1 Wednesday, 20 May 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. Can I mention that because I have
6 to deal with a second matter tomorrow, it has been necessary for us to
7 sit tomorrow morning at 9.00 rather than in the afternoon, and we will be
8 sitting, I believe, in this courtroom at 9.00 tomorrow morning. I hope
9 you all enjoy the public holiday tomorrow.
10 [The witness takes the stand]
11 WITNESS: TAHIR KELMENDI [Resumed]
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, sir.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. Good morning to you
16 JUDGE PARKER: May I remind you that the affirmation you made to
17 tell the truth at the beginning still applies to your evidence today.
18 Now, Mr. Djordjevic is to continue his questions.
19 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
20 Cross-examination by Mr. Djordjevic: [Continued]
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, sir. Good morning, Mr. Kelmendi.
22 We will take up from where we left off yesterday.
23 A. Thank you. Good morning to you, sir.
24 Q. Mr. Kelmendi, I will not ask for Exhibit P00772 to be called up
25 again. We all remember the photograph we saw yesterday and the
1 discussions we had about Mr. Salipur aka Munja. We were discussing the
2 matter where you were an eyewitness of an event where he beat up an
3 Albanian simply because he was an Albanian, and he was an innocent man.
4 I asked you yesterday if you recalled the name of the Albanian --
5 Albanian who was an innocent, and I asked you whether you knew why this
6 beating came about since you said that the man was innocent. That was my
7 question, if I remember well.
8 A. Yes. If you want to know the name, he is Tuf Tafilaj from
9 Katundi i Ri. This happened about two years before the war.
10 Q. You say that you were an eyewitness of the beating up, and can
11 you tell us why it happened and at what time?
12 A. Only because he had a look at it and he was an Albanian and that
13 bothered him that he was an Albanian.
14 Q. How did you come to learn of this incident? Did you see it
15 yourself or did you hear it from Mr. Tafilja himself?
16 A. I saw it with my own eyes.
17 Q. Did you subsequently give first aid to Mr. Tafilja? Did you
18 speak to him afterwards?
19 A. It was impossible to help somebody before the war and during the
20 war because you know what kinds of rights Albanians had at that time, no
21 rights at all.
22 Q. Since you were an eyewitness of this incident, did you report it
23 to the police?
24 A. I couldn't report it to the police, because I personally couldn't
25 help anyone.
1 Q. Thank you. Did Mr. Tafilaj -- was he held accountable for
2 something subsequently? Is he still alive today?
3 A. Tafilaj is alive. He's a mechanic in Peja. He works as a
4 mechanic in the Opel factory, car shop.
5 Q. Thank you. Mr. Kelmendi, in answer to my question about the high
6 walls surrounding houses, you said that they existed as long as there was
7 Communism. When Communism collapsed in Kosovo, you said that you tore
8 the walls down, and prior to that you returned your Communist Party
9 membership cards. Were you yourself personally a member of the
10 Yugoslav Communist Party?
11 A. No, I wasn't a member of that party because that was a fake
13 Q. I asked you this because you said that you had returned
14 membership cards, and I thought that you were among the members.
15 Can you tell us, why did the Albanians have their houses
16 surrounded by high walls in the Communist era? We all know that there
17 were high walls around Albanian estates, particularly in the countryside.
18 A. Because we did not have any kind of protection from the Serbian
19 police. We were all the time in danger, and that's why we built up the
20 walls in order to be able to enjoy our lives.
21 Q. Mr. Kelmendi, I noticed that you spent a great deal of time
22 abroad and that you were in Kosovo for some 13 years according to the
23 statement you gave to the OTP. Will you agree with me that the police
24 that you term Serb police also comprised Albanians?
25 A. That's true, but there were policemen. However, the Albanian
1 policemen were servants to the Serbian police, that's all. We didn't
2 have any rights.
3 Q. Since you returned there in 1988 when the situation in Kosovo
4 became more difficult - that's how you put it in your OTP statement - did
5 you, upon your return, ever come to know that the Serb police had formed
6 police detachments or task force comprising local people, villagers of
7 the area? Did you have any personal knowledge of this?
8 A. Could you repeat the question, please? I don't understand it.
9 Q. Shortly before the war, were special detachments set up
10 comprising Albanian policemen in charge of Albanian villages, operating
11 solely in Albanian villages? Did you know this, that the policemen of
12 that particular detachment was Albanian, not Serbian?
13 A. It's a very confused question. I don't know how to answer it.
14 Q. Let me try and simplify my question. In your village of Cuska
15 were there ethnic Albanian policemen charged with maintaining law and
16 order in Cuska?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Very well. Tell me, do you know who Karakushi is? I'm asking
19 you about the year 1989. You said that you returned in 1988?
20 A. I don't know this person.
21 Q. I don't think you know him, but I suppose you will agree with me
22 that Mr. Karakushi, an ethnic Albanian, was a police minister in 1989. I
23 don't think it's possible that you didn't know this if you returned there
24 in 1988.
25 A. I didn't want to have anything to do with people who cooperated
1 with the Serbs, because personally, they destroyed my life.
2 Q. I'm not putting it to you that you cooperated. I only asked you
3 if you knew that Karakushi was the police minister in 1989. Did you know
4 that or not?
5 A. No, I don't. I didn't know that.
6 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us, Mr. Kelmendi, when did you come to
7 know of the existence of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, the KLA or
8 the UCK?
9 A. As an Albanian from Kosova, when things exacerbated we were
10 attacked in our own homes, and I heard about the KLA. The whole world
11 heard about them, because we were attacked. Our people were killed and
12 our children were killed and burned. How can you attack someone in his
13 own home where he has lived for generations, for centuries?
14 Q. I understand, Mr. Kelmendi, that you are embittered by it all,
15 but please listen to my question. My question was: When did you learn
16 of the existence of the KLA?
17 A. When war started, and the whole world knew as well.
18 Q. Did you know of the existence of the KLA before the war, that
19 such units were formed?
20 A. No.
21 Q. In what way did you learn of the existence of the KLA, from whom?
22 And I'm asking about you personally.
23 A. When the war started and civilians were being killed, I saw
24 soldiers of the KLA, but I did not have any contact with them.
25 Q. Mr. Kelmendi, tell me, was there activity of the KLA in your
1 village or in the -- its immediate vicinity? Mr. Kelmendi, tell me, were
2 there members of the KLA in your village or in its immediate vicinity
3 that you knew of?
4 A. Only Agim Ceku, who was a commander. There were no other people
5 that I know of.
6 Q. Thank you. How far is the village of Lodja
8 A. Qyshk and Lodja are separated by Bistrica. Bistrica runs through
9 them. It's about three or four kilometres as the crow flies.
10 Q. Is there optical visibility between the two villages?
11 A. No, because Bistrica is in the middle.
12 Q. Is my understanding correct, is Bistrica a river or a mountain?
13 A. It's a river, and there are mountains on both sides.
14 Q. Thank you. In view of the proximity of that village, did you
15 know that back in 1989 there were members of the KLA present in that
16 village and that there was heavy fighting in the village of Lodja
17 Serbian forces and the KLA, in particular, in the months of July and
18 August of 1998? Do you have any knowledge of that?
19 A. I only know about one case. There were two hours of fighting
20 that we could hear, but I don't know whether there were KLA members there
21 or not. They fought there for two hours. We could hear the fighting,
22 but maybe the KLA left the front after that, withdrew.
23 Q. Yesterday you said that the distance between Pec and the centre
24 of your village is only three kilometres. You also told us that Cuska
25 was, in actual fact, the -- in the outskirts of Pec. Did you know that
1 Serbian policemen and soldiers and civilians were killed in Pec?
2 Specifically, let me ask you about 1999.
3 A. It's not true that Serb civilians were killed. I don't know
4 about soldiers. I know that Salipur was killed because he -- he was a
5 person who killed Albanians. He wanted Albanians exterminated.
6 Q. Do you know when Salipur was killed?
7 A. I can't remember the date.
8 Q. Mr. Kelmendi, tell me, how familiar are you with the town of Pec?
9 A. One hundred per cent, because I was born and bred there. I'm 55
10 years old.
11 Q. Mr. Kelmendi, do you know the location of the Slavica cafe?
12 A. The Slavica cafe is in Vitomirica.
13 Q. You know where it is.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you know that in that particular cafe, on the
16 5th of March, 1999, the following policemen were seriously wounded -- or,
17 rather, let me not name them, but three policemen were seriously wounded
18 in that cafe from automatic weapons, and that was in early March of 1999.
19 A. This is not true at all.
20 Q. What is true then?
21 A. I don't know, but it was impossible for policemen to be wounded
22 and injured by Albanians. That's what I know.
23 Q. Thank you. Do you know that in addition to the Serbian security
24 forces and civilians, KLA members attacked, killed, and tortured Albanian
25 civilians as well? Did you know that?
1 A. This is not true at all.
2 Q. On the 9th of March, 1999, armed members of the KLA barged into
3 the house of the Gashi family in Pec and raped Eva Gashi. Were you aware
4 of that? Will you agree with me that this is what happened?
5 A. This is something that it's even shameful to mention.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Behar.
7 MR. BEHAR: Yes. I apologise for the interruption, Your Honour,
8 but I see that in this line of questioning we've had repeated questions
9 now about things that appear to be well beyond the knowledge of -- of
10 this witness, and I question whether it's relevant or appropriate to
11 pursue questions that he's simply not familiar with.
12 JUDGE PARKER: We understand the weight of what you're saying,
13 Mr. Behar, but I think the technicality is that Mr. Djordjevic is dealing
14 with the extent of this witness's knowledge of events of which his
15 general evidence is to deny any knowledge.
16 So please continue, Mr. Djordjevic.
17 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Kelmendi, the 2nd of January, 1999, the
19 village of Kokaj. Do you know its whereabouts? Do you know where it is?
20 A. There is no Kokaj in Dukagjin.
21 Q. Did you hear that on the date I mentioned the KLA killed
22 Veton Kelmendi, firing from automatic weapons? Do you know him? He is
23 your name sake.
24 A. I am not aware of this.
25 Q. Thank you. Mr. Kelmendi, can you tell us if you saw members of
1 the KLA during the war and, if so, did they wear uniforms?
2 A. I personally did not see them, and I was not a member of the KLA.
3 I would have liked to have been a member of the KLA, but I did not have
4 the possibility to become a member. I never saw them. I did not have
5 any contact with them.
6 Q. Mr. Gashi -- I'm sorry. Mr. Kelmendi. I made a mistake.
7 Yesterday, responding to the questions of my learned friend Mr. Behar,
8 and in the statement you made on the 22nd of May, 1998, you said from
9 that ditch where you were hidden you saw what was going on and you tried
10 to call the KLA to help by telephone. And now you tell us that you never
11 saw anyone from the KLA, that you don't know anyone from the KLA, and
12 that you don't even know what they looked like, but you did hear of them.
13 Who were you actually calling if you never saw anyone from the
14 KLA and never heard? You said you tried to make this phone call, but the
15 connection was down. How come that now you don't know anyone? Can you
16 please explain this? I would like to hear that.
17 A. I searched all over the village of Qyshk
18 connections with the KLA, because I know that after the massacre 1.240
19 inhabitants had -- in the same situation to face. So I tried to contact
20 the KLA, but I failed.
21 Q. Mr. Kelmendi, do you know who Mr. Agim Ceku is?
22 A. [Previous translation continues] ... Ceku, a military superior
23 army officer.
24 Q. I don't think that I received a correct translation. I'm going
25 to look at it again. Can you please give us another -- can you repeat
1 your answer? Do you know who Agim Ceku is, because I see that you did
2 not -- your answer is not recorded in the transcript.
3 A. [Previous translation continues]... officer.
4 Q. Again in the transcript it's not there because he's the son of
5 Hasan Ceku. I don't know why that is like that. I would like the court
6 to intervene so that the interpreters interpret everything that they
7 hear. I am paying attention to this now since I know Albanian a little
8 bit myself. I would like to ask the Albanian interpreters to translate
9 exactly what the witness is saying.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note perhaps because of the
11 overlap that is what is happening. It's a technical matter, not a matter
12 of interpretation.
13 JUDGE PARKER: That is just what I was about to say,
14 Mr. Djordjevic. There is a quick exchange between yourself and the
15 witness, and often because another person is speaking it's impossible for
16 the interpretation. So if you slow down, there will be what you want on
17 the transcript.
18 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, evidently it's
19 impossible to marry effectiveness and time efficiency and also get all
20 the data that we're interested in, but I am going to try again.
21 Q. Mr. Kelmendi, would you kindly tell us who Agim Ceku is? Could
22 you repeat your question [as interpreted] again because evidently the
23 interpreter did not hear what you said.
24 A. Agim Ceku is the son of Hasan Ceku, a superior army officer.
25 Q. Thank you. Hasan Ceku was killed. Do you agree with that?
1 A. Yes. Yes.
2 Q. Agim Ceku was a high-ranking officer of the KLA, a commander. Do
3 you agree with me that that's how it was?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Mr. Kelmendi, in view of your testimony from yesterday and what
6 is contained in your statement, you said that you tried to reach somebody
7 from the KLA by telephone. This is how you responded to the question
8 from the Prosecutor, and that was also what you said in your statement to
9 the investigator on the 20th of May, 2008.
10 I am asking you -- I understand why you called, but I'm asking
11 you, Who did you call?
12 A. I didn't have any chance to call anyone because the connection
13 was down. So I was unable to contact anyone. My concern was to have
14 someone accompany the civilian population, because I was afraid for their
16 Q. Yes. We understood that as well, sir, that you didn't reach
17 anyone because the connection was down, but what I'm asking you is who
18 were you calling? Who was it that you wanted to call?
19 A. I didn't have in mind any particular name. I was simply
20 interested in finding someone, just anyone, because I wanted to be able
21 to assist the civilian population.
22 Q. Again I say I understand you completely, but I'm asking you
23 again, who was it that you were calling in order to get to the KLA
24 through that person? This is what you said. This is why I'm asking you
25 this question.
1 A. I wanted to find someone to contact, but I couldn't because I
2 didn't have any particular name or last name in mind. Nevertheless, I
3 tried. I simply attempted to find someone in the KLA, but I didn't have
4 in mind any particular person, that's all.
5 Q. You did call someone. Who was it who knew about KLA contacts
6 that you needed to help you? Who did you call? You said this yourself,
7 so we need to clarify this. You are responding to my questions by saying
8 something that everyone knows. All I'm asking you is to say who was it
9 that you called in your attempts to reach the KLA.
10 A. Even in my statement that I gave, and today I am repeating that I
11 didn't call anyone. I did not have a chance, because I didn't have any
12 connections to anyone in the KLA.
13 Q. Very well. Let's leave it at that, but I don't understand, then,
14 what you were trying to say when you said that in your statement. You
15 said that you were trying to find somebody all day from the KLA in the
16 village. This would imply that you were moving around during the events
17 of the 14th of May of 1999, looking for somebody from the KLA in the
18 village who would be able to help and protect the civilians.
19 Can you please tell me where these policemen were when you were
20 able to move around freely and look for someone to -- from the KLA to
21 protect the civilians? Can you please tell us a little bit about that.
22 A. After the massacre in Qyshk, they went to Pavlan, and they did
23 the same thing there, from Pavlan to Zahaq. It was the same group.
24 About 80 persons were executed and their bodies burned.
25 Q. Can you please tell me -- well, let's go back to the events from
1 Pec. Do you know that in a cafe in Pec seven Serb young men were killed
2 from automatic weapons in the course of one evening? Do you know this?
3 I'm talking about civilians.
4 A. At what time did that happen?
5 Q. It happened -- I don't know exactly, whether it was in 1998 or
6 1999, but I know that it did happen. Would you agree with me that it is
7 how it was? It would be strange if you didn't know anything about it in
8 view of the fact that you practically lived in Pec.
9 A. This is not true at all. It is impossible for Albanians to kill
10 Serb civilians, because Albanians have a great heart, and they wanted and
11 they did protect the Serbians like their brothers.
12 Q. Thank you. So you don't have any information about this event.
13 A. It is not true what you are saying.
14 Q. Mr. Kelmendi, in paragraph 8 of your statement of the
15 22nd of May, 2008, you said that you saw how the police and the army were
16 surrounding your village. Can you please tell me how you saw this
17 attempt to surround the village. And after you came from the fields, can
18 you please tell us the direction that the police and the army or the
19 police or the army were deploying around your village? Since you were an
20 eyewitness of this incident, did the police go to one place, the military
21 to another? Were they mixed up? Can you please explain this and give us
22 some details about it?
23 A. Yes. In the morning of the 14th of May, 1999, I took my cattle
24 out at 4.00 in the morning. You had to do that early, before it became
25 light, because during light, during the day time, the situation was not
1 very secure. It was dangerous. So I took my cattle to the meadow, to
2 pasture. When it became 6.00, I saw the police and the army in lines, in
3 formations, surrounding the village. They started at
4 Met Shala [phoen] -- Shala whom they killed and then they killed Ali
6 Q. Were you able to clarify -- to differentiate clearly between the
7 police and the army or not? But if you were, how was it that you were
8 able to differentiate between them?
9 A. I could differentiate from their clothes and the persons. I knew
10 that there were more police forces than army forces.
11 Q. So they were not all dressed the same.
12 A. No.
13 Q. Please describe to us the kind of uniforms that you saw. Can you
14 describe to us what kind of uniforms they wore?
15 A. The police were dressed in blue camouflage uniform. The army,
16 green camouflage uniform.
17 Q. Did they have any kind of insignia on the uniforms? Did you
18 notice anything like that?
19 A. The police who patrolled the asphalt, they had insignia. Those
20 who entered the village, the village resembled the Ninjas you see in the
21 movies. Their faces were all painted up. It was impossible for you to
22 tell who was who. Only you could see the whites of their eyes.
23 Q. In paragraph 11 of your statement you describe these 80-odd
24 persons, as you said. You said that they were wearing camouflage
25 colours, T-shirts and trousers, prevailing green or blue. When you say
1 that, were they all masked? You said that their faces had camouflage on
2 them. Did they look neat, like regular soldiers, or did they have long
3 hair or scarves? Did they all look different? These are several
4 questions. If you're able to answer them, okay. If not, I will put the
5 questions one by one, but any way, you can try.
6 A. That day when the forces came, the Serb forces came to the
7 village. They had T-shirts with short sleeves. That's a fact. And they
8 were masked. They were between 35 to 50 years of age. They didn't have
9 long hair. They were regular people. None of them had a beard.
10 Q. Did they have caps -- caps on their heads or anything like a
11 ribbon on their forehead or something?
12 A. They had a black bandanna, some of them, but they didn't have
13 caps. They had only black scarves tied round their heads.
14 Q. I didn't get an answer about the uniforms that they were wearing,
15 either the green or the blue camouflage ones, if you noticed any kind of
16 insignia or markings on the uniforms.
17 A. Only -- you could tell from the colour of the trousers only who
18 was a soldier, who was police, because on the upper part of their bodies
19 they were wearing T-shirts with short sleeves.
20 Q. Thank you. How did you conclude -- you said that today, and you
21 said that in your statement in paragraph 13, you said that those people
22 were between 35 and 50 years old, and you said that they were wearing
23 camouflage on their faces. How were you able to tell what age they were?
24 A. I could tell from the way they moved about that they were between
25 35 and 50. They were very agile in their movements.
1 Q. Thank you. Since you are describing the soldiers, and you said
2 that they were carrying Kalashnikovs produced in Yugoslavia, that they
3 had shells, and they also had these large long knives tucked in their
4 belts. Did they all have these knives? Can you describe them? Were
5 these military-issue knives like bayonets which are issued with rifles,
6 or were these knives that looked completely different, but you said that
7 they were large and long.
8 A. No. They were special knives to kill Albanian civilians. You
9 cannot kill someone through a bayonet. They were special knives to kill
10 innocent civilians.
11 Q. They were all wearing them?
12 A. Some, yes; some, no.
13 Q. More of them or fewer?
14 A. There were more wearing knives and less not wearing them.
15 Two-thirds had knives. One-third did not.
16 Q. When they finally entered the village, you were behind the house
17 of Deme Gashi, in that ditch that was covered by vegetation, and you had
18 good -- you had a good overview of what was going on from Deme Gashi's
19 house. Can you tell me, at that point in time where was the police in
20 the village?
21 A. The place the massacre took place I would say was in the centre
22 of the village. They came from Peja, and they met at the graveyard of
23 the heroes. They came from three different directions, from the asphalt
24 road, from one part of the village, and from Bistrice, and they rallied
25 the population in the middle of the village near the cemetery, and then
1 they, as you know, committed the massacre.
2 Q. The place where you were hiding at that point in time, how far
3 was it from the place where the policemen were? From the centre of the
5 A. Approximately 80 metres I was away from that place where they
6 separated the men from the women and the children. Maybe less than 80
8 Q. Can you tell me, behind you and behind Deme Gashi's house, what
9 is there?
10 A. Various ditch, and then there is a mountain.
11 Q. Behind you. Behind the place where you were lying at that point.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Were there any members of the Serb security forces there at the
15 A. It is interesting to know that when there was a mountain behind
16 them, when they didn't feel secure behind their backs, they didn't go.
17 They were brave only with the civilians, whom they massacred.
18 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell me, in paragraph 21 you described
19 the kind of weapons that the members of the Serbian forces had, and you
20 said how the barrels looked. This is in paragraph 21. We have that
21 information, so I'm not going to ask you about that, but in paragraph 23
22 you say that the army was using a different kind of weapon from the one
23 used by the police. I think that it would be good for you to explain to
24 all of us what you meant by that, and can you please explain the
25 difference between the weapons used by the police and the weapons used by
1 the soldiers?
2 A. The army had the weapons with the wooden butt, whereas the police
3 had the weapons with the metallic butt. They had snipers with dum dum
5 Q. Are you sure when you say that, that this was the case in
6 100 per cent of the cases and that they didn't have the collapsible --
7 the Kalashnikovs with the collapsible metal rifle butts?
8 A. Not 100 per cent but 1.000 per cent is true what I'm saying,
9 because I eyewitnessed everything.
10 Q. Mr. Kelmendi, based on what we heard during the
11 examination-in-chief, I understood that all these people were armed with
12 Yugoslav manufactured Kalashnikovs from the Kraguje -- Crvena Zastava
13 factory but with a collapsible butt, not a wooden butt. Am I correct
14 when I say that?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. You say that there were people in military camouflage uniforms
17 and now you described them as members of the military, but they don't
18 have rifles with wooden butts. Were there any other weapons other than
19 Kalashnikovs? When I ask about that, I'm thinking about firearms.
20 A. Yes, they had machine-guns. Machine-guns they had. The ones
21 that are worn by the infantry troops.
22 Q. Thank you. And the jeep that you described, what sort of weapons
23 were on the jeep? What sort of a machine-gun was mounted on it? You
24 mentioned that.
25 A. [Previous translation continues]... make. The others had
1 submachine-guns. It was a Gulinov make.
2 Q. It seems that I'm going too fast again and that we're having some
3 problems with the interpretation, but all right.
4 What colour was the jeep?
5 A. It is known what the colour of the jeeps -- the army colour. It
6 was green, and it did not have a roof.
7 Q. Let's move on to paragraph 24 and 25, as well as paragraph 27,
8 where you refer to Klicina or Klincina, and you say that Obrnovic was the
9 commander of the police station of Klicina or Klincina. Can you tell us
10 the right name of the location?
11 A. Klicina with a K, Klicina.
12 Q. Thank you. What's the distance between that village and yours?
13 A. About 5 or 6 kilometres. I never measured the distance, but I
14 think that's about it.
15 Q. Thank you. Can you explain to us why was it that the policemen
16 there Klicina should come to the outskirts of Pec, this is to say to your
17 village, and conduct certain investigation activities? Didn't -- didn't
18 your village have a police force, or close to your village?
19 A. Because at Zastava there was a police check-point. They had set
20 up a police check-point there. It was between Peja and Qyshk. And the
21 Klicina police and Obrnovic -- I knew him because he was from Klicina.
22 The asphalt road was guarded by the policemen from Klicina.
23 Q. Am I right in saying that the reason why you talked to Obrnovic
24 from Klicina was solely the fact that you knew the man and nothing else?
25 The conversation was not of an official nature. Am I right?
1 A. I spoke to him before the war. During the war I never spoke to
2 him. I kept a distance, because I knew what my fate would be if I met
3 him. It was either die or escape to live.
4 Q. Did you personally have any sort of trouble with Obrnovic?
5 A. I did not have problems with Obrnovic but with somebody else,
6 because someone was trying to kill me and injured my eye and my jaw, but
7 God willed that I lived, because they really wanted to kill me.
8 Q. Who and when?
9 A. Rank Vlahovic, before the war.
10 Q. Tell me, was Obrnovic hostile towards you? And I mean the
11 Obrnovic from Klicina.
12 A. It is surprising, because all the policemen that were there had
13 this hatred in them against us, this great hatred for us.
14 Q. Including Obrnovic?
15 A. All of them were the same.
16 Q. You say in paragraph 27 of your statement that Obrnovic sent
17 Mijo Brajovic -- first of all, did you know Mijo Brajovic before the war?
18 A. Mijo Brajovic is from Zahaq. He -- he used to be a combine
19 driver, and he used to harvest for the Albanians in the past, and I knew
21 Q. You said that Obrnovic sent Mijo Brajovic off to check whether
22 the villagers were armed and whether there were any members of the KLA
23 there on the 14th of -- on the 13th of May. First of all, how did you
24 know that Mijo Brajovic was dispatched there by Obrnovic and not by
25 somebody else?
1 A. Because on the 13th when Mijo came to my house, because that's
2 where he came, I gave him a cigarette that he lit. He called me Jaran,
3 and he said: "Jaran, don't worry. There will be police coming. They
4 will come to ask you whether you have guns, and nothing will happen to
5 you." But their purpose, their real purpose was for us to remain there
6 and for them to do what they did.
7 Q. Tell me, how did you come to know that Brajovic was sent by
8 Obrnovic? That's my question for you.
9 A. Well, of course he had sent him. Who else could have sent him?
10 He wanted to get information. He was not inviting us to a wedding. He
11 just wanted to see what the situation was like in the village and to
12 prepare the village for the massacre the next day. They had plans. They
13 had programmes to commit what they did it -- what they did.
14 Q. Therefore, this is a conclusion of yours. You don't have any
15 other information.
16 This is my question: On the following day, the
17 14th of May, 1999, did you see Obrnovic and Brajovic in the village?
18 A. Yes, on the asphalt road. They were patrolling there. And from
19 their car, Avdi Banushi was killed right in front of my eyes. I saw the
20 killing with my own eyes.
21 Q. Avdi Banush was killed right in front of you. Why is it the case
22 that you had never mentioned this before, and it's been ten years since
23 the event. Why should you state this for the first time now? You didn't
24 say this in your original statement nor in 2008.
25 A. Sorry, Avdi Berisha. Banush is his father's name, but his full
1 name is Avdi Berisha. Banush is the father. So I misspoke earlier. It
2 is Avdi Berisha, and this is in my statement.
3 Q. Thank you. Now the matter is quite clear, because your answer
4 could lead us to conclude that Brajovic and Obrnovic who patrolled along
5 the asphalt road killed the men that I heard of for the first time today.
6 Now there is no more dilemma. You said that he was killed by sniper fire
7 while he was standing 3 metres away from you. I will not be inquiring
8 about this any further.
9 Let us go back to Obrnovic who was patrolling the road through
10 your village. Did he come to the centre of the village when the
11 14th of May events took place which you describe as the massacre in
13 A. No. He was -- he just remained on the asphalt road, and then
14 after they finished with Qyshk, they went to Pavlan and Zahaq.
15 Q. Thank you. Mijo Brajovic is from Zahaq. This village does not
16 have any boundary in the direction of your village, not for any practical
17 intents and purposes?
18 A. No, Qyshk, Pavlan, and Zahaq are adjacent, but Qyshk is between
19 Pavlan and Zahaq.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction. may I --
21 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. What's the distance between Cuska and Zahaq?
23 A. There are about 3 and a half kilometres or 4 kilometres between
24 Qyshk and Zahaq.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter would like to correct a previous
1 statement. The witness said "Qyshk is between Pavlan and Zahaq," and not
2 as I stated earlier.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Madam Interpreter.
4 Yes, Mr. Djordjevic.
5 MR. DJORDJEVIC: I just have to check this. Thank you.
6 Q. [Interpretation] Save for the Brajovic family, how many more
7 Serbian families were there in Zahaq?
8 A. There were many. However, I did not have any contact with them
9 personally, but there were many.
10 Q. Are there any Serb families in Zahaq today? Do you have any
11 knowledge of that?
12 A. Everybody who has steeped their hands in the blood of Albanians
13 does not live there any more. The people who did not commit any crimes,
14 they still live there. They did not leave. Even during the war they
16 Q. Can you tell us how many Serb families stayed behind in Zahaq?
17 Do you know that?
18 A. About four or five households. Twenty families altogether, I
19 would say.
20 Q. What can you tell us of the three Jasovic families from the
21 village of Cuska? What happened to them? What became of them?
22 A. They did what they did to Albanians, all those evil things, so
23 they do not feel like coming back in Qyshk.
24 Q. According to your evidence so far, your neighbours
25 Hashi [phoen] Perovic, Perovic's testimony, I could only gather that you
1 lived next to the Jasovic family on friendly terms and amicably. This is
2 the first time I hear something of the source. Can you tell us what are
3 these horrid things that the Jasovic families did to you which would make
4 them feel like not going back to your village?
5 A. Zoran, Golub, and Vidoje, when the massacre happened, were
6 together with the people who committed the massacre. I don't know
7 whether they took part in the massacre or not. And I would like to say
8 here that although all that massacre happened in the village Qyshk, no
9 Serb suffered anything from the Albanians.
10 Q. In paragraph 36 of your statement you say that you had heard of
11 the Vlahovic's visit from the refugees who came to the village on the
12 13th of May. You also say that the families came from different parts of
13 Kosovo. What was the basis of knowledge of these refugees who came from
14 different parts of Kosovo concerning this individual Vlahovic? How would
15 they come to know who he was?
16 A. People from Katundi i Ri, Cuf Tafilaj, for example, knew Vlahovic
17 personally, and they had been told that all the refugees, all your guests
18 should go to Qyshk because from there they will be sent to Albania
19 on the 14th, all those people were in Qyshk.
20 Q. In other words, the person who told you that this was what
21 Vlahovic said was Cuf Tufilaj.
22 A. Yes. This was the same person that was beaten black and blue in
23 the market in Peja that I mentioned earlier.
24 Q. Salipur.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. In whose' house was Cuf Tafilaj staying as a refugee?
2 A. Cuf Tafilaj was from Katundi i Ri, and he was not a refugee. The
3 refugees that were staying in Katundi i Ri were told to go to Qyshk, and
4 they came.
5 Q. That's why I'm asking you this. In paragraph 36, you say - since
6 your sight is poorer I will read it out to you:
7 "About the visit of Vlahovic in Katundi i Ri I learned from
8 refugees who came to Cuska on the 13th of May, 1999, in the evening, and
9 I remembered that they -- that they arrived around 70 to 80 people with
10 their families from different parts of Kosovo."
11 In other words, this was a refugee who told you this. When I
12 asked you who this refugee was you tell me it was Chatunda [phoen] from
13 Katundi i Ri. Now you tell me that he was not a refugee after all.
14 Then please explain to me what is it that you stated in
15 paragraph 36 and when did you mean when you say that you learned about
16 the visit by Vlahovic from refugees? Who were the refugees you learnt
17 this from?
18 A. It is true that I heard from the refugees Cuf was the one who had
19 told them to go to Qyshk and escorted them. He escorted them up to
20 Qyshk, and it is also true that I had contacts with the refugees. I
21 asked them, What happened to you? and they told me that the police had
22 ordered for them to go to Qyshk and then from there to Albania.
23 Q. My question was: Which one of these refugees told you of
24 Vlahovic's visit to Katundi i Ri? That's my question.
25 A. Saban Shala from Graboc.
1 Q. What's the distance between Graboc and Cuska and Pec?
2 A. Gorazdac is about 2 kilometres away. It is 6 kilometres from us.
3 Q. Graboc is 6 kilometres away from Cuska?
4 A. Eight. It is a little further down than Lodja, about
5 6 kilometres I would say.
6 Q. And this individual knew Vlahovic, did he?
7 A. Cuf Tafilaj knew Vlahovic, Cuf Tafilaj from Katundi i Ri.
8 Q. Very well. You will allow us then to draw our own conclusions
9 from what you've just said.
10 My next question: How many members of the Serbian forces did you
11 know by sight, if not by name, and who were present in the village when
12 the massacre took place? And I mean the village of Cuska
13 A. I knew Rank Vlahovic and Obrnovic. They were the commander of
14 the Klicina police station and of the Ozdren police station. I did not
15 know the others, and as I said, they were masked.
16 Q. Were there individuals among them who you found familiar but
17 whose names you didn't know and whom you were able to recognise in the
18 photographs you were shown subsequently? And who were present there on
19 the 14th of May?
20 A. No. It is impossible -- it was impossible to recognise them
21 because of their painted faces. As I said, only the whites of their eyes
22 could be seen.
23 Q. Thank you. When did you have an opportunity for the first time
24 after this event to sit down and talk to your neighbour Hazir Berisha?
25 A. Are you asking me before the war or after the war?
1 Q. I'm asking you about a brief period after the war and a short
2 period before the end of the war. When was it for the first time after
3 the 14th of May that you sat down and talked to your neighbour
4 Hazir Berisha?
5 A. When KFOR forces came to Kosova, the next day I went to
6 Hazir Berisha. We had coffee together, and we discussed. Before that,
7 it was very dangerous to go and visit people.
8 Q. Thank you. Did the neighbour tell you on that occasion that he
9 had recognised certain individuals by sight but that he didn't know their
10 names? And did you yourself, as I asked you today, see anyone whom you
11 knew by sight but did not know their name?
12 A. Nine members of my family had been executed and burnt, and we --
13 and I didn't think of discussing such things with him as you're putting
14 to me now.
15 Q. You see, Mr. Kelmendi, what you've just mentioned now, justice
16 for the victims is precisely the reason why I'm asking you this. It
17 would be only natural that both you and Hazir wanted that those who were
18 perpetrators of these crimes to be punished. That is precisely why I'm
19 putting this question to you. It is not my intention to pry into your
20 private matters. I'm only putting a natural question to you as to who
21 you discussed who the potential perpetrators were with your neighbour. I
22 just wanted to know whether there were any such discussions between the
23 two of you.
24 A. No. I never discussed these things with him. I went to see him,
25 to express him my happiness that he was better and alive, and that was
2 Q. Thank you. Mr. Kelmendi, am I right if I say that Bajram Gashi
3 did not, in fact, say that all the villagers went to the centre of the
4 village because they were convinced that the Serbs would ship them off to
6 A. When I was lying down behind Deme's house, he wanted to go
7 towards the centre, and I beckoned to him. I waved to him to come
8 towards me, because I feared that they would be killed. It was Bajram
9 and his wife and two daughters. I told him to come towards me because I
10 feared that they would be killed. And I saved their lives, as a matter
11 of fact, Bajram's life and his wife's and his two daughters', because had
12 they gone there, they would be dead like the others.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I believe that this
15 is an appropriate moment for our technical break. Following the break, I
16 would have some 15 minutes of my cross-examination, and then I would have
17 no further questions for Mr. Kelmendi.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. We will have our first break now and
19 resume at 11.00.
20 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 11.03 a.m.
22 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Your Honours.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djordjevic.
24 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Before we are waiting for the witness, regarding
25 the statement of Dr. Alonso from 2006, I already tendered English
1 version, and I want to say that in e-court we now have the B/C/S version,
2 and I want also tender for the record just that version. It's D118 to be
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you for that, Mr. Djordjevic. The English
5 translation may be uploaded into e-court and incorporated into
6 Exhibit D118. Thank you.
7 Yes, Mr. Djordjevic.
8 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Thank you.
9 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Kelmendi, am I correct when I say that from
10 the place where you were, you were not able to see directly the toilet
11 where Qaush Lushi was killed. This is something you refer to in
12 paragraphs 47, 48, 49, 50 and 51 of your statement.
13 A. I saw the Kalashnikov with my own eyes when it killed him in the
14 outhouse. That is very true.
15 Q. Did you see the place where he was killed from the place where
16 you were? Were you able to see this outhouse or were you only able to
17 see the policeman who was firing in a certain direction from the
19 A. Yes, yes, because it was 70 metres from the place I was, and I
20 could see everything very well.
21 Q. Can you please tell me if I'm correct when I say that you are not
22 a direct eyewitness of what you refer to in paragraph 52 when you say
23 that you heard that Skender Kelmendi was asked to save the life of his
24 son by giving his truck away?
25 A. It was Skender's wife that told me about Skender's case. I saw
1 Qaush with my own eyes, and after Qaush was executed -- Qaush was
2 executed after he gave the money to them.
3 Q. Thank you for this. In paragraph 57 you talk about people about
4 whom you later found out that they survived, and you even saw some of
5 them personally. Can you please tell me, on the 15th of May, 2009, did
6 you provide any additional information to the Prosecutor? This was four
7 or five days ago -- five days ago.
8 A. You mean here or in Kosova?
9 Q. Here, five days ago, on the 15th of May, 2009.
10 A. I stated the same thing here, same as I stated in Kosova. There
11 are many things that I can talk about with reference to Katundi i Ri and
12 other incidents, but I did give a short statement about things that
13 happened on the 14th of May.
14 Q. Thank you. I just wanted to ask you about things relating to the
15 specific events that we're discussing here. The first time that you
16 mentioned seeing your neighbour Hazir Berisha as he was coming out of the
17 window of Skender Gashi's house, which was on fire, it was burning, and
18 you saw that his back was on fire. It was in flames. This is what you
19 told the Prosecutor.
20 Am I correct in understanding that this is what you said, that
21 the clothes on his back were on fire?
22 A. Yes. His leg had been kind of cut off, broken.
23 Q. I would like to have your comment. Do you know that your
24 neighbour Hazir Berisha, in his statement, did not mention at all that
25 the clothes on his back were burning? He just mentioned burns on his
1 face and broken, wounded leg.
2 A. The forces inside the house shot at him, but it was God's will
3 that he survived to tell what happened there in our village.
4 Q. I'm just trying to get you to explain. Hazir Berisha did not say
5 that the clothes on his backs were burning. You said that, so I would
6 like to know where this difference comes from. This is what I wanted to
7 ask you.
8 A. When Hazir left through the window, there was flames on his body,
9 and then he fell on the ground.
10 Q. Where on his body?
11 A. The whole body, as if his whole body was poured with benzine,
12 with gas.
13 Q. Can you please tell me if you know about the killing of three
14 Serbian children on the river Bistrica across from your village of Cuska
15 and close to the Serbian village of Gorazdevac
16 event? After the war.
17 A. Yes.
18 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to
19 complete my cross-examination of this witness with this. And I would
20 like to thank the witness.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Djordjevic.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, allow me to say a
23 word or two about these children that were killed. Please, I would like
24 to say something, with your leave.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The village of Gorazhdec
2 children went fishing on the river of Bistrice
3 threw the bomb and blamed the Albanians for that. Albanians do not have
4 the tradition of killing children. It was the Serbs themselves who
5 staged this just to blame the Albanians. It was the coming of the NATO
6 forces to Kosova that helped the Albanians survive. Had they not entered
7 Kosova, not a single Albanian would have survived.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
9 Mr. Djordjevic, that was some additional comment in response to a
10 subject which you raised in your last question. Do you want to ask
11 anything further about that?
12 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Just one question. Is the
13 witness aware that the children were killed not by bombs but they were
14 killed by gunshot fire? And if he knows that the Serbs did it -- did
15 this, I would be grateful if the witness would tell the Trial Chamber how
16 does he know this, who does he know it from, and how he can say that. I
17 didn't ask him who killed the children, if it was the Serbs or the
18 Albanians. I just asked him if he knew that these children had been
19 killed. These are very serious charges. And if he can testify about
20 this event, I would just briefly like to know who he learned that from
21 this was done by the Serbs, how he knows that.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was cutting hay. I'm a farmer.
23 I was there with my tractor. The Serbs had gone there previously and had
24 planted dynamite or bombs there. I heard the sound of the explosion.
25 The Italian KFOR came there. They saw me with my tractor, asked me what
1 had happened. They went to the spot, and it turned out that these three
2 Serb children were fishing in Srbica. It is true that three Serb
3 children were killed there, but the truth is that they were killed there
4 by a bomb.
5 JUDGE PARKER: That's the extent of your knowledge of this
6 matter, is it, Mr. Kelmendi?
7 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you,
8 Your Honour. I will not have any more questions for this witness.
9 JUDGE PARKER: That's what you know about the death of these
10 three children, is it, Mr. Kelmendi?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was cutting grass, mowing in my
12 meadow --
13 JUDGE PARKER: You've told us that. I just wanted to be sure
14 that you've said what you wanted to say about it.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have nothing to add,
16 Your Honours. I just told you that these civilians were killed between
17 Gorazhdec and Pavlan in the river of Bistrica
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As they were trying to fish by
20 using explosives.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Behar.
22 MR. BEHAR: Yes. Thank you, Your Honours.
23 Re-examination by Mr. Behar:
24 Q. Mr. Kelmendi, I just have two brief areas that I just wanted to
25 revisit and hopefully clarify with you. First I wanted to ask you a
1 couple of questions about your testimony previously about the refugees
2 from Katundi i Ri that my learned friend from the Defence was asking you
3 about. I know that you explained previously that Mr. Vlahovic had told
4 these refugees to go to Cuska because the next day the Serb police were
5 coming and would send the villagers from Cuska to Albania. And you were
6 asked by my learned friend from the Defence, "Who were the refugees who
7 told you this?" And I just wanted to make sure I had your answer
8 correct, and I'm not sure, maybe the transcript didn't capture all of it.
9 Am I right then you mentioned one name Cuf Tafilaj? Is that
11 A. Cuf Tafilaj was the person who accompanied these refugees to our
12 village, but the visitor that had come from Katundi i Ri was killed in
13 Qyshk the following day.
14 Q. Okay. And what I'm wanting to ask you about is who told you, if
15 you remember, that Mr. Vlahovic had told them to come to Cuska. Was that
16 Cuf Tafilaj who told you that?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And is this the same -- is this the same person who was beaten by
19 Mr. Salipur on that occasion?
20 A. Cuf is from Katundi i Ri, whereas Isuf was a visitor, a guest
21 stating in Katundi i Ri who was killed in Qyshk a day afterwards. Isuf
22 is from Graboc village.
23 Q. Okay. So what I'm trying to understand then in -- or to help the
24 Court understand, are they two different people then, the person who you
25 spoke to about what happened -- about what Mr. Vlahovic told him and the
1 person in the market who was beaten by Mr. Salipur? Those are two
2 different people?
3 A. Yes. Isuf is from Graboc whereas Cuf is from Katundi i Ri
5 Q. Thank you. I think that, hopefully, is clearer for us. I
6 notice, also, and I'm just looking at the transcript from when my learned
7 friend from the Defence was questioning you. This is at page 25,
8 line 20. The way it's recorded here, the question was -- he asked you:
9 "My question was: Which one of these refugees told you of
10 Vlahovic's visit to Katundi i Ri? That's my question."
11 And the answer says:
12 "Saban Shala from Graboc."
13 Is that -- can you explain that?
14 A. Saban survived, whereas Isuf was killed.
15 Q. Okay. I think that's hopefully somewhat clearer. Let -- let me
16 ask you about a different area of questioning. You were asked today
17 about how you knew that Mr. Brahovic was sent by Mr. Obrnovic, and I know
18 yesterday - and I can just give the reference to the Court, this is at
19 page 4719, line 23 - yesterday I asked you:
20 "Did Mr. Brahovic tell you himself that Mr. Obrnovic had sent
22 And you answered: "Yes."
23 And you were asked today by my learned friend from the Defence
24 how you knew -- again, how you knew Mr. Brahovic was sent by Obrnovic.
25 And you answered that well of course he had sent him. You explained why
1 that made sense, but I wanted to be clear.
2 Can you tell us, did Mr. Brahovic tell you that Mr. Obrnovic had
3 sent you or is this something that you inferred?
4 A. Brahovic sent this person from Zahaq whose name I cannot recall
5 right now.
6 Q. Maybe I'll just ask that again; I'm not sure if we got the answer
7 correctly. Did Mr. Brahovic tell you that Mr. Obrnovic had sent him?
8 A. Yes. With a message that we should be calm and not afraid, that
9 nothing was going to happen to us, that we would all be together at one
10 place, and that nobody would touch us. This is what Mija said to me.
11 Q. Okay. Thank you, sir. Those are my questions.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Kelmendi, you'll be pleased to know that that
13 completes the questions for you. The Chamber wishes to thank you for
14 coming to The Hague
15 The Chamber now wishes you well on your journey home, and the court
16 officer will show you where to go. Thank you indeed.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would also like to extend my
18 gratitude to you, Your Honours. May I do that?
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, very, very
21 much. Now I'm freed, and I am sure that there is justice for all the
22 peoples in the world. I am relieved.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
25 [The witness withdrew]
1 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Gopalan.
2 MS. GOPALAN: Good morning, Your Honours. The next witness is
3 Mr. Xhafer Beqiraj.
4 [The witness entered court]
5 WITNESS: XHAFER BEQIRAJ
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, sir. Would you --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
9 JUDGE PARKER: -- please read aloud the affirmation on the card
10 that is shown to you.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
12 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Please sit down.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Gopalan has some questions for you.
16 Examination by Ms. Gopalan:
17 Q. Good morning, Mr. Beqiraj.
18 A. Good morning.
19 Q. Please could you state your full name for the record.
20 A. Xhafer Beqiraj.
21 Q. Mr. Beqiraj, where were you born?
22 A. I was born in the village of Kosave
23 Q. And what is your date of birth?
24 A. I was born on the 28th of April, 1970.
25 Q. Where do you live now, sir?
1 A. I live in Prizren, but I'm temporarily residing in
2 Vienna, Austria
3 Q. And what are you doing in Vienna, Austria?
4 A. I'm studying.
5 Q. And what is it you're studying there?
6 A. Linguistics.
7 Q. Thank you. Sir, did you testify in the trial of
8 Slobodan Milosevic in this Tribunal in April 2002? If you could just --
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. Thank you. And have you recently had the opportunity to review
11 your testimony in this case?
12 A. Yes. Yesterday I had that opportunity. However, I never had
13 with me the testimony that I gave in the Milosevic trial. It was only
14 yesterday that I had a chance to see it and review it.
15 Q. Thank you. And having reviewed this testimony yesterday, if you
16 were asked the same questions today, would you provide substantially the
17 same answers? Would your answers be the same?
18 A. Yes, of course.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MS. GOPALAN: Your Honours, I seek to tender the witness's
21 testimony in the Milosevic case, that's 05122.
22 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
23 THE REGISTRAR: And that, Your Honours, will be assigned P00805.
24 MS. GOPALAN:
25 Q. Sir, do you recall giving a statement to the ICTY in
1 October 2001?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Have you had the opportunity to review the statement recently?
4 Thank you. [Overlapping speakers]
5 A. [No interpretation]
6 Q. And having reviewed the statement, I understand that you wish to
7 make a correction to the statement. If I could call up 65 ter 05121,
8 please, and I will take you to the correction -- the paragraphs in which
9 you wish to make the correction.
10 MS. GOPALAN: If we could go to page 5 of the English. That's
11 the third paragraph from the bottom of the page.
12 Q. While the statement is being called up on the screen, perhaps I
13 could just read out the paragraph to you, and you could let us know the
14 correction that you wish to make to the statement. You say:
15 "Whilst waiting to cross, I also saw three girls, pretty girls,
16 taken out of the line by the police with paramilitaries there as well.
17 One was taken into the house nearby."
18 What was the correction you wish to make?
19 A. These are two separate incidents. I saw two girls being
20 separated from the line, taken in the direction of the forest. The
21 convoy that was on foot asked for water. I was in the end of the tractor
22 covered with blankets because it was cold and we didn't want to be
23 noticed by the police. The person I gave water to said to me, See, these
24 two girls are being taken towards the bushes. And this is what I saw.
25 And later he said to me that another girl, a third girl, was taken away
1 from the convoy to a house or a building nearby.
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Beqiraj. And having made this correction, and
3 this is to the third paragraph from the bottom of the page of the
4 English, are you satisfied that this statement is true and accurate to
5 your best -- the best of your knowledge and belief?
6 A. Yes, to the best of my knowledge and belief. Ten year have
7 passed since. Therefore, this is to the best of my knowledge and belief.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MS. GOPALAN: Your Honours, I seek to tender 65 ter 05121.
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
11 MS. GOPALAN: I'll now read out --
12 THE REGISTRAR: That will be assigned P00806, Your Honours.
13 MS. GOPALAN: I'll now read out a brief summary of the witness's
15 The witness is a Muslim male who lived in Prizren with his wife
16 and two children in 1999.
17 He will state that on the 28th of March, 1999, near the outskirts
18 of Prizren, he saw a continuous column of people, including the old and
19 sick, walking south from the direction of Djakovica. On that day, the
20 police came to the house he was staying at in Prizren with his family.
21 There were also many others staying in the house.
22 The police told the occupants of the house that they had five
23 minutes to leave the house or that they would be shot. The witness and
24 the group he was with were told by the police the direction in which they
25 had to head, and he will say that their movement out of Prizren had been
1 planned well.
2 The witness and his family, along with others, were directed by
3 the police and paramilitary lines out of Prizren towards Albania. There
4 was also VJ present.
5 The witness will state that they travelled for 12 hours to the
6 Albanian border.
7 Throughout their journey to the border, they faced insults from
8 Serbian forces.
9 At the Albanian border, the witness saw young men being separated
10 and taken away from the columns of people there by the police.
11 Also at the border, the witness and others were ordered to hand
12 over identification papers and vehicle licence plates.
13 The witness and his family then passed through Morina and Kukes
14 before eventually going to Tirana.
15 That's the end of the -- my summary.
16 Q. Sir, now I have some questions for you about your statement.
17 Let's begin with the first night of the NATO bombing. This is in
18 paragraphs 4 and 5, page 2, of the English.
19 You say that you were at home with eight refugees who had come
20 from the village of Opterusa
21 had left the village in August 1998 as the area had been attacked by
22 police supported by the VJ. You also say that there were a large number
23 of refugees in your neighbourhood and in the town.
24 Sir, which neighbourhood in Prizren did you live in?
25 A. I was living in the village -- in the neighbourhood of Jeta e Re
1 in Prizren.
2 Q. Thank you. Now these large number of refugees that you speak
3 about that were in your neighbourhood, do you know where they had come
5 A. In fact, the refugees were not staying in my neighbourhood, but
6 they were staying at Rruga e Ulqinit. I had left my neighbourhood
7 together with my family and other families in the neighbourhood, and we
8 went to Lagja e Ulqinit neighbourhood. There we stayed for two days, and
9 from there then we were expelled by the Serb forces.
10 Q. Mr. Beqiraj, let me just stop you there. Perhaps it will assist
11 you if I gave you an Albanian copy of the statement so I may direct you
12 to the specific paragraph in your statement that I am referring to.
13 MS. GOPALAN: With Your Honours' leave, may I do that?
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
15 MS. GOPALAN:
16 Q. I believe this information is on page 2 of your statement, the
17 second last paragraph where you say there were a large number of
18 refugees, maybe 50 in my immediate neighbourhood. In fact, there were
19 many in the town.
20 Now, this large number of refugees who were in your
21 neighbourhood, do you know where they had come from?
22 Have you found the correct paragraph? It's on page 2 of your
23 statement, and it's the second last paragraph.
24 Perhaps I will just read out the paragraph to you. It says:
25 "There were a large number of refugees, maybe 50 in my immediate
1 neighbourhood ..." and this is around the time of the NATO bombing when
2 it began.
3 If you recall, this large number of refugees who were in your
4 immediate neighbourhood, about 50 of them, do you know where they had
5 come from?
6 A. Yes, that's correct. They came from the surrounding areas of
7 Prizren where fighting was going on and where there had been massacres
8 and violations of all kinds. They had come from the villages of Krusha,
9 Landovica, Pirane, and other surrounding villages.
10 They had heard that horrible things had been happening, that
11 young people were being ill-treated and separated from their families.
12 So these young men had jumped from the tractors and come to our
13 neighbourhoods or, rather, to Lagja e Ulqinit neighbourhood, and those
14 people told us.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, you also say that there were large number of
16 refugees in the town. Which town is it that you're referring to?
17 A. Prizren, Ulqini neighbourhood.
18 Q. Thank you. And just going back to your answer on the refugees
19 that had left due to massacres and violations of all kinds, the ones that
20 you say came from Krusa, Landovica, Pirane, and other surrounding
21 villages. Do you know who was responsible for these massacres and
23 A. On the basis of the stories that the people told me and their
24 state of mind, I could tell that these massacres and all the events had
25 been caused by the Serb forces. There had been horrible killings going
2 Q. Did you speak to any of these refugees personally to obtain this
4 A. Yes. We were staying in one room, the males; and the women and
5 the children were in another room so that they wouldn't hear the horrible
6 stories. So within -- between us men, we discussed what had happened,
7 why they had come there, and the owner of the house offered them
8 shelter --
9 Q. Thank you.
10 A. -- to these young men.
11 Q. I now take you to another part of your statement and the English
12 is paragraph 6 of page 2, and in the Albanian it's the last paragraph of
13 page 2 and the first paragraph of page 3. There you say that "When the
14 NATO bombing stopped, we could hear the local police shooting in the air
15 with their machine-guns."
16 Now, who are you referring to when you say the "local police"?
17 A. When I say "local police", I mean all the policemen that came
18 from that area. They were in uniform, the regular police, but also
19 civilian -- Serb civilians that had been given uniforms and had been
20 armed by Serbia
21 Q. Thank you. And do you know why these individuals were shooting
22 in the air with their machine-guns?
23 A. Their aim was to create panic, to terrify people, and to tell
24 them that something horrible was going to happen in the future, and
25 that's what we believed, that something horrible would happen, because
1 such things had already happened elsewhere, and you know about those.
2 Q. Thank you. Now, moving on to the day after the first NATO
3 air-strikes. This is the 25th of March, and you say that on this day you
4 decided to take your family to a safer place. So your uncle took them to
5 your nephew's house in the town of Prizren
6 para 7 of page 2.
7 Now, sir, why was it that Prizren town centre was considered to
8 be safer than your neighbourhood?
9 A. The situation was alarming. Things were happening each and --
10 with each and every passing moment. There was danger at every corner.
11 There were gunshots. So seeing the situation that the Serb forces were
12 stationed at Progres Factory and there were Serb forces in the street
13 armed and so on - and that factory was about 400 metres as the crow flies
14 from us - we decided to send the women and children to the centre of the
15 town because we knew that people from different nationalities lived
16 there, and we thought it would be safer.
17 And this is not something that only my family did. There were
18 other families who had left earlier, before the 24th when NATO bombing
19 started. Maybe only four or five families altogether remained in the
20 family -- in the neighbourhood. The neighbourhood had been emptied of
21 its inhabitants more or less.
22 Q. Thank you. And when you say that there were Serb forces
23 stationed at the Progres factory, are you able to identify which forces
24 were stationed at the factory, if you know?
25 A. Yes, as far as I remember, but I think this is true. The police
1 forces were stationed there together with different special units of the
2 police. They had blue vehicles, and they would go back and forth towards
3 the town, the centre of the town, and then back to the factory. That
4 was -- that severed as a kind of a bases for them, this factory that I
6 Q. Thank you. Now, moving on to the 27th of March, by this stage
7 your family had returned back to your neighbourhood, and you say that on
8 that day at around 1900 hours, two Albanian neighbours of yours came to
9 your house and advised your family that it would be safer for all of you
10 to leave. Why -- let me just finish my question. Why would it have been
11 safer for you to leave? What did they mean when they said that it would
12 be safer for you to leave with your family?
13 A. As I said earlier, there were only about four families that
14 remained in the neighbourhood, and the attacks were increasing. The
15 gunshots were increasing. And keeping in mind the fact that -- that
16 there was nobody else in the neighbourhood, we didn't know whether we
17 were the wise ones to remain there or the other ones had been clever to
18 leave. So we decided that all of us should leave and go towards the
19 centre because it was safer there.
20 Q. Thank you. And that's what you say in paragraph 4, page 3, of
21 your statement in English. You say: "It was our intention to go to the
22 town centre in Prizren." And you go on to say that: "At that time we
23 were still walking to town using the side roads to avoid the police."
24 Why were you avoiding the police by using these side roads?
25 A. Prizren was full of policemen. They were everywhere.
1 Paramilitaries as well were everywhere, and their presence was a
2 threatening presence; it meant death to us. Other people had suffered
3 before, so we didn't want to meet them or encounter them, and we went
4 towards the centre by using side roads. That was the reason, because
5 there were check-points and the police were patrolling the streets. So
6 we wanted to avoid them as much as possible.
7 Q. Thank you. And when you say Prizren was full of policemen, do
8 you recall what uniforms these policemen were wearing?
9 A. They circulated all over the town. They had blue uniforms,
10 camouflage blue, as far as I remember.
11 Q. And how about these paramilitaries who you say were everywhere?
12 What were they wearing? If you recall.
13 A. To my recollection, they were wearing green uniforms and green
14 camouflage uniforms. These people were older, over 40 years old, that
15 told me that they were not regular soldiers and that they were even more
16 dangerous than the regular army because they could commit crimes with
17 impunity. They also travelled and drove cars that they had painted in
18 different colours and so on.
19 Q. Thank you. Now let's move on to the events on the morning of
20 the 28th. This is when you went to a house in the outskirts of Prizren
21 on Ulqini Street where you say there was a continuous column of people
22 walking from the direction of Djakove. Some sick old people come
23 injured, and they seemed very tired and exhausted. This is in the
24 English, page 3, para 6.
25 Now, this column of people you referred to, did you see them
2 A. I did not see this column of people with my own eyes, but I was
3 told by other people. At one point, I was going to my house to get some
4 papers. I then met some people who told me that it was dangerous to go
5 there. Some of these people were from the convoy, from the column, and
6 the convoy was endless. You could not see the end of it. People from
7 all ages, infirm, elderly, people who were travelling in all kinds of
8 vehicles to go towards Albania
9 Q. Thank you. These people who you met who were from the convoy,
10 did they say where they had come from when you spoke to them?
11 A. I did not speak to them, but some people I knew that were from my
12 neighbourhood told me that it was dangerous. I, in fact, was trying to
13 cross the column, to pass there, but I was trying to find a moment to
14 pass so that not -- so as not to be seen by the forces.
15 The -- those people that I mentioned earlier that had left the
16 column and came to the house where I was, they told us horrible stories.
17 They told us how many people there were, that their numbers were
18 increasing with every passing moment, and there were horrible stories
19 that they had to tell.
20 The street was full of the inhabitants of the area but also full
21 of people that had come from the villages where these events had
22 happened. It was an alarming situation.
23 Q. Thank you. Now, let's move on to events later in the day. This
24 is in the English page 3, the last paragraph. You say:
25 "At 1700 hours, police knocked on the door of the house we were
1 staying at. They were in regular uniform with automatic weapons ..."
2 What do you mean when you say "regular uniform"?
3 A. These were police uniforms. We called them regular uniforms.
4 And the police had surrounded the neighbourhood from all sides and had
5 given orders. Earlier, there had been gunshots from various types of
6 guns, handguns and larger guns. This was preparation for expulsion. And
7 then we heard the knock on the door. The owner of the house went out and
8 spoke to them. We were staying close to where they were talking. The
9 police gave him the order to leave the house in five minutes and go
10 towards Albania
11 the ultimatum that was given to everybody in that house but also other
12 houses in the neighbourhood.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, did you see who it was that the owner of the
14 house spoke to? You said that the owner of the house went out and spoke
15 to them. Did you see who he spoke to?
16 A. I know that they were police forces and he was speaking to them.
17 There was a corridor where I was staying. The door was to the left. And
18 when the door opened, I only saw the arm of a policeman, and I could see
19 the blue camouflage uniform. Then he came in. The owner of the house
20 came in, and he said that the police gave me the order to leave the house
21 in five minutes and go towards the border with Albania. We had to get
22 out to the street in five minutes.
23 Q. Thank you. And you say in your statement, this is at page 4,
24 paragraph one that:
25 "After the ultimatum was given, we all decided to leave with our
1 suitcases and other belongings. Once outside, everyone was throwing
2 their personal effects onto the tractor trailer."
3 Now, when you say "we all decided to leave with our suitcases,"
4 who were you with at this stage?
5 A. I was there with my family and other refugees. There were about
6 30 of us on the tractor trailer.
7 Q. Thank you. You then say, this is on page 4, paragraph two:
8 "We left the courtyard. We were sitting on the trailer. We had
9 to travel between two lines of policemen, many of them. They told us
10 which way to go before we left the neighbourhood. This had been planned
11 very well."
12 First when you say you had to travel between two lines of
13 policemen, how did you know that these men were policemen?
14 A. I could tell by their uniforms that they were wearing. This was
15 not the first time that I had seen these forces and these uniforms. They
16 had committed massacres and had caused tragedies in other parts of the
17 country that I had seen on television.
18 Q. And these men that you saw, what uniforms were they wearing, if
19 you recall?
20 A. To my recollection, they had blue uniforms, blue camouflage
22 Q. Thank you. And you also say that this had been planned very
23 well. What do you mean when you say that this had been planned very
25 A. I have to say that this planning had not started on the day this
1 happened. It had been prepared beforehand. That was the day when they
2 implemented the plan for the expulsion of the population. I say that
3 because the neighbourhood was surrounded in a very organised manner, and
4 they directed us where we had to go, and the direction was only dictated
5 by them. We couldn't go where we pleased.
6 Q. Thank you. And you say that there were many of them. Now, if
7 you recall, how many were directing you out of your neighbourhood?
8 A. There was a large number of policemen; however, I cannot give you
9 the exact number. I can only say that it was a very large number. The
10 situation was such that I could not just sit there and count how many
11 there were. We were trying not to be obvious and save our lives, but
12 they were obvious everywhere. You could see them.
13 Q. Thank you. You also referred to some other forces being present.
14 This is in paragraph 3 and 4 of page 4 of the English, that there were
15 police special forces who were also there.
16 Did they say anything to you or the group you were with as you
17 were heading out of your neighbourhood?
18 A. Yes. There were insults hurled at us of all sorts. They were
19 also saying, "Where is KLA? Why are -- are they not protecting you?
20 Where it Thaqi? This is not your country." And they were waving
21 good-bye to us, some of them.
22 Q. Thank you. And in which direction were you directed by these
24 A. The forces directed us towards Albania, around the town towards
25 the Printex Progres industrial area and then towards Zhur.
1 Q. Thank you. You also say that as you walked -- and I'm quoting:
2 "As we would walked, the police and paramilitary lines were very
3 tight. There was a VJ presence with soldiers and equipment, mortars, APC
4 and other vehicles."
5 Now, how do you know that there were soldiers present?
6 A. Where do you mean?
7 Q. In your statement you say -- this is in the English, page 4,
8 para 7, and in the Albanian it's page 5, the second last paragraph.
9 You say that when you were being led out of your neighbourhood
10 the police and paramilitary lines were very tight. There was a VJ
11 presence with soldiers.
12 A. Yes. On one side there were policemen; on the other side we
13 could see various kinds of green uniforms. Some of them had green masks
14 on their faces in the form of nets, bandannas on their heads, and as I
15 said, they were older than normal soldiers. That led us to believe that
16 these were not regular soldiers but paramilitaries.
17 Q. And how about the regular soldiers? Were there regular soldiers
18 present there in addition to these paramilitaries?
19 A. The regular soldiers were constantly moving about in the vicinity
20 of Printex and Progres industrial area. It was constantly on the move,
21 but there where we were, there were police forces and paramilitary
23 Q. And these regular soldiers that were constantly moving that you
24 just mentioned, did you see them yourself? And how --
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. -- did you know they were soldiers?
2 A. There were green tanks and armoured vehicles, and this led us to
3 believe that those were soldiers.
4 Q. Thank you. If you recall --
5 A. Also, in Progres factory area there were different types of
7 Q. Thank you. If you recall, what were these soldiers wearing?
8 A. The soldiers wore green uniforms.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MS. GOPALAN: I'd like to call up Exhibit P318, please.
11 Q. And while we're waiting for the exhibit to come up, sir, you
12 referred to different types of vehicles that you saw in the Progres
13 factory area. I'm going to show you a number of photographs of vehicles.
14 If you could let us know if you recognise any of these photographs as the
15 ones you -- any of these photographs as representing the vehicles that
16 you saw in the area on that day. We're now on page 1.
17 A. To my recollection, the vehicle shown on photograph 2; on
18 photograph 1, however, I'm not quite sure. I know that they were green,
19 but there were different types of military vehicles in the area.
20 MS. GOPALAN: Could we move to the next page, please.
21 Q. Did you see any of these vehicles there on that day?
22 A. Yes. The vehicle depicted on photograph number 7, then the one
23 photograph number 6. I'm not quite sure about number 8, but there were
24 also similar vehicles to this one there.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MS. GOPALAN: And if we could just move on to the final page of
2 this exhibit. Did you see any of these vehicles?
3 A. I don't remember seeing these type of vehicles.
4 Q. Thank you. Now, in your statement, as you were leaving Prizren
5 you say you were "prevented from taking other streets than the ones where
6 they wanted us to go to. We had an escort until we got out of town."
7 Now, how is it you were prevented from taking other streets?
8 A. At every entry to the town there were Pinzgauers or smaller
9 vehicles placed on the main roads, and there there would be policemen who
10 were directing the crowd. This is how it was up to the exit from
11 Prizren. Every road leading to the centre of the town was blocked by
12 this type of vehicles.
13 Q. Thank you. And you say you had an escort until you got out of
14 town. Who was it that escorted you out of town?
15 A. To my recollection, it was a green vehicle leading in front,
16 leading the crowd.
17 Q. Do you recall this vehicle from the set of photographs I just
18 showed to you? Would you like to see them again? This green vehicle
19 that you referred to leading you out of town.
20 A. Yes, if you could show me the photographs again, please.
21 MS. GOPALAN: Could I call up P318, please. It's -- I'm sorry,
22 it's still on the screen? No.
23 Q. Are any of the vehicles on this first page the ones you -- the
24 one you were referring to?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Can we move on to the next page?
2 A. Yes. The photograph number 7 depicts the vehicle.
3 Q. Thank you very much. Now, you say that it took you and the group
4 you were with 12 hours to reach the Albanian border. How far is Prizren
5 from the Albanian border, if you know?
6 A. I would say 15 or 20 kilometres far from Prizren. I'm not
7 maybe very accurate with the distance, but roughly that's what it should
9 Q. Thank you. And prior to this day, had you travelled to the
10 Albanian border before?
11 A. No, never. I went up to the village of Zhur
12 travelled straight to the border, there I would have been subjected to
13 many check-points. That's why I didn't see it reasonable to go towards
14 that direction. As it was a border area, a border zone, there were more
15 frequent checks in that area even before.
16 Q. Now, you say that after Zur, this is paragraph 1, page 5 of the
17 English, you say that:
18 "On the way to the border after Zhur, we were constantly insulted
19 by Special Police forces, same Special Police forces as the ones in
21 What did these forces say to you?
22 A. These forces were using offensive language towards us. They were
23 cursing. I would not be able to repeat here all the swear words they
24 used. They would make gestures suggesting that they were going to
25 slaughter us. They would say, "Where is the KLA to defend you? Where is
1 Thaqi?" All these different types of threats and offensive language.
2 Q. Thank you. Sir, I understand that you were travelling in a
3 convoy. If you know, how big was this convoy?
4 A. You couldn't see the end of it. That's how long it was. It
5 seemed endless. Even after we crossed into Albania, convoys continued to
6 arrive at Kukes. Kukes was full of refugees who told their stories about
7 what they had been through. Their state of mind showed how they
8 terrify -- how terrified they were as a consequence of what had happened
9 at the time.
10 Kukes could not handle all these refugees, because the convoys
11 were endless, crossing into Kukes for days in a row, for months in a row.
12 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, the immediate group you were travelling,
13 how many of you were there? Sorry, the immediate group you were
14 travelling with. Do you know how many of you were together?
15 A. About 30, I would say.
16 Q. Thank you. Now, just moving on to the events at the Albanian
17 border. You say your tractor was stopped at the Albanian border. This
18 is paragraph 2 of page 5.
19 Could you tell us who stopped the tractor you were in.
20 A. When we approached the the customs office at the now
21 Kosova-Albania border, and at the time, former Yugoslavia-Albanian
22 border, there were two policemen one on one side and one on the other
23 side. One of them was wearing a blue uniform. He resembled a customs
24 police officer. They asked for all our identification papers and the
25 licence plates. Some of the people didn't have the documents, and they
1 were worried about what was going to happen to them.
2 One of us knew how to speak Serbian better, and we decided that
3 he handed over the documents. There next to us was an a huge pile of
4 documents and registration plates.
5 Q. Thank you. As I understand it, you were travelling as a part of
6 a larger convoy. Did you see what happened to the identification papers
7 or the licence plates of others who were in the convoy with you?
8 A. They suffered the same fate. For some it was easier; for some it
9 was more difficult. For me it was easier because, as I've already
10 mentioned in the first trial that I attended, myself and my family didn't
11 get the worst of it. We were terrified. We were expelled from our own
12 homes. We were denied the right to live in our own homes.
13 Q. Thank you, sir.
14 A. Everyone was subjected to the same procedure.
15 Q. Thank you. And specifically, I'd asked you about what happened
16 to the identification papers or licence plates of the others who were in
17 the convoy with you on that day, if you saw.
18 A. Yes, I did see it. The papers were collected, thrown on this
19 pile. This pile was huge, pile of documents and other personal papers,
20 registration plates, and so on.
21 Q. Thank you. And now I'd like to move on to some of the locations
22 that you went to when you travelled from Prizren to your eventual
23 destination. If we could call up 65 ter 615 and go to page 26, please.
24 In your statement, you say - this is page 5, second last
25 paragraph - while we wait for the exhibit to be called up.
1 "So after the incident at the Albanian border, we then proceeded
2 to the Albanian border. We arrived at Morina. We put some fuel in the
3 tractor and proceeded to Kukes, arriving at 0700 hours the next morning.
4 I think it was the 29th. I'm not 100 per cent sure. We left our tractor
5 with one of our relatives, and we took a bus to Tirana."
6 MS. GOPALAN: If we could just zoom in on the top half of the
7 page, please. Thank you. With the Court's usher, I would like the
8 witness to mark some of the locations that he mentions in his statement.
9 Is it possible to zoom in even further to the top-left half of
10 the page? If we could just move the page up a little bit, please. Is it
11 possible to move the page up? Sorry, the opposite direction. Yes.
12 Thank you. Thank you very much.
13 Q. Sir, in your statement you mentioned Zur, and you say it was
14 after Zur that your group was constantly insulted by the Special Police
15 forces. Are you able to see Zur on this map? If you could circle Zur
16 and mark it with an A.
17 A. [Marks]
18 Q. Thank you. Next you say that you arrived at the Albanian border
19 and that this is where you were ordered to surrender your ID and
20 registration plates of the vehicles. Are you able to identify where this
21 happened? If you could just place a circle around the approximate
22 location where your IDs were taken away.
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. You have circled Morina.
25 A. Morina, yeah.
1 Q. And that was where your identification cards and licence plates
2 were taken away?
3 A. [Interpretation] That's where the border is also, the border
4 between Kosovo and Albanian.
5 Q. Thank you. And finally, before we move on, could you please
6 morning Morina with a B, please.
7 A. [Marks]
8 Q. And then you say that you went to Kukes. If you could mark
9 Kukes with a C.
10 A. [Marks]
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MS. GOPALAN: I would like to tender this exhibit into evidence,
13 Your Honours.
14 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
15 THE REGISTRAR: That will be assigned P00807, Your Honours.
16 MS. GOPALAN:
17 Q. Sir, you say that you then went to Tirana with your family on
18 that day, and you say that you then returned to Prizren on the
19 19th of June, 1999. This is in the last paragraph of the English. Why
20 did you not return to Prizren with your family? Why did you return
22 A. The situation was still unclear, uncertain, at the time. There
23 were rumours that Kosova was free, that the NATO forces had entered it,
24 but I didn't feel safe to take my family with me because of the mined
25 areas, the booby-traps, and so on. That's why I decided to go on my own
1 to check on the house to see what happened there. There were some minor
2 damages to my house, but it was standing, it was in living condition, and
3 I went back to collect my family and return to Kosova together with them.
4 Q. And where was your family at this stage?
5 A. In Tirana.
6 Q. And where were you and your family living in in Tirana?
7 A. We lived in tents.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MS. GOPALAN: Your Honours, I have one final topic that would
10 take me approximately ten minutes. I'm happy to begin.
11 JUDGE PARKER: We will have the second break now, and you can
12 conclude after that.
13 We will resume at 5 minutes to 1.00.
14 --- Recess taken at 12.28 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 1.00 p.m.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Ms. Gopalan.
17 MS. GOPALAN: Thank you, Your Honours.
18 Q. Sir, I have a few questions for you on my final topic today.
19 That's on the education system in Kosovo in the 1990s. I'd like to take
20 you back to the beginning of your statement. In the English this is
21 paragraph 3, page 2, and there you say that before the war you were a
22 schoolteacher of Albanian language in a primary school. And you also say
23 that the Serbian policy on education was a discriminatory one and that
24 the schools were for the benefit of the Serbs, not the Albanians.
25 Could you explain for us what you mean when you say the Serbian
1 policy on education was a discriminatory one?
2 A. Bearing in mind that from 1989 a policy was pursued that divested
3 Albanians of all their rights, also including their autonomy. In 1990
4 they started to commit some poisonous acts in the schools whose
5 perpetrators were never found. They remained a mystery. Even today some
6 inquiries have been conducted and nothing has been discovered.
7 Serb perpetrators committed them with the intention of having
8 only a Serbian curricula in the school. Albanians didn't agree with
9 that. Therefore, they set up their parallel system of education.
10 After experiencing what I mentioned in the high schools, then in
11 1992, if I'm not mistaken, all Albanian students and high -- and high
12 school students were deprived of their right to be educated in the same
13 facilities that they had been going on until then. It became forbidden
14 for them to enter the university premises and the high schools, whereas
15 the primary schools continued to function in two shifts. The Serbs went
16 to school in the morning together with some other ethnicities, and the
17 Albanians in the afternoon with a shortened programme.
18 Q. Sir, let me just stop you there to clarify some things that you
19 have just said. You say, "After experiencing what I mentioned in the
20 high schools." What is it that you experienced in high school as a high
21 school student if that's what you mean. You were referring to the
22 parallel system of education when you said that.
23 A. The parallel system started later, after the Albanians were
24 deprived of their right to education. In this situation, they came up
25 with a parallel plan of education whereby the high -- and higher school
1 students started to go to private facilities. They were schools turned
2 into -- houses turned into schools, that is, make-shift schools.
3 Q. Thank you. And as a schoolteacher, did you have experience of
4 this discriminatory policy in education that you referred to?
5 A. Yes. Not only myself but all my generation of teachers and of
6 students were subjected to this discrimination, which is a fact of life
7 now because much has been spoken about that and efforts have been made to
8 find a solution to this issue until 1970.
9 Q. Thank you. Let me stop you there. As a schoolteacher, when you
10 were teaching in this primary school, are you able to give us any
11 specifics examples of discriminatory practices that you experienced?
12 A. Yes. In the school where I -- school where I used to teach - it
13 was called Emin Duraku school until 1991. The Serb regime removed the
14 plaque that was in front of the school which bore the Albanian -- an
15 Albanian name and put the name of a Serb personality instead. That was
16 the first step towards discrimination.
17 Then, in light of the fact that the Serbs and other ethnicities
18 worked from 7.00 to 2.00, 1400 hours, with a very small number of
19 students - which was about 470, if I'm not mistaken - the Albanians who
20 worked from 1500 to 1900 had to teach about 1.200 students. We didn't
21 have the right -- didn't have access to all didactic means to educate
22 our -- teach our students. We were forced to work in extraordinary
23 circumstances, and that was for us a total discrimination. This was the
24 case in education and in all walks of life. That's why we came to the
25 point where we came later.
1 Q. Thank you. And when you speak about not having access to all
2 didactic means to teach students, are you able to provide any specific
3 examples of what you're referring to when you say didactic means?
4 A. Yes. I mean the library, for example, I couldn't have access to
5 it or other teaching materials. We didn't have access to the
6 laboratories available in the schools because they were used only by the
7 Serb students. We were obliged to work, all of us, in one common hall.
8 It was a chaotic situation. We were reduced to a very limited space. But
9 nevertheless we worked even under these circumstances in order to be able
10 to provide some form of education to our students until 1992 when the
11 teaching was completely interrupted.
12 Q. Thank you. And what time period is it that you're referring to
13 when you say, for example, that there was no access to the library? You
14 say that the teaching was interrupted in 1992, but how much before 1992
15 did you -- how much before 1992 was it that these examples that you give
16 began, the lack of access to teaching materials and so forth?
17 A. I started to work in the Emin Duraku primary school in 1995.
18 Until that time, I was a student, which means that I experienced this
19 form of discrimination both as a student, being obliged to study under
20 extraordinary conditions, but also as a teacher. The situation started
21 prior to 1995, but I cannot give you an exact date now.
22 Q. Thank you, sir. Before I finish off, I'd just like to take you
23 to your statement again.
24 MS. GOPALAN: If we could call up P00806, please. And if we
25 could have the English and Albanian on the page. Let's start with page 1
1 of the statement.
2 Q. Sir, in the Albanian statement on your screen, you will see that
3 approximately halfway towards the bottom of the page there's a mention of
4 two dates of interviews, one in April 1999 and another one in
5 October 2001.
6 A. Yes.
7 MS. GOPALAN: And could we move on to the second page, please.
8 Q. Could you read for us, please, the first paragraph of the page
9 that is before you.
10 A. "The investigators note: This statement includes and expands
11 the 'unsigned' interview of this witness not read over by investigator
12 Yves Roy on 14 of April, 1999, in Tirana, Albania. My name is
13 Xhafer Beqiraj; I was born -- "
14 Q. Just the first paragraph. Now, what you have just read out, does
15 that accord with your recollection that you gave an interview in 1999
16 that was not read back to you nor signed by you?
17 A. Yes, that's true.
18 Q. Thank you. And when you gave this interview in Tirana, do you
19 remember where you were?
20 A. I was at a hotel, but I don't recall the name of this hotel now.
21 Q. Thank you very much, sir. I have no further questions for you at
22 this stage.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
24 Mr. Djordjevic.
25 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Cross-examination by Mr. Djordjevic:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Beqiraj. My name is
3 Dragoljub Djordjevic, and I am the Defence counsel for the accused. I
4 will have several questions for you with a view to shedding light on some
5 parts of your evidence before this Tribunal and parts of your statement
6 that you gave to the OTP.
7 I will take up from where my learned friend finished, and that's
8 the statement that you gave on the 14th of April, 1999, in Albania
9 hotel, the name of which I cannot recall at present. You confirm that
10 you gave the statement without having signed or read it.
11 Tell me, you were present in Albania at the time as of which date
12 prior to the 14th of April, 1999, when you gave the interview?
13 A. I was present in Albania
14 we -- when we were driven out by force.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Gopalan.
16 MS. GOPALAN: Your Honours, it's not -- just to clarify, Defence
17 counsel refers to the statement not being signed or having been read by
18 the witness, but I believe the section read out by the witness refers
19 to --
20 JUDGE PARKER: Look, Ms. Gopalan, no need to worry about that
21 sort of fine detail. We have read what is there and appreciate the
22 circumstances. Thank you.
23 MS. GOPALAN: Thank you, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on, please, Mr. Djordjevic.
25 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Can all the extra microphones please be
2 switched off.
3 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. You told me that you left together with your family from Kukes to
5 Tirana; is that right?
6 A. That's right.
7 Q. You came to Tirana on what day? Do you recall the date?
8 A. Yes. We stayed in Kukes only until the afternoon of the
9 29th of March, and that afternoon we set out for Tirana. We arrived in
10 Tirana on the 30th of March.
11 Q. Mr. Beqiraj, can you tell me who was present when you gave the
12 statement on the 14th of April, 1999, in a hotel in Tirana? Do you
14 A. I remember an investigator and an Albanian interpreter whose
15 names I can't recall now.
16 Q. How did you come into contact with the OTP investigator, which
17 led you to eventually giving a statement to him on the 14th of April that
18 we've been referring to?
19 A. They came to the camp where we were accommodated in those tents I
20 mentioned. Then an interpreter and the investigator asked us to give
21 statements about what had happened, how -- how had it come that we had
22 arrived in Tirana and so on.
23 Q. Was this the only statement you gave on that day, or did you give
24 a statement to someone else as well?
25 A. I gave only the statement in Tirana. I didn't give any other.
1 Q. Did you give any other statements subsequent to this one?
2 A. Yes, in Kosova, if I remember right, in 2001.
3 Q. When you gave the statement in 2001 in Kosovo, was there mention
4 of the 14th of April statement, the one that you gave on the
5 14th of April, 1999, in Tirana?
6 A. I don't remember that.
7 Q. Do you remember if the same investigator who interviewed you in
8 Tirana was there in -- in Kosovo as well?
9 A. I think no. It was another investigator.
10 Q. Did this other investigator tell you before you gave the
11 statement on the 6th of October, 2001, which you confirmed to my learned
12 friend that you did give, that he had that other 1999 statement of yours,
13 and did he ask you if you wanted to change or supplement anything that
14 you had stated back in 1999?
15 A. Yes. Yes.
16 Q. At the time, in October of 2001, did you have the occasion to
17 read the 14th of April, 1999, statement in its entirety?
18 A. I don't remember.
19 Q. Your previous answer said that it was shown to you. Was it only
20 shown to you as a piece of paper or were you shown its contents?
21 A. To tell you the truth, I have no recollection of it at all,
22 because now ten years have passed and these are minor details which for
23 me are difficult to recall. And after what we have been through, we all
24 were under stress and wanted to do away, obliterate from our mind those
1 To this day, many people in Kosova live under stress as a result
2 of those events; and I suffered the same stress and trauma to this day,
3 because to go through such a horrible situation, it's not easy for you to
4 forget. Not only what I saw, but also what I saw through the media
5 outlets, through the peoples -- people narratives. It was a question
6 that did not relate to an individual but to an entire nation. It was
7 kind of common suffering, I would say. So many things have slipped my
8 memory after such a long time.
9 Q. Mr. Beqiraj, I understand you fully, and I sympathise with you.
10 Unfortunately, this is a court of law where in addition to expressing
11 sentiments and emotions we also need to concentrate on the facts. I do
12 sympathise with your experience, but we nevertheless have to deal with
13 facts. Therefore. I will proceed along that line.
14 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Can we again call up -- or, we
15 have it, rather, I think, the 6 October 2001 statement on our screen.
16 I'm interested in the top of page 2 in both Albanian and English. The
17 statement has already been admitted into evidence.
18 Q. Look at paragraph 1, investigators note which reads:
19 "This statement includes and expands the 'unsigned/not read over'
20 interview of this witness taken by investigator Yves Roy on the
21 14th of April, 1999, in Tirana, Albania
22 How are we to interpret this statement or the paragraph written
23 by the investigator and signed by you? Tell us. We would really like to
24 clarify what this is all about.
25 A. I never had any problems with a court of law. This is my second
1 time to be present in such a court of law. I have no legal experience.
2 I was told to sign the statement, and I did sign it thinking that it was
3 a matter of signing the statement that I just gave. So I have nothing
4 else to say to your question. If I were a lawyer, I would be in a better
5 position to know how to act. Being not a lawyer, I know no better.
6 Q. Mr. Beqiraj, my question was not of legal nature. It relates to
7 the facts. May I conclude, based on your answer, that you, in fact,
8 never had an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the
9 14th of April, 1999, statement gave to Yves Roy --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Yes, to Yves Roy.
11 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. And that the other investigator, Clifford Smith who made this
13 statement --
14 A. Frankly speaking, I don't remember. Frankly speaking, I don't
16 Q. That earlier statement, and you had never had an opportunity to
17 read it. I can't believe that you wouldn't be able to recall ever
18 reading a statement.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djordjevic, the witness has told you he
20 doesn't remember what you are asking about at the commencement of the
21 second interview. At the end of the first statement, you will see a
22 heavy note: "This statement was not re-read to the witness," and that, I
23 would suggest to you, fully explains why at the commencement of the
24 second there is the note by the investigator, not by the witness, that
25 the first statement was unsigned and not read over.
1 MR. DJORDJEVIC: But at the beginning, "This statement includes
2 and expands."
3 JUDGE PARKER: There can be no mystery about it. If you read the
4 two statements, you will see that the first statement is there and there
5 are additions. You are very familiar with that, and that's why the first
6 statement is included.
7 Perhaps I should become the witness, Mr. Djordjevic.
8 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it will be, after
9 all, up to you to adjudicate this matter to the end. I wanted to draw
10 your attention to the differences between the first and second statement,
11 and I will not be able to put these questions now since evidently the
12 witness has never read the first statement and cannot testify to the fact
13 that whatever he said at the time was indeed recorded in the statement.
14 I --
15 JUDGE PARKER: That is not the view that I would understand of
16 it, Mr. Djordjevic. He did not -- it was not read over to him when he
17 made it in 1999. In 2001, a statement is made which includes what was
18 said in 1999. Now, there must have been some revision of what was said
19 in 1999 during the interview in 2001.
20 What is of importance to this Chamber is whether in any material
21 part of the 2001 statement there is some error, some oversight, or some
22 omission. I would suggest you might concentrate on the content rather
23 than the way it was prepared. It will be quicker, and it will be of more
24 use to us. Thank you.
25 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I will proceed that way.
1 Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. You said that you were a teacher of the Albanian language
3 immediately before the war, in a school called Emin Duraku. Tell me,
4 were you a teacher within the regular Serbian school system of the
5 Albanian language, or were you a teacher within the parallel Albanian
6 schooling system existing at the time?
7 A. I said before, and I said when I gave the statement, that after
8 the discrimination, after the dangers we were faced with as of 1990,
9 we -- Albanian students as a result of the Serb discriminatory policy,
10 the Albanians and the Serbs were separated in two different groups and
11 shifts. The high schools and the universities were closed to Albanian
12 students. This is a well-known fact. We have staged many protests
13 against that situation, asking for the redressing of this right, asking
14 for education for our students. Under that situation, we were obliged to
15 set up the parallel system. This is what I explained earlier.
16 Otherwise, hadn't we done this parallel student -- education, our
17 students would have been deprived of any education at all.
18 Q. You gave me an answer that is quite general, and these are
19 matters that we heard from a number of witnesses testifying here. My
20 question had to do specifically with the school you taught in, namely the
21 Emin Duraku school. Can you tell me whether you continued teaching in
22 the school throughout the period, or did you switch to teaching in
23 different private homes under a schooling system organised by ethnic
24 Albanians at the time?
25 A. I said earlier that during that decade I was both a student and a
1 teacher, meaning that I experienced two things or the same situation as
2 from two different angles. In 1992, we enrolled in this parallel
3 education system, because --
4 THE INTERPRETERS: Correction.
5 A. -- we wanted to enroll in the normal education system, but the
6 police surrounded the premises and did not allow us to enter these
7 premises. Then after some months being left without any schooling, we
8 were obliged in 1992/1993, if I am not mistaken, in March, to start
9 learning as students in private homes. The same was the case with the
10 high school students who tried to find make-shift facilities to get their
11 education. The primary schools continued to function in the same
12 facilities that the Serb kids went.
13 The situation in which we were obliged to work was a
14 discriminatory one. Nobody can deny that, because there are facts to
15 prove it. There are documents. It's a well-known fact for all.
16 Q. Again, your answer was quite a general one. But you said that
17 the elementary schools, including the Emin Duraku school, continued their
18 activities and that students, including ethnic Albanian students,
19 continued getting their education in these schools. Am I right in saying
21 A. Yes, that's true.
22 Q. As a teacher of the Albanian language, were you employed, you
24 A. Yes, from 1995.
25 Q. Who were you receiving your salary from as of 1995?
1 A. We received our salaries from the Albanian leadership at that
2 time, because Albanians were segregated. They had their own programmes,
3 their own contributions paid by the people in general to pay for the
4 salaries of the teachers as much as they could afford to pay in order to
5 provide education to the kids, to prevent them from remaining illiterate.
6 There was a noble act, because the right to schooling was denied
7 to the Albanian students. I said earlier that all the facilities were
8 closed down. This made us -- this injustice, this discrimination, made
9 us to switch to this form of education both for the primary, for the high
10 schools, and also for the university.
11 Q. Have you ever been employed within the Serbian and former
12 Yugoslav state education systems?
13 A. No. But even those who were employed from 1990 were driven out
14 of their jobs, were dismissed, and Kosova became a social case. The
15 situation was deplorable. People were fired from their jobs and were
16 unemployed. So poverty increased, discontent grew, because
17 discrimination was widespread. It was not only in education but in all
18 spheres of life.
19 Q. If things stood indeed the way you put them, how come you were
20 allowed to use the public educational facilities of the Republic of
22 Emin Duraku primary school where you told us the Serb students were
23 taught in the mornings and ethnic Albanians in the afternoons?
24 A. Firstly, these facilities did not belong to the Serb Republic
25 they belonged to Kosova where the overwhelming majority of the population
1 are Albanians, about 92 per cent. Only 5 per cent were Serbs. The
2 remainder were other ethnicities. This is not the place to discuss those
3 issues, but the aid was provided for by the people who were in the better
4 economic situation who had some private activities as well as by
5 Albanians who worked abroad. They contributed to this system of
6 education in Albanian.
7 Q. Am I right when I say that the authorities of the
8 Republic of Serbia
9 Emin Duraku school, the 1.200 pupils you referred to?
10 A. I think I was quite explicit in my statement. I'm repeating it,
11 that in the primary schools it was possible to continue education in the
12 public facilities, but for the high schools and for the universities it
13 was completely forbidden. You know very well that an effort was made
14 through the Sant'Egidio Agreement for -- to resolve the question of the
15 Albanian education, but it failed. So Albanians didn't get their rights
16 to education.
17 Q. You mentioned the Sant'Egidio Agreement. Do you have knowledge
18 to the effect that the Serbian authorities had deferred several
19 university facilities to ethnic Albanians? Were you aware of that, and
20 if so, which were these facilities that were handed over to the Albanians
21 under the agreement? We're referring to --
22 THE INTERPRETER: Can Mr. Djordjevic repeat the year he
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- recollection. Maybe as a result
25 of that agreement some facilities may have been handed over to fool the
1 international public that Albanians were having access to their
2 education. But I was a student myself at that time in Prishtina, and I
3 studied in a private home. We used to sit on the floor without having
4 any benches, any facilities. In this situation, the entire generation
5 had to get education in such miserable conditions. And often we were
6 subjected to police assaults, raids. They came and confiscated school
7 materials and so on.
8 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I was asked by the interpreter
9 to repeat the year, and the year was 1998.
10 Q. This is my final question in relation to the schooling system.
11 Having been a student and having been involved in the Kosovo educational
12 system, do you know or did you not know that certain university
13 facilities were handed over to ethnic Albanians, Albanian professors and
14 students? Do you know that they were handed over directly and given to
15 them to use freely, and if so, do you know which ones?
16 A. I don't remember now because a long time has passed to tell you
17 which facilities were handed over, but they were minor ones and very few
18 in numbers and in not good conditions. They were simply handed over to
19 Albanians to give the impression before the public, international public,
20 that Albanians were being given such facilities. But most of them, most
21 of these facilities, were not accessible to us. This is a fact. I don't
22 know which specific facility may have been handed over.
23 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I should like to
24 stop my cross-examination of the witness until tomorrow because we are
25 already one minute beyond our time for today, to work according to the
1 changed schedule you informed us of. Thank you.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Djordjevic. We need to adjourn
3 today to continue tomorrow morning at 9.00.
4 Mr. Beqiraj, an officer of the court will assist you with the
5 directions, and we will look forward to hearing you again tomorrow
7 Could I say, Mr. Djordjevic, that we would appreciate if you
8 could conclude your cross-examination in the first session, which will
9 give you altogether about two hours of cross-examination.
10 MR. DJORDJEVIC: It will be for certain so.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. I'm just anxious that we finish the
12 witnesses listed for this week this week.
13 We adjourn now and resume tomorrow.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.
15 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 21st day
16 of May, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.