1 Friday, 27 March 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. You are alone, I see, Mr. Djurdjic.
6 [The witness takes the stand]
7 WITNESS: MAHMUT HALIMI [Resumed]
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, Mr. Halimi.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
11 JUDGE PARKER: The affirmation you made at the beginning of your
12 evidence to tell the truth still applies, and Mr. Djurdjic is continuing
13 with his questions.
14 Mr. Djurdjic.
15 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Cross-examination by Mr. Djurdjic: [Continued]
17 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Halimi. Yesterday we left off
18 with that map, and I would like the legal officer, if he would be so
19 kind, as to call up the Defence Exhibit D00065.
20 JUDGE PARKER: We've brought up the unmarked map. Is that the
21 one you want?
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.
23 JUDGE PARKER: The map that is shown here is without any
24 markings. Is that the one you want?
25 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] I understood that we had admitted
1 yesterday the map that Mr. Halimi had marked with this number, 00065.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. We'll bring up D65.
3 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 Q. Mr. Halimi, I'd like to know how far is Lower Zabare from
5 Upper Zabare?
6 A. There are the two villages are very close to each other. They
7 are adjacent to the extent that few people would be able to differentiate
8 between the Upper and the Lower Zhabar. However, if we were to try to
9 tell the difference, at the time of the war from the centre of one
10 village to the other, it would be a distance of no more than 1 kilometre.
11 Q. Thank you. Well, the questions I'm asking you refer to 1999. If
12 I ever want to ask about another time, I'll make that known.
13 Now, Mr. Halimi, from Upper Zabare to this closest area of the
14 central urban part, how far is it?
15 A. Can you repeat it?
16 Q. How far is Lower Zabare from the closest part of the urban part
17 of Mitrovica?
18 A. Two to 2.5 kilometres. No more. Just over 2 kilometres.
19 Q. Thank you. And how far is Lower Zabare from Tavnik?
20 A. Some 1.200 metres? One kilometre and 200 metres, no more.
21 Q. Thank you. And now how far is from Lower Zabare to Sipolje?
22 A. It's approximately the same distance to Tavnik. Just about 1.200
23 metres, no more. This is just a guess on my part.
24 Q. Thank you. And how far is Lower Zabare from the Kovaci
1 A. About 2 kilometres. I don't think it's 2. Approximately 2, but
2 a bit less, I'd say.
3 Q. Thank you. And also distance from Lower Zabare to the
4 water-supply organisation?
5 A. As the crow flies, it's no more than 1.200 metres. However,
6 there are two roads, and I spoke on them yesterday, and depending on
7 which one you take the distance varies. To be able to reach the
8 water-supply company, that is.
9 Q. Thank you. Approximately's good enough.
10 A. The road that I emphasised yesterday, which is from the Zhabar
11 school to the Shipol school, the one that is vertical, and the other one
12 that joins the Mitrovica-Peje road and all the way to the water-supply
13 unit should be approximately 2.5 kilometres. However, the other road
14 which we say it's the one that takes you to the timber-processing
15 compound should be about 500 metres more, which in my guess is about just
16 over 3 kilometres.
17 Q. That you, Mr. Halimi. Your father, Mahmut, what was his
19 A. My father's name was Bajram, and he worked at the
20 timber-processing unit in Mitrovica. Then he retired due to ill-health.
21 Q. Thank you. How many siblings did you have?
22 A. I had three brothers -- I have three brothers. I have two now.
23 One has already died. There's three of us now and two sisters.
24 Q. Thank you. Did you have a family house in Donje Zabare, in
25 Lower Zabare?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. In 1999 when the war began, who lived in that house?
3 A. That house belongs to me, has belonged to me since 1998. At the
4 time, there were refugees from the Drenica region living in my house. So
5 that house is to be found in the Zhabar compound. I lived there. After
6 the war, I went and established myself with my family there. However,
7 the house I stayed at during the war was the house that belongs to my
8 brother which is closer to the city stadium and the Ibar River
9 Q. And how about your father's family house? Who lived there? That
10 is, where did your father live?
11 A. My father died in 1986. At the time, me and my eldest brother,
12 Hasan, lived together in Zhabar at the place where he still lives, which
13 is the house adjacent to the Ibar River
14 Zhabar, closer to the city stadium. That was our extended family house.
15 My brother still lives in that house whilst I went and had a house of my
16 own built.
17 Q. Thank you. I'm sorry about asking this. I had not seen that in
18 the statement. Your mother was alive, though, at the beginning of the
19 war, wasn't she?
20 A. My mother still lives. She's 84, nearing 85.
21 Q. You are married, and you were married at the time when the war
22 began. You had your wife and how many children?
23 A. I have my wife and four children. The same I had at that time.
24 Q. And you were living, at that time, in an apartment in the
25 northern part of Mitrovica; correct?
1 A. In fact, it was a house which I bought towards the end of 1996,
2 and I lived there until the 25th of March, 1999, which would make it a
3 full ten years two days ago.
4 Q. What were the ages of your children when the war began?
5 A. The -- the eldest were the grown-ups, because of a gap between my
6 second and third child, a gap of eight years, which means that my little
7 daughter now is 17; she was of 9 at the time. Whilst my little son, who
8 now is 15, was about 5 at the time.
9 Q. And how old were your first and the second child?
10 A. My eldest daughter, who is now married, was born in 1984, whereas
11 my son is 23. He turned 23 on the 23rd of March, which means at the time
12 he was about 13, whilst my daughter was 14 and a half, less than 15.
13 Q. Thank you. Mr. Halimi, in 1977 you got your law degree; and if I
14 understood correctly, you found employment as a clerk on a trial period
15 in the Municipal Court in Mitrovica; correct?
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. Thank you. And after this trial period that lasted one year, you
18 were elected judge of the Municipal Court in Mitrovica?
19 A. Yes, that is correct.
20 Q. Thank you. And tell me, under what law were you elected judge of
21 the Municipal Court after just the trial period? After one year's
23 A. [Overlapping speakers] page on the law applicable at the time on
24 the selection of judges, which was a prerogative of the Kosova Assembly.
25 It was called the Law on the Appointment of Officials given that judges
1 were part of the official structure of the time.
2 Q. Thank you. Haven't judges always been part of the official
4 A. Yes. They were the ones who enjoyed official functions.
5 Q. And you claim here that an apprentice lawyer, having passed the
6 bar exam, can legally be elected judge?
7 A. Yes, that is correct. You have to pass the exam to the bar,
8 which applied across Yugoslavia
9 exam, every lawyer was entitled to apply to become a judge.
10 Q. What about technical collaborator, independent assistant,
11 research assistant? How many years does one have to work in these
12 positions to gain experience?
13 A. Lawyers who had gone through a period of apprenticeship at a
14 court of law had a minimum period of one year to meet, whilst others who
15 worked elsewhere, like at the municipality and so on, had a period of two
16 years to complete of this kind of apprenticeship before they were able to
17 sit the bar examination. Which means that they were entitled to apply
18 for the position of a judge or a barrister, or, put otherwise, they would
19 have the whole array of legal instruments at their disposal.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Halimi. You're now telling me about the
21 requirements for taking the bar exam, and you are telling me that those
22 who work in state agencies are eligible after one year and outside the
23 state agencies it's two years.
24 Now, I'm asking you in a court of law the technical assistant,
25 independent assistant, and research assistant, who must already have
1 passed the bar exam, also need to have a certain number of years of
2 experience, but let's leave that aside.
3 You left to do your military service in 1983, and in Bileca you
4 attended the school for reserve officers; is that correct?
5 A. I started my military service in October 1980, and I spent it at
6 the school for reserve officers at Bileca until the 31st of March -- or,
7 rather, the 1st of April, 1981. Afterwards, I went to Rijeka.
8 Q. Thank you. Now, what rank did you get when you moved to the
9 reserve force, having done your military service?
10 A. At the end of my school years at Bileca -- I don't even know the
11 term in Albanian, but I have to say it in Serbian. It was called the
12 rank of Vodnik, which is a lower rank than the platoon commander.
13 Q. Now, would you listen to the questions that I'm asking you? I
14 said when you had completed your military service - that's what I asked
15 you - and when you moved to join the reserve force, what rank did you
16 obtain at the time in the reserve force since you were attending the
17 officers' school? You attended the officers' school while you were doing
18 your military service.
19 A. At the end of military manoeuvres of 1987, I was given the rank
20 of captain of the infantry.
21 Q. Thank you. In 1992 you were elected judge of the Municipal Court
22 in Sremska Mitrovica. You were appointed the judge there. Now, tell me,
23 how long did you remain in that position as a judge of the
24 Municipal Court?
25 A. I can see here in the transcript that the year recorded is 1992.
1 Do you mean 1992 or 1982?
2 Q. I do apologise. I meant 1982.
3 A. Around May of 1982 I became a judge of the
4 District Court of Mitrovica.
5 Q. Thank you. Were you a member of the League of Communists?
6 A. Yes. Like everyone else who was part of the ranks of
7 officialdom, you wouldn't be able to join the service without joining the
8 League of Communists of Yugoslavia
9 Q. Thank you. Tell me now, please, when did you cease to perform
10 your functions as the -- as a judge of the District Court in Mitrovica?
11 A. I terminated my work as a judge at the Municipal Court of
12 Mitrovica at the end of 1985; and on January the 1st, 1986, I opened my
13 private lawyer's office, a function which I continue to exercise today.
14 Q. Thank you. I don't want to dwell too long on that period when
15 you ceased to be a judge. I looked at your statement of the
16 31st of January, 2000. No, it wasn't 2000. 2001. It was the
17 24th of August, 2001. I looked at the official English version, and in
18 that statement it says that you retired, that you retired. Now, what was
19 the reason for that? Why did you leave your position as judge?
20 A. I guess it might be wrong, because I have the version in
21 Albanian, and it does not mention anywhere that I ever retired.
22 Q. I'll read that part out to you, the English version. And it's
23 signed, and this is what it says:
24 "[In English] In the beginning of 1982, I became a judge in the
25 District Court in Mitrovica. After my having my application approved for
1 retirement, I eventually finished my careers as judge."
2 [Interpretation] Mr. Halimi, this is a statement that you
3 yourself signed. I won't go into the whole of the statement of what was
4 noted at the end by the translator, interpreter, and your approval.
5 A. By your leave, Your Honours, I would like to clarify here. It is
6 a fact that, with the applicable law at the time, the Assembly of Kosova
7 would not issue an approval to abandon your post as a judge. I did make
8 such an application to withdraw from the faction, but I was not approved
9 of it; so according to law, I had to wait for six months for my mandate
10 as a District Court judge to stop. So after this six-month period, I did
11 abandon my post as a judge. I was dismissed.
12 Q. Mr. Halimi, we're talking about two different situations here.
13 One is a situation where you tender a request to be relieved of your
14 duties. That's one thing. At your own initiative and the Assembly has
15 to decide upon that. And quite a different situation is when you
16 retired, and you said that you had indeed retired. So these are two
17 different bases for ceasing to work as a judge. Can you explain to us
18 how it was possible that you said that you had retire, and you signed
19 this statement of yours, which was the first statement you, in fact, gave
20 to the investigators of The Hague Tribunal?
21 A. The statement was read back to me in Albanian, and to my
22 recollection, not in my statement to the investigators of the OTP and not
23 even during my testimony here in the Milosevic trial and in the
24 Milutinovic et al trial, this part was not mentioned; and as far as I
25 know, I did clarify that it is true that I filed a request. This request
1 was denied. And after six months, according to the law, my post as a
2 judge no longer existed. It ceased to exist, and from that date I opened
3 my private office and worked as a lawyer.
4 Q. Mr. Halimi, I read out your statement, the statement you yourself
5 signed, and it was written in English, and I'm now going to show you the
6 certification by the translator of that same statement of the
7 1st of September, 2001.
8 "Mahmut Halimi," it says, "told me that he speaks and understands
9 the Albanian language, and the aforementioned statement I have translated
10 from the English into Albanian in the presence of Mahmut Halimi, and it
11 corresponds to the original, and judging -- and to all intents and
12 purposes he understood the statement and the translation of it, and he
13 confirmed that to the best of his recollections the facts set out in the
14 statement are truthful as I have translated them and read back to him,
15 and he asserts that by signing the statement."
16 A. I do not understand English. I read the translation in Albanian,
17 and I had no remarks as far as the Albanian translation is concerned. It
18 is possible that an omission was made, or a mistake, not a deliberate
19 mistake, on the part of the interpreter.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Halimi. Let's move on. But while we're on the
21 subject of mistakes, you said yesterday that in the transcript in the
22 Milutinovic trial there was some mistakes made. How do you think those
23 mistakes came about in the first place?
24 A. Well, it's not an easy job for the interpreters, and such
25 mistakes are possible. They can occur. However, from the context, you
1 can easily tell that this is a mistake.
2 As you saw yesterday, I reacted immediately when I saw my name on
3 the transcript recorded as "Halilovic." I happened to notice that
4 mistake, but as I said, mistakes can occur.
5 Q. Thank you. So what you want to say is that everything is
6 relative. Very well. Let's move on.
7 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] I think that the map is already an
8 exhibit, D65, I believe; so I don't think it needs a number as the court
9 officer has just told me. The only thing is that this witness has spoken
10 about distances and kilometres, and they haven't been introduced onto
11 this map. So, Your Honours, am I right in saying that this map does not
12 need a number?
13 JUDGE PARKER: It has one already. It's Exhibit D65.
14 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 Q. When you became a lawyer and took up practice as a lawyer, did
16 you specialise in any particular area of the law?
17 A. Counsel, as you may be well aware, at the time we belonged to the
18 Yugoslav system there was no specialising in any particular area of the
19 law. Everyone on his or her free will would orient himself or herself in
20 what he or she wanted. Maybe I'm amongst the only lawyer in Kosova that
21 deals with criminal cases, with criminal law mostly.
22 Q. Thank you. So I can conclude that you're a specialist in
23 criminal law. You decided to specialise in that area, and of course the
24 state couldn't tell any of its lawyers or of the lawyers which area they
25 would specialise in in their work. Am I right in saying that? It was
1 your own choice?
2 A. Yes, correct.
3 Q. Thank you. Now, you as a lawyer acted independently. You
4 weren't a state official. Am I right in saying that?
5 A. Yes. I had my private office as a lawyer.
6 Q. Thank you. I didn't understand you very well yesterday when you
7 said that you were one of the first fighters against the judicial system
8 that was in existence. Could you give me a time-frame? What period of
9 time did you mean, and what did you mean when you said that?
10 A. I didn't say a fighter but a fierce opponent of the Milosevic
11 regime, of the discriminatory nature, especially from 1990 onwards until
12 the NATO air campaign began.
13 Q. Could you give us some more facts, not just descriptions and
14 qualifications, but the facts?
15 A. Well, I will illustrate it with a case that I well remember. The
16 dates are between 31st of December, 1990, and especially
17 1st of January, 1991.
18 That night, late at night, police forces surrounded our now
19 legendary commander, Adem Jashari. He and his comrades succeeded in
20 escaping from this encirclement by the Serb forces. On the following
21 day, in the early morning hours, before 7.00, the police undertook
22 measures against the inhabitants of Prekaz e Ulet village to retaliate
23 and maltreated and beat about 27 or 29 citizens.
24 I remember that day very well. It was a clear January day. It
25 was very cold. We engaged ourselves for two and a half months. I
1 personally engaged myself for two and a half months to defend five
2 members of the extended family from the -- this village and presented
3 this case and the difficult situation in general to the representatives
4 of different organisations that were present at Kosova at the time.
5 I familiarised them with this horror that the inhabitants of
6 Prekaz and its outskirts had to suffer on this January day and also
7 informed the media in Kosova and abroad. Of course the regime, at the
8 time, didn't like this activity, was against this kind of activity, so
9 lawyers, citizens, and everyone was, in a way, queuing to be interrogated
10 in front of police stations of the Milosevic regime.
11 Q. Thank you. I didn't understand you very well in the way that it
12 was interpreted to me, but tell us, why are Mr. Jashari and the members
13 of his group legend, or why did the legendary Mr. Jashari and his group
14 flee from the police?
15 A. He was wanted by the police because of his public activities
16 relating to the Kosova issue.
17 Q. Thank you. Now, these activities that you mentioned, did they
18 involve the use of fire-arms?
19 A. At the time, no. Perhaps only the sparks, because in lack of
20 peaceful solution to the Kosova problem, it was expected that the Kosovan
21 people will try and fight for their rights by resorting to arms.
22 Q. Thank you. It seems to me that you forgot that at that time in
23 Sipolje, the legendary Mr. Jashari, with his group, killed a number of
25 A. I didn't forget that. In 1991 and in 1992, there were no
1 policemen killed in Shipol. Later on, yes. We have 1996, 1997, 1998
2 when policemen were killed.
3 Q. And was it whom you defended after the 1st of January, 1991
4 you explain that to me?
5 A. The village of Prekaz
6 Jashari family. There are also members of Lushtaku family, but most of
7 the village is Jashari.
8 I represented five persons, all of them Jashari -- Jasharis, they
9 were not brothers or cousins of Adem Jashari. They were distantly
11 Q. Mr. Halimi, you've been talking a lot, but you're not answering
12 my question. What acts were they accused of having committed, and what
13 acts did you defend them against?
14 A. At the time, the office of the prosecutor at the District Court
15 in Mitrovica charged them with crimes of counter-revolutionary activity
16 against the SFRY. They were kept in detention for three months. The
17 penal criminal procedure stopped, was suspended, after three months
18 because it was proved that they had nothing to do with the
19 counter-revolutionary activity they were charged with at the first place.
20 Q. Thank you. Well, from what you've just said, the judiciary
21 functioned very well during Milosevic's time.
22 A. Yes. During his first years in power, the real nature of his
23 regime was visible to all; and I think I managed to convey this through
24 my own personal commitment and through soliciting the help of NGOs
25 involved in human rights defences at the time, including
1 Human Rights Watch, an organisation with which I had excellent contacts.
2 Q. Thank you. Mr. Halimi, the police filed a report with the
3 prosecutor's office instigated proceedings. The court established there
4 is no basis for further prosecution, stopped the process, and acquitted
5 these people. Does that mean that the judiciary were independent in
6 their work?
7 A. It did function somewhat. In fact, what was proven in -- through
8 that process is that those five were part of the expeditionary nature of
9 the police forces at the time, even the three months during which they
10 were kept in detention, in fact were aimed at increasing repression with
11 a view to hiding the repressive nature of the activities that the police
12 themselves had undertaken.
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Halimi. You're not really being responsive, but
14 let's move on.
15 In your statement of 24 August 2001, you state:
16 "I had to find all sorts of different ways to maintain good
17 relations with the Serb authorities in Kosovska Mitrovica. I always had
18 to act in the best interests of my clients. The hardest moments of my
19 career were when I realised that everything is uncertain and unreliable
20 but money. Unfortunately, those moments were frequent. It was awful for
21 me to go back to my clients and tell them that they have to pay because
22 Serbian justice exists only if one is ready to pay."
23 Can you explain this part of your statement to the Trial Chamber?
24 A. I would have considered myself the most fortunate of all if this
25 had never occurred. However, this was part and parcel of a totalitarian
1 country, of a criminal regime like the one that Milosevic led.
2 I tried to explain yesterday the obvious instance where a judge
3 at the District Court of Mitrovica had to take a petrol can, to take it
4 to lawyers' offices - and we're talking here about lawyers who were
5 involved in the same process - and I'm not -- talking here about money
6 and corruption. It was a corrupt system, and I think the nature of this
7 corruption, at the end of the day, worked badly against the Serbian
8 people in Kosova and particularly in Serbia itself.
9 Q. Thank you, but to begin with, I did not understand the bit where
10 the judge was taking petrol canister to offices of lawyers in the same
11 court. Could you explain that?
12 A. It's simple. You have an empty petrol can and you take it to the
13 lawyer's office to have it filled with petrol. I.e., lawyers,
14 solicitors, had to go and buy the petrol in about 20 minutes, 40 minutes,
15 an hour's time. He returned and took the full petrol can to fill up his
16 car or probably to sell it. There were quite a few solicitors in
17 Mitrovica who experienced this kind of activity.
18 Q. Thank you. You said that only through bribes you paid on behalf
19 of your clients could you serve their interests. Is that correct?
20 A. In the majority of cases, yes. I mentioned yesterday even at the
21 municipal level, if citizens were to go to seek to have a birth
22 certificate, which is an inherent right, a citizen was to pay an
23 additional 10 Deutschmarks in order to obtain it, and this is in addition
24 to the legal fees applicable.
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Halimi. We'll come back to that later, but I
1 asked you for payoff -- asked you about payoffs in Serbian legal
2 proceedings to get justice. You said that bribes were necessary to
3 achieve that. Can you explain this?
4 A. I would need a minimum five hours to be able to explain this at
5 some length, and I said this during my previous testimony as well. But
6 from the municipal level, from the -- the flimsiest of offences and up to
7 the Supreme Court of Serbia
8 taking bribes to be able to bring to a satisfactory resolution cases in
9 which Albanians were involved.
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Halimi. You understand perfectly well as a man
11 who is a professional in criminal law that bribery is a double criminal
12 act, a two-pronged criminal act. Is it clear to you that you were also
13 responsible for a criminal act in making bribes, offering bribes on
14 behalf of your clients?
15 A. You cannot be held accountable of -- of criminal offences in a
16 criminal system, within a criminal system, within a totalitarian system
17 like the one that Milosevic led. You can not pretend to act normally.
18 So from that point of view I would not consider it a criminal offence.
19 And we are talking here about situations of extreme necessity, and you
20 know that other considerations apply.
21 Q. Thank you. Did I understand you correctly that you believed that
22 the situation justifies you in everything you did?
23 A. Milosevic himself had legitimised this kind of activity at the
24 time. He used to bring judges from all over Serbia to work in
25 Municipal Courts inside Kosova. The excuse given was that this was a
1 patriotic duty. In fact, the only duty that they had was to loot as much
2 as they could. None of them were there to apply the law.
3 Q. And you were an active player in that system, offering bribes to
4 judges; correct?
5 A. I wouldn't describe myself as a key person. However, depending
6 on circumstances and the explicit interest of both parties, as well as
7 the duty one has to give the best in the defence of one's client, the
8 ultimate resort or choice was to bribe the judges and prosecutors of the
10 Q. Thank you. I will never agree with your methods of work, and I
11 don't think we can follow the principle that means justify everything,
12 that any method is allowed in the representation of our clients. But
13 tell me, Mr. Halimi, who was the president of the
14 Supreme Court of Kosovo?
15 A. You do know that at that time the Supreme Court of Kosova had
16 been suspended. It was only the Supreme Court of Serbia that was in
17 operation. We are talking about 1990, the time when Kosova's autonomy
18 was revoked. All its competent bodies were dissolved, including the
19 Supreme Court of Kosova. So the authorities of -- the authority
20 exercised until then by the Supreme Court of Kosova was passed on to the
21 Supreme Court of Serbia
22 Q. Mr. Halimi, by the constitution of Serbia of 1991, or 1992, I'm
23 not sure, the unified judiciary -- judicial system was established for
24 the first time headed by the Supreme Court of Serbia. Until that time,
25 autonomous provinces had their own Supreme Courts. I'm asking you:
1 Prior to the adoption of that constitution, who was the president of the
2 Supreme Court of Kosovo?
3 A. Your Honours, dear colleague, first of all, I -- I'm -- I'm not
4 the only one who is a witness of the situation applying at that time. My
5 honourable colleague as well. And we know that in March 1999, the
6 constitution of Serbia
7 was approved. It was exactly the same day when they were toasting this
8 approval whilst in Kosova a lot of blood was being shed.
9 Let me refresh the memory of my own colleague. This did not
10 happen in 1991. And from that moment onwards, it did not -- the Supreme
11 Court did not exist. However, before 1989 there was an eminent lawyer
12 called Riza Fazliu, who no longer lives. I think he was succeeded --
13 forgive me. Mr. Riza Fazliu was followed by someone else until 1989, but
14 it ceased to exist in 1989. The only thing we had was a branch of the
15 Supreme Court of Serbia
16 Q. Thank you. And what about Judge Pjeter Kolja? Who was he?
17 A. Thank you for reminding me. Thank you. Thank you. I forgot.
18 Yes, Pjeter Kolja succeeded Riza Fazliu.
19 Q. I see from your statement that you are very familiar with
20 Prizren. Is it true that Jakup Burmani was president of the District
21 Court in Prizren?
22 A. Jakup not Burmani but Gurmani with a G. I don't think I ever met
23 Gurmani. I've heard of him. I don't think I ever met him. However, I
24 did hear of him. He was a judge, yes.
25 Q. And was Judge Fadil Nushi, President of the Municipal Court?
1 A. What time do you have in mind?
2 Q. I mean the period that you are talking about. Until 1991, before
4 A. I do not know this person. However, let me explain the judicial
5 system, a part of which I was myself.
6 At the time, all judges and prosecutors, beginning from --
7 beginning at the end of 1989, were removed from their positions with full
8 remuneration until the end of 1992. In 1992, however, an open
9 competition was published on the nomination of judges even though this
10 period of time from the end of 1989 to March 1992 was one in which
11 Albanian -- very, very few Albanian judges worked, did any work. There
12 was some prosecutors, but just very few judges.
13 In 1992, however, an open competition was opened in which a
14 negligible number of judges applied, because one of the conditions to
15 apply was the explicit expression of loyalty to the state of Serbia
16 from amongst the Albanians, there was a negligible number who would
17 accept expressing an allegiance of loyalty to the State of Serbia. There
18 were very few exceptions. There was one of the District Court
19 of Prishtina. There was one or two in Mitrovica. There was one
20 profession -- professional collaborator. This was the situation.
21 Q. Thank you. Mr. Halimi, up until the election of judges under the
22 new constitution of Serbia
23 Kosovo and Metohija, and Skender Morine was the District Prosecutor in
24 Kosovo until 1991 in Prizren. Jakup Gurmani was the President of the
25 District Court. Fadil Nushi was President of the Municipal Court, and
1 another Albanian was his predecessor as president of the District Court.
2 Are you going to tell me after that there were no Albanians in
3 the judicial system of Kosovo and Metohija who were brave enough to
4 oppose all pressures and apply for positions of judges in open
6 A. All I can say is that I was one of those -- those who went to my
7 colleagues and told them to not accept the apparatus of this regime, the
8 nature of which was visible to us all, and I did help them, even
9 materially speaking. I gave them money.
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Halimi. I forgot you called them collaborators a
11 moment ago.
12 A. They were. Some of them even worse than collaborators, because
13 they turned against their own people.
14 Q. Thank you. And did you participate in the organisation of
15 elections for the president of the Republic of Kosovo
16 A. Yes. Because at the time, I led the chapter of the
17 Albanian Christian Democrat Party in Mitrovica. So, yes, I did take
19 Q. Thank you. And you also took part in the elections into the
20 Assembly of Kosovo in 1991, if I'm not mistaken.
21 A. Yes. In the elections to the Assembly and the referendum held on
22 or around July the 2nd, and with which Kosova was declared a republic, a
23 state with all the attributes of statehood, equal to the other
24 constituent parts of the -- Yugoslavia
25 Q. Thank you. And did you participant in the adoption of the
1 Kacanik constitution?
2 A. No. I was not there, no. Because those who participated were
3 the delegates who had the vote of the people, our vote. They were the
4 ones who gathered at Kacanik to endorse the contusion of the
5 Republic of Kosova
6 Q. And these enactments that we discussed and these processes we
7 discussed, would you call that legal?
8 A. History corroborated that. You do know that Kosova is now an
9 independent country. More than 56 countries have recognised it. It was
10 a reasonable course of events which ought to have been pursued, and
11 that's what we did.
12 Q. Thank you. I don't want to get involved in politics in the
13 courtroom, and I'm not asking these questions for that purpose. I'm
14 talking about 1991. And I'm saying that in a sovereign state, taking
15 steps, the kind that you described, the state is then duty-bound to take
16 all legal steps against those who jeopardised the order of the state, the
17 constitutional order, and the legal order of that state. Am I right?
18 A. I think we should deal here in science and not politics, and in
19 order to become a scientist, one has to become impartial. If we are to
20 deal in politics, you have your own viewpoint, and I have mine; and my
21 viewpoint on the matter is that I was right and my people were right and
22 they had to resort to all forms of repression on the part of the
23 Milosevic regime because Albanians historically considered themselves to
24 be a colony and the Serbian regime as a repressive one.
25 I think I should not go into history, because history will tell
1 you that Kosova has always been overwhelmingly inhabited by Albanians.
2 And from the Second World War onwards, before the First World War, before
3 the war of 1912, and so on, it had its own distinctive attributes; but
4 this would take a long time to be able to explain this properly. It
5 would take a long time.
6 Q. You are very loquacious in your answers, but let me make this
7 question very simple. Just imagine, how would the government of the
8 Republic of Germany
9 What measures would the state of the Republic of Germany
10 A. Why should we not cite Southern Africa here? Why should we cite
13 the same language and so on and so forth. Why then just cite here
14 apartheid in Southern Africa which is very, very similar to the situation
15 that applied in Kosovo?
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic, we've come to the time when we must
17 have the first break. Could I point out that we have listened with
18 complete patience for an hour and a half, and in that time you have not
19 asked questions about the events of -- that are relevant to the
20 indictment; and you are, at the moment, pursuing questions dealing with
21 the subject of political philosophy, which is not going to assist this
22 Chamber to determine the question of the guilt or innocence of your
23 client. It's a matter of deep debate about which clearly different views
24 can be taken, but this Chamber in this trial is not going to be in a
25 position to say one side is right or one side is wrong. That is not a
1 matter we must deal with. We have an indictment alleging offences, and
2 they are the matters to which we must direct our attention, so that we
3 would be very grateful when we return after the break if you were able to
4 direct any questions you have dealing with the issues that will concern
5 us in the trial. Thank you.
6 We must now have the first break, and we will resume again at
8 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
9 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djurdjic.
11 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. Mr. Halimi, in your statement from 2001, you said that you worked
13 with the Kosovo Verification Mission
14 involvement with that was and what your task was? But please just
15 briefly. Stick to the facts, please.
16 A. I remember that this happened on the 5th of October, 1998, when
17 the international community diplomatic mission to Kosovo was deployed.
18 It followed the Holbrooke-Milosevic agreement, if you recall that. I'd
19 been invited as a representative of the Mitrovica region, and I recall
20 this -- I recall this with some clarity, because I had to take an oath,
21 an oath to say that I should serve with the mission, to pass on
22 information depending on the itinerary and the other plans that they had
23 as part and parcel of their remit there. This is the KDOM mission.
24 Q. And could you tell me what reports you sent, and were you a
25 member of the mission? What was your status? Were you an associate or
2 A. Even though the primary goal of that mission was to obtain a
3 stable situation in Kosova, that Serbian units refrain from violence and
4 so on, I as a collaborator of this mission was duty-bound to convey to
5 the mission in what way was the agreement being implemented on the
6 ground, i.e., vis-a-vis, the commitment made by Mr. Milosevic in front of
7 Mr. Holbrooke, namely the international community.
8 Q. Thank you. I'm going to ask you some short questions, and please
9 give me yes or no answers.
10 Were you paid by KDOM?
11 A. They made an offer which I turned down.
12 Q. Thank you. Did you sign a contract with them?
13 A. No, with the exception of the oath which I had to sign in their
15 Q. Thank you. What reports and how often did you send them out?
16 A. Minimum of two or three reports a week, sometimes written,
17 sometimes imparted orally, all of them aimed at giving a chronological
18 account of what was happening in the region of Mitrovica.
19 Q. Thank you. Did you report on the activities of the KLA? I mean,
20 did you report to KDOM about that?
21 A. Yes. I made -- I even made possible direct contacts with them.
22 So I enabled contacts between them and representatives of the KLA.
23 Q. Thank you. Could you tell me who you established contact with?
24 Who in the KLA, and who in KDOM?
25 A. Given that the region of Mitrovica belonged to two of the
1 military zones of the KLA, one being the zone of Drenica, the other one
2 of Shala, I advised them to establish contacts; and to this end, I
3 resorted to the links that I myself had with the representatives of the
4 KLA. They did not hold their meetings in my presence, i.e., I was not
5 present there. I think their main interest was that I be not seen in
6 their presence by the Serbs whilst they went to meet KLA members, and
7 that explains why they had their contacts separately. I don't know who
8 they met at that stage, but certainly it must have been the
9 representatives of that military force at the time. Or, rather, military
10 representatives of the mission at the time.
11 Q. Thank you. Can you give me the names of the KLA members that you
12 linked up with KDOM?
13 A. Well, the -- it was liaison -- a liaison type of role between me,
14 foot soldiers, and commanding structures of the KLA. Let me try to
15 recall two or three people I had most contacts with, meaning that we
16 enjoyed a maximum amount of trust. Dzevad Valci [phoen], Nedzad Curbrali
17 [phoen], Ismet Hadza [phoen] in particular. These are people who I
18 trusted not to spy on me at the Serbian police, and what they did is
19 convey information as to the venue where they would wait for the
20 representatives of the mission, which is what they did. They waited for
21 them, and they arrived at an agreement as to where to meet. Let me
22 reiterate, though, that I was not present at one of those meetings. This
23 was not part and parcel of my remit.
24 Q. Thank you, Mr. Halimi. Now, could you tell me who it was from
25 KDOM that you linked up to the persons you've just named? Could you give
1 me the names of the KDOM people? Kosovo Verification Mission is what
2 KDOM is short for -- or, rather, KFOR.
3 A. I remember that the KDOM representative for Mitrovica was someone
4 from Finland
5 high-ranking diplomatic representative. To be frank with you, I never
6 involved myself in trying to find out their professional background, but
7 he lead the mission. He was the one I had most contacts with.
8 There was another one from France. I can't remember his name.
9 Another representative from Greece
10 or five in general. However, most of my contacts were with Mr. Tikkanen.
11 Q. Thank you. Now, did you know, did you inform anybody that the
12 H -- that the KLA had taken control of territory from which the police
13 and army of the Republic of Serbia
14 A. They went and saw it with their own eyes. It is well known now
15 that the KLA had control and -- over a part of the territory of Kosova
17 Q. Mr. Halimi, in your statement you mention, although I don't
18 understand this very well, a group -- the kidnapping of some kind. Could
19 you tell me first what period you're referring to there?
20 A. I'm referring to the end of 1998. In the first two months I, in
21 the period running up to the NATO air-strikes, where specialised police
22 units, one of which was -- had established itself at hotel number 3 at
23 Zvecan and the other one at the military barracks in the centre of
24 Mitrovica at the secondary school where the old barracks are located --
25 were located.
1 During the Milosevic period, the Special Forces Unit of the MUP
2 of Serbia
3 they went hunting for Albanians, as it were, usually in the -- after
4 22.30, 23.00 in the evening. And so they kidnapped a number of people
5 whose remains were only found two or three days later in various
7 Q. Thank you. And how do you come to know that, what you've just
8 told us about?
9 A. I know this very well, because these infamous units undertook
10 their activities at the same time. They left the barracks roughly at the
11 same time, only to return there in the early hours of the morning.
12 I myself have observed them from the first floor of a nearby
13 building, of a building that's alongside the road that takes you to the
14 barracks; and I remember that they used a white Land Rover car, which
15 often had German registration plates. I assume it was an armoured car,
16 but I'm not sure about it. It had dark windows. There were also three
17 or four others in a Fica car, which is one of the models of the Zastava
19 It's only on the following day that one would learn that two,
20 three, four Albanians were found dead, i.e., executed in different
21 locations around Mitrovica.
22 I used to observe them for days on end from a building near the
23 secondary school, from the first floor of that building. It's about 25
24 metres from the entrance to the barracks.
25 Q. Thank you. So on the basis of the fact that these vehicles went
1 in and out, you made these conclusions. Am I right in saying that?
2 A. This is more than correct.
3 Q. Thank you. Mr. Halimi, you said that someone threatened you when
4 the KLM
5 THE INTERPRETER: Or, rather, the Kosovo Verification Mission,
6 interpreter's correction.
7 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Can you explain to us what
8 happened, but just briefly, please, when the KVM left Kosovo?
9 A. From early October and until 26th of November, 1998, the KDOM was
10 operating there. It was followed by the OSCE, which mission continued
11 until some days before the NATO air-strikes began. It is true that I
12 received a threat on the 23rd of March in the evening. It was my son's
13 birthday. My son's name is Ylber.
14 And after these gun-shots were heard, if necessary I can describe
15 this in details because I will never forget it.
16 Q. Thank you. You established that that was Sinisa Lazic, you say.
17 Now, tell us who Sinisa Lazic.
18 A. Unfortunately, it is an employee at the municipality of
19 Mitrovica, at the time someone who I knew very well and who I helped a
20 lot before the NATO air-strikes, during the war. Because I didn't want
21 to discriminate between ethnicities, I offered my assistance and help to
22 Serbs and Albanians as well.
23 A Serb had killed his uncle's son, and I represented the family
24 of the deceased during these proceedings. This is the person in
25 question. And this is how he wanted to repay for my assistance.
1 Q. Thank you. What I asked you was what he did, but you gave a very
2 long answer about what I hadn't actually asked you.
3 What function and post did he hold, if he had any?
4 A. I know he was an official at the municipality. He was a part of
5 an inspectorate, but I'm not quite sure which inspectorate he worked
6 with. Financial inspectorate or market inspectorate. I really don't
7 remember which one he belonged to.
8 Q. Thank you. Am I right in saying that you went to see him in the
9 morning and that you said to him, "Remember this and tell everyone else
10 who's like you that you come from the Carpathians, whereas I and my
11 people have been living here for 2.000 years, and as of this day you are
12 my greatest enemies"?
13 A. Yes, it is true. I didn't say "you" in plural, but I said "you,"
14 in singular, "will be my greatest enemy from now on." If you say you in
15 plural that implies the whole Serbian nation, and that's not what I
17 Q. There must be a mistake again in the interpretation, Mr. Halimi,
18 because everything that doesn't suit you seems to be an interpretation
19 mistake, but let's move on.
20 Am I right in saying that in 1998 you were warned of some
22 A. These were systematic threats, I would say, dating back from
23 1990. And I was proud of myself working on the fundamental issues
24 concerning my people and being part of those who brought freedom to
25 Kosova. There were continuous and systematic threats, but what touched
1 me most was the threat coming from this person whom I knew very well and
2 who I helped a lot.
3 I don't know how you would feel if you were in my shoes.
4 Q. Thank you. And on the 25th of March, someone threatened you
5 again. 1999, I mean.
6 A. No. On the 25th of March, I was warned. I received a phone
7 call, and I was informed that my life and the lives of my family members
8 were threatened. The person who called me on at that day did not
9 threaten me, but, rather, asked me to leave, fearing that something might
10 happen to me what happened actually to Latif Berisha and Agim Hajrizi on
11 the night between the 24th and 25th of March.
12 Q. Thank you. And what did you do?
13 A. What I already explained yesterday. I took the luggage that was
14 ready in the corridor, my children, my wife, put them in the car, and
15 drove to the stadium, crossed the Ibar River, and went to Zhabar. I left
16 my house.
17 Q. Thank you. Could you tell me, in Zabare, how did the KLA learn
18 of the fact that you were in a house there?
19 A. I didn't stay locked in a room in Zhabar. I would go out in the
20 yard, communicate with hundreds and thousands of citizens who were
21 gathered in that village. I was not hiding in a basement or cellar. I
22 was there in the village.
23 Q. Mr. Halimi, my question was: How did the members of the KLA find
24 out that you were in Lower Zabare, in the house? Can you tell me or not?
25 A. There were two- or three-member patrols of the KLA, patrols that
1 would observe the situation in Zhabar because of this great influx of
2 people in this village. I personally met them, greeted them in the
3 street. They were not dressed in uniforms. They were in civilian
4 clothes, but I knew them as members of the KLA.
5 Q. And why did you have to leave Lower Zabare according to them?
6 A. On the third day, as I've already explained it yesterday during
7 my testimony and earlier, in Tamnik neighbourhood, which is kind of a
8 neighbourhood of Mitrovica, there was a police attack. Some citizens
9 were captured by the police, and they were specifically asked about me;
10 and that's why that evening, on the third night, on the 28th of March, in
11 the evening hours after 8.00 p.m.
12 security of the refugees and other inhabitants of Zhabar at risk, I -- as
13 it was in other cases when hundreds of people were massacred because of
14 one person, I decided to leave my brother's house and go to Upper Zhabar
15 I went to the Grmova mountain.
16 Q. And tell me, please, did the members of the KLA who called on you
17 in Zabare have weapons or not?
18 A. To tell you the truth, I didn't see that. Maybe they had small
19 weapons on them. I didn't ask them to show me their weapons.
20 Q. Thank you. You said they were not armed in your statement. I
21 just wanted to ask you, was there a KLA hospital as well in this village,
22 Lower Zabare?
23 A. Yes. In the house of my relative Ymer Idrizi. It was a
24 make-shift clinic that treated the ill and the wounded KLA soldiers,
25 soldiers that were wounded in different areas.
1 The main person who looked after them was Dr. Bajram Rexhepi who
2 is now the mayor of Mitrovica.
3 Q. Would I be right in saying that uniformed and armed members of
4 the KLA did not come to the village in order not to attract police forces
5 into the village housing their hospital, the KLA hospital?
6 A. I agree. That's right.
7 Q. Am I right then in thinking that the police found out the KLA
8 hospital was there and that's why they entered your village a couple of
9 days later?
10 A. No. The police had no knowledge of it. The police had a planned
11 itinerary, a plan to carry out an ethnic cleansing of this village and to
12 expel the population to Albania
13 this clinic who treated civilians and wounded KLA soldiers.
14 Q. Well, the reason was not the KLA in the mountains where you went
15 to, was it?
16 A. No, absolutely not. The KLA soldiers, where I was in the
17 mountains with my friends, were only looking after us, providing us with
18 food. They had no means and capacities to defend us in case of an armed
19 attack. There, too, two or three KLA soldiers would come to see us. The
20 main roads were very near. There were Serb forces on all sides. There
21 were artillery forces nearby. So it was not possible for them to
22 confront these forces. They were not in position to defend us in any
24 Q. Thank you. How far away were you from those roads?
25 A. As the crow flies from the place where I was at the time - I'm
1 speaking about the period of time when I left my house and stayed there
2 together with other intellectuals from Mitrovica - the distance between
3 this place and the Adriatic highway that continues to Montenegro is not
4 more than 300 or 350 metres, as the crow flies, as I said. Whereas the
5 Peje-Mitrovica road, about 1 kilometre far. I can show it on the map if
6 you wish.
7 Q. Thank you. Later. Am I then right that the check-points for the
8 search of persons moving along those roads were a way of discovering
9 weapons and detecting KLA members mingling with the civilians?
10 A. They knew very well that there were no members of the KLA in the
11 columns, in the convoy. Everybody would have joined the KLA had there
12 been enough weapons. This is my opinion. But I guarantee you that not a
13 single KLA member abandoned his weapon to join the convoy of civilians
14 and abandon his tasks and duties received from the higher military
15 structures. So this was not the reason of these -- the existence of
16 these check-points. The police would carry out systematic looting of
17 these abandoned villages. So this was their primary task not to check
18 the civilians from the convoy but to loot them.
19 Q. Thank you. And how do you know all this that you told me about
20 members of the KLA?
21 A. As I said, I come from that area, and I knew many KLA members;
22 and I was familiar with the level of morale amongst them.
23 Q. And all this that you are telling us about the convoys and the
24 number of people is something you observed from the mountains while
25 making your own conclusions; is that right?
1 A. The things that I saw occurred between 14th, 15th, and
2 16th April, the 16th April being the date when I join the column. At
3 around 12.30 a.m.
4 column together with my relatives and acquaintances from
5 Zhabar, Mitrovica, and the surrounding area. So this is the situation
6 prevailing on these dates, 14th, 15th, and 16th of April, the situation
7 that I described.
8 Q. Thank you. How far away were you from the Kovaci neighbourhood
9 at the time?
10 A. The Kovaci neighbourhood is quite far. You could only see the
11 smoke coming out of the houses and the buildings. As the crow flies,
12 that would be about 3 or 4 kilometres far. I'm speaking about the Kovaci
14 Q. Thank you. Am I right in thinking that you were not an
15 eye-witness to the incident where 26 Albanians were killed in Kovaci?
16 A. You are right. I was not an eye-witness to this incident; but
17 after the war, together with CCIU, I took part in the investigation.
18 Q. Were you an eye-witness or not?
19 A. No, I wasn't.
20 Q. Could you see the school in Sipolje from the place you were?
21 A. I already mentioned it yesterday that you cannot see the school
22 building at Shipol from there, but you can see the road from Zhabar that
23 stretches up to a location or a playground behind the school. That one
24 you can see very well.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Can I ask D00065 to be called up.
2 Q. I'd like to ask you what is this area north of the Ibar River
3 this map?
4 A. I didn't understand. Can you repeat it, please?
5 Q. Looking at the map, which area on this map is north of the
6 Ibar River
7 A. The northern part of Mitrovica is north of Ibar River
8 Fusharc, Vinarce, Vidimiric, Caber, which belongs to the Zubin Potok
9 municipality. These are the villages that are north of Ibar River
10 Q. Thank you. How far away were you when you were in Upper Zhabar
11 from that area north of Ibar?
12 A. It depends. These villages are not too far from each other but
13 not too close either. From Suhadol to the Vinarce which is the last,
14 Vidimiric is on a hill-side. You can see half of it, half you can't. So
15 if you were to take into account 200, 250 metres from the road, and near
16 the road you can find Ibar. Then there's 200, 250 metres of fields. So
17 I'd say it's about Vinarce, Bushac, the upper and the lower one, all of
18 them are at a distance of about 700 metres from where I was, from where I
19 did my observation.
20 Q. I'm sorry, I don't understand. From Upper Zabare, where you are
21 in your house, to the village north of the Ibar River
23 A. You can see that in the map if you want to. Look at the Grmova
24 mountain. It's at an altitude of 793 metres, and look at the
25 Adriatic highway that takes you to Zubin Potok and Montenegro, and look
1 at the Ibar River
2 expert in topography here, in mapmaking, to be able to do the
3 measurements, and it is not more than 800 metres.
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the last
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Vidimiric is about 1 kilometre away
7 from Vinarce and Bushac.
8 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Thank you. And you were able to see with your naked eye the
10 people in those villages north of the Ibar River?
11 A. They looked very, very small, like ants, but you could see a
12 massive influx. You could see that they were people fleeing their homes
13 towards the Ibar River
14 Q. Thank you. Was your brother's son a member of the KLA?
15 A. In a manner of speaking, we all were. Amongst them, the -- my
16 brother's two sons. However, they were not soldiers in uniform, because
17 there were no weapons.
18 Q. What did you think about the fact that 30.000 people were sent
19 off towards Srbica and Pec?
20 A. I'm very familiar with my place of birth. I'm aware of the
21 surface area, and that includes knowledge that I've obtained through my
22 military experience. I would say that that number should be a very close
24 Q. Thank you, but there have been witnesses here who also offer
25 approximate figures that are much lower, but let's move on.
1 You say Serb forces came into the village or the outskirts of the
2 village and started shooting from automatic weapons. Did you see that?
3 A. If you're referring to Upper Zhabar, yes, I witnessed -- I
4 witnessed that myself. It was on the 16th of April, around 10.00. It
5 could be just before or just after 10.00, where, as I stated before, the
6 last car of the convoy was behind the school, i.e., of the convoy heading
7 towards Peje. And as soon as the last car disappeared from view, i.e.,
8 ten minutes or so later, police forces came into the flat area of
9 Zhabar e Eperme, Upper Zhabar, because Zhabar is on two plains. One is
10 flat and the other one heads towards the hill a bit. So seen from the
11 eastern point of view, I -- right in front of the place where the sun
12 rises, I was able to observe the views.
13 Just after 10.00 we heard shooting and we saw two or three, I
14 think there were three houses -- where smoke was coming out of. There
15 was gun shooting and then we saw inhabitants coming out of the flat part
16 of Zhabar and heading towards the Adriatic highway. Some of them went
17 towards Mitrovica. The others took a right and went towards that
18 timber-processing plant, if I can call it a plant. It's a number of
19 enterprises that do timber processing. And it's only afterwards that we
20 understood that they had suffered very badly. They stayed there all
22 Do you want me to continue?
23 Q. Thank you, but will you just tell me what happened with the
24 hospital and the wounded?
25 A. The truth is, and as I've explained it happened either on the
1 12th or 13th of March -- forgive me, no, April, like I say as I explained
2 earlier in my testimony, from Suhadol there was a police intervention and
3 they were focusing on Zhabar. This comprised armed units which were
4 using the -- some sort of armoured car called Praga which I had not seen
5 before even as a military -- even seen from my military experience.
6 They started from Zhabar. My mother, at that stage, was 75 years
7 old, and so in view of what happened, I decided to go to the
8 Upper Zhabar. I think this occurred around the 13th of April, i.e., the
9 time me and my family went to Upper Zhabar.
10 So from the 13th of April onwards, I was not aware of what
11 happened to the hospital and the wounded. They must certainly have left
13 JUDGE PARKER: Are you ...
14 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm waiting because
15 the interpretation lags behind a little, and only when the witness
16 finished the interpreter started to interpret. There is no other
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
19 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 Q. Am I right in saying that those Serb forces then continued on
21 towards Upper Zhabar?
22 A. Let me explain this chronologically so that the situation becomes
23 entirely clear.
24 After 10.00, i.e., at about 11.00, police forces --
25 Q. [Overlapping speakers] -- your statement. All we need is to
1 clarify certain points in it. Or, rather, I need clarification. So
2 everything you've said up until now is what we can read in your
3 statement, but I would like some clarifications. And what I'm interested
4 in is this: Whether the forces going from Donji, Lower Zhabar police
5 ones and military ones continued on to Upper Zhabar.
6 A. I find it impossible to give a response if I'm not allowed to
7 give a sequence of events of which I was an eye-witness. I was only at a
8 distance of 50 metres from the police, the paramilitaries, and the army
9 people; and that is the point in time when me and my family descended and
10 saw them with my own eyes. They were on the left-hand side --
11 Q. [Overlapping speakers] -- interrupt you again, Witness. We have
12 all that in your statement. What I asked you is this: The forces that
13 passed through Lower Zabare
14 That's all I'm interested in. Did they go up there or not?
15 A. The forces that were in upper -- in Lower Zhabar joined the
16 forces that had been deployed throughout the Upper Zhabar, creating an
17 uninterrupted supply of police, paramilitary, and military forces.
18 Q. Thank you. And was there a conflict between the KLA and the
19 forces that you're talking about?
20 A. No, there was no clash whatsoever, with the exception of --
21 Q. That's fine, Witness. What happened to the members of the KLA
22 with whom you were when these other forces arrived?
23 A. I did not say that KLA members were with me all the time. I said
24 that they did come from time to time to look after us. They had their
25 own units deployed in Vaganica, Lubovac, and so on and so forth, engaged
1 in their own military activities. I was not saying here that there were
2 KLA members with us all the time.
3 Q. So what were these KLA activities? Tell us about them.
4 A. I'm referring to the place where I was staying. All that was
5 offered to us was food and cigarettes. So they were trying to look after
6 us even in those utterly difficult circumstances, whereas regarding
7 military clashes, they were occurring, as you very well know, from
8 Vaganica and other places. There was fierce clashing between Serbian
9 police and army forces and the KLA troops.
10 Q. Thank you. And from the Vaganica area and direction, did the
11 civilian population go from there?
12 A. As I explained it, it happened on the 14th of April. They
13 suffered the same fate, chased away by Serbian police and army forces.
14 They did not leave of their own free will. They did not live their homes
15 and come all the way to Zhabar.
16 Q. Witness, you've just said that in Vaganjica there was a clash
17 between the KLA and the Serb forces. And that armed combat took place;
18 is that right?
19 A. Sir, you ought to have some information about Vaganica, how big
20 it is and what it is a party of. Where the civilian population of
21 Vaganica was, it was almost joined up to the village of Shipol
22 the other part of Vaganica which is separated by the Lushte river is the
23 place where the military activities were occurring, which then continued
24 in Pirc, Vinarce, Lubovec, and all the way to Prekaz.
25 Q. Thank you. So what you want to say is that the civilians sat
1 quietly in their part of Vaganica village while there was fighting across
2 the river. Is that what you're saying?
3 A. They had nowhere else to go. In such circumstances, with this
4 danger posed on them, they had to stay somewhere.
5 Q. Thank you. During the time you were in the village, was there
6 any bombing going on, NATO bombing of Mitrovica and the surrounding area?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Can you tell me what parts of Mitrovica were bombed?
9 A. What I personally saw was the military barracks at Svinjare. I
10 think it was bombed on the 15th of April, if I remember correctly. It
11 was hit three or four times. And following this, the mines exploded
12 around the complex of military barracks there. I observed this from
13 where I was. These were mines that were placed around the fence around
14 the barracks.
15 Q. Thank you. From the place you were at, you didn't see that a
16 civilian -- any civilian facility was damaged. Is that what you're
18 A. From what I know, in Mitrovica there were no such cases. After
19 the war, however, I heard that the -- a civilian facility next to the
20 police station that had been hit by NATO was destroyed and a woman had
21 died as a result of the building being bombed, the police building.
22 Q. Thank you. Can you tell me what you mean when you say
23 "paramilitary formation"?
24 A. For me, a paramilitary formation would be an organised gang of
25 people with experience from Bosnia
1 that they were placed under the command of the police and military
2 structures. And as gangs, they took part in the looting, in the sexual
3 assaults, and other forms of crimes. For example, Arkan's Tigers; the
4 unit of Frenki Simatovic, although it was within the framework of MUP and
5 you know that very well; and other organised units that in a way imitated
6 the Arkan unit, which were situated at the police station in Mitrovica
7 during 1998.
8 Q. Thank you. Now, how do you differentiate between the
9 paramilitary formations and official formations or units?
10 A. They were different in terms of uniforms, structure. They were
11 smaller. They operated in smaller groups. And difference in terms of
12 behaviour, a behaviour typical for them demonstrated in the wars in
14 If you would like to hear more, I can illustrate what I said with
15 an example.
16 Q. Thank you. And how do you call the mobilised reserve force, and
17 how do you differentiate between that force and these other formations
18 and units?
19 A. They were more like supporting units, I would say. An accessory.
20 They wore old type of military uniforms, the olive-grey uniforms. As it
21 is called in Serbian, SMB, from the time of Tito.
22 This is what I saw in the location between the villages of
23 Cubren and Vitak near the telephone cables that I mentioned.
24 Q. Thank you. Now, you were in a car with your family, in a column,
25 when you set out towards Pec. Am I right?
1 A. Yes. The last in the convoy.
2 Q. What documents did you have on you?
3 A. I think I had my ID, driver's licence, car registration document.
4 I'm not sure whether my car registration document was seized by the
5 police when they seized my car. This I don't know for sure. They seized
6 my car, the car of my brother, and my brother's son-in-law as we came
7 down from Zhabar. I had a Mercedes make car, 190 type. I'm sure I had
8 my ID and my driver's licence on me.
9 Q. Thank you. But I think that these cars -- as far as these cars
10 are concerned, your brother went to fetch them, but they were not in
11 working order and that he wasn't able to switch the engine on.
12 A. That wouldn't be correct. If you read my statement carefully, it
13 should say that my brother and his son-in-law, the following day, after
14 hearing from some citizens that the police were selling the same cars
15 that they had seized from citizens, they set out to get back the vehicles
16 we had. When they went there, they couldn't find our cars. A policeman
17 called Novica from Zubin Potok, who knew my brother, made it possible for
18 him to go to the neighbourhood and choose a car. So it is not true that
19 we left the cars because the engines wouldn't start. Our cars were taken
20 by the police, the three of them.
21 Q. And which cars were you in when you were in the convoy?
22 A. I've already explained this too. When we arrived at Shipol
23 school and the lower part of the road, about 50 metres away from the
24 fence of the school-yard, there there were different cars. My brother's
25 son-in-law, who was a car mechanic, although he is an economist by
1 profession, but he was taught in this business by his father, he managed
2 to start the car and brought this Golf-make car to me. We were eight in
3 the Golf, and then we towed a Moskowich that we found on the road, and we
4 towed the Moskowich up to Albania
5 Q. Thank you. Am I right in saying that none of your documents were
7 A. How can you possibly be right when I already told you that they
8 seized my car registration document when they seized my car? At the
9 border, I handed over the other documents. I know that after we crossed
10 the border my passport was found in the luggage with our clothes. My
11 wife found it and told me that I had my passport.
12 Q. But you had your car registration --
13 A. Driver's licence. [In English] My driving licence.
14 Q. You said that you weren't searched at the border crossing by the
16 A. [Interpretation] At the border crossing, at the facility there,
17 they would shout, "To the right, to the right, and straight to Albania
18 Nobody would body-search us there; but as we were waiting in the column
19 to cross the border, a policeman would come and ask for all personal
20 documents, passports, IDs, driver's licence, car registration, borders,
21 and they will tell us to leave or hand over these documents at the
22 crossing. Otherwise, if they find documents on us, they would kill us.
23 So the people were throwing away their personal documents out of
24 fear, and you could tell that their aim was to deprive us of our
1 Q. Mr. Halimi, my question was: Am I right in saying that you were
2 not searched at the border crossing by the police?
3 A. This is a different question. It is true that at the border
4 crossing we were not searched.
5 Q. Thank you. Am I right in saying that you do not have any
6 immediate personal knowledge as to who set your house on fire and in what
7 way this was done in Mitrovica?
8 A. I found out in the meantime, and I sent a message.
9 Q. Thank you. My question was that you weren't an eye-witness. Am
10 I right in saying that?
11 A. No. I was told by others that my house was set on fire on the
12 3rd or 4th of April.
13 Q. Thank you. Am I right in saying that you weren't a witness to
14 how the mosque in Mitrovica was damaged?
15 A. Yes, you're right. I wasn't.
16 Q. Thank you. Am I right in saying that you weren't an eye-witness
17 of the killing of Jatif [as interpreted] Berisha?
18 A. No, I wasn't, and this is in my statement.
19 Q. Thank you. You weren't an eye-witness to the killing of
20 Jahim [as interpreted] Hajrizi either, were you? Thank you.
21 A. [Overlapping speakers]
22 Q. [Overlapping speakers] -- right in saying --
23 A. [Overlapping speakers] -- Agim Hajrizi.
24 Q. A correction to the name. Yes, I apologise if I mispronounced,
25 but am I right in saying that during your journey to the border, you
1 weren't looted?
2 A. That's correct. I wasn't looted. I was lucky not to be looted.
3 Q. Thank you. I'd just like to ask you one more thing, Mr. Halimi.
4 You became a judge again. You took up your job as a judge after the war
5 in 1999; right?
6 A. Yes. As of 1st of September, 1999, judge at the District Court
7 in Mitrovica.
8 Q. And for how long were you a judge of the District Court in
9 Mitrovica? Until when?
10 A. For some 22 or 23 months. Sometime until April 2001. Until
11 April 2001.
12 Q. And why did you cease being a judge?
13 A. At that time, the decision to apply for the post of a judge was
14 made on the recommendation of my colleagues from the OSCE so that I could
15 continue to contribute to the judicial system in Kosova after the war.
16 However, I was in love with what I was doing, working as a lawyer; so for
17 these 22 or 23 months, I think I did give a considerable contribution to
18 the development of the judicial system in Kosova.
19 Q. Am I right in saying that among other things you were the judge
20 in -- in the trial of individuals who were accused of the killing of your
21 friend Hajrizi?
22 A. In Mitrovica, known as a multi-ethnic city, we had almost every
23 ethnic group of Europe
24 was judge in that trial. I've perhaps explained it earlier. I was quite
25 emotional about this young man. I could never understand why this
1 hatred. Nenad Pavicevic and Agim Hajrizi lived very close. Only a wall
2 separated their house. They grew up together. So why all this hatred?
3 Q. So you believe there was no reason for accusal, and you were an
4 objective judge, but I wanted to ask you something else.
5 Do you think that a person who has offered a bribe to judges in
6 his life, and done similar deeds, meets the moral requirements to perform
7 as a judge?
8 A. We left everything behind with the end of the war. The end of
9 the war changed everything in Kosova. It changed the morale, as well
10 what we once were forced to do that, now we were committed to do that.
11 If Kosova was well established, and if someone else was prepared to take
12 up that case, I wouldn't have been involved. However, the Trial Chamber
13 asked for a copy from this judgement, and I wish that the Trial Chamber
14 has a copy of that judgement and appreciate how fair that judgement was.
15 We were impartial. A Swedish judge was member of that Trial Chamber. He
16 was an excellent judge. He helped me a lot, not only in this case but in
17 other cases that I tried at this court.
18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Halimi, but I think that ethics do not change
19 depending on the circumstances and that human values are the same in any
20 period of time.
21 You have no further questions. Thank you for your answers.
22 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] And thank you, Your Honours, for
23 your patience in my cross-examination.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Well, we must have that second break now, and we
25 will resume again at 1.00 for re-examination.
1 MR. BEHAR: Your Honours, I can indicate that I have no
3 JUDGE PARKER: Excellent. Thank you.
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Halimi, you will be pleased to learn that that
6 concludes the questioning of you. We have the oral evidence that you've
7 given to us and the transcript of your previous evidence. We wish to
8 thank you for your assistance and for coming here yet again to give
9 evidence. You are now, of course, free to go to your ordinary
10 activities, and the court officer will show you out. So thank you once
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 [The witness withdrew]
14 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Behar, are you able to assist us with the
15 programme for the rest of today? Is there another witness ready at the
17 MR. BEHAR: Yes, there is, Your Honours, and it's Ms. Sadiku.
18 Silvia D'Ascoli will be questioning her, and she's ready, she can appear
19 after the break.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. We will then resume at five
21 minutes past 1.
22 --- Recess taken at 12.36 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 1.07 p.m.
24 [The witness entered court]
25 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. Would you please read aloud the
1 affirmation that is shown to you now on the card.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
3 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
4 WITNESS: SADIJE SADIKU
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. Now, I think Ms. D'Ascoli
7 has some questions for you.
8 MS. D'ASCOLI: Thanks, Your Honour. Before we start I can
9 indicate that Ms. Sadiku's evidence relates to paragraph 72(f), 73, and
10 77 of the indictment.
11 Examination by Ms. D'Ascoli:
12 Q. Good morning, Witness. Could you please state your full name for
13 the record.
14 A. Yes. My name is Sadije Sadiku.
15 Q. And when and where were you born, Ms. Sadiku?
16 A. I was born on July the 1st, 1978, in Mitrovica.
17 Q. Where are you currently residing?
18 A. I -- I live at Sabor e Eperme, or Upper Zhabar.
19 Q. And what is your current occupation?
20 A. -- employed.
21 Q. Ms. Sadiku, on the 15 of August, 2006, did you provide a
22 statement to a representative of the Office of the Prosecutor events that
23 you had experienced and witnessed in Mitrovica in 1999?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And have you recently had the opportunity to review your written
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Are you satisfied that information contained in it is true and
4 accurate to the best of your knowledge and belief?
5 A. Yes, that is correct.
6 MS. D'ASCOLI: Your Honours, I seek to tender the
7 65 ter number 02256, which is Ms. Sadiku's witness statement.
8 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
9 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00502, Your Honours.
10 MS. D'ASCOLI: Thank you. And I should mention, Your Honours,
11 that attached to the statement are the witness medical reports from
12 Albania and Germany where Ms. Sadiku was hospitalised in 1999.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
14 MS. D'ASCOLI:
15 Q. Ms. Sadiku, did you also testify about the same events before
16 this Tribunal in the Milutinovic et al case August 2006?
17 A. Yes, it is. Yes, it is true.
18 Q. Have you recently had the opportunity to review the transcript of
19 your testimony in the Milutinovic et al case?
20 A. Yes, I have seen.
21 Q. And does the transcript accurately reflect your evidence, and
22 would you testify to the same facts today?
23 A. Yes.
24 MS. D'ASCOLI: Your Honours, I seek to tender the
25 65 ter number 05141 into evidence, please. It is the transcript of
1 Ms. Sadiku's testimony.
2 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
3 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00503, Your Honours.
4 MS. D'ASCOLI: Thank you. I will now proceed to read a summary
5 of this witness evidence.
6 The witness is a Kosovo Albanian from the village of Zhabar in
7 Mitrovica. She describes the forcible expulsion of Kosovo Albanians from
8 Zhabar in mid-April 1999.
9 On the 13th of April, 1999, the police began burning houses in
10 Zhabar and expelling people from their houses. The following day, the
11 witness and her family were told to leave by the police. They joined a
12 column of people headed towards Albania
13 part of the convoy of refugees was then directed to the village of
14 Zablace and was told by the police to stay there. The witness was in the
15 group of people she remained in Zablace for three weeks at all time
16 watched over by the police.
17 On 6 May, 1999, in Zablace, the witness was hit in her back by a
18 sniper. She was taken for basic medical assistance to the village of
19 Zahac. When the Serb police expelled people also from Zahac, the
20 refugees proceeded in a convoy towards Albania finally crossing the
21 Albanian border on the 12th of May, 1999. And the witness was in that
23 In Albania, the witness was taken to the hospital in Tirana where
24 she received the medical assistance and had the first surgery. She was
25 later transferred to Germany for further medical assistance. The witness
1 is paralysed as a result of those injuries.
2 And this is the end of the summary.
3 Q. Ms. Sadiku, I will now move to your statement and ask you some
4 questions to clarify some events. Can you tell us where were you living
5 in April 1999?
6 A. Until April the 13th, we lived in the village of Zhabar. On the
7 13th of April, Serbian forces starting setting fire to the houses in that
8 village forcing us to go to the mountains.
9 On the 13th of April, we spent the night up in the mountains in
10 the cold and the rain. There were too many of us, and there was
11 absolutely nowhere to stay, to seek shelter. We returned on the
12 following day because a lot of rain had fallen. We'd had nothing to eat.
13 Q. Sorry, may I stop you there. How far is the village of Zhabar
14 from Mitrovica town approximately?
15 A. Three kilometres.
16 Q. And you just mentioned that there were people who fled with you
17 to the forest on the night of the 13th of April. Can you tell us what
18 their ethnicity was and why they also had left their villages?
19 A. We were all Albanians. We were forced out of our homes. The
20 only place where we could find some shelter was at Zhabare e Eperme; that
21 is my village. And I'm referring to the period up to the 13th of April.
22 Q. And before I interrupted you, you were about to describe what
23 happened the following day on the 14th of April when you returned to your
24 house. Can you please describe what happened then?
25 A. Okay. We returned on the 14th of April to have a change of
1 clothes because we'd been soaked, as a result of the rain. As soon as we
2 changed and we started preparing something to eat, Serbian forces arrived
3 in the village and forced us out again through the use of force.
4 Q. And in paragraph 14 of your statement you say that the police at
5 gunpoint threatened you and told you to leave the house immediately. Did
6 they give you an explanation for that? Did they tell you why you had to
8 A. They came into the house. They -- at gunpoint they told us to
9 leave the home within five minutes, otherwise they'd kill us all.
10 Q. In paragraph 16 you mention that while marching in the column of
11 refugees that you joined, you passed by a number of check-points. Can
12 you tell us who was manning those check-points?
13 A. Yes. There were Serbian police and soldiers as well in the
14 majority of the places we went through.
15 Q. Could you describe the police uniforms?
16 A. Yes. It was blue and black.
17 Q. Ms. Sadiku, I will now show you a photo-board.
18 MS. D'ASCOLI: Can I please have on the screen
19 65 ter number 02375. Thank you.
20 Q. Ms. Sadiku, is there any --
21 MS. D'ASCOLI: Yeah, that's fine, thanks.
22 Q. Ms. Sadiku, is there any among these pictures which represents
23 the uniforms, the colours of uniforms that you saw in April 1999? The
24 one that you just described now. Could you indicate that to us?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Maybe you could place a cross close to the picture that you
2 recognise, if you can.
3 A. It's that one there.
4 Q. And this resembles which -- which uniforms or which forces that
5 you saw that day?
6 A. It belongs to the police forces.
7 Q. Okay.
8 MS. D'ASCOLI: Your Honours, I seek to tender this exhibit as
9 marked by the witness.
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
11 MS. D'ASCOLI: Thank you.
12 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00504, Your Honours.
13 MS. D'ASCOLI: I should mention that the same photo-board is one
14 of the attachments to the witness statement, but there it is only a
15 photocopy and not in colour. Therefore, it is not visible exactly the
16 type of uniforms that the witness marked, so maybe with this colour copy
17 it is a better visual aid for Your Honours.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
19 MS. D'ASCOLI:
20 Q. Ms. Sadiku, now let's go back to your statement. There you
21 mention in paragraphs 18 and 19 that you kept walking in the column of
22 people for two or three days without any rest and that you were all very
23 exhausted and in bad condition and that the police told you to continue
25 I was wondering, can you please tell us the direction you took
1 when you left your village, Zhabar, on that morning of the 14th of April?
2 A. In the morning of the 14th of April we were told to go to the
3 main road. As soon as we arrived, some other policemen who were
4 stationed in the village told us to go to some sort of a lumberyard to
5 join up with the other people already gathered there.
6 Q. Do you remember the name of the locations where you were heading
7 to or where you arrived or passed by?
8 A. This place is at Zhabar Ulet. Lower Zhabar. It is in between
9 Zhabar Ulet or lower Zhabar and Shipol.
10 Q. Where did you go after that?
11 A. So they brought us together at this location, and on the
12 following day they told us to go to Tirana. They said everybody had to
13 leave Kosovo and go to Tirana.
14 Q. I'm going to show you a map. Probably that can assist us to
15 identify the places you went through.
16 MS. D'ASCOLI: Can I please have on the screen the
17 65 ter number 00039. Thanks. If we can enlarge, zoom a bit on the top
18 part of the map. Maybe a bit more. Yeah, that's enough.
19 Q. Are you able to see properly, Ms. Sadiku?
20 A. Yes, I do.
21 Q. I was wondering whether you can recognise or identify your
22 village, Zhabar, on this map.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Could you please encircle it and maybe place a number 1 close to
1 A. [Marks]
2 Q. Thank you. Do you also see the following places where you went
3 to afterwards?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Can you please specify them, name them?
6 A. From Zhabar we went to Shipol, and from Shipol to Lushte.
7 Q. Could you please encircle the village of Shipol
8 close to it?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Thank you. And could you please do the same with Lushte. Mark
11 on it with the number 3 please?
12 A. [Marks]
13 Q. Thank you. Do you remember where you went to after Lushte?
14 A. After Lushte we went to Kline e Eperme, or upper Kline.
15 Q. Can you see this village on the map, Ms. Sadiku?
16 A. I can see it. However, in this map of yours all that's written
17 is "Middle Kline." However, it is the same.
18 Q. Because you mentioned Kline e Eperme, right, which is
19 Upper Klina.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Okay. Did you also pass by Klina -- Middle Klina, Kline e Mesme,
22 I think?
23 A. Yes, I did.
24 Q. Could you please encircle this village and put a number 4 close
25 to it.
1 A. Yes, I will.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MS. D'ASCOLI: Your Honours, I would like to tender this exhibit
4 as marked by the witness, please.
5 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
6 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00505, Your Honours.
7 MS. D'ASCOLI: Thanks. I see my learned friend on his feet,
8 Your Honours.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic.
10 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] No, I have no objection. I just
11 want to say that on the map we can see the upper Drina River, and the
12 witness can right below Lower Klina
13 MS. D'ASCOLI: Thanks. She mentioned that she passed through
14 Kline e Eperme and then from -- also Kline e Mesme. So I think that's
15 enough. She couldn't locate it on the map, so that's fine, but thanks.
16 Q. Ms. Sadiku, after passing through Klina, and you passed through
17 the Skenderaj municipality, you then proceeded towards Peje, and in
18 paragraph 23 to 24 of your statement you say that the police at some
19 point ordered you to stay -- to go and to stay in the village of Zablace.
20 The village was deserted and then you remained there for about three
21 weeks. Ms. Sadiku, can you please describe to us what happened to you on
22 the 6th of May, 1999.
23 A. We were forced by the police to go to the village of Zablace, not
24 Zahac, where we spent three weeks. There was nothing to eat at the end
25 of the three-week period because the village had been shelled. The
1 villagers had left their village. It was only those of us from Mitrovica
2 who were there at the time.
3 On the 6th of May at 8.00 in the morning I went out to bring in
4 some potatoes. We had -- as we had nothing to eat. There was me and
5 eight of my friends, and at that stage I was hit in my spine at 8.00 in
6 the morning on the 6th of May, 1999.
7 Q. Thanks. Can you describe how that happened if you feel like?
8 A. As I mentioned earlier, me and my friends, we went two or three
9 houses away from the one we were staying at to try to fetch some
10 potatoes. Potatoes were the only sustenance we had. On our way, we saw
11 the police were stationed in the courtyard of the church. We went to
12 fetch the potatoes, and on our way back my friend says, "My hands or my
13 arms are a bit tired. Can we swap?" At that stage, I had my back
14 towards the police; and all of a sudden I felt some pain in my back and
15 fell down.
16 Q. Ms. Sadiku, as a consequence of this injury, then you - in
17 paragraph 32 of the statement for reference - you were carried to the
18 village of Zahac. In which municipality is this other village?
19 A. The village of Zahac belongs to the Peje municipality.
20 Q. I will show you another map, Ms. Sadiku, of the Pec municipality.
21 MS. D'ASCOLI: Can I please have on the screen
22 65 ter number 00032. And if we can zoom on the area just south of Istok,
23 please. A little bit up, please. If you can scroll it up. Thank you.
24 That's enough.
25 Q. Ms. Sadiku, can you see the village of Zablace on this map?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Could you please draw a circle around it and put a number 1 close
3 to it.
4 A. Yes, I will.
5 Q. Thanks.
6 A. [Marks]
7 Q. Can you also see where the village of Zahac is located, the
8 village where you were brought to after your injury?
9 A. The village of Zahac
10 Q. Can you see it on the map or not?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Doesn't matter.
13 MS. D'ASCOLI: Your Honours, I would like to tender this exhibit
14 as marked by the witness, please.
15 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
16 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00506, Your Honours.
17 MS. D'ASCOLI:
18 Q. Ms. Sadiku, in paragraph 34, yes, 34 of your statement, you
19 mentioned that the police expelled the people also from Zahac and that
20 you had -- you were placed on a tractor and you had to join a convoy
21 heading towards Peje. Can I ask you, what did you observe once in Peje?
22 A. Police again stopped us when we arrived in Peje and stripped us
23 of all the documents we had on us. I'm talking about travel documents.
24 They tore them apart and burned them down.
25 Q. And then in paragraph 36 you said that the convoy proceeded
1 towards the Albanian border. Do you remember the way you took, the towns
2 and villages you passed by before arriving to the Albanian border?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can you -- can you tell us, please, or can you name those
5 villages, or just the road you took towards Albania.
6 A. Peje, Prizren, Zhur, and after that I don't know.
7 Q. Okay. And in paragraph 36 again you say that the convoy was
8 stopped in a number of check-points. Can you tell us who manned those
9 check points and what happened at those check-points?
10 A. As I said earlier, police stopped us in Peje. They requested our
11 documents, which they set fire to, and again before crossing the border
12 into Albania, police again stopped us. They wanted money, jewellery.
13 Some people were mistreated and so on.
14 Q. Did you see -- can did you see check-points also after Peje along
15 the road towards Albania
16 A. Yes. As I said earlier, before crossing the border area, Serbian
17 police stopped us there.
18 Q. What happened there?
19 A. They stopped us, and they asked us to give them 500 Deutschmarks.
20 They said if we did not produce the 500 marks we were to be turned back
21 and not allowed across the border.
22 Q. Ms. Sadiku, in paragraph 36 you mention that the road you took
23 towards Albania
24 refresh your memory? Is that correct?
25 A. Yes, that is correct. Thank you.
1 Q. Ms. Sadiku, what happened when you arrived in Albania? And this
2 is almost the end of my examination.
3 A. When we crossed the border into Albania, my sister Lutfije [as
4 interpreted], who was with me all the time, she saw one of the customs
5 officers of Albania and told him that I was wounded on that tractor.
6 Later, KFOR forces of the Italian contingent were able to evacuate me and
7 give me the first aid.
8 Q. Ms. Sadiku, which is your current health situation, if you can
9 tell us?
10 A. Yes. In the year 2006, I came to testify here before this
11 Tribunal, and I had ten operations on me in 2006. I had an additional
12 two in the meantime. Say for the past ten years I have undergone 12
13 operations altogether, and I'm in an awful medical situation, as you can
15 Q. Thank you very much for having -- having answered my question,
16 Ms. Sadiku.
17 MS. D'ASCOLI: Your Honours, I don't have other questions for
18 this witness at this stage.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Ms. D'Ascoli.
20 Mr. Djurdjic, we're very concerned about the length of time that
21 it will be necessary for the witness to remain in The Hague. Can you
22 indicate how long you expect to be in cross-examination?
23 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'll try to finish
24 both witnesses on Monday.
25 MS. D'ASCOLI: Your Honours.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Ms. D'Ascoli.
2 MS. D'ASCOLI: Could I please suggest something? As
3 Mr. Aleksandric, as you're aware, needs to leave and to finish his whole
4 entire testimony on Monday. Could we maybe start in chief with him and
5 actually complete the direct examination and cross-examination, and after
6 we finish with him we may continue with Ms. Sadiku if -- if the Defence
8 JUDGE PARKER: We will be, we believe, necessary to complete both
9 witnesses by the end of Monday because of their personal situations, and
10 that will require a great deal of time discipline. There are clearly
11 some issues which are worthy of exploration, but there are others that
12 may not be so important and should be left aside.
13 The order in which the witnesses are called on Monday is a matter
14 that is not of great importance to the Chamber, but it may be that it
15 will be beneficial to finish this witness as quickly as possible and then
16 go to the other witness on the basis that we will finish both of them on
17 Monday, and therefore the time spent on each will have to be very
19 It may be discussed between counsel, the order that would be
20 preferred for Monday. We will accept whatever counsel agrees. If there
21 can be no agreement, we would propose to continue first with this witness
22 and then to go to the witness Aleksandric, and we will be watching time
23 very shortly. It will not be possible to spend a full session with this
24 witness if we are to deal with Aleksandric, unless you are able to revise
25 your cross-examination.
1 MS. D'ASCOLI: That's fine.
2 JUDGE PARKER: So that is the course we will take. Please be
3 aware that there are some limited movement problems on Monday because of
4 the international meeting on Tuesday. And movement into and out of this
5 building on Monday will be limited. So if you can make -- take care to
6 ensure, and Victims and Witnesses Unit will be doing it as well, that the
7 witnesses are able to enter the building for Monday.
8 Is there any further guidance that counsel need?
9 MS. D'ASCOLI: No, Your Honours.
10 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I say the Defence
11 will complete the cross-examination of both these witnesses by the end of
12 Monday. You need not be concerned about that. The timetable, the
13 schedule, may be whatever you decide or whatever suits the Prosecution.
14 The Defence will fit into that, no problem.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
16 Ms. Sadiku, you will be aware that we have to adjourn now for the
17 day because of other commitments. Your evidence will continue on Monday.
18 I'm sorry that it means that you will need to stay here over the weekend.
19 I understand arrangements are in place to ensure that you're as
20 comfortable as can be in the circumstances, and we hope that this will
21 not be too great an inconvenience to you.
22 The people who are assisting you will give you further guidance
23 about your movements on Monday to be here, and we will complete your
24 evidence on Monday so that you'll be free then to leave. Thank you very
1 We now adjourn.
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.,
3 to be reconvened on Monday, the 30th day
4 of March, 2009, at 2.15 p.m.