1 Friday, 13 March 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
6 Ms. Kravetz, the next witness is ready, I take it?
7 MS. KRAVETZ: Good morning, Your Honours. The next witness is
8 Mr. Adnan Merovci. I just wanted to inform Your Honours that this
9 witness has prepared a one-page Albanian document. It's just a
10 handwritten document for himself which contains dates of events that are
11 referred to in his statement, and he has asked to have this in court with
12 him. I have provided a copy to the Defence and have asked him just to
13 alert us in the event he feels the need to refer to this document he has
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, Mr. Merovci.
18 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please read aloud the affirmation on the
20 card that's shown to you now.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
22 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
23 WITNESS: ADNAN MEROVCI
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
1 Ms. Kravetz has some questions for you.
2 Ms. Kravetz.
3 MS. KRAVETZ: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Examination by Ms. Kravetz:
5 Q. Good morning, Witness. Could you please state your full name for
6 the record.
7 A. Adnan Merovci.
8 Q. When were you born and where were you born, Mr. Merovci?
9 A. I was born on the 18th of May, 1956, in Vushtrri, in Kosova.
10 Q. And what are you by profession?
11 A. I graduated from the faculty of electric and technical
13 Q. In 1999 where were you employed?
14 A. Are you referring to 1989 or 1999?
15 Q. 1999, the year 1999.
16 A. In 1999, I was chief of President Rugova's cabinet.
17 Q. And when did you begin to work for Mr. Rugova?
18 A. I began to work for him as early as in 1989, at the time when the
19 Democratic League of Kosovo was formed and when Mr. Rugova was elected
20 its chairman.
21 Q. Thank you. In May of 1999, and April and March of 2000, did you
22 provide a statement to the Office of the Prosecution of this Tribunal?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. Have you had the opportunity to review this statement before
25 coming to court today?
1 A. Yes, I had.
2 Q. And are you satisfied that the information contained in this
3 statement is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge and belief?
4 A. Yes, completely.
5 Q. Have you also previously testified in this Tribunal in the case
6 of Prosecution versus Milutinovic et al in January of 2007?
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. And have you recently had the opportunity to review the
9 transcript of your prior testimony?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. If you were asked the same questions that you were asked when you
12 testified in the Milutinovic trial, would you provide the same answers,
13 Mr. Merovci?
14 A. I think that in essence by answers would be the same, maybe I
15 would use different words to describe the events, but in essence it would
16 be the same, my testimony.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honours, I seek to tender this prior
19 statement -- the statement and the prior testimony, the statement is
20 65 ter 02588 and the prior -- transcript of the prior testimony 0518, and
21 I ask that those exhibits be received.
22 JUDGE PARKER: The statement will be received as an exhibit.
23 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00416, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE PARKER: And the transcript of earlier evidence will be
1 THE REGISTRAR: As P00417, Your Honours.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
3 MS. KRAVETZ: I would ask -- kindly ask for the assistance of the
4 usher, if the witness could be provided a copy of his prior statement and
5 we'll be referring to it in court. While that's being done I'll proceed
6 to read the court summary of this witness's evidence.
7 The witness was the personal secretary of Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, the
8 head of the political party called the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK.
9 He describes the climate of unrest in Kosovo from the early 1980s and the
10 legislative measures introduced by Milosevic in 1989 including certainly
11 constitutional amendments which revoked the autonomous status of Kosovo.
12 The witness describes the discrimination faced by Albanians in
13 their jobs. He speaks about the mounting international pressure for a
14 peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis.
15 In February and March 1999, the witness participated in the
16 Rambouillet and Paris negotiations on the Kosovo crisis and describes
17 these negotiations. When the NATO bombing began on 24th March, 1999,
18 several prominent Albanians were abducted and killed in Kosovo.
19 Dr. Ibrahim Rugova was placed under house arrest. The witness saw an
20 increase in police and military presence in Pristina. The witness speaks
21 about various meetings he attended with Rugova and the Serb leadership
22 from March 1999 onwards, including meetings with Milosevic, Milutinovic,
23 Sainovic, Ratko Markovic, and Zoran Andjelkovic.
24 Q. Witness, I would now like to turn to your statement and ask you
25 about some evidence that you provided there. In paragraph 13 of your
1 statement, you refer to events that took place in Kosovo in 1989 and you
2 say that after the removal of Kosovo's --
3 MS. KRAVETZ: I see my --
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic.
5 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] It's not an objection, just an
6 explanation. I can see that my learned friend is referring to
7 paragraphs, yet I have a statement that's not divided into paragraphs at
8 all, and it's very difficult to follow. The paragraphs are not marked.
9 Is this the statement of May 1999, March 2000 and April?
10 JUDGE PARKER: Perhaps you could give page number, Ms. Kravetz.
11 MS. KRAVETZ: The version in e-court has the paragraph numbers,
12 so I believe my learned colleague doesn't have the version in e-court.
13 We could -- if -- the version in e-court has -- I don't know if you -- we
14 could follow that. I can also indicate the paragraph, the page number.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Page number would help Mr. Djurdjic, I'm sure.
16 MS. KRAVETZ: We can try also to provide the copy.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
18 MS. KRAVETZ: So I'm referring to page 4, and this is the third
19 paragraph on page 4, which is paragraph 13 and begins with: "After I
20 became involved ..."
21 Q. Witness, I was asking you about paragraph 13 of your statement
22 where you refer to the revocation or removal of Kosovo's autonomy in
23 1989, and you say:
24 "After the abrogation of the autonomy, emergency measures were
25 imposed in Kosovo, effectively martial law ..." is what you say there.
1 Could you very briefly explain how these emergency measures that you
2 refer to in your statement impacted on the daily life of Kosovo Albanians
3 in Kosovo?
4 A. With the constitutional amendments imposed violently without the
5 willingness of the population, although the public was against these
6 amendments, the regime in a way implemented this measure to the effect of
7 destructing all the institutions from the lowest to the highest levels,
8 including the education system, health system, police system,
9 legislation, and the society in general in Kosova.
10 This was mainly felt in the education system and health care and
11 in the work of the financial institutions at the time in Kosova in the
12 work of the legislative institutions in Kosova and was manifested with
13 the massive removal of Albanians from their jobs under the pretext of
14 them being Albanians. This can be argumented in different ways, but one
15 of the main arguments is that when Albanians were removed from their
16 works at the time not a single Serb had the same fate. The measures were
17 implemented in the institution where I was employed, in the United Bank
18 of Kosovo. From this bank alone, approximately 260 Albanian employees
19 were dismissed and not a single Serb was dismissed.
20 The education system had the same fate --
21 Q. May I stop you there just so we can clarify part of your answer.
22 You speak about the removal of Albanians from their jobs. By whom were
23 they replaced, these people who were removed from their jobs? You spoke
24 about the massive removal of Albanians.
25 A. When we speak of education institutions, they were not
1 substituted at all. These were Albanian teachers and professors. When
2 we say that the education system was brought down, this means that the
3 teachers and professors as well as teachers and students were forced out
4 of the school buildings. There was no need to substitute them because
5 there were no longer students and professors in the school buildings. In
6 the institution where I was employed, the key positions held by the
7 Albanians at the time were taken away, and Serbs were nominated on those
9 As a result of these measures which affected the economy in
10 Kosova, the bank, as an institution that follows the developments in
11 economy and helps growth, had to go into liquidation. The number of
12 employees was reduced, I mean the number of Albanian, ethnic Albanian
13 employees was reduced.
14 Q. You've spoken about employment and also education. Did these
15 measures have any impact on the access to housing and accommodation for
16 Kosovo Albanians?
17 A. Taking into consideration the fact that these measures were
18 implemented at a time when Kosova had the growth of a level that it had
19 at the time, there was a system in place to award housing and
20 accommodation to workers. However, once these measures were imposed,
21 this activity was stopped completely vis-a-vis the Albanians.
22 My case is a concrete example. As an engineer and an expert in
23 computer technology in the bank, I was on the list to get an
24 accommodation for my family; but once these measures were implemented, I
25 was denied this right, and instead the apartment was given to a Serb
1 woman who was not there at the time but came and appropriated my
2 apartment. Such cases you could find in other institutions as well.
3 Q. In paragraph 16 of your statement, and this is page 5, second
4 paragraph, you speak about the police force, Albanian officers in the
5 police force, and you say that they:
6 "... started to leave the police force in great numbers because
7 of pressures and restrictions put on them by their Serbian colleagues and
9 What sort of pressures and restrictions were put on Albanian
10 police officers that forced them to leave their jobs?
11 A. When these measures were imposed, this also affected the police
12 system at the time. Most of the employees with the police at the time
13 were Albanians. The police -- Albanian policemen were forced to sign
14 declarations of loyalty towards Serbia
15 policemen refused to do so; and therefore, they were dismissed from work,
16 under the pretext that they refused to sign their declaration of loyalty
17 towards a regime that was denied by the majority Albanian population in
19 Q. Now, you spoke a bit earlier about education and you were
20 speaking about teachers being removed from school buildings. Did these
21 measures have any impact on the access of Albanian students to education?
22 A. In the whole territory of Kosova
23 facilities were occupied by Serbs and students, professors, teachers,
24 pupils lost their buildings and their positions. Students were also
25 removed from student hostels. The students were helped by different
1 institutions, including the LDK, which helped them to continue with their
2 education in private facilities, such as apartments, houses, garages, and
3 so on. So Albanians continued to attend schools but not in official
4 school buildings but in private facilities which contained improvised
5 classrooms, built in private homes and basements and garages and so on.
6 Q. For how long did these special measures remain in force, until
7 when did they remain in force?
8 A. The origin of these special measures is at the time of the
9 constitutional amendments, and they were in force until the bombing, NATO
10 bombing, began.
11 Q. Now, moving forward a bit in time, in your statement at
12 paragraph 27, you refer to an agreement that was signed between
13 President Milosevic and Dr. Rugova that was facilitated by the Italian
14 Catholic community of St. Egidio. Do you know what was the purpose of
15 this agreement that was signed in 1996?
16 A. This agreement was a sign of good-will of a non-governmental
17 organisation and a religious community from Roma represented by
18 Vincenzo Paglia. He carried out a shuttle diplomacy between Pristina and
20 enable children and teachers to go back to their schools under no
22 So the aim of this agreement was to facilitate the return of
23 teachers and students to schools. This agreement was signed by Milosevic
24 and by President Rugova. Unfortunately, it was never implemented and
25 failed to yield any success, because at the time the Serb regime did not
1 release these facilities to the Albanians for their use, with the
2 exception of one facility, the Institute of Albanology
3 keys to this building were handed over to the Albanian workers in that
4 institute. So with the exception of this facility, no other facility was
5 given back to the Albanians. And that's why I'm saying this agreement
6 was not successful.
7 Q. Do you recall when the keys of the Institute of Albanology
8 giving to the workers of that institute and was it handed over, this
10 A. I don't remember the exact date, but it should be right after the
11 agreement was signed with St. Egidio, but I don't remember the exact
13 Q. Thank you. Now, moving forward to the end of 1998, in paragraph
14 31, you speak about the -- an agreement that was entered into by
15 Milosevic and US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke which set up the KVM and
16 indicated that Mr. Milosevic would withdraw military and police units
17 from Kosovo, and you then say that after this agreement was signed, you
18 and Mr. Rugova travelled around Kosovo with Christopher Hill. Can you
19 tell us what was the purpose of this trip, this trip that you took with
20 Mr. Rugova and Mr. Hill?
21 A. The purpose of the touring of the ground with Ambassador Hill was
22 to see the results and the effect of the Milosevic-Holbrooke Agreement
23 which had two important elements contained in it: One, withdrawal of the
24 troops deployed in Kosova; and two, the establishment of the verification
25 mission headed by Mr. William Walker at the time, so that we could see
1 closely whether these two elements were being fulfilled, mainly, the
2 withdrawal of the Serbian forces. We travelled with Ambassador Walker
3 and Mr. Rugova in the direction of Peja. We visited Rahovec, Malisheve,
4 Suhareke, Lipjan, Shtime, and returned to Prishtina. This is the route
5 that we made on that day. I would like to point out that this was a
6 terrain that at the time was home to offensives, Serb offensives.
7 On the way, we saw many burnt houses, destroyed facilities. We
8 saw worried faces about what was going on and about what had befallen on
9 them. From this picture we could draw the conclusion that the agreement,
10 Milosevic-Holbrooke, was not being implemented. On the way, we saw many
11 tanks and other military vehicles in coveted areas on the hills. There
12 were many check-points, so-called check-points, along the road. And
13 while we were travelling, they pretended not to actually carry out their
14 real role but acted kind of sophisticated.
15 Q. What do you mean by saying that they acted kind of sophisticated,
16 did not carry out their real role?
17 A. Since we were a delegation of high officials, such as
18 Ambassador Hill and President Rugova, these police check-points in
19 certain situations when we would pass by, these would act passively.
20 They wanted to leave with us the impression that they were check-points
21 just for sake of verification of documents, not for anything else. But
22 these were check-points with combined forces, police and military forces.
23 We passed along 15 such check-points during our travel.
24 Q. Now, in the next paragraph, this is paragraph 32, you refer to
25 the deployment of the KVM and you say, "... but the violence continued as
1 before," this is at the bottom of paragraph 32; and you indicate,
2 "Milosevic did not stick to his agreement to withdraw troops, and in fact
3 even more were introduced into Kosovo."
4 Can you tell us what's the source of your information, why you
5 state this?
6 A. It is absolutely true, even though an agreement had been signed
7 that time on the withdrawal and reduction of the number of police and
8 military forces of the regime; that was not the case in actual reality.
9 In fact, their number increased.
10 As a political organisation, namely the Democratic League of
11 Kosovo, we received information from all over Kosova on our activists,
12 members of this league, who operated in the context of the Kosova
13 information centre. We had a representative in every village, people who
14 informed us of what was going on, of every movement; and in this case
15 they also counted the number of the actual vehicles, various vehicles,
16 tanks and so on, on the border with Serbia. And within the day they sent
17 this information to the centre for information where we had special
18 commissions which collected information, drew up the statistics, and
19 published them in the informatory -- bulletin which appeared every day in
20 Albanian and in Serbian.
21 So the main source for our information for every data on the
22 increase of the number of Serb forces and their equipment was the
23 activists of the democratic league who were eye-witnesses to every
24 movement that occurred in every village and on -- along the roads to
25 Pristina mainly from the border, Mitrovica, and others places, all the
1 border with Serbia
2 Q. Now, are you referring to a specific time-period when this
3 increase of troops took place?
4 A. I am referring mainly to the time-frame -- actually, there are
5 two time-frames, one is following the signing of Holbrooke-Milosevic
6 Agreement, that is a very intensive period; and the next one, the other
7 one, is the period between Rambouillet and Paris Agreements entailing a
8 three-week period during which the Rambouillet Agreement was signed in
10 the Albanian side signed a kind of oath, namely, that they will sign the
11 agreement in three weeks' time. And during this interim period of three
12 weeks when we were expecting the NATO air-strikes, Serbia introduced
13 large number of troops and equipment. So this is what I mean when I say
14 about these two periods.
15 Q. And the source of your information about this increase of troops
16 between these two periods would be the same ones that you described
17 earlier, this network of activists of your party, if I understand
19 A. Mainly, yes, even though on the grounds there were foreign
20 reporters as well representing various international media outlets who
21 moved about the territory and passed by such information centres, and
22 sometimes they exchanged information and verified the accuracy of the
23 information. But mainly over 90 percent of our information was received
24 from our activists on the ground.
25 Q. Now, you refer to the period between Rambouillet and the Paris
1 Agreements, and I understand from your statement that that was in
2 March 1999
3 that correct?
4 A. This is a period at the end of February until 20th of March.
5 This is the period when the Rambouillet Agreement was signed -- or better
6 to say the meeting that was held in Rambouillet, and then the signing of
7 the Paris Agreement signed, which ended on the 19th of March. On the
8 19th of March, that agreement was concluded, I mean the Paris Agreement.
9 And this period covers end of February/beginning of March. As I said,
10 it's a three-week period.
11 Q. And during this three-week period, were you, yourself, able to
12 observe this increase of troops that you were referring to on the ground,
13 or was this only information you received from activists in the LDK?
14 A. At the time we are talking about, this three-week period, the
15 arrival of Serb troops from Serbia
16 a transparent issue, everybody could see that. Now, the Serbs no longer
17 took pains to cover-up their activities under the guise of expected
18 air-strikes. So they brought their troops in broad daylight.
19 Therefore, the information came to us from the militants on the
20 grounds, but I, myself, was eye-witness sometimes to such things.
21 Sometimes I, myself, went to the ground, maybe during this three-week
22 period I went two or three times to the ground, because I, myself, kind
23 of was cautious in the movements I made, but I too saw such movements and
24 such increase of troops.
25 Q. Now, if we move a bit forward in time, in para 44 you refer to
1 the period when you arrived from the Paris talks back to Pristina, and
2 you say that:
3 "There were huge numbers of Serb paramilitaries everywhere."
4 Can you explain who these persons were that you're referring to
5 in your statement as Serb paramilitaries? How were they different from
6 soldiers or policemen?
7 A. When we returned from Paris
8 was a Sunday. During the time we entered Blace border post, we saw a lot
9 of vehicles, international observers, who were leaving Kosova. Mainly
10 they were part of the KVM and other non-government organisations, they
11 were all leaving, and we saw them at the border. We were maybe the only
12 ones who were entering Kosova. I'm talking of our return from Paris
13 the way to Prishtina, we saw that things had changed a lot in the
14 meantime, in the sense of a greater presence of police and army along the
15 way, that was a huge presence; so much so that in one of the tunnels on
16 the road bordering Macedonia
17 Blace to Prishtina, we could see that the army was installing wires for
18 explosives in the tunnels -- in this tunnel.
19 So that was proof for us that things had changed drastically in
20 these three weeks. When we arrived in Prishtina, we saw that the
21 situation was completely different. On the next day, I moved about in
22 the city to see what was going on, and I saw that there was a large
23 number of armed civilians and vehicles without registration plates and
24 people dressed, some with jackets of a military colour, camouflage, or
25 other dressed in black leather jackets and armed. They were in groups,
1 some smaller, some bigger groups. And after some days, these groups
2 started to become active and to roam along the streets of Prishtina, and
3 this I have seen with my own eyes, maltreating people, forcing people to
4 leave their cars, confiscating their cars, beating them.
5 And then I realised that in Grand Hotel there were Arkan's
6 paramilitaries who were stationed there. I passed by that hotel myself,
7 and I saw that. It was written "Albanians and dogs are forbidden to
8 enter this hotel," and people were saying that Arkan's units were
9 stationed there.
10 The groups of people you are asking me about, consisted people
11 that we referred to as paramilitaries because there was no other name for
12 them, who were different from the members of the regular army and police
13 from their uniforms.
14 Q. Now, you say in your statement in paragraph 45 that "these
15 paramilitaries began destroying Albanian-owned businesses."
16 Is this something you saw yourself, you witnessed this,
17 paramilitaries destroying Albanian-owned businesses?
18 A. I witnessed two facilities that were destroyed. I went there
19 after I heard of it, but when I went there the event had already taken
20 place some half an hour ago, and I'm talking of out-patient clinic. At
21 the centre of Prishtina, in Dedinje neighbourhood, the name of which was
22 Resonatsa [phoen], and the eye-witnesses told me that some cars without
23 licence plates had arrived and people dressed in multi -- of uniforms,
24 some civilians, some in uniforms, some without uniforms; and they placed
25 some explosive there, and it was blown up. I went there a half an hour
1 later and saw it with my own eyes. Another instance is that, which
2 happened one day after the air-strikes on the 25th of March, and it was
3 the office of President Rugova and my own office which was burned
4 completely with an explosive, blown up. And I'm saying this based on
5 evidence by eye-witnesses, because the office was situated in an -- in
6 the middle of a neighbourhood, so there were many residents living close
7 by. When I say it was a combined group of people, I mean people dressed
8 in uniforms, semi-uniforms, military uniforms, or civilian clothes, as
9 well as people wearing masks dressed in black but without any insignia,
10 without any epaulette, or anything, any symbol, whereby you could
11 identify them.
12 Q. Do you know whether any non-Albanian shops or businesses were
13 destroyed during these days?
14 A. No, nobody knows that any such non-Albanian shops or businesses
15 were destroyed or burned.
16 Q. Just going briefly back to something you said earlier about
17 Arkan's men being at the Grand Hotel in Pristina, is this something that
18 you, yourself, saw or did someone tell you about this? Is this something
19 you heard from others or you observed yourself?
20 A. From a distance, as you might know, Hotel Grand is situated at
21 the centre of the city and there is a space, open space around it. I
22 went close by it and saw this inscription with my own eyes. From a
23 distance I could see that groups of people dressed in black and with
24 masks, some others had some bands, headbands, so I saw them with my own
25 eyes from a relative distance.
1 Q. And what is this inscription that you saw with your own eyes that
2 you referred to?
3 A. There was a kind of inscription. As I said earlier, it was
4 written like this: "Albanians and dogs are forbidden to enter Grand
6 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, in paragraph 46, you refer to the start
7 of the NATO bombing, the first night and you say -- you refer to the
8 killing of several prominent Albanians; and you refer specifically to
9 Bajram Kelmendi, Agim Hajrizi, and Latif Berisha. These two persons,
10 Agim Hajrizi, and Latif Berisha, where were they killed?
11 A. Latif Berisha and Agim Hajrizi were killed in their own homes.
12 Latif Berisha was the chairman of the branch of the Democratic
13 League of Kosovo in Mitrovica, and this intellectual was also a member of
14 the Presidency of this league and one of the closest collaborators of
15 President Rugova.
16 Mr. Berisha was killed in his own home, and as his family members
17 said, he was called to go out by unidentified persons who spoke in
18 Serbian but people who were dressed in camouflage uniforms. And once he
19 answered to their call he was -- once he appeared at the door-step, he
20 was killed on the spot in his house in Mitrovica.
21 Mr. Agim Hajrizi was an outstanding activist mainly dealing with
22 human rights issues. He was killed also in his own home when some armed
23 groups went to his home and asked him to come out and called him by his
24 name. And once he appeared at the door, they killed him in his home in
25 Mitrovica. This happened in the first days of the air-strikes, that is,
1 on the next day -- on the days immediately after the air-strikes started
2 along with great fighter of human rights, the well-known lawyer,
3 Mr. Bajram Kelmendi, who likewise was taken on the night of the
4 air-strikes from his home with both his sons, and as his wife,
5 Mrs. Kelmendi, said, he was taken by uniformed people and was -- she was
6 then informed of their dead bodies found somewhere in the outskirts of
8 Q. You say in your statement that:
9 "These killings sent a clear message that Albanian leaders were
10 going to be targets of Serb forces ..."
11 Were these killings reported in the news?
12 A. Yes, they were reported. Mainly we heard of that from sources or
13 information sources or media in Albanian, various radio stations,
14 Deutsche Welle, Free Europe, Voice of America, that reported such events;
15 but I may say that the purpose of killing them was to strike terror, to
16 misinform the public, that people are being killed with the sole purpose
17 being to deport the Albanians which was the main -- one of the purposes
18 of the regime, to strike fear among the population for them to leave
19 Kosova, the main aim objective being the ethnic cleansing of Kosova from
21 Q. Now, in paragraph 49 of your statement you refer to the
22 mobilisation of Serbs and you say:
23 "All of them were mobilised in some force or other and everything
24 was done in a coordinated manner."
25 What is the source of this information? How do you know this?
1 A. At this time, the time I'm talking of, the communication between
2 the Albanians and the Serbs was minimal. There were, however, instances
3 when they communicated directly or indirectly, sometimes planned
4 meetings. But we lived in the same buildings. Our neighbours were
5 Serbs. I have seen with my own eyes the door of my neighbour or when the
6 door of the building where we lived was opened, and I could see weapons.
7 I saw once the two sons of my neighbour dressed, one in
8 military -- in arm and the other in police uniforms and quite normally
9 they said, We've been mobilised. And they even said, We were forced to
10 join the army; and that there were other instances when friends and
11 acquaintances said this because these were things that we discussed in
12 our Albanian community, namely, that all the Serbs capable of fighting
13 were mobilised and armed.
14 There was not a single Serb family in Kosova that didn't have at
15 least one weapon. This was a fact of life for everyone, and we could
16 prove it with such facts, some of which I already mentioned. And also
17 that they didn't hide the fact that they were armed. They kept their
18 weapons in bars or restaurants. In the same place you could see
19 Albanians and Serbs to have a coffee or something, and the Serbs showed
20 their weapons openly. This was something that everybody knew about, that
21 every capable Serb who has had a name and a last name was also armed.
22 Q. Did your neighbours tell you who had provided them with these
24 A. Even earlier on, now I'm talking of a later period, so to say,
25 but even at a later time the question of arms and arming the civilian
1 Serb population was a continuous process. We saw what was going on as a
2 political party and democratic league. We could see the gradual arming
3 and organised arming of the Serb population. The tractor or the lorry
4 came near the neighbourhood and distributed, quite openly, weapons to
6 But when I'm talking of, that was not so necessary because by
7 then, almost everybody was armed, but this process was done in an
8 organised manner. And I asked my neighbours but I didn't ask them, Who
9 gave you the weapons? But they -- the fact that they themselves said, We
10 are being trained, and in various shooting grounds it was known that
11 everything was done by -- in an organised manner by the state
13 Q. Now, just so we are clear on the time-period you're referring to,
14 you refer to seeing a tractor or a lorry come to the neighbourhood and
15 distribute, quite openly, weapons. When did this happen?
16 A. What I said happened some time in 1996/1997, but by this example
17 I wanted to illustrate the process of arming the Serb population which
18 started even earlier and which was intensified during the last months
19 that we are talking about. But the process of acting -- of arming the
20 Serb population started at an earlier time.
21 The concrete example I gave you you happened in Lakrisht [phoen]
22 neighbourhood in Prishtina, which was the neighbourhood that I lived
23 together with my brother and that I was eye-witness to this distribution
24 of weapons. But the time we are talking about, during this time it
25 was -- the arming was done, as I said, in the light of day. It was done
1 everywhere. People exchanged weapons, got weapons, in the street.
2 Q. Thank you. Now, in the next paragraph you refer to:
3 "In the period between 24th March when the bombing started and
4 29th March ..." and you say you drove to Mr. Rugova's house every day at
5 around 11.00. What if anything, what were you able to observe on the
6 streets of Pristina during these days?
7 A. This was the time when the air-strikes started in Kosova and in
8 the territory of Serbia
9 I went to Mr. Rugova's house since I was a close associate of his. We
10 are talking of the time when Prishtina no longer resembles an ordinary
11 city, when armed groups of soldiers, police, paramilitaries, groups of
12 civilians coming with various cars prevailed, mainly without licence
14 From 24th to the 30th/31st time, during which I travelled to and
15 fro, I saw people and cars being deported in the direction of the
16 outskirts of the city; and then based on testimony by various
17 eye-witnesses, these people in an organised manner were sent by buses in
18 the direction of Skopje
19 were sent to Macedonia
20 these places often by uniformed people wearing masks and dressed in
21 police uniforms. I have seen real cases in a student township so-called
22 then in Prishtina. I saw a convoy of about approximately over 100
23 people, lined in three, four, walking on foot, and they were led by a
24 group of some people like the ones I mentioned.
25 They were escorted by these groups towards these directions that
1 I mentioned. During this period, I also saw small groups, a family or
2 two families in a group, escorted by a masked person and three other
3 armed civilians who were heading somewhere that I couldn't communicate
4 with them, but I assumed that they were being driven out. But based on
5 facts, this -- before that these people were looted, their homes were
6 looted, they were asked to hand over money or jewellery and so on.
7 Q. Now, you say you saw columns of -- or convoys of people heading
8 in an organised direction in the direction of Fushe Kosova or
9 Kosovo Polje. Do you know what happened to these people once they
10 arrived to Fushe Kosova?
11 A. Based on the information we received later, groups of hundreds of
12 thousands of people gathered in Fushe Kosova, were boarded on trains, and
13 deported to Macedonia
14 Fushe Kosova and then make the population board the trains and go to
16 Q. And who provided this information to you, that this is what was
17 happening in Fushe Kosova, Kosovo?
18 A. We received this kind of information in different ways. For
19 example, through telephone conversations. As just a few days after the
20 air-strikes began, the phones were still working. Later on, they were no
21 longer working. At the place where I was, the phone was working.
22 So this was a communication between myself and people who had
23 left for Macedonia
24 for example, that were taken or forced to go to Fushe Kosova and then
25 forced to return to their homes. There were different tactics employed,
1 different movements and games with the population. So I received this
2 kind of information from direct conversation with people or on occasions
3 when I would go on the ground and talk to people just to exchange
4 information as to what was going on.
5 Q. Now, moving a bit forward in time, you say that on the -- in
6 paragraph 51:
7 "On the 29th of March, 1999," you "moved into Dr. Rugova's
8 house ..." and you stayed with him until you left Kosovo. And in the
9 next paragraph you talk about an event that took place on the 31st of
10 March when the MUP came to the house of Dr. Rugova and forced their way
12 And you say in that paragraph that you had seen them approaching
13 Dr. Rugova's house going from door to door expelling people. Who were
14 these people that you saw these MUP forces expelling?
15 A. These were people dressed in uniforms. I saw them from the
16 window going door to door in that neighbourhood. Rugova's house is in a
17 hilly part of Prishtina, and from his house, you can see the entire
19 I could clearly see that these were organised groups escorted by
20 two vehicles. Others were going door to door on foot and forcing the
21 residents out and forcing them to walk down towards the centre of the
22 town. I realised quite soon that our turn will come. I told Mr. Rugova
23 that, We will have to go through the same process, I guess. We went to
24 the upper floor of the house and were watching what was going on from the
25 window. After a short time, these cars manned with police- and
1 army-uniformed personnel approached the house.
2 You can imagine Mr. Rugova's gate to the garden is quite strong,
3 then you have the garden, then you have the door to the house. Without
4 informing us, without knocking on the door, they just smashed the gate,
5 this strong gate that I mentioned. They broke down the door to the house
6 on the ground floor. So as I saw that they wanted to brutally enter the
7 house, I ran down the stairs to the ground floor, as I was scared that
8 they might kill someone from my family. We were a large group there.
9 At the time I got downstairs, I raised my hands instinctively.
10 They jumped at me. I just said to him -- to them, Why are you breaking
11 the door? Do you know who lives here? They didn't speak back. They
12 just jumped on me. They exercised force, physical force, on me, as I
13 have described it in my statement. I was trying to talk to them, to tell
14 them where Mr. Rugova was, and then I saw -- I heard one of them
15 communicating with someone, saying, We are where we are supposed to be.
16 We are in the house of Mr. Rugova, the first person who wanted -- asked
17 for NATO to come here. They beat me and held me there for half an hour
18 with my hands raised up. My family was upstairs.
19 On this occasion, about seven or eight uniformed people entered
20 the house. What I recall is that I saw both police and military
21 uniforms. Some of the uniforms were camouflage, some were not. It was a
22 total chaos. Then they decided to call everybody who was upstairs, come
23 downstairs. They didn't allow me to go out and fetch the family
24 downstairs, but they made me call on them. So more than 20 people came
25 down. They kept us there without any explanation at all for some four
1 hours on the lower floor. So this was it is first encounter with them.
2 Q. You said that more than 20 people came down. Who were these 20
3 people who came downstairs?
4 A. Amongst these 20 people was Mr. Rugova with his family, his wife
5 and three children; the sisters of Rugova's wife, so her three sisters
6 with their families, with their husbands; my wife, because I had decided
7 to remain there with the president; and there was also a German
8 journalist who just happened to be there, who had come there to interview
9 Mr. Rugova.
10 Q. For how long did these uniformed people remain in Dr. Rugova's
12 A. The people dressed in uniforms, both in police and military
13 uniforms, remained there for 24 hours until --
14 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't get the date.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- when we set off for Belgrade
16 So they remained there the whole time.
17 MS. KRAVETZ:
18 Q. You referred to a date and the interpreter didn't understand it.
19 A. From the 31st of March, 1999, up until 4th of May, 1999. So
20 during our stay there, while we were there, all the time they would
21 remain there with us for 24 hours a day. After that, we left and I don't
22 know what happened.
23 Q. And during these weeks when these uniformed persons were at
24 Dr. Rugova's house, was Dr. Rugova allowed to circulate freely and leave
25 his house when he wished?
1 A. This event was known to the public. Now, from this period of
2 time when you cast an eye on what had happened, you and everyone can draw
3 the conclusion that we were under a full house arrest, Mr. Rugova, his
4 family, myself, my wife, because from the first encounter with them,
5 their behaviour and throughout this period of time which was more than a
6 month, we always wanted to speak to someone and to be allowed to leave
8 It was clear to us that we could not stay there, there was no
9 activity to be done there. That's why we wanted to leave Kosova. As we
10 were not allowed to leave and as they restricted our movement, they
11 didn't allow us to use the phone. They didn't allow us to follow the
12 events on television and in the media. They didn't allow us to move from
13 one room to another. I don't know what else this could be described as
14 but a house arrest.
15 There were so-called phantom meetings, fruitless I would say,
16 organised at the time, both with Milosevic and Milutinovic as well as
18 Q. Mr. Merovci, if I may interrupt you there. I want to go over
19 some of these meetings very briefly because they're already described
20 quite extensively in your written evidence and the evidence that's before
21 Their Honours.
22 In paragraph 57, you refer to a meeting that took place on 1st of
23 April with Mr. Milosevic and you and Mr. Rugova, Dr. Rugova, attended.
24 And you indicate that during these meetings you told Mr. Milosevic about
25 houses being burned, attacks on Albanians, and the expulsions. Did you
1 tell Mr. Milosevic, who was responsible for these events that you were
2 describing during this meeting?
3 A. During this meeting that I joined on its second half, the topic
4 of the meeting was the issue of Albanians leaving Kosova. He was asking
5 who was causing this massive leaving of the Albanians and replied to his
6 answer by saying that it was NATO bombing. And I reacted immediately,
7 replying to him that it was not NATO, but the Albanians were leaving
8 because of the pressure exercised by the military and police forces; and
9 that these groups that are leaving Kosova are not mentioning NATO as a
10 reason for leaving their homes.
11 I mentioned to him two facts, one of them being the following:
12 Albanians are leaving Kosova and going to Montenegro, and Montenegro
13 being bombed too, then how can you say that they are fleeing from the
14 NATO bombing? How come they are fleeing from NATO bombing to a country
15 that is being bombed too? The second example I gave him is the
16 following: Vojvodina is also being bombed. How come not a single Serb
17 or Hungarian is leaving Vojvodina because of this bombing, they are human
18 beings too and they are scared too. So I gave concrete examples and this
19 example that I gave, of course, agitated him a great deal.
20 Q. In your statement, you referred to a figure of persons who had
21 left and you said you told him that almost 600.000 [Realtime transcript
22 read in error, "6.000"] had left Kosovo. What was the source of this
23 information, this number, that you told Milosevic had left Kosovo?
24 A. Excuse me, I see an error here on the transcript. The transcript
25 says 6.000. The figure should be 600.000. I received this information
1 from press conferences held by NATO in Brussels and from following the
2 developments on the news bulletins. I would listen to the news sometimes
3 in hiding and sometimes with the people dressed in uniforms because they
4 were too interested to hear what NATO spokesmen had to say about the
5 developments. So this was a main source of information. The other
6 source was a small radio that we had, and on the radio, we would listen
7 to the news from different world radio stations.
8 Q. And just very briefly you say in the next paragraph, this is
9 para 58, that at this meeting a joint statement was signed -- a joint
10 press statement was signed between Mr. Milosevic and Dr. Rugova. Do you
11 recall what this statement said, what it was about?
12 A. It was a statement for a press conference, for the press, two or
13 three lines. It contained, this meeting was organised and the outcome,
14 so-called, from this meeting as stated in the letter was that the Kosova
15 problem should be solved with peaceful means. A lot is said about this
16 statement -- actually, the statement was entitled: Information for the
17 press. It was said in this information for the press that there was a
18 meeting between Rugova and Milosevic, and in the following two lines, two
19 sentences, it was said that the situation in Kosova was discussed at this
20 meeting and that the problem of Kosova should be resolved with democratic
21 and peaceful means.
22 Q. Now, moving now to the month -- later on in the month of April
23 you refer in paragraph 62 to 67 to various visits by Nikola Sainovic to
24 Dr. Rugova's house. Can you tell us who was Nikola Sainovic.
25 A. If I'm not mistaken, he was the deputy prime minister of the
1 federal government at the time. He was in charge of the affairs for
2 Kosova and he was main -- one of the main associates of Milosevic for the
3 issue of Kosova at the time. If I'm not mistaken, his official title was
4 deputy prime minister of the federal government or something like that.
5 Q. Now, you told us about the complaints that you raised at the
6 meeting with Milosevic. Did you ever raise similar complaints with
7 Sainovic during these visits to Dr. Rugova's house?
8 A. Yes, all the time, at every possible meeting, contact. We
9 discussed two main topics, one being our concern about what was going on
10 in Kosova and the ethnic cleansing in Kosova; and the second being our
11 repetitive request to be allowed to go abroad, to leave Kosova. So these
12 were the two main topics that we discussed. I will repeat them again.
13 One being our concern about what was going on in Kosova and the ethnic
14 cleansing in Kosova, and the second issue being our release.
15 Q. And what was Mr. Sainovic's reaction when you raised the issue of
16 what was going on in Kosovo and the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo? How did
17 he react to these complaints?
18 A. He mainly tried to blame it on NATO bombing, saying that the
19 people were fleeing because of the NATO air-strikes. In a way, we
20 started to communicate more "socially." We would say to him, How come
21 not a single family, Serb family, is leaving Kosova? And he would just
22 smile and he would add, We are trying to find a solution to this problem.
23 And this was a time when massacres were already committed in Kosova, when
24 hundreds of thousands of people were being deported. So his purpose was
25 to convince us to organise like political life in Kosova, where only
1 Mr. Rugova and myself as his associates were. There was no other
2 associate of Mr. Rugova, no other activist there. It was only the two of
3 us under house arrest in his house. So his aim was to find a solution.
4 He didn't care much about our concerns, about people leaving Kosova, and
5 about what was going on at the time.
6 Q. And in your interactions with him, did you get the impression
7 that he was well-informed of the situation on the ground or not?
8 A. He was absolutely well-informed, and, furthermore, he was
9 responsible for what was going on and he ordered many of those things
10 that were committed there and that were going on at the time.
11 Q. And why do you say he was responsible for what was going on?
12 A. From the meetings we had with him and from the meetings attended
13 by Andjelkovic and Milutinovic and other people from the police, you
14 could tell that he had authority, that he was the finger pointing at what
15 had to be done. So from the atmosphere prevailing on those meetings with
16 him, you could see that he had power, he had authorities. President at
17 the time in Serbia
18 orchestrating everything.
19 Even at the meeting with Milosevic, when we asked him, like, You
20 as a president, can you release us today? And he, Milosevic, would just
21 look at Sainovic. From a statement by Mr. Walker, Sainovic is alleged to
22 be behind the massacre in Racek, behind the events in Racek.
23 Q. Yes, and I believe you described that also in your written
25 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honours, I'm going to move on to a different
1 topic. I don't know if we want to break now and resume five minutes
3 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at five minutes to 11.00.
4 MS. KRAVETZ: Okay. Thank you.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.26 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 10.59 a.m.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Ms. Kravetz.
8 MS. KRAVETZ: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. Mr. Merovci, I want to move now to a meeting that took place on
10 the 16th of April, 1999, in Belgrade
11 Mr. Milutinovic, Sainovic, Dr. Rugova, and yourself, and this is
12 described at paragraph 68 of your statement. You described this in quite
13 some detail in your written evidence, so I don't want to go into the
14 details of what occurred at the meeting. I just wanted to ask you: Was
15 Dr. Rugova's and your attendance at this meeting voluntary? Did you feel
16 you had a choice of whether to go to this meeting on the 16th of April,
18 A. As I have described in my statement and testified earlier, after
19 the first meeting with Milosevic we became a sort of hostage and under
20 house arrest; and the activity that they people tried to organise and
21 pass as political meeting was against our wish and readiness, but every
22 time we stated that we are not part of the decision-making to meet them.
23 So each time they asked us to meet we said, We are not part of the
24 decision-making, because normally it takes two to make a decision on a
25 meeting. But the situation being what it was, we were subject to various
1 kind of situations. We were kind of faced with a fait accompli. The car
2 was waiting downstairs for us, and we were taken to this meeting. So all
3 these meetings, as I said, were not voluntary. We were kind of forced to
4 attend them.
5 Q. And you say here in your statement that journalists were present
6 to photograph and film everything. Based on what you were able to
7 observe from this meeting on the 1st of April and the second meeting on
8 the 16th of April which took place in Belgrade, did you get the
9 impression that the Serb leadership was seriously engaged in trying to
10 reach a peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis?
11 A. I think that this was more a sort of show-up, a media cover-up of
12 the real situation. I think that the protagonist realised that the
13 problem was between the Serb regime and the NATO-imposed conditions. We
14 had already declared at various meetings that the only solution is the
15 fulfilment of the five well-known points posed by NATO which were often
16 repeated during the press conferences of NATO headquarters. So they were
17 also clear that nothing would come out of such meetings, but they simply
18 wanted to attain two things:
19 One, to gain time and hoping that NATO could hold its
20 air-strikes; and secondly, they were deliberately done to discredit
21 Dr. Rugova in the face of the situation, as a man being manipulated, as a
22 man who was unworthy to represent their demands. It was double-edged, I
23 would say, struggle, first to gain time with the international community,
24 and if that was not the case, then to discredit Mr. Rugova in the eyes of
25 the -- his own people as a man in this case who was being manipulated.
1 Q. In paragraph 72, you speak about another meeting which took place
2 in April, on the 28th of April, 1999, and this was a meeting that you and
3 Dr. Rugova attended, and you met with President Milutinovic, Sainovic,
4 Markovic, and Andjelkovic.
5 And you say in this paragraph that you told Milutinovic that
6 people were being forced out of their homes and that your own flat had
7 been destroyed and that the MUP had done it. What was the source of your
8 information that the MUP had destroyed your flat?
9 A. During this meeting that took place where they were located with
10 those persons you mentioned being present, among many things we expressed
11 the concern over what was happening in Kosova, demolition of the houses,
12 the expulsion of the people and so on, giving various examples to them.
13 At this time, the police started to take me out around the city
14 for people to see that everything was okay with me, to make believe that
15 everything was okay. So this -- the source of this information was my
16 own personal experience. And second, I went to visit my flat. I had
17 already closed that flat, and I was assured that nothing would happen to
18 it. So when I went there to visit my flat, escorted by the police, I saw
19 that it was destroyed. They too saw it. And I understood that it was
20 demolished and then looted by other groups. This -- we understood this
21 from a neighbour who, when she saw me, she came out in the street, an old
22 woman, and she said to me that masked police were here with their dogs,
23 dogs they, you know, use in their work. And I asked her whether she knew
24 and who they were, and she repeated twice, They were uniformed and masked
25 police with dogs who came to your apartment.
1 Q. And when you say that the police had taken you out, were
2 escorting you and taking you out around the city, did this happen before
3 this meeting of the 28th of April, 1999, or when approximately did this
4 occur that you went to visit your flat?
5 A. Yes, this occurred sometime after the 1st of May, maybe one week
6 after the 1st of May, maybe it was the 7th or 8th -- sorry, after the
7 1st of April. It must have been the 7th or the 8th of April, whereas the
8 meeting took place three weeks later. During this time, escorted by the
9 police, I was taken to various places -- I visited several places in
11 Q. Was a document signed at this meeting between
12 President Milutinovic and Dr. Rugova, this meeting of the 28th of April
13 I'm speaking about?
14 A. As far as I know, during the time I was present, nothing was
15 signed. After the end of the meeting I left and -- left the office and
16 in the hallway there was a group of reporters and journalists. From what
17 I understood later, also after hearing what the late President Rugova
18 said, then I understood that they had signed a sort of document like a
19 press release. But this happened after I left the meeting place, when I
20 was talking about to the journalists and I was waiting for Mr. Rugova and
21 Mr. Milutinovic and Mr. Sainovic to leave their office. During this
22 interim period probably they had signed this letter that you are talking
24 MS. KRAVETZ: Could we have Exhibit 00416 up on the screen.
25 Q. Have you had a chance -- while that's being brought up, I just
1 wanted to ask you: Have you had a chance to see this document which was
2 signed since -- yes. I'm sorry --
3 A. I had a chance --
4 Q. Just one moment.
5 MS. KRAVETZ: I'm calling Exhibit 0 -- 65 ter 00416, if we could
6 have that up on the screen.
7 Q. Mr. Merovci, I was asking if you had had the opportunity to see
8 this document since 1999?
9 A. I saw this document during the time that the late
10 President Rugova testified, as I'm seeing it now, because there was a
11 live relay of the proceedings and it was in 2001 I think when he
12 testified here. And it was then that I saw it and then I understood that
13 it was a document that was signed at the time I spoke earlier, when I
14 left the office. But it was not signed during the time I was present at
15 this meeting, and I didn't know anything then about it.
16 Q. Do you recognise Dr. Rugova's signature on the document?
17 A. Yes, I do. And from what I see it is his -- similar to his
18 signature, but I cannot corroborate that it is exactly his -- it is
19 really his signature.
20 Q. You said that you -- you didn't witness the signing of this
21 document but that you understood later that a document was signed between
22 these two persons, Milutinovic and Rugova. What did you understand was
23 the purpose of signing this document that we have up on the screen, this
24 joint statement?
25 A. The way I understand it is that this document, this joint
1 statement, was prepared to give the impression that this was to manage
2 the emergency situation and to show that the Serb regime is cooperative
3 with the person that represents the majority in Kosova. But as I said
4 earlier, the purpose for signing such a document was to convince the
5 international community that something is happening in Kosova, something
6 that is called political cooperation, that politics can play a role as it
7 was with the sole purpose being the stopping of the air-strikes.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MS. KRAVETZ: I seek to tender this document. It's 65 ter 00416.
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00418, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
13 MS. KRAVETZ:
14 Q. Mr. Merovci, I just have very few questions left with regard to
15 your statement. If we can look at paragraph 76 of the statement you
16 refer to different tactics used by the MUP of propaganda so Albanians
17 would leave Kosovo. And you say that:
18 "In some instances ... they ... distributed pamphlets with UCK
19 insignia and allegedly signed by Dr. Rugova directed to Albanians ..."
20 Did you have the opportunity to see any of these pamphlets that
21 were distributed?
22 A. I didn't see them in the act of distributing them, but I saw them
23 in the hallway before the entrance to my flat. I saw such a pamphlet. I
24 took it -- took a copy of it and saw that it was mere propaganda, both in
25 terms of its content and the way it was formulated, general layout of the
2 It contained many errors, and there was a discrepancy between
3 what it said and the insignia and the person who had signed it. On top
4 there was a KLA insignia and then signed below it was signed by
5 Mr. Rugova, when - as you well know - Mr. Rugova led the LDK and the
6 Kosovo Liberation Army was led by other people. This shows that it was a
7 way to strike fear and panic among the population because that -- the
8 text was full of mistakes in Albanian, which show that it was not done by
9 professionals and that the goal was, as I said, to strike panic among the
10 population, to realise their aim of ethnic cleansing.
11 Q. And at the time did Mr. Rugova have any sort of contact with the
13 A. No, he did not.
14 MS. KRAVETZ: Could we have 65 ter 00839 up on the screen.
15 Q. Do you recognise the document that is up on the screen?
16 A. Yes. This is the document we spoke about and this is what I saw
17 then and which was thrown in front of my door with a KLA insignia --
18 Q. If you could just --
19 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Djurdjic.
20 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't have on my
21 screen this document in Serbian and it seems to me - and if I may ask my
22 assistant to help --
23 JUDGE PARKER: It has just come up now.
24 MS. KRAVETZ: If I may be of assistance, the second page of this
25 document is in Serbian. They have been uploaded as one exhibit.
1 MR. DJURDJIC: I have no in Serbian -- oh, yes, this. Thank you.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on, please, Ms. Kravetz.
3 MS. KRAVETZ: If the witness could please have the original
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic.
6 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we can see that the
7 document in the original - could we please look at the original - it is
8 written in the Roman script on red paper -- well, that's not the problem.
9 However, this document is a handwritten document, it's written in
10 the Cyrillic script, and I'm not sure at all if this document -- I don't
11 know who wrote it in this manner because this is not the original. I'm
12 unable to tell what the original is. If this is the original, then I
13 can't be reading the original in the Serbian language and in the Cyrillic
14 script. And you can see the insignia of the Kosovo Liberation Army, the
15 UCK. Could the Judges please see what I'm looking at as the translated
17 JUDGE PARKER: We have three forms of it here.
18 Ms. Kravetz, can you explore the issue?
19 MS. KRAVETZ: I can, Your Honour. What I can also propose to do
20 is -- this exhibit has been uploaded, what we see as the red sheet and
21 the Cyrillic, as one document. What I'm asking about is the original in
22 the red document. I can also show the other one to the witness, but what
23 I'm seeking to tender into evidence is the red document. So we can also
24 just remove the handwritten document if it is -- satisfies my learned
25 colleague. It is the same document, just three versions.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Well, it may have the same contents, but it's
2 three totally different documents.
3 MS. KRAVETZ: Yes, one of them is the English translation. I can
4 ask the witness about them.
5 Q. So, Witness, if you could see the document that's up on the
6 screen, and I don't know how it's being displayed on your screen. I'm
7 speaking about a red document. Have you seen this document before? Are
8 you familiar with this document? And if yes, can you tell us what it is.
9 A. Yes. It is the same document in contents. Its contents are the
10 same. It is written in Cyrillic letters and the left form is in Albanian
11 with a KLA insignia, but it has many mistakes. The pamphlet that I saw,
12 and which I'm saying here that I saw, it is a document with a KLA
13 insignia. On the right is the English translation, which is word for
14 word the same with the Albanian. The content of the Albanian version is
15 the same with the content of the form written in Cyrillic letters. But
16 as I said earlier, it contains mistakes done only for propaganda
17 purposes, not professionally.
18 MS. KRAVETZ: I don't know, Your Honours, if that adequately
19 covers the crux of the issue raised by my learned colleague.
20 JUDGE PARKER: The witness seems to be saying that no one of
21 these documents are one of the ones that he saw at the time. Do I
22 understand that correctly?
23 MS. KRAVETZ: I will ask him again. That wasn't my
25 Q. Do any of these documents - and I'm just speaking about either
1 the one in Albanian, the red document, or the handwritten one - do either
2 of these look like the document you said you found when you visited your
3 apartment at the time?
4 A. I'm repeating. The document that I saw in front of my door is
5 the red one with the KLA emblem in Albanian. The document in the middle
6 of the screen in Serbian, in Cyrillic letters has the same content. I
7 have seen that too, this piece of paper, but it was not distributed in
8 the streets. The one I saw and which I heard other people having seen is
9 the one on the left side written in Albanian with the KLA emblem and the
10 emblem containing Rugova's alleged signature, name.
11 Q. And did --
12 JUDGE PARKER: I think that clarifies then that there's an
13 identification of the red Albanian document.
14 MS. KRAVETZ: I seem to tender that document into evidence,
15 Your Honour, and ask that it will be received.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Now, Mr. Djurdjic.
17 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I agree to the
18 admission of the first document and the English translation; but I object
19 to the admission of the Serbian translation, and I would like to have
20 this document translated in the Serbian in the same way in which it has
21 been translated into English. Well, I really don't know who translated
22 this into Serbian in handwriting and in Cyrillic. I can't identify it.
23 I can see some markings there the -- of this Tribunal, but I don't think
24 that the Serbian version should be admitted. We want to have a proper
25 translation, but we fully agree with the admission of the Albanian and
1 the English versions.
2 JUDGE PARKER: The red KLA document in Albanian will be admitted
3 with the English translation.
4 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00419, Your Honours.
5 MS. KRAVETZ: That is no problem, Your Honour. We're -- and
6 we'll obtain a CLSS translation in B/C/S for that document.
7 Q. Just one final question, Mr. Merovci, regarding paragraph 75 of
8 your statement. You speak about the period when -- after the NATO
9 bombing began and you say that the VJ and the MUP spread out among
10 vacated Albanian homes and they would put up signs on the doors saying
11 "this is a MUP apartment." Was this something you were able to observe
12 yourself at the time?
13 A. Yes, there were such instances, they were obvious. Some flats
14 contained these signs which said: This is under the protection of the
15 police and MUP. And this prevented the people who usually looted vacant
16 houses from doing so. And this was a way used sometimes also by
17 Albanians who, when forced to leave their apartments or houses, put up
18 such signs in order to protect their houses or apartments from possible
19 looters. So sometimes it was used by -- really by the MUP; sometimes it
20 was as a cover-up to protect them.
21 Q. And what is the source of this information?
22 A. I saw it -- observed it myself during my walks out in the city
23 escorted by the police, which I mentioned earlier; when I went to my own
24 apartment, in the corridor I saw that: This house is under MUP
25 protection. I saw the sign myself. Sometimes I saw a cross and the
1 state emblem. I observed it with my own eyes in my own entrance.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honours, I have no further questions for this
4 witness at this stage.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ms. Kravetz.
6 Mr. Djurdjic, do you have any cross-examination?
7 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Yes, I
9 Cross-examination by Mr. Djurdjic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Merovci. I am
11 Veljko Djurdjic, a member of the Defence team of the accused,
12 Vlastimir Djordjevic. Together with me is a member of our team,
13 Ms. Marie O'Leary, and the lead counsel, Mr. Dragoljub Djordjevic, is
14 away on official business related to the preparation of our case.
15 Mr. Merovci, I found part of your answer to one question to be
16 striking. It is in relation to P418; namely, you said that when you
17 watched Mr. Rugova's testimony before this Tribunal on TV, that that was
18 the first time you saw this document with his signature. I think that
19 that was in 2002, but I don't want to be making a mistake here. At any
20 rate, it was in the Milosevic case. Well, up until then, didn't you talk
21 to Mr. Rugova, didn't you ask him -- I mean on the 28th of April, I think
22 it was, 1999, did you ask him what happened and how was it possible that
23 you did not hear that this document had been signed then, how come you
24 didn't find out through the media?
25 A. What was your question, sir?
1 Q. All right. If you didn't understand it, I'm going to break it up
2 into several questions. Did you see Mr. Rugova from the 28th of April,
3 1999, up until his testimony in The Hague in the Milosevic case?
4 A. I ended my activities relating to Mr. Rugova in the beginning of
5 the year 2000. I returned to my everyday activities and my family, and
6 from that time on, I didn't have meetings with Mr. Rugova of this
7 information character. As I remember it, I think that Mr. Rugova
8 testified here in 2001, so it is a time-period when I left my activities
9 there in Mr. Rugova's office and when I no longer communicated with him
10 on such issues.
11 Q. Thank you. And after you left the office, what were your
12 relations with Mr. Rugova like?
13 A. Excellent relations.
14 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. I am getting the
15 interpretation into Serbian a bit later, so that is -- that is why I do
16 apologise to Your Honours for my own delay because I have to hear what
17 the witness said.
18 Q. Did you state anything about your cooperation with Rugova
19 previously, after the war in 1999?
20 A. A book was published, "Questions and Answers of Journalist." The
21 book was published without protocols. Journalist had drafted 100
22 questions for me, and I provided him with 100 answers; so amongst these
23 questions, there were questions about my ten-year long activity and work
24 with Mr. Rugova.
25 Q. Did this interview lead to any disruption in your relationship
1 and did it lead to and end in your cooperation?
2 A. No, because I withdrew from these activities in late
3 1999/beginning of 2000. So I ended up or rounded up my work there in
4 February or March 2000, and the book was published later on. So this has
5 nothing to do with my withdrawal from the activities in his office. It
6 was after that I ended my work with him that this book was published.
7 Q. All right. That's not why you left the office. Tell me, your
8 relationship with Mr. Rugova, after this was published did you stop all
9 contacts with him, or rather, did your contacts stop or not?
10 A. I had no ambition for politics. After the ten-year long activity
11 with him, I started to withdraw to my private life, private activities.
12 It had nothing to do with our relationship. Mr. Rugova continued with
13 his activity and I continue with my own activities.
14 Q. Mr. Merovci, could you answer my questions, the ones that I'm
15 putting to you so we could save time, so that we don't waste any time. I
16 didn't ask you about your politics or political activity at all. I asked
17 you whether on account of what was published you stopped all contacts
18 with Rugova? It is my question. It has nothing to do with politics, and
19 I haven't been able to get an answer from you for five minutes already.
20 A. I'm still waiting for your question. What is your question? If
21 I understood your question correctly - and, Your Honours, what I
22 understood was whether this book that was published affected our
23 relationship - my answer to that question was that that book was
24 published later on, after I had left the office. I did elaborate on this
25 answer so that you could answer the essence of it. So if you ask me a
1 proper and specific question, I will provide you with a specific answer.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Could I ask you, Mr. Merovci, about the joint
3 statement signed by Dr. Rugova and Milan Milutinovic on the 28th of
4 April, 1999
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The first time I learned of the
6 existence of that document and of that document having been signed was
7 during Mr. Rugova's testimony. In his testimony, this document was also
8 included. I followed his testimony live on television, and that's when I
9 learned that such a document was signed during that interim time when I
10 left the office and I went to see the journalist.
11 It was a matter of minutes. As I dealt with protocol issues, I
12 had to leave the office before the president to see the journalists to
13 inform them more or less. So it was a matter of minutes later that
14 Mr. Rugova, Mr. Milutinovic, and Sainovic came out to see the
15 journalists. So during the testimony of President Rugova, I realised and
16 learned that this document was signed at that meeting.
17 JUDGE PARKER: It seems to be the case then that you were not
18 told of this document by Dr. Rugova in 1999?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We did not comment on the event.
20 This document we are discussing was spoken of at the press conference,
21 was communicated to the public. And that's why I'm saying that I was not
22 aware of such a document being signed. We did not discuss these issues
23 with Mr. Rugova because, as I said earlier, at the time everything in our
24 eyes was just done in formal terms, just like a cover-up. There was a
25 war for life or death; we chose life. And in a way, we did not want to
1 agitate or irritate those people at the time. And this is the reason why
2 Mr. Rugova signed the document and why we did not discuss these issues
3 any further because they had no value, they were empty. We never
4 discussed these activities with Mr. Rugova because in a way they were
5 non-existent in our eyes.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Did you know the content of this document from the
7 press conference?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Considering the topics discussed at
9 the meeting and what was said at the press conference, I realised that
10 this was part of the process of their wish to create an emergency body or
11 organism that would also include Albanians.
12 So knowing this, it did not surprise me what I heard at this
13 press conference, but I will repeat it again. I was not aware of the
14 fact that this document was signed. I was aware of these things being
15 discussed, I was there. I heard them being discussed, but I wasn't aware
16 of the fact that that document was signed. I can openly state here that
17 the reason why this document was not signed while I was still present at
18 the meeting was their knowledge that I would refuse the signing of this
19 document. I will oppose the signing of this document as I had done in
20 the past when it came to press releases on meetings with Milosevic.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
22 Mr. Djurdjic, has that assisted?
23 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I think
24 we have saved a great deal of time, but I still do have a few questions
1 Q. In relation to what you said towards the very end, who did know
2 that you would leave the meeting before the end?
3 A. The meeting was concluded. We stood up. The corridor where the
4 journalists were had two sets of doors leading to it. As a person in
5 charge of protocol issues, I was told that there was a briefing being
6 organised. So I left the office, went outside just to have a gist of the
7 atmosphere created by these journalists. And in the meantime, the
8 meeting concluded, and during that time that I was not present, the
9 document was signed.
10 Q. Thank you. And when you heard at the press conference about the
11 content of your talks and the document, you did not feel it would be
12 right to ask Mr. Rugova, How come this document was signed and why?
13 A. I didn't ask him, no.
14 Q. Thank you. Now, please just answer this question for me. When
15 the interview was published, you and the journalist, that is, did your
16 relationship with Mr. Rugova come to a halt?
17 A. [Previous translation continues]... didn't.
18 Q. Thank you. Mr. Merovci, you gave your first statement, a very
19 long one at that, to an investigator of the Tribunal on the 11th and 12th
20 of May, 1999. Tell me -- first of all, where did the interview take
22 A. [No interpretation]
23 Q. I'm sorry. I heard Villa Palfim --
24 A. That is in Rome
25 It was held at Villa Palfim, it's a well-known villa in that part.
1 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honour, I just -- just for the sake of the
2 transcript, I note that the answer given by the witness at line 18 of the
3 previous page was not properly recorded -- if he should be asked to state
4 the answer again.
5 JUDGE PARKER: I think we have picked up the gist of the answer
6 from what has now followed, but if Mr. Djurdjic wants to follow it up he
8 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Well, I think that he did answer
9 my question and obviously the interpreter did not hear Mr. Merovci, but
10 later on, he explained all of that; so I believe there's no reason to
11 repeat the question and then the answer. That's what I wanted to say.
12 Q. Well, now while we're on the subject, I think that the name of
13 the villa has been misrecorded. What was the name of the villa?
14 A. It's spelled properly, Palfim, that's fine.
15 Q. Whose villa was this? Did you stay at it?
16 A. This was a villa that belonged to the Italian government. As you
17 might well know, the role of mediator for our exit from Kosovo via
19 speaking, the guests of the Italian government.
20 Q. Thank you. Tell me, who came to talk to you? Who were all the
21 people who came to talk to you, and who conducted these talks on the 11th
22 and 12th of May, 1999?
23 A. Investigators from The Hague Tribunal. Should I mention their
24 names? I know their names but I would kindly ask you to give me
25 instructions whether I should mention their names.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Do you want the names, Mr. Djurdjic, for any
3 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Well, Witness, if you do know, please tell us; and if you've
5 forgotten, it's all right.
6 A. If I'm not mistaken, Kevin Curtis is one and Clint Williamson the
8 Q. Thank you. And in what language did you speak?
9 A. English.
10 Q. Oh, so you spoke English. There was no interpretation, no
11 interpretation whatsoever?
12 A. No, there was no need for interpretation. I spoke in English.
13 Just for clarification, they came to talk to me and to Mr. Rugova. In my
14 case, I spoke in English. I did not need an interpreter, and this
15 happened in Rome
16 Q. Thank you. Did I understand you correctly that Mr. Rugova also
17 attended this interview?
18 A. No. I was present when he spoke to them, whereas when they
19 talked to me, it was a separate interview because since they wanted to
20 talk to me and since I speak English, we spoke separately. We were
21 treated as two individual persons.
22 Q. Thank you. Did I understand you correctly that you were then
23 Mr. Rugova's interpreter when he talked to the gentlemen from the
25 A. Initially they were very simple conversations, brief ones; and
1 during this conversation, yes, I acted as Mr. Rugova's interpreter.
2 Then, in the same way they did with me, asking me about things and
3 drafting this statement, the same occurred with -- in the case of
4 Mr. Rugova, but it was a separate interview and in this case he had an
5 interpreter but I was not present. But this happened no longer in Italy
6 In Italy
7 they held their talk with me and that was it. Then we had other
9 Q. Thank you. Tell me, did you sign anything in Rome while you were
10 there, in relation to the talks I mean?
11 A. No, nothing.
12 Q. What about Mr. Rugova?
13 A. No, he did not either.
14 Q. Thank you. It says here that this interview with you in Rome
15 went on for two days, in May that is?
16 A. The first meeting, now we are talking about something that
17 occurred ten years ago, the first was simply a courtesy meeting for us to
18 get acquainted with each other. Then on the next day, they came to
19 interview both of us and then to conduct their investigation. The first
20 time, they came to introduce themselves. It was, as I say, a courtesy
21 talk which lasted very briefly. On the next day, they came again and
22 what -- this that happened happened.
23 Q. Thank you. Do you remember when the second interview took place?
24 A. You think in Rome
25 Q. If it's in Rome
1 A. The next day. That's all as far as Rome is concerned.
2 Q. Thank you. We didn't understand each other correctly. I asked
3 you about the two days and you confirmed it was two days, but now I'm
4 asking you about the next interview or the next round of talks. Was
5 it --
6 A. [Previous translation continues] ... meeting.
7 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
8 A. -- interview as I have already stated in my statement occurred in
9 2000 in Pristina and then in The Hague, here, which lasted longer. It
10 was a longer interview. During that time, I signed the statement and
11 this happened in 2000.
12 Q. Could you tell me how many days you talked to the investigators
13 here in The Hague
14 A. I don't remember exactly. I think it was for two days.
15 Q. Thank you. But you told me that you gave a statement for a long
16 time in The Hague
17 it was long; and the second time again it was two days.
18 A. I think you are asking me to make a comment but you are not
19 putting any questions to me. I am not here to answer to your comment;
20 I'm here to answer to your questions.
21 Q. My question was that you gave interviews for two days every time,
22 but then you said that your interview in The Hague was long. If it's
23 just two days then it's like the other times, it's not any longer.
24 That's my question.
25 A. I don't remember exactly, but I think it lasted for two whole
2 Q. Thank you. Could you tell me whether the interview took place in
3 English on that occasion as well and were the same persons present?
4 A. There were the same persons. It was -- the conversation was in
5 English, but there was an interpreter who was used very rarely, maybe, I
6 would say, once or twice; but he was present, yes. I'm talking about
7 The Hague
8 was this Prishtina interview.
9 Q. Thank you. Was there an interpreter in Pristina?
10 A. Yes, there was an interpreter present, but he was used very
11 little, on very rare occasions, but yes he was present during all the
13 Q. Thank you. Was that Mr. Muhamet Hamiti, if you know him?
14 A. Yes, that's him, in Prishtina.
15 Q. Thank you. Tell me, do you know Lulzim Basha?
16 A. Yes, I do.
17 Q. In what capacity did he attend the interview?
18 A. He was in The Hague
19 The Hague
20 Q. I'm sorry, but was he your escort and is this why he attended the
21 interview, or did he attend it in some other capacity?
22 A. In the capacity of an interpreter, simply as an interpreter.
23 Q. Thank you. But he is not listed as an interpreter in the
24 statement. Mr. Merovci, am I right, and you did confirm that, that it
25 was only on the 13th of April, or rather, the 12th of April, 2000
1 you signed the statement?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. That statement was in the English language, the one that you
5 A. Yes, it was in English. I read it, I understood it, and then I
6 signed it.
7 Q. Thank you. Was it interpreted or translated into Albanian for
8 your benefit?
9 A. They offered this possibility to me, but I responded that I
10 didn't see the point because I didn't need it. Then it was translated
11 into Serbian, but I did not ask them to translate it into Albanian, even
12 though they asked me whether I wanted it into Albanian; but I responded
13 that it was clear to me and that I was in a position to sign it in
15 Q. Thank you. Did you receive a copy of the statement?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. Do you agree that this statement that you gave
18 reflects your recollection of the time-period that you testified about?
19 A. Yes, I do.
20 Q. Thank you. I have to apologise for this, but I want to know, I
21 know that you're married. Do you have children?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Do I have to answer this question,
23 Your Honour?
24 JUDGE PARKER: Is there some particular reason, Mr. Djurdjic?
25 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, otherwise I
1 wouldn't be asking it.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Well, it's a reason that at the moment entirely
3 escapes me. Has it got something to do with the issues in this case?
4 Would you mind giving an answer, please, Mr. Merovci.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I'm not mistaken, it is also in
6 my statement. Yes, I do have two girls and two boys.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
8 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. I'm sorry. I didn't notice that, but I would like to ask you
10 where your children were on the 24th of March, 1999.
11 A. They were with me in my flat in Prishtina on the 24th of March.
12 Q. Thank you. Were they with you all the time in Serbia until your
13 departure for Rome
14 A. No, they were not with me all the time. They went to Skopje
16 Q. Would you please tell me when they left for Skopje and how?
17 A. On the day when the police and the army broke into Rugova's house
18 on the 24th of March, there was only my --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Correction.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 31st of March, it was myself and my
21 spouse. Then I told them that my children are not here, and then I went,
22 escorted, to fetch my children from my brother's home where they were
23 staying. And again, with police escort, we returned to Rugova's home and
24 we spent that night there. On the day when together with Mr. Rugova we
25 went to Belgrade
1 my brother and his family, left for the border. And the road to Skopje
2 lasted three days. From that time, I didn't meet them until we were
3 allowed to meet us in Rome
4 wife and my children.
5 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Thank you. Mr. Merovci, in 1981, did you graduate from the
7 electrical engineering faculty or were you still a student?
8 A. Yes, I was graduated in 1981 from the electrical engineering
10 Q. Did you graduate before the student demonstrations or after?
11 A. I graduated in October 1981, which is the period after the
13 Q. Thank you. As a student, did you take part in demonstrations in
15 A. I was not an active demonstrator, but I supported them.
16 Q. Thank you. And what kind of activities did those demonstrations
17 involve, the demonstrations that you did not participate in?
18 A. Mainly the demonstrations first started to be staged to protest
19 against the bad conditions of accommodation and food, but then they were
20 transformed into politically motivated demonstrations, asking for the
21 political status of Kosova for turning Kosova into a republic in the
22 context of the former Yugoslavia
23 Q. Could you please tell us what month was that, the demonstrations
24 in 1981?
25 A. They occurred in March.
1 Q. Thank you. And could you please tell us that how come the
2 demonstrations that were initially motivated by student demands for a
3 better standard of living into -- turned into something that was
4 politically motivated?
5 A. As a pretext, the issue for better standards of living was a
6 pretext. The way they were staged and organised was shown even later
7 during the -- the student demonstrations might be described as the first
8 democratic movement because initially they expressed their revolt in
9 democratic ways, then they articulated their political demands which were
10 supported by the absolute majority of the population.
11 Q. Thank you. Can you tell me, at that time who was the prime
12 minister, that's the chairman of the Executive Council, as it was styled
13 in those days? I'm talking about the autonomous province of Kosovo
15 A. I don't remember accurately. I know who the chairman of the
16 committee was, who was the late Mahmut Bakalli, but frankly speaking I do
17 not recall who the chairman of the Executive Council was, as it was
18 called at that time, of Kosova.
19 Q. Thank you. Let clear this up. You agree with me that
20 Mr. Bakalli was the president of the -- or the chairman of the League of
21 Communists of Serbia
22 A. The chairman of the committee of the communist party of Kosova,
23 because Kosova had separate party committee.
24 Q. Thank you. But the party was called the League of Communists of
1 Vojvodina; that was the League of Communists of the province of Vojvodina
2 and the League of Communists of the province of Kosovo
3 members of the League of Communists of Serbia and the League of
4 Communists of Serbia
6 A. No, it's not correct. There were the committees of the communist
7 party for six republics and for two autonomous provinces, so six plus two
8 they were equal components of the committee of the communist party of the
9 former Yugoslavia
10 equals -- equal.
11 Q. Thank you. You mean to say that Mahmut Bakalli, who was
12 succeeded by - I'll remember the name - Azem Vllasi, that they were not
13 members of the central committee of the League of Communists of Serbia ex
15 A. With their functions they were, but they were also represented
16 directly in the central committee of the communist party of the former
18 decision in the central committee of the communist party of the former
20 the representative of Kosova.
21 Q. Mr. Merovci, were you a member of the League of Communists?
22 A. No, I was not.
23 Q. Thank you. And when you got a job, it was not a requirement --
24 that was not a requirement, membership in the League of Communists; am I
1 A. It was not a necessary requirement, but from the moment I was
2 admitted to work and I was informed that I was accepted, my employment
3 lasted only two months because of the moral, political suitability
4 required to get employed. So the moral, political suitability was a
5 requirement, and this suitability was provided for in writing by the
6 committee and the police service.
7 Q. Well, can I then conclude that while you worked in a social --
8 for a social service, that you were not a member of the League of
10 A. I was never a member of the communist league.
11 Q. Thank you. And how did you contribute to the demonstrations, the
12 student demonstrations, in 1981, and how did you support them?
13 A. When the mass demonstrations were organised, I was in their group
14 but I was not an active participant in the sense of organising or leading
15 them, one; and second, to support the demonstrations at that time meant
16 to be loyal to their demands, and this is why I say that I supported
18 Q. Thank you. I just want to know whether you participated in the
19 demonstrations, I'm talking about the demonstrations in the streets, or
21 A. Yes, I was one of 20.000 other participants.
22 Q. Thank you. Please tell me, who led the demonstrations, who were
23 the leaders, in particular when the demands turned political, do you know
24 that or not?
25 A. There was a group of persons and the names are known for that
1 time, and then they were persecuted and imprisoned. The names of these
2 persons are known, Hidajet Hysini, Ali Lajci, Bajram Kosumi,
3 Skender Kastrati, and many other names which are well-known.
4 Q. Can you tell me of the prominent leaders, did anyone became
5 member of the Democratic League of Kosovo at a later date?
6 A. Yes. At the time of the founding of the party, some of them were
7 in prison, and they were released. Once they were released, all of them
8 joined the LDK.
9 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell me whether the demonstrations
10 turned violent after a while.
11 A. The demonstrations start in a peaceful way. They had their
12 demands and pamphlets, but the demonstrations were brutally prevented by
13 the police, and there were some, of course, responses by the organisers
14 but not uncontrolled responses; but they were suppressed by violence,
15 some were killed, some were arrested, some were beaten up.
16 Q. Thank you. And could you please tell me, who headed the
17 provincial MUP, if you know, the MUP of the province of Kosovo
19 A. I don't know for sure. If I'm not mistaken, maybe it was
20 Mehmet Malihi [phoen], but I'm not sure.
21 Q. Thank you. And do you know who was the head of the Pristina SUP
22 at that time?
23 A. No, I don't remember because these were structures and people
24 that we didn't know about. It was a rather complicated system I would
25 say. At this moment I cannot give you an answer who they were. So my
1 answer would be: No, I don't know.
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Merovci. Please, just let me know if you don't
3 know something. But am I right if I say - and I think this is something
4 that you, yourself, have said - that a political demand was made phrased
5 as Kosovo Republic
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Thank you. Am I right when I say that at the time the 1974
8 Constitution was in force?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Thank you. In March 1981, I think that Josip Broz Tito was still
12 A. Yes, that's true.
13 Q. Thank you. So why were the students unhappy with the
14 1974 Constitution; do you know that?
15 A. Because Kosova was the most undeveloped territory. Kosova did
16 not enjoy 100 percent the rights provided for in the constitution of 1974
17 and also because the only guarantee for their -- fulfilment of their
18 natural and legal rights depended on their participation in the Yugoslav
19 Federation and treatment as an equal people, also due to the fact that
20 Albanians in terms of numbers came third in the Yugoslav Federation. And
21 that being the case, they were not treated equally in this Federation.
22 Q. Thank you. Do you think that the number of the members of an
23 ethnic community affects its political status in a state?
24 A. I know the other thing, that 5 percent cannot dominate
25 95 percent. The others I don't know because I am not a specialist in
1 this field.
2 Q. Mr. Merovci, you are a member of a political party, and you're
3 terrifying here about political issues. In order to be active in
4 politics -- well, the professional doesn't matter because there are many
5 doctors, teachers, and so on among the politicians; and I see throughout
6 your testimony you have been giving political views and that's why I
7 asked you this question, whether the percentage of an ethnic -- that an
8 ethnic community has in a territory affects the political status of that
9 territory or may lead to some demands. Because you, yourself, told me
10 this 95 versus 5 percent. I didn't bring that up.
11 A. And my answer is the following: As I said, I am not a specialist
12 to elaborate on it, but I do know that 5 percent cannot rule over 90
13 percent. By this I want to say that the question of an ethnic population
14 in a territory determines the status and the future of that population
15 and the institutional arrangement. I'm talking of an ethnic population.
16 Q. Thank you. And you want to say that this is the principle that
17 is acceptable in international political relations?
18 A. I'm saying what I am saying. I am not saying what you are
19 paraphrasing. This is not a question.
20 Your Honour, these questions are throwing me off balance. These
21 are not questions directly posed to me. If the Defence counsel is
22 putting this or that to me, then I'm losing my bearings here.
23 So please ask me direct questions, and I can give you direct
25 JUDGE PARKER: It is a fair comment, Mr. Djurdjic, that a lot of
1 your questioning is obscure, and you tend to change the content of it
2 between your question and the comment that you make about it after there
3 is an attempt to answer it; so that you are properly, I believe, asked to
4 be more direct and clear in your questions.
5 The Chamber would also add, Mr. Djurdjic, that because of
6 paragraph 4 of the statement of the witness we have been silent and
7 allowed you to spend a very considerable time on the circumstances of
8 1981, but I am sure you will realise that they will have no bearing
9 whatever on the decision this Chamber makes about the charges that are
10 alleged to have occurred in 1999. And, therefore, we would ask you to
11 bear in mind that it is the indictment which will govern the importance
12 of these issues when we come to a decision.
13 We will adjourn now for the second break, which will allow you an
14 opportunity to collect your thoughts. The witness must finish today and
15 we would ask that you be very clear and directed in your questions; and
16 that if you deal with any issue, that it is an issue that you see as
17 important to your case about the charges in the indictment.
18 And we resume at five minutes to 1.00.
19 --- Recess taken at 12.28 p.m.
20 [The witness stands down]
21 --- On resuming at 12.57 p.m.
22 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I address you,
23 please, before the witness comes back?
24 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djurdjic.
25 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] You reprimanded me because of the
1 way I was putting questions in relation to political issues. I do have
2 to ask him about that if I'm right. The OTP said that the witness would
3 be testifying --
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters cannot catch the numbers of
5 the paragraphs at this pace.
6 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] -- so this is historical and
7 political context of the indictment. It is only paragraph 72(g) that is
8 persecution, expulsion from Pristina during the course of the war. His
9 statement, or rather, two-thirds of his statement pertain to historical
10 and political context. I cannot ask him other matters except what
11 politics is, or rather, what their political demands were, what they
12 consisted of, et cetera; and you do see what kind of problems I'm up
13 against. He doesn't want to respond to my questions, otherwise we would
14 be moving much faster. I think that, Your Honours, you have seen today
15 how long the answers given by the witness to your questions went on, and
16 could have been dealt with very quickly. If you thinks that he is not a
17 witness in terms of historical and political context, we'll be done very
18 quickly. I just have a few things to ask him about paragraph 72(g).
19 There is something else I would like to note. Today for all of
20 two hours the Prosecutor questioned this witness who gave two lengthy
21 statements to investigators and they were admitted into evidence. Thank
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic, it was paragraph 4 of the witness
24 statement, Exhibit P416, which gave any possible relevance to events at
25 student demonstrations in 1981. For that reason, we allowed you to
1 question, but your questioning went on and on about aspects of that
2 issue. It took -- it didn't time it, but it took something like 25 or 30
3 minutes dealing with that issue. If it could have any relevance as
4 background, it was not worth more than five minutes of your time or ours.
5 It is true the witness is not brief in his answers; we both appreciate
6 that. To have any chance of getting answers that are to the point, you
7 will need to ask a question that is short and clear, and then we can see
8 how he performs in answering that.
9 Perhaps with those words of encouragement we will see how we go
10 in the next session.
11 If the witness could be brought in.
12 [The witness takes the stand]
13 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djurdjic.
14 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. Witness, what does the political demand Kosovo Republic
16 A. It was a political request that the status of Kosova, which
17 according to the constitution of 1974, defined Kosova as a constitutional
18 element and part of the federal Yugoslavia
19 request Kosova -- there was a demand for Kosova to have an equal status
20 with the remaining six republics within the former Yugoslavia.
21 Q. Thank you. According to the constitution, what was the
22 difference between the -- between a republic and an autonomous province,
23 according to the 1974 Constitution?
24 A. To what I know and remember, although I'm not an expert in this
25 field, the constitution of 1974 defined the two autonomous provinces as
1 part of Serbia
2 So I'm not saying this with professional responsibility. I'm not
3 a lawyer. I'm not an expert in this field in constitution, but to what I
4 know and remember, according to the constitution, the two provinces were
5 part of Serbia
6 included all the institutions, the police system, the institutions, they
7 all had their representation in the Federation.
8 Q. Witness, will you agree with me that according to the 1974
9 Constitution the republics were states and the autonomous provinces were
10 not states, and that because of that, this demand was put forth: Kosovo
11 Republic, so that Kosovo would get statehood, Kosovo and Metohija I mean?
12 A. No, this I don't know.
13 Q. Why did you come out with this demand then: Kosovo Republic
14 A. I already said this earlier. A status of a republic was a
15 guarantee for the realisation about collective or majority rights. As I
16 said, we had in terms of the number of population the third place.
17 Montenegro Republic
18 republic; but the Kosovan population didn't, although they were third as
19 in terms of the number of the population.
20 Q. Thank you. Will you agree with me that this demand was the first
21 act of separatism in Kosovo and Metohija?
22 A. No, I don't agree with you in any way. I understand separatism
23 to be separation from a state, and we didn't want to separate from
25 Q. Thank you. The Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia was not a state
1 in your mind at that time?
2 A. This I didn't say.
3 Q. If it was a state with two autonomous provinces, that means that
4 the state was a sovereign one and the demand to have Kosovo become a
5 republic meant that you would secede from Serbia and Kosovo and Metohija
6 would be a separate state.
7 A. Your Honours, I wouldn't like to be forced to elaborate on this,
8 but I will do my best to provide the counsel with an answer.
9 The issue of the demands of people, it's a legitimate right of a
10 nation or a people. So my people went forth with the legitimate right to
11 request their rights. The demonstrations that we described were
12 suppressed violently. The request was legitimate. It was initiated by
13 the students, but it embraced the whole people living in Kosova, in terms
14 of their request for Kosova to have an equal status with other republics
15 of the former Yugoslavia
16 In the legislative sense Kosova was part of Serbia but also
17 constitutional part of Yugoslavia
18 this legitimate request, demand. It is a legitimate right of every
19 people in the world to ask for this right in a peaceful manner.
20 Q. Through which political structures did you articulate your
21 demands and activities?
22 A. Initially it was a demand of the students and of the people, but
23 subsequently the period of repression and violence against Albanians
24 followed and it continued systemically until the amendments to the
25 constitution. Later on, we have the foundation of political parties that
1 articulated this demand in a legitimate manner. However, even prior to
2 this period, there were bodies that worked in clandestine manner to
3 articulate these demands. Because at that time, that was a one-party
4 system that refused any multi-party system or ...
5 Q. Witness, in 1981 [as interpreted] to who were these political
6 demands of the students addressed and how?
7 A. I thought you were referring to 1981. You're saying 1971. I see
8 on the screen that it is 1981. Are you referring, indeed, to 1981
9 because you keep saying 1971?
10 Q. [Microphone not activated]
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
12 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. I do apologise if there was a mistake, but it was 1981. That's
14 what I meant.
15 A. The demands were addressed to the system at the time, to the
16 public opinion, and through the media to the international community;
17 that in this one-party system, there is a people that is requesting a
18 status different that it has, and that's why these demonstrations were
19 suppressed violently.
20 Q. Thank you. In the provincial Assembly of Kosovo and Metohija,
21 were more than 80 percent of the members Albanian in 1981?
22 A. I don't know the exact percentage. Maybe it is the approximate
23 percentage, the one that you gave, but -- however, it's not the exact
25 Q. Thank you. I wasn't asking for a precise percentage anyway. Was
1 there an Albanian majority in all structures in 1981?
2 A. Mainly, yes.
3 Q. Thank you. After these demonstrations, did the Presidency of the
4 SFRY decide to have certain measures taken in Kosovo and Metohija?
5 A. The decisions were made at a higher level, both at a level of
7 Q. Thank you. At that time, the Presidency of the SFRY and the
8 president was Raif Dizdarevic at the time, did it make a decision to send
9 units to Pristina in order to establish the peace?
10 A. Emergency situation was installed in Kosova at the time.
11 Q. Yes, on the basis of a decision taken by the Presidency of the
12 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that was headed by
13 Raif Dizdarevic?
14 A. But Yugoslavia
15 decisions. The decision was made at a level of the Presidency to impose
16 this extraordinary or emergency state in Kosova.
17 Q. Thank you. That's what I said. The Presidency headed by the
18 mentioned gentleman, and the Presidency was a collective organ. On the
19 basis of this decision, did the federal secretariat for the interior
20 establish a staff in Pristina, do you know?
21 A. This I don't know. What I know is that everything was done
22 against the free will of the Albanian majority in Kosova, but I have no
23 knowledge about what you're asking me, about this headquarters or staff.
24 Q. Thank you. And was there a representative of Kosovo and Metohija
25 on the Presidency of the SFRY too?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Thank you. Do you know who was the member of the Presidency of
3 the SFRY from Kosovo at the time?
4 A. If I'm not mistaken, it was Riza Sapundxhiu.
5 Q. Thank you. Is Mr. Sapundxhiu an ethnic Albanian?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Thank you. Tell me, these rights according to the constitution
8 of 1974, these political rights, did they exist also on the basis of the
9 constitution from 1963?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Thank you. Does the constitution change through the will of a
12 political majority in any state in the world?
13 A. You may ask this question of the renown legal institutions. I
14 think this is a scientific question. I don't have an answer to that.
15 Q. Mr. Witness, I would never have put these questions to you had
16 you not dealt with political issues in your own statement, inter alia,
17 you gave your own assessments on the way the constitution was changed, on
18 some political relations involved, and so on and so forth. So I'm asking
19 you about what it was you said in your statement. If you did not
20 actually say that, if you're not an expert, please so and I am not going
21 to question you about any of this at all. I'm insisting on this because
22 two-thirds of your statement are basically political and legal subject
23 matter, and you were speaking of a violent change of the constitution and
24 the way amendments were made, so please don't be cross with me. If you
25 could just give brief, succinct answers to me and the Trial Chamber, that
1 is, and then we will be done soon. If you do not wish to give answers to
2 me, I can only agree to that as well.
3 Let me put a question to you now. The parts of your statement
4 that have to do with political arguments, are they correct and are they
5 based on your political knowledge or not?
6 A. Whatever I stated in my statement are accurate, but your question
7 was: Can the constitution of a country be amended as a result of the
8 will of the majority population of that country? That is a rather
9 specific question. I can, of course, make a comment on that, but I
10 cannot give a legal -- a specialised answer, because, as I said, the
11 question is a specific one, whereas I have given the statement on general
12 terms about the movement and the constitutional amendments. If you want
13 my opinion, my general opinion, as a lay person I can -- because your
14 question would even put even the professionals in a difficult position.
15 I cannot answer with a yes or no to the question whether the constitution
16 can be changed as a result of the political majority. What is this
17 political majority you're asking me about? This is how I see it. In
18 order to amend a constitution a peaceful way, this can be done at the
19 initiative of a majority, the absolute majority, as the case is with the
20 Albanians of Kosova. This is how they base their demands, as a majority
22 Q. Witness, you said to me just now that according to the 1963
23 Constitution the Albanians did not have the right that they were given by
24 the 1974 Constitution. Would you agree with me that in 1974 the
25 political majority decided to pass a new constitution and that you get
1 the rights that you were given by that constitution?
2 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness be asked to wait for the
3 translation, Your Honours, because we can't catch up.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First you have to explain to me
5 what you mean by a political majority. The constitution that was in
6 force was amended in 1974. We should not forget the fact that
7 demonstrates -- the demonstrations were staged also in 1968, which were
8 not the focus of my testimony.
9 You are asking me about 1963, and I'm still answering you that
10 even in 1963 students organised demonstrations as a result of which
11 constitutional amendments came about, and we had the university in the
12 Albanian language, the right to use the Albanian flag, and so on. After
13 1974, in 1981, the majority of the population rose to ask for republic.
14 To put it briefly my answer is: Yes, a majority has the right to demand
15 the amendment of the constitution.
16 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Thank you. But you said to me just now that changes were
18 introduced by political means, first of all through the amendments in and
19 also the demonstrations were in 1997 and then there were constitutional
20 amendments. And then in a constitutional, legal, way the constitution of
21 1974 was passed; isn't that right?
22 A. Are you asking me about the constitution of 1998?
23 Q. No, not 1998. I'm talking about the 1974 constitution. First
24 there was the constitution of 1963; then the constitutional amendments in
25 1968; and then in 1972, they had nothing to do with Kosovo; then in 1974
1 a new constitution was adopted and thereby rights were given to Kosovo
2 and Metohija that were not there on the basis of the 1963 constitution?
3 A. That's correct. That's correct.
4 Q. Thank you. The amendments that were made in 1979, was that the
5 right way to change a constitution, was that proper?
6 A. I think you are confusing the years, the terms. Now you are
7 saying 1979. Which constitution are you talking about? If you mean the
8 1974 Constitution or you mean the 1989 Constitution? I don't get it.
9 Q. I do apologise. I meant the constitutional amendments of 1989.
10 We're done with 1974 and the previous period.
11 A. The amendments of 1989 were more specific. It was a state of
12 emergency then. The constitutional amendments were brought about as a
13 result of the police and army presence in Kosova. As you might well
14 know, before these constitutional amendments, a public debate was
15 organised on the constitution. Such a political debate on political
16 amendments organised in various organisations, associations, in the place
17 where I worked, they were discussed because at that time it was a
18 socialist league that led the discussion, the communist party and all its
20 As a result of all these debates, the people, the society,
21 realised that they couldn't approve such amendments that were proposed by
23 Assembly, they were approved, but never did they count the Members of
24 Parliament who voted. Because some people who didn't have the right to
25 vote voted in order to approve such amendments.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic, could I point out that in about ten
2 minutes from now we'll have to bring your cross-examination to an end to
3 allow re-examination by Ms. Kravetz. So if you could be aware of the
5 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, but then I
6 have a lot less time than Ms. Kravetz had for her direct examination.
7 She had all of two hours for her direct examination of the witness. If
8 we're in a hurry, then well -- I can stop even now if you wish.
9 JUDGE PARKER: You deal with the matters that you think are
10 important to your Defence; that's what we want you to do, but we want to
11 have some consciousness of time. Thank you.
12 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, but the
13 witness today expanded the allegations or the testimony that he gave in
14 Milutinovic and in his statement to such an extent, and I don't think
15 that some issues were discussed in a proper way at all in Milosevic trial
16 and other venues.
17 Q. But anyway, Witness, do you agree that the constitutional
18 procedure was complied with and that the -- in 1989, the 23rd of March,
19 the constitution was amended properly, amendments were adopted, and the
20 Serbian constitution was amended?
21 A. No. I already expanded the reasons why. The people said no.
22 The society said no, and this was proven by the following events, the
23 large-scale protests against such amendments. So my answer is no.
24 Q. Thank you. So you think that extra institutional action is
25 sufficient and that this is the only standard and not normal political
1 life as it is prescribed by the constitution and laws?
2 A. [Previous translation continues] ... I have no comment on that.
3 You mean -- you put to me: Do you think that this is so and so? This is
4 the fourth time I'm here to testify, and I am aware of the procedure. I
5 have some experience by now, and I have never seen such prejudices put
6 against me. I'm here as a witness and I don't hear questions being put
7 to me. As I said earlier, I feel rather confused. I don't see the
9 Q. Sir, now I'm asking you questions about the political part of the
10 statement that you gave and political issues and your claims, that is why
11 I cannot ask non-political questions, and I cannot not not touch on the
12 constitution and your actions as the secretary of Mr. Ibrahim Rugova, who
13 headed the strongest political party in Kosovo and Metohija from 1989,
14 the date of its foundation, onwards. But if you say that you're not a
15 politician and that you cannot give testimony on that, then the
16 Trial Chamber will be able to give proper weight to political parts of
17 your statement. Well, there's nothing in your statement about that, but
18 this is -- in this paragraph you talk about the destruction of Albanian
19 houses. I didn't see it in paragraph 75. Can you please explain this to
20 me, empty Albanian houses -- or rather, I'm sorry. In paragraph 75, I
21 was mistaken, you say that on the 24th of March the Albanian houses in
22 Pristina were abandoned.
23 Am I right when I say that the people who inhabited those houses
24 abandoned them, left them, before the 24th of March?
25 A. Systematic violence in Kosova never stopped, beginning from 1981
1 to the air-strikes. But with respect to the time concerned, that
2 violence mainly intensified following the Rambouillet conference against
3 the civilian population. The only purpose was to ensure ethnic
4 cleansing. So as I said, there was ongoing violence even prior to the
5 air-strikes of the 24th of March, 1999. We have seen families that were
6 obliged to vacate -- to leave their homes and to go to Macedonia or
8 Q. In paragraph 76, you say today that as regards the leaflets --
9 you talk about leaflets that you saw. Please tell me, when you received
10 this leaflet, did you tell Mr. Rugova that?
11 A. Yes, I did. I told him that a lot of propaganda is going on and
12 this has to do with many aspects, one of them was to kill intellectuals,
13 another focus of it was to drive out people, and another was to carry out
14 propaganda through pamphlets. We commented this pamphlet with Mr. Rugova
15 before the 31st of March when the police and the army broke into his
17 Q. Thank you. And was Rugova at the time afraid of the KLA members?
18 A. No, he didn't have any reason to be scared of them.
19 Q. Thank you. You said that communication lines -- that you didn't
20 have TV signal when you were at Rugova's place and that phone lines were
21 down, you couldn't establish contact. Did I understand you correctly?
22 A. At the time when the police was present, there were frequent
23 power cuts or telephone interruptions, but at the meeting with Milosevic
24 we ask that we be provided with a phone line, but nevertheless it
25 continued to be interrupted now and again.
1 Q. Well, please tell me, how were you able to hear Jamie Shea making
2 those announcements from Brussels
3 A. As I said, we had a small radio transistor and we listened to it
4 at night. You should remember that we were allowed to stay in one room,
5 more than 20 members that were there, and sometimes we could hear the
6 radio. As far as television programme is concerned, I could see it only
7 once when the Serb police were there. I linked the cable in the presence
8 of the police and listened to one of these press conferences. The police
9 was present when I heard it.
10 Q. Mr. Merovci, in the first strikes by NATO air-crafts all the
11 repeater stations were hit and destroyed and there was no radio signal,
12 TV signal, no communications, even the police was unable to communicate
13 with each other. But you said you heard that Jamie Shea said that
14 600.000 Albanians had already left and it was your comment today that you
15 said to Milosevic when you were at his place that Serbs were not leaving
16 Kosovo; do you know that outside of Kosovo and Metohija 300.000 people
17 had left Serbia
18 A. Now you are bringing up the topic of my profession. The repeater
19 stations couldn't wipe -- block all the signals. I said that we had a
20 satellite dish in Rugova's home, and that I heard it only once after
21 linking the cable they had cut, and they were also interested to know
22 what was going on so they listened together with me.
23 Q. You didn't answer my question regarding the 300.000 people who
24 had fled Serbia
25 A. I didn't hear that. This is -- this has got to do with something
1 I know nothing about.
2 Q. Thank you. And did you hear that during the war Montenegro was
3 bombed only twice, once it was the Golubovci airstrip near Podgorica and
4 the other target was a bridge close to Berane?
5 A. I have no accurate information about that.
6 Q. Well, if people -- why would people leave an area that is not
7 safe to go into yet another area that is not safe in your opinion?
8 A. This was the case with Albanians who went to Montenegro only to
9 escape repression.
10 Q. Mr. Merovci, I was unable to find in your statement any mention
11 of the deportation of the 24th of March, deportation from Pristina.
12 Could you please tell me, why is it that you provide great -- a lot of
13 details about that deportation?
14 A. On the 24th of March is a day when the air-strikes began and if I
15 remember right it was in the evening of the day and the deportation of
16 people had started even earlier than the air-strikes. Deportation of
17 people and the convoys of people, I said that when we returned from Paris
18 we saw that. We were the only cars returning to Pristina and that we saw
19 long convoys of cars and various vehicles heading towards the border with
21 which time I went out and looked around Pristina, escorted by the police.
22 Q. No, Mr. Merovci, you merely stated in your statement that upon
23 your return from Paris
24 Verification Mission and Albanian civilians leaving Kosovo, and as for
25 any kind of deportation or forcible transfer -- well, you didn't mention
1 that at all.
2 A. We are talking about the 20th of March here. The long convoys of
3 cars and vehicles were there, and we stopped and asked the people: Where
4 are you going? Why are you moving out? And they said, We were driven
5 out of our homes. We are talking about the time we returned to Pristina
6 and what we saw on the way. Then later on, we could see for ourselves
7 that the repression which was ongoing from earlier time continued. This
8 is an issue that was known to the whole world that this was a
9 humanitarian crisis never experience in the whole 21st century.
10 Q. Thank you. But there is no mention of this in your statement.
11 You only state that you saw them leave and not that they told you all
12 those things that you now added, and deportations are not mentioned in
13 your statement at all. And now I'm asking you this: On the 23rd of
14 March, I left Kosovo and Metohija, and I was in a column of vehicles that
15 was heading forwards Gnjilane and further on to Serbia in a large number
16 of vehicles and nobody made us do that -- but thank you anyway. Let's
17 finish this up because my time is up.
18 You claim to this very day that you are talking about the
19 deportations in your statement, the statement that you gave to the OTP
20 investigators. You say now that there is mention of that?
21 A. The issue of deportation is something that we saw. I don't know
22 in which part of my statement I have mentioned it. I have already
23 declared that I saw convoys of people, and I mean the period from the
24 24th to the 31st, but even the day on which we entered Kosova we saw
25 people in the same condition. We saw civilians maltreating people in the
1 streets and driving them out of their houses. For your information, my
2 statement contains 20 pages. If you asked me now to speak "mot-a-mot,"
3 in the same way I spoke in my statement, then why do you ask me? You
4 have my written statements. I believe you want me to give supplementary
5 arguments, but everything is in conformity with my statement.
6 Q. Witness, it is only in the paragraph where you describe the
7 morning when the police came and when you looked out of the window is it
8 that you mentioned the arrival of the Serb forces passing by -- passing
9 through that street, but at any rate now we managed to pin-point this.
10 But what I wanted to know is this one question: You say that you went
11 with Hill to Orahovac. In the statement it is stated that you went from
12 Pristina-Stimlje to Suva Reka and Orahovac, and today you talked about
14 A. From what I see you must be well-acquainted with the roads of
15 Kosova. We started on the way Prishtina-Peje, and we took a turn towards
16 Rahovec, went to Malisheve, Suhareke, Lipjan, and Shtime, to Peje -- I
17 didn't say to Peje. I said the way the road Peje -- the road to Peje.
18 Q. Mr. Merovci, you said Stimlje-Suva Reka-Orahovac, and Pec is not
19 mentioned at all in your statement but let us move on. I want to know
20 how you were able to see soldiers hiding and misrepresenting their
21 activity from the vehicle that you were in? And this is what you told us
23 A. I'll try to be more explicit. We were driving in the US embassy
24 car. It was there we stopped. From the window -- I can even mention the
25 names of the places we stopped at, Cafa Dulje was one. We stopped the
1 car, we went out, and we saw the barrels, the camouflaged barrels.
2 Q. Thank you, but the Cafa Dulje, the barrels were probably
3 positioned there six months earlier at the time when the Kosovo
4 Verification Mission
5 A. This is not a question. You are making a statement. Which is
6 the question here?
7 Q. I'm asking you to -- whether you agree with me that all those
8 soldiers were already stated at --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The witness is kindly
10 asked to wait for the interpretation into English to finish before
11 starting his answer.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
13 continues] ...
14 JUDGE PARKER: Two things. You are, no doubt because of time,
15 answering a question before the interpretation has had a time, which
16 means we miss.
17 Secondly, with regard to time, Mr. Djurdjic, you're now dealing
18 with matters of fact that are very much closer to the issues in the
19 indictment. Is it that you need more time to deal with those or have you
20 completed or are you near completion of what you want to deal with?
21 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have been misled by
22 the supplement sheet provided by the Prosecution regarding the paragraphs
23 that this witness will be testifying about. I was told that he would be
24 testifying about 72(g), and had that been the case I would have been able
25 to deal with all the questions that pertain to paragraph 72(g) only and
1 to bring up some contradictory elements. But since this was expanded
2 today I'm not sure whether I would be able to deal with it today. And I
3 had to start dealing with the 20 paragraphs that are listed there. Had I
4 known right from the beginning that only this one paragraph was relevant,
5 I think I would have been able to deal with it in half an hour.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Is your answer yes or no, Mr. Djurdjic?
7 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honour, I think that
8 I'm not -- nowhere near the end, but once I manage to put together a set
9 of concise questions I will be able to deal with it, provided, of course,
10 that the witness gives me short answers because you can see how
11 long-winded the answers are.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic, you are sayings you believe you are
13 not finished and you are nowhere near finished dealing with the factual
14 issues; is that correct?
15 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE PARKER: I'm afraid, Mr. Merovci, that in -- as a matter of
17 fairness of procedure we're going to have to ask whether you can return
18 on Monday.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with due respect for
20 you and willing to cooperate even though this is the fourth time for me
21 to be here, I have always been loyal, cooperative, I have been here for a
22 week. I have my own personal obligations. I have my wife. I have taken
23 leave to come here. But if you ask me, I don't think I can stay longer
24 than today because I was sure that my testimony would be finished today.
25 But it's not for me to decide. If you ask me, I would insist that we
1 finish today, and I would kindly ask you to take into consideration my
3 JUDGE PARKER: We would very much like to meet your commitments
4 and we have indeed been trying to urge expedition. The trouble is that
5 our use of this courtroom is virtually at an end now. With the
6 cooperation of staff we could extend for another ten minutes or so, but
7 we cannot really go beyond that today.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic, if you can do more in the next seven
10 minutes, please do so, and we will then have to close the evidence.
11 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I can. Yes, I can,
12 Your Honour.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Please do --
14 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Just one question and then I'm
15 sure that you will give proper weight to all of this.
16 Q. All that you didn't say in this statement that I now put to you,
17 how come that you say so today, and you amended the statement in this
18 manner, yet you failed to mention this at all during the long time that
19 you were giving this statement? That's all I have.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Did you get the essence? That I believe is a
21 question addressed to you, Mr. Merovci. What counsel is putting to you
22 is that when you came here this time, you've made a number of amendments
23 to your statement. How is it that you haven't previously mentioned these
24 changes, especially as its been such a long time since the original? Can
25 you assist us with that?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as you may well know,
2 my written statements covers a period from 1981 to the end of the
3 air-strikes following the Rambouillet conference, and most of the time
4 spent here was for events related to 1981 and before that, 1963 and 1968.
5 Since I was asked about them, I gave an answer. If I were asked about
6 questions related to my testimony, I would have followed it. I did, but
7 I have simply added something more. I didn't make any changes, any
8 amendments, because I cannot say everything in my statement. The way I
9 saw it was that by coming here and testifying live I have the right to
10 explain things better and to add things when I deem it necessary. From
11 what I know, I don't think I have deviated from my statement at all, but
12 if I've added something I added it because I was asked about something.
13 And if you look at the transcript, I think the Defence counsel made more
14 comments than asked questions. Thank you.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Merovci, I think that the question is intended
16 to be directed to the changes you have made to the content of your
17 statement, and I understand from your answer that you were saying well,
18 really, you haven't changed your statement so much as added other details
19 or other matters that weren't in the original statement. We're not
20 talking about 1963 and 1968 and 1981; we're talking about the matters
21 covered in your statement.
22 Now, are there matters dealing with the events particularly of
23 1999 that you have changed your mind about since you're statement was
24 given, or is it that you have simply added more detail about those
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have not changed my
2 mind about anything and I have not changed the essence of my statement.
3 As you well know, in answer to the questions asked about my statement, I
4 simply clarified them. For example, when I was asked, Where did you see
5 the barrels? I specified the place where I did because I was asked two
6 or three times. Now I don't remember accurately what else, but I don't
7 think I have deviated from the essence of the statement. I mentioned
8 that there were movements of people in a certain direction, and when I
9 was asked what direction, I explained it. At least this is how I see it.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
11 Mr. Djurdjic, you heard that answer. Is there anything more?
12 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. You will
13 give proper weight to all the evidence when the time comes. I have no
14 further questions.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Kravetz, time is of the essence.
18 MS. KRAVETZ: No re-examination, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE PARKER: That's a splendid response.
20 You'll be pleased to know, Mr. Merovci, that the evidence that --
21 the questions you'll be asked have now concluded. You'll be free to
22 return to your activities. We thank you for your further attendance here
23 on this occasion, that you -- we're sorry that you had to wait so long,
24 but we are dealing with matters of significance and you realise the
25 Chamber seeks to learn for and against with an even hand about the
1 events; and therefore, we must listen to all sides and all accounts and
2 that does take time on occasions. I'm sorry about that.
3 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
4 JUDGE PARKER: We thank you, Ms. Kravetz and Mr. Djurdjic, for
5 your assistance this week.
6 We now adjourn to resume on Monday.
7 [The witness withdrew]
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.56 p.m.
9 to be reconvened on Monday, the 16th day of
10 March, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.