1 Monday, 30 March 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon.
7 Could I remind you the affirmation you made to tell the truth
8 still applies, and I think Mr. Djurdjic has some questions for you.
9 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
10 WITNESS: SADIJE SADIKU [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Cross-examination by Mr. Djurdjic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Ms. Sadiku. I'm
14 Veljko Djurdjic, member of the Defence team for the accused,
15 Vlastimir Djordjevic. Together with me today is Ms. Marie O'Leary,
16 member of the Defence team. I would kindly ask you to tell me if you do
17 not understand the question that I'm putting to you, I'll try to rephrase
18 then so that you could give me answers to all my questions.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Ms. Sadiku, you live together with your parents in Donje Zabare,
21 the village of Donje Zabare, if I understand you correctly; am I right?
22 A. Yes, that is true.
23 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us who else lived in that house
24 together with your parents and you.
25 A. In my house it was me with my two parents, my brother, his wife,
1 and the four children of my brother. There was also another brother who
2 was not married, and he was also living with us.
3 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell me, in 1999 how old were your
5 A. I cannot give you an accurate answer.
6 Q. Were your brothers older than you?
7 A. Yes. They are older than me, yes.
8 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell me what it was that your father
9 did in 1999?
10 A. My father worked in Mitrovica at that time.
11 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell me what his profession was or
12 where he worked.
13 A. He worked in a mine in Mitrovica. It's called Fosfot, that's the
14 name of the factory.
15 Q. Thank you. Could you tell me what your maternal grandmother's
16 name and surname was.
17 A. Her name was Nazi Ferhati.
18 Q. Thank you. Where did your mother's parents originally hail from?
19 A. My grandfather was from Cerona [phoen] and my mother was -- my
20 grandmother was from Bajkura.
21 Q. Thank you. Ms. Sadiku, am I right if I say that you do not speak
22 or understand the Serbian language?
23 A. Yes, that is correct.
24 Q. Thank you. Did you know Mr. Halimi in 1999?
25 A. Yes, he is my brother.
1 Q. The lawyer Halimi, Mahmut Halimi?
2 A. No. I thought you were asking about my brother.
3 Q. Thank you. Did you know the lawyer Mahmut Halimi or do you know
4 him now? He told us that he originally hailed from Donje Zabare.
5 A. It is true that I did not know him; however, I came to know him
6 after the war.
7 Q. Thank you. Do you know where his house is now in Donje Zabare?
8 A. No, I do not know where his house is. My parents know where the
9 house is, but I do not know where that house you're asking me is.
10 Q. Thank you. Your response had to do with 1999, right, all the
11 people who lived in the same house with you; right?
12 A. Sorry, can you repeat the question again please.
13 Q. When I asked you about all the people who lived in the same house
14 with you, did that have to do with 1999?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Thank you. And what did you do in 1999, in the beginning of 1999
17 before the war broke out?
18 A. At that time, I had just graduated from the elementary school,
19 the eighth grade. I had no opportunity to follow the school later, so at
20 that time I was helping my mother.
21 Q. I'm sorry. We probably have a translation problem. You
22 completed elementary school considerably before 1999; right?
23 A. The elementary school, yes. I graduated from it in 1995/1996, if
24 I'm not wrong.
25 Q. I'm sorry. Could you please tell me your date of birth.
1 A. 1st of July, 1978.
2 Q. Thank you. Did you start school on time?
3 A. I was 6 years old when I entered the first grade.
4 Q. Thank you. That would mean 1984, right? Did you attend
5 elementary school regularly?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And you say that you finished school in 1995/1996?
8 A. I'm not quite sure about that year, but I think that is the year.
9 So I finished the eighth grade on that year.
10 Q. Thank you. Do you know what year you went to Albania?
11 A. Yes. I crossed the border into Albania on 12th May, 1999.
12 Q. Thank you. How come you know it was exactly the 12th of May?
13 How come you remember that specifically?
14 A. I remember it because it is true. It is an accurate date. This
15 was the day on which I crossed the border from Kosovo into Albania
16 happened on 12th May 1999
17 Q. Thank you. Let me ask you something. Was that the first time
18 you ever went to Albania
19 A. Yes, it is true, that was the first time when I set foot on
21 Q. Thank you. Ms. Sadiku, could you tell me the following: From
22 your birth up until the moment when you went to Albania, what are the
23 places you went to outside the place where you were born?
24 A. Since I was born, I had -- I have been only in Zhabar, I followed
25 the school in Donje Zabare six years, then I went to Shipol where I
1 attended the school for two years because the school in Zhabar was closed
2 down due to absence of classes. Then I have also been in Mitrovica. I
3 have not been anywhere else.
4 Q. Thank you. Ms. Sadiku, according to the report of the military
5 hospital in Tirana on the 8th of May, 1999, you were hospitalised in that
7 A. No, that is not correct.
8 Q. Thank you. But that is an annex to your statement, and you had
9 confirmed that the statement was correct. But let us do things in the
10 right order, and we'll get to that too. Am I right when I say that you
11 gave a statement to Kenneth Ekdahl, an investigator of the Tribunal, on
12 the 23rd of August, 2001?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Thank you. Am I right when I say that on that occasion the
15 statement was read out to you in the Albanian language by Tahiri Asllan,
16 an interpreter who attended your interview?
17 A. Yes, that is true.
18 Q. Am I right if I say that you signed each and every page of the
19 statement that you gave?
20 A. Yes, that is true.
21 Q. Thank you. Am I right if I say that with your own signature you
22 confirmed that your statement contains everything that you had said to
23 the best of your knowledge and as you remember it?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Thank you. Ms. Sadiku, can you tell us whether you had any
1 contact with the investigators of the Tribunal before you gave this
3 A. No. No, I've not met them before this statement.
4 Q. Thank you. As for Kenneth Ekdahl, the investigator of the
5 Tribunal, did you first see him when you gave your statement on the
6 23rd of August, 2001?
7 A. Yes, it is true. We met for the first time in my house.
8 Q. Thank you. Ms. Sadiku, as for the investigator, Kenneth Ekdahl,
9 you met up with him in August 1999, didn't you?
10 A. Can you please repeat the question if possible.
11 Q. I'm saying that you met Kenneth Ekdahl in August 1999 and that it
12 is not correct, or rather, that it's -- well, I'm not saying it's
13 incorrect; but it wasn't the first time that you saw him in 2001, which
14 is what you said to us a moment ago.
15 A. The truth is as follows: I met in 2001 with the gentleman you
16 mentioned, and I've not met him before that year. In 1999 and 2000 I was
17 in hospital, in Germany
19 Q. Ms. Sadiku, in paragraph 41 of your statement from 2006 you
20 stated that you met up with Kenneth Ekdahl investigator on the
21 23rd of August, 1999, and that you gave him your medical documentation
22 from Albania
23 A. No, that is not right. I met this person for the first time in
24 2001. He came to my family. I gave to him my declaration, I also
25 supplied him with all the medical reports. I have not met him before
1 that date.
2 Q. Just a moment, please. I have to check the original version.
3 Ms. Sadiku, in the original version, not only in the translation
4 that I'm reading out from the Serbian translation, it says that you gave
5 your medical documentation from Albania
6 Please tell me whether you talked to him before --
7 JUDGE PARKER: That question has been answered. The witness
8 says: No, I met him in 2001. The statement may give the year 1999, it
9 may be that that's a mistake or it may be the witness has some
10 explanation for that. But it's clear the statement says 1999, yet it
11 says it in the context that she handed documents to the investigator, who
12 then photocopied them and gave them back to her on the
13 27th of August, 2001. It seems very likely that there's a mistake in the
14 year in the statement, because photocopying is not going to take two
15 years. But do you see -- is there something else that you were pursuing
16 or is it merely that 1999 is shown in the statement as the date?
17 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] I just wanted to fresh the
18 witness's memory with all of this, whether the investigator talked to her
19 in 1999 or whether another investigator talked to her in 1999, because I
20 am going to present the statement from 2001, the one that was given, and
21 that's the only one here actually.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Well, you can take it that the Chamber is aware
23 that there is a date difference, 1999 to 2001, just as the Chamber is
24 aware that there is a date difference over the admission of the patient
25 into the military hospital in Tirana. But in that record it appears in
1 doctor's patient notes, whereas the witness confirms that it was not then
2 but on the 12th of May, 1999, that she first crossed the border into
4 August of 2001.
5 Perhaps you can move on from there.
6 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Ms. Sadiku, you said that in Mitrovica people could move about
8 rather freely while the OSCE was there. Can you tell us from when until
9 when the OSCE was in Mitrovica?
10 A. First of all, I'd like to apologise because I'm not very good
11 with dates. I know that the OSCE was in Kosovo before the war started,
12 but I cannot give you any date.
13 Q. Thank you, Ms. Sadiku. Tell me just what it is that you
14 remember; and if you don't remember, just say so and we'll move on -- no,
15 actually -- actually, you said that while the OSCE was there your brother
16 had been abused by the Serbian police on the road to Mitrovica. Tell me,
17 did you report that incident to the OSCE?
18 A. No, we didn't tell anybody about this. It was only my family and
19 my cousin who knew about it, nobody else.
20 Q. Thank you. Do you know where that spot was where the police had
21 mistreated your brother?
22 A. It was between the two Zhabar villages, the Upper and
23 Lower Zhabar.
24 Q. Thank you. Were you present while that happened?
25 A. No, I wasn't present; however, when my brother came back, he told
1 me what had happened.
2 Q. Thank you. Up until the 13th of April, 1999, were there any
3 police in your village?
4 A. No. Up until the 13th of April, there were police forces only
5 along the main road, not in the village. The first time they showed up
6 in the village was on the 13th of April, 1999.
7 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 9 of your statement you mentioned that
8 the police came in Pinzgauer vehicles. Could you please tell us what
9 kind of vehicles were there -- were they?
10 A. They were police vehicles, blue, dark blue colour.
11 Q. Thank you. And could you please describe what that vehicle
12 looked like.
13 A. They resembled a jeep.
14 Q. Thank you. Were you in the house when the police came?
15 A. No. The truth is that on the 13th of April the houses were set
16 on fire, and as soon as we saw that we left before the police came in the
17 village. This was on the 13th of April.
18 Q. Thank you. But it means that you were not present there if you
19 say that in your house the police fired a burst of gun-fire into the
21 A. What you're asking me about, it is true that I heard that after I
22 returned from Germany
23 that I saw with my own eyes. This is something I heard from someone
24 else, from several people who had been, at the time, in my house.
25 Q. Thank you. Ms. Sadiku, to speed things up, could you please tell
1 us -- indicate all those things that you do not know because you were
2 there which are your direct knowledge so that we can cut your examination
4 Ms. Sadiku, do you know how many houses there were in your
5 village in 1999?
6 A. About 500, 600 houses. I'm not quite sure.
7 Q. Thank you. You say that police entered your village on the
8 13th of April, but you left the house when the police was at the other
9 end of the village; am I right?
10 A. Yes, you're right. On the 13th of April, as soon as we saw that
11 houses were being set on fire, we left; on the following day, the
12 14th of April, when we returned to our home, the police forced us to
13 leave the house. This is the truth.
14 Q. Thank you. Am I right when I say that you did not see the people
15 that you mention in your statement, the people that you described as
16 having been detained by the police at the other end of the village?
17 A. Can you please repeat your question.
18 Q. The police came to the other end of the village and you say that
19 you left your house, yet in your statement it says that the police
20 officers from the other end of the village made the people leave their
21 houses, forced them out of their houses, but you yourself did not see
22 that. Am I right?
23 A. Again, it's not clear to me, your question.
24 Q. Did you personally see the police come to the other end of the
25 village and force people out of their homes at that -- in that part of
1 the village, did you see those people gather in the yard of the
2 carpenter's shop? Did you see that yourself?
3 A. It's kind of mixed up. What I said is that on the 13th of April
4 the police expelled half of the village. We didn't wait for the police
5 to come to our house. We left on our own. On the 14th, we returned to
6 our house. It -- the weather was not good. And on that day, the
7 14th of April, the police came to our house and forced us out. I was
8 part of the group that was in the field that you refer to, and this is
9 what I saw with my own eyes.
10 Q. Thank you. Ms. Sadiku, in the statement that you gave in 2001
11 you say that in your house there were 80 people and that they were from
12 the Tamnik part of Mitrovica. And in the statement that you gave in 2006
13 you supplement that statement, adding that there were people from Cirez
14 too. How come that in 2001 you say that there were only people there
15 from Tamnik and then you add in 2006 that there were also people from
16 Cirez, not only from Tamnik?
17 A. Earlier I wasn't asked about this, and I gave the figure when I
18 was asked about these persons -- I wasn't asked where these persons were
19 from; however, later when they put a clear question to me where they were
20 from, I mentioned there were also people from Qirez, from Tamnik, and
21 from Mitrovica.
22 Q. But, Ms. Sadiku, the first time that I asked you this question --
23 the first that you were asked this question you said that they were from
24 Tamnik, and then it was only in 2006 that you said there were not only
25 people from Tamnik but there were also people from Cirez there. So the
1 investigator asked you the first time where those people who were in your
2 house had come from. So could you explain why this discrepancy?
3 A. As I said, earlier I wasn't asked specifically where these people
4 came from. In 2006 when they asked me specifically about these persons,
5 the number of them and where they were from, I provided them with an
7 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Can I please have
8 Exhibit D002-5109.
9 Q. Ms. Sadiku, do you recognise the uniform of the police officers
10 who came into your village on the 14th?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Would you please mark it.
13 A. [Marks]
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Could we please show the next page
16 of this exhibit.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Not without losing the marking. There's been a
18 mark put on this --
19 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] No, no. I just wanted to show to
20 the Court that the witness was able to recognise the uniform. So could
21 we please then tender this into evidence, and then --
22 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received --
23 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] -- we can go back ...
24 JUDGE PARKER: I'm trying to hurry us along, Mr. Djurdjic,
25 because I know that we've got to finish two witnesses today. The longer
1 you spend on this witness, it will be shorter you have with the next
2 witness, so we will keep moving as quickly as we can.
3 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D00066, Your Honours.
4 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 Q. Ms. Sadiku, when you left your home on the 14th because the
6 police had arrived, did you have enough time to get ready and to get some
7 of your things?
8 A. No, we were not allowed to take anything to us. They told us we
9 had five minutes to leave our house.
10 Q. Thank you. And what were you wearing when you left your home?
11 A. With clothes, everyday clothes.
12 Q. Thank you. How were you able to understand what the police
13 officers were saying, the police officers that came into your house?
14 A. I was able to understand because my mother and my sister,
15 Lutfije Sadiku, speak B/C/S very well.
16 Q. Thank you. So can I take it then that they interpreted to you
17 what the police officers were saying?
18 A. Yes, that's correct.
19 Q. Thank you. And where were your father and your brothers when the
20 police came in, into your house?
21 A. My father and my brothers remained in the mountain, whereas we
22 returned home.
23 Q. Thank you. Where is this mountain in relation to your village?
24 A. It's not very far from our house, about 100 [as interpreted]
25 kilometres, not further.
1 Q. I believe there is an interpretation mistake here. Could you
2 please repeat how far was this mountain from your village.
3 A. 50 kilometres.
4 Q. Thank you. And when you left for the mountain on the 13th, how
5 far were you from your home?
6 A. The same distance, 50 kilometres.
7 Q. Thank you. And those mountains, are they in the direction of the
8 Vaganice village? I'm not sure what the exact name is.
9 A. It is in the direction of Kopriva.
10 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell me when you left the village,
11 did you move in the direction of Mitrovica or in the direction Sipolje?
12 A. In the direction of Shipol, between Shipol and Lower Zhabar.
13 Q. Thank you. And did you then get to the road that leads to
14 Srbica, Klina, and Pec?
15 A. Yes. We got to Shipol, Lushte, then Kline, then Skenderaj, and
16 proceeded in the direction of Peje.
17 Q. Thank you. The village of Ljuste
18 to it?
19 A. The village of Lushte
21 Q. Thank you. How far is it from the Donje Zabare village, Ljuste?
22 A. I don't know the distance in kilometres. To tell you the truth,
23 it was the first time for me to go and to see all these places that I
25 Q. Thank you. Ms. Sadiku, did you know that in Donje Zabare there
1 is a hospital?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Thank you. And on the 14th of April, as you were leaving your
4 village and going towards Ljuste, was there any gun-fire in the mountains
5 around you?
6 A. No. To tell you the truth, we were scared and we had no time to
7 look around and to see what was going on.
8 Q. Thank you. And what happened to your father and your brothers?
9 A. My eldest brother worked in the market as a salesman; my father
10 worked in this factory, he retired later. So they did work in the house,
11 nothing else.
12 Q. No. I meant as you were leaving the village and when the police
13 forced you out, what were your father and your brothers doing, where were
15 A. When we returned in our house on the 14th of April, my father and
16 brothers didn't dare come in the house. They were scared because of the
17 police. They remained in the mountain. We only intended to change our
18 clothes and return to the mountain where we were, but that didn't happen
19 because the police came and expelled us from our home. And at the time
20 we were separated, we were not all together; my father, brothers on one
21 side; and we others were on another side.
22 Q. Thank you. Well, who went on towards Klina and Pec with you,
23 which of your family members?
24 A. My mother, my two sisters, my brother's wife, four children of my
25 brother, and 20 other persons who were staying as refugees with our
1 family; however, in that group it wasn't only my family members. There
2 were about 8.000 people from different places who were part of that
3 convoy when we left.
4 Q. Thank you. And could you tell me, which of your family members
5 came to the village of Zablace
6 A. My mother; my two sisters; my sister-in-law, and her four
7 children; and my aunt, my uncle's wife.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Could I please have Exhibit --
10 it's a Defence document, rather, D002-5111.
11 Q. Ms. Sadiku, this is the village of Zablace
12 mark the house where you were, where you found lodging.
13 A. I really apologise. It's very difficult for me. It was the
14 first time for me to visit that village, so I cannot pin-point it on this
16 Q. And am I right when I say that you stayed in the village for
17 three weeks?
18 A. Yes, that's correct.
19 Q. Thank you. And could you please show us the church on this map,
20 the one that you mention in your statement?
21 A. No, I can't see it.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] I would like to tender this
24 document into evidence, it's the village of Zablace
25 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
1 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D00067, Your Honours.
2 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 Q. Ms. Sadiku, there are some discrepancies between your statements
4 regarding whether you left alone or not, the route that you took, but I'm
5 not going to be asking you any questions about that. What I am
6 interested in is the portion of your statement where you say in 2001 that
7 because of the gun-fire nobody could approach you to assist you. Is that
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. Thank you. Where did the gun-fire come from? Did you know that
11 or not?
12 A. Yes, I know that. From the part where the church was, from the
13 courtyard of the church, on my way to fetch potatoes I saw policemen in
14 the courtyard of the church; and after I was hit, I saw that the bullets
15 came from that direction.
16 Q. But you said that the gun-fire went on for half an hour, so who
17 was firing at whom?
18 A. After I was hit by a bullet, I suddenly felt very warm. I had
19 kind of fever. It was early in the morning, 8.00. I started to move a
20 little bit, and when they saw that I was moving they started firing in my
21 direction. My friends who were with me informed my family that I had
22 been hit. They came to assist me, but it was impossible for them to do
23 that because there was continuous gun-fire from these policemen.
24 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have the statement
25 of this witness dated the 23rd of August, 2001, that's D002-5023, that's
1 the English version; and the Albanian version is D002-5046. So could we
2 please move to page 5, that's in the English version, and page 6 in the
3 Albanian version of the text.
4 Q. I would like to ask you to read paragraphs 3 and 4 where it says:
5 "I picked up the potatoes ..."
6 Can you see it, ma'am, or do you want me to read it out for you?
7 "After three weeks on the 6th of May, 1999, at 0800 hours I went
8 out into the yard to bring some potatoes.
9 "I picked up the potatoes just a couple of metres from the door.
10 I took the potatoes and started to go back to the door. When I was just
11 outside the door, I felt a pain in my back. I fell to the ground. I
12 heard no shooting before I fell. When I had fallen to the ground, I felt
13 even more pain and now I heard some shooting.
14 "Lying on the ground I felt a big pain, and when I looked in my
15 clothes I saw a big hole in front of my chest. I realised that it was an
16 exit hole from a bullet. I had been hit in the middle of my back on the
17 left-hand side. The exit hole was on my right-hand side just under my
19 "When I was lying on the ground I tried to move but I was not
20 able to raise my upper part of the body, and I had to remain on the
21 ground. I tried to move and drag myself into the with my arms but I
22 could not. When the gunmen saw I was moving, they started to shoot
23 heavily against me. Because of the shooting, which lasted for half an
24 hour, no one in the house could help me.
25 "I was screaming for help but no one could assist me from the
2 You didn't mention anyone coming out with you, you didn't mention
3 that anyone went away from you, and this is the first statement that you
4 provided. And today you told us something else. Is your memory fresher
5 in 2006 and today or was it fresher when you first gave the statement?
6 A. The truth is as follows: On the 6th of May I was hit on the
7 spine. I was with my eight friends. I wasn't alone. When my friends
8 saw that I was wounded, they phoned my family. Later on, my sisters
9 Lutfije and Fikrije Sadiku came to help, but it was impossible for them
10 to assist me for half an hour because there was this continuous gun-fire
11 from the police. I have mentioned it before. I don't know why it isn't
12 there, but this is the truth.
13 Q. Thank you. Am I right when I say -- or rather, let us do it this
14 way. How far was the church from the location where you were?
15 A. I cannot describe the distance in kilometres, but it wasn't far.
16 You could see whether something was moving, a person or something else;
17 but I cannot tell you the distance in kilometres.
18 Q. Did you look, as you went to fetch the potatoes, in the direction
19 of the church, did you look in that direction at all?
20 A. With my friends on our way to fetch potatoes, we noticed the
21 police presence in the courtyard of the church. They had lit a fire
22 early in the morning in the courtyard, and we could see that there were
23 policemen there in the courtyard.
24 Q. Thank you. And when you were injured, were you able to see the
1 A. No. Once we fetched the potatoes we set off in the direction of
2 the house where we were staying. About 1 metre or so from the edge of
3 the house, my friend asked me to swap because her hands were tired from
4 carrying the potatoes. At that moment, as I was trying to pick up the
5 potatoes, I had my back turned to the location where the police was and
6 from where they were shooting.
7 Q. Thank you. May I conclude that you did not see, since you had
8 your back turned to the location, you could not see who actually fired
9 the shots?
10 A. I told you that at the time I was hit by a bullet I had my back
11 turned to this location, where the police were. So once I was hit, I
12 don't know how, but I turned towards the direction where the police were.
13 Q. Thank you. You were injured very badly and you were in different
14 places for several days. As you were moving towards the border, you were
15 on a tractor; am I right when I say that?
16 A. Yes, you're right.
17 Q. Thank you. You were lying down, weren't you, in view of the
18 injury that you had sustained?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you. Along the way, no one searched you; am I right?
21 A. In one place we were searched by the police. They asked why I
22 was lying on this tractor. My sister answered to the police, telling
23 them that I was invalid from my birth, as was another person who was
24 lying on that same tractor with me.
25 Q. Thank you. My question was whether I was right when I said that
1 the police had not searched you; is that right?
2 A. Yes, we were not checked, searched by the police. On the way,
3 however, they did ask for money and valuables, but they didn't body
4 search us.
5 Q. Thank you. Am I right when I say that not a single one of your
6 document was taken away from you?
7 A. No, you're not right. In Peje, the police stopped the convoy and
8 collected all personal documentation from these people, IDs, passports,
9 birth certificates, and so forth, in Peje, and they burnt them.
10 Q. You say that this was in Pec at the check-point. What about the
12 A. At the border, before we crossed into Albania, they asked for
13 money, for 500 Deutschemarks, and for valuables.
14 Q. And they told you that they would not let you go unless you gave
15 them the money they had asked for?
16 A. Yes, that's right.
17 Q. Thank you. And you gave 500 Deutschemark in order to be able to
18 go to Albania
19 A. We gave them what we had. I don't know exactly how much we gave
20 them, but we did give the money to be able to cross into Albania.
21 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Sadiku. I have no further questions
22 for you.
23 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, I have
24 completed my cross-examination.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Djurdjic.
1 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
2 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. D'Ascoli.
3 MS. D'ASCOLI: Thanks, Your Honours. I only have a couple of
5 Re-examination by Ms. D'Ascoli:
6 Q. Ms. Sadiku, you were asked by my learned colleague about the day
7 of the 13th of April when you left your house after having seen other
8 houses of the village burning, and you went to the forest and stayed
9 there for the night. I wanted to ask you: How did you leave, if you
10 remember? By which means I mean.
11 A. We left on foot.
12 Q. And do you remember for how long you travelled to arrive to the
14 A. About one hour or one hour and a half.
15 Q. And was it the same on your way back the following morning, on
16 the 14th, when you returned to your village?
17 A. Yes, the same.
18 Q. Thank you very much. Thanks for clarifying that.
19 MS. D'ASCOLI: Your Honours, I don't have any further questions.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ms. D'Ascoli.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 Questioned by the Court:
23 JUDGE PARKER: Could you help me, please. When you went to the
24 forest or the mountain with your family on the 13th of April, was your
25 father with you?
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE PARKER: The two brothers that were living in the house,
3 were they with you?
4 A. Yes. We all spent that night in a tent.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. The next morning you've told us you came
6 back to get dry clothes and so forth. Your father and your two brothers,
7 what did they do?
8 A. My father and my two brothers came half the way to the house.
9 When they saw that the police was present in one part of the village,
10 they didn't dare enter the village. They wanted to avoid the police
11 because they knew what could happen to them once they meet the police.
12 So they returned in the mountains whilst we proceeded towards my house to
13 get the dry clothes and something to eat. And shortly after we arrived
14 in the house, the police came and expelled us.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much.
16 You'll be pleased to know that completes the questions for you.
17 The Chamber would like to thank you very much for your attendance here in
18 The Hague
19 able to give to us, and you are of course now free to go back to your
20 family and your ordinary living. Thank you again for being prepared to
22 We will now adjourn for the first break and resume at 4.00.
23 Thank you.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would also like to
25 thank you for giving me the opportunity to attend this Court for the
1 second time. Whenever there is need for me to come and testify, I will
2 be ready to come and testify to tell you the truth, as I did yesterday.
3 I thank you very much for everything.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you for that. We know it's a special
5 difficulty for you to cope with the problem of moving, and we are very
6 grateful for your attendance.
7 We adjourn now.
8 [The witness withdrew]
9 --- Recess taken at 3.35 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 4.05 p.m.
11 JUDGE PARKER: The next witness is waiting immediately outside
12 the door and can be brought in.
13 Ms. Kravetz.
14 MS. KRAVETZ: Good afternoon, Your Honours. The next witness is
15 Mr. Branimir Aleksandric.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
17 [The witness entered court]
18 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon.
19 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
20 JUDGE PARKER: Could you please read aloud the affirmation which
21 is now shown to you.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
23 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
24 WITNESS: BRANIMIR ALEKSANDRIC
25 [Witness answered through interpreter]
1 JUDGE PARKER: Please sit down.
2 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Kravetz has some questions for you.
4 Ms. Kravetz.
5 MS. KRAVETZ: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Examination by Ms. Kravetz:
7 Q. Good afternoon, Witness, could you please start by stating your
8 name and your current position.
9 A. My name is Branimir Aleksandric. I'm a professor at the medical
10 school of the University of Belgrade
11 medicine. I'm also the director of the Forensic Medicine Institute which
12 is part of the medical faculty of the University of Belgrade
13 Q. Thank you. Dr. Aleksandric, did you provide a statement to the
14 Office of the Prosecution in June 2006?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Have you had the opportunity to review this statement before
17 coming to court today?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And while reviewing your statement, did you make a couple of
20 corrections to the information contained in your statement?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. I'm going to go very briefly through these corrections and ask
23 you to confirm if the corrections as stated by me are accurate.
24 Paragraph 1 in the middle of the paragraph there's a sentence
25 that states that:
1 Before the wars in the former Yugoslavia you taught as an
2 associate professor of forensic medicine at the medical faculty in
4 1991 and 1992.
5 Did you correct the years stated here and indicate in proofing
6 that you taught as an associate professor of forensic medicine in
8 Banja Luka in 1992?
9 A. Yes, this correction is right.
10 Q. Paragraph 6, the third sentence currently states:
11 "I caused the entire scene to be photographed before anything was
12 touched ..."
13 Did you correct this in proofing to state:
14 "I caused the entire scene to be photographed and video-recorded
15 before anything was touched ..."?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. Other than for those two corrections, are you satisfied that the
18 information contained in your statement is true and accurate to the best
19 of your knowledge and belief?
20 A. Yes.
21 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honours, I seek to tender this witness
22 statement, this is 65 ter 02412 and I ask that that be received.
23 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
24 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00507, Your Honours.
25 MS. KRAVETZ:
1 Q. Dr. Aleksandric, did you also testify in October 2006 in the case
2 of Milutinovic et al.?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Have you recently had the opportunity to review your transcript
5 from that case?
6 A. Recently -- well, yesterday, yesterday, at your office at the
8 Q. Having reviewed your transcript from the previous case, if you
9 were asked the same questions today that you were asked then would you
10 provide the same answers?
11 A. Certainly.
12 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honours, I seek to tender this transcript,
13 this is 65 ter 05065, and I ask that that be received.
14 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
15 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00508, Your Honours.
16 MS. KRAVETZ: I will now proceed to read the court summary of
17 this witness's evidence.
18 The witness is the head of the Belgrade Institute of
19 Forensic Medicine. In 2002 the witness coordinated the work of a team of
20 forensic experts working on burial sites discovered at the MUP firing
21 range at Batajnica, Serbia
22 including how the bodies and other evidence were exhumed and secured
23 prior to examination, as well as the forensic examination process. He
24 further describes the process by which samples of bones were taken from
25 the bodies for DNA
2 reports produced for the graves coded Batajnica 3 and Batajnica 5.
3 That is the end of the summary of this evidence.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
5 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honours, I have no further questions for this
6 witness. I do wish to point out that the exhibits which are referred to
7 in paragraph 16 of this witness statement and which were attached to our
8 92 bis motion have been agreed upon by the parties, and they're currently
9 in evidence.
10 Two of these exhibits, these are currently Exhibits P97 and P102
11 have no translations in e-court and this was noted by Your Honours in the
12 decision on our 92 bis motion of forensic witnesses. We seek to withdraw
13 these two exhibits. Although they're relevant to the issues in this
14 case, we do not want to burden CLSS with the translation of these
15 documents which are quite lengthy, and I note that these specific -- the
16 specific reports which are contained within those exhibits do not relate
17 directly to any of the scheduled victims. So we will be withdrawing
18 those two exhibits.
19 JUDGE PARKER: That's your motion.
20 Is there any objection, Mr. Djurdjic?
21 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I think that
22 these two documents are very important, even more so because the
23 Office for Missing Persons and Forensic Medicine verified those findings,
24 and their very own findings were absolutely contrary in relation to
25 Batajnica 3 and Batajnica 5. Generally speaking, in relation to all the
1 findings that were made by the Institute for Forensic Medicine in
3 should be part of the evidence admitted in this case.
4 We will see later - I don't want to pre-empt matters - we'll see
5 what the findings are of the Office for Missing Persons and
6 Forensic Medicine as compared to the findings of the
7 Institute for Forensic Medicine in Belgrade. If the time is right now, I
8 would like to suggest that they be marked for identification, and then
9 when the translations come, they be admitted into evidence.
10 JUDGE PARKER: They have actually been admitted in evidence and
11 the Chamber has ordered that English translations be provided. That is
12 the current situation, so as not to delay with the time - I don't know
13 how long you'll be - but we, I think, should finish the evidence of the
14 witness and then we -- if necessary, we can return to these two exhibits.
15 That completes your examination-in-chief then, does it?
16 MS. KRAVETZ: Yes, I just wanted to point out the exhibits which
17 are referred to in paragraph 16 which are in evidence in addition to the
18 two I mentioned it's Exhibits P98, P99, P100, P101, and P120. These are
19 the exhibits that are referred to in paragraph 16. Yes.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
21 MS. KRAVETZ: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE PARKER: And the two that are in question are Exhibits P97
23 and P102. Yeah. Thank you.
24 Mr. Djurdjic, do you have questions?
25 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. However, before
1 the questions there is a mistake, or rather, there was a mistake and I
2 believe that it has been corrected in relation to the English translation
3 of some documents. I noted that -- please -- actually, it is stated here
4 that there is no translation for 101, whereas there is a translation for
5 that exhibit; and there is no translation of 102. I would like to draw
6 your attention to that.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
8 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 Cross-examination by Mr. Djurdjic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Professor, I am Veljko Djurdjic, member of the
11 Defence team of the accused, Vlastimir Djordjevic; together with me is
12 Ms. Marie O'Leary, member of our team. Mr. Dragoljub Djordjevic, lead
13 counsel, is away on official business.
14 You and I speak the same language. In order to make it possible
15 for the court staff to do their jobs properly, please wait for my
16 question to be transcribed and then please give me your answer, and then
17 I will wait for you, although you are already aware of that.
18 Professor, you are a doctor of medicine, medical science. Could
19 you please tell me what your actual field is.
20 A. Forensic medicine, forensic pathology, whatever you prefer.
21 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us the following: After you graduated
22 from the Faculty of Medicine, how did your professional career evolve?
23 A. All of that is contained in the statement that I gave 2006. If
24 necessary, I'll repeat all of it. Just tell me.
25 Q. No. I would just like to know how much time you needed to become
1 a specialist in forensic medicine?
2 A. At that time, it took four years. I believe that's how long it
3 lasted at the time.
4 Q. Thank you. And before that you had to do the compulsory
5 internship, and then only could you start your specialisation in forensic
6 medicine; am I right?
7 A. First of all, it is compulsory to work as an intern for a year
8 and then a two-year clinical residency or some other kind of residency.
9 Mine was at the Institute for Anatomy and as a general practitioner.
10 Q. Thank you, Professor. When were you put on the list of permanent
11 forensic experts?
12 A. Where? In the country?
13 Q. Yes.
14 A. In 1993 I believe or 1994, but I think it was 1993; and this was
15 a decision made by the Ministry of Justice.
16 Q. Thank you. Are you on the list of forensic experts outside
18 A. As far as I know, no.
19 Q. What were the requirements that you had to meet in order to
20 become a permanent forensic expert?
21 A. Well, appropriate professional qualifications, primarily the
22 residence -- the specialisation, rather, and the experience involving
23 some serious court cases. And by -- when I say "professional
24 experience," I mean providing expert reports.
25 Q. Do I understand it correctly that you are also a member of the
1 Forensic Medicine Board of the medical school in Belgrade?
2 A. Yes, I have been a member since 1996. This is when I was
3 appointed the secretary of the board; and since 2006, I have been the
4 chairman of the board. This is a board that consists of members who are
5 appointed by the council of the medical school from among the prominent
6 practitioners in their field and people who have already proven their
7 good-quality work in various court cases.
8 Q. Could you please explain to us what is the function of the
9 Forensic Medicine Board?
10 A. The Forensic Medicine Board provides expert reports, at the
11 request of the courts, of highly complex cases. In most cases, these are
12 the cases where there are conflicting expert reports that are already
13 presented and the experts in question were unable to come to an
14 agreement. In some cases, particularly when malpractice is in question,
15 this board provides expert opinions even before other expert reports were
16 provided. So in those cases it is the first-instance body.
17 Q. So can we conclude that the Forensic Medicine Board is a body
18 that provides super expertise in medical field?
19 A. Yes, in a way.
20 Q. Professor, you headed the team that performed the exhumations at
21 the Batajnica 3 and 5 sites, and in your statement you explained the
22 procedure that you applied. I would now like to ask you this: Is this
23 the procedure that is stipulated by the medical science -- the procedure
24 that involves the exhumation and then the autopsy or post mortem
1 A. First of all, I did not participate only in the inquiries into
2 the Batajnica 3 and 5 sites. The -- it was actually Professor Dunjic who
3 started investigating the Batajnica site in 2001, and he dealt with two
4 graves there. We picked up where he left off, and we continued to
5 inspect the area, the site. And we assigned numbers to subsequent sites,
6 3 through 8. So it's not only 3 and 5.
7 On the other hand, the methodology that we applied in our work is
8 the methodology that is generally accepted. The reason why it is
9 accepted is because it is based on the experience, both in our country
10 and abroad, when it comes to dealing with mass graves and execution
12 Q. Thank you. Could you explain to us the role of forensic
13 anthropologists in your team. You had a forensic anthropologist on your
15 A. First of all, the team that does this work has to involve experts
16 of various -- from various domains; and in 2002 when I took over the
17 Batajnica case, I insisted on it. And that is why we involved also the
18 anthropologists. Anthropologists are very important in this joint
19 effort, especially when it comes to bodies that are fully disarticulated
20 and full report of an anthropologist who has dealt with the bones. The
21 findings of an anthropologist assist the pathologist, the forensic
22 medicine experts, to provide their final opinion.
23 Q. Thank you. In the course of your work, were there any foreign
24 observers or representatives of the Tribunal or the OTP?
25 A. Yes, there was a number of observers who were there almost on a
1 daily basis. There was nothing clandestine about our work. We did our
2 work in public, and they could attend whenever they wished. The only
3 thing I asked from them, since they usually came in large groups, was not
4 to obstruct our work so that we don't waste any time because they took
5 photographs and filmed the procedure. There were representatives of the
6 embassies, of the NGOs, of the United Nations, the
7 International Red Cross, the Missing Persons Commission. I don't want to
8 list them all because it's all listed in the protocols anyway.
9 Q. Thank you. Were you told that the missing persons and forensic
10 medicine office carried out a forensic inspection of the findings of the
11 autopsies carried out by the Forensic Medicine Institute from Belgrade
12 the Batajnica site? I'm now talking about the time when they did the
13 verification, not at a later stage. Perhaps you heard about it here at
14 the Tribunal.
15 A. Well, to be quite frank, I can't understand the question. Did I
16 hear what?
17 Q. Were you notified that the missing persons and forensic medicine
18 office with KFOR in Pristina actually carried out forensic inspection of
19 the autopsy reports provided by the forensic medicine institute in
21 A. No, no, I'm not aware of that.
22 Q. Thank you. According to your expert opinion, a forensic
23 anthropologist, when he or she analyses the skeleton, determining the
24 age, the sex, and the height, can they also determine the circumstances
25 of the death of the person in question?
1 A. I've already told you that the role of the anthropologist is
2 important within the team-work and that their findings can assist the
3 medical doctor who actually makes the final determination about the death
4 of the person in question. So the anthropologist can only participant as
5 members of a team, but it is the medical doctor who makes the final
6 determination because he or she has the expert knowledge in medicine.
7 Anthropologists know some medical elements, but they are not
8 doctors. But just to give you an analogy, a psychologist and a
9 psychiatrist. A psychologist can be a member of a team which is led by a
10 medical doctor, a psychiatrist, but the psychologist cannot assume the
11 role of a psychiatrist, who is a medical doctor.
12 Q. Thank you. Could you tell me what condition were the bodies in
13 at the Batajnica 3 and 5 sites in terms of how badly decomposed they
15 A. All the bodies were generally highly putrefied. The decomposed
16 and destroyed part of the putrefaction process so that some of the
17 remains were nothing but bare skeletons with very little remnants of the
18 soft tissue around the bones.
19 Q. Thank you. Now I would like to ask you this: After you did your
20 work and before you handed in all the skeletons that you had examined
21 to -- back to Kosovo, did this process continue, or were they kept in
22 such a state that they were no longer decomposing?
23 A. After we autopsied the bodies, all the bodies were placed in some
24 tunnels. I don't know what the tunnels were used before. They were next
25 to the training area used by the SAJ
1 dug into the ground and the temperature inside those tunnels was much
2 lower than outside. But at any rate, in summertime the temperature in
3 those tunnels was not as low as it is in refrigerators. So I can
4 conclude that the process of decomposition continued for all intents and
5 purposes. In other words, we did not have the refrigerators where you
6 would typically put bodies in after we processed them, but we stored them
7 in the tunnels.
8 Q. Thank you. Why, in your reports for Batajnica 3 and 5 sites and
9 in general for all the sites that the Forensic Medicine Institute
10 processed, does it say that the cause of death cannot be determined for
11 decomposed bodies?
12 A. Well, this is the general principle. This is how you do work in
13 forensic medicine. These are conclusions that only pertain to the
14 findings obtained by the autopsy of the exhumed bodies. So this is the
15 conclusion regarding those findings. Now, you can do an expert analysis
16 later on, bearing in mind the circumstances, the autopsy itself, possibly
17 determining the site where the bodies had been before. So from this kind
18 of expert analysis one can get a more accurate conclusion about the most
19 probable cause of death.
20 Q. Thank you. Doctor, I now have to bring you back in time a little
21 bit. Based on only the reports on forensic analysis, is it possible to
22 determine the mechanism how injuries were inflicted and the cause of
23 death for bodies that are in advanced state of decomposition?
24 A. When you have injuries to bone, in some cases they are quite
25 peculiar when they're caused by a projectile or if you find the
1 projectile itself then you're able to determine how the injury was
2 inflicted, the mechanism itself, to determine in what direction the
3 projectile was moving, whether the victim was facing the assailant or the
4 muzzle or was -- had her or his back turned to it. So you can
5 reconstruct the mechanism how the injury was inflicted at times; at other
6 times you cannot do that. Sometimes you can do the most probable
7 mechanism. And what was your next question, mechanism of injury, and
8 what was the other thing?
9 Q. Well, the cause of death solely on the basis of --
10 A. Solely on the pre-autopsy examination of decomposed bodies, you
11 cannot determine the cause of death. This is what I've already said.
12 But later on when the expert learns not only of the results of the
13 autopsy report but when he or she gathers all the other relevant data,
14 the expert can conclude with a high degree of probability what the cause
15 of death was or, alternatively, no such conclusions can be made. Let me
16 give you an example.
17 If the -- if it was determined that the round passed through the
18 head, you can say that the most probable cause of death was a
19 through-and-through wound to the head caused by a projectile of some
20 sort. But if you don't have any elements that might lead you to such a
21 conclusion, then cause of death remains unknown.
22 Q. Thank you. And what are the other elements, can you tell us
23 that, the elements that make it possible for an expert witness to reach a
24 conclusion as regards the cause of death?
25 A. Well, the other elements, we're talking about the data that are
1 obtained in the course of an inquiry or investigation. For instance, if
2 you have a mass grave, that would be the site where the persons went
3 missing, various witness statements. So from this data, you can obtain
4 facts that might be linked with your autopsy report, and then this might
5 lead you to determine the likeliest cause of death.
6 Q. Thank you. There are some views that your approach to the
7 determination of the cause of death in the bodies that were found there
8 at an advanced stage of decomposition is restrictive. Does science,
9 forensic medicine, still support this position of the
10 Forensic Medicine Institute or has something changed in the meantime?
11 A. Well, I've already told you, our conclusion about the cause of
12 death pertains only to the autopsy that was performed on the exhumed
13 decomposed bodies. At the initial stage of the investigation, it is
14 absolutely restrictive; and this is why I insisted that we do this as a
15 team and that's why we did it.
16 In particular, the assistance of the anthropologist was
17 important. And I've already told you, the anthropologist provides us
18 with facts that we can then build into our medical domain, and
19 anthropologists thus assist us to get at the most probable cause of death
20 so it is no longer restrictive. That's what I told you. It might be
21 restrictive when it comes to conclusions reached only on the basis of the
22 autopsy of decomposed bodies; but afterwards, the expert analysis
23 expounds and we can provide a more flexible conclusion. And the ultimate
24 objective is to assist the court at the one hand to remove this initial
25 restrictiveness and to assist the court in concluding whether any crime
1 had been committed.
2 Q. Thank you. Professor, if a body is already decayed and we
3 establish that a person had been injured by use of a fire-arm, can we
4 establish whether the person was alive or not once the fire-arm was used?
5 A. In general terms, you cannot establish that. In order to
6 establish that someone had been injured while he or she was still alive,
7 there have to be some vital reactions on the body itself. If there are
8 no such reactions on the body, and there aren't if the body is
9 decomposed, nevertheless there may still be some traces that indicate to
10 us that the person had been injured while still alive. However, when we
11 give our final opinion, we establish what the most probable cause of
12 death was; we do not say what the absolutely certain cause of death was.
13 Q. Thank you. You've said to us several times during expertise
14 rather than autopsies and autopsy reports. Do you mean that this
15 involves all the other elements that the expert has to be aware of in
16 order to provide an expert opinion?
17 A. Well, certainly.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 A. I repeat, we can say, as doctors, what the most probable cause of
20 death was. In this we assist the Court; however, the Court deals with
21 the rest of the evidence too in order to reach their final decision.
22 Q. Thank you. When the bodies are well into the process of decay or
23 decomposition, can it be established whether the persons lost their lives
24 in a mutual armed conflict or whether they were defending themselves?
25 A. Again I don't understand your question. Mutual conflict -- it's
1 one and the same thing, isn't it, defence or mutual conflict --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The counsel has to pause
3 before putting a question.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic, you must allow the professor to
5 finish his answer before you start to put another question because the
6 interpreters are moving through several languages, and they can't
7 possibly keep up. And what was being said then was lost by them.
8 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise.
9 Q. Professor, my mistake. Was there an armed conflict or were there
10 some persons who were simply not in a position to defend themselves?
11 A. Well, generally speaking, only on the basis of the injuries
12 sustained, it is hard to establish with any degree of certainty what had
13 happened. Again, we can talk about a more probable way in which they had
14 been injured, say from a shell or from a grenade. That can happen during
15 an armed conflict too, but also this kind of injury can be sustained if
16 somebody throws a grenade on -- or a shell on a group of people who get
17 killed in that way. After all, that's what happened in Belgrade during
18 the NATO bombing when so many civilians lost their lives.
19 Q. Thank you. As for some of the bodies that you examined, you and
20 your team that is, did they have any military insignia?
21 A. At the locality that was dealt with by my team, that is to say
22 from localities 3 through 8, if I remember correctly there was one body
23 with green camouflage trousers, so it was just one body. But, in a way,
24 there were some combat markings there. There was a bandanna that was
25 tied to the belt of the -- that was on the body, either on the left- or
1 on the right-hand side. I know from what I had been told that the
2 soldiers were told to tie ribbon or bandannas every day on their
3 shoulders or on their belts so that they could tell who was who because
4 basically everyone wore the same camouflage uniforms.
5 On the other hand - I'm speaking from memory, I have not dealt
6 with the entire material - but in terms of my general impression and as
7 far as I can remember, about one-third of the bodies had military boots
8 with metal in the soles. So if military boots are supposed to be
9 something that soldiers wear, of course that doesn't have to mean in
10 itself that somebody was indeed a soldier or not, but I'm saying that in
11 about one-third of all cases, or perhaps even more, these boots were
12 found with a metal insole in the sole of the boot, so such boots were
13 worn as protection from booby-traps.
14 Q. Thank you. I read your statement carefully; however, I did not
15 notice that it contains what you said just now.
16 A. Well, it's all in the transcripts. If someone reads all the
17 transcripts, then this can be read too in relation to the bodies
19 Q. However, it's not in your statement given to the OTP. Have you
20 informed the Prosecutors about what you stated just now and what is
21 written in your transcripts?
22 A. Did I inform the OTP?
23 Q. Yes.
24 A. To tell you the truth, I don't remember whether they asked me.
25 No one here in court asked me, and in the OTP -- well, I know that I
1 discussed that too, but who, where, when, I can't remember exactly
2 because I talked to the representatives of the OTP in Belgrade and at
3 work and at the OTP office in Belgrade
4 some occasion, as far as I can remember, I did talk about that as well;
5 however, here in the courtroom, nobody really asked me about that.
6 Q. Thank you. If I understand you correctly - correct me if I'm
7 wrong - if one were to analyse your autopsy reports one could establish
8 specifically what the number of persons was with this particular
9 phenomenon of the military boots?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Am I right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Thank you. On the basis of autopsy reports, can it be
14 established what the cause of death was in the case of a person who had
15 drowned over two months ago and was in the water all the time?
16 A. No.
17 Q. After spending two months in the water, can one distinguish on a
18 corpse between blood and decomposition fluids?
19 A. Well, look, blood is the first to decay or decompose. And if
20 decomposition fluid is in the blood vessels, that is decomposed blood.
21 But to make a literal distinction between blood and this fluid is
22 virtually impossible because everything decomposes and the blood is the
23 first to do so.
24 Q. Thank you. After two months' time, if an object is in water, can
25 one observe the existence of blood?
1 A. I do not understand what you're saying. On an object?
2 Q. Yes, an object that's in the water for two months, can one
3 visually establish that there is blood there?
4 A. With the naked eye?
5 Q. With the naked eye.
6 A. I have not had an opportunity to see that over the 30 years that
7 I've been in this line of work.
8 Q. When corpses have been changed through decomposition, can one
9 establish with certainty how far away a bullet had been fired?
10 A. You cannot say anything with any degree of certainty in the case
11 of a decomposed body. You can just talk about higher or greater
13 Q. Thank you.
14 A. Except in some special cases. For instance, exit/entry wounds in
15 the skull, and when you reconstruct skull bones then you can see where
16 the entrance was and where the exit was. And if the bullet was fired at
17 very close range, then the entrance wound is much bigger and then you can
18 say with a certain degree of certainty that the firing was at very close
19 range. There are some cases that are even more specific; however, I
20 would like to note that one cannot speak in general terms about all of
21 this because in the procedure involved in this kind of expertise every
22 case has a story of its own.
23 Q. I'm not going to repeat everything so that we don't waste any
24 time. You explained to us what the process of expertise is and what the
25 elements involved are. I'm asking you questions now only on the basis of
1 the autopsy reports, whether something can be established on that basis,
2 and also the things that were established in the autopsy reports. I'm
3 not talking about expertise and other elements; I'm only talking about
4 autopsy reports and findings.
5 My next question, Professor, is that only on the basis of what an
6 exit/entry wound looks like on tissue that had decomposed, that the canal
7 of the wound can be established and can the calibre of the bullet be
8 established, the bullet that had caused the wound?
9 A. First of all, the calibre of the projectile is never established
10 on the basis of the size of the exit or entry wound. The size of the
11 entry wound depends on whether there was a right angle involved and
12 whether it had lost a bit of its force, et cetera. As for the exit
13 wound, it can be much bigger than usual because there are always these
14 secondary projectiles. I mean, when a projectile passes through a body
15 then it always takes bits of tissue along as well. So the exit wound
16 doesn't have to be a single one. Say, if the projectile hits a bone,
17 then there can be bone particles on the projectile as it leaves the body.
18 But as I said, every case is different and tells a story of its own.
19 As for the possibility of -- what was it that you were asking
21 Q. When we're talking about an advanced stage, skeletised -- when
22 we're talking about skeletised body?
23 A. In such cases if it is established, for instance, that bones had
24 been injured rather than soft tissue and if one concludes that it was a
25 projectile that caused these wounds, then on the basis of the direction,
1 you can establish where the projectile came from, whether it came from
2 the face or from the back or from the side in relation to the individual
4 Q. Only on the basis of the autopsy report?
5 A. Well, it's possible. As I have already said, it is possible to
6 establish the direction from which the projectile came, or rather, the
7 mechanism that caused the injury on the basis of the bones themselves,
8 the autopsy examination of the bones.
9 Q. Thank you. On the basis of the description in the autopsy
10 report, can conclusions be drawn on the amount of time that a corpse had
11 spent in the ground, in the soil?
12 A. In general terms, no. In order to establish time of death,
13 generally speaking, one has to be aware of the temperature conditions
14 involved. And if you are dealing with bodies that were in this advanced
15 stage of decomposition, it is virtually impossible, more than five
16 months, more than ten months, et cetera.
17 Q. Thank you. Are forensic medical findings based on assumptions or
19 A. I personally never rely on assumptions in forensic procedures,
20 and I never use the word.
21 Q. Thank you. As for the province of work of a forensic
22 anthropologist, does it mean that bone injuries are looked at too as well
23 as the mechanism of their incurrence?
24 A. The first two, yes, but as for cause of death I've already said
25 that the findings of an anthropologist are of great assistance to the
1 forensic doctor who is supposed to decide what the cause of death was.
2 As I said, the anthropologist cannot interfere with the doctor's work,
3 just as a psychologist cannot interfere with the work of a psychiatrist
4 who is a medical doctor, again. But I repeat, the findings of an
5 anthropologist are very important for the court because they are very
6 important for the ultimate findings of the medical doctors involved.
7 Q. Thank you. Is it possible to determine the cause of death when
8 we're talking about drowning in a well on the basis of solely macroscopic
9 findings without any further analyses?
10 A. Yes, if it is a fresh body.
11 Q. And what would be considered as a fresh body in forensic
13 A. Well, a fresh body is a body that hasn't yet begun to decompose
14 or putrefy.
15 Q. Thank you. And could you please tell me, how long does a body
16 have to remain in water for the putrefaction to actually begin?
17 A. Well, it depends on the temperature of the water, but one thing
18 is for sure: The putrefaction process proceeds much quicker in summer
19 than it does in winter. So again, you need to know the circumstances in
20 order to be able to be as accurate as possible about the time of death.
21 Q. Thank you. Professor, is it possible to draw any conclusions on
22 the basis of injuries themselves as to whether they were inflicted by
23 shrapnel or fire-arms?
24 A. It is possible to do so in fresh bodies. In putrefied bodies it
25 is possible if we find the objects that caused the injury in the body
2 Q. Professor, thank you very much. I don't have any further
3 questions for you. So thank you for your answers.
4 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this completes my
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Djurdjic.
7 Ms. Kravetz, is there re-examination?
8 MS. KRAVETZ: I just have a few questions.
9 Re-examination by Ms. Kravetz:
10 Q. Dr. Aleksandric, you were asked some questions of whether you had
11 observed any military insignia on the bodies that you examined, and you
12 indicated what you had been able to observe. You referred to a green
13 camouflage trousers and you also referred to boots. Would this
14 information have been recorded for each body in the forensic reports that
15 you prepared, the information on the clothing that you were able to find
16 for the different remains?
17 A. Well, they were marked. Everything that was found on each body
18 was described in detail and photographed.
19 Q. And this would be under which heading in the report when you are
20 referring to specific -- the clothing --
21 A. Under the heading clothes or clothing.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MS. KRAVETZ: I have no further questions, Your Honour. Thank
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 Questioned by the Court:
2 JUDGE BAIRD: Doctor, when the bodies in the mass graves at
3 Batajnica were finally autopsied, what was the sum total of all the
4 bodies, can you tell us?
5 A. Well, I can't be accurate about the figure because I was called
6 here to testify as a fact witness, not as an expert witness. I'm now
7 talking off the top of my head. I did not prepare for the expert
8 testimony. According to our analysis from 2002, there were at least 700
9 bodies, 703, 704, that's the figure that is in my mind. You also have to
10 bear in mind what Professor Dunjic did in 2001, sites 1 and 2. I don't
11 know how many bodies were found there. At any rate, we spent six months
12 there from early June until almost the end of December, the 20th or maybe
13 even the 24th of December, that was when we completed our field-work. I
14 can't now recall the exact date. But it's all in the protocols.
15 JUDGE BAIRD: Thank you very much indeed.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Well, Professor, you'll be very pleased to know,
17 I'm sure, that that concludes the questions for you. We have of course
18 your statement and the documents that accompany that which will be
19 studied at some length, and I'm sure we'll learn and hear more about that
20 from counsel in due course. But in the meantime, the Chamber would like
21 to thank you for your attendance here in The Hague, for the work that
22 you've done in this matter over the years, and the assistance you've been
23 able to give us today. We thank you and you may of course now leave at a
24 convenient time to return to your normal activities.
25 The court officer will assist you to leave.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you and good-bye.
2 [The witness withdrew]
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE PARKER: That completes the evidence we anticipated for
5 today. It might be convenient at this moment to return to the question
6 of the two exhibits, Exhibits 97 and 102. You have heard, Ms. Kravetz,
7 the objection of Mr. Djurdjic to your motion for withdrawal of those
8 exhibits. Is there anything you wish to put in response?
9 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honour, I just wanted to clarify that the only
10 reason we are seeking to withdraw these exhibits is simply because we are
11 at present unable to provide a translation. These exhibits comprise a
12 total of approximately 1.200, 300 pages and CLSS is not able to provide a
13 translation given their current workload in any time soon. These
14 exhibits, although they are relevant to prove the scope of the transfer
15 of bodies from Kosovo to Serbia
16 of our scheduled victims; and we have other evidence to prove the scope
17 and the number of bodies transferred. That's the only reason we're
18 seeking to withdraw them, the lack of translation.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Against that, Mr. Djurdjic puts the Defence
20 position that it believes that in time a comparison about the findings of
21 these -- shown in these exhibits and the findings made by the further
22 examination will be an important factual issue for the Chamber when it
23 comes to look at the reports dealing with the actual people, the subject
24 of the indictment. Do you have anything to say in respect of that?
25 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honours, we're interested in having these
1 exhibits in evidence, and if it will assist the Chamber, we have no
2 problem in not withdrawing them. The only thing that I should alert you
3 to is the fact that it will take many months to have the English
4 translation uploaded in e-court. So that is the only issue here.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE PARKER: The Chamber is of the view that it -- the position
8 presently ordered should remain, that is, the exhibits P97 and P102
9 should remain exhibits and subject to the order of the Chamber for
10 translation into English. There seems to be a genuine basis advanced as
11 a matter of fact by the Defence upon which they will seek to rely.
12 Clearly, it's a terrible lot of work involved, and it will take time. It
13 does appear that we will have a little time available. So in those
14 circumstances, Mr. Djurdjic's objection is upheld and will not disturb
15 our existing orders.
16 That, at the surprisingly early stage of today, leads us, I
17 think, to an adjournment because we were not anticipating that we should
18 move today to the next witness. But we will continue the hearing on
19 Wednesday, as we are not able to sit tomorrow, and I believe it's
20 Wednesday afternoon that we are listed to continue.
21 I would mention, in case it has escaped notice, that we are
22 sitting not only Wednesday but Thursday afternoon, but we've been moved
23 to a morning sitting on Friday from what was listed. We now adjourn and
24 we will see you all on Wednesday.
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.13 p.m.
1 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 1st day of
2 April, 2009, at 2.15 p.m.