1 Monday, 16 March 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. -- good morning.
6 Mr. Stamp, I understand you have a matter to raise.
7 MR. STAMP: Good morning, Your Honours. The next witness is
8 Ms. Nazalie Bala in relation to the allegations regarding Pristina
9 events. However, Your Honour, due to scheduling difficulties she will be
10 the only witness we have available today because of the late arrival of
11 some witnesses. I -- it might well be that she may use up the entire day
12 because she is scheduled to be one hour in chief; however, it is possible
13 that there might be a part of the day when we have -- don't have a
14 witness to follow her. Her evidence will be taken by Mr. Eliott Behar.
15 Thank you very much, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. We will see how the day progresses.
17 The witness could be brought in.
18 [The witness entered court]
19 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
20 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please read aloud the affirmation on the
22 card that is shown to you now.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
24 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
25 WITNESS: NAZALIE BALA
1 [Witness answered through interpreter]
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. Now please sit down.
3 Mr. Behar has some questions for you.
4 MR. BEHAR: Yes. Thank you, Your Honours.
5 Examination by Mr. Behar:
6 Q. Good morning, Ms. Bala. Can you please state your full name and
7 date of birth for the record.
8 A. Nazalie Bala. I was born on the 17th of May, 1967.
9 Q. Ms. Bala, I understand that in 1989 you began working in human
10 rights employed as a field researcher for the Council For Defence of
11 Human Rights and Freedoms in Pristina; is that correct?
12 A. Yes, that's correct. From 1989 to 1997 I worked as a researcher,
13 field researcher, for human rights, yes.
14 Q. And I also understand that in November of 1998 you began working
15 for the OSCE, the Organisation For Security and Cooperation in Europe
16 also in human rights?
17 A. Yes, correct.
18 Q. Can you tell us briefly what kind of work you're currently doing?
19 A. Presently I work as a project manager in the United Nations
20 development organisation.
21 Q. And I also understand that you have a master's degree in
22 international diplomacy and relations; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, I have an MA in international relations and diplomacy.
24 Q. Thank you. Ms. Bala, do you recall providing a statement to the
25 Office of the Prosecutor on the 30th of June, 2001?
1 A. Yes, I do remember.
2 Q. I understand that you also provided an addendum to that statement
3 on the 16th of August, 2006
4 A. Yes, correct.
5 Q. Have you had the opportunity to read that statement and that
6 addendum before coming to court today?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And are you satisfied that the information contained in those
9 documents is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge and belief?
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. BEHAR: Your Honours, I would seek to tender that statement
12 and the addendum that's 65 ter number 02262, and that -- I can indicate
13 that the statement and the addendum are included together in that same
15 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
16 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00420, Your Honours.
17 MR. BEHAR:
18 Q. Ms. Bala, did you testify at the Milutinovic trial on the
19 22nd and 23rd of August, 2006?
20 A. Yes, I was invited as a witness in the Milutinovic trial, and I
21 gave a statement for that trial as well.
22 Q. And have you also had a chance to review the transcript of your
23 testimony in that trial?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Does that transcript accurately reflect your evidence and would
1 you testify to the same facts today?
2 A. Yes, of course. I would testify the same things today, yes.
3 MR. BEHAR: Your Honours, I would seek to tender 65 ter 05188,
4 the transcript of the witness's testimony from Milutinovic.
5 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
6 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00421, Your Honours.
7 MR. BEHAR: I would just ask if the usher could please provide
8 the witness with a copy of her statement. We'll be referring to it in
10 While that's being done I can provide a brief summary of
11 Ms. Bala's evidence.
12 [Prosecution counsel confer]
13 MR. BEHAR: I can indicate, Your Honours, that Ms. Bala's
14 evidence will relate to paragraph 72(g), 73, and 77 of the indictment,
15 and I will provide that summary now.
16 Ms. Bala is a Kosovar Albanian who resided in Pristina.
17 Beginning on the 24th of March, 1999, she made a number of observations
18 of Pristina and the neighbourhoods surrounding her from the roof of her
19 building. She observed that on the 26th of March, 1999, all roads
20 leading in and out of Pristina were blocked; and VJ, MUP, and Serb
21 civilians were manning barbed wire blockades. Overnight in the following
22 days Serb forces and civilians started destroying Albanian houses and
23 shops, forcing people out of their homes, and firing on civilians. There
24 were 100 people seeking refuge in her house by the time she was forced to
25 leave on the 29th of March, 1999. She was made to leave her house and
1 join a convoy of people in the thousands walking to the centre of
2 Pristina. The roads were lined with Serb forces and civilians who had
3 their guns pointed at the convoy. They separated the men from the group
4 and robbed them. The convoy went to the train station and was surrounded
5 there by police. Ms. Bala boarded an overcrowded train that headed in
6 the direction of Kosovo Polje. As the train travelled, the track was
7 lined with VJ and MUP pointing their weapons at the train and yelling
8 ethnic insults. When they arrived at the border in Djeneral Jankovic,
9 they were all told to get off the train and walk towards Macedonia and to
10 walk in the middle of the railway tracks because there were mines on
11 either side. She was eventually placed on a bus going in the direction
12 of Ohrid, Macedonia
13 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel kindly slow down while reading,
14 thank you.
15 MR. BEHAR:
16 Q. Ms. Bala, I will have a few questions for you in order to clarify
17 certain matters. You describe in your statement, and this is on page 2
18 of the statement, in the last paragraph on that page that the 24th
19 and 25th of March, 1999, was when NATO commenced bombing Kosovo,
20 including Pristina; and you explain that there were 25 people in your
21 house that night and that by the time you left, several days later, there
22 were about 100 people in your house. Can you explain to us who those
23 people were and how they came to be at your house?
24 A. Starting from the 20th of March, 1999, to 29th of March, 1999, I
25 was in Prishtina. Because of the nature of my work, I was used to
1 observing what was happening, so I visited several parts of Prishtina
2 where we were in a very rigid siege by the Serb forces, both police and
3 army forces. In the beginning, there were about 25 members -- family
4 members in my house, while when we left there were about a hundred of us
5 that left together. In the beginning we were just the family, members of
6 my family with whom I lived all my life, while later on relatives came
7 from villages around Prishtina because they were expelled from their
8 homes, and they were afraid of the Serbian forces.
9 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us where these homes were that people
10 were coming from.
11 A. These people lived in Dragodan, Vranjevc, Kolovica, the hospital
12 neighbourhood, Sofali, and Taslixhe, these are all areas around Prishtina
13 or in Prishtina.
14 Q. And how is it that they ended up coming to your house and, if you
15 know, how did they get to your house?
16 A. Well, how they came to my house, this would be a very direct
17 answer: They came to my house because of the bombing, of the repression,
18 of the shelling, the looting, and the killings committed by the Serb
19 forces, both police and military because I don't think those people would
20 like to leave their houses, they just were forced to.
21 Q. Thank you. And I'd like to ask as well about some of the direct
22 observations that you described making in Pristina over this time-period.
23 You describe making a number of observations from the top-storey terrace
24 of your house. Can you describe where your house was located in
1 A. My house is still in the same part of Prishtina, in the old town,
2 close to the market. It is a house from where you can see the whole of
3 the town, the Vranjevc hill. You can see Dragodan from there, new
4 Kolovica, and in the part behind the house you can see Taslixhe. It's a
5 two-storey -- it's a five-storey house. There is a cellar and there are
6 storeys above the ground. The house does not have a roof. It is a
7 terraced roof, it's flat, so I could go there and observe all the parts
8 of Prishtina that I mentioned.
9 Q. I'm going to show you a map.
10 MR. BEHAR: Can the usher please bring up 65 ter number 00013.
11 And as well, if the witness could be provided with a pen so she can make
12 some markings on the screen.
13 Q. In your statement you make reference to observations of Dragodan,
14 Vranjevc, Kolovica, Taslixhe. Are you able to indicate what directions
15 those would be on the map and mark them as well -- in fact, I'll just
16 stop you. Before we do that perhaps you can first mark the location of
17 your house on the map.
18 A. Can you please zoom it in a little bit because I don't have my
19 glasses with me.
20 MR. BEHAR: If we can just zoom in more on the top part, if
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My house is about here.
23 MR. BEHAR:
24 Q. And as I was starting to mention earlier, can you indicate where
25 on that map - and I know that these places may not directly be on the
1 map - but if you can indicate what directions Dragodan, Vranjevc,
2 Kolovica, and Taslixhe would be.
3 A. Dragodan is here, together with a cemetery which links Dragodan
4 and Vranjevc. Vranjevc is here --
5 Q. Are you able to write Vranjevc as well.
6 A. Kolovica is here, Taslixhe is here, and a small neighbourhood
7 here which is called Sofali.
8 Q. Thank you. And can you tell us what the terrain was like around
9 your house and the surrounding areas. What I mean by that was, Was this
10 a flat area or were any of the areas elevated by hills and valleys?
11 A. The part where my house is is not mountainous, it's a flat area;
12 however, you can see very well towards the north-east, west, and south,
13 because these areas are easily seen from my house. From my house you
14 could see straight to the Vranjevc hill, Dragodan hill, and Taslixhe
15 area. Visibility was really good around the house. For me it was
16 impossible to observe what was happening inside the town, in the centre,
17 because of the buildings. It's a built-up area and there are tall
18 buildings that did not allow me to see what was happening there.
19 Q. Thank you. I understand from your statement that you were also
20 able to use night-vision goggles. Can you explain how you ended up
21 obtaining night-vision goggles.
22 A. When the OSCE mission left Kosova, the international staff were
23 allowed to take only 20 kilogrammes in their luggage. Myself and many of
24 my colleagues took some of their belongings in our homes. At that time I
25 took my boss to the office of OSCE in Dragodan, behind the American
1 office. There were things there in her luggage and her luggage was in
2 my -- in the boot of my car. The binoculars, the night-vision binoculars
3 were in her luggage, and they were in my possession at the time when she
5 Q. Thank you. With respect to the events of the
6 26th of March, 1999, you describe in your statement - and this is on
7 page 3 in the first paragraph - that you observed the roads in and out of
8 Pristina were blocked by blockades and that the Albanians were denied any
9 movement. Can you tell us who was manning those blockades?
10 A. I also mentioned earlier that it was a siege. Every point of
11 entrance and exit to Prishtina was blocked. All the crossroads as well
12 were encircled by the police and the army, the Serbian police and army.
13 The parts of Prishtina that linked the outskirts with the centre were
14 also encircled by the Serb military and police forces. So they had under
15 control everything, every movement in Prishtina. I saw this personally
16 because I travelled by car from one place to another in Prishtina, and
17 sometimes I also walked to different places in order to see what was
18 going on inside Prishtina.
19 Q. So again, just very briefly and to be clear, who was manning the
20 blockades then that you saw?
21 A. The police, the Serbian police; the Serb army; Serbian civilians,
22 half uniformed, some of them had police jackets and civilian trousers;
23 paramilitaries who were wearing uniforms that I saw for the first time
24 then. They had bandannas on their heads, they had painted faces,
25 different tattoos on their bodies.
1 Q. Thank you. In your statement as well - this is in the third
2 paragraph at page 3 - you describe that a man named Latif Sulejmani
3 explained getting to you by crossing three check-points. Can I ask: Did
4 you observe those check-points yourself?
5 A. Yes, I saw the check-points myself because I worked in Dragodan,
6 I worked in RC Prishtina, which is behind former American office. The
7 check-point was right at the American office; the second check-point was
8 at the Dragodan bridge; the third one was in Tophane, which links the old
9 part and the new part of the town.
10 Q. Could you mark that on the map, please, and perhaps next to each
11 one you could put the number you've referred to.
12 A. The first check-point was here, the second was here at the
13 bridge, the third one somewhere here, which links the new part and the
14 old parts of town.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 MR. BEHAR: Your Honours, I would now seek to tender that map
17 into evidence.
18 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
19 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00422, Your Honours.
20 MR. BEHAR:
21 Q. With respect then, Ms. Bala, to the events of the
22 29th of March, 1999, you describe in your statement at page 4 that a
23 VJ officer and a gypsy came to your house and told all of you to leave
24 within five minutes. You also explain that those two Serbs would be
25 followed up or those two people would be followed up by a group of
1 mobilised personnel who would beat or kill anyone remaining in the house.
2 Can you explain to us how you knew that or why you say that?
3 A. That afternoon, it was around 4.00 or 5.00 p.m., two people came
4 to our door. They ordered us to leave the house in five minutes, and we
5 went outside. We joined the convoy of people that was in the street,
6 and, meanwhile, another group came to see where the people -- see whether
7 the people had left their houses or not. Those who had not left their
8 houses were beaten and ill treated and even killed.
9 A neighbour of mine who was about 70 years old and his wife, they
10 both refused to leave the house. We were in the neighbourhood. It was a
11 large group of people, a large convoy trying to leave, and the Serb
12 forces came and they began to beat them up. You could hear the
13 70-year-old man screaming, and we were in the street, and we were not
14 able to go and help them; but we could hear, Please don't, please stop.
15 We could hear that.
16 Later on we continued, and we could not learn what happened to
17 our neighbours. We met them in Ohrid later on, but this man died because
18 of what he had suffered at their hands.
19 Q. Can you tell us who were in this second group of personnel? In
20 other words, whether -- who was it made up of? Did you recognise any of
21 the people or any of the uniforms?
22 A. One of them was my neighbour. He used to work as a traffic
23 policeman. His name was Ivica. He lived just two neighbourhoods away
24 from the part where I lived. However, the other persons forming the
25 second group were not familiar to me. I didn't know any other of them.
1 They would go into two groups. The first group would order people to
2 leave their houses, and the second group would carry out the
3 verification. They would check whether the people left or stayed. If
4 they found someone who refused to leave, who was still in his or her
5 house, then they would exercise brutality on them.
6 Q. And were people in the second group of personnel that you
7 described wearing uniforms?
8 A. The personnel from the second group was dressed in uniforms,
9 military, police uniforms. There were people who had been mobilised but
10 also who were wearing civilian clothes. So it was a mixed group. They
11 were scattered in different parts of the neighbourhood. For example,
12 they would come as a group as far as the beginning of the neighbourhood.
13 Once they reached the neighbourhood, they will go in smaller groups to
14 check the houses, whether people had left or not.
15 Q. Thank you. You also explain in the next paragraph that you left
16 your house and you joined a large group of people walking towards the
17 centre of Pristina. Can you describe this group; in other words, how
18 many people were walking on the streets?
19 A. As I said earlier, when we left our houses we were --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Correction.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- when we left the house, we were
22 about 100 people. Once on the street we saw our neighbours who were more
23 or less in the same numbers, in the same situation. They also had people
24 who had come from different parts of Prishtina and the surrounding
25 villages to their houses, who had fled from those areas and sought
1 shelter in their houses. Thousands and thousands of Albanians were
2 walking on the main streets, and they were directed by them to go to the
3 main station in Prishtina.
4 Q. Now, you've said "them." Can you explain who "them" was, who was
5 directing you to the centre?
6 A. When I say "them," it always refers to the Serb forces. This is
7 how we identified them. When we refer to the Serb forces, that is,
8 police, army, paramilitaries, and mobilised Serbs, and those who had
9 joined the police and Serb forces. While we were walking along the
10 Prishtina roads, on both sides of the road, we were escorted by the Serb
11 police and army. They had their weapons directed at the population. We
12 were under strict control. We dared not to look on the sides or behind
13 or in front to see what was going on with the other part of the convoy.
14 In the front part of the convoy - and this was a long, long
15 convoy - you could see how people were separated from their families and
16 taken away from the convoy, you could see how people were being looted
17 and beaten there on the streets. Just a detail that I will never forgot
18 as long as I live: A handicapped person, an old man who was being pushed
19 in a wheelchair - I don't remember now exactly whether it was a policeman
20 or a soldier - ordered his son to leave the wheelchair behind, to leave
21 his father or grandfather, the disabled person, behind and to proceed
22 without him. We passed that part where they ordered this young man to
23 leave the wheelchair behind, and about 10 metres further we just heard a
24 gun-shot. There was no movement or scream afterwards. We couldn't know
25 what happened to that disabled person. We just had to proceed in the
1 direction of the station.
2 In addition to the main forces who controlled our movements,
3 there was pressure from the civilian Serb population that had come out on
4 the streets, on both sides of the streets, and on their balconies because
5 we were walking along an area that had buildings on both sides. They
6 would throw different things on us such as vases, bottles, metal items;
7 and they were shouting at us and at the forces telling them, Kill them
8 all. Let them remember what happened in Bosnia. Let them know what
10 at us. So this is how we were escorted up to the train station, under
11 strict control by the Serb police and army forces, and by the damages and
12 offences suffered from the civilian population, Serb civilian population.
13 And the police didn't even stop them in throwing things from their
14 balconies, didn't even tell them that that was not something good to do.
15 Q. You also describe in your statement arriving at the railway
16 station at noon
17 waiting to get on the train. You also describe being surrounded by
18 police who you recognised as police from the Dragodan region. How did
19 you know that they were from Dragodan?
20 A. I knew they were policemen from Dragodan because my office was at
21 Dragodan. It was called RC, regional centre, Prishtina at the time. So
22 every second or third day on the way to or from the office it was
23 impossible to pass without being stopped at the check-point by the
24 policemen. They were carrying out their role as traffic policemen at the
1 Q. Now, you describe in your statement the train arriving at the
2 station, and you described there being about 30 passenger cars attached
3 to the engine. Can you tell us, was anyone guarding the train?
4 A. When we arrived at the train station, it seemed to me as if the
5 entire population of Prishtina was there, children, youth, women,
6 elderly, tired, scared, traumatised, exhausted, people who had spent even
7 a night there at the train station. We joined this crowd of people and
8 waited until they brought the train at around 5.00 p.m., as far as I
9 remember. It was a train consisting of about 30 passenger cars. The
10 rear part --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Correction.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- the part behind the train was a
13 hilly part, and there was a large group of policemen who were observing
14 the flat part; and the part behind us was also under the control of the
15 Serb police forces. We were ordered to board the train, to get on the
16 train. You can imagine how big is the space or how small, rather, is the
17 space in the passenger cars. We were forced to actually put our children
18 in the compartments for the luggage because there was no space in there.
19 We were about 50 persons per carriage, and even today we -- when we speak
20 with people about this we cannot help it but surprise -- get surprised
21 how they could put all of us in such a small space where none of us could
22 move left or right. The doors and the windows of the train were shut,
23 and this is how the train proceeded its route to Fushe Kosove.
24 Q. Thank you. Just a couple of questions to clarify. You mentioned
25 50 persons per carriage, that's how it was interpreted. Can you explain
1 what you mean by "carriage," where the 50 persons were that you
3 A. Compartment, maybe it's a language issue, difference between
4 Albanian and English. One compartment can have one or two -- one
5 carriage can have one or two compartments. I'm speaking about one
6 compartment where about 50 persons were placed, not a carriage. Maybe a
7 carriage at the time could take about 200 people. There were also
8 corridors that were full. There were children also in those parts of
9 corridors where you can put your luggage. It was impossible to -- for
10 the adults to keep or hold their children with them because it was very
11 difficult to breathe in that area.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. BEHAR: If I could have Exhibit 00001, that's the Times map
14 of the western Balkans.
15 Q. Now, Ms. Bala, while we're waiting for the map, I can indicate
16 that I'm just going to ask you if you can indicate the route that your
17 train took on this map. And perhaps after each place that you mention,
18 you can stop; and I may have a question or two before we move on.
19 MR. BEHAR: If we could just have that zoomed in on the area
20 between Pristina and the Macedonia
21 well if possible. That's great. Thank you.
22 Q. So we know that you left from Pristina. Can you indicate where
23 you went from there?
24 A. This is Prishtina, and from here the train travelled in the
25 direction of Fushe Kosove, where it stopped, from Prishtina to
1 Fushe Kosove. During this part of the journey, especially when we
2 entered Fushe Kosove, we saw houses that had been burnt and destroyed.
3 In Fushe Kosove we saw bodies that had been burnt or half burnt, people
4 that had been killed and their bodies lying there on the streets. At
5 Fushe Kosove the train stopped, and we were faced with horror. We were
6 scared. People with masks, without masks, with painted faces, police
7 forces, military forces, mobilised people, civilians, all of them armed
8 with their guns directed at us on both sides, meaning from the right and
9 from the left of the train. The children were crying and screaming in
10 the train. They were not aware of what was going on.
11 From outside we were threatened by them. They would say that if
12 they hear a single cry, a single scream from the children they will come
13 up in the train and kill us. They would say they were going to execute
14 us, that they would take us to a factory, to another place, and that they
15 will suffer an even worse fate than that of the Bosnians in Srebrenica.
16 Then the train proceeded to Lipjan from Fushe Kosove --
17 Q. Okay, sorry, I'll just stop you there. So the train -- and we
18 may need to go through just a little more quickly as we're somewhat short
19 of time. If you can indicate then where the train went from there and
20 simply whether or not it stopped at the next location.
21 A. From Fushe Kosove the train proceeded to Lipjan; from there to
22 Ferizaj; and from Ferizaj to Hani i Elezet, or the border with Macedonia
23 that is near the cement factory at Hani i Elezet.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. BEHAR: Your Honours, I would seek to tender that map as an
1 exhibit, please.
2 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
3 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00423, Your Honours.
4 MR. BEHAR:
5 Q. In your statement - and this is on the fourth page in the second
6 paragraph, you describe that the train arrived in front of a cement
7 factory at Hani i Elezet at about 8.00 p.m., and you clarify in your
8 addendum that that was at 10.00 p.m.
9 you were told to get off the train?
10 A. After we arrived at Hani i Elezet near this cement factory, the
11 train stopped. We were encircled by the Serb forces, that is, there were
12 Serb police and military forces on both sides of the train with their
13 guns directed at the Albanian population on the train. We were
14 immediately told to get off the train, all of us, and they then asked us
15 to provide them with our ID cards. Myself and my family were in the
16 front part of the train, maybe in the third or fourth compartment. So
17 when they told us to produce our IDs, I saw that they realised that there
18 were far too many people, and they stopped asking for these IDs. I could
19 see the first group of them who asked for the ID cards. And as soon as
20 they had the ID cards in their hands they would tear them and throw them
22 When I would look back just to see how many of us were there, I
23 could also see how people, mainly men, were separated from their
24 families. I saw cases of looting when they took away everything that the
25 civilian population had on them. Personally I can speak of my own
1 family. We didn't have anything on us except for a bottle for the
2 2-year-old because we were not allowed to take anything with us. So when
3 we left, not even clothes for the children. They would take away
4 everything -- anything they could find on you. They then told us to form
5 a line of two. They told us to walk on the rails -- on the tracks and
6 proceed towards Macedonia
7 When we were told to form this line of two, they told us not to
8 leave the tracks because both sides were mined. This is how we walked
9 towards Macedonia
10 Q. You then describe arriving at the grain yard, in other words, at
11 the end of your walk. Did you meet or speak with other people once you
12 were there?
13 A. There were other people there at the meadow, at that field in
14 Blace; people who had been waiting for a week to cross the border with
16 horror; people who had been stripped of everything they had, vehicles,
17 money, valuables, personal belongings, and who had been forced to leave
18 their homes and cross the border to Macedonia; people who had spent
19 almost a week in the no man's land between Macedonia and Kosovo. Not
20 only those who arrived there on train, but people who had arrived there
21 from the area near the border, Kacanik and Ferizaj area, that is.
22 Q. And can you tell us where you went from the border?
23 A. When we arrived at the border, which we called Blace, a week --
24 approximately a week later, a humanitarian catastrophe began known to the
25 whole world. In the beginning we were told that we would be taken to
1 Ohrid --
2 Q. I'll just stop you before we continue. I want to be careful
3 about going into too much hearsay, but if you can just describe very
4 briefly where you went once you left the border region and how you got
6 A. From the border we went to Gostivar, to Negotin village in
7 Gostivar area.
8 Q. Thank you. And Gostivar, I understand it -- I see the map that
9 is up as well, am I correct that that's in Macedonia?
10 A. Yes, that's in Macedonia
11 Q. I don't need you to mark it at this time. Can you tell us what
12 was your status in Macedonia
13 A. A status of a refugee as all others.
14 Q. Thank you, Ms. Bala. Those are my questions.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Behar.
16 Mr. Djurdjic, do you have cross-examination? Thank you.
17 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Cross-examination by Mr. Djurdjic:
19 Q. [Interpretation] Ms. Bala, my name is Veljko Djurdjic. I'm a
20 member of the Djordjevic Defence team. My associate, Marie O'Leary, is
21 assisting me today; she's a member of our team. Mr. Dragoljub Djordjevic
22 is away today because he is busy preparing our Defence case.
23 I have a number of questions for you, Madam. First of all,
24 there's something that I have observed in your evidence today. There are
25 a number of things that you never said before. The first thing is about
1 you personally going to a number of check-points that you saw in town.
2 When you were on your way to work in Dragodan they stopped you because
3 that's where your office was. Can you please tell us why you never
4 stated this before. You have provided a number of statements, in 1999,
5 in 2001, in 2006, and then in the Milutinovic trial. Why have you never
6 stated this before, Madam?
7 A. The question was asked here whether I knew these policemen, which
8 area they were from, and my answer was I knew these policemen because
9 when I worked for the OSCE, when I walked or went through that area,
10 especially at the Dragodan bridge, we were stopped and we were asked to
11 produce our IDs and licence. Before I was not asked that question.
12 Today that question was asked of me, and I answered it.
13 Q. Thank you. So far you've been saying that you were told this by
14 some other people, yet today you are presenting this to us as your own
15 personal experience.
16 A. If you read my statement more carefully, you will see that there
17 are two explanations. The first one is about before the 26th of March,
18 where the Sulejmani family, Latif and Nexhmedin Sulejmani came to my
19 house and told us what was going on in Dragodan and who had stopped them
20 where. While in the statement I made today and in my testimony today, I
21 explained how I was stopped by these policemen. And the question was
22 asked of me, How did you know -- or did I know these policemen. And I
23 said that, yes, I had seen them before. These were policemen who had
24 been working in that area.
25 And one other small detail: The police command in Prishtina was
1 divided into separate areas. The Dragodan, the Germi, the Vranjevc, and
2 other areas. And the Dragodan area was under the control of the Dragodan
3 police. The Vranjevc area where the police station is still there today
4 was controlled by those forces there --
5 Q. Thank you, Madam Bala. That's not what my question was about.
6 Could you perhaps please tell me, since you know those two police
7 officers, what their names were?
8 A. I gave just one name, Ivica. This was a traffic policeman. I
9 did not give the name of the other policeman. Ivica was together with a
10 group of other police when they forced us out of our homes.
11 Q. Madam, I'm asking you about the two policemen you knew who worked
12 in Dragodan, the ones you mentioned for the very first time today, near
13 your own work-place. I see five, that's where it was. I'm asking you
14 about those two policemen, and we'll be returning to Ivica later on.
15 A. I don't know the names of the policemen in Dragodan. I know them
16 by their appearance. If I see them today I could point them out, yes,
17 but their names I didn't know.
18 Q. Thank you. You have never before used the term "paramilitary" in
19 any of your statements. This is the very first time you've used it.
20 What exactly do you mean when you say "paramilitary," please?
21 A. It's not true that I have not mentioned that earlier. If you
22 read my statement, it has been used several times. This is -- by
23 "paramilitaries," I mean non-regular forces. I've seen regular army
24 before and I had seen them even as a child. I know what they are. The
25 paramilitary forces in Prishtina were numerous, people in uniform, dark
1 or black uniforms, their emblems were not army emblems, with flags that
2 had skulls and a cross on the skulls. Then these were people that had
3 painted faces, beards, long hair, with very irregular appearance which is
4 not suitable for a regular military formation.
5 Q. Ms. Bala, today is the first time you mention those persons
6 wearing masks and also persons with their face painted. I've read
7 carefully through all of your statements, and I've never come across
8 these references before. Never mind. Let us please move on.
9 Ms. Bala, you talk about Lapi, Street number 30, Pristina, that
11 A. I don't understand the question. If you could clarify it,
12 please, for me. I don't understand.
13 Q. I'm asking you, Is it true that your family home in Pristina is
14 at Lapi Street number 30 in Pristina?
15 A. No, that's, that's wrong. It's a mistake. I don't know where
16 you got this information, Ulpiana street. My address is Llapi Street,
17 number 30.
18 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I never mentioned
19 Ulpiana Street
20 JUDGE PARKER: There seems to be some possible interpretation
21 problem or a misspeaking. Will you please repeat your original question
22 to which you want an answer, please, Mr. Djurdjic.
23 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] My question was about Lapi Street
24 number 30, in Pristina. Was their family home always there?
25 JUDGE PARKER: And your answer, please, Ms. Bala.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before the NATO bombing and the
2 beginning of the war, we lived in Triglav street. Today it's called
3 Enver Berisha Street. In the beginning of January 1998, we moved into
4 number 30, Llapi Street, and we still live there.
5 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] 65 ter document 00013, can we
8 please have that brought up on our screens. Thank you. My associate
9 tells me this is P422, yes, that's MFI
10 P00013, which is unmarked. Thank you.
11 Q. Ms. Bala, could you please use this map and mark the location of
12 your house. We have a new unmarked map now.
13 A. This is not a map containing all the streets, so I will only be
14 approximate here. My house is about here, because the green market is
15 very close to where I live.
16 Q. Thank you. Would you please mark the railway station.
17 A. Yes, approximately. Just a second, please. Here.
18 Q. Thank you. There's something I'd like to ask you. What about
19 Lapi Street, was it once called Sejdo Bajramovic Street?
20 A. No, never. Llapi street was never Sejdo Bajramovic Street, it
21 was always Llapi Street, while the Triglav Street that I mentioned
22 earlier and later after the independence of Kosovo, the Triglav Street
23 was called Sejdo Bajramovic. The Llapi road has never been called that,
25 Q. Thank you. Could you mark the house, please, or rather, where
1 you marked your present home could you put a 1 there, please.
2 A. Right here in the middle.
3 Q. Number 2 next to the railway station. Thank you.
4 A. [Marks]
5 Q. Thank you. And the previous house in which you lived before you
6 moved to this new location, where was that one?
7 A. Right here.
8 Q. Thank you. Put a number 3 there, please.
9 A. [Marks]
10 Q. Thank you. Who were you living with in this new house in 1999?
11 A. With my parents, two brothers, their wives, their children, and
13 Q. Thank you. What age were your brothers?
14 A. My oldest brother is now 50, second brother is 45.
15 Q. Thank you. What exactly did they do for a living back in 1999?
16 A. The eldest brother was a taxi-driver, the second brother worked
17 as a driver with the OSCE.
18 Q. Thank you. Was your father working at the time too?
19 A. No, he had retired.
20 Q. Thank you. When did he retire?
21 A. In 1990/1991, that period.
22 Q. Thank you. Was he receiving his pension?
23 A. Until December 1998.
24 Q. Thank you. Did you not know that in 1999 and throughout the war
25 all of the retired people in Pristina continued to receive their
2 A. I would be curious to know where did you get the addresses to
3 send the pensions to because the pensioners were in Albania, in
5 curious to know. Yes, the pensions were paid to the Serbs, to the
6 Bosnians, and the Roma who were living in Kosova at the time, but not to
7 the Albanians. There were over a million people who were expelled, who
8 were in refugee camps. I don't know if you have any information about
9 addresses where these pensions were sent to.
10 Q. I don't know. If you'd been listening to my questions more
11 closely you would have heard me suggest that I was talking about those in
12 Pristina who had registered addresses there, they were receiving their
13 pensions. I don't believe your father necessarily informed any state
14 bodies about his whereabouts. And what about the war, were any remaining
15 and still outstanding salaries eventually paid to him?
16 A. Not only my father, but no other pensioner, Albanian pensioner,
17 in Kosova received their pensions after December 1998. The pensioners'
18 fund that existed before 1998 and after that, it was kept in Serbia
19 was not given to people, to the Albanian people in Kosova. The Serbs,
20 the Bosnians, and the Roma in Pristina and in other places did receive
21 their pensions, but I asked you earlier and my question is -- still is:
22 Where did you get the addresses for people who were expelled from Kosova?
23 Where did you send those pensions to? There was internal displacement.
24 People were also expelled outside the country and you're speaking about
25 their pensions?
1 Q. Ms. Bala, you have a degree in economics. Where was that degree
2 obtained, which university?
3 A. I gratitude two faculties, the faculty of economy in Prishtina,
4 and I also did political studies. I specialised in Tirana in diplomacy,
5 and I earned my MA in international relations and diplomacy in 2006.
6 From 1999 until today I also have attended many training courses in
7 various parts of the world.
8 Q. Thank you. I want to know, first of all, about your degree in
9 economics. Was that degree obtained at the Pristina University
10 state universe, or a different school of economics?
11 A. I received my diploma in -- from the University of Prishtina
12 There is just one university in Prishtina and it is still functioning
14 Q. Thank you. That was a state-owned university, right? When you
15 obtained your degree?
16 A. I can see that you want more explanation, and I will give those
17 explanations if you are willing to hear me out. In 1992 all the
18 secondary schools and the Prishtina University
19 to Albanians. Albanians were not allowed to attend those schools. From
20 1992 till after the war, the education and training of people was done in
21 an alternative form. We tried to keep education alive for children and
22 students. My diploma is from the University of the Republic of Kosova
23 that's what we called it then, and many other people like me received
24 their diplomas there.
25 Q. Thank you. Did you get your degree recognised domestically in
1 any official, formal way?
2 A. Yes, it is recognised in my country, not only my diploma but the
3 diplomas of all those students and people who graduated before 1998 in
4 extraordinary circumstances. All those diplomas are recognised. There
5 are people who went on to study for their Ph.D.s in various European
6 universities based on the diploma they had received in their own country.
7 Q. Well, I'm asking you because you say you obtained a diploma and
8 still you couldn't get a job. Well, how could you possibly expect to get
9 a job if you had a degree from a university that was not officially
11 A. After what happened with the education system in Kosova, and I
12 know about this because I was collecting information and facts about what
13 happened in Kosova at the time, all the Albanians who were working in
14 that system were expelled from their jobs in 1999 -- 1992. So it was not
15 logical for me to ask for -- to go and ask for a job in those structures
17 Q. Ms. Bala, there were courses in two languages at the state
18 university, both Serbian and Albanian. Can you please tell me what year
19 you enrolled?
20 A. The state university which was founded in 1974, if I remember
21 correctly, it is true that courses were held in Albanian and Serbian
22 then. This continued up until 1992. In 1992 no educational
23 establishment in Kosova that was called a state educational establishment
24 was -- held their courses in Albanian. Everything was in Serbian.
25 That's why we established the parallel system of education, to educate
1 our students and pupils, and this was the parallel system.
2 Q. Thank you. But my question was about your year of enrolment, in
3 which university?
4 A. 1987. I enrolled ...
5 Q. Ms. Bala, there is a misunderstanding, it appears. Which year
6 did you enroll in the faculty of economics and which faculty university
7 was that, a state university or not?
8 A. I don't know how relevant this is to my statement. Is it
9 necessary for me to answer this question because I don't see how it is
10 related to what I have stated in my statement. I enrolled in 1987. At
11 that time, the courses were held in both languages, Albanian and
12 Serbo-Croatian. I began my studies and then the situation deteriorated,
13 and I started work in the Council for the Defence of Human Rights. And
14 later on, I continued my studies in the parallel education system, so I
15 only studied for a year in the Prishtina state university; later on, I
16 continued my studies in the parallel system.
17 Q. Thank you. Just another question. At the time after you had
18 enrolled, did you become a member of any political party?
19 A. I don't know which system you come from, but as you may know in
20 1987 there was just one political party, the communist league, and all
21 other parties, pluralism, emerged later on. So you may well know that
22 there was no other party at that time, in 1987. It was a one-party
23 system, so I really don't know which other parties you are referring to
24 that existed at the time. As I already told you, there was only one
25 party, the communist league then.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think this might
3 be a good time for our break.
4 JUDGE PARKER: We still have on our screens the map,
5 Mr. Djurdjic. Are you planning to tender that?
6 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Indeed, Your Honour. I will be
7 going through the witness's statement, and I kept the map because I
8 wanted her to mark some more locations for us so we might have a map that
9 we can use for all these different reference points, in order to avoid
10 having to pull them up again. I thought we should just press on with
11 this one. If you think it's technically more convenient to have this one
12 admitted now and then bring up a new blank map to mark further locations,
13 I'm ready to be so instructed.
14 JUDGE PARKER: The problem is a technical one, Mr. Djurdjic.
15 Over the break we are likely to lose this if it is not saved and
16 exhibited at this point.
17 Before we do receive it, though, Ms. Bala, would you be able to
18 look back to the map on your screen. You were asked to mark with a
19 number 2 the position of the railway station, and you marked a position
20 you said you thought it was in that area. Is that your understanding
21 that you marked the railway station as best you could?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, since this is a map
23 that does not contain the names of the streets in details, I did my best
24 to mark the approximate area. It should be somewhere in this area that I
25 marked or in this area that I just marked. As I said, there were no
1 details -- this is not a detailed map. Even the house, my house that I
2 marked, is an approximate area. Maps tend to change. There are maps
3 with more details, but unfortunately this one doesn't have those details.
4 Had these details been there, I would have been able to mark the exact
5 location of the train station. I passed by that location every day to
6 carry out my normal, daily activities. Therefore, the markings that I
7 made are approximate, not exact because of the reasons that I just
9 JUDGE PARKER: The reason I asked is because well over on the
10 left-hand side of the map there appears to be marked a railway line, and
11 a little below the centre of the map well on the left-hand side there
12 appears to be some two or three sets of parallel tracks, whereas there
13 appears to be no railway line marked in the area where you have marked
14 the railway station. Now, it may be that something is not shown on the
15 map or it may be that you were not correctly oriented when you marked the
16 railway station. Can you help us?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You are fully right, Your Honour.
18 As I said earlier, it is quite difficult to orient myself on this map.
19 You are completely right. The train station should be somewhere here,
20 and I apologise for this misreading of the map. But as I said, I passed
21 by that train station on a daily basis to carry out my normal, daily
22 activities. I apologise once again. You're fully right. This road here
23 goes to Fushe Kosove, and it's behind the Grand Hotel in Rilindija
24 building and other well-known buildings in the centre of Kosova. I
25 apologise once again, Your Honour, for not marking correctly the location
1 of the train station at the outset.
2 JUDGE PARKER: To help us to follow your markings in the future,
3 would you please put a number 4 with the marking which you now say is the
4 railway station?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not 100 per cent sure, and I
6 cannot pin-point the exact location; so I would like to stress once again
7 that this is the approximate area. I'll mark it with a 4. The map is
8 such that it is difficult for me to identify the exact locations. It's a
9 small building compared to the building in Fushe Kosove, the building of
10 the train station.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
12 Now, I think counsel have followed that. After the break,
13 Mr. Djurdjic, if you need to follow that up further, you can. We will
14 receive the map as an exhibit.
15 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D00050, Your Honours.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Now, we must now have the first break so that the
17 tapes can be rewound, and that means we will resume at ten minutes past
18 11.00. The court staff will assist you outside.
19 --- Recess taken at 10.38 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 11.13 a.m.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic.
22 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. Madam Bala, were you a member of the League of Communists?
24 A. No, never in my life.
25 Q. Did you from 1990 when the multi-party system was introduced were
1 a member of any political party; and if so, which political party,
3 A. In 1989 I began to work as an activist for human rights in the
4 Council of the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms in Kosova. I was
5 and I still am a regular activist of this council. Later on I joined the
6 Democratic League of Kosovo --
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't get the year.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- in 1992.
9 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Thank you. Is that the party which was headed by
11 Mr. Ibrahim Rugova?
12 A. This political party was all people movement. It was led by
13 Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, now deceased.
14 Q. Thank you. Are you still a member of the
15 Democratic League of Kosovo?
16 A. No, I'm not a member of the Democratic League of Kosova.
17 Q. Are you a member of any other political party; and if so, when
18 did you join?
19 A. I will give you a general answer so that I can make your
20 questions shorter. I see that you want to know whether I am a member of
21 the Democratic League of Kosova, led by Hashim Thaqi. After the war new
22 political parties developed and emerged in Kosova. In 2001 I joined the
23 Democratic Party of Kosova, and I was a member of this party until 2007.
24 I could no longer be an active member of this party because of my
25 obligations and work.
1 Q. Thank you. Let me just ask you: When did you finish your
2 studies of political sciences and where, since you told us that you
3 graduated from political sciences?
4 A. Until 2001 I continued my work with the OSCE mission. In 2001 I
5 stopped my employment with them because of the studies and further
6 commitments. Until 2006 I continued and finished my studies at the
7 University of Prishtina
8 enrolled a master's programme, a dual programme, an exchange between the
9 Diplomatic Academy in Vienna
10 a programme that I finished in 2006, or rather, I graduated in 2006.
11 Q. Thank you. Today you told us that you started in 1989 working at
12 a committee for human rights at Pristina. Could you tell us, please, who
13 founded that committee and what were the [indiscernible] goals of that
15 A. The Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms in
16 Kosova was established on the 10th of December, 1989, by intellectuals or
17 group of activists in the field of protection of human rights and
18 freedoms in Kosova. Initially the committee was led by the well-known
19 activist who was killed during the war, Bajram Kelmendi, and by other
20 intellectuals from Kosova. The council or the committee was also led by
21 Adem Demaqi, who was also an activist in the field of protection of human
22 rights in Kosova. He was imprisoned for 28 years during the times of
23 former Yugoslavia
24 Q. Thank you. Was Adem Demaqi the leader or, as you said,
25 Mr. Kelmendi?
1 A. Initially when the committee was set up, it was led by the
2 well-known lawyer Bajram Kelmendi. Later on, when the committee was
3 well-established, Adem Demaqi was appointed the leader or the head of the
4 Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in Kosova.
5 Q. Thank you. Were you sent as a member of that committee abroad to
6 attend some courses?
7 A. As a member of the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights
8 and Freedom, in addition to the courses that we attended inside Kosova in
9 the field of protection of human rights and freedoms, I also attended a
10 similar course in 1996 in an academy of Lillehammer
11 Q. Thank you. Did you go to Switzerland
13 A. In Geneva
14 Q. Thank you. Who funded your travels?
15 A. My travels were mainly funded by those who invited us to attend
16 these seminars or training courses, the organisers.
17 Q. Thank you. Were you funded by the American Information Centre in
19 A. I never attended a training course funded by the information
20 centre -- American Information Centre in Kosova.
21 Q. Madam Bala, I asked you whether the American Information Centre
22 at Pristina funded your travels and didn't ask you about the courses.
23 A. No, never.
24 Q. Thank you. Did you leave the Committee of Human Rights
25 and Freedoms; and if so, could you please explain the reasons?
1 A. I never left the committee. I'm still a regular or active member
2 of this committee. I established an NGO that dealt with gender issues
3 and violence against women in Kosova. This was a registered NGO at the
4 time, active as early as in 1997. I joined the OSCE in December 1998,
5 but the organisation called Elena based in Prishtina was active at the
6 same time.
7 Q. Thank you. Does the name Behxhet Shala mean anything to you?
8 A. It means a lot. He's still a friend of mine. We worked together
9 in the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms. He
10 still works there as the executive director of this committee. At the
11 time he was a secretary of the committee, the time that we worked
13 Q. Thank you. You never had any conflicts with the members of the
14 executive committee and subsequently left, did you?
15 A. No, never.
16 Q. Thank you. Please tell me, what were the goals of the
17 Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms? What was
18 their agenda?
19 A. The goals of the committee was to record and collect facts
20 pertaining to the violation of human rights and freedoms in Kosova,
21 collection of facts, information, statement, photographs, compiling
22 weekly, biannual, monthly reports, that were sent to different
23 international organisations who deal with the issue of human rights.
24 These reports were published by different embassies in Belgrade at the
25 time and by different international organisations.
1 Q. Thank you. Does that mean that it went for the protection of
2 human rights of all persons irrespective of their ethnic background who
3 lived at Kosovo and Metohija?
4 A. The committee collected and recorded facts of violation of human
5 rights. We did not protect the human rights because we were -- there was
6 situations that we could not exercise that task, but it did its work
7 irrespective of the persons and their ethnic groups or gender or race.
8 Q. Could you please tell me where I can find a report on the
9 kidnapping of Serbs during 1998/1999, about the murder of policemen and
10 troops in 1998/1999, about the kidnapping of Albanians who were loyal to
11 the state, any reports on the kidnapped Serbs from Orahovac in July 1998?
12 A. During 1998/1999 I worked for the OSCE mission in Kosova. As for
13 the reports that you mentioned, you probably know that the humanitarian
14 fund, law fund, is operating; and they probably have all this information
15 that you asked me about in their files, and you can also find this
16 information with the OSCE mission that was active at the time in Kosova.
17 Q. Thank you. But, Madam Bala, in one version of your statements
18 you started on the 4th of January, 1999, working for the OSCE; and now in
19 November 1998. Thank you.
20 What about the period 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, is there any report
21 on the violation of human rights of non-Albanians that we may find?
22 A. I didn't bring any reports with me here, but if you are
23 interested in finding those reports, you can contact the Council for the
24 Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms in Kosova.
25 Q. Thank you. Would you please tell us who funded the
1 Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms?
2 A. From 1989 until 1997, as -- I'm speaking now in capacity of a
3 witness here before this Tribunal, I worked for the council as a
4 volunteer. The council or the committee was funded by different
5 donators, but it didn't have a regular financing that would enable it to
6 function in practice. But despite the difficult conditions and financial
7 problems, we never stopped our work. We would always go out and perform
8 our work on the ground.
9 Q. Thank you, Madam Bala. But -- and I do not understand the first
10 paragraph of your statement, that in June 2001 the way you stated that
11 you couldn't find a job as an economist, but you gained employment in the
12 Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms.
13 A. I see that you've mixed up the dates. I will repeat and clarify
14 this with you. I began my work with the council in 1989, and I worked
15 there till early 1997. I then established the NGO dealing with the
16 violation of the rights of women, with gender issues. In early 1998 I
17 joined the OSCE verification mission in Kosova, and I remained with the
18 OSCE until 19th of March, 1999. As a refugee in Macedonia, I continued
19 to work with the OSCE mission in the field of protection of human rights
20 in different refugee camps all over Macedonia.
21 Upon my return, 16th or 17th June, 1999, I'm the first local
22 employee that returned with the OSCE mission in Kosova. I continued my
23 work, my employment, with them until June or July 2001, and that's when I
24 stopped my regular employment from 7.00 to 6.00 p.m.
25 start my master's programme.
1 Q. Thank you. Madam Bala, you provided me with a lengthy and
2 exhaustive answer, but not to my question. My question was: You state
3 in -- on the 30th of June, 2001, as well as in the 14th of May, 1999
4 statement that you could not find employment as an economist but you got
5 employed by the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights
6 and Freedoms. You started in 1990, but today you stated in 1989. If you
7 stated that you were employed, which means that you received salary, so
8 it was not volunteer work, as you claim today.
9 A. In my testimony the last time I also mentioned that it was
10 voluntary work. All those years of work in the Council for the
11 Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms was voluntary work, not only by
12 me but also other people, my colleagues. Just voluntary work. People
13 from the council working all over Kosova were working voluntarily for the
14 council, the -- all 30 branches of them.
15 Q. Thank you. Then I will have to read part of your statement dated
16 30th of June, 2001, in which you say:
17 "In 1992 I graduated from school of economy but I could not" --
18 thank you. I apologise.
19 "However, from 1990 I had started working for the human rights
20 of Kosovar Albanians in Kosovo, and got employed as a field researcher by
21 the Council for Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms in Pristina ..." and
22 then in a note dated 14th April 2000
23 "I worked in the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights, I
24 worked there from 1990 to 1997, and then I was employed with the Council
25 for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms in Pristina as a field
2 A. This is my statement, but I don't understand your question. You
3 are asking whether I was paid monthly by the council. I will repeat
4 again that everything I did for the council, my work was all voluntarily.
5 50 people worked voluntarily in that council. I joined the council. I
6 worked shifts. One week I would work from 8.00 to 5.00, the other week I
7 would work from 2.00 p.m.
8 the council.
9 Q. Thank you. Where did you find the money to survive all those
11 A. There was solidarity amongst Albanians, not only myself but over
12 half the population that was active -- that could work was not able to
13 find work because of the total destruction of the economy in Kosova. We
14 were funded by relatives in Switzerland
16 and these were enough to get by day-to-day and to enable me to work for
17 this office.
18 Q. Thank you. Weren't your brother together at the house where you
19 resided in 1999 Pristina, as you stated today here?
20 A. In order to explain this better: We are eight children, five
21 brothers, three sisters, and we have 18 nieces and nephews. It's a very
22 large family, as you can see. Before the war my brother and my sister
23 lived abroad, my sister in Switzerland
24 explained in my earlier answer who funded us. My brother at the time was
25 a manager -- a hotel manager in Copenhagen
1 refugee with me, he lives in Sydney, Australia
2 eldest brother, my sister, and two other brothers live in Kosova.
3 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us what were the goals of the
4 centre for the protection of rights of men and women, Elena.
5 A. The goals of this centre were to identify occurrences of
6 violations of human rights of women by various institutions and the
7 violation of children's rights. This was a specialised recording and
8 reporting of these occurrences in conformity with the
9 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Freedoms of the United Nations.
10 Q. Thank you. Who funded your activities?
11 A. The activities of the NGO that I founded were funded by various
12 foreign donors. We had as our main donor the organisation Mama Cash from
13 the Netherlands
14 did not last for long. The war started and everything was interrupted.
15 Our activity was interrupted because -- for security reasons and because
16 we were not able to travel in various parts of Kosova.
17 Q. Thank you. Madam Bala, did your organisation cooperate with the
18 government of Mr. Bukoshi?
19 A. No, we didn't.
20 Q. Thank you. Did you cooperate with Xhafer Shatri; did you supply
21 him with information?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Thank you. What about the KLA, did you supply any information to
24 the KLA on the Albanian non-governmental organisations from
25 Kosovo and Metohija that were working with the authorities of the
1 Republic of Serbia
2 A. I never had any contact with the KLA.
3 Q. Thank you. Did you organise patrols across Kosovo and Metohija
4 comprising members of your female peace groups, the purpose of those
5 patrols being to monitor any activity by the army and the police?
6 A. No, no. Our organisation identified occurrences of violation of
7 rights of women in Kosova; because at that time, regardless of their age,
8 gender, religion, ethnic group, et cetera, people were being killed in
10 Q. Thank you. The answer was no. When you answer "no," please
11 don't continue answering, because once you've said no that is quite
12 sufficient. That is an answer to my question. Thank you.
13 A. I was trying to explain, nothing more than that.
14 Q. Madam, what was it you were trying to explain? I asked whether
15 you were supplying information on any movement by the army or the police,
16 that was my question. If there is anything to add apart from your
17 answer, the answer being no, anything to do with your potential
18 monitoring activity, then please explain. If a no is a simple no, then
19 let's just move on.
20 Ms. Bala, in addition to your own allegations, do we have
21 anything else to prove that you were working for the OSCE?
22 A. Could you explain a bit further? I don't understand the
24 Q. In addition to your own allegations that you were working for the
25 OSCE, is there any evidence indicating that? Because if so, we have seen
1 none here so far to corroborate your allegation that you were working
2 with the OSCE at the time you specify, that is, before the war.
3 A. What kind of evidence would you like to have? You can Google my
4 name and you can find information there on the internet -- in the
5 internet, that I have worked with the OSCE before.
6 Q. Thank you. Likewise, I would like to ask you about the time you
7 left Serbia
9 have anything to prove that you were working with the OSCE?
10 A. First of all, I did not leave Serbia. I was expelled from
11 Kosova, which is my country, and again you can ask for information
12 yourself about me. I worked for the OSCE with a verification mission.
13 We worked in the Sanakos camp, in the Cegran camp, Stenkovec 1 and 2
14 camps, and I worked also in areas where the Albanians were staying in
15 private homes with the Albanians of Macedonia.
16 Q. Ms. Bala, what you have just said is not what you said in
17 June 2001 when you made your statement.
18 A. There is no other statement. I worked for the OSCE before the
19 war, during the war, and after the war; and you can ask for information
20 about this at the human resource office of the OSCE in Prishtina. They
21 have records of the people who have worked for them.
22 Q. Thank you. Would I be right to say that the OSCE left
23 Kosovo and Metohija on the 20th of March, 1999, because of the plummeting
24 living standards of the Kosovar Albanians and the cruel treatment of the
25 Serbs in Kosovo of the Albanian community as well as the rising violence
1 rates that were politically motivated?
2 A. I think you must know why the verification mission came to
3 Kosova. At that time there was an agreement on stopping the violence
4 from spreading any further; however, the violation of human rights, the
5 brutality, killings, injuries, arrests, these were everyday occurrences
6 in the lives of Albanians. So the Serbs and the Albanians could not
7 reach an agreement amongst themselves to stop this violence and the
8 violence escalated, so the verification mission left in March 1999,
9 20th of March, 1999.
10 Q. Thank you. I believe it was possible to keep this much briefer.
11 I quoted extensively from your statement on the 13th of June, 2001
12 the quote accurate or not? You can just say yes or no, please.
13 A. Well, I have to give the gist of it here and then if you ask me
14 to give further information, it would take weeks to explain you
15 everything that happened.
16 Q. Ms. Bala, I used a quote from your own statement. The question
17 was: Is that faithfully reflected, accurately recorded, or not? The
18 answer is a simple yes or no. I did not elicit any further explanations
19 from you. Just tell me about whether what I read out to you is accurate
20 or not?
21 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic, I'm sorry, if you were quoting from
22 the statement it was not apparent to me that that is what you were doing.
23 I don't think you said you were doing it, and it is not clear now from
24 the transcript what is the quotation from the statement. You are asking
25 the witness: Is it correct or not? The Chamber doesn't know what it is.
1 I suspect the witness may not know what it is. If you could ask the
2 witness to direct her attention to a particular passage of the statement
3 and then ask whether it is correct, you might get somewhere which is more
5 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. You are
6 entirely right. I did say my next question, though, that I had just
7 quoted the June 13th, 2001
8 would be to pull it up on our screens, D002-1741 -- or rather, my
9 associate informs me this is P420, Exhibit 420.
10 Q. Do you see that, Ms. Bala? You have the English on the
11 right-hand side or would you prefer to have the Albanian? The Albanian
12 is on the left, right? Paragraph 3:
13 [In English] "The living standard of the Kosovo Albanians in
14 Kosovo and the harsh treatment by the Serbs in Kosovo of the Albanian
15 community had deteriorated to an all low and because of the violence
16 being instilled and for the political reasons on the 19th March, 1999,
17 the OSCE prepared to evacuate."
18 [Interpretation] That's the portion. Yes, my question is: Is it
19 accurately recorded, paragraph 3, what it says. Is it true? Is that
20 what you said? I'm not asking anything special apart from that.
21 A. Yes, it is correct that I said that. We all experienced what I
22 wrote down here, and if you want any further explanation I can give them
23 to you.
24 Q. Thank you, Ms. Bala. No further explanations are required. The
25 question was simply: Is this an accurate quote? Thank you.
1 I would like to ask you: When do you think your memory was best
2 and clearest of all these events that you are giving evidence about,
3 since you have provided a number of statements over some time?
4 A. What period of time are you referring to?
5 Q. Well, I've looked at your statements, they appear to be starting
6 on the 14th of April, 1999
7 2006, another statement you made; and then you appeared as a witness in
8 the Milutinovic case; today being the last instance.
9 A. Well, the experiences are indelible, the things I've been
10 through, things that I have seen and experienced. What I have stated
11 about the 20th to the 29th of March, 1999, I still have those events
12 fresh in my memory although almost ten years have passed from that week.
13 Q. Thank you. But please, for the sake of expeditiousness, try to
14 keep your answers brief. So you remember very well all these things. A
15 single sentence would have sufficed to say that.
16 Ms. Bala, if I look at the note made on the 14th of April, 1999
17 the statement you say that the OSCE left Pristina on the
18 24th of March, 1999, and that they were preparing to evacuate on the
19 23rd of March; is that true?
20 A. I don't know where you are reading from. The OSCE left on the
21 20th of March. The 24th of March is the date when the NATO bombing
22 started in Serbia
23 Q. Madam, excuse me.
24 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Could I please have D002-1761.
25 Q. Ms. Bala, this note was drawn up by an OTP investigator on the
1 14th of April, 1999, interviewed you at Tetovo. And if you look at the
2 note, if you look at all the bullets, bullets 5 and 6 specifically, they
3 state exactly what I've read back to you.
4 A. It must be a misinterpretation of dates, nothing more. The OSCE
5 left Kosova in -- on the 20th of March of 1999 and then on the
6 24th of March NATO bombing started on targets in Kosova and Serbia
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may this 14th
9 of April, 1999, interview note please be admitted. I shall continue to
10 use it for the purposes of my cross, though.
11 JUDGE PARKER: I take it, Ms. Bala, that you were interviewed by
12 somebody in April 1999?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, for the first time.
14 JUDGE PARKER: And was that somebody, as you understood it, from
15 this Tribunal?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It must have been from the
17 Tribunal; however, to ask for precise dates a week after the traumatising
18 events we went through, it's not a normal situation when the person is
19 distressed. So this is just a confusion of dates, nothing more.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Did you see these notes at that time?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To tell you the truth, I can't
22 remember. I must have seen them, but I don't remember.
23 JUDGE PARKER: I notice in the heading your present employment
24 was given as OSCE. That was correct at that time, was it?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you please make -- give me
1 the reference as to where you see it.
2 JUDGE PARKER: In the headings, the more heavy type at the top of
3 the page, there's a series of --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can see it now, yes.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Was that correct at that time?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I will clarify, if you allow
7 me, sir. I was in Macedonia
8 to be able to find an international who worked for the OSCE. I contacted
9 my former colleagues, international colleagues; and from these contacts,
10 I was able to start working two days later and collect data from
11 eye-witnesses for the events that had occurred in Kosova.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Do you know the name of the person who interviewed
13 you at that time?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't recall his name.
15 JUDGE PARKER: These notes then will be received in evidence.
16 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D00051, Your Honours.
17 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Perhaps I
18 should have prefaced this by saying that the 13th of June, 2000,
19 statement, paragraph 2, sees the witness confirm a previous interview
20 with an OTP investigator from the ICTY in relation to events that I'm
21 about to describe on the 14th of April, 1999, in Macedonia.
22 Q. Ms. Bala, the note is dated the 14th of April, 1999. You state
23 that on the 24th of March, at 9.00, you drove in a car into town to see
24 what the Serb authorities were doing and to hear the opinion of the local
25 population. The local population was preparing for a Serbian invasion
1 and some had even sent their families away from Pristina. Is that true?
2 A. Before the 24th, when the NATO air-strikes began, not only on the
3 24th but as of the 20th of March, I went out down-town to see what was
4 going on because we all knew that after the evacuation of the OSCE
5 people, something bad was going to happen. It is true that I did go and
6 tour different parts of Prishtina to see what was going on and talked to
7 many people and collected different information from these people on what
8 was -- what had happened on that particular day. There was this general
9 fear that the Serbs were going to retaliate on the civilian population in
11 Q. Ms. Bala, is it true that certain people sent their families away
12 from Pristina? Because this is something you stated.
13 A. Yes, it is true that certain people sent their families away from
14 Prishtina because of fear that something bad was going to happen by these
15 Serb police and military forces. These families lived in the outskirts
16 of Pristina at the time. You can draw similarity with my situation as
17 some family members or relatives came to live with us. These relatives
18 came from the outskirts of Pristina to live with us at the time.
19 Q. Thank you. But you said they left Pristina, and now you're
20 telling me they came to Pristina. Nevertheless, let's move on. What
21 sort of a telephone line did you have in your home in March 1999?
22 A. It was land-line, and I also had a private mobile phone.
23 Q. Thank you. Would I be right to say that on the 24th of March
24 electricity had been cut off in Pristina but only for the duration of the
1 A. As soon as the first bombs fell in Prishtina, the electricity was
2 cut off and it remained cut off until later at night. Later on in
3 different parts, not in the whole area of Prishtina, the electricity
4 remained cut off and in some parts there was electricity.
5 Q. Thank you. If I look at the notes dated the 14th of April, 1999
6 I don't see any reference to air-strikes or you trying to observe
7 anything at all from your terrace.
8 A. Well, we all know that there was -- there were NATO air-strikes
9 on Serb targets, on the 24th of March. When the bombing stopped I went
10 to the terrace to observe. There was no movement of people. There was
11 movement of different military and police vehicles. There was movement
12 of Serb civilians who were firing in the air in different parts of
13 Prishtina. You could hear this very well, and you could see this very
14 well too.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Behar, you -- there's a matter you wish to
17 MR. BEHAR: Yes, Your Honours, just that my friend, counsel for
18 Mr. Djordjevic, mentioned that there was no mention of air-strikes, but
19 in fact on that document, I think it's about nine bullet points down,
20 there's an indication that on 25th March NATO started bombing. It's
21 directly above the mention of electricity being turned off.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
23 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, but I'm talking about
24 the 24th of March. I'm talking about the -- I'm not talking about the
25 25th because I'm taking it one day at a time.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Well, you will then have to accept that there is a
2 specific mention of NATO bombing. The date given here is the
3 25th of March and I understand the witness to be saying that there is
4 some misunderstanding about these particular dates, the 23rd, 24th, and
5 25th in these notes. With all that premise, then your question may be
6 able to be put.
7 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. This is
8 the first note taken when the witness arrived in Macedonia, and I presume
9 that the Tribunal's investigator conscientiously noted what she said, and
10 it corresponds to the statement that she gave on the 13th of June, 2001
11 And since the note was taken at a time when her memory was the freshest,
12 I referred to it. But let's proceed.
13 If we could put -- bring up the document P00013. I apologise,
14 this is a 65 ter document 00013 map of Pristina that we already saw.
15 Q. Madam Bala, could you please encircle the location of your house
17 A. Before I encircle it, I want to point out again that it's not a
18 detailed map. You cannot see the exact street where I live. So I will
19 orient myself from what I can read here marked as general areas. It
20 should be somewhere here.
21 Q. You're absolutely right. This map is not detailed at all.
22 Please, could you place number 1 next to it.
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. And the old green market, where was it located, please?
25 A. From what can I read here, bazaar, it shouldn't be far from this
1 area. So I will orient myself from bazaar here and I will mark it here.
2 Q. Thank you. Could you please put number 2 next to it.
3 A. [Marks]
4 Q. In your statement you said that from the roof-top of your
5 building you observed and saw vehicles with no number plates. Could you
6 please indicate where those vehicles passed.
7 A. Just by my house, the house where I live now, the house that I've
8 described earlier, it is situated between two streets, the Llapi Street
9 and the Hoxhe Kadri Prishtina Street. So it's between these two streets,
10 and the movement of these cars or vehicles without registration plates
11 was seen here. Because as soon as a NATO bombing would stop, they would
12 go out and made these uncontrolled movements with their cars and fire in
13 the air and so on and so forth. So there was no need to concentrate on
14 observing things better because you could see them right there, they were
15 pretty close.
16 Q. How tall is your building?
17 A. It is a five-storey house. Two serve as a cellar or ground
18 floor, and two other floors are used as living space.
19 Q. Thank you, Madam Bala. So this would be a two-storey house.
20 Could you please mark where you saw barricades and barbed wire around the
21 town from your roof-top or your terrace.
22 A. What barbed wire? I did not say in my statement that I saw
23 barbed wire from my terrace. I saw the wire -- barbed wire and the
24 police check-points when I travelled by car to different parts of
25 Prishtina, but from my terrace you could not see the barbed wire
1 barricades; from there, you could see the movements of the vehicles.
2 Q. Thank you. Where did you see barbed wire and blockading of
3 Pristina? Where were those points? Could you please indicate them on
4 the map.
5 A. If you're patient, I will explain them one by one. From
6 20th of March until a day before we were expelled, I will explain where
7 these check-points were. This is a part between Fushe Kosove and
8 Prishtina, this is a part called Ajvali between Prishtina towards
9 Cjivlan --
10 Q. I apologise, but I have to interrupt you. You are answering a
11 question that I did not ask. In your 30th June, 2001 statement, last
12 paragraph on page 2 says, On the 26th of March I continued observing the
13 town of VJ
15 This is what I'm asking you about. Where were those blockades
16 and the barbed wire? You're wasting my time and not answering my
17 questions. Could you please mark on the map the check-points and the
18 barbed wire. I'm not asking you anything else but to mark those things
19 on the map, please.
20 A. This is what I was trying to point out on the map, where these
21 check-points were with barbed wire, with sacks, sand sacks, then
22 blockades with tanks and Pinzgauers. So I was about to mark all of these
23 check-points. Will you allow me to?
24 Q. Is what you marked out here --
25 A. All of them are marked here because you interrupted me.
1 Q. Please go on.
2 A. The main entry and exit points to Prishtina, the part that
3 directly links Prishtina with the road to Mitrovica and Fushe Kosove,
4 then the road to Gjilan, the part where I live, the crossroads at the
5 Nena Center
6 check-points were erected. I will start from -- with the area where I
7 lived. The first crossroads there is by the district court in
8 Prishtina --
9 Q. Thank you, thank you, Madam. You marked out where those
10 check-points were. Could you please indicate the road to
11 Kosovska Mitrovica here on the map.
12 A. From the Dragodan area, the road to Mitrovica should be here in
13 this part, the road to Fushe Kosove should be here, on this part here,
14 as -- to the extent I can be oriented on this map. The third circle
15 marks the road to Gjilan. So in other words every entry and exit point
16 from Prishtina was encircled or under siege by the police and military
17 forces. Within the town itself, on the main part of the town, on the
18 main crossroads, there were check-points erected.
19 JUDGE PARKER: To help enable the transcript to understand what
20 has been said, the witness has marked a series of small circles within
21 the map, which she says were each the location of a check-point. She has
22 also marked three large circles on the extremities of the map, one to the
23 left, one to the right, and one at the bottom, and these are the exit
24 points to roadways leading out of the town. Now, if it's going to matter
25 which road leads where in your case, we may have to get those three
1 individually identified.
2 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. With respect to those large circles, Madam, please indicate and
4 mark the road to Kosovska Mitrovica with the initials KM.
5 A. [Marks]
6 Q. And the road to Kosovo Polje with KP.
7 A. [Marks]
8 Q. And the third circle, I don't know where this road leads to.
9 A. Your Honour, would you allow me to make a clarification, please?
10 JUDGE PARKER: Please do.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I want to be very clear. It is
12 really difficult for me to orient myself based on this map. So the
13 markings I've made are not accurate. It's exact -- they do not refer to
14 the exact location, it's the approximate location. So these are not
15 100 per cent accurate markings. I cannot orient myself very good on this
17 However, I want to explain and be clear about the check-points
18 that I've seen and verified their existence. There are two -- four main
19 entries to Prishtina, the main entry coming from the direction of
20 Vranjevc, that road takes you to the border with Serbia, to Merdare.
21 There there was a police and army check-point. The next check-point was
22 at the part that links Prishtina with the road to Mitrovica. We call
23 that location Ura e Fushe Kosoves because there is a bridge there where
24 the Prishtina Corps was situated at the time. The military barracks are
25 still there.
1 The next check-point was on the crossroads of the roads to
2 Prishtina and Fushe Kosove. And the next check-point was behind the
3 hospital, we call it "at the circle," which separates the roads going to
4 Prishtina, Kacanik, Gjilan, and to other areas, up to Skopje. There were
5 also check-points within the town itself, inside the town. There are
6 four neighbourhoods or areas of Prishtina: Dragodan, and there the
7 check-point was erected at the bridge of Dragodan; then Vranjevc, there
8 the check-point was at the bridge of Vranjevc
9 the part where I live and work, there there was a check-point also; then
10 the crossroads between Taslixhe and Germi, there was a check-point there
11 too; and the check-point at the very centre of Prishtina, for
12 identification purposes we call that location "brotherhood monument."
13 So this was the meeting-point of all the convoys of people who
14 had left their homes, who were expelled from their homes, and from that
15 crossroads they were directed towards the train station.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much for that, which I'm sure will
17 help Mr. Djurdjic. You have, dealing with those three big circles
18 outside the map, you've identified two of them. The one on the
19 right-hand side, what is the -- that indicating?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The whole area here, I will try to
21 encircle it --
22 JUDGE PARKER: No, I'm talking about the one on the other side.
23 THE WITNESS: This one.
24 [Interpretation] Here?
25 JUDGE PARKER: Yeah. Is that indicating the direction of a
1 roadway to a particular town?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can see now the areas Aktash,
3 Ulpiana, so it connects with the villages of Mramor, Busi, and so on, and
4 it takes you in the direction of Gjilan. We call it the Karadak part.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much for that.
6 Now, Mr. Djurdjic, we're going to have to have the second break
7 at about this time. I assume that you'll be finishing today? Yes.
8 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would seek shorter
9 answers. I would be finished in 20 minutes' time. If we could keep this
10 map on the screen because we have two more things to mark after the
12 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sorry, that's dangerous. We could lose the
13 lot. It will need to be tendered, but if your questions are shorter and
14 clearer the answers are likely to be shorter and clearer, though a lot of
15 the problem comes from the question, Mr. Djurdjic.
16 We will receive this present map as an exhibit.
17 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D00052, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, and we resume at five past
20 --- Recess taken at 12.36 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 1.06 p.m.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djurdjic.
23 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. Madam Bala, would you please mark again the location of your
25 house on this map we see on the screen, please.
1 A. Once again, approximately here.
2 Q. Thank you. Could you place number 1 next to it.
3 A. [Marks]
4 Q. Would you please indicate the exit towards Skopje.
5 A. You want me to mark from my house to that, so this is the main
6 road --
7 Q. Encircle, by doing so indicating where the exit towards Skopje
9 A. [Marks]
10 Q. Thank you. What about the road towards Podujevo?
11 A. This part here.
12 Q. Thank you. Could you please put a P and the lower circle,
13 please, next to it put SK.
14 A. [Marks]
15 Q. Another thing I'd like to ask you, this red road if you were to
16 travel along it would you reach Skopje
17 A. I already said that this is approximate and that it's difficult
18 for me to orient myself on this map. However, this part here is the
19 hospital area which we call the circle of Pristina at the crossroads
20 there, and the road then continues to Skopje.
21 Q. Thank you. Please encircle the exit towards Kosovska Mitrovica.
22 A. Yes, Mitrovica, about here.
23 Q. Thank you. Could you please indicate Vranjavac here on this map,
24 where it's located.
25 A. Vranjevc must be here.
1 Q. Madam Bala, the road traversing the Vranjavac hill, what is the
2 distance from the summit to the traffic lights close to your house?
3 A. There are no traffic lights close to my house. The traffic
4 lights are close to the centre of the town, right here. There are none
5 close to my house. Two or three streets take you from my house to
6 Vranjevc. From my house to Vranjevc would be a maximum of 1 kilometre.
7 The Llapi mosque is here and that part is linked with Vranjevc.
8 Q. Madam Bala, do you have to go through the whole of Vranjavac to
9 reach the road leading to Podujevo?
10 A. You have to go through Vranjevc. Vranjevc is made up of two
11 parts, the upper part and the lower part. The upper part is where the
12 police station was and other houses, while the lower part is the part
13 where the primary school Zenel Hajdini is. The road goes through
14 Vranjevc, to Podujevo, and then to the border with Serbia.
15 Q. Thank you. What is the distance you have to take through
16 Vranjavac to reach to the summit of the hill and then continue along the
17 road to Podujevo?
18 A. Well, that's a long distance from Vranjevc to Podujevo you mean.
19 Up to Orlane it is 21 kilometres. Orlane is halfway between Vranjevc and
20 Podujevo or so, and from Vranjevc to Podujevo, it's about 60 kilometres.
21 Q. I'm only asking you about the distance between the Vranjavac peak
22 and the bottom of the hill down in Pristina, what is the distance in
23 terms of kilometres?
24 A. I don't know and never measured it. I don't know.
25 Q. Will you agree that it must be at least 3 kilometres between the
1 peak and the bottom of the hill by taking the road?
2 A. As I said earlier, from my house to Vranjevc, that is about
3 1 kilometre. I don't know how long or how far it is from the other parts
4 of Prishtina.
5 Q. And what about the distance between Donji Vranjavac and
6 Gornji Vranjavac?
7 A. A road goes through Vranjevc that divides both parts. This is
8 just a small area. You cannot just identify distances by kilometres
10 Q. Thank you. You said that from the roof that night you saw two
11 APCs heading towards Dragodan. Can you please describe the APCs for me.
12 A. When I was observing from the terrace in the direction of
13 Dragodan, I was observing the area close to the cemetery and I could see
14 the police forces moving in APCs, trucks, and other vehicles. There was
15 a meadow there, a low area, where I could see everything very well.
16 Q. Thank you. Mark a number 2 there, please, the location of the
18 A. [Marks]
19 Q. And what do you think would be the distance between your house
20 and what you marked now as number 2?
21 A. I don't know the distance.
22 Q. Thank you. You also say that you saw a tank firing. Can you
23 mark the tank's location, please.
24 A. The tank fired in the day-time. There is a hill in the village
25 Lokare, that's what we call it, and the military base was there. The
1 tank was on top of that hill.
2 Q. Thank you. Can you please put a number 3 there to mark the tank?
3 A. [Marks]
4 Q. What about this military base, was it the other side of the hill
5 looking from your house or your side of the hill?
6 A. The military base was behind the hill, I could not see it; but
7 the hill is there, it's a barren hill, rocky hill. It can still be seen
8 from my house, and the tank was on top of that hill.
9 Q. Thank you. Can you now please mark Kojlovci hill.
10 A. The Kolovica area must be somewhere here.
11 Q. Thank you. Put a letter K there.
12 A. [Marks]
13 Q. Taslidj, can you mark that one for me, please.
14 A. I'm encircling here the Taslixhe area.
15 Q. And what about the artillery at Vranjavac that you saw that was
16 firing at Kojlovci hill, can you mark that too.
17 A. It was on the main road that divides the lower and upper
18 Vranjevc, and their movements were along this area. Not only an APC
19 there were other vehicles moving along that road.
20 Q. Thank you. Can you please mark the location of Hartica house.
21 A. It's close to the main road. I don't know where to mark. As I
22 said, it's close to the main road, about here maybe.
23 Q. Please put an X there.
24 A. [Marks]
25 Q. Thank you. And we have 1, 2, and 3, can you please put an X
1 there and a number 4.
2 A. [Marks]
3 Q. I'm looking at your 14th of May [sic], 1999 statement. You said
4 that at Kolovica there was fighting. Who was fighting who, can you tell
5 us that, please?
6 A. There was bombing from the Lukare base, from that hill; the tank
7 was firing against or towards Kolovica against the civilian population
8 and their homes.
9 Q. I will now read back a portion of your statement to you, the
10 14th of September [sic], 1999: I saw fighting erupting between the Serbs
11 and the civilians. Many of them started running. The fighting continued
12 for the rest of the day --
13 JUDGE PARKER: The statement, Mr. Djurdjic, is the
14 14th of April, 1999, and that is --
15 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] That's right, the note.
16 JUDGE PARKER: -- and that is Exhibit D51. It's notes made by
17 another person, not a statement made by and signed by the witness. But
18 you've referred to the 14th of May and the 14th of September. I take it
19 you mean the 14th of April?
20 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] April, yes, the 14th of April.
21 Whenever I say the 14th of April I mean the notes made by the ICTY
22 investigators. The 13th of June statement makes clear that the interview
23 was conducted and a note drawn up.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Well, that's Exhibit D51.
25 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Ms. Bala, do you wish --
2 A. You don't need to ask me for further clarification. That day at
4 Kolovica, and that shelling, that firing, for us meant war. The civilian
5 population, unarmed civilian population that were being shelled, left
6 that area and went towards the area where I was living, where my house
8 Q. Ms. Bala, it reads:
9 "I saw fighting erupting between the Serbs and the population.
10 The fighting continued for the rest of the day."
11 It takes two to have a fight, doesn't it?
12 A. In some parts of Kolovica the fighting occurred during that
13 period, and what I meant by fighting was not fighting between two equal
14 parts or sides but the firing from one side onto another side, which was
15 the shelling.
16 Q. Thank you. Ms. Bala, would I be right to say that no members of
17 your family had their documents seized at the border?
18 A. Yes, because there was no time and no space. We did not have the
19 documentation or the IDs on us when we left for the border.
20 Q. Thank you. Ms. Bala, what about all of the persons passing
21 through check-points, were they not all checked and inspected?
22 A. If they had decided to check all the people who went through
23 those check-points, it would take months -- it would have taken months.
24 They only picked out certain people that were separated from their
25 families, they were looted and beaten, but not everybody on the convoy
1 were -- was checked.
2 Q. Thank you. You tell us today that a Yugoslav army officer
3 entered your house, and then when the next group came along it included
4 Ivica a man you knew from before as a police officer.
5 Ms. Bala, in the 14th of April note, the only thing you state is
6 that a member of the Army of Yugoslavia came in as well as a Roma man.
7 In your 13th of June, 2001, statement you state that a member of the
8 Yugoslav army came and a Romani man. How come you only remembered today
9 to share with us the fact that this Roma person was a police officer and
10 was a member of that first group and not the other one?
11 A. I said the same thing then, and I will repeat it again. They
12 were in a group. When I say "they," these were policemen and other
13 people who were mobilised. When they came to the houses, they each went
14 to a different house --
15 Q. Thank you. Please, let's keep this as short as possible. You've
16 answered my question, and I will now put to you your own statement dated
17 the 13th of June, 2001. This is paragraph 11 where you say:
18 "On the 29th of March VJ, MUP, Serb civilians, and gypsies
19 wearing police uniforms continued to go into Albanian houses and forcing
20 the residents to leave. I was still observing this from my terrace -- I
21 was still observing this from my terrace. Later that day the VJ officer
22 and a gypsy came to our house."
23 Ms. Bala, no mention there of the traffic policeman, no naming
25 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic, it may save us a lot of time if I
1 point out that in the supplementary statement of the witness,
2 Exhibit 421, the witness at paragraph 10 says that:
3 "The gypsy that I referred to I know by the name of Ivica. He
4 was a traffic police officer before March 1999 and operated in our
6 So I think you need to take that into account when you're putting
7 the question.
8 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I'm
9 taking into account the fact that that was a 2006 statement, and the one
10 I'm talking about is a 2001 statement. Likewise, we have the April note
11 from 1999, where we find no mention of the name or indeed the official
12 capacity of that person, the Roma person. It wasn't before 2006 that the
13 traffic policeman was mentioned and named, and that is why I'm asking the
14 witness this particular question. How come in 2006 all of a sudden she
15 knows this, something that she didn't know back in 2001 or indeed back in
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can clarify. When I was asked to
18 identify who that person was, I did give the name.
19 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Thank you. You say that upon entering Kosovo Polje you saw some
21 bodies lying on the ground. How could you tell their ethnicity?
22 A. Well, considering the fact that Fushe Kosove had been burned,
23 destroyed, razed to the ground, and emptied of the Albanian population,
24 the bodies that were on the street were half burnt or burnt bodies; and
25 later on people identified them as Albanian victims. The police and army
1 forces were on both sides of the road or the street, and they could see
2 the bodies lying there.
3 Q. Ms. Bala, would I be right to say that you did not see the way in
4 which those persons came to grief?
5 A. Well, there was such destruction in Fushe Kosove, that's what led
6 me to assume that they were Albanian victims; however, I was not there
7 when that happened.
8 Q. Thank you. What I want to know is about you walking along the
9 rail track from Djeneral Jankovic to Blace. Blace is in Macedonia, can
10 you confirm that for me, please.
11 A. It's a neutral area between Kosova and Macedonia.
12 Q. Thank you. Let's move on in order to avoid wasting time. There
13 is a border there. A town is always either side of the border, not in
14 between. Can you tell me whether the policemen and officers at any point
15 followed you as you were walking along the railway track?
16 A. We went to Hani i Elezet, close to the cement factory, and there
17 we found police and army forces with their barrels pointed towards us.
18 They started to check for IDs, but then they stopped, and they forced us
19 to walk two by two on that rail track.
20 Q. You are not answering my question, are you? My question was:
21 Did the police provide security for you, did they escort you, while you
22 were walking along the railway track? That is the gist of my question.
23 Yes or no, please.
24 A. Your question is not clear to me; however, I will try to answer
25 it. As I said, the forces were there expecting us, and we were ordered
1 to form lines, to walk along -- between the tracks and not to go outside
2 the tracks.
3 Q. My question is: Were policemen or soldiers or both groups
4 following you or escorting you as you were walking down the railway
6 A. No, they were not escorting us because both sides of the rail
7 track were mined. If they had escorted us they would have been blown up.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I do have a couple
10 of questions left, but I'm ready to drop them because I think it would be
11 fair to leave the OTP some time to re-examine the witness.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Djurdjic.
13 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
14 JUDGE PARKER: Are you wanting to tender this further map? We'll
15 get you a piece of red string to put on your finger.
16 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
17 I think that would probably be the best solution. Yes, please, I would
18 like to tender this.
19 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
20 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D00053, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much.
22 Mr. Behar, do you have re-examination?
23 MR. BEHAR: Yes, just very briefly. Thank you.
24 Re-examination by Mr. Behar:
25 Q. Ms. Bala, you were asked some questions about the location of the
1 railway station and then particular question from His Honour. Can I ask
2 you: Do you remember what you passed as you walked with the convoy on
3 the way to the train station?
4 A. Well, I'll mention them one by one. From Llapi Street, where I
5 live, we went to Proleteri Street, then from Proleteri Street to the main
6 street, to the brotherhood square. From this square we went towards the
7 train station or the Dragodan road. We reached the Dragodan bridge, and
8 from there the train station is not very far away so we went from there
9 to the train station.
10 Q. Thank you. And just so I'm clear then, does that mean -- did you
11 go through the centre en route?
12 A. The brotherhood and unity square, there is a monument there, that
13 is the centre of Prishtina. We went through the centre. However, there
14 were other convoys coming from all corners of Prishtina that were joining
15 the main convoy, going through the centre.
16 Q. Thank you. And my final question is just with respect to a
17 question you were asked by counsel for Mr. Djordjevic. He asked you why
18 you'd never mentioned seeing masks or painted faces before in any of your
20 MR. BEHAR: Can we have the witness's addendum up on the screen,
21 it was marked as P00420. We'll need the addendum and page 2 of the
23 [Prosecution counsel confer]
24 MR. BEHAR: There.
25 Q. Just drawing your attention then to paragraph 9, about line 5,
1 again this is from your addendum taken in 2006. Can you just read that
2 line out loud for us.
3 A. [In English] I have to read it?
4 Q. If you could read it aloud for us, and I'll just ask you a very
5 brief question --
6 JUDGE PARKER: Would you prefer it in Albanian, which is coming
7 up now.
8 MR. BEHAR:
9 Q. There's a line there that references painted faces. If you could
10 read that aloud. You can take a moment to find it.
11 A. I don't have it not yet now in Albanian, but I will continue in
12 English to read.
13 Q. Okay. If that's fine. I know you do speak English.
14 A. Yeah, I do. Thank you.
15 "I was able to distinguish the police from VJ by their uniforms.
16 The VJ," that means Vojska Jugoslavije, "had green uniforms, the police
17 blue. Badges or patches worn on the uniforms would have Yugoslav Army
18 and MUP," that means Ministarstvo Unutrasnjih Poslova, "in Serbian,
19 written on them. Additionally, the police tended to have police, again
20 in Serbian, written on the back of the uniforms. The only forces that I
21 was unable to distinguish were the person who dressed all in black. They
22 wore no patches on their clothing. They wore masks or have painted faces
23 and they would wear scarves on the head and arms" --
24 Q. That's fine. I'll just stop you there. Does that help you to
25 remember whether or not you had mentioned this before in a previous
2 A. Yeah.
3 MR. BEHAR: Those are my questions, Your Honour. Thank you.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE PARKER: You'll be pleased to know, Ms. Bala, that that
7 concludes the questions for you. We've just finished in time for the
8 day, fortunately. The Chamber would like to thank you for coming again
9 to The Hague and for the assistance that you have been able to give, and
10 you may now, of course, now return to your ordinary activities. And when
11 we rise, the court officer will show you out. So once again, thank you.
12 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much.
13 JUDGE PARKER: We resume tomorrow in the afternoon at 2.15.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 17th day of
16 March, 2009, at 2.15 p.m.