1991 - because it was
12 discriminating the Albanians.
13 And whenever issues were put forward for solutions to
14 democraticise the life and guarantee freedoms and rights of the Albanians,
15 the Albanian deputies in parliament were outvoted by the Macedonian
16 members. Therefore, the process developed as it was.
17 Q. Were you a member of parliament from 2002 to 2006? Is this
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And you said that there was a proposal for passing a law on
21 pension for NLA fighters. Do you recall this?
22 A. It was not at that time. The proposal was made recently. I don't
23 recall that a proposal was actually made. There were attempts made, but
24 not an actual proposal.
25 Only now a proposal has been put in place, and it has been seen
1 also by the European Union -- or it was seen in context of European Union
2 standards, and it is expected to be discussed further.
3 Q. Although, for four years, your party was in power together with
4 the SDSM political party, you did not initiate this question and you did
5 not pass this law, by which, as you also said, would serve as yet another
6 confirmation that this was a regular and proper army?
7 A. I do not agree with the word you put to me, "your army," and as a
8 "regular" army, because they are former members or soldiers of the NLA
9 which was disarmed and demobilised, and that efforts are being made to
10 employ these people in the Republic of Macedonia.
11 At that time that we were in power, the Democratic Union for
12 Integrity, we tried to table important draft laws in conformity with Ohrid
13 Agreement and the constitution. Actually, we tabled a large number of
14 proposals, but this law -- this draft was not submitted.
15 Q. Thank you, Witness Ostreni, for your comprehensive answers to my
16 questions. I have no further questions for you.
17 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, perhaps I did not
18 keep my promise that I would finish with this witness by the end of the
19 first session, but I believe I'm only a little bit in delay.
20 Thank you very much.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Apostolski.
22 Ms. Regue.
23 MS. REGUE: I believe that my colleague from the Defence wanted to
24 tender the documents, or we can do it at the end, as Your Honour wish.
25 JUDGE PARKER: You remind me. Thank you for that matter.
1 Yes, Mr. Mettraux.
2 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you, Your Honour, and thank you to Ms. Regue.
3 Your Honour, there is approximately ten or 11 documents which we
4 would seek to tender.
5 The first such documents was Rule 65 ter 1D1044. This is a
6 document which was received from an embassy here in The Hague, and it
7 comes from the department of defence of that particular country. The date
8 of the document, then, is the 27th of June of 2001, and it talks in
9 particular of two issues which we put to the witness. The first one was a
10 statement contained in this document that the NLA group hid out in
11 predominantly Albanian villages surrounding Skopje. The other aspect of
12 this document which was put to the witness was the structure,
13 organisation, and operational aspects of the organisation.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.
15 MS. REGUE: Your Honour, we will object to this proposal, first
16 because the witness didn't corroborate the content of the document. He
17 cannot testify to the accuracy and the veracity.
18 And, Your Honour, if we read actually the first paragraph of this
19 document, it says: "Warning: This is an information report, not finally
20 evaluated intelligence." That also brings some question about the
21 reliability of the information contained in this document.
22 MR. METTRAUX: Perhaps, briefly, Your Honour, if I may. I think
23 the second issue is a fair one, if I may say so, by the Prosecution that
24 it may indeed be an issue of weight since the author of that document has
25 not been called, but that would be the case, Your Honour, with respect of
1 any such document, including many tendered by the Prosecution.
2 Considering -- concerning, I apologise, the first point, the
3 absence of corroboration by the witness, this is the very point of
4 tendering this document, Your Honour. This document, which was provided
5 to us, shows what we believe was the reality of the situation at the time
6 within the NLA, and one which we say is contrary to the evidence given by
7 this witness.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Can I ask: Are you seeking to tender this document
9 as proof of the truth of its content, or merely because it was a document
10 that you put to the witness?
11 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, perhaps the answer is twofold. We've
12 indicated some difficulties at the beginning of the evidence of this
13 witness, in particular in regard to obtaining information as pertain to
14 the internal functioning of the organisation. We believe this document to
15 be reliable because of the origin of that document.
16 We also believe, having put other documents to the witness,
17 including a Jane's article, including through Mr. Bezruchenko a report of
18 ICJ and similar report, that this -- the information which is contained in
19 that document is reliable, perhaps not on its own, but that it is
20 corroborated and is corroborative of other information that has been led
21 in this trial.
22 So to answer your question, we would, in fact, seek to tender this
23 document both in regard to the truth of its content as regard the
24 organisation of the organisation, and in relation to the credibility, or
25 otherwise, of the evidence given by the witness on that point.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE PARKER: The Chamber has had some discussion about this
3 matter, Mr. Mettraux, because there are some fairly fundamental lines of
4 principle that have to be considered, and it may be that we have not been
5 entirely consistent throughout the trial in respect to some of these,
6 because the issues are sometimes presented quite differently with quite
7 different degrees of reaction by the witness to the content of the
9 But in a case such as the present, the Chamber is persuaded that
10 the proper course to follow is not to receive this document. It is a
11 document, although coming from the records of a government which was
12 actively involved in the region, where the creator of the document and the
13 sources used by the creator are entirely unknown. So to use the document
14 itself of proof of facts, in the Chamber's view, is getting beyond a
15 matter of mere weight. It's getting to the point where this is just no
16 demonstrative basis for reliability sufficient to justify its admission.
17 Insofar as its content as being the subject to a specific comment
18 in evidence by the witness, that is entirely and fully produced in the
19 transcript record of that questioning, so that the document itself does
20 not take the matter further.
21 So, in those circumstances, and for the reasons briefly indicated,
22 we would not receive this document.
23 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 The next document which we will seek to tender is Rule 65 ter
25 1D116. Your Honour will recall this is a statement made by the President
1 of the United States, George W. Bush, on the 14th of August of 2001, and
2 it followed a telephone conversation which President Bush had with
3 President Trajkovski.
4 The document was put to the witness in relation to two particular
5 matter. One was the evidence given by the witness about the significance,
6 in particular, of the Ohrid Framework Agreement. A proposition was put to
7 him that, contrary to the suggestion of putting an end to a conflict, the
8 Ohrid Framework Agreement was actually one to avert a war, which is the
9 content of this document.
10 The other matter to which we say this document is or may be
11 relevant is insofar as it is another indication of state practice, insofar
12 as the circumstances of what was happening in the Republic of Macedonia is
13 concerned, in particular, as regard the fact that this document, as many
14 others, indicate the view that the NLA was never regarded as being a party
15 to an armed conflict or that the situation in the area was, in fact, an
16 armed conflict, but instead contains evidence of condemnation of the
17 activities and crimes and tactics by the president of the United States.
18 We would tender it, in -- for those reasons, and Your Honour it
19 was obtained, we believe, from the official web site of the American
21 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.
22 MS. REGUE: Your Honour, again, we will object on the basis that
23 my colleague has mentioned it was put to the witness, the issue of the --
24 of the civil war, but the witness cannot actually testify and cannot
25 corroborate the veracity of this document, as he actually testified on the
2 JUDGE PARKER: So you dispute that this is a record of a statement
3 made by the president. Is that the position?
4 MS. REGUE: No, Your Honour. I dispute that the witness cannot --
5 the witness basically didn't testify -- didn't -- on the content or the
6 accuracy of the statement, which is within in the record.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE PARKER: In this case, the Chamber will receive this
9 document, Mr. Mettraux. The circumstances of this case make it relevant
10 to at least some degree what views were held by nations of the world at
11 the relevant time, and this is one apparent source for such view,
12 concerning one nation. There is a sufficient apparent authenticity about
13 the nature and source of the document to justify its admission.
14 It will be received.
15 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 1D265, Your Honours.
16 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, the next document which the Defence
17 would seek to tender is Rule 65 ter 1D705.
18 This is the record of a meeting of the General Assembly of the
19 United Nations, in the month of November of 2001. It is entitled, "Press
20 release, GA," for General Assembly,"9962." The record of this meeting was
21 put to the witness, more specifically the statement given to the general
22 assembly by the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of
23 Macedonia, and the document was put to the witness in at least two respect
24 or in relation to two particular issues.
25 One was the view taken by the Macedonian government through its
1 representative, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, about the status of the
2 NLA, and you will recall that the activities of the NLA was characterised
3 as terrorist attacks.
4 The other matter to which the document was used was in relation,
5 again, to the Ohrid Framework Agreement, where the minister, contrary, we
6 submit, to the evidence given by the witness, made it clear that the Ohrid
7 Framework Agreement had, in fact, been an accord reached by political
8 parties with a view to isolate the NLA and not in any way to give any
9 legitimacy to their activities. There are several reference again to the
10 NLA being a terrorist group or its activities being characterised as
11 terrorist activities, which in itself might be relevant, we submit, to the
12 issue of the armed conflict.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.
14 MS. REGUE: Your Honour, this is it a document of 11 pages, and
15 actually two paragraphs were only put to the witness, which, indeed, are
16 the two paragraphs which are in the record and deal with the statement of
17 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia.
18 Again, the witness -- the witness, again, with cannot testify,
19 cannot corroborate the veracity of this statement.
20 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honours, perhaps, a very, very brief reply in
21 relation to this.
22 I believe the first page was also put to the witness, and it may
23 be important, Your Honours, since it contains, if you wish, the summary of
24 the entire debate; and then I turned to the part, as my colleague
25 indicated, which is the statement of the minister.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE PARKER: This document will be received. The essential
3 reasoning is that indicated in respect of the previous.
4 THE REGISTRAR: It will become Exhibit 1D266, Your Honours.
5 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 The next document is Rule 65 ter 1D956.
7 This document, Your Honour, is a press statement which comes from
8 the official web site of the US Department of State. It is dated 28th of
9 April of 2001, and it refers to -- I will read the title: "US condemns
10 attack on eight Macedonian soldiers by armed ethnic Albanian extremists."
11 This document, Your Honour, you will recall, refers to an incident
12 in or near the village of Vejce on the 28th of April of 2001, in which
13 eight Macedonian members of the Armed Forces were killed.
14 In our submission, Your Honour, this matter may be or is, in fact,
15 of relevance to these proceedings. It has been discussed by
16 Mr. Bezruchenko and also by the present witness, and is being
17 characterised in terms of criminal acts and not in terms of legitimate
18 military action.
19 There are other documents which I have put to this witness and
20 others which have already been admitted, which confirm the same view, and
21 this, again, Your Honour, may be relevant or, in our submission, is
22 relevant to the relevance, if any, that may be given to the incident in
23 Vejce, as a matter pertaining to the alleged armed conflict.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE PARKER: The Chamber will not receive this document,
2 Mr. Mettraux, essentially, so far as it may have some relevance, it
3 appears, in its material respects, adequately in the transcript, and the
4 witness has commented in respect of those passages.
5 MR. METTRAUX: I am grateful to Your Honour.
6 The next document will be Rule 65 ter 1D887. Your Honour, this is
7 a document which, again, comes from the US Department of State. Its title
8 is: "Europe overview pattern of global terrorism, 2000," and the date of
9 that document is the 30th of April of 2001.
10 Your Honour may recall that a similar document, although a much
11 larger in scope, was put to a previous witness, and it was the same
12 document, if you wish, but for 2002, which covered the rest of the year
13 2001. The passage which was put to this witness, in the course of his
14 evidence, concern the suggestion by the State Department that the NLA had
15 fired indiscriminately upon civilian centres.
16 The reason for putting this document, this particular information
17 to the witness was twofold: One, to establish the state of his knowledge,
18 if any, about the activities within his organisation; and, secondly, the
19 fact that orders, which the witness said were given to -- not hurt
20 civilians in compliance with humanitarian law, were, in fact, being
22 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.
23 MS. REGUE: Your Honour, this is also a document which deals with
24 issues related to different countries, and, indeed, it was put to the
25 witness one single paragraph, and he had the opportunity to actually
1 answer to that. He didn't corroborate the information which is in it.
2 But my point is mainly that we are talking about one paragraph
3 which was already put.
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE PARKER: We will not receive this document, Mr. Mettraux.
6 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 The next document would be -- I apologise.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
9 MR. METTRAUX: I apologise.
10 The next document would be Rule 65 ter 1D1042.
11 Your Honour, this is, again, a document such as the first one
12 which was sought to be tendered, and which comes from the same
13 governmental authorities and has the same sort of department of defence of
14 that particular country. It is dated the 10th of July of 2001, and the
15 material which was put to the witness in relation to that document is at
16 the second page of this document.
17 There are essentially three different types of facts or matters
18 which are contained in that second page and which were put to the witness.
19 The first one relates to the indiscriminate pre-cease-fire mortar attacks
20 by the NLA on Tetovo. The second one is a list of crimes allegedly
21 committed by the NLA which are listed in this document, in particular in
22 the area in or around Tetovo. The third part of the paragraph in question
23 concern the fact that -- concerns are expressed in that document that Ali
24 Ahmeti may not be firmly in control of this renegade cell or cells and
25 continued cease-fires violations from this group can be expected.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.
2 MS. REGUE: Your Honours, fist, I will also mention that the same
3 warning which is in the previous document is there. Therefore, we will
4 also challenge the reliability of the document in this point and the
5 veracity of the information contained in it. And, again, Your Honour, the
6 source of the information is not established neither in this document.
7 JUDGE PARKER: This document will not be received as indicated for
8 the first document sought to be tendered.
9 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 The next document would be Rule 65 ter 1D1025, and this is a
11 so-called "spot report" by the OSCE. It's dated the 25th of July of
12 2001. It records the fact that the ethnic Albanian armed group is
13 threatening people in both Jegunovce and Vratnica, and also the fact that
14 villagers are being told to leave or risk being shot. It comes from the
15 OSCE, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.
17 MS. REGUE: Your Honour, I believe that the witness had no
18 knowledge about -- about these facts as he testified; and, therefore, the
19 veracity of the information was not established.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE PARKER: The evidence that has been given, although it seem
22 as long time ago now in this trial, concerning the manner of preparation
23 of OSCE reports of this nature and the degree of cross-references and
24 confirmation given to them, provides, in the Chamber's present assessment,
25 a basis upon which a report of this nature may be accepted as possibly and
1 apparently more reliable than a document such as the intelligence reports
2 which have been offered to us.
3 Now, that being so, there is a justification which brings this
4 document into the category of sufficiently reliable to justify admission.
5 That having been said, we wish to make it clear that we are not, by
6 admitting the document, indicating that we would, in the end, attach to
7 it, in respect of any disputed content, an accepted reliability in our own
8 assessment. But we are simply trying to determine whether there is a
9 sufficient reliability of the document to be admitted.
10 In view of the specific evidence about reports of that nature, we
11 will receive it.
12 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 1D267, Your Honours.
13 MR. METTRAUX: I'm grateful, Your Honour.
14 The next document is Rule 65 ter 1D1282. This is, again, a
15 document from the OSCE, this one dated 29 August 2001, and this is a
16 so-called OSCE "spillover monitor mission" to Skopje. It comes, I
17 believe, from the secretariat. The document -- or the part of the
18 document which was put to the witness concerned and related to the issue
19 of the use of religious facilities as military emplacement and the
20 destruction of such properties.
21 The number -- I apologise, Your Honour, the 65 ter number would be
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
25 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 1D268, Your Honours.
1 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, the next document is offered for the
2 same basis and for the same reason as the document of the American
3 Presidency. This one is a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry,
4 through its official spokesman of the 26th June 2001. This is Rule 65 ter
5 1D438. It is dated, as I mentioned, the 26 June 2001, and it refers to
6 the activities of the NLA at that time, and also records the view of the
7 Russian authorities about the status of the NLA as a terrorist group.
8 JUDGE PARKER: This document will be received.
9 Can it be clear, in view of something you have just said,
10 Mr. Mettraux, that this, like Exhibit 1D265, is received not as evidence
11 of the truth of its contents, but as evidence that the government of a
12 nation of the world expressed a view about it.
13 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, we understand this, and this is also
14 the main purpose behind the tendering of the document. It is to show
15 that, as far as the state concerns, expressed their view in various
16 documents. Those views may be reflect in the document that we are now
17 seeking to tender.
18 THE REGISTRAR: The document will become Exhibit 1D269, Your
20 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, the same -- I believe the same
21 submission and the same caveat would apply to the next document, which is
22 Rule 65 ter 1D715, which is a statement by the press secretary of the
23 White House. It is dated the 27th of June of 2001.
24 Your Honour will recall that a number of issues were addressed
25 through this document, in particular, the withdrawal of the NLA from
1 Aracinovo, the fact that the activities of the NLA were again
2 characterised as terrorist violence, and also reference was made to
3 certain restrictive measures that were applied on to the NLA and members
4 of that organisation.
5 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
6 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 1D270, Your Honours.
7 MR. METTRAUX: The next document, Your Honour, and perhaps with
8 the same introduction, is again is Rule 65 ter 1D889. This is a so-called
9 "joint statement of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the south-east
10 European Cooperation Process," and it is dated the 16th of May of 2001 in
11 Tirana. It's part of the stability pact for south-eastern Europe.
12 The passage which was read out to the witness, contained in this
13 statement, pertains to the view expressed by the foreign ministers of the
14 countries of the south-eastern part of the Balkans, that the activities of
15 the NLA were to be regarded as terrorist activities and the NLA itself as
16 an Albanian extremist group.
17 There was also a call being made for the release of hostages,
18 which is another issue that touched upon with this witness, and a
19 reference to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the republic.
20 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
21 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 1D2771, Your Honours.
22 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you. The next document, Your Honour - and I
23 think there is an agreement with the Prosecution on this particular
24 document - this was Rule 65 ter 317 from the Prosecution Rule 65 ter
25 list. This is an order signed by the then Chief of Staff of the army,
1 General Pande Petrovski, dated the 5th of July of 2001, in which he
2 ordered a cease-fire.
3 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
4 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 1D272, Your Honours.
5 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.
7 MR. METTRAUX: And Your Honour, perhaps as a matter of
8 clarification, you will recall that at the end of the cross-examination,
9 questions were asked about the origin of a particular document, and we had
10 indicated that it came from the EUMM. It appears to be correct, and my
11 colleague had asked about the date of that particular document.
12 The document was actually listed on the Rule 65 ter list of the
13 Prosecution, and it appears as an undated document and we have not been
14 otherwise to establish the date of that document.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
16 MS. REGUE: Thank you, Your Honours.
17 Re-examination by Ms. Regue:
18 Q. General Ostreni, good afternoon.
19 A. Good afternoon.
20 Q. General, you were asked about the fact that you were given the
21 rank of general upon joining the NLA.
22 I'd like to ask you on which basis were the ranks awarded to the
23 different NLA members. Which facts, if any, were taken into consideration
24 when awarding the ranks.
25 A. In the NLA, the personnel establishment determines the ranks. It
1 was normal at that time, in determining their rank, to include their
2 abilities, their experience with wars, and the way they carried out their
3 duties and, of course, the post that they held.
4 Q. When you refer to "experience with wars," could you be please be a
5 bit more clearer on that point?
6 A. In the NLA, there were members who had participated in the Kosova
7 war, and were -- had joined the uprising from the very beginning, the
8 uprising that turned into National Liberation Army, and the post that they
9 were gradually promoted to during carrying out their tasks and, of course,
10 their capacities and abilities in their personal lives.
11 Q. What do you mean "with their capacities and abilities in their
12 personal life."
13 A. Their education that they had completed.
14 Q. General, you were also asked about the appointment of Ali Ahmeti,
15 and who appointed Ali Ahmeti as supreme commander of the NLA.
16 General, do you know who appointed, who elected Fidel Castro in as
17 the leader of the uprising movement in Cuba in 1959, who defeated Batista?
18 A. I don't know about Cuba, but the comrades that he cooperated with
19 accepted him as their leader; and when I joined the NLA, I accepted Ali
20 Ahmeti as my leader, and I accepted to follow his orders as of the time
21 that I was appointed Chief of the General Staff of the NLA.
22 Q. General, you were also asked, yesterday I believe, and I
23 quote: "Whether, when you joined the NLA, you had the impression that this
24 organisation existed earlier."
25 You were required a yes or no answer. Your answer was, and I
1 quote again: "No. My impression was that there was a ongoing uprising,
2 and that I should give my contribution to the Albanians to whom I belong
3 in the Republic of Macedonia."
4 General, who was leading this uprising prior to March 2001, if you
6 A. That I don't know. When I arrived, I met Mr. Ali Ahmeti, and we
7 talked. He explained that there was an on going uprising. He proposed
8 what I already stated, and, consequently, I accepted the post. But, as I
9 stated earlier, I was ready to join ranks of the NLA as an ordinary
10 soldier, because I wanted to contribute to what was going on to my people
11 in my own country.
12 Q. Therefore, General, in March, when you met with Ali Ahmeti, who
13 was leading the uprising at that time?
14 A. I don't know. My impression was that Ali Ahmeti was aware of what
15 was going on. He was familiar with the people around him, and that was
16 enough information for me at the time.
17 MS. REGUE: If the registry could please call Exhibit 1D00227?
18 Q. General, this is a --
19 MS. REGUE: And if we could focus to the first part in the bottom
20 of the document, just below the title: "Will Macedonia be next?"
21 Q. General, This was a document which was shown to you.
22 MS. REGUE: The first paragraph below this. Yeah, perfect, here.
23 Thanks a lot.
24 Q. General, I'm afraid that it's in English, this document, so I will
25 read it to you. This is a document produced by the Jane's Intelligence
1 Digest in the 2nd of February 2001.
2 In the first paragraph, it reads, and I quote: "In the space of a
3 week, ethnic Albanian terrorists have launched an attack on a Macedonian
4 police station."
5 MS. REGUE: And if we could please go to the second page and focus
6 on the third full paragraph, which start with "The low level attacks."
7 Q. General, this document reads that: "The low level attacks against
8 the Macedonian police, which began last year," meaning 2000 "are
9 supposedly the work of the so-called Liberation Army, four of whom have
10 been arrested."
11 General, according to this document, did the NLA start operating
12 against police forces as early as 2000?
13 A. This I don't know. At the time, I was the Chief of General Staff
14 of KPC in Kosovo, and I carried those duties with full responsibility. I
15 don't know if you mentioned the date of this document, but this document
16 refers to a period of time when I was not there, when I was in the United
17 States, and was not following closely the situation.
18 Q. Thanks, General. The date was the 2nd of February, 2001, and it
19 was referring to events occurring in January of 2001 and also 2000.
20 MS. REGUE: If we could please call Exhibit P45, which is
21 the "White Book," and if we could go to page 111th, in the English version
22 and 57 in the Macedonian.
23 Q. General, you will see on the right side of the screen the
24 Macedonian version. Just wait a second.
25 MS. REGUE: Maybe we can focus a little bit the Macedonian so it's
2 Q. General, this document bears the title: "Terrorist attacks and
3 provocations carried out by the so-called NLA."
4 The first events is recorded on the 11th of January of 2000, and
5 it reads: "At the entry of the village of Aracinovo, during the armed
6 attack against the police patrol of the Ministry of Interior, three police
7 officers were killed.
8 "By a communique presented on January 30th, 2000, the
9 responsibility for this terrorist attack was claimed by the so-called
11 Then the second event recorded in this page refers to the 19th of
12 January of 2000: "The police station, Oslomej-Kicevo, was attacked by a
13 mortar grenade launcher."
14 The third event refers to the 22nd of January 2001: "The police
15 station, Tearce, Tetovo, was attacked by a hand-grenade mortar and an
16 automatic weapon and was hit with two projectiles. A police officer was
17 killed." And then the document reads: "By a communique number 4,
18 presented on January 23, 2001, NLA took the responsibility for this
20 The next event recorded in this page, General, it's the 2nd of
21 February and it should read 2001, I believe, because the events are
22 recorded in chronological order: "The building of the department of
23 internal affairs Kumanovo was attacked with a hand bomb."
24 The last event recorded, it is dated 16th of February, 2001, and,
25 indeed, you referred to this event in your evidence, General, and I quote:
1 "In the vicinity of the village of Tanusevci, Skopje, a journalist team
2 of the A1 television from Skopje was captured by armed members of the
4 MS. REGUE: If we could turn to the next page, please.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux.
6 MR. METTRAUX: It is not an objection, just a clarification. It
7 would appear that the year 2nd February is 2000 in the Macedonia only;
8 not 2001 as indicated.
9 MS. REGUE: I was aware of that. Thanks a lot, Mr. Mettraux. But
10 as the events are recorded in a chronological order, I assumed, wrongly or
11 not, that there was a mistake in the original version.
12 Q. General, this second page, and I won't go over these events, refer
13 to some NLA operations/actions carried out already in March 2001.
14 General, would you agree that, according to the Ministry of
15 Interior who actually produced this document, actions carried out by the
16 NLA already took place as early as 2000?
17 A. The persons that worked on the Law on Amnesty have not made the
18 beginning date of the persons that would be amnestied, and they have put
19 an end date, which is after the demobilisation. But since these events
20 are listed here, maybe they happened in reality.
21 Again, I would like to mention that until March 2000, I was in the
22 area of Dukagjini; and on 1st of March -- or 3rd, 4th March, I accepted
23 the post of the Chief of Staff of the KPC in Kosovo, and then I went on
24 holiday. So I wasn't closely following the developments on the ground
25 before I joined the NLA.
1 After the 14th, that is, on the 19th and 20th of March, I was in
2 Vejce. That's when I started to tour the terrain. As for other dates, I
3 cannot ascertain their accuracy. I know that there is this "White Book."
4 I don't know how things developed. This is how events are listed in the
5 book. But who made the entries and on basis of what information, that I
6 don't know.
7 MS. REGUE: If we could please go to pages 341 of the "White Book"
8 in English and 167 in Macedonian.
9 Q. Again, General, we are going to look at another several pages from
10 the "White Book," in particular, this chapter which bears the
11 title: "Selected communique by the so-called NLA."
12 MS. REGUE: The Macedonian should be page 167. Now it will be --
13 the corresponding Macedonian page would be 168, if we could go.
14 Thanks a lot.
15 Q. General, you will be able to see the Macedonian text on the right
16 side of your screen.
17 General, this is a communique issued by the NLA on January 30,
18 2000, and I'm just going to read to you the first paragraph: "We informed
19 the public that we have committed the military attacks in January near
20 Skopje, when Macedonian policemen were killed, and in Oslomej near Kicevo,
21 when the police station was damaged."
22 General, would you agree that based on this document, the NLA was
23 claiming that that had already committed actions, perpetrated actions as
24 early as January 2000?
25 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux.
1 MR. METTRAUX: Perhaps the witness could be asked first whether he
2 know this is document, or whether he has seen it before.
3 MS. REGUE: I believe that, in cross-examination, the witness
4 already answered that he had not seen any communique prior to him joining.
5 But, if Your Honour wish, I can ask him whether he has seen this document
7 JUDGE PARKER: Now Mr. Apostolski.
8 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. As far
9 as I recall, the witness gave evidence to the effect that he does not know
10 the content of the first communiques, and that the first one he was aware
11 of was communique number 6 of the month of March 2001.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
13 MS. REGUE:
14 Q. General, my question was: If, based on the document that you have
15 in front of you, you can see, you can read that the NLA, as early as
16 January 30, 2000, already claimed that the organisation had perpetrated
17 actions in Macedonia.
18 A. This is what the document says. Maybe someone drafted this
19 document, but personally I did not take part in this work, and I didn't
20 know of the communiques prior to communique number 6.
21 As of this communique and the following ones, those I can
22 recognise and I can testify to them.
23 Q. Thanks a lot. I'm just going to show you another communique.
24 MS. REGUE: If we could please turn to the next page.
25 Q. This was a communique mentioned by my colleague, Mr. Mettraux, in
1 his cross-examination.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux.
3 MR. METTRAUX: Simply to indicate for the transcript, Your Honour,
4 that we asked questions, general questions about the communique number 4,
5 and that the witness indicated he had not seen it and didn't know of its
6 content, and the matter was left at that in view of his evidence.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on, Ms. Regue.
8 MS. REGUE: Thanks, Your Honour.
9 Q. General, this communique is it dated the 23rd of January, 2001,
10 and reads: "Communique number 4: Yesterday, January 22, 2001, in Tearce
11 near Tetovo, a special unit of the National Liberation Army, supported by
12 a group of monitors, attack the Macedonian police station using automatic
13 rifles and hand-grenade launchers."
14 General, is this document stating that in the -- in January 22nd,
15 2001, an action was already perpetrated by the NLA in Tearce near Tetovo?
16 A. Could you please enlarge the document? Are we talking about
17 communique number 4 here.
18 Q. Yes, General. I believe it is the one that you have.
19 MR. REGUE: Thanks a lot, to the registry.
20 Q. I was reading the first three lines of the document, General.
21 A. Of communique number 4?
22 Q. Yes, General.
23 A. The first two lines are of the body that drafted the book, if
24 we're talking of the same document, with number 4.
25 Q. Sorry, General. Maybe I will rephrase my question because I
1 didn't quite understand your answer.
2 I was simply asking that, based on this document which was
3 included within the "White Book," the NLA already claim, as of January
4 22nd, 2001, the commission, the perpetration of some actions in Tearce
5 near Tetovo. That was my only question, General.
6 A. I have communique number 4 before me, but not all of it, so that
7 can I read it fully and give you my views on it.
8 In the screen before me, there's only part of the document.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Before you do that, Mr. Ostreni, can I point out
10 that, on the screen, there is both an English version and a Macedonian
11 version with a heading "Communique number 4," but their content and date
12 appears quite different.
13 Perhaps it is that the witness is being asked to comment on a
14 document which is different from the one you were reading in English.
15 MS. REGUE: Yes, Your Honour. We should, in the Macedonian
16 version, we should move to the -- to the left, because we are -- that was
17 my mistake. Thanks, Your Honour.
18 If we could enlarge the upper part of the document.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
20 MS. REGUE: Thanks.
21 Q. General, I was referring to the communique number 4, dated 23rd of
22 January, 2001, which you have in the upper part of the page.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Apostolski.
24 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise for
25 interfering my colleague with the re-direct, but I believe that the
1 witness was confused as well, because I speak the Macedonian language.
2 The communique number 4, shown before, was related to a completely
3 different event, and now the witness is, again, shown a communique number
4 4 dealing with yet another event, at least in the Macedonian version.
5 MS. REGUE: Well, I don't speak Macedonian, but I believe that the
6 first line reads, "22nd of January."
7 JUDGE PARKER: I think we now may have the correct communique.
8 It could be useful if this was looked at over the break,
9 Ms. Regue, and make sure that the witness has the right document when we
10 resume after the break.
11 MS. REGUE: Thank you.
12 JUDGE PARKER: All right?
13 We'll resume at five minutes past.
14 --- Recess taken at 12.34 p.m
15 --- On resuming at 1.06 p.m.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.
17 MS. REGUE:
18 Q. General, if could you please look, again, to the upper -- at the
19 right side of your screen, the text which is in the upper part of the
21 This communique, which bears the number 4, and is dated the 23rd
22 of January, 2001, reads: "Yesterday, January 22, 2001, in Tearce near
23 Tetovo, special unit of the NLA, supported by group of monitors, attacked
24 the Macedonian police station using automatic rifles and hand-grenade
1 My question was, General, if, based on this document, actions were
2 already undertaken by the NLA as of January 22nd, 2001 in Tearce near
4 A. I wasn't present at that time, and I don't know. This is what it
5 says here, and maybe it was so.
6 Q. Thanks, General.
7 MS. REGUE: If we could please remove the document from the
8 screen. Thanks.
9 Q. General, did the NLA rules and regulations provide with
10 disciplinary measures to be undertaken by the brigades?
11 A. The internal rules says, in one part, that in cases of breaches of
12 discipline, people may be detained. That's the only one. That's the only
13 one that is -- Article that is included there.
14 Q. Why was important to have these measures in the regulations?
15 A. Because the brigade commanders should have the power to detain a
16 soldier, in case of a breach of discipline in the NLA, because if there
17 was no rules, he might ask the soldier to surrender the weapon and send
18 him home.
19 We couldn't do more than that because we didn't have a law to
20 regulate the entire activity of the NLA.
21 Q. General, it was put to you that the Ohrid Agreement averted a
22 civil war, and you didn't agree with such a statement and testified that
23 the Ohrid Agreement put an end to the war and was used to build a
24 democratic Macedonia.
25 General, about the structure, the organisation of the NLA by
1 August 2001, I'd like to ask you some questions.
2 Had the brigades established their authority over territories in
3 Macedonia at that time?
4 A. The brigades were stationed in the way I have indicated in the
6 Q. Thanks, General.
7 A. They did not -- may you ask the question more directly for me to
8 give a more focussed answer?
9 Q. I will ask you, please, to answer briefly; and if it is necessary,
10 to provide also a brief explanation, General.
11 A. I will give a brief explanation.
12 At the time, the brigades were located in the places that we have
13 marked in on the map we have submitted to NATO. Within these places,
14 where there communes, they functioned. The NLA did not hinder in any way
15 the operating, the functioning of such communes, and there are some
16 statements to this effect issued by the chairman of the commune.
17 Q. But just to wrap it up, by August 2001, had the brigades
18 established their authorities over the territories in this map that you
19 exhibit to this Trial Chamber? It's a "yes" or "no" answer, General.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Had the brigades been assigned zones of responsibility?
22 A. Yes. The maps show, in a way, the areas of responsibilities of
23 brigades at the time when the cease-fire took effect, and this remained so
24 until the signing of the Ohrid Agreement; in fact, until the disarmament
25 of the NLA, its demilitarisation.
1 Q. Had the General Staff and different brigades headquarters?
2 A. They had their commands, and they have marked also in the map,
3 depending on their size. You have the sign for the Brigade 113 command;
4 then that of 112 in Sipkovica and so on; the 1st Battalion of Brigade 115
5 in Radusa; and the one in open air of Brigade 116; Brigade 114 at that
6 time was in Kustak, but this is not shown here.
7 Q. Thanks, General. Were you Ali Ahmeti and yourself issuing
8 military orders and recommendations to the brigade commanders? Again,
9 General, if you could answer with a "yes" or "no."
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Were the brigade commanders issuing orders to the units
12 subordinated to them?
13 MS. REGUE: I see my colleague is standing, Your Honour.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, certainly, yes.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux.
16 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you, Your Honour. I would simply wish to
17 indicate that, at this stage, we seem to be undertaking a new
18 examination-in-chief, on which we will have no right to cross-examine. I
19 think the those questions are quite important. And to the extent they are
20 important to the Prosection as well, we believe they should have been
21 asked in examination-in-chief.
22 MS. REGUE: Your Honour, I believe that, in examination-in-chief,
23 these issues were already dealt with; and, in cross-examination, the issue
24 of armed conflict was largely challenged by my colleagues, and I was
25 trying to build up that point again.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Continue, Ms. Regue.
2 MS. REGUE: Thanks, Your Honour.
3 Q. General, I see you answered the last question.
4 Were the brigade commanders reporting to you on daily basis?
5 A. Yes. They were obliged to report in the morning and in the
6 evening, and in cases of some states of unusual events.
7 Q. Were the brigades following the NLA regulations, as well as the
8 orders and instructions issued by the General Staff?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Was the NLA able to supply to its brigades, battalions, basically
11 to the different units, with weaponry and equipment?
12 A. With difficulty, but yes.
13 Q. Was the NLA by August 2001 --
14 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux.
15 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, I apologise to my colleague, but we
16 really wish to make it, once again, clear for the transcript that those
17 questions, to the extent that they would have been relevant to the
18 Prosecution case, and to the extent that they were not explored in
19 examination-in-chief, should have been done at that stage. Those
20 questions, if relevant, had to be asked, in particular as regard the last
21 questions about logistics.
22 MS. REGUE: Your Honour, if --
23 JUDGE PARKER: If it be made clear also, Mr. Mettraux, that, in
24 the view of the Chamber, the re-examination is being conducted properly,
25 dealing, in a direct manner, with issues that were raised very extensively
1 in particular, but not solely, by your own cross-examination.
2 Carry on, please, Ms. Regue.
3 MS. REGUE:
4 Q. General, was the NLA recruiting new members by August 2001,
5 meaning new members were joining the NLA by August 2001?
6 A. Our attempt was not to expand it from the signing on the
7 cease-fire. The reason was not to keep -- it was not reasonable to keep a
8 large number of people, to feed them three times a day, to equip them with
9 uniforms, and so on. We didn't want to expand, but I can't rule out that
10 some volunteers joined the brigades, but not in August.
11 Q. General, about -- you testified about problems after the
12 cease-fire with regards to both sides of the conflict. You also testified
13 that there were provocations from the Macedonian security forces before
14 the signing of the agreement.
15 MS. REGUE: Could we please call Exhibit P481, please.
16 Q. General, you will see in your screen, on the right side in
17 Macedonian, a resolution issued by the president, Boris Trajkovski, on the
18 5th of August, 2001.
19 If I may read the first paragraph, it says, and I quote: "The
20 army of the Republic of Macedonia, with necessary structure and force, is
21 to enter the town of Tetovo with the aim of preventing its fall into the
22 hands of the terrorist groups of the self-styled NLA and protecting the
23 lives, safety, and property of the citizens of Tetovo."
24 General, were you aware of these measures undertaken by President
25 Trajkovski in August 2001?
1 A. Yes. A similar order was published also in the media on the 5th
2 of August, something which greatly worried all of us in the NLA.
3 Q. Which consequences, if any, had for the NLA these measures
4 undertaken by the president?
5 A. If the head of the state, or the supreme commander, decides to
6 undertake an operation at the time of the cease-fire, eight days prior to
7 the signing of the Ohrid Agreement and this is published in the media, it
8 is understandable that this causes concern, because we are afraid that the
9 political agreement wouldn't be respected -- wouldn't be signed and that
10 the question arose as to the conflict continuing.
11 MS. REGUE: Could we please -- could we please call 65 ter 284,
12 and if we could go to the page 8, please.
13 Q. And, General, in the meantime that we wait for this new document,
14 were you aware of fighting going on in Tetovo that August 2001?
15 A. No, I was not.
16 Q. Okay. I will move on to the next issue.
17 MS. REGUE: If he could please remove this document from the
18 screen, I would be grateful.
19 Q. General, it was put to that you the NLA did not have a centralised
20 command system and a General Staff was militarily irrelevant. You
21 testified that Ali Ahmeti, as well as NATO and European Union
22 representatives, negotiated and agree the withdrawal on the 24th of June,
24 Which brigade was in Aracinovo at that time?
25 A. On the 24th of June, there was part of Brigade 113 in Haracin.
1 There was a battalion that was withdrawn from there on the order of Ali
3 Q. So, General, if I can follow up on your answer, once Ali Ahmeti
4 reached the agreement with the international representatives, to whom did
5 he issue, to whom did he communicate the order to withdraw within the
6 structure of the NLA?
7 A. He gave the order to Brigade 113, after consulting with me as
8 well, because at the time I was in Prizren, while Mr. Ali Ahmeti was in
10 Q. Was this order followed by the Brigade 113?
11 A. Yes. The battalion and its units withdrew from Haracin, I think
12 on the 25th.
13 Q. General, once the brigade commander received the order to
14 withdraw, to whom did he communicate the order within the 113th Brigade?
15 A. To the commander who was in Haracin. However, I cannot rule out
16 the possibility of Mr. Ali Ahmeti talking with the leader who was in
17 Haracin, but I have no information. I only know that this was discussed
18 with the brigade. I, too, discussed this with the brigade commander, but
19 not -- I didn't discuss the withdrawal. I discussed prior and during the
20 talks. I also discussed with Mr. Ali Ahmeti.
21 Q. You answered: "To the commander who was in Aracinovo."
22 Did you mean the commander of the 113th Brigade or the commander
23 of the battalion who was in Aracinovo?
24 A. I mean the brigade commander, Brigade 113.
25 Q. And did the commander of the Brigade 113 issue any order to his
1 units with regards to this matter?
2 A. Yes. He issued an order, and then the withdrawal took place with
3 the presence or contribution of the internationals.
4 MS. REGUE: If we could please call Exhibit P498, and go to page
5 31, please.
6 P498, page 31. I believe this is not Exhibit P498, which are the
7 "Rules of Service of the NLA." It's former 65 ter 778.4, if we could go
8 to page 31, please.
9 Yes, this is the right page in English.
10 Q. General, chapter 5 of the Rules of Service reads: "The tasks of
11 persons in positions of authority," and it starts with the commander of
12 the unit, the commander of (detachment). To which commander this Article
13 is referring to?
14 A. It's referring to the brigade, in this case, commander.
15 Q. Thanks.
16 A. I think so, yes.
17 Q. In item 1, it reads: "A unit (detachment) commander is in command
18 ever all unit (detachment) troops under his direction and is the immediate
19 commander of servicemen directly subordinated to him. He shall carry out
20 his tasks pursuant to laws and by-laws of the orders issued by the NLA
21 commander ..."
22 General, in the case of Aracinovo, did the commander of the 113th
23 Brigade proceed to withdraw following the order of the commander, Ali
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Thanks.
2 MS. REGUE: If we could remove the document from the screen.
3 Q. General, you also testified that Ali Ahmeti and NATO
4 representatives reached agreement with regard to the so-called operation
5 or plan Harvest.
6 MS. REGUE: Could we please show Exhibit P517.
7 Q. General, in the meantime that we wait for the document, was the
8 militarisation of the NLA carried out according to the operation to the
9 operation, to the plan Harvest?
10 A. Yes, fully, in compliance with the plan. It even exceeded what
11 was foreseen in the plan in terms of the number of weapons collected.
12 Q. General, you testified that this document, it was an instruction
13 or recommendation to the brigades to prepare for the surrender of the
14 weapons. To your knowledge, did they follow your instruction?
15 A. I don't see here the document. They did follow my instructions,
16 and the handing in of weapons was concluded successfully.
17 Q. Thanks.
18 MS. REGUE: Could we please show on the screen Exhibit 2D56.
19 Q. General, do you know these people, or at least some of the people,
20 which appear in this photograph?
21 A. Yes, I do know some of them: Number 5, Ali Ahmeti --
22 Q. Please wait one moment, General, for my learned colleague.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Apostolski.
24 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe that
25 Defence did not use this photograph in the cross-examination, so I see no
1 reason why the Prosecution would use it.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.
3 MS. REGUE: Thanks, Your Honour.
4 I'm dealing with an issue which was raised within
5 cross-examination, despite that this photo was not shown, if I can
7 JUDGE PARKER: The nature of the issue.
8 MS. REGUE: Clothing, uniforms.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on.
10 MS. REGUE: Thanks.
11 Q. General, you mentioned that you know some of these people, but I
12 would like to ask you, first of all: What are these people wearing? What
13 sort of clothing are they wearing?
14 A. Various uniforms; camouflage uniforms; a T-shirt which is part of
15 the uniform; one is in black clothes; one is in black vest.
16 Q. The green T-shirt, was it part of the uniform of the NLA, General?
17 A. Yes. When we had it, we always handed it out to the soldiers as
18 part of the uniform.
19 Q. Was it required to wear uniform in military operations, General?
20 A. Yes, certainly. But in this photo, I see people just to take a
21 photo with their commander, not that they are in any operation.
22 Q. Why was it necessary, mandatory, to wear uniforms in military
23 operations, General?
24 A. Because that is part of an army. The uniform is suitable to use
25 for work, part of which part of the work of a soldier is taking part in
1 military operations. That distinguishes him from a civilian. After
2 someone has taken a weapon, then the uniform is proof of showing that that
3 person is a part of an organisation.
4 Q. Thanks.
5 MS. REGUE: Could we please show Exhibit 2D57.
6 Q. General, to your knowledge, if you do, in which context was this
7 photo taken?
8 A. As I see it, and judging from the terrain, it must be in the
9 training centre of Brodec during the visit that Ali Ahmeti made there.
10 You can see that some of the volunteers are not in uniforms.
11 Q. When the uniforms will be given to these new members, General?
12 A. When we could get hold of the uniforms; and, at that moment they
13 were also issued a weapon. You can see in the photo that they don't have
14 weapons either.
15 Q. General, was the training mandatory, required, before start
16 operating in the NLA?
17 A. Yes. Training was mandatory. It was a period during which the
18 new -- newly conscripted soldiers, let say, didn't go immediately to the
19 front, but get used. Even the formation of the brigades followed this
20 rule. From the 13th was formed the 14th and so on; from the 15th, the
22 The commander and myself took care to send to the front officers
23 and soldiers who had already taken part in some fighting, and then
24 other -- gradually other soldiers. That was the priority we followed. We
25 didn't want someone who had not any experience of war be sent to the front
1 line, because he would loose his life more easily.
2 Q. Thanks, General.
3 MS. REGUE: We can remove the photo from the screen.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome.
5 MS. REGUE:
6 Q. General, it was also put to you that an example of the military
7 relevance of the NLA was the fact that you did not provide to the OTP any
8 written combat order, with the exception that the map and plan that we
9 discussed earlier on.
10 How were the combat orders issued to the brigade commander,
12 A. We had satellite communication with all brigades and we also used
13 mobile phones, but usually we used satellite phones to protect ourselves
14 from being bugged. The commanders and the members of the brigade commands
15 passed to -- passed by the General Staff and contacted directly with us.
16 I have to stress this because, by the end, the NLA brigades
17 extended from the border -- the northern border of the Republic of
18 Macedonia to the vicinity of Debar. Therefore, it was indispensable for
19 us to communicate through telephone, and also for them to contact us
20 directly, to give us reports, to describe the situation in more details,
21 and to get new tasks.
22 Q. General, it was also put to you that you were not appointed as
23 Chief of Staff before the 13th of May, 2001.
24 MS. REGUE: Could we please see Exhibit P493, page 34.
25 If we could please enlarge the paragraph where the name of the
1 witness appears, which is the third one starting -- the one in the middle.
2 Q. General, I believe we have only an English version; therefore, I'm
3 going to read to you what this document stated. This is a book with the
4 title -- it's a book from NATO relating to the NLA, and it is dated the
5 25th of June 2005.
6 This document reads General, that you became TMK, Chief of Staff,
7 before suddenly departing and resurfacing with the NLA in April 2001.
8 General, when did you join the NLA? In March, April, or May?
9 A. I joined the National Liberation Army in the month of March upon
10 my return from the United States of America. I went back for a brief
11 period to my work, and then I joined the NLA.
12 Q. When you were appointed Chief of Staff of the NLA, did you hold
13 any public press conference to announce your appointment?
14 A. No. I signed a communique regarding the MX operation that was
15 carried out in Tetovo on the 25th of March. After this operation, I went
16 out public through this communique signed by me, explaining what happened
17 there, and I believe you have this communique in the documents.
18 MS. REGUE: Your Honours, would that be a convenient time, because
19 I'm moving to a new topic and it may take some time.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Very well.
21 We adjourn and resume tomorrow at 9.00.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.44 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 15th day of
24 November, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.