1 Tuesday, 26 May 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 [The witness takes the stand]
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, Mr. Thaqi.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning to all of you.
8 JUDGE PARKER: The affirmation you made at the beginning of your
9 evidence to tell the truth still applies today, and Mr. Djordjevic has
10 some more questions.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Okay.
12 WITNESS: MILAZIM THAQI [Resumed]
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 Cross-examination by Mr. Djordjevic [Continued]
15 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. Good morning, Mr. Thaqi.
17 A. Good morning.
18 Q. Mr. Thaqi, today I will continue with my questions starting with
19 the point we left off yesterday. Do you know anything, although you said
20 that you were not in Izbica on the 24th of March, do you know that all
21 young men left Izbica and took to the mountains on the 25th of March,
22 around 3 a.m.
23 A. No, I don't.
24 Q. Mr. Thaqi, when you provided information about your family on
25 several occasions, you said you had nine children, sons and daughters.
1 Were your sons with you in Izbica?
2 A. I have six sons and three daughters. Three of my sons were with
3 me as well as two of my daughters. The others were abroad. They lived
4 and worked abroad.
5 Q. The three sons that resided with you in Kosovo, on that day did
6 they accompany you to Izbica?
7 A. Yes, we went together to Izbice. Two stayed with us once the
8 elder took to the mountains.
9 Q. Is any of your sons' name Ramadani?
10 A. No, none of them.
11 Q. Mr. Thaqi, the two sons who did not go to the mountains, were
12 they in Izbica on the day of the massacre?
13 A. Yes, they were.
14 Q. When I asked you whether there were any other men, save for those
15 who were taken away, you told me that there were no other men.
16 A. I don't understand.
17 Q. When I asked you whether in addition to the 150 men for whom you
18 said had been separated from the women, you said that there were 15.000
19 women and to that you said yes; but now you say that two of your sons
20 were with you in Izbica on the day of the massacre. You said they were
21 there, therefore, I'm asking you this: You told me that there were no
22 other men there except for those who were taken away in the two groups.
23 Now it turns out that your two sons were there. I'm asking you now,
24 therefore, why didn't you mention that there were any other men there?
25 A. Yes, I did say it before, all a seven members of my family were
1 there. They were children at the time. I did not describe them as men.
2 Q. How old were they at the time?
3 A. One of them was 13. The other, 11.
4 Q. Thank you. Mr. Thaqi, the man you described as commander, you
5 described as being somewhat younger, between 27 and 30 years of age. You
6 also said that he wore a green camouflage uniform. You said he had two
7 radio devices on him. In one statement you said that he had a large
8 nose, whereas yesterday you said that his nose had been broken.
9 What I wanted to ask you about this person is the following: Did
10 you see whether he had any insignia on his uniform?
11 A. I've been saying the same thing all along. I did not know how
12 old he was, but from what I was able to estimate, he was in the range of
13 27 to 30, not sure about it, and I know that he had a large nose and a
14 bit crooked. His eyes were greenish in colour, and I don't know who he
16 Q. Did he have any insignia on his uniform?
17 A. To tell you the truth, he did, but I can't recall at this stage.
18 I did not dare look at it properly; we were not allowed to.
19 Q. Mr. Thaqi, one of your fellow survivors, Mr. Mustafa Dragaj,
20 described that person as being older, wearing a blue uniform and a blue
21 helmet in his testimony to this Tribunal. Did he have in mind the same
22 person or another person whom you may have also seen?
23 A. I'm speaking on behalf of me and my group when we were seated
24 there. The person who gave the command was the one who I've described,
25 and I don't know who Mustafa has been describing.
1 Q. Mr. Thaqi, on that day, did you notice anyone, out of the
2 80 soldiers and policemen, wearing a helmet?
3 A. A helmet? Is it a helmet you are talking about? I don't know
4 this word.
5 Q. I would kindly ask the interpreters to explain to you what the
6 word helmet means. I know the words for it in English, but not in
7 Albanian unfortunately.
8 A. I can't remember. I can't remember seeing that.
9 Q. The people you saw, what did they have on their heads?
10 A. Yes, they did. They had their hats.
11 Q. What?
12 A. The hats worn by the police in the army. I don't know how to
13 describe it.
14 Q. The way you saw them. Mr. Thaqi, you said that your oldest son
15 took to the mountains. How old was he?
16 A. Sixteen.
17 Q. Why did he leave for the mountains, your oldest son? Why did he
18 not stay with you in the meadow?
19 A. Because he was scared that he would be killed. I told him to
20 stay, but he said he would be better off leaving, and I think he made a
21 good choice because he would have been killed.
22 Q. What about the other young men, did they also leave for the
24 A. They certainly did. There were quite a few of them there.
25 Q. When did they leave for the mountains?
1 A. They left before dawn on the Saturday, not in the course of the
3 Q. Was that on the 25th of March at dawn?
4 A. No, it was on the 27th of March or before the dawn of the 28th.
5 Q. Who decided that the young men should take to the mountains?
6 A. They did it themselves because they had heard things, they were
7 scared, and that's why they left. I, myself, was unable to restrain
9 Q. Mr. Thaqi, would I be right in saying that Izbica was considered
10 free territory since up until that time no Serb forces had reached it?
11 A. I never saw Serbian forces until I went there, and even when we
12 went to Izbice, there weren't any. They came, however, two days later on
13 the 28th of March.
14 Q. Would you agree with me if I said that in the environs of Izbica
15 there was serious fighting between Serb forces and the KLA?
16 A. I have no knowledge about it because we lived in a valley. There
17 weren't any gun-shots on the day until they arrived. We weren't able it
18 to hear anything.
19 Q. Do you know where the village of Ovcarevo
20 A. How could I not.
21 Q. Where is it? Close to what village?
22 A. It's in the sequence Doricevc-lower Kopiliq-Asareve-
24 Q. Did you know that in Ovcarevo there was a KLA presence, have you
25 any knowledge about that?
1 A. Yes, there were, but I never saw them with my own eyes. That's
2 what they said, but I never saw them.
3 Q. Did Saban Dragaj spend his time there since we agreed that you
4 heard of him as being a commander?
5 A. I don't know. I never followed them and neither do I know.
6 Q. Thank you. Mr. Thaqi, tell me this, please: Do you recall the
7 statement you gave to an investigator of this Tribunal on the
8 20th of October, 2001, as well as the 17th of October, 2001? The
9 investigator's name was Annette Murtagh.
10 A. I can't remember their names. There were quite a few of them.
11 Q. Do you recall having given a statement on the
12 17th of October, 2001, and the 20th of October, 2001, on two occasions?
13 A. All I know that there was someone called Angeli [phoen] in my own
14 house; that's who I gave my statement to and everything that I knew.
15 Maybe I did give another one, but I can't recall.
16 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we please call up an
17 exhibit which later was assigned Exhibit P820. It's an aerial image.
18 I would kindly ask for the original, the pristine copy to be displayed,
19 not the one marked by the witness. It is the photograph MT HM 1.
20 Otherwise it's a 65 ter 244. Thank you.
21 Q. Mr. Thaqi, did you see this photograph yesterday for the first
23 A. I saw it for the first time yesterday. There were three before,
24 but I can't remember what year it was. We went together to Izbice, and I
25 told them that this had happened here and there and then they made their
1 own drawings or something like that. I don't know about it.
2 Q. To ask you yet again, did you ever see this photograph before as
3 well as the markings on it? The A, B, C, D, and E? Have a close look,
5 A. I saw it yesterday for the first time. As I mentioned it
6 earlier, there were three of them who took me to the graveyard and to the
7 place where the execution occurred, and then they made their drawings,
8 but I don't know any more about it.
9 Q. Mr. Thaqi, in the statement that you signed, as I've already told
10 you, on the 20th of October, 2001, it says that you saw this photograph
11 at the time and that you signed it at the back and apparently you even
12 entered a date. And then you explained what the points A, B, C, D, and E
13 meant. You talked about a group --
14 A. As I said it, those three people came, they took me to this
15 place, and then I made these notes, the A, B, C, and Ds, i.e., showing
16 how many groups there were.
17 Q. Did you put these markings on, A, B, C, D, and E?
18 A. I did not make them myself, but I did indicate that this where
19 was the first group, the second, the third, and the fourth, and they did
20 the writing, not me.
21 Q. So you did see this photograph after all, Mr. Thaqi.
22 My next question is this: I'm not going to suggest that you look
23 at the statement that you signed -- go ahead, please say what you were
24 going to say. You wanted to say something?
25 A. I didn't see this photograph, but I described the place in Izbice
1 where the events occurred to them.
2 Q. Then it's not clear to me. You spoke earlier about A, B, C, D,
3 and E, about the groups of people - I don't know how many groups there
4 were, four or five, I forgot what you said - and somehow that is not
5 consistent with what we heard earlier. So could you please clarify it
6 for us?
7 A. What I'm saying is that the first group was the A, the B, the C,
8 and the D. We were four groups there. This is all I know.
9 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we see the statement on
10 the screen. 65 ter 2246, please. After all, I will have to do this.
11 Could we see the English version and the Albanian version. The English
12 version page 14, the Albanian version page 12 on the statement, please.
13 Now, could you please zoom in in the Albanian version onto the signature
14 of Mr. Thaqi, just briefly, please.
15 Q. Is this your signature, Mr. Thaqi? And do you see it in the
16 English version?
17 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we now see the first page
18 of the statement. This is the 1999 statement. This is not the right
19 document. And we need the 2001 statement. That's right.
20 Q. Is this your signature? It is, all right.
21 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Now, can we see the first page
22 of that statement, both in the English and in the other version.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's my signature, I signed it.
24 But I see it here 2002, you are saying 2001.
25 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] The next page, not this one,
1 please. We need page 14 in the English version and page 12 in the
2 Albanian. 14 in the English. And the next page in the English, the very
3 beginning of the statement. This is just the sheet listing personal
4 details. That's right.
5 Q. Are you able to read the text in Albanian on the screen,
6 Mr. Thaqi, or do you need it to be zoomed in?
7 A. Now, yes, it's better.
8 Q. Now, would you please read out the first paragraph. You say
9 there the following:
10 "I have signed my name and dated the back of this photograph."
11 Is this your statement? That's what you say here.
12 A. I don't understand you very well.
13 Q. In this statement for which you claim that you have signed it,
14 and you just confirmed your signature, we see something different from
15 what you told us earlier today. It says here that you put your signature
16 on the reverse of this photograph that we saw earlier. So you signed
17 your name on the back, and you dated it. Once again I'm asking you
18 whether this is your statement?
19 A. It is my statement as I can see my signature there.
20 Q. Therefore, you will agree with me that you did see the photograph
21 after all, that you did sign it on the reverse, and even put the date on
22 it; am I right?
23 A. I didn't see the photograph then. I don't know that. I only
24 know that I described the location where the events occurred.
25 Q. Can you read out loudly the first paragraph, please. Can I ask
1 you to do that?
2 A. I'll try.
3 "I have already made a statement to investigator Nigel Stewart
4 from the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague on the 9th and
5 10th of November, 2000. I now wish to make this statement..." I think
6 it's enough.
7 Q. All the way to the end, please.
8 A. Why do you want me to read it to the end? I did give this
9 statement, and there's no need for me to read it.
10 Q. We need you to read the bit that's important to me. So would you
11 please read out the entire first paragraph.
12 A. I will not read this part. I'm an old and ill person, don't make
13 me read it to the end. The whole world knows what happened there and
14 what massacres and rapes were committed there. So please don't make me
15 read it.
16 Q. Mr. Thaqi, as a human being, I feel regret for everything that
17 took place, and I want you to believe when I say this; but in doing my
18 duty here, I wish us to discover the truth, and the truth at this moment
19 is something that doesn't suit you. So this is why you are refusing to
20 read out this paragraph until the end. So let me read it out for you.
21 "I wish to give an additional statement" --
22 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, comments like that is not appropriate,
23 it is my submission at this time. That type of comment to the witness.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Stamp. Carry on, please,
25 Mr. Djordjevic. You were going to read now to the balance of the
2 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. "I now wish to make this additional statement today to
4 investigator Annette Murtagh in relation to the aerial photograph she has
5 shown me with the identification number 'MT AM 1' on it. I have signed
6 this photograph and put the date on the back."
7 This is what you stated in your statement, Mr. Thaqi. A lot
8 could be said in the cross-examination, but I will conclude it here in
9 respect of your age and everything else.
10 Mr. Thaqi, in this statement you said, and you also mentioned in
11 your testimony here, these points, A, B, C, D, and E. Why did you
12 mention them? You were mentioning some groups, and we heard from you
13 here that there was a group that was split into two, so now I don't
14 understand these groups A, B, C, D, and E. This is completely
15 inconsistent with what we've heard from you yesterday. So could you
16 please briefly explain it.
17 A. Listen, there were two groups here, the right and the left side.
18 On the left side there were three groups. The first group was my group,
19 the second, the third, and the fourth were on the right side. So please
20 don't make me go over this again now.
21 Q. Mr. Thaqi, I have already told you that I feel just as
22 uncomfortable as you do. We did not hear such comments from you while my
23 learned friend was examining you. You came here to give evidence and
24 this is why I'm putting these questions to you. Why did you not mention
25 four groups yesterday, rather you mentioned two. Could you just explain
2 A. I explained everything. They divided us into two groups, the
3 left side had three groups. I don't know how many were in the other
4 groups. But in my group there were 33 persons. So on the right side
5 there was one group and on the left side there were three groups, one
6 after another.
7 Q. We did not hear that from you yesterday, but I will not be
8 questioning you in that direction anymore.
9 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Now, could we please admit into
10 evidence, not the entire statement of this witness, just the first three
11 paragraphs, both on the English page on and the Albanian page, both
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djordjevic, you'll have to choose, either the
14 whole of the statement or just nothing.
15 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Then I'll choose the whole
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. It will be received. We are dealing
18 with the statement dated the 17th and 20th of October, 2001; is that
19 correct? It will be received.
20 MR. DJORDJEVIC: That's correct, Your Honour.
21 THE REGISTRAR: On that will be assigned D00123, Your Honours.
22 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] We will not be needing this
23 photograph anymore. We know that the Trial Chamber will bear in mind
24 what the Defence said on that issue.
25 Q. Mr. Thaqi, the next portion of my questions and the topics that
1 we will be covering will not take very long, but I think it's important
2 to clarify them.
3 Yesterday you said that there were 147 victims of this massacre
4 and that you took part in their funeral. I would like to know the
5 following: My learned friend, Mr. Stamp, asked you about Dr. Liri Loshi.
6 What I want to ask you about Dr. Loshi is this: In relation to the day
7 when the funeral took place, when did you see him? Was it on that day,
8 day prior to that day, day after to that? So please orient yourself in
9 relation to the day of the funeral.
10 A. The day of the funeral was a Wednesday. I wouldn't know the
11 date, but it was March, it was a Wednesday.
12 Q. And when did you see Dr. Loshi was it on Tuesday, Monday; or was
13 it on Thursday and Friday? And also, Mr. Thaqi, who took the footage
14 that we saw with you yesterday?
15 A. I said Wednesday, I believe -- I think it was the 31st of March.
16 It was a Wednesday, three days after the execution. Sunday, Monday,
17 Tuesday, Wednesday, it was on the fourth day.
18 Q. Very well, Mr. Thaqi. Then we'll agree that you saw Dr. Loshi on
19 the day of the burial, the funeral; am I right?
20 A. Yes, on that day.
21 Q. Mr. Thaqi, you told us yesterday that 147 victims were buried, or
22 rather, you said that that's how many there were. Dr. Loshi compiled a
23 list which has been admitted into evidence here - I think this is P292.
24 Dr. Loshi said that there were 127 corpses.
25 Could you explain the difference in numbers, Dr. Loshi said 127,
1 and you claim 147. And later on we will come to the bit where it will
2 become clear why that is important.
3 A. As I said earlier, some villagers from other villages came and
4 collected the bodies of their family members and buried them in their own
5 cemeteries. What I'm saying, you have it all on the list.
6 Q. My next question for you, Mr. Thaqi. All these people who were
7 buried that day, on Wednesday, were buried, as you have told us, in a
8 process organised by the KLA. What did you mean when you said that it
9 was organised by the KLA?
10 A. I didn't say that the KLA organised the burial. What I said was
11 that the KLA and family members of the victims helped us bury the
13 Q. Mr. Thaqi, would you agree with me that among the corpses that
14 were buried, there were also some bodies that had been brought in from
15 other locations and were not just the corpses that were involved in the
16 event of the 28th of March in Izbica?
17 A. No, no. This is not correct. They didn't bring bodies from
18 other locations to be buried there. Only Serbs could move the bodies,
19 not us. We would never do that.
20 Q. I didn't say that you transported the bodies. I just asked you
21 whether, among those buried there, were there also people who died, who
22 were killed, or perished in any other way in other locations? That's
23 what I asked you. We did hear some other testimonies that I'm not going
24 to put to you now.
25 A. There wasn't a graveyard at all. A person from Izbice who owned
1 a meadow gave the meadow for these victims to be buried there.
2 Q. I will have to ask you something in relation to the statement
3 that you gave in 1999.
4 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I would like to ask the Chamber
5 for a bit of indulgence, I need to find the reference. I need the number
6 in Albanian. 65 ter 2246. Let me give you the page number. So this is
7 the Albanian statement, and we will need the portion -- last page, both
8 in the English and in the Albanian.
9 Q. I will naturally first have to ask you whether you gave this
10 statement. This is the interpreter's certification, so we need the last
11 page of the statement. Then a bit more back.
12 This is not the right statement. The text here is in the
13 Serbian. This is probably the 2001 statement which has been admitted
14 into evidence because it mentions point D and point E on the text that's
15 on the screens. That's not the right one.
16 MR. STAMP: I think the exhibit, the 65 ter number that was used,
17 contains both statements. The earlier one is towards the front, and the
18 later one is -- succeeds that one.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
20 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher now please give
21 the statement in Albanian to the witness.
22 Q. Now, would you please turn to the last page. Third paragraph:
23 "Four days after the massacre in Izbica it was a Wednesday, the
24 1st of April. I learned that the Serbs were no longer in Izbica and that
25 the burial of the victims was taken place."
1 That is to say that you didn't organise it, you learned of it; am
2 I right? I'm now putting this statement to you where you say I learned
3 that the burial was in progress. Am I right in stating that you came
4 after having heard that the victims are being buried, and then you go on
5 to say how you went to help. So am I right in stating this?
6 A. I was in Klladernice village. Young men from Izbice came and
7 said that the victims were going to be buried that day in Izbice. I went
8 there, I had a piece of bread and cheese with me. When I arrived there,
9 the burial had already started. 20 had already been buried, and there
10 were many people there, family members, KLA members, and others. We
11 buried the rest.
12 Q. I will ask you again if this is your statement.
13 A. It is my statement, yes.
14 Q. Thank you. The same paragraph towards the end you say there:
15 "The burial of the victims was organised by the KLA. Altogether
16 there was a total of 147 victims of the Serb massacre. Some of the
17 bodies were taken by their families and buried elsewhere. 130 were
18 buried in the field in Izbica. During that day, I met up with Jetish,"
19 et cetera, et cetera.
20 Today I asked you what it meant that the burial was organised by
21 the KLA. In your answer you said, No, they were only present there. You
22 said so today. You said "we buried them." Here I can see that you were
23 informed of it and then you arrived there. So I'm asking you which is
24 correct: That the burial was organised by the KLA, as you say in 1999;
25 or is it true what you said a decade later, that is to say that you
1 organised the burial of the victims of the massacre, as you call it.
2 A. I don't know who organised it. There were many people present
3 including KLA members and civilians, and I don't know what else to add.
4 Q. Given that you said at the time that the burial was organised at
5 the time by the KLA, that is why I'm asking you this question now. Why
6 did you say so at that time?
7 A. I'm saying the same all the time. I don't know who organised it,
8 but I'm saying that the KLA did take part in the burial, and I don't have
9 anything else to add. The whole world is aware of what you were able to
10 carry out, of the worst of the worst which cannot be seen anywhere else
11 in the world.
12 Q. Mr. Thaqi, were there any Serb families in your village?
13 A. No. When do you mean? What time?
14 Q. Just prior to the war, Mr. Thaqi, before NATO bombardment in
15 1999, 1998, 1997?
16 A. There had been no Serbs in my village for 38 years. Before 1998,
17 however, with the exception of the police and the army that roamed about,
18 there was nobody inhabiting there.
19 Q. What about the villages neighbouring yours?
20 A. In Grapc outside Broje, there is no one in Vojnik there are --
21 there were Serbs in Belince, in Polan, and surrounding areas.
22 Q. Do you know which families those were, how many were there, what
23 were their last names?
24 A. No, I don't. I saw them from time to time, but I wasn't familiar
25 with them.
1 Q. Are there any Serb families nowadays in that village?
2 A. Yes, some have returned.
3 Q. Mr. Thaqi, as of 1998 and 1999 and later, did you get by any
4 information on the kidnapping of Serb civilians and the murders of police
5 and soldiers prior to that?
6 A. No, I haven't heard about it. Maybe they were kidnapped, but I
7 never heard about it.
8 Q. You did not hear about it. Very well.
9 Mr. Thaqi, before you is your 1999 statement. I have a Serbian
10 text in front of me, and we have the same text in English and Albanian.
11 Since the paging -- the pagination does not correspond fully, I tried to
12 number the paragraphs.
13 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] The portion I'm looking for
14 should be on page 2, but starting with the first paragraph where it says
15 "witness statement" that would be the 13th paragraph. In the Serbian
16 version it is the sixth paragraph on that page. I don't know what
17 paragraph it is in the Albanian. In any case, if you start from the
18 beginning it is paragraph 13 in all three languages.
19 Q. We'll go back to your statement -- to your description yesterday
20 concerning the arrival of three members of the police as you said so.
21 They went to the "kruska" village, set a haystack on fire, and then
22 demanded money. You mentioned that yesterday at page 16 of the
23 transcript at lines 9 to 12 referring to the three policemen. And you
24 said that two of them wore green camouflage uniforms, blueish in terms of
25 hue, and the third one wore a plain blue uniform. Two of them,
1 therefore, you say wore green-blueish camouflage uniforms, and one had a
2 plain blue uniform. However, in your statement in the paragraph
3 number 13 of the statement of 1999 --
4 A. You are being too fast and too long, and I'm having some
5 difficulty understanding you.
6 Q. There is no other way for me to explain the context. The context
7 is as follows: Yesterday you said that two of them had greenish/blueish
8 camouflage uniform, whereas the third one wore a plain blue uniform.
9 That's what you said yesterday. However in your 1999 statement you
10 say --
11 THE INTERPRETERS: Microphone, please.
12 MR. STAMP: Could we have the reference for --
13 MR. DJORDJEVIC: I've already given the reference, my learned
15 MR. STAMP: If the reference is page 16, line 10, or thereabouts
16 yesterday, that is not -- what is quoted is not correct.
17 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] It is page 17, line 2 and
18 line 3. When we talked about colours.
19 Q. In your statement, it is the 13th paragraph from the beginning,
20 you conclude that paragraph by saying they wore green-olive camouflage
21 uniforms with similar coloured caps, they had belts of ammunition around
22 their chest on over their shoulders. They spoke Serbian. The camouflage
23 colour of the uniform is similar to the one depicted in the top right of
24 the chart shown to me by Investigator Stewart. You were shown that
25 colour as well as -- by my learned friend, Mr. Stamp. It was on the
1 chart. How did we arrive at that colour, whereas a decade ago you said
2 three men in green camouflage uniforms?
3 MR. STAMP: Your Honour, I think for this witness, the question
4 is much too conjoined with other suggestions, and there are just too many
5 statements in the one question. I object to it because it is overly
6 complicated and needs to be simplified.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't understand a thing.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Thaqi, you have in front of you a statement
9 you made in November 1999. Do you see that statement?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. It says 2002 here.
11 Yes, I do.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Now, if you look at the second page of
13 the statement.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here?
15 JUDGE PARKER: Do you see a paragraph that says that, "at about
16 9.30 in the morning, most of the people were eating beside their
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, not yet, but that's the way it
20 JUDGE PARKER: Perhaps you could look to see if you can find that
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is number 14.
23 JUDGE PARKER: It is number 14 if you have a numbered version.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, 14.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Good. Now, if you look well over halfway through
1 that paragraph, you will see that you speak of men wearing green-olive
2 camouflage uniforms. In paragraph 14. Can you find that reference?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think so, but I'm not sure I
4 understand you very well. It says:
5 "After a few minutes, a number of policemen came on foot and they
6 took" --
7 JUDGE PARKER: A little before that, in the previous paragraph,
8 do you see where it is written, "the men with Kalashnikovs were
9 wearing --
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I found it.
11 JUDGE PARKER: -- green camouflage."
12 THE WITNESS: Yes, I did find it, yes.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Now, this is speaking, it appears, of
14 the three policemen whom you first saw setting fire to a haystack; is
15 that correct?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were three policemen. I
17 don't know who of them set the fire, but there were three of them. And
18 then they went downhill from the meadow onto the road, and that was the
19 time when I went because they kept asking for money and so on.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Now, the point you are being asked about is that
21 you describe those three policemen as wearing green-olive camouflage
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't understand this. That was
24 the colours of the police uniforms. I don't know how to say it
25 differently, but what I said is what I saw.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Were the three policemen all wearing the same
2 uniform? Same type of uniform?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] One had a different uniform, the
4 other two had the same.
5 JUDGE PARKER: And what was different on the uniform of the one
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm saying it was different. I
8 don't know how to describe how it was different, but it was camouflage.
9 JUDGE PARKER: What's written in the statement seems to indicate
10 that they were all wearing the same type of uniform. Can you help us to
11 understand why you didn't mention that one of them was wearing a
12 different uniform?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't remember exactly, but what
14 I said then was meant to describe what I saw at the time. I now tend to
16 JUDGE PARKER: We've got to try and decide whether the three of
17 them were wearing green-olive camouflage uniforms or whether one of the
18 three was wearing a different sort of camouflage uniform. Are you able
19 to be sure in your mind today about the uniforms that these three men
20 were wearing?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I remember that one of them had a
22 different pattern, but I can't recall exactly.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Was there any difference in the colour of the
24 uniform for this one man?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was similar, but I think that
1 the camouflage was of a more dense pattern.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djordjevic, that may have helped.
4 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, to a great extent. The
5 only thing I wanted to ask the witness is if he recalls what we said in
6 terms of uniform colour of the three men in the Milosevic case and what
7 he stated in the Milutinovic case.
8 JUDGE PARKER: We have all of that, of course, and we will assess
10 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 Q. Mr. Thaqi, before I move on to another topic, I wanted to ask you
12 this. Are you quite certain that you can tell different colours?
13 A. Please don't ask me about this again. That's what it was, and
14 I've spoken about it. The whole world knows about it. Please don't
15 mistreat me any further.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Can I just make it clear, Mr. Djordjevic, I was
17 mistaken. We have not received as an exhibit the transcript in the
18 Milosevic trial or in the Milutinovic trial, so we don't have any direct
19 reference to any of those.
20 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I was
21 warned to that effect by my assistant. I would kindly ask that both
22 transcripts be admitted into evidence, both from the Milutinovic and the
23 Milosevic case precisely because of the testimony we heard today and
24 yesterday. And I ask for the transcripts to be admitted in total
25 concerning the reference of this witness's testimony. It is 65 ter 2247
1 in the Milosevic case and 65 ter 25 -- 5038 [as interpreted] in the
2 Milutinovic case.
3 JUDGE PARKER: They will each be received.
4 THE REGISTRAR: 2247, Your Honours, will be assigned D00124. And
5 65 ter -- could Mr. Djordjevic please repeat the other 65 ter number for
6 the Milutinovic transcript, please.
7 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] It is 5039 -- no, 8, sorry.
8 5038 in the Milutinovic.
9 THE REGISTRAR: That will be assigned D00125, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
11 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Before the break, since I do
12 not wish to press matters any further in terms of cross-examination since
13 the witness said that I was mistreating him, I'd rather him -- have him
14 have a rest. I would like to tender the 1999 statement of this witness.
15 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
16 THE REGISTRAR: That, Your Honours, will be assigned D00126.
17 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I think this may be a good time
18 for the break, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE PARKER: We will have the first break now, and we'll resume
20 at 11.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.27 a.m.
22 [The witness stands down]
23 --- On resuming at 11.03 a.m.
24 [The witness takes the stand]
25 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djordjevic.
1 THE INTERPRETERS: Microphone, please.
2 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. Mr. Thaqi, will you please tell me this, can you tell colours?
4 A. As I said it earlier, I am done with the colours. Please don't
5 ask me further. I have nothing else to say. I think I'm done with the
6 subject. I keep forgetting, you know, what happened on a day-to-day
8 Q. It's quite clear to me, however, Mr. Thaqi, given that you did
9 not wish to answer my question, you are now forcing me to put the
10 following question to you.
11 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we see the transcript
12 from the Milutinovic case, which is D125. Could we have is on the
13 screens please, page 2294. Line 10 and 11. Page 2294, which is page 10.
14 That's right. Page 10 and 11. That's right.
15 Q. Now, Mr. Thaqi, when you testified in the Milutinovic case, when
16 asked by one of my colleagues, or rather, he asked you about the
17 nationality or ethnic background of these three persons whose uniforms we
18 discussed, and then in reply you said this:
19 "I don't know the nationality, but I know that they were dressed
20 in black."
21 That's what you said. And this is why I asked you whether you
22 could tell colours, and you did not wish to reply to that. Now, would
23 you please tell me what did you mean when you said that they were dressed
24 in black? You didn't even claim that they were dressed in camouflage
25 uniforms or anything of the sort, you just said black. Can you explain
2 A. What I wanted to say was that they were dark skinned, but not
3 that they wore dark or black clothing. Only that their faces were
5 Q. Mr. Thaqi, at the time you said:
6 "... I know that they were dressed in black, they were
8 That's what you said. But you also said that they were dressed
9 in black. How come?
10 A. It's a mistake. It's been recorded wrong. I don't think I said
12 Q. Thank you. Now, Mr. Thaqi, would you please explain to us how
13 did you find out that these three men were policemen? Based on what did
14 you learn this? Did somebody tell you this perhaps? You claim they were
15 policemen. Why do you claim so? Why don't you claim that they were
16 soldiers or paramilitaries? No, you said specifically policemen.
17 A. The uniform meant they were policemen. What nationality and who
18 they were, I don't know, but their clothing suggested they were
19 policemen. Nobody told me; I know that.
20 Q. What is the uniform like that Serb policemen wear? Is it a green
21 uniform or a black one, or a blue one? What did these soldiers wear
23 A. I don't know how to describe it, but the policeman that I saw
24 yesterday here on the screen, that's what they wore. I don't know what
25 else to say.
1 Q. That policeman wore a blue camouflage uniform, and today you told
2 us that it was a kind of a green uniform but that one of them was a
3 denser type. You did mention yesterday a blue uniform, I have to admit
4 that, so can I, based on all that, conclude that you assumed they were
5 policemen without actually knowing that?
6 A. I assumed they were. I did not dare ask them what they were or
7 talk to them at all.
8 Q. Thank you. That's exactly what I asked you. Now, let us leave
9 these three policemen aside and go back to the main person, as you told
10 us, because he kept talking on two radios all the time. You say that he
11 wore a green camouflage uniform. To your mind, what was he? Was he a
12 policeman or a soldier?
13 A. According to me, he was a soldier. I don't know, I didn't ask
14 about his background or anything of that, but based on the uniform,
15 that's what I concluded. Nobody told me anything about him.
16 Q. Mr. Thaqi, allow me, please, to remind you what you stated in the
17 Milutinovic case. Page 2295.
18 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we see it on our screens,
19 please. It reflects your evidence. Line 2, 3, 4, and then 11, 12, 13.
20 Q. You describe this man here, or rather you are replying to
21 questions put to you by one of counsel, and then today you told me "I
22 didn't dare look, I didn't take a good look." But back then in lines 11,
23 12, and 13, you said that he wore the same insignia as the Yugoslav Army
24 he was about 160 centimetres tall, he was quite fat, he had green eyes,
25 and he had a broken nose. He was between 27 and 30 years of age.
1 So does this refresh your memory because in this evidence here
2 you claim that you saw the insignia of the Yugoslav Army on his uniform.
3 A. I was able to see, but I did not focus in the details you
4 describe it.
5 Q. That's precisely why I'm putting this to you. You said that you
6 could see the insignia of the Yugoslav Army. What did you mean when you
7 said that? What were the typical Yugoslav Army insignia that you
8 mentioned? Which insignia of the Yugoslav Army did you have in mind?
9 Could you help us with that, please?
10 A. He was the -- he was a captain or something of the sort, or
11 something called "Porucnik."
12 Q. Thank you. Mr. Thaqi, let us go back to an unpleasant moment,
13 both for you and all of us. That was the moment when the men started
14 firing at you. You have already described this man, so I'm not going to
15 ask you to go over that a again, but I will ask you whether, according to
16 you, he was dressed as a soldier, or as a policeman, as a member of the
17 paramilitary forces, or something different?
18 A. According to me, he was a policeman in camouflage uniform.
19 That's all I can say.
20 Q. You said that he wore a green uniform, so why do you think that
21 he was a policeman?
22 A. From the uniform. I didn't ask him. But that's what we knew
23 about it.
24 Q. It was a green camouflage uniform, if I'm not mistaken. That's
25 what you said; right?
1 A. What I said is correct. Don't harass me any further.
2 Q. Mr. Thaqi, it is not my intention to mistreat you, rather, I wish
3 to establish who the direct perpetrator was. I believe this to be an
4 important point both for justice and for the victims. I do not wish to
5 ask you to apologise to me, because I can understand your sentiments, but
6 I need to ask you to explain to me how you know that this man was a
7 policeman. You seem to be quite sure of that. So could you please
8 explain it to us?
9 A. Based on the police clothing. I didn't ask him what he was or
10 who he was.
11 Q. Very well. Mr. Thaqi, this is my next question: You have
12 mentioned paramilitaries, were there any paramilitaries among those
13 80 men?
14 A. Yes, there were.
15 Q. Tell me, please, how did you distinguish that army from the
16 regular army and police, as you call them? How could you tell who was
18 A. Based on the clothing and on the hat which had a five-pointed
19 star on it.
20 Q. Five-pointed star, are you sure of that?
21 A. No, no, "Petokraka." I don't know how to describe it. They had
22 a hat with a visor, and had something which I don't know how to describe.
23 Q. Very well. Did you have any direct contact with that army? Did
24 you personally have any contact with them?
25 A. They were mixed up together.
1 Q. Are you sure that these were members of the paramilitary forces,
2 or were they perhaps members of some special units? What colour was
3 their uniform, Mr. Thaqi?
4 A. It was the same colour as the army's. I don't know how to
5 describe it. I'd be able to tell you if I could see it on the screen
7 Q. What was the predominant colour of those uniforms?
8 A. The army's.
9 Q. Very well. Thank you. Mr. Thaqi, now that we are dealing with
10 these 80 men who arrived via fields and reached your group, tell me,
11 please, whether among those men, Serbs, you were able to recognise
12 somebody among the troops that had arrived to Izbica?
13 A. No, I didn't know anyone.
14 Q. Can we conclude that among the members of those Serb forces there
15 were no local Serbs who had been called up into the army from local towns
16 and villages?
17 A. Whether they came from villages or towns, I don't know. All I
18 know is that they came there, and they were mixed up.
19 Q. I was referring to nearby villages in Kosovo, I wasn't referring
20 to Serbian towns and villages in Serbia proper. I was trying to say that
21 there were no residents of villages and towns in Kosovo, the nearby ones.
22 A. I wasn't able to tell whether they were locals or not. I didn't
23 know anyone.
24 Q. Thank you. Mr. Thaqi, if you can please explain to us, we saw on
25 the screen here a list of persons who were together with you when the man
1 whom you claim was a member of the Serb forces shot at you. And there
2 were two names there. I think these names are Azem and Muharrem. And
3 next to them there was the last name Thaqi written in and then that last
4 name was crossed out and then another last name was written, Osmani. Was
5 there a mistake there, and can you explain it? Yesterday you were
6 reading out their names.
7 A. No, I made the mistake because we were referring to them by their
8 father's name Muharrem and Azem Thaqi. In fact their surname is
9 Muharrem, Osmani and Azemi.
10 Q. Thank you. Thank you. Now, I'm going to ask you to clarify some
11 other illogical parts of your statement. Perhaps they're not illogical
12 if you can explain.
13 Yesterday as you were describing the events in Izbica, you told
14 us that you to -- shelling which one could hear, you were unable to sleep
15 throughout the night and so on, and that in the morning you heard voices
16 of Serbs in the forest. Today you told us that the young men had left on
17 the same morning.
18 Was the reason for young men leaving, the noise that you heard?
19 Or was the reason for their leaving the fact that the town or village was
20 being surrounded because they left on the 28th at dawn? So could you
21 please tell us what was the reason for the young men leaving?
22 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, I think counsel had better get the
23 proper reference and relate the evidence as it was said by the witness,
24 because I don't think that what is said about the evidence is entirely
25 correct, and that could confuse the witness.
1 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] My learned friend, I tried to
2 save us some time, but I will need to spend that time in order to give
3 you a reference to yesterday's evidence of this witness. He said that he
4 heard the voices of Serbs in the forest. Just a few more minutes.
5 Q. In the meantime, I would like to ask the witness, in order to
6 save time, when did you hear the voices of Serbs, of Serbian army in the
7 forest? Can you please tell us.
8 A. I didn't hear any voices. I said we heard gun-shots at 2.00 in
9 the morning. We were trying to get some sleep, me and Uka the one who
10 was killed. I got up at the time, and Uka said, What are you up to? And
11 I said, They have surrounded us, they have arrived and surrounded us.
12 And he said, No, get down and get some sleep. And that's exactly what I
13 said. I don't have to repeat it.
14 Q. I am asking you this because the Prosecutor intervened, otherwise
15 I would not have. In any case, we can agree you said that since you
16 confirmed it. Can you tell me what was the date, that was the morning of
17 what day in March?
18 A. I said it before, this was on the Saturday in the night, which
19 means the 28th. It was a quarter to 2.00 in the morning. It was before
20 dawn on the Sunday, the 28th. That's what I said, and that's the way it
22 Q. Thank you. That is what I originally asserted. You said that in
23 the morning the young men went to the mountains at dawn on the 28th; am I
24 correct? Did you indeed say so today?
25 A. They left beginning from the 26th when we went there. Whoever
1 could, left. I can't speak here of everyone who left.
2 Q. My question is this: The fact that you realised that you were
3 surrounded, was that the reason why the young men took to the mountains?
4 Or perhaps not?
5 A. Some left earlier, some later, because they were afraid of being
7 Q. Thank you. I think you mentioned the village of Belica
8 Serb populated village as you said at page 11, line 15 of yesterday's
9 transcript, I believe. You said that all of the Serbs from that village
10 joined the paramilitary forces. How come you know that?
11 A. Everybody said so because personally I didn't know either of
12 them. From Leqina, Polan, or other villages. They simply attacked us.
13 Q. Who attacked you?
14 A. It is known who. Serbia
15 Q. We are discussing the village of Belica
16 broader than that. I'm asking you whether the inhabitants of Belica
17 attacked you. You seemed to be silent on that. Do you know anything
18 about that?
19 A. They were all Serbs. They were in unison. They were
20 orchestrated by Belgrade
21 to be in uniform. I couldn't recognise whether they were from Belica or
23 Q. Is it true that Albanians were also organised in Kosovo and that
24 they were directed by someone as this was the rumour among the public?
25 Do you know anything about that, and if so, who was it?
1 A. I don't know who directed the Albanians, but they were also
3 Q. Thank you for this sincere answer.
4 My next question has to do with that precisely. Among the
5 soldiers who arrived that day, the 80 people, did you notice any Chetniks
6 as you yourself used the term?
7 A. We used to describe the paramilitaries as Chetniks.
8 Q. Then all is clear. It seems that it was your name for them.
9 Mr. Thaqi, this concludes my cross-examination.
10 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm through with
11 my cross-examination.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Djordjevic.
13 Mr. Stamp, do you re-examine?
14 MR. STAMP: Yes, Your Honour, just a couple --
15 THE INTERPRETERS: Microphone, please.
16 MR. STAMP: If we could bring back on screen the aerial
17 photograph, 65 ter number is 0244, but the Exhibit number ...
18 Re-examination by Mr. Stamp:
19 Q. There were some questions being put to you, Mr. Thaqi, about when
20 was it you first saw the photograph. I just want to clear up any
22 MR. STAMP: Could we firstly move to page 2. Do we have page 2
23 of that photograph there?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Should I speak?
25 MR. STAMP:
1 Q. Just a minute. I just want to show you something to refresh your
2 memory, if possible.
3 MR. STAMP: And I think we need to turn this around so you could
5 Q. Your signature is there, is that it, Mr. Thaqi, at the back of
6 the photograph?
7 A. Yes, it is.
8 Q. And with the date, did you write that?
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 Q. Okay. So just take your time and relax. Can you, on the basis
11 of what you are seeing now, recall if the photograph might have been
12 shown to you at that interview in November 2001 or October 2001?
13 A. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure. I think, yes. I think it
14 was in my own home when they showed it to me. And then from my home we
15 went together to Izbice.
16 Q. Okay. Very well.
17 MR. STAMP: Could we now return to the face of the photograph, or
18 the front.
19 Q. And if we could look at it this way just for a minute, I know you
20 prefer to have it inverted, but I just want to ask you this: Do you
21 recall when I was asking you questions yesterday, you proceeded or
22 attempted to tell about other places where persons were killed, and I
23 stopped you and told you to stick to what you personally saw and
24 observed? Do you recall that?
25 A. The first group, yes, I saw it with my own eyes. I was one of
1 them. 30 people were killed. The second group was 20 metres away below.
2 It was like an elevated place. They didn't see us. There is a pear tree
3 to this day. The third group was, again, 20 metres higher. We remained
4 in between the two groups in that area and Hajzir Kotorri survived from
5 that group and then he was shot when he went was trying to flee towards
6 the mountain. And the other group was on the other hand, 500 metres.
7 Q. Now, your statement of October 2001 is in evidence where you
8 described the groups that the arrows and the letters on this photograph
9 designate, those areas where the killings occurred. But what I want to
10 ask you is this -- is apart from point A, or the vicinity of point A
11 where your group was shot, did you personally see the shooting in respect
12 to the other groups that you have referred to in your statement, and that
13 the photograph, the numbers in the photograph relate to?
14 A. I couldn't see the actual shooting because I was laying prostrate
15 for 40 minutes, but I only heard the shots, and I'm repeating it that I
16 heard the shots fired at the second, third, and fourth group. I only
17 heard the shots. When everything was quiet, I dared to look up.
18 Q. In respect to the groups referred to in your statement of
19 October 2001 that were killed, and in your statement you have them at
20 point B, point C, point D, and point E, when did you discover the exact
21 location where they were shot? When did you discover that?
22 A. I discovered that, first I heard, I told you, the shots, but I
23 found out when we buried them.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 A. Thank you.
1 Q. Now, in the course of the cross-examination, you answered quite a
2 lot of questions about colours and uniforms, and you did accept that it
3 is very he difficult for you to describe them verbally by calling out the
4 colour, the name of the colours, but you can identify them from the
5 picture or from pictures. And you did say that the three --
6 A. Yes, I can.
7 Q. And you did say that the three men that you saw first, or at
8 least some of them, wore the uniform in the picture I showed you
9 yesterday, and that is P316.
10 MR. STAMP: Could we have a look at it quickly again.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 MR. STAMP:
13 Q. I'm not going to ask you to describe or to tell me what colour it
14 is, I just want you to say of all of the 80 plus men in the field, the
15 armed Serbian forces in the field on the 28th of March, how many wore the
16 uniform that you see this man here in the photograph attired in?
17 A. I didn't count them. I can't give you an exact figure, but I
18 would say about 25, maybe more or less.
19 Q. And --
20 A. I didn't count them.
21 Q. About how many of them did you see with this "milicija" insignia
22 on the sleeve?
23 A. I can't say the exact number. I believe all of them had. It was
24 a very difficult moment for anyone to dare look at them.
25 Q. I understand that. And were these dressed like this person, this
1 figure here, did they receive and follow orders issued by the person that
2 you describe as the "commander"?
3 A. This I don't know, but I only know that he ordered us in relation
4 to -- ordered them in relation to us to send -- to take us to this place
5 and to kill us. Otherwise, I don't know.
6 Q. Did you see anyone else there issuing orders to the armed men who
7 were in the field?
8 A. No, I didn't see anyone else.
9 MR. STAMP: That is all, Mr. Thaqi. Thank you very much. And
10 thank you very much, Your Honours.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 Your Honours, may I say a few words before I leave?
13 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wanted to say that when the
15 Defence lawyer asked me, I think that if he were in my place, he wouldn't
16 be able to say anything given the fact that we were killed, our children
17 were killed, we were forced to leave Kosova, and many other things.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Thaqi. Well, as you've
19 gathered, you -- the questions for you have ended --
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I thank you, Your Honours. I think
21 all the world knows what happened to us.
22 JUDGE PARKER: We thank you for being able to come here again and
23 assisting us. We know you've been times before. We thank you for the
24 help you've been able to give us, and you may now of course return to
25 your family and your ordinary affairs. The court officer will help you
1 out, Mr. Thaqi. Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 JUDGE PARKER: The court officer now will help you out,
4 Mr. Thaqi, and we thank you once again.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 [The witness withdrew]
7 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, before we proceed with the last
8 witness, I wonder if I might raise an ancillary matter.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
10 MR. STAMP: P6 -- sorry. The document identified as
11 65 ter number 615 is a Kosovo atlas, and it was a document I think that
12 the parties could have agreed upon earlier, but we have been moving so
13 quickly we haven't had a chance to meet and discuss things as much as we
14 should. We have and we have agreed that with the review of the evidence,
15 the ongoing review of evidence by the Court, especially of the 92 bis and
16 92 ter evidence, we have various witness reference to place names in
17 Kosovo. It would be useful at this stage, in fact earlier perhaps in the
18 course of the proceedings, if the entire atlas with their index and so
19 forth was received in evidence for the benefit of the Court, to assist
20 the Court.
21 There were some pages at the beginning of the atlas which learned
22 counsel for the Defence, I think quite rightly, indicated that they
23 perhaps should not be included, and we have removed those six pages and
24 wish to tender together the atlas, minus those six pages, and ask that it
25 be received in evidence, and given an exhibit number.
1 JUDGE PARKER: We thank you for that, counsel for both sides, and
2 we receive the atlas minus six pages. The court officer is concerned
3 that he doesn't know which six pages it is.
4 MR. STAMP: I'm sorry, that is -- I should have informed him. We
5 already removed it from the document in e-court.
6 JUDGE PARKER: So we receive the whole document in e-court, which
7 is the atlas minus six page that have been removed by consent.
8 MR. STAMP: Yes, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
10 THE REGISTRAR: And that, Your Honours, will be assigned P00823.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Are we now ready for the next witness, Mr. Stamp?
12 MR. STAMP: Yes, Your Honours. And that will be Ms. D'Ascoli who
13 will have conduct of that witness.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much.
15 [The witness entered court]
16 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, sir.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Please read aloud the affirmation on the card
19 given to you now.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
21 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
22 WITNESS: BAJRAM BUCALIU
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. Please sit down.
25 Ms. D'Ascoli has some questions for you.
1 MS. D'ASCOLI: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Your Honours, this witness's evidence relates to paragraph 72 (J)
3 and 73 of the indictment.
4 Examination by Ms. D'Ascoli:
5 Q. Good morning, Witness. Could you please state your full name and
6 your date and place of birth for the record.
7 A. My name is Bajram Bucaliu, I was born on the 16th of June, 1957
8 in Slakovc e Eperme, Gnjilan municipality.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness kindly be asked to move a bit
10 closer to the microphones. Thank you.
11 MS. D'ASCOLI: Mr. Bucaliu --
12 JUDGE PARKER: Can the microphones be adjusted so they are closer
13 to the witness. Thank you.
14 MS. D'ASCOLI: Thank you.
15 Q. Sir, where are you currently living?
16 A. Currently, I live in Ferizaj.
17 Q. In Ferizaj town?
18 A. Yes, in the town.
19 Q. And where were you living in March 1999?
20 A. In March 1999, I used to live in Staro Selo in the vicinity of
21 Ferizaj municipality.
22 Q. Thank you. Sir, could you tell us which is your current
23 occupation, please?
24 A. Now I work at the train station of Gurez.
25 Q. Is this in the Ferizaj municipality, well, is this close to
2 A. It is 9 kilometres from the train station in Ferizaj.
3 Q. Thank you. Sir, did you provide a statement to the
4 Office of the Prosecutor of the ICTY in April 1999?
5 A. Yes, I did give a statement.
6 Q. And did you also provide a second statement in August 2001?
7 A. Yes, I also gave another one.
8 Q. Have you recently had the opportunity to review both statements?
9 A. Yes, that was made possible for me.
10 Q. And are you satisfied that the information contained in these two
11 statements is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge and belief?
12 A. Yes, to the best of my knowledge and recollection everything in
13 the statement is true.
14 MS. D'ASCOLI: Your Honours, I'd like to tender into evidence
15 both witness statements please, and the 1999 statement is the
16 65 ter number 02298 while the statement from 2001 is the
17 65 ter number 02299.
18 JUDGE PARKER: They will be received.
19 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter number 02298 from the 1999 statement,
20 Your Honours, will be assigned P00824. And 65 ter number 02299 for the
21 2001 statement will be assigned P00825.
22 MS. D'ASCOLI: Thank you.
23 Q. Sir, do you recall testifying in the Milosevic case in 2002?
24 A. Yes, I recall.
25 Q. And did you also testify before this Tribunal in the
1 Milutinovic et al. case in September 2006?
2 A. This is also correct.
3 Q. Have you recently had the opportunity to review your previous
4 testimonies in both cases?
5 A. Yes, I have had the possibility to look into the transcripts.
6 Q. And if today you were asked the same questions that you were
7 asked in the Milosevic case and in the Milutinovic cases, would you
8 provide substantially the same answers and testify in the same way?
9 A. Yes, the answers would be the same.
10 MS. D'ASCOLI: Your Honours, I seek to tender into evidence also
11 the testimonies of this witness. The Milosevic transcript is the
12 65 ter number 02287, while the transcript of the witness in the
13 Milutinovic case is the 65 ter number 05191.
14 JUDGE PARKER: The evidence in the Milosevic trial will be
16 THE REGISTRAR: As P00826, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE PARKER: And the evidence in the Milutinovic trial will be
19 THE REGISTRAR: As P00827, Your Honours.
20 MS. D'ASCOLI: Thank you. I will now read a summary of this
21 witness evidence.
22 The witness comes from the village of Staro Selo
23 municipality of Kosovo. On 2 April 1999
24 VJ with soldiers and military tanks. The army stayed until 5 April 1999
25 when paramilitaries entered the village. Some of them entered the
1 witness's yard, threatened him, and ordered him not to leave the village.
2 They also established a curfew in the village, according to which people
3 were not allowed to leave their houses between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
4 In the evening of 13 April, 1999
5 an Albanian house, killed three people, and deported four others. The
6 witness and other villagers heard of this fact. As a result, the
7 following day, almost the whole village gathered in the centre of
8 Staro Selo and started leaving on foot for Ferizaj.
9 On 15 April, 1999
10 He estimates that there were thousands of people on the train. The train
11 headed towards Djeneral Jankovic, but was at some point sent back to
13 THE INTERPRETER: Kindly slow down while reading. Thank you.
14 MS. D'ASCOLI: Yes, sorry. The following day on 16 April, 1999,
15 the witness and other thousands of people boarded again a train at the
16 Ferizaj railway station. Serb policemen also boarded the train. After
17 Djeneral Jankovic and close to the Macedonian border, people were ordered
18 off the train, and policemen told them to walk on the railway tracks to
19 the Macedonian border. As they walked along the tracks, the soldiers and
20 policemen were shouting insults at them.
21 The witness and his family crossed the border into Macedonia that
22 day, and they were taken by bus to a refugee camp.
23 From 1987 until the 25th of March 1999, the witness worked at the
24 Ferizaj railway station, therefore, he also illustrates the log-book or
25 diary used to keep track of train circulation at the Ferizaj railway
1 station from the 1st of January, 1999, until 19th of June, 1999. He
2 explained what is recorded in the log-book, and the circulation of trains
3 in normal times and in those days of March/April 1999.
4 That is the end of the summary.
5 Q. Mr. Bucaliu, I will now ask some questions to clarify certain
6 aspects of your evidence. Mr. Bucaliu, at page 2, paragraph 3 - this is
7 both in the English and the B/C/S version of your first statement of
8 1999 - you say that your village of Staro Selo was first occupied on the
9 2nd of April by VJ soldiers. And you specify in the same paragraph that
10 the soldiers who entered the village occupied six houses belonging to
11 Albanians. During your testimony in the Milutinovic case --
12 MS. D'Ascoli: And for the record, this is transcript pages 3014,
14 Q. -- you specified that you saw that from your house. Is that
15 correct? Do you remember?
16 A. Yes, everything is correct.
17 Q. I'm going to show you a hand-drawn map.
18 MS. D'ASCOLI: The 65 ter number is 00043. If I can have it on
19 the screen, please. Could you please enlarge the upper part of the map.
21 Q. Sir, do you recognise this map?
22 A. Yes, I do recognise this drawing because I made it myself.
23 Q. So is it the map of your village, of Staro Selo; correct?
24 A. Yes, roughly speaking this is what my village, Staro Selo or
25 Fshati i Vjeter looks like.
1 Q. Thank you. Are you able to locate your house on this map,
2 approximately where it was located?
3 MS. D'ASCOLI: Could the usher please provide him with ...
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can I use --
5 Q. You could put a dot or a sign close to it?
6 A. This is my house.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MS. D'ASCOLI: The circle, for the record, indicates the witness
10 Q. Sir, are you also able to indicate on the map where the Albanian
11 houses, where the soldiers were staying, are located? The houses that
12 the soldiers occupied on the 2nd of April upon their arrival. If you
13 could put an X close to the area.
14 A. [Marks]
15 Q. Thank you.
16 A. I tried.
17 MS. D'ASCOLI: For the record, and X and two lines are indicating
18 the position of the Albanian houses on the two sides of the road. Thank
19 you. Your Honour, can I please have this -- can I please tender this
20 into evidence.
21 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
22 THE REGISTRAR: That will be assigned P00828, Your Honours.
23 MS. D'ASCOLI: Thank you.
24 Q. Sir, let's now move to the 5th of April. At page 3 first
25 paragraph of the English version of your 1999 statement, you say that on
1 the 5th of April, the army left the village; and you further say in the
2 following paragraphs that on the same day later in the afternoon,
3 paramilitary forces entered your village, some of them came to your yard,
4 threatened you, checked your tractor and ordered you not to leave the
6 Going to paragraph 3 of the same page in referring to the
7 paragraph military forces, you say, and I quote:
8 "We were terrified by these knives and their behaviour in
10 Can you please clarify what you mean by this and what type of
11 behaviour they had that terrified you.
12 A. Your Honours, everything mentioned by the lady is true. When I
13 say that we were scared, we were scared by the ominous appearance they
14 had. They were people who would make you sad even today were you come
15 across them, let alone during that time. They were people who were
16 unshaved, who had big, big beards and hair, and who had irregular
17 clothing, who had knives which were not regular army knives, but the
18 knives that you use to butcher animals.
19 We saw knifes that were still -- had blood on them. What they
20 had -- what they had on their heads was something that is call Kokarda,
21 used by the -- hats used by the Chetniks. And from our knowledge of what
22 the Chetniks had been able to do in the past, we were anticipating that
23 the same horrible things would be coming our way too.
24 Q. Can I ask you who are you describing now in this detailed
25 description that you just gave us?
1 A. This is a description of what was called the paramilitary forces.
2 They used to call themselves Chetnik forces.
3 Q. And could you give us some example of the behaviour that they had
4 and that was terrifying to you?
5 A. Excuse me. For instance, my first contact with these
6 paramilitaries was on the 5th of April in the afternoon. I was sitting
7 on the stairs to my house, given that I had heard at the time that
8 paramilitary Chetnik forces had entered the village, and so we were
9 fearful of what might occur.
10 So I was sitting on the stairs to my house when from the
11 courtyard of my next door house which was my brother's house - there's
12 three of us living in the same compound - I was able to see three of them
13 enter. So from the -- I was able to see, for instance, one of the
14 children of my brother's move the curtain away to be able to see what was
15 happening, and one of them trained the automatic rifle in that direction.
16 I don't know whether out of fear or something else, but I reacted, I
17 stood up and said please don't, it's a child.
18 And at that stage, that person said -- asked me who I was and I
19 said, I am a member of this family, I am the brother. He asked me to go
20 there. Asked about my ID, which I showed to him. And the first question
21 that he asked was, Where is your tractor? To which I said it is behind
22 the house, behind the barn where we kept the animals, the cow-shed. And
23 he said, Let's go and see where it is.
24 And with the automatic rifle trained on my back, he led me there,
25 i.e., behind the cow-shed, and my wife, my late wife now, fainted at that
1 stage because she thought that I was going to be assassinated, and then
2 he asked, he said, you know, Why -- what have you got in the tractor?
3 Why have you prepared the tractor? And so on and so forth. This is a
4 long conversation which I don't think I need to give any details on.
5 Q. Thank you, sir. Let's move on to the 14th of April when you and
6 your other villagers left Staro Selo and went to Urosevac town. How far
7 is Ferizaj Urosevac from your village, from Staro Selo?
8 A. The village is at a distance from 3 to 4 kilometres so it is a
9 distance of 4 kilometres from my house to the centre of Ferizaj.
10 Q. And, sir, at page 4, paragraph 1, of the 2001 statement, you
11 described what you saw in Ferizaj town when you arrived there with your
12 family on the 14th of April. You mention having seen tanks in the centre
13 of the town and check-points throughout the town. Can you please clarify
14 who manned those check-points?
15 A. The place is called the bridge which is at the crossroads between
16 the main road from Prishtina to Skopje
17 always a check-point there which was manned all the time by police and
18 army forces. It was a permanent check-point where people were checked,
19 things were taken from them, and so on.
20 Q. Were there other check-points around the town or in Ferizaj?
21 A. Yes. In numerous places inside the town. But this was a more
22 regular check-point, for instance, on the day when we returned from
23 Hani i Elizit we were able to see many check-points across the town. But
24 this -- another regular check-point was in the village of Gerlice
25 check-point that had been in place for a very long time, a period of two
1 to three years and so on.
2 Q. The other check-points that you mentioned and that you saw on the
3 14th of April in Ferizaj town, by which forces were they manned?
4 A. As I said, there were many across the town, almost at every
5 crossroads or main road there were these forces. They were manned by
6 police and army troops.
7 Q. Thank you. Sir, at page 5 of your 1999 statement, you say that
8 you first boarded a train at the Ferizaj railway station on the
9 15th of April, and then a second time another train the following day on
10 the 16th of April, which is when you finally reached the border to
12 times, first on the 15th and then on the 16th of April, 1999?
13 A. During the first time on the 15th of April, we boarded the train
14 and forgive me for repeating here, there was a large crowd of people who
15 managed to get on and the larger one who had to stay behind at the
16 Ferizaj train station. We went to the train station at Hani i Elizit,
17 which is on the border of Macedonia
18 four hours on board the train.
19 I had the privilege to be able to contact the chief of the
20 station given than I worked for the railways, and I knew my colleague
21 Vule, and I asked him continually why are we being kept waiting, and he
22 said that we are establishing contacts with Macedonian authorities, who
23 for the time being, are not allowing us to cross and that is why we have
24 to wait.
25 Q. Can you please slow down in answering because I think that the
1 interpreters might have problems in translating. Thank you.
2 A. Thank you, I shall try.
3 Q. So you said that basically the Macedonian authorities didn't
4 allow you the train to proceed farther, and that's why the train was sent
5 back. Is that correct?
6 A. Yes, that is correct. That's what the chief of the station and
7 my colleague Vule told me.
8 Q. And then you went back to the station and boarded a train for the
9 second time on the 16th of April. Why did you want to leave, or why did
10 you board those trains, sir?
11 A. We wanted to board the train to escape with our life because what
12 happened in my village, let alone in the entire territory of Kosova
13 were able to withstand the insults, provocations and all, the opening of
14 trenches by young men in the village, the looting; but when the killings
15 started, it was a question of survival. So we wanted to escape in order
16 to be safe. We wanted to save our children, the other members of the
17 family, that's why we turned our back on our houses. That's why we left
18 our houses.
19 Q. Sir, in your statement and also today in answering one of my
20 questions, you mentioned many people in your statement you specify
21 thousands of people being there at the train station both times you
22 boarded the train. Can I ask you what was the ethnicity of all those
24 A. There were all Albanians who wanted to flee with their lives
1 Q. And can you describe the conditions on the train you boarded both
2 on the 15th and the 16th of April, 1999?
3 A. Luckily, when I boarded the train, we were able to take passenger
4 trains, even though there were people who had to make the same journey on
5 board freight trains. The conditions were awful, there were far too many
6 of us. We were packed like sardines in a manner of speaking, by which I
7 mean to say there were so many people and the conditions were not great
8 during that journey. However, we were satisfied if only to be able to
9 cross the border and be safe.
10 Q. Sir, did you see any forces on the train that you boarded?
11 A. There were policemen on the train, Serb policemen.
12 Q. Were those forces armed?
13 A. Yes, they had light weaponry. Some of them had automatic rifles,
14 others had pistols.
15 Q. And on the 16th of April when you boarded the second train, then
16 you were ordered after Djeneral Jankovic to get off the train. Can you
17 please tell the Court where you were at that point and who gave this
18 order to get off the train?
19 A. What I said was that the 16th of April we reached the train
20 station at Hani i Elizit where again I established contact with my
21 colleague Vule who I asked would we be lucky enough today to be able to
22 cross; and his answer was, Yes, Bajram, today you will be able to because
23 the Macedonian authorities are accepting you, so you shall be able to get
24 across. You will not be staying here for far too long, and we'll send
25 you by train. The distance being 1 to 1.5 kilometres from there to the
2 So I greeted my colleague and that's exactly what occurred. In
3 about 15 or 20 minutes we left the train, proceeded up to the border
4 where it came to a halt, and where Serb police -- police and army forces
5 gave us orders. The soldiers were outside the road, but the policemen
6 were with us on the train. They descended as well. They had a little
7 chat. And then they ordered us by beckoning as well as ordering us to
8 get off the trains, which is what we did. We stayed there for about half
9 an hour around the train.
10 And after approximately half an hour, we were ordered again - and
11 I was one of the first because I was in the first carriage near the
12 engine - and I was the first to cross. And I said you and your mother,
13 can you get across. They said sir, go in front of the engine, you have
14 to walk between the tracks and continue just walking between the tracks.
15 If you go outside the tracks, the whole area has been mined, and you have
16 to proceed that way, all the way into Macedonia.
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Bucaliu. This place where you stopped, where the
18 train stopped, was it a normal stop for trains? Was it a place or a
19 station where trains would normally stop?
20 A. No, the station is at Hani i Elizit, one and a half kilometres
21 away from the border with Macedonia
22 The train stopped at that stage only to allow us to descend and to
23 proceed on foot towards Macedonia
24 MS. D'ASCOLI: Your Honours, I have a few questions left for the
25 witness, but this is maybe a good time for the break.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Very well, we will have the second break now and
2 resume at 1.00. Could I remind you of something that was said a few days
3 ago. We want to encourage all counsel to confine themselves to matters
4 that are essential rather than just simply filling out what is in the
5 statement unnecessarily. We will resume at 1.00.
6 MS. D'ASCOLI: Yes, sir, I'm almost done.
7 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
8 [The witness stands down]
9 --- On resuming at 1.01 p.m.
10 [The witness takes the stand]
11 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Ms. D'Ascoli.
12 MS. D'ASCOLI: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Mr. Bucaliu, what was your job before the war started in
14 March 1999?
15 A. Until March 1999, I used to work at the train station in Ferizaj
16 as a cashier.
17 Q. Thank you. Could I please -- I'm going to show you a document, a
19 MS. D'ASCOLI: If I can have on the screen a 65 ter number 01331,
20 please. Can we go through the first pages of this document, please. Of
21 the original one.
22 Q. Mr. Bucaliu, can you see what is on the screen?
23 MS. D'ASCOLI: Even farther, please.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is very small. I mean the
25 letters are very small, if you could zoom in.
1 MS. D'ASCOLI: If you can continue going on through the pages,
2 please. More. Okay. That's fine. Thank you. Could you enlarge it a
3 bit, please.
4 Q. Is it better now, sir?
5 A. If it's possible to zoom it in a little bit more, I will try.
6 Q. Do you recognise this document, sir?
7 A. Yes. It is the log-book of trains that is kept at every train
9 Q. And where was this one kept?
10 A. There is a person who is responsible. It's called train manager.
11 He keeps such a diary. He writes down the incoming and outgoing trains.
12 Q. Do you recognise this one as the diary of which station?
13 A. This is the diary kept at Ferizaj train station.
14 Q. Did you personally make entries in this particular log-book?
15 A. Not in this one because at that time I wasn't working as a train
17 Q. And do you remember at what time this -- what time this log-book
18 refers to?
19 A. This page, for example, as you can see from the date, you can
20 infer when. I don't know, because this is simply one page. This shows a
22 Q. Yes, thanks.
23 MS. D'ASCOLI: Can we have the front page of the original
24 document, please, on the screen. I meant just the first page of the
25 entire document, the front page of the original.
1 Q. Mr. Bucaliu, are you familiar with how this book was used?
2 A. Yes. I said that this was used to keep track of all the trains
3 that passed through the Ferizaj station.
4 Q. Does that mean that all trains that went through Ferizaj were
5 recorded in this log-book?
6 A. Yes. Normally every train that passed, came, or left the station
7 should have been recorded in the log-book. When one is finished, you get
8 another one.
9 MS. D'ASCOLI: I think we are still on page 3. Can we have the
10 first page of the document. Thank you.
11 Q. Can you see from this heading, from the beginning of the document
12 which period it refers to?
13 A. Yes. You can clearly see here it is written in Serbian language,
14 it's a log-book, a communication log-book started on the
15 1st of January, 1999, and the end date is not recorded when this book was
17 MS. D'ASCOLI: I think that if we go to the last page of the
18 document, we can see the last day for which entries were inserted. The
19 previous page, please. Page 150, please. Thank you. Can you enlarge
20 it, especially the left-hand side column. Thank you.
21 Q. Mr. Bucaliu, can you see which was the last date -- last day
22 recorded for which entries were made in the log-book?
23 MS. D'ASCOLI: If you can scroll down, please.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If this is the last page, it shows
25 that it's 19 of June, 1999.
1 MS. D'ASCOLI: Your Honours, the log-book is discussed and
2 explained by the witness in great details in his previous testimonies so
3 I won't go into further details to explain it, and I will just seek to
4 tender it into evidence, please. This is the 65 ter number 01331.
5 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
6 MS. D'ASCOLI: Thank you.
7 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
8 JUDGE PARKER: We have a large document in Serbian and eight
9 pages in English.
10 MS. D'ASCOLI: Yes, because the English translation only refers
11 to the entries -- to handwritten entries in Serbian which were
12 translated. The numbers of the trains and the times of arrival and
13 departure are not translated, of course. At the beginning of the English
14 translation, there is a table which translates all the columns of the
15 documents in order to have an understanding of where and how dates are
16 entered into the evidence. That's why we have only eight pages of
17 English translation.
18 JUDGE PARKER: This will be received.
19 THE REGISTRAR: That will be assigned P00829, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
21 MS. D'ASCOLI: Mr. Bucaliu, thank you very much for having
22 answered my questions.
23 I don't have further question for this witness at this stage,
24 Your Honour.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ms. D'Ascoli.
1 Mr. Djordjevic.
2 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 [Interpretation] Staying with the log, I wanted to ask the
4 following: Has the entire log-book been admitted pertaining to that year
5 or only parts of it?
6 JUDGE PARKER: The whole log-book has been admitted.
7 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] That is fine. Thank you.
8 Cross-examination by Mr. Djordjevic:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon sir, my name is
10 Dragoljub Djordjevic, I appear on behalf of the accused in this case. I
11 won't have many questions of you, only a few by which I will try to
12 clarify certain portions of your statements and your testimony today
13 during my learned friend's examination-in-chief.
14 My first question has to do with the paragraph 2 of your
15 statement of the 24th and the 25th of April, 1999. It has to do with the
16 13 Serb families you refer to. Can you tell me the last names of those
17 families, who they were, what they did at the time, and where are they
18 now. There are three questions it seems. Let's start with who they were
19 and what their last names were.
20 A. I will do my best even though a lot of time has passed and I
21 don't remember all of them. But some I do remember. They were my
22 neighbours, they lived in my village, we lived together for quite a long
23 time in that village, actually until 1999. From 1964 when we settled
24 there until 1999, we lived side by side. So I don't want to repeat
25 things. We got on well together, we were good neighbours. Perovic was
1 one of my neighbours on the other side was Tepascevic there were other
2 families as well. I don't recall their last name. If I am given more
3 time, maybe the last names may come back to my memory, but these two that
4 I mentioned were my neighbours when I lived in the old house before I
5 moved into the new house in another place.
6 Q. The place you marked in answering one of my learned friend's
7 question, does that place depict the location of your old house or the
8 new house? And I now refer to a document which was admitted as an
10 A. The place I marked shows my new house where I lived from
11 1996 to 1999.
12 Q. Do you still reside there?
13 A. No. That house was burned down, and I couldn't rebuild it, so
14 for the moment I live in the vicinity of the train station. I have
15 rented a house which belonged -- was a property of the railway.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Just for the transcript, as Exhibit P828.
17 MR. DJORDJEVIC: That's correct, Your Honour, it is P828.
18 Q. Sir, you say you remember your former neighbours and that you
19 were in good relations. Where are they today, the Perovic and the
20 Tepascevic families, are they back in the village?
21 A. No, unfortunately they no longer live in the village. After the
22 war was over, they moved away from the village. And to my knowledge they
23 live outside Kosova.
24 Q. As you said, before the war you enjoyed good relations with your
25 Serb neighbours. Did your children attend school together with theirs,
1 or did they attend different shifts and classes in the school?
2 A. As I already said, we enjoyed very good relations with the Serb
3 families. Unfortunately, the children didn't attend the same school
4 because there were few Serb children, therefore they couldn't provide
5 education only for such a small number of children, therefore, they went
6 to Ferizaj school.
7 During the time I was a student in Ferizaj, we used to go to the
8 same school, but attend different classes.
9 Q. I suppose you probably wanted to say that you attended different
10 shifts in terms of mornings and afternoons. I would presume you did not
11 attend the same -- you were not in the same class given your different
13 A. I said we went to the same schools, but we attended separate
14 classes because of the language. I'm talking about the time I was in
15 school. We were together with Serb children both when we worked out in
16 the morning and in the evening shifts.
17 Q. Thank you. The curriculum, the lectures, were in Serbian or
19 A. For Albanians the curriculum was taught in Albanian. For the
20 Serbs, in Serbian.
21 Q. That is right. Thank you. In the same paragraph of the
22 statement of the 24th and 25th of April, 1999, the second paragraph
23 towards the end you say:
24 "When the NATO air-strikes started on the 23rd of March, 1999
25 during the night around 8.00 p.m.
1 During the night my entire family gathered together in one house and
2 slept together."
3 What was the reason for all of you to assemble in one house only
4 after that date? The date may be of less importance, what is more
5 importance is the beginning of the NATO air-strikes and the power outage.
6 Why did you decide to stay in one house, and whose house it was? How
7 many families were there and what was the reason for that?
8 A. It is true what you put to me. On the night of the air-strikes
9 of the 24th of March, the strikes started at 2000 hours to my
10 recollection. We were staying each at our respective homes. And then
11 around 2300 hours, the shots started in the Ferizaj-Gnjilan main road
12 that I drawn if my sketch, with military vehicles, with Pragas in the
13 direction of our houses.
14 And of course, Praga being a heavy vehicle, it fires long range,
15 so many houses were hit by the shells. And we were afraid, therefore, we
16 withdrew to the centre of the village. My uncles live there, that's why
17 we moved to their houses where several families assembled. My family
18 being one of them, along with the families of some neighbours. A total
19 of five, six, families. This was the case with other families that moved
20 and assembled together. That was the reason why.
21 Q. In paragraph 3 of the statement you say:
22 "The army occupied the village for the first time on the
23 2nd of April, 1999, at 8.30 in the morning."
24 How come you say that the army occupied the village? Wasn't it
25 the army of the common state at the time? What do you mean when you say
1 that the army "occupied" the village?
2 A. That was my perception. You might use another word. You might
3 say the entry of the military forces if you don't want to use the word
4 "occupy." For me it seemed like an occupation, but you might as well say
5 they entered the village.
6 Q. Thank you, occupation seems to be the third term you used today.
7 At that time of giving the statement, you said that they took up the
8 village as if an enemy force had entered it. What did you have in mind
9 precisely, would that be taking up or occupying the village?
10 A. As I said, that was time of war. Having heard by then what was
11 going on in other parts of Kosova, we thought that the same thing would
12 happen to our village, and that's why we were scared. For us taking up
13 or occupying was the same thing at the time.
14 Q. Thank you. It is all much clearer now. In the same paragraph
15 you say that the military tanks arrived, dark green in colour, with
16 tracks and no long barrels, no barrels extended. Could you please
17 explain what the different would be between a short or an unextended and
18 an extended long barrel? As a matter of course, did you serve your army
19 service at all?
20 A. First of all, Your Honours, I have a problem. I hear two voices
21 at the same time of the Defence counsel and the interpreter. I hope I
22 understood the question put to me.
23 When I mentioned the long barrels, I was referring to smaller
24 calibre weapons, not like cannons, but I was referring to tanks that had
25 long barrels and that were of smaller calibres.
1 Q. Thank you. In the same paragraph you mention your neighbour,
2 Maksim Perovic, you said that his house was marked with 4 Ss for
3 indication and that the other Serbian houses did not have those markings.
4 Why was Maksim Perovic's house marked with the sign?
5 A. Most probably to be able to tell which were the Serb houses.
6 Most probably they had some plans and wanted to spare the Serb houses.
7 This is what we were told, that the Serbs were told to mark their houses
8 so that the forces could tell which ones were theirs.
9 Q. That is why I'm asking why only Maksim Perovic's house was marked
10 and not the houses of other members of Serb community in the village.
11 Who was Maksim Perovic in the village at that moment? Was he an
12 important figure for the village?
13 A. Maksim Perovic was not an important figure. I knew that he was a
14 supporter of Seselj's radical party, and these persons who entered our
15 village on the 5th of April declared themselves to be members of the
16 radical forces of Seselj. However, the other Serb families refused to
17 mark their houses with this sign because they didn't want their houses to
18 be different from the Albanians, but Perovic accepted the proposal to
19 mark his house, and that's why he did.
20 Q. What happened afterwards with the remaining Serb houses that were
21 not marked? Were they harassed?
22 A. No, during the time we were in the village, nobody harassed them.
23 I don't know what happened after we left the village, but during the time
24 we were still there, their houses were not -- they were not harassed.
25 Q. In paragraph 4 of the same statement, you go on to say that in
1 Staro Selo there were no KLA members, Liberation Army of Kosovo. Tell
2 me, please, were there some in the vicinity in other villages near your
3 village and near Urosevac?
4 A. It is true that there was no KLA presence in my village, and in
5 the surrounding villages. There was KLA presence in Bjeshket e Jezercit
6 which is 15 kilometres of aerial distance from my village. There there
7 was KLA presence.
8 Q. Tell me, please, do you remember ever stating that you helped
9 some KLA members? You stated that in another statement you gave to this
10 Court. And how do you explain what you said back then and what you said
11 here before this Court now?
12 A. I explained then that on one occasion following a Serb offensive
13 in Bjeshket e Jezercit some KLA units, or, rather, some KLA members
14 withdrew and went down to some of the villages. One of these members was
15 a son of a colleague of mine. He had settled in Varos village. My
16 colleague was scared that his son might get captured by the Serb forces,
17 and most probably eliminated as a KLA member, so he asked for help in
18 terms of taking his son to another village. This is what I meant at the
19 time. It is true that I went by car to pick up this colleague's son, and
20 take him to another village.
21 Q. Now, tell me, when did this offensive take place, or, rather,
22 this fighting near Bjeshket e Jezercit?
23 A. To my recollection, this occurred in October 1998.
24 Q. Now, tell me, where is Varos located?
25 A. The village of Varos
1 from Ferizaj, and about 3 kilometres far from my village.
2 Q. Now, tell me, please, where is Bjeshket e Jezercit located?
3 A. Bjeshket e Jezercit are north-west of Ferizaj and north-west of
4 my village, I think.
5 Q. How far is that to the north-west of Urosevac?
6 A. About 10 or 12 kilometres from Ferizaj, and from my own village
7 about 15 as the crow flies.
8 Q. So we can conclude that a full six months before the KLA
9 air-raids, there was KLA in the vicinity of Urosevac. There was fighting
10 like the one that you just mentioned and that you were quite close in
11 that respect with the KLA. In one of your statements you said you did
12 not believe in KLA at all until the NATO bombing started. On now we're
13 finding out that you started helping them 6 months prior to the bombing.
14 How do you explain that?
15 A. These are two different issues. First of all, he was not an
16 armed member of the KLA. He had abandoned the ranks of the KLA and had
17 gone to Varos. As the son of a colleague of mine, I was obliged to help
18 him. Not because he was a KLA member, but just because he was the son of
19 someone I knew.
20 I was a member of the LDK that followed a policy of peaceful
21 resolution to problems. We believed that Kosova would become independent
22 by peaceful means, not through employment of weapons.
23 Q. Still, I have to put to you the statement that you gave on the
24 29th of August, 2001. That was a Wednesday. And then you continued on
25 Friday, the 31st of August, 2001. You gave this statement to
1 investigator Annette Murdagh. This is P825.
2 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we pull up the statement.
3 We need page 2 both in Albanian and in English. This is paragraph 3 in
4 both versions.
5 Q. Where you say the following:
6 "On one occasion I helped transporting a KLA soldiers from one
7 village to another when the unit withdrew because of the strong presence
8 of the Serb forces."
9 You did not mention any friend of yours or anything of the sort.
10 I accept that you were not a member of the KLA, but you did help them.
11 And here you did not describe this person as a son of your friend or
12 colleague rather, you just describe him as a KLA soldier, so how do you
13 reconcile the two?
14 A. I will repeat again. He was a member of the KLA, but when I
15 picked him up, he was not armed, and he had abandoned the KLA ranks. He
16 might have joined the KLA later on; but at that time I assisted him, he
17 had withdrawn from the KLA ranks. He was running away from the Serb
18 forces, and I helped him to get it to another village from Varos. It is
19 true that I mentioned him as a son of my colleague in my previous
20 statements, or evidence.
21 Q. In the statement that I put to you, you say a KLA soldier. I
22 understand that he had discarded his weapons. He may have not even had a
23 uniform since he was hiding. But I want to know this: Do you know what
24 KLA uniforms looked like at the time?
25 A. No, not really. Although, we had an opportunity to see them on
1 foreign television channels wearing KLA uniforms.
2 Q. You said that Hadja, the Muslim priest as he is described in your
3 statements, Imam, told you about the killings of the Zeka family. Was
4 that the actual reason why you left the village?
5 A. Yes, it was the reason why we left the village. We had heard
6 about different types of terror, lootings, killings, and so forth; and
7 when the killings actually started, every human being will try to run for
8 his or her life. When the decision time comes whether to live or to die,
9 people will always opt for fleeing in order to survive.
10 Q. I will agree with you, sir. My question that will be the
11 concluding question for today, since it's time for adjournment, will be
12 this: Where is the Zeka family located in relation to your house that
13 you drew in the sketch that we all saw about hour and a half ago, and
14 also just recently?
15 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we pull that up on the
16 screens again. This is P -- just a moment. P828.
17 Q. Could you mark the location of the Zeka family house, please.
18 A. The Zeka family lived in two different parts. One of them, one
19 of the Zeka families lived here.
20 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... sketch, please. Could you
21 put a letter A in the spot where part of the family lived.
22 A. [Marks]
23 Q. What about the other part of the family?
24 A. Maybe about 50 to 100 metres away.
25 Q. Can you put B there.
1 A. I don't know if we can erase the dot that I just made, and then I
2 can mark it with a B. I can mark the A and the B again; right?
3 Q. Your house is marked with an X.
4 A. No, my house is marked with a circle. Not with an X.
5 Q. All right. Where is the A?
6 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Could you please scroll up in
7 order for the witness to be able to mark. That's right. We see the
8 Skopje-Pristina road. All right. So we see the Skopje Pristina road.
9 Q. Tell me please, where were the houses of the Zeka family located?
10 A. Approximately here.
11 Q. How far is that from your house? If these houses have a distance
12 of 50 metres between them, then how far are they from your house?
13 A. Most probably 500 to 600 metres from my house.
14 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think this is a
15 good time for adjournment. Could I tender into evidence this sketch with
16 new marks. Later on we will be putting more questions related to this.
17 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Markings made on P00828 in blue, Your Honours,
19 will be assigned D00127.
20 JUDGE PARKER: We must adjourn now for the day, and resume
21 tomorrow morning at 9.00. The court officer will give you assistance
22 during the break, and we will continue with your evidence tomorrow at
23 9.00 in the morning.
24 We now adjourn.
25 [Witness stands down]
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.
2 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 27th day of
3 May, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.